My Watch (Jan. – Feb. 2012)

So… multicultural can be multiple-fractional under right conditions?

Or... Rasputin, maybe? Perce in costume.

Usually, accusations that sharia law is being implemented piecemeal in the U.S. – by a compliant or lily-livered judiciary – are as valid as Pamela Geller’s dreams of political significance. But Georgetown professor and frequent TV law pundit Jonathan Turley notes a very alarming decision out of Pennsylvania in which a judge threw out an assault case because Muslims apparently have cultural concession to attack anyone they perceive insulting their religion.

Say huh?

This all started with a Mechanicsburg, PA, Halloween parade and a costume that specifically ridiculed the prophet Muhammad.

 (American Atheists’ Pennsylvania State Director Ernie) Perce says that Talaag Elbayomy grabbed him and tried to take his sign. Elbayomy was at the parade with his wife and children and said that he felt he had to act in the face of the insult. The officer at the scene, Sgt. Brian Curtis, correctly concluded that Perce was engaged in a lawful, first amendment activity. He therefore charged Elbayomy. While it looks like an assault, he was only charged with harassment.

The case, however, then went to District Judge Mark Martin who not only threw out the charge of harassment but ridiculed Perce as a “doofus.” He also proceeds to not only give an account of his own feelings (and say that he was offended personally by Perce’s action) but suggests that Elbayomy was just protecting his “culture.”

Turley has written extensively about mission creep of “hate speech” bans in our legal system, and of pressure from wealthy Muslim countries to criminalize anything that can be construed as insulting to Islam. As we become a “global community”, this will be the issue of our times. Our tradition and guarantees of free and open debate is keystone to our success as nation and culture. This could be the biggest threat that freedom has yet faced.

- Feb. 28, 2012

Been bad so long look like good to me: finally news on the upside

For the longest while, events in macro- and microcosm have been bleak. We’re stuck in a recession which for working stiffs like me gets better at such glacial pace it’s almost impossible to tell if anything has changed or if ongoing depression has simply dulled memory of times just as bad.

Then – out of left field – some good news. And it’s coming from bottom-up…

In just over a year, more than 3,000 of Los Angeles County’s most entrenched street dwellers and homeless veterans have moved into permanent homes, exceeding the targets of an ambitious plan launched by business and philanthropy leaders. [Los Angeles Times]

We’ll know when we’ve reached bottom of our spiritual barrel, when we’re finally so degraded we’ll start jerking crumbs from the mouths of babes. That will be when we turn our back on our forgotten, forsaken and dispossessed. These days, I think of them only as pinata for my sedentary fury every time I whiff urine in the alleys downtown, especially in my parking garage – which must be a kind of skid-row hangout.

But then I’m reminded there are people out there actually making a difference, actually helping their fellow humanity. According to the Times, about 51,000 Angelenos are without permanent shelter any given night, and returning troops will probably add to that number. We know war leaves trauma that slow self-dissipation seems to abate; that it destroys as fully as IEDs doubles their tragedy.

- Feb. 23, 2012

You’re killin’ me here, Barack. KILLIN’ me here…

If you make the mistake of financially donating to presidential candidates during an election year, you’ll never hear the end of it. Because I’m an independent voter, I don’t give a damn who has the biggest war chest. I pick my candidate the old-fashioned way: satanic witchcraft. You gulp some human blood out of a goat’s skull, stare at a naked virgin splayed out on a basalt altar until she begins to go fuzzy and multiply in your mind’s eye and – bam! – you got your guy. …Or gal. They can run for office, too… these days… although I really don’t approve of that.

In 2008, mostly because he was farthest I could imagine from George W. Bush and the horse he rode into Washington, I not only voted for President Obama, I sent money to his campaign. Like… $20… about twice what I infrequently send to Antiwar.com, to keep alive one of the best sites in cyberworld. Now, of course, I don’t hear the end of it, it’s contribute this and donate that. The political panhandling never let up since he was elected, either. At one point, I was asked to help retire Hillary Clinton’s campaign debt! Look, Barack… Mr. President. You can patch up things with that harridan any way you want, but leave me out of it. Both of you should get together and help me retire, period. I’m one of the suffering gleaners out here.

This year, I’ll let him pay his own way. He doesn’t need my measly help, since, once again, Republicans think it’s still 2010, that Obama is an issue instead of a frighteningly potent candidate, and so they’re fish in a barrel of their own stupidity. …With crackers.

Also, although I’ll probably vote for him again (Ron Paul won’t get anywhere near that far, despite his impressive showing), President Obama has disappointed me more than once the past three-plus years. And now this:

The Obama administration on Wednesday proposed a tax overhaul that would lower the maximum rate companies pay, though some businesses said the effort doesn’t go far enough and Republicans called the plan disappointing, underscoring the difficult path ahead.

The Treasury Department said the plan would lower the top income-tax rate for corporations to 28% from 35%, cut the effective tax rate even further for manufacturers, and eliminate or restrict many popular deductions while making others permanent. [Wall Street Journal]

Gee, thanks, Barack. …Mr. President. But tell you what: why don’t you hit up your big-business friends for dough? You must be back on their Christmas list.

- Feb. 22, 2012

Put-upon global prick has his in a wringer – once again

Much like ABC News launched “Nightline” out of a late-night update series on the Iran crisis of 30 years ago (The first one), I began ‘My Watch’ last year in part to keep up with the corkscrewy case of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, head of the World Monetary Fund, accused of forcing head from a maid in an upscale Manhattan hotel. Looks like he beat that case, which now is headed (sorry) for the civil courts.

Now, Mr. “Can’t Seem to Keep It in My Pants” is heading (dammit!) to court in Europe for his part in a big-time prostitution ring operating in northern France. In fact, he surrendered himself to police custody this morning.

Don’t really give a damn about this story, although I’m willing to cover wagers on how long the case is albatross upon this finance-world titan. What really caught my eye was the photo from this a.m. which appeared in the Wall Street Journal. Evidently, Strauss-Kahn’s enormous ear figures prominently in the case. Or… even is facing separate charges.

What was that? Lawyered up? Naturellement!

