Monday, October 31, 2011

Let's All Sing Like the Birdies Sing ...

Cheap ... cheap cheap ... cheap cheap.

Cheap. Talk is cheap. Like the people sitting around the table in the video. They're all probably worth millions but their opinions are cheap. They're poseurs. My late mother would say that they all like the sound of their own voices.

(The subtle political message this week was "the only two people on the panel who hate Obama are the two black guys. So, dittoes, blacks hate Obama too.")


Someone should tell Michael Ware and Cornel West that less is more.

And, Bill, the British hated the fact that the French and the Indians fought from and behind trees in the French and Indian War, not the Revolution. During the French and Indian kerfuffle, George Washington was part of the Brit army. I had the same fifth grade American history book as you. Pay attention.

I TOLD Y'ALL But Y'All Wouldn't Listen ... About the Professional Left and Ron Paul

Now we know! The biggest mouths in the Professional Left are pushing two subliminal messages this election cycle. You might say they have a contingency plan.

On the one hand, they're slipping in almost casual asides about how it's really not worth voting in 2012, as exemplified by Michael Moore and Bill Maher; but the plan behind the plan is something else.

For the past several weeks - and, in Maher's case, the past several years - the Professional Left has been dropping the name of Ron Paul surreptitiously into every conversation they could - never in a pejorative way, mind you, always about how positive a candidate Paul seemed as opposed to all the rest of the lunatics who've escaped from the GOP asylum to run for President this time around.

This Paulapalooza has increased almost threefold since these dedicated followers of political fashion fathomed that the only politician acceptable to their new gurus in the Occupy Movement is one Ron Paul.


Well, because Paul advocates legalising all drugs. He doesn't even want their sales regulated like alcohol and tobacco and taxed accordingly. If people want to kill themselves on recreational drugs, he says, that's fine with him, as long as they don't expect the government to pick up the medical tab.

Paul wants the Federal Reserve disbanded (and, with that, the financial industry completely free of regulation, but we don't push that part of it.

Paul says that America has an empire and advocates the return of all US troops stationed abroad. (Of course, he doesn't worry about how all these discharged military personnel would find employment in todays critical market. That's their problem.)He's even promised Dennis Kucinich a Cabinet position as Secretary of Peace - I guess that will be the new name for the State Department, so I guess a Paul Administration would sit tight with its chief diplomat cosying up to the worst sort of dictators as chums.

In short, he's saying everything the Professional Left and their aspiring and heavily influenced dittoes want a "true Progressive" to say. What's oxymoronic is that the selfsame people who praise Ron Paul, openly deride his Aqua Buddha son, Rand. Why? Rand and Ron stand for exactly the same things - which are a federal government the size of a bathtub, the disbanding of the Departments of Education, Housing and Urban Development, Energy and Commerce. They want FEMA disbanded too; and whilst the Pauls are all right legalising drugs and prostitution, they want to leave it up to the States to determine that abortion is not only immoral, they want to make it illegal also. And then there's the little problem they euphemistically refer to as "property rights."

And, of course, there's the Stormfront endorsement too.

This week on Real Time with Bill Maher, Paul's name entered the discussion again, as the only viable Republican candidate. (Feel the subtle push?) It was so "subtle" that Cornel West almost creamed his knickers and seemed positively orgasmic at the prospect of a Paul candidacy.

Odd, how Cornel argued bitterly with Ron Christie during the program, but was comfortable enough with Grover Norquist to blurt out that he (Cornel) was a libertarian too. (To quote Truthrose1 from Twitter, any self-respecting African-American who can support Ron Paul must want to be a slave again, but that might be true also for Cornel West, considering that he makes a pretty good living as the Radical Chic's professional Negro).

It shouldn't come as any surprise either that Bill Maher, who ditched the libertarian label when it became decidedly "uncool," is now cosying up to Norquist. He wouldn't be the first from the Professional Left to allow Norquist to warm the cockles of his heart. But then, this is the man who's far too friendly with the likes of Darrell Issa, Arianna Huffington, P J O'Rourke and Ann Coulter.

But still the dittoes who watch and laugh and buy Bill's comedian mantra keep allowing themselves to be herded even further to the Right, and then they'll wonder how they got there, just as I wonder who's paying for Cornel West's luxurious poverty bus. Is there some sort of dichotomous message in venturing into the poorest parts of America in First Class travel accommodation?

Just watch the excitement erupt with Ron Paul's name being mentioned:-

I am deadly serious. We're heading into home stretch time now right before the primaries, and a Ron Paul would run as well in Iowa as he would in New Hampshire or North Carolina. The way various of the candidates - Bachmann, Perry and now Cain - are crashing and burning, I could see a face-off between Paul and Romney, and Paul would pull out the nomination. Then you'd really have a meeting of hearts and simple minds amongst the Teabaggers and the EmoProgs, and that would be totally and utterly disastrous.

When the Big Tent Sucks

I don't like Republicans. I never have. I was raised to think of them as the social and political enemy of my kind, the Democrats, but just because I'm not fond of all Republicans in general, doesn't mean I extend a blanketed tolerance to all things and all people Democratic.

Sometimes, the Big Tent can become claustrophobic to the point that I want to smack someone, like this morning.

Charlie Pierce writes in his Politics Blog:-

There was great trembling abroad in the land on Sunday when the Des Moines Register published its latest poll of the various Bible-banging rubes, Grant Wood zombies, and other caucusing Caucasians that the country has to pretend to take seriously once every four years.

He was talking about the home stretch of the time before caucus/primary time begins for the Republican Party, of course; but Pierce's choice of words literally made me vomit in my mouth. This is a guy who sits on his reputation (literally) as a clever and incisive sports-cum-political journalist, but for such a savvy wordsmith, his choice of vocabulary in referring to the people who happen to live in Iowa was neither clever, cute nor constructive.

It was insulting in the worst kind of way, and - more than that - it was endemic of the sort of snide, superior, Coastal elitism for which the Democratic party and the Left are often derided.

Pierce is not the only person guilty of this. People of his ilk (read Joan Walsh, Bill Maher, Katrina vanden Heuvel, Keith Olbermann and assorted others) often speak derisively of people who live in rural neighbourhoods and small towns found in the agrarian Midwest and the South, areas otherwise known to them as "flyover" or "shitkicker" country.

Yes, we're all Bible-thumping, fundamentalist, shit-kicking inbred, racist, homophobic Caucasian rubes.

Except, mostly, we're not, but it's a pity and a shame that we all can't be East or West Coast Irish Catholic sophisticates, especially the variety who either consign President Obama to the realm of the racist comment thinly disguised as comedy as Pierce has done, as well as those sophisticates, Bill Maher and Michael Moore. It's pretty sad that none of us rubes can even pretend to impart such common sense rhetoric as Joan Walsh, even though we don't resent people of colour, although it behooves the Walshes and Pierces of this world to think as much. They prefer to think of us as having sprung from the loins of George Wallace's Democratic Party, when they would excoriate us for even assuming that they burst forth, fully clad in Celtic armour, from the forehead of Father Coughlin.

People like Pierce need to remember that rube-haven Iowa recognises same-sex marriage, like his hallowed ground of Massachusetts. People like Pierce want to remember that Douglas Wilder was the first elected African-American governor in the United States, in Virginia, when Derval Patrick was still in school someplace, and that, in the Commonwealth (of Virginia, mind you), when we speak of "the Governor," we don't mean Sponge-Bob-Square-Pants McDonnell, who's part of Charlie's tribe. People like Pierce really want to remember that Bill Clinton's Scots-Irish (as in PRODDY, Charlie) antecedents hail from rube-seeded, shit-kickin' Hope, Arkansas; and that if Charlie's and Bill's people hadn't left the Old Country, they'd have grown up lobbing rocks and other more dangerous objects at each other down the Falls Road, in Belfast.

Sometimes the Big Tent gets do damned claustrophic and over-heated, that it's mete some people take a walk outside for a breath of fresh air; and since my claim to America starts with Pocahontas, I reserve the right to tell Charlie Pierce to fuck off in his prejudicial assumptions.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Nicely Nicely to Michael Moore: Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat

Michael Moore continues his quest to discredit the President (and I'm sure that's what this is all about, really).

