Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Bigger Bigot

We're only one day away from March, and after that we're in April. Doesn't time fly when you're having fun, especially watching the Republican Klown Kar parade through primary after primary.

Hard to believe that it was only one year ago, come April, that the President announced he was running for re-election, and this announcement brought Progressive political commentator, Joan Walsh, crawling from the woodwork to reveal herself as something of a racist. The entire reveal began with Walsh's insensitive and totally disingenuous remark in a particularly snarky blog, timed to coincide with the President's announcement that he was seeking re-election. (To Walsh, a diehard Clintonista, this must have been like the proverbial tolling of the bells).

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.

So coupled with a rather tactless remark, which appeared to express resentment that African Americans should even hope to make up a part of whatever the President's base happens to be, she also completely and totally misquoted Ishmael Reed's assessment of White Progressives as well.

You can read the Ishmael Reed article in its entirety here, just to see how far off base Walsh was and who, exactly, was really "pernicious"; and you can read a brilliant summary, with links to the actual argument, of the Twitter war that erupted between Joan Walsh and several brilliant African American bloggers here.

Joan revealed, in herself, what I'd always suspected of a certain strata of Progressive, especially the "Left Coast" variety who sneer down their noses at the rest of America - the rural Midwest, which they jokingly call "Flyover Country" and the South, which in their minds is populated yet with hoardes of Jubilation T Cornpone-type shitkickers and assorted sad Southern belles, cross-pollinated from the corpses of Blanch DuBois and Scarlett O'Hara. Oh, and we're all neo-Confederates with DeliveranceLand morals.

Such enlightened Left Coast Progressives are merely closet racists, whose racism is wrapped in the fetid blanket of subtle condescension, nowhere more prevalent than amongst the talking head icons of the Professional Left, of which Joan Walsh is a charter member. Their racism is masked as disillusionment and disappointment in the fact that the President didn't jump at their first finger-snap and deliver, on demand, a suitably Progressive agenda, irrespective of the fact that Congress was a necessary adjunct in every matter legislative.

In fact, Professor Melissa Harris-Perry, actually identified the sloughing off of white Progressive support of the President as "a triumph of a more subtle form of racism", which offended Joan and caused her to label Professor Harris-Perry as her black friend, in an effort to prove that "friend" totally wrong.

Such pandering condescension brought the professor's hammer down firmly on Walsh's assertion of friendship. In an article responding to Joan's effort to "school" Professor Harris-Perry, the academic remarked:-

I was taken aback that Walsh emphasized the extent of our friendship. Walsh and I have been professionally friendly. We’ve eaten a few meals. I invited her to speak at Princeton and I introduced her to my literary agent. We are not friends.

Since that exchange of articles, Harris-Perry has now acquired a show in her own right on MSNBC, which airs every weekend, and Joan Walsh is the newly-appointed political analyst for the same cable network, replacing a man whom she's fought bitterly, Pat Buchanan.

I am not a fan of Pat Buchanan; neither do I like Joan Walsh. Pat Buchanan's views on race are particularly distasteful, but he doesn't hide those views, as Walsh does hers, behind a curtain of concern trolling. Since the infamous Twitter battle, Joan's tried endlessly to tie her Irish Catholic heritage, as downtrodden and beleagured, to the heritage of slavery in the United States.

Believe me, there is no comparison.

But recently, Joan's ventured into another realm of ugly reality, inadvertantly revealing herself to be a religious bigot as well. Last night, on Twitter, as the returns came in from the Michigan Primary, Joan made a particularly bigoted Mormon joke, tried to explain it, walked it back and eventually, reluctantly, apologised.

The joke was contained in the first Tweet:-

Romney's saving the soul of America - so he doesn't have to baptize us after we're dead.

Then later:-

Also, Romney was the one who said he wanted to save our souls, just another apocalyptic, hysterical attack on the president.

And finally:-

However, I believe in keeping religion out of politics and I don't want to be responsible for everything my Church preaches, so I apologize

Admittedly, Walsh got slammed, and virulently so, by the usual Rightwing Breitbartian contingent. I'm no fan of theirs either. Neither am I a believer in any religion, but I have a particular discomfort with the penchant the Left Coast Progressives seem to have in deriding people of faith. Considering the amount of time and blogspace Joan's dedicated to outlining all the slings and arrows of outrageous prejudice thrown the Catholics' way over the year, it seems now that she's joined in the late-night comedians' bracket of making Mormon jokes.

I know very little about the Mormon religion, but I've no doubt that Mormons are Christian. A cousin of mine converted and married a Mormon. They are Christians and also very liberal Democrats. Like Harry Reid, only more liberal. I know that Mormons hold beliefs different from other Christian denominations. So do Catholics. So do Southern Baptists. So do Primitive Baptists and Jehovah's Witnesses.

Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but I was raised to keep religion out of politics - kinda like the First Amendment - and therefore, a politician's religion holds no brief with me. A person's faith is intensely personal and should no more be criticized or joked about than a person's personal appearance. Not bright.

Joan finds the fact that Mormons baptize dead people weird. I grew up with kids who thought that Catholics prayed to saints and viewed Communion as the actual body of Christ disturbing. We don't joke about either.

And I object to the sanctimonious, faux concern-troll tone Joan adopted in the ubiquitous blog, backtracking and sullenly apologising for her remarks:-

I live-tweeted the primary results, and in the course of my dozens of tweets I made a Mormon joke. After Romney pompously talked about “saving the soul of America” – typical of the histrionic rhetoric the GOP contenders use about defeating President Obama – I said, “Romney’s saving the soul of America – so he doesn’t have to baptize us after we’re dead.” Of course, the Mormon church is under fire for baptizing dead non-Mormons, including Anne Frank and hundreds of thousands of Holocaust victims, and more recently, Daniel Pearl.