Feb. 21, 2012

Our costly honey trap catches another mad-bomber fly

Here’s an interesting graph. It’s from Google News and shows declining levels of American media coverage – and so, interest – in the story of the young Muslim charged as our latest sucker-terrorist. CBS News somewhat creepily describes Sidi Mohamed Amine El Khalifi as “baby-faced, brown-eyed Moroccan teenager (who) would overstay his tourist visa and remain here for more than a decade, moving from Kissimmee, Florida to Northern Virginia”.

Yesterday. CBS also presented a federal official to explain the government had video, audio and numerous other documentation of El Khalifi contacting what he thought were legitimate terrorists a year ago; this week, they supplied him with a bomb vest and sent him packing to the U.S. Capitol, to spread bargain basement shock and awe. It was all a set-up, and the agent’s outline confirmed that, adding ironic undertone to his contention that all this voluminous evidence was to remove suspicions the case was an undercover/agent provocateur photo-op from day-one.

These “gotcha” traps are what pass as our “war on terror” collateral damage today, and excuse to keep this stupid, ugly program going. We must wonder how much El Khalifi was urged on by his handlers in this faux-conspiracy.

But the “plot” now will be relegated to back pages, out of the news cycle, and referenced only as proof our eternal vigilance is working, and that we’ll never really be safe until we… ohhh… bomb Iran.

- Feb. 18, 2012

Here we go again: Engineered panic over ‘Iran terror’

Erin, you'd be prettier without the fuckin' hysteria

Every morning, and at least several times a day, I make sure to pop up Google News for an overview of popular news. No – this site isn’t about important news. It’s about news that people are reading. …”Pop topics”, if you will.  I scan for meaty, sobering details my other news sites – McClatchey, NYT, Reuters, RT and, yes, Al Jazeera. It’s important to get a wide variety of viewpoints. Somewhere in there are veins of fact upon which all must agree; that’s closest we can get to truth.

Obviously, criteria of reader-favorite news items links material to advertising; ad companies seek out most-popular sites to position product propaganda, and so a kind of banal circle is achieved. We see sites that are popular with others, and popular commercially, on and on. My paranoid ’70s inner child sees possibility of ad companies skewing Google’s positioning via payola – ‘here’s some filthy lucre to make sure an article monetized by my vaginal creme ad gets top play’ – but there’s no proof of that. I’m larcenous enough to consider that avenue if Google were mine (in my wildest dreams).

But I’ve gotta hand it to the Google News: Up to now, it’s least-populated with “Enemy Iran” tales so hysterically popular in the rest of American media. On radio this morning, I woke up to warning that Iran is planning terror attacks right here in the good ol’ U.S. of A. To credit of L.A.’s Radio 980, it also was pointed out that our vast security apparatus has absolutely no actual evidence such heinous strikes are planned.

So… why try to scare us to death with mere speculation? Where’s the gibbering fear over Mayan Doomsday for Christmas this year? There’s your Armageddon, right there. Nope – it’s all Iran. …And maybe a dash of Syria. Here’s a little taste provided by Glenn Greenwald’s take-down of highly paid tape loop Erin Burnett:

It’s the sort of thing you would produce if you set out to create a mean-spirited parody of mindless, war-hungry, fear-mongering media stars, but you wouldn’t dare go this far because you’d want the parody to have a feel of realism to it, and this would be way too extreme to be believable. She really hauled it all out: WMDs! Terrorist sleeper cells in the U.S. controlled by Tehran! Iran’s long-range nuclear missiles reaching our homeland!!!! She almost made the anti-Muslim war-mongering fanatic she brought on to interview, Rep. Peter King, appear sober and reasonable by comparison.

Virtually all networks, newspapers and magazines, radio stations and big-money websites that are part of this country’s establishment media are sounding the same old song. We saw this in “mushroom cloud” scare-talk about Iraq, we saw in the “incubator baby” lies in the first Gulf War. Burnett’s CNN recycled that whopper in a hoax last year – this one aimed at our runner-up Existential Enemy, Syria.

If it works, if we launch another war, this one against Iran at behest of Israel, we deserve everything that we get. And what stupid people “get” is always painful, always difficult to remove.

- Feb. 17, 2012

We respect the underdog, but we disdain the stupid dog

Polls show President Barack Obama’s popularity index is back above 50 percent for the first time in months. That figure right now in an election year is very bad news for his opponents, who evidently won’t let go of delusion he’s terminally vulnerable. In fact, Obama is pulling ahead of Mitt Romney among independent voters. As one of that herd, I can tell you why.

Congressional negotiators reached a tentative deal Tuesday to extend the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits… The framework deal followed a key Republican concession Monday and could receive the endorsement of a House-Senate conference committee on Wednesday. [CNN]

No. It’s not because they approved extending these very real benefits – however puny – for working Americans. It’s because all of us out here breathing air less purified than that in the Beltway see this as a GOP concession that was pulled out along with a couple of eye-teeth. Everyone watched the GOP play to its Koch-Brothers constituency by playing chicken with paychecks of the working class. If Republicans had stood on the mountaintop and screamed, “We don’t give a fresh, sticky shit about you social dwarfs”, it couldn’t be more clear.

But that’s only part of it. Getting maneuvered into such an embarrassing and politically catastrophic situation by a White House that’s been consistently underestimated for strategic vision is one more blow against a party that appears absolutely clueless and stumblebum. All that “tea party” energy from two years ago has evaporated into the hypersphere, but you can’t tell that to our brilliant Right.

Verdict: The GOP is just too stupid for prime time.

- Feb. 15, 2012

The Rick Santorum Factotum: But seriously now, folks

We know Rick Santorum’s stock is rising among Republican bigwigs – the men (go ‘head – find a woman in that crew) in the backrooms not ashamed to be discovered at 3 in the morning puffing down expensive cigars to nubs (and probably hosting a couple of drunk hookers, too). It’s not because he’s neck-and-neck with Mitt Romney in the polls. It’s not because Romney’s run off to Michigan to shore up his declining numbers in that swing state. It’s not even because conservatives like him more – much more – than that weasely Ken doll who virtually authored Obamacare while governor of Massachusetts.

No. We know Santorum is surging because the New Yorker wonders if he’s “serious”. Whenever the East Coast Establishment Press wonders if a candidate is “serious”, we know the rest of the country is already hanging on his every word and snatching up blades of grass he’s trod upon.