After appropriating the Occupy movement as a means of plugging his latest book and appointing himself its spokesman, Moore flitted from OWS in New York and showed up in Oakland, scene of violent confrontations earlier this week between protesters and police. It was there a few nights ago that he sent out a subliminal yet strong (and very subversive) message, which promises to be the anti-message for 2012: "Don't vote. It's not worth it."

There followed, also from Oakland, an interview with eminent children's television presenter and cokehead BBC reporter Richard Bacon, where he accused the Obama Administration of being "heartbreaking" and "a disappointment."

DADT repealed, the serious beginnings of a healthcare system, the financial industry finally being regulated again, bin Laden killed (although Moore called it "murder") ... scores of other things, but to Moore, the President has been "heartbreaking" and "a disappointment."

Gee, Mike, we realise that you voted for the President because of his melanin and your white guilt. Deal with that.

Moore's been hanging around Oakland, because - for the moment - in view of the violence, the cameras have been there. Cameras seek out Moore - he's not easy to hide because of his bulk, and he seeks the cameras as much as they seek him. But he's been hanging about Oakland for a different reason - and he's jumped the shark ... but not before the shark reared up and bit a sizeable hunk of blarney-stoned blubber from Mike's fat ass.

On Tuesday, Iraqi war veteran, Scott Olsen, suffered head injuries as a result of the police brouhaha with the Occupiers. He was hospitalised at Highland Hospital and underwent surgery. Thankfully, his condition is stable.

But since Michael Moore is the self-appointed patron saint of these demonstrators and their movement, he assumed the papal duty of visiting - or attempting to visit - Olsen in hospital.

After all, he's Michael Moore. He's a star. Doors open for him.

But not this time.

I guess Michael Moore forgot that one of the basic precepts of medicine is a patient's confidentiality, and in forgetting this, Moore ran into the wrong hospital with the wrong administrator who had the right attitude.

According to the local ABC news affiliate, Moore had attempted to visit Olsen and was sent away with a flea in his ear. Furthermore, the hospital nipped in the bud any attempt Moore might have made to make something nefarious from this refusal, by going public with the reasons behind their refusal. Smart move.

On Saturday, a spokesperson for Highland Hospital told ABC7 News that Olsen, at the request of his insurance carrier, had been transferred to another undisclosed hospital.

The spokesperson also said documentary filmmaker Michael Moore tried to visit Olsen on Saturday. The hospital said the family has asked for Olsen's privacy and asked Moore not to try to visit Olsen and the hospital again.

"We have a very, very polite message to Mr. Moore: Mr. Olsen is not here," the hospital spokesperson said, "and if you do find out where he is, the Olsen family doesn't want you to come there either."

Reading between the lines (and this is only my opinion), the emphasis the hospital spokesman put on the "very, very polite" message leads one to believe that Moore's behaviour, on being given short shrift inside (and also other remarks made by the administrator - see video below), were less than polite. Moore has been known to be rude and to throw his substantial weight around (pun intended) to bully, whine and get what he wants in a situation.

It's also patently clear that neither Highland Hospital, the hospital to which Scott Olsen was transferred, his private insurer, and - most importantly - his family wanted Scott to be used as a tool for whatever quasi-political message Michael Moore wants to convey, especially when Scott's first priority is to get well, a condition necessitating a quiet and stress-free environment. In short, the Olsen family didn't want Michael Moore purporting to be Scott's mouthpiece just to further his own personal and professional agenda.

Like Bradley Manning's father, who sussed that the high profiled bigmouths of the Professional Left were using his son's circumstance to propel their own interests to the forefront, the Olsens stepped up and reiterated emphatically that Michael Moore was not to approach Scott Olsen. Not now, and certainly not when he's recuperating.

The video is a real gem, and thank GOODNESS, this hospital administrator sees beyond all the fetid crap being pushed by the Professional Left poseurs under the pretense of human interest and compassion.

How many times do I have to say it? Michael Moore has a book to sell!

There's a song for Moore in all this, sung by a man of his own physical proportions:-

Sit down, Moore, and stop rockin' the damned Democratic boat.

Ron Paul on Going Back to the Future (and He Says He's Not Going to Go Third Party)

OK, I know that Ron Paul happens to be the Occupy movement's favourite politician, mostly because he wants to end the Fed, legalise pot and bring the troops home (how they fare after their discharge is their problem, by the way, and not the government's).

On those three issues, on face value, the avuncular Paul is quite the Leftwinger, yet he's anything but.

Appearing on Candy Crowley's CNN program today, he let it be known on no uncertain terms how poor and working class people wanting a university education would fare under a Paul administration.

The answer is they wouldn't. Ron Paul wants to take us back to the 1950s, where only people whose parents could afford to put the money on the table for a university degree would be able to go. Although he makes a point about graduates leaving college today "indentured" by debt (and that's true), his only solution to the problem is that those who can, go; and to the less fortunate, fuck you.

That's Libertarianism for you, folks, and that's less than half of what it's all about.

A couple of positive things came out of this interview. First, there was neither a question nor a mention of "property rights," but that doesn't alter the fact that Ron Paul is opposed to Civil Rights legislation. In fact it's the reason Stormfront endorses him. Second, he says that he won't run for President as a third party candidate. That's the second blow Ralph Nader's suffered this week in his quest to primary the President.

Don't heave a sigh of relief, however. All that means is that Ron Paul won't be a third party candidate if he doesn't get the GOP nomination. He fully intends to secure that, and I actually think he has a better than good chance to get nominated and a scary chance of winning.

We're headed into the home stretch now, just before primary season starts. Ron Paul is just the sort of candidate who could run as well in Iowa as he could in New Hampshire and South Carolina. And if he gets the nomination, he could very well attract and excite young and intellectually immature voters (of any age), who aren't capable of seeing past the cool stuff he's selling and miss out on what is really his very frightening heart of darkness.

Caveat emptor.

The Professional Left Present The Wizard of Oz

In the UK, there's a time-honoured Christmas tradition known as pantomime. It dates from the Middle Ages, from the old Christmas court pagentry. It's basically a drama enactment on stage of well-known folk tales and nursery rhymes. Usually, it consists of a sweet young actress (or more recently the current boyband heartthrob) playing the male ingenu figure (or the "principle boy") as well as an older comedian, in drag, playing the stock character of the Widow Twankey.

Just imagine if the Professional Left put on a special pantomime this year. Here's how I think it would look.




"Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore. Oh my goodness! Who are all these horrible, smelly, little paupers? Munchkins? Oh ... dear ... of course their plight must be bettered, but ... please ... the stench ... the poor are always so much better further away, don't you think, Toto? Toto ... Toto ... FILTHY DOG! What have you done? Oh, my ruby slippers, my ruby Jimmy Choos ... I TOLD you Toto, never to do poopsie in the middle of the road where I'm walking. Munchkin ... you, Munchkin ... clean my shoe."

Ed Schultz as the Scarecrow:-

"We gotta see that damned Wizard, but first we gotta rid ourselves of this old slut, I mean, wicked witch. Here, lemme see. Anybody gotta gun? And those munchkins, ya know, they can get ridda that bitch, I mean witch simply by not voting. YA HEAR THAT, MUNCHKINS, DON'T VOTE!"

Bill Maher as the Tin Man;-

"I know I got no heart,and - Scare Crow- I'll let ya in on a secret. I'm only along for the ride. I hear The Emerald City is just as good as Vegas. Someone said they opened a new Playboy Mansion there. And the weed! I had to say that to be allowed along. I just hope this wizard dude isn't some ninja gangsta, know what I mean?"

Keith Olbermann as the Cowardly Lion:-

"If I were King of the Leftwing ... not prince, not duke, not earl. I'd ensure that everyone went to bed each night after having it made mandatory that they listen whilst I read to them from a book of my favourite James Thurber stories. I don't vote, you see, because I'm a coward for commitment, but I'll happily follow any fashionable Leftwing political lead. Baseball, anyone?"

Arianna Huffington as Glenda:-

"Yes, dahlink, Hi am your fairy godmother, dahlink, now ... let me see ze ruby slippers. Oh, yes ... Jimmy Choos, although, myself, I would have chosen Manolo Blaniks. So much more comfortable, dahlink. Now, you must follow the Yellow Brick Road. Don't bother walking, dahlink, because I have laid on 10 luxury buses at $10,000 each just to take you and all the Munchkins to the Emerald City to protest, you know. Because the Wizard, dahlink, he really isn't that much into you."