(And the Catholic Church is under bigger fire for its complicity in hiding years of child sexual abuse by its priests).

I was honestly torn about how to reply. On the one hand, Elie Wiesel has asked Romney to ask his church to stop baptizing Jews. Daniel Pearl’s family was disturbed, especially since the journalist professed his Jewish identity before he died (and likely died for it). Romney himself took part in baptizing dead non-Mormons, he admitted in a 2007 interview with Newsweek, telling the magazine awkwardly when asked about the practice, “I have in my life, but I haven’t recently.” I think his views on his church baptizing the dead of other faiths, when leaders of those faiths and even the families of the dead object, is a legitimate topic for political inquiry.

(I don't. It's a personal matter. As long as such practices don't interfere with any sort of governmental function, I don't see such a practice - unfamiliar as it may be to non-Mormons - as a problem. Perhaps Joan would like a political inquiry for Harry Reid?)

Given that I believe religion and politics should be kept as separate as possible, and given that Romney isn’t endorsing baptizing dead non-Mormons out on the campaign trail, my joke was a cheap shot. I apologized on Twitter, and I apologize here.

(Please. And trying to be a bit more gracious in your apology might be mete; because it's this attitude amongst Progressives, particularly the Left Coast variety, which totally alienates people of faith who may, just may, have socially liberal consciences and open to political persuasion. Because of this attitude, our battle is lost before it's begun. And you're right ... religion and politics, as everyone so rightly castigated Rick Santorum, should most definitely be as separate as possible.)

Joan's blocked me from following her, but I know she reads my blog, and that's as sneakily hypocritical as anything she's done above; so I'll stop now, before she acuses me of being a Republican and a Romney supporter. She's already accused me of being a misogynist ... and I'm a woman.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Two White Privilegist Faux Liberals Stroke Each Other's Egos

Take a look at the two men in the above clip. Both purport to be Liberals. The one on the left voted for George W Bush twice, had an on screen orgasm when Dubya declared "Mission Accomplished," and salivated over the President's flight suit and codpiece, exclaiming, "Everybody loves a hero President." He voted for Michael Steel when Steel ran for the Senate from Maryland. Even though the current President once sent a tingle up his leg, he sometimes "forgets" that the President is black.

More recently, he's described the President as "arrogant," "elitist" and, in an interview with Alex Witt, remarked that neither the President nor Mrs Obama were "grateful" to be living in the White House. Hark now, hear the whistles blowing ... Them dogs be barkin', as we say in Virginia.

The gentleman on the right of your screen voted for Bob Dole in 1996; he voted for Ralph Nader in 2000, telling the world that Bush and Gore were the same. He then went on to vote for Arnold Schwartzenegger for Governor of California. He pals around, not only with Ann Coulter, but also with Darrell Issa.

More recently, he's referred to the President as "President Sanford and Son." He's remarked on air that when he voted for the President, he thought he was voting for a "real black man." He's also said that the President was wimpy and wussy and that he "caves" on demand to the Republicans. As late as September 2011, he was subtly implying that people shouldn't vote. He never refers to this President by his title, always and only by his surname.

But now, the man on the left of your screen is frantically walking back all the pejorative remarks and criticisms of this President, and the man on the right has contributed one million dollars to the President's super PAC.

And now they're both pontificating on the precarious position in which the President may find himself during this election campaign and, indeed, on Election Day, without acknowledging the part they played in so undermining the man and his policies that their erstwhile followers - those who believe them truly representative of the Liberal/Progressive mindset - came to doubt the President's abilities also.

It might be mete to remember that, quite often, people are judged by the company they keep. The guy on the left used to sit in sometimes for Rush Limbaugh in a different time, and the one on the right parties down with Ann Coulter and Arianna Huffington.

Their own credibility ratings might soar if they would just man up (something they've both, on occasion, implored the President to do) and admit that their constant and fallacious assessments of this man over the past four years were incorrect. A lot could be mended with a three-word statement: I was wrong.

But then, when your ego is bigger than the brain inside your head, and you're governed by that ego, the damage has been done. Live with that.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Race to the Bottom-Feeders

The five-minute mark, please:-

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Senator Santorum thinks the President is a snob for wanting everyone in education to aspire to his or her highest ability in training or education. Senator Santorum wants to create jobs and thinks there are millions of good Americans who don't need all that "government-controlled" education or, indeed, liberal indoctrination that goes hand-in-hand with a university education; they just need to work.

Senator Santorum wants us to revert in time where we either home-schooled our children or where a community banded together and built a small school, with one of its own volunteering to teach the local children.

I'm sorry, but "Little House on the Prairie" isn't applicable to the 21st Century, and not just because Michael Landon is dead. Santorum is articulating an evil secret policy of the Republican Party, who really would like to see an end to publically-funded education for all children, resulting in an undereducated or uneducated peasant class willing to work for next to nothing at sweatshoo labour for hours on end without benefit of the evil unions. Then all the jobs outsourced to countries where drone workers are paid peanuts to produce cheap goods will come back to the United States, and the GOP could brag that it returned those jobs to their rightful habitat.

Next on the agenda is the abolition of the minimum wage, reinstatement of slavery and enforced religion. And that's just the start.

Don't forget - Ron Paul stated that education was not a right.

Will Rick Santorum Puke on Ronald Reagan Also?

Because he should.

Why? Well, back in 1984, when Reagan was running for re-election, he addressed a gathering of Jewish spiritual and community leaders at Temple Hillel, where he said this:-

We in the United States, above all, must remember that lesson, for we were founded as a nation of openness to people of all beliefs. And so we must remain. Our very unity has been strengthened by our pluralism. We establish no religion in this country, we command no worship, we mandate no belief, nor will we ever. Church and state are, and must remain, separate. All are free to believe or not believe, all are free to practice a faith or not, and those who believe are free, and should be free, to speak of and act on their belief.