In New York, news from the hinterlands seeps in slowly, and it takes a long time before it’s taken “seriously”.

- Feb. 14, 2012

CPAC mood must be crappier than I imagined

There’s growing sense among Americans that neither party can get our economic engine restarted. It conked in late-summer 2008, and despite all rosy gibberish from the FED, Wall Street, our economic braintrust and various overseas Oligarchs phoning in from their ugly yachts, for everyone living paycheck to paycheck – and that’s a good 70 percent of this country – there is no good news, so please, give us no news, at all. We know it’s bullshit, you know it’s bullshit, it wouldn’t fool children and, besides, they don’t vote. So why bother?

Nevertheless, Mitt Romney’s adviser Robert O’Brien was on our local, only slightly less other-worldly Fox News channel last night, and he was good enough to jawbone key foreign-policy issues his candidate is sure to brand as failures for President Obama’s White House.

  1. Defense cuts. The DoD budget is being slashed by $400 billion in cutbacks ordered by President Obama over the past year. After more than a decade of platinum, the Pentagon now must settle for gold. Scandalous.
  2. Strategic isolationism. We’re just not supporting our allies. O’Brien coughed up all candidates’ favorite foreign-policy bogeyman: Iran. We must “stand by” Israel in its standoff with Iran. The Persian beast is trying to get The Bomb, you know. Holocaust II. 1939… And so forth. O’Brien also mentioned growing tussle between Britain and Argentina over the Falkland Islands – an abso-fo-looley crucial crisis bubbling under surface since last bloodletting in 1982. But that’s chickenfeed. We know what he’s really talkin’ ’bout:
  3. Iran. OK. Forget about Israel (for a parsec). Iran threatens us the same way Saddam threatened us with his nukes. NO! WAIT! Not that way. Heh, heh. Iran threatens us with… uh… the real deal. I mean… they don’t have nuclear weapons… yet. But what if they get them? What if they get gravity-neutralizers and “Star Trek” phasers? Think about it! Stay scared, you fuckin’ CATTLE!

 And that’s it. That’s what they got. Impressive, huh?

Here’s the key problem: These issues matter to average American voters the way vaudeville does: We may have heard the words before, but “attention-getter” doesn’t come to mind when we mull them over.

In fact, in a recession which for most Americans won’t go away, cutting defense seems prudent and more than timely. The Pentagon gets everything Congress can shove at it to fight our phony, stupid “war on terror”. This hogwash fools very few these days. We need to scale back; it wasn’t the job-farm it was promised to be, anyway.

And as far as Washington’s obsession with Iran and its non-Bomb, Americans aren’t constantly slung on the wall by AIPAC and the rest of Israel’s unregistered agents, spies and spiritual saboteurs on these shores; the White House and Congress are. So, outside the Beltway, Iran doesn’t play well. In fact, in the nation’s souring victuals, it matters not at all.

I always wanted to be a campaign advisor like O’Brien. He doesn’t have to do the hard, shoe-leather work of a campaign – like rustling up crowds of robo-fans and hacks to hear whistle-stop speeches. Response from these droids can fool a candidate into thinking he matters when he hears a warm response on the road. And it can fool a campaign into believing its own bullshit issues have viability in the heartland.

Mr. O’Brien, you’re about to be out of a job.

- Feb. 12, 2012

Waiting for another ‘cross of gold’ rabble-rouser? Don’t

Romney wins CPAC straw poll Saturday... so...

There is a fatal flaw that’s developed with Republicans: They just can’t play change-up.

Right now, the GOP is running itself like it’s still 2010. And baby… things have changed. If there was voter anger two years ago that translated into The Great Lashout – and victory for a string of hard-charging Tea Partiers – this year there is voter acquiescence, if not malaise. The creeping improvments in the economy probably is the most anyone off Wall Street possibly can hope for right now. That’s the message. It will get no better nor worse. Rightwing rebels who took office early last year have sunk into political epoxy that is Capitol Hill; now they hang suspended, stuck there with the rest of our do-nothing, gas-bag Congress.

But candidates who showed up at this year’s CPAC convention – a kind of unavoidable, AIPAC-style honey drip for flies of America’s Right – all speechified about shaking Washington to its knees. Newt Gingrich promised to change just about everything but paint job at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.; he even wants to re-rig the courts. In his lights, we’ve been led down the road by religion-hating, just-folks-abjuring efete liberal snobs who sip imported vino and tip our social scales to near-socialism.

Surprisingly, perhaps, he’s joined in this call to battle by Mitt Romney, who’s tossed his “palatable Republican who can win” in favor of 2008′s “I’m so conservative-badass I won’t drive public roads”. So… he’ll be back to explaining this latest flip-flopping from his GOP Lite tenure as Massachusetts governor. He’s regressed four years instead his companions’ two.

Voters have passed by this parade. GOP candidates would do better to lambaste the new, much trumpeted mortgage “relief” for underwater homeowners – which ends up settling some books of our avaricious banks. Too big to fail wins again. But, as we know, if Republicans go down that road, they’ll have to explain their patronage of this sector, so rich and yet so foul.

Barack Obama doesn’t need any more ammo with which to broadside whoever wins nomination. He’s sitting back oiling his piece now, patiently waiting to unload.

- Feb. 11, 2012

9:00 a.m. – Pledge of Allegiance and Anthem; 9:03 – Oblivion 101…

Earlier this week, the Los Angeles Unifed School District dealt with possible child molestations in its system by transferring out the entire staff of an elementary school and replacing them with temps – apparently until smoke clears. Parents of Miramonte pupils, already furious that two teachers were suspected of abuse, reacted to news of the wholesale shakeout the way President Kennedy probably reacted to the Bay of Pigs invasion – in baffled, angry dismay. So did the teachers.

The 85 Miramonte Elementary School teachers who were removed from their classrooms as part of the investigation into the school’s sex-abuse scandal will be filing grievances against the Los Angeles Unified School District, union officials said.