Joan Walsh as the Wicked Witch of the West:-

"Really, Dorothy, get help. I mean, are you mental? And those little people, what are they called? Munchkins ... not that I don't have short friends, but really I resent small people who think they have a right to disagree with people who get to spout opinions on television. I must get back to writing my book on witchcraft if I could ever tear myself away from watching baseball. Oh, and I'll have those slippers, Dorothy. I deserve them more than you. My family were working class, ya know."

Dennis Kucinich as Mayor of the Munchkin City in the county and the land of Oz.

Ron Paul as the Munchkin Coroner.

With special pantomime appearances by:-

Glenn Greenwald as Buttons, the narrator:-

"This is a tale of illegal torture, kidnapping and government cover-up in the land of Oz. For years, the place was governed illegally by a surreptitious wizard and a couple of old crones who stepped on civil liberties of the populace, not that they really shouldn't have any rights anyway, because they're devoted to Dear Leader the Wizard."

And ...

Michael Moore (in drag) as the Widow Wanker:-

"I need to be there with the Munchkins, my subjects, when the liberating Dorothy arrives. After all, I arranged for the hurricane to bring her here. I have to guide Glenda the good witch to always do good by our Munchkins and then I have to be right there in the Emerald City by the Wizard's side. I put him in power, you know. He and I are the real 1 per cent, except I spread my wealth faster than my ass is spreading."

And finally ...

Ralph Nader as The Wizard of Oz:-

"Pay no attention to that man in the White House. He's an Uncle Tom, I tell you. An Uncle Tom. Bought and sold by the corporate powers of Oz. We should be looking around to find someone to replace him, but I won't be replaced. I will go on and on busting unions, making racist analogies, damn it, fighting for what I think is right for this country!"

The Divine Bob Cesca Explains Pragmatism (and Why It's Just So Good)

Bob Cesca is one of the very few political pundits whom I trust implicitly. Some months ago, he meticulously explained the President's pragmatism, why it was good that he was governing that way and why the Professional Left gets it wrong.

Take it away, Bob and Co:-

I agree fully with Bob's final point. Nothing infuriates me more than hearing people say, again and again, that Barack Obama lied about closing Guantanamo Bay, and I've had to listen to everyone from some asshole discontent on my Facebook page with a high school education to people who should know better and who make a living out of political commentary like Bill Maher and Rachel Maddow.

What I'd dearly love to see is someone disabuse these talking heads of this fallacious notion - preferably in Real Time on their own show.

Alas, it's only us plebs who realise that, and they're not about to give us liberty to reveal that they're nothing more than glorified humbugs, like the Wizard of Oz, people behind the curtain.

(Doesn't Dorothy sound like a whiney EmoProg?)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Dennis the Menace

No, no, no ... not that Dennis the Menace. This one:-

Co-starring Nancy Pelosi as Mother and Harry Reid as Father and anyone you like as Mr Wilson. (At the moment, that's Bashir al-Assad).

Dennis is the type of Democrat to whom Bill Daley referred when he made his accusation that both parties caused the Obama Administration any amount of untold grief.

Gee - at the risk of sounding like Michael Moore - ya gotta wonder. There was Clinton who, like, totally barfed Welfare with a spoon. There was Clinton who, like, made the biggest cuts to Social Security and Medicare in the programs' history. There was Clinton who, like, said the era of big government was over. There was Clinton, who, like, approved DADT and DOMA. And there was Clinton, who, like repealed Glass Steagall ... and Dennis and the Democrats (sounds like a pop group from the Sixties ... cool, huh?) sat on their hands and said nothing.

And after everything this President has achieved - more than FDR or LBJ in their first term - and Dennis and the Democrats, bay-bee, want to distance themselves from the President.

More than that, Dennis and his lead guitarist, Peter DeFazio, not only want to primary the President, they want to impeach him. Or at least they wanted to impeach him, for a war in which we had no direct involvement other than minimal.

But you know, sometimes people with something to hide, make a lot of noise, hoping to deflect from their own situations, which - if discovered - would seem to be more than just a bit uncomfortable for them.

According to Al Jazeera (journalists who really do investigative journalism), one of their professionals made a wee bit of a nasty discovery when trawling through Gaddafi's abandoned compound in August.

On the floor of the intelligence chief's office lay an envelope addressed to Gaddafi's son Saif Al-Islam. Inside, I found what appears to be a summary of a conversation between US congressman Denis Kucinich, who publicly opposed US policy on Libya, and an intermediary for the Libyan leader's son.

It details a request by the congressman for information he needed to lobby US lawmakers to suspend their support for the Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) and to put an end to NATO airstrikes.

According to the document, Kucinich wanted evidence of corruption within the NTC and, like Welch, any possible links within rebel ranks to al-Qaeda.

The document also lists specific information needed to defend Saif Al-Islam, who is currently on the International Criminal Court's most-wanted list.


Looks as though Dennis was liaising with Saif al-Islam, arguably Gaddafi's most civilised-acting son, and you'll recall Dennis was not only wailing about impeachment and waiving a pocket copy of the Constitution about during this time, he also initiated a legal suit against the President, for acting above and beyond his pay grade regarding Libya. But here this gets murky with Dennis.

The US, the UK and France, as well as the other allies involved in the NATO procedure, had all endorsed and recognised and were supporting the NTC. Not only is he looking to find Al Qaeda links and corruption within the NTC, which would, if nothing else, prove that the President had dropped an impeachable stinker, he was, our Dennis, sorta kinda consorting with the real enemy in order to prove to the world that our ally we were helping was really the bad egg, which would make the President look incompetent, which is what Dennis really, really, really wanted to do.

That way, Dennis would be a hero and maybe get to be President, himself.

But in order to achieve all that, first he had to help Saif al-Islam to get out of the pickle in which he found himself. Thing is, Saif really is the bad guy.

And that makes what Dennis is doing just a little bit treasonous. Even moreso since he's also kissing Assad's assad in Syria.

So, what I want to know is why is no one in the US media, much less the Professional Left, many of whom often champion a seven-term Congressman who hasn't managed to effect even one piece of legislation in that time, as a real Leftwing hero?

If any other Democrat had been caught in a dicey international situation like that, the Republicans would have been roaring the rafters down; instead this is what they've said:-

Exactly. Who wants to sacrifice a useful idiot, whom they'll only kick to the curb when the time suits them, just the way Mr (Joe) Wilson gives the real Dennis the Menace short shrift:-

The REAL Damage to Be Done

So Michael Moore tells Anderson Cooper THIS:-

This movement is so beyond just, hey, let’s get behind this candidate, get them elected to office. Those days are over. You know, we’ve all worked for candidates. We’ve all voted. We’ve all participated. And what have we gotten out of it? We’ve all written to our Congressmen and women, please pass House bill number 3428. What did we get? Where are we? We’re in the worst shape we have been in this country that I’ve ever seen in my lifetime. And, and so, this movement is not right now concerned with candidates or specific bills in Congress.

Get the picture? Get the message?

Bill Maher started the meme over a month ago. We've even had Joan Walsh present Occupy Atlanta's fifteen-minute-famer Joe Diaz spouting the same.

It's the meme of the minute, people, the message various celebrity voices purporting to message for the Occupy protesters to the media and to the public:

Don't Vote. It's not worth it.

Earlier this month, writing in The Daily Beast, Michael Tomasky ruminated on the need of the OWS movement to take a leaf from the Tea Party's book and appropriate middle America, not just with their message, but also with the sort of spokesperson that resonates with ordinary people:-

I beg, plead, implore, importune: Get some spokespeople out there for the cause who are just regular Americans. Don’t send Van Jones out there to be the public face of this movement. I happen to have a high opinion of Van Jones personally. He’s dedicated his life to justice in a higher-stakes way than I have. But any movement that is led by someone who was forced to resign from the White House and who signed a 9/11 truther petition will be dismissed by the mainstream media as left-wing and elitist in three seconds. You may like that or not like that, but it’s true.