At the same time that our Constitution prohibits state establishment of religion, it protects the free exercise of all religions. And walking this fine line requires government to be strictly neutral.
And government should not make it more difficult for Christians, Jews, Muslims, or other believing people to practice their faith.

If Kennedy's rightful assertion that the separation of Church and State be absolute is enough to make Santorum upchuck, then Ronald Reagan's even bolder and even more rightful assertion should be leaving Little Ricky with a bad case of the dry heaves.

Maybe that's the reason that Rick Santorum, thus far, has been one of the few Republicans to mention the holy name of Reagan.

Virginia Democrats, Don't Laugh ... SHOUT!

Lord, Lord ... the more I see of what's going on in Virginia, the more I think I'm going to have to come home, swallow my pride, sell some land and run for public office. Why?

I'll tell you why ... Because the Virginia House of Delegates is debating the latest "Let's Be Able to Buy More Guns" Bill, and Delegate Scott Surovell of Fairfax, a Democrat, rose to speak. Delegate Surovell is, unusually for someone from Fairfax County, a real Virginian. (Most people who live in that part of NoVa are government workers from out-of-state or aliens from another universe, like the Cheneys). But, no, Delegate Surovell opens his mouth and speaks with the accent and cadence of the Blue Ridge, and he's a gentleman too. Just watch:-

Damn it, I feel a Southern moment coming on ... The Republicans might be shouting out, "Shoot him" and treating it like a joke - as in, "who doesn't want to shoot a politician coming around campaigning?" But the House is discussing potential legislation that would allow people to buy more than one gun a month - the law currently limits purchase of one gun only monthly in Virginia, but that's a law that's almost as batty - and somehow, it just doesn't seem mete or seemly or even good common sense to make a joke about shooting anyone when your debating gun legislation.

So why is Scott Surovell laughing like a nervous pledge at a bad joke during Rush Week Pi Kappa Alpha House?

This should have been and could have been Scott Surovell's defining moment. He could have summoned all the moral integrity the Democratic Party has regarding responsible gun legislation and handed the Republican hecklers their collective red asses for making light of such a situation.

But he didn't.

This isn't a fraternity house, it's the Virginia House of Delegates, and it's abundantly clear that no one on the opposite aisle will either take Scott Surovell seriously or even consider his remarks as such ... because he laughed at their pissant joke heckling.

A woman would have done differently.

I need to contact British Airways ...

Sunday, February 26, 2012

When a Politician Doesn't Understand the First Amendment, We're in Trouble

Here's Rick Santorum being interviewed by George Stephanopolous on ABC's This Morning. Pay close attention from the eleven-minute marker onwards. It's enlightening, in a frightening sort of way:-

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Specifically, Santorum virulently dislikes John F Kennedy's Speech on His Religion, which he delivered to a gathering of Protestant clergymen on September 12, 1960, who were just a tiny tad worried that a Catholic in the White House would tie the United States, somehow, more firmly to the Pope in the Vatican. You can read the transcript of this brilliant speech here, but the part which is really driving Santorum mad (or madder than he usually is), in fact, the part which makes him puke a buzzard is the following:-

I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute, where no Catholic prelate would tell the president (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote; where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference; and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the president who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.

I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish; where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source; where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials; and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.

Wow, that's a really powerful and moving speech, and it nails exactly what the First Amendment establishes with regard to separation of Church and State. It makes me feel a certain sense of vindication, because my understanding of the Constitution is limited to what was then the required one-year US and Comparative Government course required by the Commonwealth of Virginia for high school graduation. My particular course was taught by a retired US Army colonel who had the distinction of being a conservative atheist. It's good to know that my limited high school understanding of the First Amendment pretty much jives with President Kennedy's, and his was honed at Harvard Law School, no less.

But Rick Santorum disagrees. Santorum argues that the ability of the church to be involved in matters of state is essentially required and was wanted by our country's founders. Please tell me, what is it Rick Santorum does not understand about this statement:-

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

It's quite lucid, really. There's no "official" religion connected with either the US as a country or the government as a whole. We're free to practice whatever faith we follow or we're free not to practice any. Therefore, the government is secular and our faith (or lack of) should not impede us in our professions, whatever they may be; and religious faith should not be brought into government administration in any way, lest it appear that the tenets of one particular faith be imposed upon a person or people who do not follow that faith's credo.

Yet Santorum asserts:-

That means bringing everybody, people of faith and no faith, into the public square… to say that people of faith have no role in the public square, you bet that makes you throw up. What kind of country do we live in that says only people of non-faith can live in the public square and make their case. That makes me throw up.

Now either Santorum is deliberately parsing the First Amendment to drum up the fear factor amongst such people who can be easily spooked by him, or he doesn't understand the First Amendment. Which one? I, personally, don't think he has such a lack of integrity to attempt the first posit as he's simply not that cynical, which means I'm forced to opine that the second possibility is true: that he simply doesn't understand the First Amendment, as it was intended to be understood..

And that's not just bad for America, that's scary.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Elon James White Explains Why Republican Women's Support for Rick Santorum Is Growing

At the 2:50 minute mark, he simplifies why Republican women are drawn to Rick Santorum's candidacy, even though he espouses (pun intended) some of the most repressively anti-women social ventures imaginable in the 21st Century ...

Quite simply, Rick Santorum is not President Obama. In plainer words, Rick Santorum isn't the Negro.

And that's the awful truth for these people.

Be Careful What You Wish For

For all of those salivating at the possibility of having a hopeless Republican candidate like Rick Santorum or the fact that the President is surging ahead in the polls ... Be careful what you wish for ... You just might get it.

Speculation that a late challenger might still emerge in the increasingly bitter race for the Republican presidential nomination is set to surge after former Florida governor Jeb Bush made remarks criticising the current field.