The teachers were supposed to report to an empty, unopened high school Thursday morning, but instead, United Teachers Los Angeles president Warren Fletcher said, they were at union headquarters preparing their grievances. [Los Angeles Times]

As time-killer until the district figures out what to do next, the teachers had been “transferred” to empty, unfinished Augustus Hawkins High School to… stand around and look busy, apparently. “Clerical work” is how LAUSD classifies the assignment. The transfer, together with hiring replacements, has cost the district almost $6 million in extra expenditure, and probably endangers future of embattled Superintendent John Deasy.

“We intend to interview every adult, every adult who works at that school, whether they are a teacher or administrator, or whether they are an after-school playground worker or a custodian or a secretary. I mean every single solitary adult who works at Miramonte,” Deasy said to parents who packed a high school gymnasium.

Segregation for “interviews” probably is why teachers have been sent to Kafkaesque limbo in the unbuilt high school. But administration can be damn sure that won’t happen without teacher-union lawyers present. LAUSD has one of the strongest unions in the country. And some of the worst teachers in this hemisphere hang onto tenure because of it. Surely, that played a part in handling of one of the suspects, Mark Berndt, who was target of complaints as early as 1994.

Children, new word for our vocabulary list: Litigation.

- Feb. 9, 2012

BULLETIN: Big news of less-than-super Tuesday is low voter turnout. GOP rank-and-file unhappy with choices, may head south come November – USA Today

In housecleaning, it’s known as ‘Bad Penny Syndrome’

I was hoping for the endless GOP primary race to finally skim off and leave also-rans by the wayside by now. With only the Big Three onstage, moderators would be forced to ask Ron Paul a few questions and he’d be able to air his views, well, liberally for the first time in the race.

Nope. Rick Santorum, right, swept a bunch caucuses that don’t seem to matter a damn bit. He’ll use victories in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri Tuesday as springboard to the White House. Or… more likely… to a few more weeks of contention in this most-contended of contests. Then fall by the wayside.

Speaking on Fox News’s “Fox and Friends” Wednesday morning, Santorum attributed his Wednesday night sweep – albeit one that conferred no binding delegates -to his effectiveness in bringing his message on issues like the economy and Obama’s health care plan to the American people.

So, it’s Gingrich, Romney (still frontrunner, etc.), Paul and Santorum. There may be a few others in there – 21st-century versions of Harold Stassen – I haven’t been keeping that much of a count.

Why, I ask plaintively are there candidate “caucuses” that confer no delegates. What are they for? …Old friends get together, heft a few, and complain about Mexicans moving in? And if there are no delegates, is this a victory? Or “Miss Congeniality” crown?

- Feb. 8, 2012

What, exactly, is the big f*ckin’ problem with it?

I know a guy, much like Newt Gingrich, who believes in the sanctity of marriage. He also believes it’s his sacred duty to dump his wife every time she shows treadwear, and move up to a younger, sleeker model. He’s just busted up with Wife No. 3. This last time, he was the dumpee, so now he’s not so jake with divorce. But why he thinks marriage – state recognized and licensed, etc. – is so special is beyond me.

A U.S. Appeals Court today struck down California’s Proposition 8 – that infamous ban on gay marriage that dinged “hope and change” hullaballoo the night President Obama was elected in 2008. Its passage that night reminded everyone that the fight is long from over. …Or something. Given these three years of Obama’s Administration, we can wonder if the fight was ever engaged.

Somewhere ancient scripture badmouths gays. …Or something. We have absolutely no connection to those faraway times, but we cling to that dusty relic of The Good Book like there’s no tomorrow. I think that’s because we fear there’s no tomorrow. So Mormons, flakes, busy-bodies and closeted types of every variety got together and dumped gay marriage in the Golden State.

But why? If two people want to get married, is gender really an issue? Married people are, according to statistics, more prone to complaining and ready to battle. They let out all their hostility – mostly on their spouses. So they live longer. We can benefit from their expertise, or at least let them bore us about Woodstock one more time, until they finally kick the celestial bucket.

Let’s dump this nonsense and let gays marry. Finally. Why not?

- Feb. 7, 2012

What’s next? Endlessly retold rumors of a Syrian nuke?

I was long puzzled why we bombed Libya to propel its “Arab Spring” to success last year. Now I’m beginning to think we did it to initiate a “Qaddafi Protocol”, in which we’re committed to help along regime change in Crazy Raghead Tyrannies. Of course, Iran would be our target if we could find a way to stovepipe and cherry-pick a credible casus belli to attack the Persian state.

Until then, looks like Syria will do. All through last year and now blazing to liquified-metal intensity is political and media campaign to put Syria in our sights. After all, with Syria gone, Iran would be the last nation in the Mideast to remain as potential strategic threat to Israel. Uh!… I mean last nation to harbor terrorists and possibly develop a weapon of mass destruction capable of planting mushrooms in our decaying cities. NO WAIT! Mushroom CLOUDS, I meant to write. Yeah. That’s the ticket…

CNN is on the bandwagon, to be sure, topping Google News with a story headlined After reports of mass bloodshed in Syria, protests erupt on several continents.

About 150 protesters gathered outside the Syrian embassy in Belgrave Square… Thirty-one people broke through the locked doors of the Syrian embassy in Berlin, police said… A few dozen protesters gathered outside the Syrian embassy in Washington on Friday night…

I hate to seem all nitpicky and shit. After all, it’s in reaction to reported killing of 200 people by security forces propping up the indefensible Assad dynasty. But I would’ve ‘spected more protestors in a story that somehow tops news cycles at both CNN and Google. Y’know? These erupting “crowds” are as thin as flower-waving, candy-throwing dozens who danced on Saddam’s fallen statue after we seized Baghdad nine long, agonizing, fucking years ago.

If we do get ourselves immersed in yet another Mideast quagmire – Syria or Iran or both – we know our lickspittle media will be snug on-board and deeply imbedded in the bandwagon.

The fuckers.

- Feb. 4, 2012

Why did they wait for an election year to court-martial him?

Getting word out: Manning

In final analysis, our soldiers are our victims. Watch the Wikileaks video of our helicopter mowing down Iraqi civilians and journalists in an Baghdad suburb – it’s very graphic, by the way – and listen to the bored, matter-of-fact conversation. Americans in the copter might as well be throwing darts in a bar. These men aren’t demons and shouldn’t be demonized. This is war, this is what it does to people just like you and me.

