Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Alinsky Connection

Well, my brain keeps up, more or less, but, really, it's just too zany. Suddenly, Obama is a kind-of-liberal again, playing the populist card (financed by Wall Street) to counter Mitt and Newt.

("Mitt" and "Newt" are not especially human names. Where is humanity?)

Newt dropped Saul Alinsky's name again in tonight's debates. So, ignoring the so-called State of the Union, let's look at the "Saul Alinsky" references. Obama, Newt tells us, is a "Saul Alinsky radical."

Me, I hadn't even thought about Saul Alinsky for roughly forty years — well, maybe thirty — but, all of a sudden, Newt is saying Obama is a "Saul Alinsky radical." Frankly, I actually never read Alinsky back in the 60s or the 70s. I downloaded "Rules for Radicals" for my Kindle some months ago, having read about how it was a favorite of Tea Party radicals. Well, it was, fer sure...

You know how Amazon suggests other materials based on what you order? Based on my Alinsky purchase, I was referred to books by Glen Beck, Sarah Palin, and many lesser known crypto-fascists. Nobody on the left (except me, apparently,) is reading Alinsky. The right-wing crazies who gave South Carolina to Newt, however, know exactly who Saul Alinsky (1906 - 1972) was.

The left should read Alinsky. "Rules for Radicals" is a practical handbook on how to organize, and it seems to have been quite useful to Tea Party organizers. I suspect alleged "history professor" Newt never heard of Alinsky until the Tea Party rediscovered him — but the name, however, had a certain resonance.

Saul Alinsky. Do you reckon he was one of them Jeeeewwwws?

Monday, January 23, 2012


Really, he would have done better to die 6 months earlier — but he was planning on coaching Penn State for who knows how much longer.

Asshole. Everybody dies, and I doubt he didn't know he was dying . He just refused to believe it.

I think that's the definition of an asshole.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Circus Continues

While mourning the death of Etta James — and the non-death of Henry Kissenger, who will be sharing his alleged wisdom with Vladimir Putin in the near future — let me make a few bemused comments on the state of the Republic(ans.)

I have no problem with Willard Romney's activities at Bain Capital. He was, after all, obeying the law. I do not know the extent to which Bain manipulated that law, nor the extent to which Bain participated in buying the lawmakers who gave such firms and their executives such generous tax advantages — albeit, my guess is that Bain was a full participant. What I am sure of is that Romney's proposed tax "reform" would enshrine and extend those advantages.

Newt Gingrich is an unmitigated wack job, which probably explains his increasing appeal to South Carolina Republicans. Are those "man-in-the-street" interviews we see on television genuinely representative of ordinary South Carolinians, or is the "liberal media" going out of its way to cherrypick certified morons? If the NAACP, the SCLC, and/or the Democrats really wanted to screw things up, they could have urged the state's black voters to register Republican and all vote for Ron Paul. Well, maybe next time.

Rick Santorum is basking in the glow of his endorsement by the most vindictive and narrow minded religious leaders of America, and by his "victory" in Iowa. I have clear memories of his days in the Senate, and I don't recall him being any more "moral" than the rest of those over-entitled bozos, despite his very sincere efforts to deprive women of custody over their bodies. Still, if Gingrich somehow manages to grab the lead in South Carolina today, Florida — that other-worldly mix of rednecks, Cubans, and the elderly — could be decisive.

Hopefully, Romney will not have the nomination "sewn up" tonight, because I'm looking forward to more rib-tickling debates. The fact that just three scarcely significant states can "sew up" a nomination for a candidate is, of course, an absurdity of our system — but the mechanism is clear. The leading candidate (and his superpac) get increased contributions from bundlers and wealthy donors, the less successful candidates get less. Money, as always, wins.


11:50 PM
Hoo hah! Batshit wins!

Newt blew it away in SC, and the speech I just heard was extremely well done. He found positive things to say about the other three, but managed subtly to dis them at the same time. For some odd reason, he kept associating Obama with Saul Alinsky, even though everybody who's been paying attention knows that Alinsky has been the theoretical godfather of the Tea Party. (Download Rules for Radicals from Amazon, and see how many right-wing "recommendations" you get.)