Bush, who is the brother of President George W Bush and son of President George Bush Sr, is a beloved figure among many conservatives who see him as a strong and charismatic leader who is popular in the must-win swing state of Florida.

That contrasts with a widespread unease among many Republican leaders and grassroots activists with the remaining crop of Republican candidates and the vitriolic nature of the fight between frontrunner Mitt Romney and his main challengers Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich.

In answers to questions from the audience after a speech in Dallas on Thursday, Bush cautioned the remaining Republican campaigns from drifting so far to the right that they put off the key independent voters needed to beat President Barack Obama in November.

"I think it's important for the candidates to recognise though they have to appeal to primary voters, and not turn off independent voters that will be part of a winning coalition," Bush told the audience according to CBS news.

Bush also directly took on the strident tone of recent Republican debates, accusing participants of scare-mongering. "I used to be a conservative and I watch these debates and I'm wondering, I don't think I've changed, but it's a little troubling sometimes when people are appealing to people's fears and emotion rather than trying to get them to look over the horizon for a broader perspective and that's kind of where we are," he said according to Fox News.

With Mitt Romney failing so far to secure the nomination but with no convincing challenger emerging to unseat him, many Republican pundits have speculated about the possibility that none of the current field will be able to amass enough support to secure the nomination this August in Tampa.

Though that is still unlikely, and Romney remains favourite to win the contest, it has led to a slew of names being mentioned as possible "white knights" who could still enter the race or emerge at Tampa as a compromise candidate to unite a splintered party. They include Bush, New Jersey governor Chris Christie, Indiana governor Mitch Daniels and Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan.

Though none of these figures have expressed any intention to run, and several have repeatedly denied it, Bush's comments are likely to set the rumour mill spinning furiously.

They also come after Tea Party favourite Sarah Palin entered the fray, raising the idea that she might see herself as her party's saviour. In recent interviews the former Alaska governor has said she would "help" out the party if a contested convention happened and told CNN earlier this month that she believed such an event would be a good thing. "I don't think it would be a negative for the party … That's part of the competition, that's part of the process and it may happen," she said.

Ron Paul's campaign has also complicated matters. Though the libertarian-leaning Texan congressman has not yet won a single state's popular ballot, he is trying to build up a large number of delegates to take to Tampa. In caucus states, where complex rules mean the number of delegates assigned to a candidate can outweigh their score in the popular vote, Ron Paul's campaign is working hard to win as much support as possible. That could see him amass a body of delegates in Tampa that far exceeds his standings in the polls and makes a contested convention, with no one having enough support to secure victory, more likely.

I have always said that, this election cycle, should Jeb decide to run, the rest will simply just get out of the way. Jeb isn't just a White Knight, Jeb is the whitest of White Knights, from the reigning Republican Royal family. And if you don't think four years is enough to sanction Jeb and exonerate Dubya, think again. There's name recognition, first of all. Jeb would ensure that when you see "Bush," you think "Poppy" or "Barbara," even "Laura," but never Dubya - and remember, Jeb was supposed to be the one anointed Presidential material. He is, after all, the smart one.

He is also what passes as a bona fide moderate. By his own admission, in the article above, he used to be a conservative. His wife is Mexican-American. He speaks fluent Spanish. Not only would he be more attractive to Independent swing voters than either Willard or the looney-tune Santorum, he may make a dent in the Latino vote as well.

Forget everything he said about not being interested in running. If the climate is right, he'll step up to the plate - even if it means being drafted to run at the Tampa convention. After all, Eisenhower wasn't a candidate at the beginning of the 1952 Republican convention, when the ueber-conservative Robert Taft was coasting to the nomination. The convention drafted Ike ... and he served two terms.

We can't afford to be complacent.

Bill Maher Buys Indulgences

Forget about Rick Santorum. Bill Maher proves, indubitably, that you can take the boy out of the Catholic Church, but you can't take the Catholic Church out of the boy (pun definitely unintended).

Yes, Bill Maher ceased being associated with any political party when his donation of $1,000,000 to the Obama SuperPAC.

Comedian Bill Maher became the latest member of the seven-figure "super PAC" donors club Thursday night when he announced during a comedy special that he would donate $1 million to the pro-Obama Priorities USA Action.

Maher, the liberal host of HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher," revealed the donation at the conclusion of his hourlong special "CrazyStupidPolitics," which was streamed live on on Thursday night.

"I would like tonight to announce a donation to the Obama super PAC, which has the very unfortunate tongue-twister name Priority [sic] USA Action. I know, it was named by Borat," Maher said. "But tonight, I would like to give that PAC one million dollars," prompting cheers from the audience

The donation -- manifested onstage in the form of an oversize check -- will provide a significant boost to the super PAC's coffers; the group raised less than $59,000 in the month of January and $4.4 million overall. Earlier this month, the Obama campaign announced a more friendly posture toward the group, allowing administration and campaign officials to appear at the super PAC’s fundraising events. Super PACs can raise unlimited amounts of cash to support political causes, but are not permitted to coordinate their activities with candidates they favor.

Maher said that an Obama victory over any of the Republican contenders was "worth a million dollars" and described the donation as "the wisest investment I think I could make." He encouraged other wealthy donors to give to the group as well.

A Priorities USA Action official did not immediately return requests for comment.

This is a particularly significant act on many levels - a nuanced act, as Maher would likely say. Firstly, it puts to bed immediately any claim that Maher is not a Democrat. He clearly is now, so let's dismiss any claim that he's a libertarian. I think Maher assumed, like many liberal-leaning people, that libertarians were something that they aren't - ueber liberal people, instead of the opposite. He is vehemently against a lot of Republican rhetoric (but not some, as he is a strong supporter of the death penalty, amongst other things.