Bradley Manning did the country a favor, showing us that, rubbing our noses in it. And now, he’ll face the music for it.

Military district of Washington commander Major General Michael Linnington referred all charges against Manning to a general court martial on Friday, the army said in a statement.

The referral means Manning, 24, will stand trial for allegedly giving more than 700,000 secret US documents and a classified combat video to WikiLeaks for publication. He faces 22 counts, including aiding the enemy, and could be imprisoned for life if convicted of that charge. [Guardian]

His defense team seems to be laying groundwork for a “troubled soldier” argument; that stress of his service sent him over the edge. Manning’s release was the biggest haul of documents leaked in our nation’s history, and has revealed everything from diplomatic gossip and backbiting to fascinating glimpses at our new boom industry: private intelligence agencies. These subcontractors are becoming virtually a power unto themselves, since strategic information is so valuable it will probably end up our next bubble vacuum on Wall Street.

Manning deserves a medal.

- Feb. 3, 2012

Chalk up another culture war victory to the Left

When Susan Komen for the Cure announced it would cut funding to Planned Parenthood for “cancer screening”, anyone with half a brain knew it would be new cause celebre for our would-be liberation warriors. Komen backed off that Twitter sensation today, to surprise of few. PPF, the one-time eugenics group and now womens’ health advocate, gets about $500- to $700,000 a year from Komen to provide health and breast-cancer screening to low-income neighborhoods. It will continue to do so.

The policy change doesn’t guarantee the Komen Foundation will continue to fund Planned Parenthood’s cancer prevention efforts. Yesterday, (founder and CEO Nancy) Brinker suggested that in addition to the congressional investigation, Komen cut ties with Planned Parenthood because they provide “pass-through” services, like clinical exams, rather than mammograms.

That investigation in Congress targets reports that PPF has engaged in Medicare fraud and has used federal funds to provide abortions. PPF has suggested that Komen was pressured by anti-abortion activists to suspend the funding. The investigation stinks to high heaven, driven by a Florida Republican who’s a longtime opponent of the organization; our own, ubiquitous Rep. Henry Waxman has jumped all over Stearns for this.

Not really sure what any of this will mean down the road, although liberals and conservatives (read: far-Right) seem to be seizing on abortion as an election year wedge issue. In December, the White House directed that contraceptives be covered in all employer health-insurance plans, even those at Catholic hospitals and facilities. The Anti-Obama Front theatrically blew up at that. Maybe this will pay more political dividends than their dead-on-arrival “who lost Iraq” fulminations; someone should’ve gotten word through that nobody gives a shit who lost Iraq as long as it stays lost.

Is this is the best flag to fly? For one thing, the health insurance mandate is way too high-handed, and First Amendment issues may be involved. For another, is Planned Parenthood really guaranteed grant money? Is withholding really an attack on women, demonic genocide? Isn’t there too much hyperbole in politics now? Abortion is a tricky issue, and a political tackling dummy.

Like the group’s connection to Girl Scouts, this is yet another unfortunate Belgium in the culture wars. Planned Parenthood worth all this? I doubt it. It’s survived 100 years and its first founder, eugenicist and white supremacist Margaret Sanger. It’ll bucket along nicely with or without Komen seed money.

As a friend of mine pointed out, no woman is in favor of abortion, but many are pro-choice.

- Feb. 3, 2012

BULLETIN: Trump endorses Romney, instead. Gobbler’s Knob, indeed.

He won’t fire ‘em… they’re as poor as his choice of words

So Donald Trump emerged from the hole he dug for himself over the “birther” fiasco, saw his shadow in dim limelight, and realized he had at least six more weeks of inexplicable media attention. He endorsed Newt Gingrich for president, there was some amused derision from second-rate radio stations, and everyone forgot once again about this Swiss-engineered comb-over.

Rick Santorum is hanging on – apparently just for sake of hanging on (think ‘Al Sharpton’). Maybe he has a Vegas line that he’ll make it past first day of Spring – and come into some real money.

Only drama in the endless GOP presidential race this week is the “Lost Patrol” diminishing body-count at the interminable debates.

Oh… and Mitt Romney stole his own fire after winning the Florida primary by seeming to throw the nation’s poor under the bus. His comment was jumped on by Right and Left alike. Mitt apparently has more political enemies than Nixon.

Here’s what Romney actually said on CNN yesterday:

“I’m not concerned about the very poor; we have a safety net there. If it needs repair, I’ll fix it. I’m not concerned about the very rich, they’re doing just fine. I’m concerned about the very heart of the America, the 90 percent, 95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling, and I’ll continue to take that message across the nation.”

The New Republic chortled that this was Romney’s “let them eat cake” moment. Bullshit. Romney’s right. The poor have welfare, food stamps and other “safety net” programs. The rich? Well… Mitt should know whether they need anything or not. He’s one of them.

There isn’t a thing in what Romney said I disagree with. It IS the working and lower-middle classes in this country who are suffering. Our incomes haven’t matched increases in cost of living for decades. We see a third of that income taxed while the rich get away with 12 percent to none. Our jobs are leaving and new labor competition flooding in. We are between a rock and “hard-up”.

Democrats and Romney’s GOP competitors alike would do well avoid this as points-maker. Quibbling over his statements and twisting them into something he didn’t intend is plain old bad form. Gingrich’s accusation about Romney engaging in liberal-style class warfare is closest to the mark, if the “warfare” accusation ever had merit. This may be the first time a Republican has been tarred with that brush.

Actually, it’s the first thing I’ve heard Romney say that gets my nod. Tell that to George Soros (see below).

- Feb. 2, 2012

In hand: Soros

Never trust a filthy-rich ‘progressive’ – Messiah or not

Guess somebody didn’t tell George Soros that Barack Obama is favorite of America’s Left. (He still is, isn’t he?) The billionaire former hedge-fund manager who once broke the Bank of England to turn his own dime has seemingly given soft imprimatur to a Mitt Romney presidency.

“If it’s between Obama and Romney, there isn’t all that much difference except for the crowd that they bring with them.”

Soros added, “Romney would have to take Gingrich or Santorum as a vice president and you probably have some pretty extreme candidates for the Supreme Court. So it won’t be that great a difference,” he concluded, if Romney becomes president.