The genius of the Tea Party movement lies entirely in the fact that its public faces were, by and large, regular Americans. How many stories did we all read about the homemaker from Wilkes-Barre and the IT guy from Dubuque who’d never been involved in politics in their lives and never thought they would be until the Tea Party came along? These people resonate with other Americans: “She’s my neighbor; he’s just like me.” That gave the Tea Party movement incredible force and made the media take it seriously, and making the media take you seriously is, alas, at least half the battle in our age.

The OWS movement is part of the way there. The “We Are the 99 Percent” trope is powerful. It is true. But the movement has to prove that it really is the 99 percent. It has to win middle America, and the way to win middle America is to be middle America. For all the Seattle-ish longhairs down in Zucotti Park—whom the mainstream media and the right wing will undoubtedly highlight—there are, to be sure, homemakers in Wilkes-Barre and IT guys in Dubuque who sympathize. Find them. Put them out there. Get them on cable.

People have been quick to criticize any politician who sought to appropriate the movement for electoral purposes, and - rightly - so have the protesters. There have even been instances when the protesters have handed celebrity talking heads their asses for such attempted appropriation, undertaken for ego purposes and professional publicity.


But it seems more and more this week that the biggest celebrity ego of them all has appropriated the Occupy movement and has appointed himself as their self-styled spokesman. Like the Pope with his flock, Michael Moore has literally gone coast to coast to impose himself as the soul of the Occupy Wall Street movement. He's even gone global in an interview with the lighter end of the BBC (Richard Bacon is a former children's television presenter who lost his job for awhile when he was found snorting coke before a broadcast), calling the President's first term "heartbreaking" and a "disappointment" and linking the President to Wall Street, itself.

It would appear that OWS has found its spokesman, or rather, he's found them.

But, people, Michael Moore isn't middle America. He certainly isn't working class America, and he's left middle class America behind. It's no coincidence that Moore just happens to have a book to plug as he meanders around whichever Occupy movement seems to be garnering the most television coverage at the moment.

A lot of these people in these protests were just kids when Moore trawled the country eleven years ago, imploring people to vote for Ralph Nader, instead of Al Gore or George Bush. So many people listened, and their listening contributed to where we find ourselves today. A lot of these people are too young or if they're not, they choose not to remember that the Wall Street brigade could do what they did remorselessly and without compunction because the lessening of the legal regulations surrounding financial services allowed them to do so - specifically, the repeal of Glass-Steagall, which was effected by the last Democratic President. A lot of those people, too, either refuse to acknowledge or really don't realise that 30 years of damage cannot be undone in less than four.

Read some history. The entire decade of the 1930s was one big depression, from which we only emerged upon the creation of that infamous military-industrial complex, effected by none other than that saint, FDR, and some of his actual corporate cronies. Seriously.

So this is the message Moore and co are seeking to propagate in the weeks and months approaching November 2012 - it's not worth voting - knowing that the last time the youth vote factored heavily in the election of Barack Obama, knowing that low voter turnout normally means a Republican victory.

Meanwhile, responsible journalists at Al-Jazeera are focusing on what should be perturbing Liberals and Progressives and their self-appointed Professional Left celebrity talking wonks (or wanks).

Charles and David Koch are each worth about $25bn, which makes them the fourth richest Americans. When you combine their fortunes, they are the third wealthiest people in the world. Radical libertarians who use their money to oppose government and virtually all regulation as interference with the free market, the Kochs are in a class of their own as players on the American political stage. Their web of influence in the US stretches from state capitals to the halls of congress in Washington DC.

The Koch brothers fueled the conservative Tea Party movement that vigorously opposes Barack Obama, the US president. They fund efforts to derail action on global warming, and support politicians who object to raising taxes on corporations or the wealthy to help fix America’s fiscal problems. According to New Yorker writer Jane Mayer, who wrote a groundbreaking exposé of the Kochs in 2010, they have built a top to bottom operation to shape public policy that has been "incredibly effective. They are so rich that their pockets are almost bottomless, and they can keep pouring money into this whole process".

Koch industries, the second largest privately-held company in the US, is an oil refining, chemical, paper products and financial services company with revenues of a $100bn a year. Virtually every American household has some Koch product - from paper towels and lumber, to Stainmaster carpet and Lycra in sports clothes, to gasoline for cars. The Koch’s political philosophy of rolling back environmental and financial regulations is also beneficial to their business interests.

The Kochs rarely talk to the press, and conduct their affairs behind closed doors. But at a secret meeting of conservative activists and funders the Kochs held in Vail, Colorado this past summer, someone made undercover recordings. One caught Charles Koch urging participants to dig deep into their pockets to defeat Obama. "This is the mother of all wars we've got in the next 18 months," he says, "for the life or death of this country." He called out the names of 31 people at the Vail meeting who each contributed more than $1m over the past 12 months.

Did you get that, folks? The next election will be for the "life and death of this country." Nothing more and certainly nothing less. If that phrase and the identity of the person who said it doesn't send a chill down a Democrat's spine, nothing else will, and you shouldn't be calling yourself a Democrat. As the President, himself, said recently, the last election was about hope and change, and this one is about reality.

If you don't believe that, then you'd best find a foxhole. As is stated above, Koch Industries reaches into all our homes and touches all our daily lives. They're in the car we drive and the paper towel we use to wipe up spilled milk. They also own the conservative members of the Supreme Court, which currently leans Right by a five-to-four margin. At least one justice will retire during the next Administration. A President Perry or a President Romney would ensure that the skew is six-three, and then the body would systematically carry out an agenda of declaring years of progressive reform unconstitutional, amongst the actions, overturning Roe v Wade.

But that isn't all the Kochs are doing:-

The Kochs founded and provide millions to Americans for Prosperity, a political organisation that builds grassroots support for conservative causes and candidates. Americans for Prosperity, which has 33 state chapters and claims to have about two million members, has close ties to Tea Party groups and played a key role in opposing Obama's health care initiative.

This year, Americans for Prosperity spent at least half a million dollars supporting Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's efforts to cut social spending and roll back collective bargaining rights for public employee unions. The legislation passed by Walker makes it more difficult for unions, which are major backers of Democratic candidates, to secure funds for political purposes. Americans for Prosperity is also very active in a battle against unions in Ohio, another important 2012 presidential state. Its president, Tim Phillips, says that the organisation is winning in Wisconsin and around the country "because on the policies of economic freedom, we're right". He refused to tell People & Power reporter Bob Abeshouse how much the organisation is spending to combat the unions.


The Kochs contributed to 62 of the 87 new members of the US House of Representatives in 2010. Members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee that the Kochs supported have taken the lead in opposing US Environmental Protection Agency efforts to reduce global warming emissions. Other members backed by the Kochs belong to the right-wing Tea Party bloc that took the US to the brink of default in July by refusing to consider a budget deal that would include tax increases.

In 2012, many believe that President Obama can raise a billion dollars for the presidential race, and break all fundraising records. But as Lee Fang of the Center for American Progress tells reporter Bob Abeshouse, in the end it may not matter "because the Koch brothers alone increased their wealth by $11bn in the last two years".

The Kochs are buying up the country from within. They're making sure that they own the Republican Party in order to ensure it does the Kochs' business and promotes their ideals as America's ideals. To cement this further, they're even making hefty contributions to various universities, always with the stipulation that the beneficiaries teach the selfsame economic libertarian philosophy which the Brothers Koch hold dear.

That is what should be scaring the beejebus out of Liberals. That is what should be keeping them awake at night.

Not the fact that Bill Daley sought to tell some ugly home truths about the Congressional Democrats and this Administration - that whilst the GOP has caused the most trouble and strife in opposing the Obama Adminstration (technically what they're supposed to do), there have been more than a few Congressional Democrats and cohorts who have been far more openly vocal against this President than they ever were against Bill Clinton.

People like the usual suspects - Joe Lieberman, Joe Manchin, Ben Nelson, Jon Tester, and Mary Landrieu. People like Bernie Sanders, who filibustered what he perceived to be the President's caving to the Republicans on the Bush tax cuts, without ever thinking like the Socialist he proclaims to be and recognizing that the compromise achieved scores of benefits for the poor, the working poor and the unemployed. The most bizarre spectacle of December 2010 was watching the momentarily born-again Progressive and Louisiana oil-company-purchased Mary Landrieu, helping Sanders with his filibuster, not out of any sense of betrayal on the tax cuts, but moreso as a protest to the President's moratorium on offshore drilling after the BP crisis.