Maher has often been quick to insist that he's not a Democrat, but it would appear now that he actually is.

On another level, this can be interpreted as that sublimely Catholic act of contrition after buying an indulgence to absolve himself of any sin. Bill, like me and countless others, including Rick Santorum, was raised Catholic. If he knows any history of the Church, he'd be well familiar with that old (discontinued) act which enables a practitioner actually to buy forgiveness for sins committed. Of course, what Bill's actual contrition will be remains to be seen, but a cool million in the PAC of a Democratic President seeking re-election might just go a long way to ensuring forgiveness for Maher's past sins against the Democratic party - like voting for Bob Dole in 1996 because Dole was "a real war hero" (so why no vote for John McCain?), or trolling the airwaves in 2000, with the message that Gore and Bush were one and the same and endorsing (and pushing) a Nader candidacy.

Then, there are the assorted high-profiled undermining of the President's message in which Maher has participated regularly since 2009, including his subtle suggestion that maybe people really should think about not voting in the 2012 election.

But now Bill's back on the blue side of the fence, and a big lot of the reason for this has to do with his own moral cowardice. His audience has changed in the past four years. When there were Republicans at the helm, liberal listeners and viewers were all too ready to accept the words of Maher and others of his ilk (Olbermann, Uygur and Michael Moore) as voices which spoke "the truth." However, in the wake of the 2010 Midterm fiasco and the hissy-pissy way the "Professional Left" reacted to Robert Gibbs's comments about their wanton criticism of the President, Maher and Co experienced pushback from the vast majority of pragmatic Progressives, who read the President's agenda far better than the celebrity talking heads. The PragProgs cast blame firmly at the Gucci-shod feet of Maher and his buddies, and many of us let them know, on their social networking sites, where the blame would continue to lay if the Democrats lost control of the White House in 2012.

Many of us plebs got banned and blocked from the Twitterfeed/Facebook musings of these rather patrician know-it-alls, complete with requisite ad hominem remarks, which were, more than anything, puerile and highly unprofessional. (Yes, I'm looking at you, Joan Walsh).

So on a different level, this is an expensive way of saying "sorry," at the expense of fully branding himself firmly not only in the liberal, but also in the Democratic camp - in hopes that that million will wipe a lot of Maher's indiscriminate remarks (many of them borderline racist) from the minds of people who've effectively turned off, turned away and tuned out the whole of the perfidious Professional Left.

Suffice it to say, it hasn't ... because there's also another level to Bill's generosity, a level based on fear (and not without a little bit of connected guilt - the type of guilt on which every Catholic, lapsed Catholic or atheist Catholic has been weaned).

Like every good Catholic boy, Bill recently experienced an epiphany.

His decision came about, he said, after attending Grammy parties a couple weeks ago.

"All the liberals were talking about how the election is in the bag for Obama,” Maher recounted. But the election is competitive primarily in 12 states, he added. “He could absolutely lose. It's a different world than it was in 2008. We live in the age of the Super PACs. Unless the rich liberals get into the game, Obama will be horribly outspent. If if he is outspent, he stands a good chance of losing." Former Sen. Rick Santorum and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, each hoping to take on Obama eventually, are battling for the GOP presidential nomination.

Maher said he decided to help the pro-Obama group "partially out of fear -- fear of Santorum and Romney, watching the Republican field and the 20 debates they've had and the bubble of insanity they live in. Half the country is nuts, and Obama could very well lose. He may not have been the best president in his first term, but given the alternative, I feel there's a clear choice."

Of course, it also helps that “Real Time” returns with new episodes next week. Since disclosure rules are loose for Super PACs, Maher may not have needed to be identified. And his gift certainly didn’t have to be revealed publicly during an hourlong special, “CrazyStupidPolitics,” which was streamed live on on Thursday night. Maher even brandished a gigantic prop check for the occasion.

Maher said the move was about principles more than PR. His bank account isn’t exactly A-list: "For me this hurts,” he said. “I'm not the kind of person who can toss around that kind of money and not feel it." But he hopes the donation will nudge liberals with far fatter pocketbooks.

"For years I've never done anything overtly political for either party,” he said, adding with a chuckle: "But c'mon. Who's kidding who at this point? It's not even close.... I decided to put my money where my mouth is."

The emphases are mine, and the article exposes two other levels of thought behing Maher's action. Taking the end of the article first, where Maher explains that a donation of the sort which he gave is something which he will feel financially taps right into the old Catholic doctrine of good works, which would normally buy a Catholic less time in Purgatory. In this instance, such a "good work" would buy Maher, perhaps, the forgiveness of a skeptical viewing public (and up his ratings and assauge his conscience), but it would also cement his standing, not only amongst the liberal Hollywood contingent, but also amongst the liberal punditocracy.

Bill has now crossed the Rubicon from comedian to bona fide political commentator. He may find he won't have his comedic mask as a shield for controversial remarks anymore, which leads us to the ultimate level of his contribution.

Quite simply, Bill wants, Bill desires, Bill craves an interview with the President. A cool million isn't a vast price to pay if it accomplishes that, should the President win a second term. And with that may come his long-coveted Emmy Award.

Ego te absolvo ... and all that.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Serenade for Bob McDonnell

... and every Republican who's intent on waging war on women and women's rights.

And now for something more upbeat ...

We sincerely hope you get the message; and for the women of the Republican party who supported and still support the legalised rape legislation and personhood acts, know this: There's a special place in hell for you.