Anyway, we get to see it go on to Florida, at least. Who knows? There's a chance Ron Paul could win the Nevada caucuses in February, and everything could become totally crazy. Wouldn't that be fun!

Viva la batshit!

Monday, January 16, 2012


I was part of the march on Washington in August of 1963. During the "I have a dream" speech, I suppose I was wading in the reflecting pool, trying to cool off, because I never heard a comprehensible word from the podium in the general uproar.

Needless to say, in those days I was more enthusiastic about Malcolm X than Dr. King, but King, nevertheless, was a radical. He was radical enough to put J. Edgar Hoover's panties in a twist, and I certainly admired him. I'm sorry I had to hear his most famous speech later, on TV.

There was another great speech that day, from John Lewis of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. I couldn't hear that one either, but here is a sample:
For those who have said, "Be patient and wait!" we must say, "Patience is a dirty and nasty word." We cannot be patient, we do not want to be free gradually, we want our freedom, and we want it now. We cannot depend on any political party, for the Democrats and the Republicans have betrayed the basic principles of the Declaration of Independence.
Today, the big news is that the "quotation" engraved on the new King monument in Washington will be changed — replaced by words King actually said. Personally, I think they should blow up the whole goddamned monument and start over. The monumental King doesn't even look like King — he looks more like fucking Mussolini to me.

King has been mythologized, which is not a wonderful thing for somebody who dedicated his life to radical activism. Maybe we'll rediscover the real MLK someday.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Anybody but...?

Willard (aka Mitt) has a problem: nobody actually likes him.

He's been doing his best, this time around, to hide his insufferable sense of entitlement. Somehow, though, it keeps leaking to the surface. As an unrivaled opportunist with no core beliefs about anything but the preservation of wealth, it is no wonder that people have a hard time warming up to him.

Has anybody asked him why he wants to be President? Perhaps there is some underlying Oedipal need to surpass his father, but to me it looks more like he genuinely feels superior to the rest of humanity, and has decided that becoming the most powerful man on Earth is his due.

No wonder nobody likes him.

In Iowa and New Hampshire, he managed to scrape together roughly a third of the votes, primarily from people who think his is the best chance to oust that socialist darkie from the White House — not because of any personal characteristics of his own. If the Republican field included a truly viable candidate to oppose him, Romney wouldn't have stood a chance — but objects in motion tend to stay in motion, and he's been in motion since 2008.

Just the same, I wish the Virginia primary were next week instead of Super Tuesday. The only candidates who filed in time to qualify for the Virginia ballot are Romney and Ron Paul. Wouldn't that be an amusing test of the "anybody but" hypothesis? Would the voters of Virginia reject the Mormon multimillionaire for a crazy old coot who wants to put us back on the gold standard and withdraw all our troops from everywhere?

Sigh. I'm afraid we'll never know.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Why they Hate Him

Let's see. Could it be because he's a "socialist?" Well, some of them don't have a clue what a socialist is, and probably are dumb enough to believe the hype from Fox; but would a socialist get all that Wall Street backing?

Oh, wait! It must be because he's an abortion slinging, gay loving, social radical! Mmm... maybe not. He never talks about the "choice" vs. "right to life" controversy, still hasn't publicly endorsed gay marriage, and took a hell of a long time to end "Don't ask, don't tell.". Granted, he's not religious. He doesn't do all those church appearances we've come to expect from our presidents, and the connection to Reverend Wright was nothing but Chicago political expedience. Okay, it's clear he's not a social conservative. Maybe that explains some of the animosity.

Well, then there's the little matter of the blackness. That's reason enough for most of the white south and entirely too many working class white men, but it still seems inadequate to explain the extent and the intensity of the hatred. It certainly is not enough to ensure a Republican victory.

As you may have noticed, I haven't been too enthusiastic about him myself, for none of the above reasons. On the other hand, he's a mile above any of those assholes trying to win the Republican nomination (albeit John Huntsman wants to break up the big banks, and that goes a long way with me. I haven't heard it yet from Our Esteemed President, sure as shit.)

Actually, I suspect they hate him because they're taught to hate him — by Fox, ALEC, the Koch brothers, et al. I have to admit, that cabal does a pretty good job of it. Still, even with all the money in the world (which they seem to have,) it's hard to get someone to spring such a a really stiff hate-on unless there's some initial antipathy from which to work.