Talk radio host Rush Limbaugh described Soros’ move this way: “He’s endorsing Romney. ‘Romney, that’s cool, no difference, I could go either way that way.’”

Soros also told Reuters that many hedge fund managers in the United States are backing Romney because Obama wants to raise their taxes. [NewsMax]

Soros has made a second career out of stuffing some of his nest egg into liberal/Lefty causes – as well as helping underwrite all those color-code revolutions that have rattled southern belt of what was the Soviet Union. In as much as oppressive governments were replaced – in some cases with more-oppressive regimes – these strategic overhauls were intended to ease Western access to Caspian Sea gas and oil and other… considerations.

Because of all this activism, Soros is something of a sacred cow – or bull, as the case may be – to America’s Left. But this is new, giving a slight nod of approval to a Romney presidency and perhaps letting his own feelings be known in that crack about Obama raising taxes.

As we’ve long known, revolutions, regardless how high-minded, don’t begin at home. This downturn economy may have caught up with Soros and other once-flush hedge men. A new investment target is needed to puff up, and oil just isn’t bubbling. There are still warnings that gas will go to $5 by summer, but the barrel-price just dropped again. When gas is too high, Americans stop driving. We’ve had 40 years practice at this. Any glut in a bubble market means a fast pop.

Yeah… Maybe George is turning Right this fall.

- Feb. 1, 2012

Nobody has a right to tax money, chica

When Tucson’s Unified School District board voted a couple of weeks ago to suspend its Mexican-American studies program, the reaction was oh-so expected: Familiar squeaky wheels declared it outrage akin to hate crime.

“I just want to talk to them,” said Nicolas Dominguez, a senior at Tucson Magnet High School, where administrators removed several seminal Mexican-American studies texts last week. “I want to talk to them about all of this, and I want to get to know them, because you have to get to know people before you can change them. I think it’s essential to become friends with the state superintendent and work together.”

Look, Nicolas, it’s going to be hard for you to understand this. You’re young, and all that moral province you’ve been led to believe is in your corner is as delusional and insipid as your odd fixation that talking to the Governing Board will “change them”. Here’s the deal: An  administrative law judge has ruled Tucson schools’ Hispanic studies curriculum violates a new state law. Unless the board flushes down the toilet this admittedly crucial and hysterically partisan “course”, the district stands to lose$15 million in state funds. Money talks, Nicholas, and it’s the only talk that isn’t cheap. In fact, when money is in short supply, it’s the only thing worth listening to, as the late Fred Allen noted.

You’d do better to talk in court. Certainly, American media is behind you, so coverage of your case will be positive. It seems to exemplify multiculti precepts media worships with near-religious fervor. CNN certainly cast you as good guy in this disposable epic. But here’s how the New York Times portrayed the situation, inadvertently capturing in black and white what so many… uh… gringos find grating:

The class began with a Mayan-inspired chant and a vigorous round of coordinated hand clapping. The classroom walls featured protest signs, including one that said “United Together in La Lucha!” — the struggle. Although open to any student at Tucson High Magnet School, nearly all of those attending Curtis Acosta’s Latino literature class on a recent morning were Mexican-American.

I’ll bet. Ethnic studies became a big deal in the ’60s and ’70s, when revolutionary bullshit and ethic self-aggrandizement was so fashionable. These “studies” essentially are ego-stroking circle jerks for those who feel downtrodden and victimized by The Man – honkies, whitey, gringos. Noble, put-upon folk; pale villains. History so simple and uncomplicated it’s appropriate only for fairy tale.

There’s absolutely no reason why this stuff shouldn’t be taught. No one will kick in your door and haul you off to a gulag if you do so. But you don’t get to do it with tax money, much of it paid by those terrible gringos. At least, not for now.

- Jan. 30, 2012

What the hell would THEY know about press freedom?

Paris-based Reporters Without Borders has dropped the U.S. to 47th in ranking of press freedom. We dropped from 20th (!) because of crackdowns on reporters during Occupy Wall Street protests. Frankly, I don’t remember a big stink about these “crackdowns”, but French snooties like to paint the U.S. as a place of oppression and “crackdown”. If a few reporters got busted, we can be pretty damn sure they were from “alternative” press and were taking part in demonstrations.

The Daily Mail article didn’t mention which countries got the best grades, but here’s the top 10 from the RWB website:

1 – Finland; 2 – Norway; 3 – Estonia; 4 – Netherlands;  5- Austria; 6 – Iceland; 7 – Luxembourg; 8 – Switzerland; 9 – Cape Verde; 10 – Canada

Norway and Switzerland are no surprise – but Cape Verde? We’re whipped by Costa Rica and Niger, which stinks to high heaven. And those topping us includes France, which, of course beats the U.S. by nine points.

This purely subjective list, you’ll note, is top-heavy with countries where insipid “hate speech” laws are au courant. For me, that’s non-starter. No country with these laws can beat nations without them – period. Hate speech laws are government censorship, no matter their high-minded sugar-coating.

Define hate speech? Any speech I don’t like. And if I’m arbiter of these stinking laws, that’s what the definition will be. “Hate speech” was an old Soviet scam in the early days of the U.N. by the way, to muffle criticism of its brutal, blood-drenched methods.

You can dip turds in chocolate, but they still stink when you bite ‘em.

- Jan. 30, 2012

America’s Fatuous Layabouts Crying In Outrage

Well… maybe not quite that arch a predicament, but I wonder if John Lewis and the rest of our working-folk crusaders ever thought their AFL-CIO would protect rights of public employees taking six weeks of vacation on the public dime.

That’s right: A month and a half bagging rays while I sit in a crummy office getting fluorescent tan.

Of (Cincinnati’s) 5,800 full-time positions, 1,970 workers took off more than the equivalent of six workweeks last year in vacation, sick leave and other time off, the Enquirer reports. And 147 people took off more than the equivalent of 12.5 weeks, according to the analysis.

The situation has emerged because of a policy that allows time off in city contracts to be carried over from year to year, according to the Enquirer. It is costing the city “millions,” the news organization reports.