Politics does make strange bedfellows.

Or people like Peter "Fuck the President" de Fazio and Dennis "Impeach the President" Kucinich, both of whom want the President primaried. I guess they find life amongst the political opposition too easy. Or maybe such posturing on Kucinich's part masks the fact that he's too cozy with various Middle Eastern despots, himself. Or people like Claire McCaskill, who wasn't too good to ride Obama's coattails in 2008, but is distancing herself from him now for fear of catching a case of political cooties.

So let's all concentrate on Bill Daley's remarks, never once thinking about how much and how often our Professional Left betters have made hay criticizing everything about this President to the point that for someone who's a genuinely independent voter, they'd be put off voting for Obama for dogcatcher, much less President. Nice work and they got it!

Let's all do that then, shall we? Part of us bicker amongst ourselves whilst the rest of us listen to Moore or Maher or Joe the Bummer Diaz and sit out the vote. And then maybe we'll be stupid enough to rally around these celebrities who just - oh, they just love the little people to bits, because when the big bad GOPers are in office, and Phil Gramm or Paul Ryan is running the Treasury, when Medicare and Social Security are distant memories and the minimum wage is gone and public education is going, maybe they will speak for us again - if they're not speaking for the winning side.

They say the plebeian pragmatists are divisive. I say a fish stinks from its head.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Moore Porky Pies

Having spent the past 30 years in the Southeast of England, married to a Londoner, it's difficult not to absorb a little bit of rhyming Cockney slang. There's a tradition amongst Londoners to use rhyming slang phrases for certain everyday words in English.

For example, "Barnet fair" is slang for "hair;" "dog and bone" is "phone; " and "Berkhampsted hunt" is Cockney slang for ... well, put it this way: If you're ever in England and someone calls you a "berk," you've just been called the ugly four-letter c-word which Bill Maher likes to use to describe Sarah Palin.

"Porky pie" is easy to decypher. A "porky pie" is a lie. And today, Michael Moore told a porky pie so foul even Sweeney Todd wouldn't have touched it.

Remember this from earlier this week?

How could you forget Moore sitting in front of so persistent an interviewer as Piers Morgan, a journalist trained in fifty different ways of asking the same question, only to deny that he's a part of the problem against which the Occupy Wall Street is protesting, a movement which Moore, with a new book to plug just before the Christmas season starts, seems hell-bent on appropriating?

Moore, the working-class stiff. Moore, the voice of the downtrodden. Moore, who called President Obama a murderer for bin Laden's death?

That Michael Moore.

Well, folks, that Michael Moore, self-appointed patron saint of the Occupy movement ventured West today to bless the Occupy Oakland protest, which has produced some pretty lairy moments this week, courtesy of the boys in blue. And it would seem that Piers Morgan struck a sweaty nerve with Moore's Catholic conscience, because today Moore admitted, in a blog on his website, that, yes, he was one of the one per cent.

The blog, as most of his writings are, was heavily laced with references to his Catholic upbringing and values, even going as far as alluding to (without actually naming) the Doctrine of Good Works which is drilled into every parochial schoolkid's brain.

I feel very blessed that I have this life -- and I take none of it for granted. I believe in the lessons I was taught back in Catholic school -- that if you end up doing well, you have an even greater responsibility to those who don't fare the same. "The last shall be first and the first shall be last." Kinda commie, I know, but the idea was that the human family was supposed to divide up the earth's riches in a fair manner so that all of God's children would have a life with less suffering.

All well and good. I'm glad Moore remembers and adheres to so much of his Catholic upbringing. It should put me, lapsed Catholic-cum-unbeliever, to mortal shame, but it doesn't.

It doesn't, because smack dab in the middle of that self-righteous, quasi-religious, excuse-ridden blog, was a glaring, bare-faced lie. Speaking of the time 22 years ago, when he'd sold the distribution rights of his first film, "Roger and Me" for three million dollars, he recounted how he proposed dispose of his new-found fortune and what he would do with whatever remained, once he'd spent what he had to spend of the three million.

What remained went into a simple, low-interest savings account. I made the decision that I would never buy a share of stock (I didn't understand the casino known as the New York Stock Exchange and I did not believe in investing in a system I did not agree with).

The bold type is mine, because that's the obvious lie. Michael Moore is lying through his teeth, and it was none other than another British journalist, who revealed that lie.

Before he gained international fame with the trivial Britain's Got Talent and then America's Got Talent, Piers Morgan was the boy wonder editor of The Mirror, a Leftwing daily tabloid in the UK. Around about the time he was editing that journal, Janet Street-Porter, a veteran British broadcaster and journalist was Editor-at-Large for The Independent, a Left-leaning daily broadsheet. Street-Porter, herself, is a well-heeled Liberal with a strident Cockney accented voice.

Steet-Porter is an old-school journalist, who'd put this generation's pretenders to professional shame. Street-Porter, during her tenure editing The Independent, would never have countenanced the Johann Hari debacle, Britain's own version of Jayson Blair journalism. In an article appearing in The Independent almost six years ago, entitled "Michael Moore: The Man, the Myth, the Millions, the Pizza", Street-Porter uncovered some slightly whiffy facts Michael Moore is scrupulous to keep hidden from the vast army of potential and malleable recruits to his cause here in the U S (remembering his political advice to voters in the 2000 election).

Writing in 2005, the first year of Bush's second Administration, Street-Porter wonders:-

Whatever happened to Michael Moore, the man who told us his mission in life was to stop President George Bush getting re-elected? The man who loathed Bush so much he spent millions of dollars making a film, Fahrenheit 9/11, the main purpose of which was to discredit the President. The man who went on national television and relentlessly toured the US begging people to vote the Republicans out of office. Moore never missed an opportunity to ram home the fact that he sought nothing less than total humiliation for Dubya. But since Bush was returned to the White House, Moore has been strangely silent - obviously he found the result extremely unpalatable, and Moore is not someone who likes to lose an argument. At 20 stone plus, the largest man in movies is pretty hard to miss. But, apart from launching a film festival in a remote part of Michigan a couple of months ago, he seems to have vanished into thin air. There were stories that he'd been shacked up at a Florida fat farm trying to lose weight. There were rumours that he's toured New Orleans after Katrina, but reading his website, it's clear that while keen to rally support for the homeless and jobless, he was not actually there in person.

Now a new book, Do As I Say (Not As I Do) - Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy, by the right-wing commentator Peter Schweizer, criticises Moore for not living up to the high moral standards he claims to espouse. The author, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, went through publicly available IRS (tax) documents to discover that Moore's foundation bought shares in some of the companies he has spent a career in the media attacking. Not just a few shares either - don't forget Moore has always said he doesn't own any stock and doesn't have a broker - but his foundation owns tens of thousands of shares in Boeing, Sonoco, Eli Lilly, and Halliburton, the same defence company that Fahrenheit 9/11 attacked for making huge profits out of rebuilding countries like Afghanistan and Iraq after American military intervention.

Even more damaging, try logging on to the Name the Hypocrite website, and read claims that Moore, who says conservatives are racist because they don't support affirmative action, has only managed to employ three black people out of a workforce of 135 people working on his books, television shows and radio projects. Moore, who says that Americans who live in white neighbourhoods are racist, has lived for the past seven years in a waterfront home in Central Lake, Michigan, a community of 2,600 residents. The 2000 census records that the number of black people living there is zero.

OK, yes, I realise that Schweitzer is a Rightwing author and a fellow of the conservative Hoover Institute, but suck it hard, the man deals in facts. As I said, Street-Porter is a bona fide journalist. Furthermore she's old Labour, which means she isn't and never was a follower of Tony Blair triangulation; and like any old-fashioned journo, if someone presents her with undisputable fact, she'll take it from the source, if he or she be reliable, ne'mind the political persuasion. A lot of Schweitzer's information comes from the IRS - can't get more established and factual than that.

It's also easy enough to check out the racial make-up of Moore's workforce, as well as that of the neighbourhood in which he lives; and all of this tallies with the recent race kerfuffle in which Moore inadvertantly involved himself whilst a guest on The View.