And, as you may have noticed, he kind of looks black.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Re: Willard Romney

I was just reading the Wikipedia entry on Willard Mitt Romney, and I'm 99.6% certain it was written (or rewritten) by one of his PR people. Well, what the hell — that's Wikipedia. The last one to get there gets the last word, and I imagine Mitt's people get there several times a day.

One thing Wikipedia does not mention is that Romney is the test case for whether or not a shitload of money can buy an election. The funny thing is that nobody in the Republican base actually seems to like him, but he seems to have locked up the 25% who consider him the candidate most likely to defeat the heartily hated Obama. Well, the Democrats, too, consider him the candidate most likely to defeat Obama. There are two reasons why that probably is the case. First, he has a ton of money behind him and, second, his chameleonlike ability to shift in the political winds should make him especially attractive to so-called "independent" voters.

(Long-time readers will remember that my take on so-called "independents" is that they are those who don't know shit from Shinola, and therefore are most likely to be persuaded by 30 second spots on TV.)

The Romney superpac, "Restore Our Future," outspent the Romney campaign 2 to 1 in Iowa — and did a devastating job on Newt Gingrich. Mind you, pretty much everything they said about Newt was true but, nevertheless, I believe Newt is enough of a son-of-a-bitch to get even. His own presidential hopes may be down the toilet now (albeit his book sales have surged), but it's pretty clear that Newt is pissed. Needless to say, in the light of the Citizens United decision, the "Winning Our Future" superpac that supports Newt will not in any way "coordinate" with Newt's pissedness, but nevertheless will spread some significant negativity on the former Mormon missionary to France. (France?!! Jesus in a manner of speaking Christ!)

While it seems likely that Rick Santorum will turn out to be the Mike Huckabee of 2012, there's no telling how the evangelicals of South Carolina and Florida may vote later in the month. I'd like to see Mitt and his moneyed buds go down in flames, of course, but "Restore" is much better funded than "Winning" — and if Santorum has a superpac, its budget probably is around $12.95.

Oddly enough, I think there still might be a slim chance for John Huntsman, who also has a rich Mormon father but a lot less ideological baggage than Mitt. At the moment, though, my money still is on Obama this year.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Iowa Caucuses

Well, happy new year. Maybe. 2011 kind of sucked — earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown for the Japanese; total fuckup for the Eurozone; continued suppression of the working class in the US (albeit with some vague rays of hope); general craziness, with only minimal hope of non-authoritarian governments, in the Middle East; droughts and floods in Australia; more of the usual shit in sub-Saharan Africa; slowing economic growth in China; Putin being Putinesque in Russia; etc., etc.

Now, our American news media are wasting our time by devoting tons of time and space to the Iowa Republican caucuses. Does anybody remember who they selected last time? Mike fucking Huckabee! Why would anybody take Iowa Republicans seriously? As of tonight's network news, Santorum is surging there.

Anyway, back in the summer of 1976, I pulled off the interstate for want of a vodka gimlet in Harlan, Iowa, and found myself in a bar that turned out to be the hangout for local government officials. I can say with more than reasonable certitude that they were not evangelical Christians, but they still held Jimmy Carter in very high regard. Harlan, they said, was "Carter Country." I stayed for several days, and had a hell of a good time.

Jimmy Carter is the kind of man we all would like to have as our president. Sadly, our disgustingly corrupt political system cannot accept a genuinely good man at its helm. The presidency did its best to corrupt Jimmy Carter but, fortunately for him, he did not win a second term. He's been spending the rest of his life making up for the damage he was forced to do in those four sad years. Yes, he's the best ex-president in American history, and if his beliefs about redemption are correct, I'd imagine he's redeemed by now — but he still keeps trying, harder and harder.

Iowa doesn't matter — nor does New Hampshire. It's all just a show. Even without the Citizens United decision, it still would be all about the money. Obama has been sucking up to Wall Street just as hungrily as he did four years ago, and any Republican who wins their nomination will be just as deeply in Wall Street's pocket.

Let's all sing along with the chorus from Les Mis: "We want a revolution — now."