Bill Maher Lectures Republicans on Disrespecting the President (But Hopes You Won't Remember When He Did the Same)

All well and good, Bill, but this doesn't get you off the hook. Too many people remember this:-

And this:-

And this:-

You see, Bill, all of that not only smacks of disrespect, it also smacks of the racism of which you, rightly, accuse Republicans. Like you, Bill, I'm an escapee from the Catholic Church who ran into the arms of atheism, but I still remember enough about what Jesus said to remind you that before you take the mote from your brother's eye, you have to remove the beam from yours. Too many on the so-called Progressive Left often practice a pernicious form of subtly patronising racism. Oddly enough, most of the practicants seem to come from the ueber Liberal Left Coast. Is there a connection, I wonder?

You are right to call Republicans out on their blatant disrespect of President Obama, and you are right to reckon that this disrespect has its roots deep in racism. But when no less than Ta-Nehisi Coates recognises your racism, and Adam Serwer not only recognises your racism but links your attitude directly to that of Rush Limbaugh, I'd say it was time you addressed your own disrespect and racial issues.

Here's a hint: You can start by referring to the President by his title and not by his surname. That's not comedy; that's disrespectful.

Taliban Bob

He has the face of a Carpetbagger and the evil soul of a recidivist, Bible-bashing hypocrite who wants to turn my state (and maybe yours) back to the Dark Ages.

This is what you get when you don't vote. This guy is a hen-hating bantam rooster, who deserves to be exposed (pun intended).

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Why Our Political Journalism Sucks ... Again

And again it's because of Sorority Valley Girls being allowed to think that they are relative to political commentary.

Watch the following panel, inarticulately moderated by Alex "Gag-me-with-a-Spoon" Wagner, who is clearly a less articulate version of Moon Unit Zappa. Whilst watching this, please remember that she was on the Morning Joe panel this morning, interviewing the Reverend Franklin Graham ...

The moment of fluster comes at the two-minute mark:-

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First of all, this woman needs to learn how to get her tongue to work in tandem with her brain. It might make for more accurate pronunciation and articulace. Secondly, in the course of a morning, she had clearly forgotten the name of the high-profiled, nationally known clergyman whose company she shared on another program, hence, successfully managing to morph Franklin Graham and Jeremiah Wright into one entity: Franklin Wright.

She didn't even realise it, and if she did, she couldn't even be bothered to correct it.

Politics and Religion Are Not Supposed to Mix

Let me repeat that title: Politics and religion are not supposed to mix. That's the basis on which our country was founded. Quite simply, that's what separation of Church and State is all about. In the UK, where I live, a Catholic cannot ascend to the throne. Any member of the Royal Family who marries a Catholic gives up his or her place in the succession. A Prime Minister of the United Kingdom cannot be a Catholic - in the Twenty-First Century. This resulted in the rather silly situation of Tony Blair, who was Prime Minister at the time and Ian Duncan Smith, the Leader of the Opposition, actually lying on oath as Privy Council Ministers, and pretending that they weren't Catholic converts.

Remind me, how long ago was the English Civil War? (Answer: about two hundred years before ours).

Yes, religion matters in the old countries. As secular as the French purport to be, they've itchingly uncomfortable with the fact that Sarkozy is Jewish, and that his parents are survivors of the camps. And, believe me, in Italy, the Pope still matters.

Yet the irony about all of those countries is that their secular laws are never questioned. The UK got as far as civil partnerships for same sex couples, but France allows same sex marriage; and abortion on demand is legal in all three.

And yet here comes the United States, trudging along, with its written Constitution which actually calls for religion to be separate from the realm of government, to have no part within it, for people to be free to practice whatever religion they choose or, indeed, no religion at all. All these white men who solidified our governmental processes in the Eighteenth Century were men of privilege, educated according to the rationale of the Age of Enlightenment. They were Deists, not Christians. The term "Creator" which appears in the Constitution is a generic term.

All of this is fact and substantiated. Yet we still continue to include high profiled ordained men of the cloth on political discussion programs in order to pontificate on matters political.

Yes, I'm talking about you, Franklin Graham.

As we would say in the South, this boy ain't his daddy (just like Willard). No need for this panel, the bulk of whom are, themselves, practicing Catholics, to press Franklin Graham on whether or not he will declare Barack Obama a Christian. (Hint: it really shouldn't matter). But the real truth behind Graham's bloviated can be pared down to the simple fact that the President might be a Christian because he says so, but Graham is certain that Rick Santorum is a member of the club. As in country club.

And now we know exactly why Graham doesn't question Santorum's Christianity, but remains subtly dubious about Barack Obama's. It's a question of skin tone.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Why Are Pundits Afraid to Denounce Ron Paul's Racism?

Joe Scarborough and his brow-beaten television wife, Mika, were elsewhere this morning, so Little Willie and the two resident dicks pundits, Halperin and Barnacle, had as their guest Kelefa Sanneh, author of the latest, dispassionate Ron Paul push piece in The New Yorker.

Sanneh, quite clearly, was seduced by Paul, as are most people, formerly of the Left, who, for some reason, have given up on the President. I can think of two reasons - legalised pot and the end of the so-called American empire. It never ceases to amaze me how these people, who view themselves as intelligent, would trade women's rights, minorities' civil rights, healthcare, the environment and education, for a spliff and isolationism.

And nobody, no one, not any suit at this table, and - surprisingly - not Sanneh - spoke about Paul's racism, his infamous newsletters and his ties to white supremacist oganisations and Stormfront. They did, however, speculate about a third party run, which could be disastrous for the Democrats.

People thinking of voting for this old curmudgeon need to know that his tent ain't that big, and some of the company you'll keep whilst inside, just might start to stink a bit.

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For My Friend Maria McGowen

My Facebook friend, Maria McGowen, died yesterday. She was only forty-three, a kind, good and intelligeng Southern lady from Charleston, South Carolina.

Although a decade separated our ages, we resonated with each other - having been brought up Southern and Democratic by liberal parents.

Maria was a staunch supporter of the President, who understood why he did the things he did and for what reason he did them. We were united in our outlook and in the fact that we knew that many in the Democratic party found it impossible to believe and even implausible that anyone from the South could be either Democratic or even liberal.