Street-Porter was as intrigued by her discovery of Moore's lifestyle and his investments, nonetheless than by his demeanor now that he'd found considerable success. So intrigued was she, that she actually went to the United States in 2006 and produced a film broadcast on British television later that year, entitled "Michael and Me." Further in the same article, she describes the Frankenstein monster Moore had become (and, once again, the bold type is mine - so pay attention, peeps!):-

Fourteen months ago I wrote in this paper "he makes politics seem as exciting as a ball game, as partisan and one-dimensional as a comic. He aims so low it's extraordinary". Even so, I have always saluted Moore's achievements as a communicator, putting complicated subjects across to the mass audience. I commented that denigrating Moore because he distorted the truth in his movies and books was missing the point, and if every major politician was judged on how often they got their facts right Tony Blair, George Bush and Jacques Chirac would have been impeached and removed from office years ago. Over the past year, however, Moore has not only got richer than in his wildest dreams, but his celebrity status has meant that he now mingles with the glitterati. Stories of his giant ego and huge tantrums abound - but how many were manufactured by those on the right fearful of his influence? I decided to go to America and make a documentary about how America's champion of the underdog has morphed into one of the creatures he originally so despised.

Now Moore is more unapproachable than the Pope, more obsessed with his own security than Elton John. There's a dangerous gap between the Moore of myth and the reality. For a moment during the presidential campaign it seemed as if he sought public office as a way of cleansing the system and achieving a fairer redistribution of wealth in his country. But many would argue by taking on Bush in such a heavy-handed way, he actually helped his arch enemy win, galvanising wavering Republicans to turn out and vote. Meanwhile, Moore alienates everyone who has to work with him (outside his small trusted team) by imposing demands that make Mariah Carey seem like a reasonable woman.

In my film I discover just how appallingly he behaved during his British tour, ordering pizzas and stuffing himself while the audience waited for him to go on stage. Refusing to meet a woman who knew his mom, who'd come from his home town and baked him an apple pie. Crowing on the phone in the interval to his mate in New York, about the fact that Vanessa Redgrave and Bianca Jagger were in the audience, while the public waited for him to entertain them. The same man who did a deal with two of the poorest people in his film Roger and Me whereby they earned a measly 100 dollars, while he made millions.

In the end, I conclude that Moore is a victim of his own success, with a lot more in common with Bush than he would care to admit.

Moore, himself, joshed nervously in the Piers Morgan interview that he was, in fact, a victim of his own success, in a sweaty and hopeful effort of getting Morgan to move onto the next audience question or Tweet and get away from the awfully embarrassing incident of a member of the public actually wanting to know if Moore were a member of the nefarious one percent.

Well, today, we know that answer is "yes." We knew it then, but we also know that when Moore states that he had never owned shares, he's blatantly lying, and maybe that merits a private visit to a confessional with a priest of his choice; or maybe it takes another interview with another British journalist to raise this fact for Moore to dispute and josh off.

Yes, yes, yes ... I know the Moore dittoes will flounce about and point out that Street-Porter's article was written way back in the Bush years, but the fact remains that Moore stated in his blog today that he'd never ever owned shares, and he has. Whether he does now or not is a moot point. He has owned them, when he said he had never done so.

He lied. He porky pied.

And those kids camping out in tents and having tear gas canisters lobbed at them should know that.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

For the Record about What Ishmael Reed Really Said

Almost seven months after igniting a Twitter race war, Joan Walsh still doesn't get it.

On Wednesday, 26 October, she tweets:-

What was dishonest about what I said about Ishmael Reed?

For the benefit of anyone who's forgotten the spark which caused the whole conflagration, Joan wrote an article for Salon, in the wake of the Wisconsin protests, wherein she encouraged Democratic supporters to concentrate mainly on local Congressional and Senate races instead of investing heavily in the re-election of the President. The article, itself, was a hitpiece, timed to coincide with the President's announcement that he would run for a second term, something which, obviously, struck a perverse nerve with Joan.

Within the article, she made a remark, with a particular reference to African-American author, Ishmael Reed:-

I deeply resent people who insist that white progressives who criticize Obama are deluding themselves that they’re his “base,” when his “base” is actually not white progressives, but people of color. Ishmael Reed laid out this pernicious line in December, in the New York Times, after many progressives, of every race, criticized Obama’s tax cut compromise. Reed compared “white progressives” who wanted more from Obama to spoiled children, compared with black and Latino voters “who are not used to getting it all.” I’ve been getting a similar message from some of my correspondents, and it’s depressingly divisive.

Here is what Ishmael Reed actually said in his December op-ed:- entitled "What Progressives Don't Understand about Obama:"-

When these progressives refer to themselves as Mr. Obama’s base, all they see is themselves. They ignore polls showing steadfast support for the president among blacks and Latinos. And now they are whispering about a primary challenge against the president. Brilliant! The kind of suicidal gesture that destroyed Jimmy Carter — and a way to lose the black vote forever.

Unlike white progressives, blacks and Latinos are not used to getting it all. They know how it feels to be unemployed and unable to buy your children Christmas presents. They know when not to shout. The president, the coolest man in the room, who worked among the unemployed in Chicago, knows too.

There is no allusion in those two paragraphs that the "true" base of the Democratic party consists of African-Americans and/or Latinos and/or any people of colour. What he does say is that when Progressives refer to themselves as the President's base, they think only in terms of what they, themselves, are - for the most part, affluent, educated, elite and white, which pretty much describes Progressives, as a whole, especially if you add in the adjective "coastal." But basically what Reed describes is massive arrogance encased in a big dose of white privilege.

He doesn't allege that only people of colour can really described as the President's base. He doesn't even hint at it. And he certainly doesn't refer to "white progressives" as spoiled children either. He merely points out what is the truth - that black people and Latinos have become accustomed to incremental benefits, because that's basically been the story of their lives: gaining this right and that right (usually enjoyed as a matter of course by their white brethren) in small doses, until finally, their presence at the table is accepted as the norm.

The "Christmas presents" reference is merely a descriptive analogy, although it would hardly be a falsehood to say that most affluent, white children of middle-class parents generally received more of what they requested for Christmas than did their black and Latino cohorts from lesser-privileged homes.

But that wasn't the point of Reed's article. The point was to emphasize how these affluent people were exercising their elitism in refusing to see beyond the fact that, to them, the two-year extension of the Bush Tax Cuts was anything more than a monumental cave on the part of the President, when it accomplished a lot more in benefits etc for the working class, the working poor and the unemployed. More than anything, the article illustrated th breach-sized gap between those self-appointed spokespeople of the middle-class and those other demographics in the Democratic party for whom progressives are supposed to have compassion.

The fact that then, and even now, these selfsame people are still whispering about a possible primary challenge, is - as Reed said - divisive.

Joan, like others of her ilk amongst the celebrity talking heads of the Professional Left, has a problem with the common-and-garden proles who disagree with her opinion rendered. When she engages in communication via social networking sites, she invites people to engage, but only if they reinforce her opinions and act as an echo chamber. Any valid criticism and you're blocked. She's not the only talking head to do that. Keith Olbermann, David Sirota and Bill Maher do the same.

Furthermore, not only does Joan imply that anyone calling out the Professional Left on their wanton and gratuitous criticism of the President is "divisive," she publically claims that any vociferous supporter of the President, any of us who disagrees with the sniping and carping and, sometimes, the outright lies these people tell about Barack Obama, is actually a GOP troll paid by Andrew Breitbart.

One of the few big names who agreed to comment in the recent Politico article which sounded a warning bell about the "ragtag army" of Obamabots who seem to be spooking the highly paid talking heads, Joan struck a more muted tone:-

“I’ve become a conscientious objector in this war,” she wrote in an email to POLITICO. “It seems to me that the energy ‘progressives’ spend fighting other progressives over the administration’s every move could power a small city. And the rising tenor of personal abuse doesn’t help.”

The last remark is rich, considering Joan's most frequent remark to anyone on her Facebook or Twitter page offering an opinion different to the accepted one (read: hers) is advice for the pleb to "get help" or an implication that the person in question was mental to the point of being frightening.

So much for personal abuse.