Up to 1999, transportation workers in San Francisco’s Muni got outrageous vacation and sick leave – plus 8-10 days of “miss out” – when drivers and mechanics could simply sleep in, not to report to work, or even call in to report they’d be absent. It was in the fuckin’ contract! “Y’know… shit. I just don’t feel like working today, since I’m so drunk I can’t even see my pillow, so I’ll just miss out.” Sure wish I had that in my contract.

Sure wish I had a contract.

I guess I’m a little raw on this issue since my eight year old was bushwhacked by a mentally absentee teacher last year. This was a huge setback. Being so handicapped in the second grade, she and her unfortunate classmates struggle now to catch up with their fellow pupils. The teachers’ union has protected this particular specimen; she can’t be fired even though she does everything but flop down on a rollaway bed beside her desk. If she was frozen in Lucite she couldn’t be less effective.

Full disclosure: I’m the scion of a long line of laborers, and my father was an organizer for the United Steelworkers of America. So there!

- Jan. 29, 2012

Yeah… I know… it IS too damn big

But the reason is this map shows all our bases in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Turkey, and some of the nickel/dime ‘Stans in what was the southern Soviet Union. If we look closely, we see the only stretch of real estate bereft of our presence is right there in the middle.

…Iran.

You talk about having a country wedged between a rock and an F-16 (squadron). If ever you wonder about our recent history in the region, here’s your textbook. Iran has been in our sights – and Israel’s – for a long time now. It was puzzling back 20-plus years ago, when transcripts showed our Iraq ambassador, April Glaspie, had told Saddam Hussein we didn’t give a fresh, sticky shit if he invaded and occupied Kuwait. Then, when he did, we acted as if he’d dissolved Punky Brewster in weak acid, drank her right down, and pissed in a garbage dump.

Looked a lot like a… well… trap. And Saddam stumbled into it. Since then, we’ve been loading the place with our ballistic hardware, a military footprint among the biggest in the world.

We have Iran ringed with our military. Ringed. If the mullahs even think about making trouble for our Levantine li’l buddy, we’ll nuke the Persian state into a desert. And since it’s already mostly desert, we’ll nuke it into jungle. We don’t let quibbling details stop us.

I thank Democratic Underground for running this. An eye-opener, even if you’re familiar with this sordid tale.

…And who aware isn’t?

- Jan. 27, 2012

Edison cooked ‘em up. …Between phonograph and light bulb…

Interesting that GOP Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich dismisses the Palestinians as “an invented people”. That’s a meme of the Israelis: That there was nothing in Palestine before Jewish settlers arrived there in the early 20th Century. …Couple of donkeys. …Maybe a hookah cafe.

A scant six years ago he held them regard quite different. And Justin Raimondo combs over the sordid tale in his column today:

In a 2005 article for the Middle East Quarterly, Professor Newt opined that the Palestinians are “a relatively wealthy, educated, and cosmopolitan people,” who are “in some ways among the most international and most advanced people in the Arab world.” So advanced that they “invented” themselves? He also called for the US government to “establish a program of economic aid for the Palestinians to match the aid the U.S. government provides Israel.”

While Newt’s 2005 piece disparages the role of diplomacy, and attacks the present Palestinian leadership (including the Palestinian Authority/PLO) as nothing but a bunch of “terrorists,” he writes:

“The U.S. government should become the protector of the Palestinian people’s right to have a decent amount of land. The desire of some Israelis to use security as an excuse to grab more Palestinian land should be blocked by Washington even if that requires employing financial or other leverage to compel the Israeli government to behave reasonably on the issue of settlements. It is vital to our credibility in the entire Middle East that we insist on an end to Israeli expansionism. It is vital to our humanitarian duty to the Palestinian people that we protect the weaker party from the stronger power. It is vital that the world sees that our total support for Israeli security is not matched by a one-sided support for more extreme Israeli territorial demands.”

Upon receiving a record amount of $13 million from Adelson – the latest installment was a check for $5 million from Miriam Adelson, his Israeli-born wife – Newt the Historian woke up one morning to discover that there are no Palestinians – only a horde of drooling Orcs trespassing on Israeli land.

Ah… Money changes everything…

-  Jan. 25, 2012

Even cottage-industry media lives in PC Neverland…

If you’ve never read your local Patch, try it out. Google your municipal home base and “patch” and you’ll find it. It’s filled with stories filed by amateur reporters  – most quite good – covering news big papers and broadcast stations think is just too small-change to note. It’s “right-around-the-corner” stuff that has the feel of a small town.

But when I took note of a story in an Orange County version, I found myself redirected right back to big-media political correctness. In a story about two OC teenagers and the father of one of them jumped and beaten senseless by a dozen Hispanics, some of them gang members, The Patch ran this follow-up under headline ”

Brutal Attack Spurs Worries of Racial Backlash

The motives behind the attack remain unclear, but racially charged rumblings in some parts of the white community have already begun in comments posted on Patch and other media outlets. Some in the city’s Hispanic community – many of whom are proud of their civic involvement and efforts to stop gang crime over the last few years – fear a possible backlash.

To which I fired off this response:

So… let me get this straight. From your headline and reports of those sinister “rumblings in the white community” issue here is no longer the attack and near-murder, but fear of backlash from those rumbling white people. When, exactly, was the last time whites rampaged through Hispanic neighborhoods in violent “backlash”? Anyone can post anything to a blog. Actually, there’s no proof these “rumblings” actually reverberated from white people. Enough with the phony hand-wringing. These days, “racism” is defined as one or more white people waking up in the morning.

When the author, a Patch editor, replied that he hadn’t mentioned racism or violence, I hauled off with,

Mr. Townsend, it’s epitome of disingenuousness to point out you didn’t mention violence or racism. Just what is this fearsome “racial backlash” supposed to be? Intemperate critique at a country-club luncheon? Because that’s as far as it will go.

There is a myth in media that non-whites are forever besieged by phantom Klansmen, that lynching still is prevalent, that racism is as virulent as ever. You’ve never seen a lynching, Mr. Townsend; you’ve never encountered a Klan member. …Neither have I.

Look. Nobody but partisan squeaky wheels will accuse you of racism for simply telling the truth: Three white teenagers were set upon and beaten senseless by Hispanic gangsters. There. Now, look out your window. Do you see honkie nightriders prowling the streets, spoiling for vengeance? …You won’t.