I learned so much from the brief time that I knew Maria. I can't put into words how much I'll miss her. She was a believer, and I am not; so I have to comfort myself with the idea that she is with her Lord and God. I know that if there be a heaven, she is in it tonight and with the angels.

This is for Maria. Rest in peace.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Why Rick Santorum Hates Public Schools

I've finally discovered the reason Rick Santorum hates public school education.

Look below:-

This is Rick Santorum in high school. We all knew a Rick - the guy who wore high-water trousers and white socks, the one you never wanted to share your table in biology class, the creepy guy with the zits who sat behind you in English class and leaned in so close that you could smell his fetid breath over your shoulder. If you were Southern and went to Cotillion, you'd always rather dance with one of the girls than be paired with your school's version of Rick Santorum.

Rick was the guy you knew in grade school who everyone swore had cooties.

Rick Santorum had to endure all that, and that's why Rick Santorum hates public education.

Rick Santorum Tells Scary Stories about The President

This guy is so hate-filled it turns my stomach. It's Catholics like Rick who made me run screaming from the bishops into the arms of the atheists.

I just want to know who the women are who are giving support to this man, who's making up lies and scary stories about the big, bad, black, evil, unChristian Negro who wants to kill little white babies ...

Not only should women not be entitled to any sort of prenatal care or testing, any doctor providing abortion services should be criminally prosecuted.

Rick Santorum is the Catholic everyone feared Jack Kennedy would be but wasn't. Rick Santorum is the natural lovechild of Father Coughlin and Joe McCarthy.

Rick Santorum could be the Republican candidate for President.

Virginia's Shame

Lord, lord ... when I was growing up in Virginia, we had a saying: Don't trust anybody but God, your mamma and the Democratic party.

I can't speak for God, but I listened to my mamma, and I'm still a part of the Democratic party. If anything could shame a Virginian to the soles of the shoes he wore, it had to be a verbal dressing-down from his mamma.

Well, all you Virginian mammas and future mammas and just women in general need to shame that Carpetbagging poor excuse for a governor who's somehow wormed his way to Richmond, and we also need to shame those Republicans who control both houses of the legislature too.

There's a war on women going on in the Republican party, and it's being fought full frontal in Virginia as well. What's worse, are the Republicans who just happen to be women, who are supporting these draconian measures. Yes, I'm looking at YOU, Jill Holzman Vogel. For your sins, I think you should know what feels like to have a vaginal probe inserted in your "personhood."

I'll let a Virginia woman with a higher profile take your sorry asses down. I share her shame for the Commonwealth.

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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Rick Santorum Wants to Take the Country Back to Before the Reformation

That's right, folks ... mainstream Protestantism is in tatters, and should be gone from the world of religion.

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Rick Santorum is the Catholic the United States of Ignorance feared when John Kennedy ran for President.

Compulsory Motherhood

Wherein Melissa Harris-Perry gives a history lecture and reveals how the Progressive Teddy Roosevelt (R-NY) viewed the only rights inherent to women did not include equality or the right to vote, but only the right to compulsory motherhood.

Actually, Hitler's bunch thought a lot about compulsory motherhood too ... Now about Rick Santorum and Bob McDonnell ...

Big Daddy Politics

Yes ... as much as the Republicans can accuse Democrats of creating a nanny state with their social welfare policies, as Dorian Warren of Columbia University points out in the clip below, the Republicans are into Big Daddy Politics - from Daddy issues to playing Big Daddy to all girls and women in the United States, especially regarding the rights they have over their own reproduction issues and their bodies.

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Hammer, meet nail.

(Pssst ... take a gander at Willard's daddy, talking about war, civil rights and the poor below). As well as the ensuing conversation about the Republicans' desire to be a daddy to us poor, misguided, sexually-dangerous and irresponsible women.

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At the seven-minute mark, Dorian Warren puts into words something I've been screaming for the past two years - that what we're seeing today in the Republican Party is the result of a forty-year propaganda campaign.

And Now Something Good from Virginia ...

Melissa Harris-Perry, child of Charlottesville, debuted her new weekly television show this morning on MSNBC. She began with a history lesson and a pretty spirited debate with Nixon son-in-law, Ed Cox, who heads the Republican Party in New York (and who also looks oddly like Poppy Bush, somewhat):-

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Professor Harris-Perry is right. We should have a strong Opposition, and that Opposition should be capable of offering viable alternative ideas to those espoused by the party in power. The problem with the current state of affairs is simply that this incarnation of the Republican Party has no ideas about how to tackle the actual problems that matter to day-to-day living, but plenty of whacko ideas about how to deal with social issues - the sort of mores which change from generation to generation and scare those who cling to what's familiar from fear of anything remotely new or different.

The current Republican front-runner hopes income inequality continues to exist in the United States. His ideas concerning contraception come straight from the Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church - in a nutshell, it's wrong, and sex should only be within marriage and for procreative purposes. Oh, and rape victims? No abortions or morning-after contraceptives for you, ladies. The Republican front-runner thinks you should take any God-given lemon resulting from a rape and make some lemonade.

But that's by-the-by ... Ed Cox was a big disappointment. All he could serve up to Melissa Harris-Perry's questions and comments were snide Republican talking points. His father-in-law would have been greatly disappointed. In other words, it's all the President's fault.

No change there then.

And just for fun, Ed's joined by Dorian Warren of Columbia University and Peter Edelman of Georgetown University, who show just how far out of touch with reality aristocratic Ed is ...

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Kudos to Professor Harris-Perry for reminding the world and those too young to remember of the time when Nelson Rockefeller, as patrician as Ed Cox, was easily identifiable as one of the stalward liberals of the Republican Party. Seems to me that I recall another stalwart Republican liberal was the guy who told the 1968 Republican National Convention that the US had been brainwashed on Viet Nam and that we should leave ... now that was a fellow by the name of George Romney.