I don't get it, so maybe I need to "get help," but are these people saying we, who support the President, who understand how government works and who understand the need for his pragmatism, are really the divisive ones because we're not rallying around their voices raised in constant criticism of everything he does? Surely, they are the divisive ones, or is it always the fate of the Democratic party to eat its own and then spend decades in the political wilderness, having made itself unelectable, whilst watching the other guys pull us further to the Right?

The subtle meme being pushed now by various and sundry talking heads is that it simply isn't worth voting in 2012, although a few are now talking more and more about - shock, horror - Ron Paul as a Progressive voice. Both of those alternatives are shocking, and either one would result in a Republican victory.

But, then, at the end of that tunnel, Joan Walsh and her Professional Left cohorts would still have their six- and seven-figure salaries, their tax cuts their niches in the media.

It's we who will suffer for their intransigence.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Michael Moore: The Radical Chic's Professional Working Class Guy

Professional Left hypocrite and racist Michael Moore agreed to sit down in a live "town hall" interview session last night, hosted by Piers Morgan.

Morgan is a lot of pejorative things and a bigger douchebag than most, but he's a journalist trained in the British tradition and he doesn't give a fuck what questions he asks. So he chose to confront Moore with a tweeted question about how Moore reconciles his own personal wealth as opposed to the infamous 1 per cent against whom he's continuously railing.

Morgan pushed the question, and Moore got visibly uncomfortable. Watch the segment and judge for yourself.

From almost the moment that Morgan pushes the question, watch Moore begin to sweat and laugh nervously, actually saying that he makes a lot of money and that he's working against his own interests. Then the rest of the time is spent with him squirming and trying to evade answering the question that Morgan really wants answered: Is Moore, himself, part of the 1 per cent who hold the majority of wealth in the United States?

Short answer? Yes, he is.

Even if we didn't know what we know about Michael Moore's lifestyle and his fame, we'd suss by his shifty and evasive meanderings that he was, actually, part of the problem, and - furthermore - that Morgan knew that. Of course, he knew it. He thought he'd chance seeing if Moore were honest enough to admit it.

And, therein, Moore proved that he's worse than any of the worst, seasoned politicians in avoiding telling the truth.

He makes a lot of money, yes ... but for the corporations which distribute and help produce his films. (Kind of goes against what Moore represents, yes?)

And, yes, Moore earns a lot of money from his films - which are documentaries, mind you, and documentaries never make oodles of money - but he's blessed to be able to do so. (Kind of sounds a bit like the Dominionists and their view of being particularly chosen, right?)

And - gee, aw shucks, he's so cringeingly humble - ya know, he's only had a high school education ... just a working class stiff.


There's something creepy about a middle-aged man who dresses in what some perceive to be the stereotypical working man's garb (think John Goodman in Roseanne), who continuously reminds me of an overgrown and greedy, little kid, who's always raiding the cookie jar when your back's turned. Plus, Moore has the whiney and brattish behaviour to boot.

First, Moore presents himself as solidly working class, almost in caricature. Much in the same way the privately-educated, Ivy League Cornel West presumes to speak for the poor on his corporately-financed poverty tour, portraying the radical chic's Professional Negro, Moore presumes to be the radical chic's idea of what the working man should be.

Moore, the child of the working class, admits to being raised in Flint, Michigan, when he was actually raised in nearby, affluent Davison, in this house:-

And he attended Davison High School, in the same town:-

These aren't the venues of white-socked factory workers and their modestly-dressed children. It's the suburbia of station wagons and Izod Lacrosse shirts and Docksiders.

The New Yorker did a brilliant deconstruction of the Moore myth in an article from 2004, which shows that he wasn't just a high school graduate who couldn't afford college. He dropped out. In fact, he's never really had any sort of conventional working class job, and he's not afraid to lie and drop cohorts in the deep shit just to further his own interests.

He squirms and says he's not a part of the 1 per cent. He travels in his own private Lear jet. He maintains an upper West Side condominium in New York City. His other home is a lakeside property in a gated community of 2000 in Michigan where everyone living there is white. His child attended only private schools - proper exclusive venues and not the parochial Catholic schools of Moore's youth. He and his wife own shares in Eli Lilley (which explains why Moore kept a low public profile during the healthcare debate), Sunoco Oil (which explains why he wasn't to be seen or heard during the Gulf Oil spill crisis), Boeing (which goes miles in explaining why he hasn't shown up on the picket lines with the Boeing union workers in Washington state, protesting the loss of a contract to Right-to-Work South Carolina).

More to the point, Moore isn't really a fan of unions or union labor, as he eschews hiring union labour for his productions. Like any other capitalist, he'd have to pay union overtime wages and provide health insurance.

And, getting back to his share interests, he's also a shareholder in Halliburton. Think about that the next time Moore opens his cake hole to whine about the President and the Middle Eastern wars.

Moore only appears at what he perceives to be the "fashionable" protests. The cameras were rolling in Wisconsin. They didn't roll in Washington state, but I imagine, with his conflict of interest there, he heaved a sigh of relief.

This time, it'd different. Occupy Wall Street coincided with the publication of Moore's latest book of reminsicences, where he says he supported Nixon when he was actually too young to vote for him in 1968 and he ran into Bobby Kennedy in a toilet. He also stared down Nancy Reagan, if you can believe that.

You can believe this, however: No matter how much and how often Michael Moore protests that he's not a part of the 1 per cent, he is. No matter how much he says he cares, believes in and acts for the middle class or the working class (depending what day it is), he doesn't. Like all of the Professional Left, he believes in his own brand, his own ego and his own self-promotion. He's currently seeking a new demographic of voter - the younger, the more naive, the first-timer, who'll buy into his phoney huckster shuckster charm.

And finally, you can also believe this: Michael Moore was one of the biggest mouths rampant in 2000, telling people far and wide that Bush and Gore were one and the same. The candidate he endorsed and for whom he campaigned avidly was Ralph Nader.

How well did that work out?

The Professional Left: Assholes or Dickheads ... You Decide

I think the Professional Left are badly in need of their own theme song. I've whittled the possibilities down to two choices, and I'd like anyone who reads this to help me decide.

Let me get you started on thinking. Just think of Michael Moore, David Sirota, Bill Maher, Glenn Greenwald, John Aravosis, Cenk Uygur, Ed Schultz, Keith Olbermann, Dylan Ratigan, Joan Walsh, Katrina Vanden Heuvel, Maureen Dowd, Adam Green, Jane Hamsher and Queen Ratfucker Omnipotent of Medialand and tell me which of these two Jimmy Buffett songs most accurately pertains to the Professional Left.

Tell me ... Are they assholes?

Or dickheads?

You decide.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

ExPat Democrats Support the President. Professional Left, Suck THIS!

Two weeks ago, Democrats Abroad France held a "Voices for Obama" evening. The Democrats Abroad movement is very active in keeping expat Dems in touch an in alignment with each other and with what's going on at home.

I can't tell you the feeling of elation amongst us when Barack Obama was elected President - far more so than when Clinton bested Poppy Bush. It wasn't that we were idealists in the purist sense or that we were idealogues. We'd just lived, as Americans abroad, through 8 years of George Bush representing our country.

Seen from our distance and based on what friends and relatives Stateside say, the President is doing well - well within our expectations. We don't expect miracles. And looking at all the Prime Ministers, Presidents and Heads of State here, I can honestly say most European countries would rip their collective arms off to have Barack Obama as their chief.

The author, Jake Lamar, spoke eloquently at the recent Democrats Abroad France event. I'll leave him to explain to you in words we PragProgs should take to heart and in words that should make the Professional Left and their unthinking dittoes hang their head in shame.

By the way, when Bush was rampant, many Americans abroad denied their nationality and claimed to be Canadian. I never did. I'll bet Jake Lamar never did either.

Watch, listen, and learn, Professional Underminers!

A Most Judicious Matter

Get the message? The Progressives obviously don't.

My friend, Maria McGowen, alerted me to this article in Slate, which illustrates perfectly the fact that the Republicans, even in extremis to the far Right, still get how government functions and how to make the most out of the proper constitutional functioning of government to get the legislative interpretation they want to further their agenda.

For the uninitiated, Congress makes the laws, the President ensures that they're executed legally, but it's the Supreme Court, and the system of U S Federal judges, who are also appointed by the President, who interpret the laws enacted by Congress. Remember, it was the Roberts Supreme Court who decided that corporations are people too, just like Mitt Romney says. So when Mitt's saying that, legally he's speaking the truth.