Boy, did I feel better…

- Jan. 16, 2012

Kicking, Screaming Dept.

If for nothing else, this week’s New Hampshire primary stunned and amazed me by drawing an extremely grudging (though not cursory) admission of Ron Paul’s significance by none other than Charles Krauthammer, grim Carrie Nation of the neoconservative temperance union. More hatchetman than keg buster, Krauthammer ceaselessly condemns not only those outside his cult, but like commissars of old, he whips into line his own sometimes flagging, always overfed colleagues. Actually, it’s a lot of fun to see him do that. Lot of fun.

In his column today, he of course describes Paul as “wacky” and “eccentric”. All American media reactively dismiss Paul as crazy old uncle Ron, they way they’d hear “Mel Gibson” and holler back “Nazi, anger management”. Krauthammer says it’s not important to Paul whether he wins or loses, but that the snowball he’s started rolling brings on a new Ice Age. On that, I agree. Paul seems least ambitious to achieve the presidency of all the candidates, another way of saying he’s a committed realist, not self-reverential chickenshit. It’s his message, not his ego, that’s important to him.

The Republican convention could conceivably feature a major address by Paul calling for the abolition of the Fed, FEMA and the CIA; American withdrawal from everywhere; acquiescence to the Iranian bomb — and perhaps even Paul’s opposition to a border fence lest it be used to keep Americans in. Not exactly the steady, measured, reassuring message a Republican convention might wish to convey. For libertarianism, however, it would be a historic moment: mainstream recognition at last.

In Krauthammer’s world, steady and reassuring means invading countries that did us no harm, using nuclear weapons as non-proliferation tool, and never questioning conventional wisdom and extra-Constitutional institutions which have periodically destroyed most Americans to preserve bounty of a few.

For most of us, that’s unbalanced and threatening. And we’re to whom Paul will speak from Tampa.

- Jan. 12, 2012

Why DIDN’T he just jump out a window?

…’Cause if there were a dictionary entry “political defenestration”, Rick Perry’s photo would be ‘example A’.

The Texas governor accused President Barack Obama of cutting and running from the conflict in Iraq too early, in order to placate Democrats.

“This president wants to kowtow to his liberal, leftist base and move out those men and women,” Perry said. “He could have renegotiated that time frame.”

Perry’s fellow Republicans declined to join him in calling for a return of U.S. troops to Iraqi soil. [Politico]

Uh… yeah. I’ll bet they didn’t. For someone so out of touch, what’s next? Resume testing fluorides on retarded people? Restart the Cold War? Oh… wait… we’re already doing that.

- Jan. 9, 2012

Consider him already in apology mode…

Gingrich: bootstrap thyselves

Noting Rick Santorum’s unexpected strong showing in Tuesday’s Iowa caucuses, some seem to have linked it to his comment about African-American welfare numbers Sunday:

 “I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money; I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money.”

Evidently, whites and all other ethnic shades collecting their dole will be free to goldbrick their way to Big Rock Candy Mountain.

But with an eye on Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary, Newt Gingrich has decided he’ll not be outdone:

I will go to the NAACP convention and explain to the African-American community why they should demand paychecks instead of food stamps,” said Newt Gingrich at a town hall meeting in New Hampshire.

At the convention… Yeah… That’ll happen.

Something tells me this copycat sniping won’t be the boost needed by Gingrich’s sagging campaign. But perhaps, if nothing else, he does seem eager to defend his reputation as prime wedge-issue abuser.

- Jan. 6, 2012

Cancel his reservations…

This happened a few days ago, but i just won’t let it go, since the language is so dripping in hypocrisy. Otherwise, I can’t tell you how happy I am that President Obama has reservations about allowing American presidents – like him – power usually reserved for despots and North Korean Dear Leaders. (Is that redundant?)

In his last official act of business in 2011, President Barack Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act from his vacation rental in Kailua, Hawaii. In a statement, the president said he did so with reservations about key provisions in the law — including a controversial component that would allow the military to indefinitely detain terror suspects, including American citizens arrested in the United States, without charge.

Absolutely no surprise there. Anyone alive the past decade realizes Washington is hellbent on torching the Bill of Rights and turning back the clock to an age of dungeons and torture. The question remains: Why now? Our wars are (supposedly) winding down. Why hand presidents this egregious power now? Why shred our Constitution so completely? Where are terrorists from whom this will protect us?

…On Capitol Hill and in the White House, perhaps?

- Jan. 4, 2012

Happy New Year, blah, blah, blah – let’s get to it…

When I moved down to L.A. eight years ago, I parked my 1982 Chrysler Imperial Frank Sinatra Special Edition (it even had the cassette tape of throwaway Blue Eyes tunes, including “Laura”) in an open carport beneath my Toluca Lake apartment house. I’m sure that would be a prime target for the firebug haunting the City of Angels of late – had he happened by that comfortable Burbank neighborhood.

My brother called me yesterday in a tizzy – reports of serial arsons in Hollywood and over the hills in the valley had made the CBS Evening News. I assured him we were fine – and then wondered about definition of “fine”.

Last summer, another arsonist set fires with the same MO, mostly here in the valley. He was caught and in a twisted way had an interesting background. A serviceman a decade or so ago, he was arrested in Japan doing his fiery shit and became an international Japan/U.S. incident. They’re getting a little antsy about why an American military force is still stationed on their shores 67 fuckin’ years after World War II ended.

Now, police think more than one match-crazy jackass is at work, but they have some video footage of one suspect:

…A suspect’s image may have been captured on one of the structure’s video cameras; police were broadcasting a description of a white male in his mid-30s with a receding hairline and a ponytail.

Also on Saturday, Los Angeles County firefighters were called to the 1000 block of North Sweetzer Avenue in West Hollywood about 8:30 p.m. They found an apartment house carport with two vehicles on fire and spent 25 minutes dousing the flames, said Don Kunitomi, an on-scene fire inspector.

“Whoever is doing this is really messing with people’s lives,” said Fire Capt. Jamie Moore. [Los Angeles Times]

Bet on that: One of the recent fires was less than two blocks from my present North Hollywood den.

 Jan. 1, 2012

WATCH LIST, Nov. – Dec. 2011

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