Good show, Melissa ... you did the Commonwealth proud.

Bill Maher's Continuing Epiphany - Real Time 17.02.2012


Panel I:-

(Not ALL countries subscribe to single-payer National Health system.)

Panel II:-

Panel III: Yankees talking about that shameful Bob McDonnell


Friday, February 17, 2012

The Sane Voice of Bill Moyers and the Cruel Stupidity of Bob McDonnell

Bill Moyers weighs in with the final word on the contraceptive brouhaha ... What do you know? He's right. It's not about the government imposing itself on religion in any way. And the Catholic Church is making itself look silly, petty and redundant.

Bill Moyers Essay: Freedom of and From Religion from on Vimeo.

However, contraceptive issue aside, the Virginia State Legislature has passed a bill mandating any woman seeking an abortion to be required by law to undergo a penetrative vaginal examination using a transvaginal ultrasound transducer.

That's right ... penetrative. Considering the fact that most women seeking abortions won't want this procedure, and considering that any sort of unwanted vaginal penetration is ... well, rape ... it appears as if the Catholic Carpetbagger from Philadelphia, Lil'Bob McDonnell is about to sign a law mandating legislative rape.

Of course, it's all a tactic to scare the piss (pun intended)out of those wicked, evil women who have sex, get up the duff and then want to get rid of that pesky, little zygote. Of course, that includes all those wicked, evil women and girls who happen to get raped or are victims of incest. And most of those wicked, evil women are poor - and, in Bob McDonnell's world, that's wicked and evil too.

And just to make matters even more interesting, there's the ubiquitous Personhood Bill for Bob to sign as well.

Bob McDonnell personifies every reason why I left the Catholic Church. Bob McDonnell personifies every reason why anyone of sane mind and all women ought to run screaming from the clutches of the Republican Party.

Common sense is this: If we have a responsible (and free) contraceptive program and it's taught responsibly in schools as well, then the need for abortions will be greatly reduced. No woman considers having an abortion lightly; very often, that's the last and most desperate resort. Bob McDonnell has daughters. I don't know what their sexual history is, and I don't want to know; but any woman at anytime can be raped. I cannot imagine Bob McDonnell would force his adult daughters to bear a child conceived in such a way; and if his adult daughters decided to abort the foetus, I cannot imagine him subjecting them to another act that is just a legislative euphemism for rape.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Chesapeake Moon

Nobody sums up what I feel for my home state, Virginia, like this great Virginian, Robbin Thompson. This song always makes me homesick, because it just describes so much of what the Commonwealth is too.

You can take the girl out of Virginia, but you can't take Virginia out of the girl. So this one's from me and the spirits of Lady Astor and Pocahontas ...

Such Is the Duality of the South

Please allow me, just once, to speak for all those people in the South who were born Democrats, raised Democrats by Democrats and remain Democrats to this day. Not just Democrats, but LIBERAL Democrats. (Forgive me, I prefer liberal to Progressive. It's more courageous.)

Anyway, fellow Southern liberal, Matt Osborne, gifted me with this; and although it's about Alabama in particular, as Matt's Alabaman, it does a mighty good job speaking for the majority of politically blue folk South of the Mason-Dixon Line in pushing back against how we, as a people, in general are categorised and castigated by our more sophisticated brethren in the North, specifically those along the self-styled "Left Coast," who still persist in promoting the belief that most of us are not only racists, but bigots as well.

I'll let the Drive By Truckers do the talking, but I'd just like to add as well, that, at the height of his infamy as a segregationalist, George Wallace had a peculiar knack of going into a Northern city or suburb and bringing home the raw truth to the people who criticised him that segregation and racial discrimination also existed in the North.

I would direct anyone who says otherwise to Rick Perlstein's seminal work, Nixonland, which illustrates the Wallace phenomenon perfectly. He was actually garnering larger crowds at his rallies than Saint Ronald Reagan ever did, and that was in the North.

So, for all the Left Coast Limousine Progressives, this history lesson is for you - and that means you, Bill Maher, Joan Walsh Matt Damon etc.

With profuse thanks to Matt Osborne.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I Want to Sit at the Table with Joe Scarborough

I'd show Mika how it's done.

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I barely remember when Kennedy ran for President. Mostly, I remember that my parents and aunts and uncles, all Catholics (some just in name only, like my father), were pleased that a member of the "club" had won the ultimate prize.

Years later, as a high school student, I learned about the speech Kennedy was forced to give during his campaign to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association, a group of Protestant ministers who had serious questions about the feasibility of a Catholic becoming President of the United States.

My mother remembered the occasion well, but, she told me, what Kennedy faced was nothing like what Al Smith faced in his campaign against Herbert Hoover in 1928. My late mother was a child then. She remembered the open invective against Catholics in general, the snide political cartoons. And the Klan.

Now, Rick Santorum is looking like the frontrunner in the GOP contest. This is a man who thinks that victims of rape and incest should bear the fruits of these crimes as "broken gifts." Here is a man who wants contraceptives made illegal, because contraceptives encourage the idea that sex might be fun, when it's really for procreative purposes. Here is a man who thinks that United States citizens have no right to privacy, that same sex marriage is akin to man-on-dog relationships. Here is a man who not only believes that religion shouldn't be separated from state, but that his religious values should be imposed on everyone.

Did I mention his race issue? Check out "blah" people.

But, according to Joe Scarborough, Rick Santorum is just a regular guy.

I say that Rick Santorum is the Catholic Americans were afraid of not just in John Kennedy's time, but also Al Smith's.

He reeks of Opus Dei. If he's elected, expect to see a resident Exorcist-in-Chief.