Supreme Court decisions have a habit of changing life significantly. On the negative side, Plessey vs Ferguson set up the perfidious "separate-but-equal" Jim Crow laws. On the plus side, Brown vs the Board of Education began the de-segregation of public schools.

Take a look at the current Supreme Court, arguably the most corrupt Supreme Court in the history of the nation, with most - if not all - of the conservative Justices having direct ties to the Brothers Koch. The current conservative-liberal break-down is 5-4, in favour of the dark side. One of their members should seriously be impeached for non-disclosure of income and for refusing to recuse himself on various cases in which is was shown his wife's work resulted in a conflict of interest on his part.

But this is why 2012 is so important. Most certainly, one Associate Justice will resign. Possibly two. Maybe three. Most likely, the one that will resign will be Ruth Bader Ginsberg. An Obama Presidency ensures the status quo. Another liberal will be appointed (depending on who controls the Senate and the House - fingers crossed). Yet think about a President Perry or a President Romney or even - heaven forbid!- a President Cain. The 5-4 inequality is suddenly 6-3.

Tell me, what are the chances of securing a liberal interpretation to any law challenged with that make-up? What if Ken Cuccinelli succeeds in getting his challenge that ACA is unconstitutional heard at Supreme Court level? And if you don't think that an ueber conservative Supreme Court won't whittle away at women's reproductive rights, think again.

But it doesn't start and end with the Supreme Court. They're the last resort. Judicial interpretation, that could affect a national scale, can begin in any of the Federal courts, whose judges are also Presidential appointees.

As the Slate article states:-

Last week, for example, President Obama nominated yet another highly qualified, intelligent, and competent attorney, Paul Watford, to fill one of several openings on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. This was just the latest in a string of the more than 30 nominations he’s made to the federal courts in the last six months. Yet most Democrats have paid no attention to this news, and those who have are already throwing up their hands and declaring the nominations doomed. In other words, progressives now seem to respond to news of the war on Obama’s judges by doing nothing more than whining about how they have lost the war on Obama’s judges.
The lack of concern about or willingness to fight for judicial nominees by one party is a serious weakness in our current political system. If one side cares intensely about the courts and the other side doesn’t, what you get is a long-term bias in one direction. This growing imbalance shouldn’t just worry progressives. It should alarm anyone who believes a range of voices on the courts is essential.
Yet Democrats have a nagging blind spot for fully comprehending that when it comes to advancing the issues they care about, judges aren’t just important but indispensible. If disillusioned Democrats are wondering whether it matters whether President Obama gets a second term, they should look no further than the aging faces of the nine justices at the Supreme Court. And the thousands of demonstrators at Occupy Wall Street need to understand that many of the very things they’re protesting against are the direct consequences of decades spent by progressives deprioritzing judicial appointments.
When it comes to the importance of the courts, modern Republicans just get it. Sure, there was a time long ago when Democrats battled for the courts, too. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt famously sought to pack the court with progressive judges who would uphold his New Deal legislation. But for the last 30 years it has been the GOP demonstrating the laserlike focus on taking over the courts. And it’s worked. Their strategy was simple and effective—aggressively push through large numbers of nominees who are to the far right of their predecessors, while defensively blocking as many left-leaning nominees as possible.

Once again, it's the Republicans playing the long ball. Kicking their objective down the field and then working obsessively, for however long it takes, until they reach the goal they have in mind. Thirty years? This shit started fifty years ago.

But to the extent the Progressives are concerned, it happened overnight. Taking out country forward is going to be a hard slog. You don't take a step in the right direction by taking out the man who's going to lead you there.

Or maybe you believe in "property rights."

Rush and Glenn and Joannie

What happens when a closet racist calls out two obvious racists?

She inadvertantly slips up.

Yes, Joan. White people like black people who make them feel good. (Cue the laughter at your own cluelessness).

Monday, October 24, 2011

Sometimes Dumb Actors Can Play Smart People

Actors are actors. They get paid to play roles. They get paid to pretend to be someone they're not. For example, we know that Michael Sheen is not Tony Blair. We know that Will Ferrell is not George W Bush.

Sometimes dumb actors can play smart people, just like smart actors can play dumb people too.

A lot of people confuse the gifted actress, Susan Sarandon, with the many strong and sensible characters she's played, when sometimes, in real life, she may not have as much common sense as the plebs who pay for her to entertain them.

Like Susan Sarandon, I was raised Catholic. Like Susan Sarandon, my politics are pretty liberal. I've known very liberal Catholics (like the Kennedys or Joe Biden) and I've known very conservative ones also (like Paul Ryan and Bob McDonnell). Hell, in my family, I have two cousins, sisters, one of whom is far out in leftfield and the other is a fan of Bill Donoghue's. Myself, I left the Church as early as possible and am a happy non-believer now.

But I don't fault anyone's faith.

Recently, Susan Sarandon made a lot of waves by referring to the current Pope as a "Nazi."

I know the Pope is German. I know he spent a time as a member of the Hitler Youth Organisation. I also know that membership in that Organisation was mandatory in Nazi Germany. After all, it replaced the Boy Scouts. I don't know if he Pope were eager to join or if he sorta kinda had to do so for safety's sake.

I take exception to the Pope's hiding paedophilic priests, to his stance on abortion rights and birth control. What happened with the Pope seventy years ago, when he hadn't even thought of entering the priesthood is of no concern to me.

Sarandon referred to the present Pope as a "Nazi" when relating a story of how she'd sent a copy of the book "Dead Man Walking" (the same name of the film which captured her an Oscar for Best Actress)to the last Pope, hoping he would "elevate the issue of the death penalty in Church teaching."

Say what?

The Popes reside in Vatican City, which is a separate entity from Italy, but which pretty much abides by Italian law. Italian law abides, in some instances, by European Union law - in which case, the death penalty is illegal. As far as the death penalty is concerned, wherever the Church is, it abides by the law of the land. She would have been better advised to have sent that book to her Senator or Congressman.

I don't know if she genuinely thinks the current Pope is a Nazi or if she called him that in a desperate attempt at attention. She is, unfortunately, an ageing actress in an industry where age consigns the actress to character parts.

If she genuinely thinks he's a Nazi, she's stupid; if she did this as an attention-seeking device, that's pretty stupid too.

I'm just going to let the brilliant Jewish writer David Wolpe deconstruct Sarandon's own particular brand of ego-driven stupidity:-

It is always worth remembering the basics. What is a Nazi? A Nazi is someone who believes large segments of humanity should be brutally, summarily slaughtered. A Nazi is someone who promoted, or now would applaud, the murder of six million Jews, and laments that the killing was not more comprehensive. A Nazi is not someone who condemns homosexual behavior, or even homosexuals, but rather is one who wants homosexuals literally wiped off the face of the earth, along with gypsies, those who are disabled – well, the list goes on.

A Nazi is someone who herded people into concentration camps, dashed babies against brick ovens, put the babies’ parents inside those ovens, turned gas on in mock showers to suffocate people, thought other races inferior, barely human, worthy of contempt, slavery and death and literally planned world domination. A Nazi is someone who belonged to a party that began a war enveloping the entire globe and resulting in the death of countless millions of people. That is a Nazi.

The Holocaust is not a stick with which to beat those who disagree with us. When it is used as a weapon, it cheapens the magnitude of the event and the suffering of those who endured it.

So when Susan Sarandon calls the pope a Nazi, it is a difficult question to decide: is she demonstrating astounding historical ignorance or brutal prejudice? Does she merely reach for the most savage epithet she can find to characterize those who disagree with her? I have no conclusion; I merely wonder.

Like every Jew whose roots are in Eastern Europe, both in my family in and my community I am close to people who survived the Nazis. Unless you are an enthusiast for genocide you do not qualify. Unless you believe that large segments of humanity are intrinsically inferior you do not qualify. There are many ways to be objectionable without being a Nazi. Calling other people “Nazi” is one of them. Susan Sarandon knows better, or should, and however much she may dislike the pope or what he stands for, she owes The pope as well Catholics all over the world, a genuine apology.

Sometimes, actors are best left limiting their utterances to the demands of the script.