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Friday 11 May 2007

Supposition: Cheney Is The Shadow President

on 11 May : 14:25  Posted by Brassmask  Category: Misc  
Via the brilliant Think Progress

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Fox New’s Bret Baier told Dick Cheney, “You are portrayed by your opponents and some in the media as this sinister figure, as this cold-blooded warmonger who doesn’t care about the number of body bags going back.” Cheney said that he regrets the casualties, but added, “Obviously, the President bears the major part of the burden. He’s the man with the authority to commit the force.”

It has always been sort of the nod and winkery that Cheney is the real president or at least Bush's puppeteer.

This comment of his regarding the "president" bearing the major part of the burden seems to really be telling from me. He's basically saying that he IS exactly what his opponents portray him as but "tough shit" because I'm only the "vp" and I don't sign the bills and whatnot.

He's basically telling us to "F off and die" 'cause, yeah, he doesn't care.
Wednesday 09 May 2007

Never Been A Better Time Than Right Now

on 09 May : 11:50  Posted by Brassmask  Category: Misc  
There are a couple of things I do every year that after I do them I swear to myself and on everything I hold dear that I will absolutely NEVER do again.

One is the Cooper Young Festival. I know people love to go and its always packed but I suspect that EVERYONE feels the same way I do about it: something between malaise and disdain. No one ever wants to admit it because it seems that everyone else is soooo into it. So, as I've done for years, let me be the one to lay it out there hardcore for you babies in the extended entry.

The other thing is I watch that freaking "American Idol".
You know those people who talk about "American Idol" like its a detriment to all things holy in music and culture and that people that watch it are just mouth breathers who like a high note held long and a big bang at the end that lets them know when to clap and cheer? That's me. (Both of them.)

Yes, publicly, I mock those who watch it but I secretly watch it all as much as possible. (Damn, it's addictive sugary goodness!) I tell myself that I'm not "one of them" because, honestly, I've wanted to and picked up the phone several times but I have yet to vote.

The point of this is not to sing the praises of "American Idol". If it was canceled tomorrow, I'd only be mad because I didn't get to find out if Melinda Doolittle actually went on to win or if there was a huge upset and my fave Lakisha sang something amazing that won everyone over to her; but, I wouldn't miss it next year.

(Yes, when Jennifer Hudson was on, she was my fave and she sang Circle of Life and it was amazing! Yes, I thought Fantasia was great and when she sang Summertime and cried, I did get a lump in my throat. Why should I lie? If you watch that and don't get moved at least a little, you may want to see a doctor because it means you're dead inside. Watch this to double-check. If not moved, make your way to nearest emergency room.)

They something did on there which was, as American Idol is to me, kind of astounding and a good bit cheesy/cheap. Last week, they had this show to raise money and big name stars came on to help draw eyeballs and dollars. Bono, Annie Lennox, Il Divo, Madonna, Ben Stiller and so on.

They pulled this stunt where they had Celine Dion come out and sing with Elvis. If you haven't seen it, you should even if it is just for the kitsch factor. It's kind of cool to see '68 Comeback E all in white singing with '07 Celine all in black.

That is not even exactly the point. What really blew me away was that song. If I Can Dream, which I had seen E sing on the Comeback special and other places and had completely forgotten, is EXACTLY the kind of song people need to hear today.

That song has that sort of immediacy, desperation and aching that is absolutely missing from today's discussions; political, humanitarian, altruistic, whatever. Remember that post I did about that heinous John Mayer song where he's lamenting that his generation is just waiting for the world to change? (Jesus, Mary and Joseph...) Mayer's song, Waiting For The World To Change is exemplary of what is WRONG with the world. Bush is "waiting" for things to get better in Iraq. Goopers are always telling me that if we don't like Bush, just wait till '08 and he'll be gone. They said to wait for '04 and vote him out.

The thing with waiting is that gives Bush and his cult the time to do whatever they hell they want to do while we're all waiting. We're waiting for this and that so we can stop people in Darfur from dying. That's waiting for the world to change.

If I Can Dream is more immediate. Check it.

Deep in my heart theres a trembling question
Still I am sure that the answer gonna come somehow
Out there in the dark, theres a beckoning candle
And while I can think, while I can talk
While I can stand, while I can walk
While I can dream, please let my dream
Come true, right now
Let it come true right now

You see that there at the end? "right now" That's what I want to know. If people are starving, why aren't we loading C130's with pallets of food?

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Is it so important that some executive get some billion dollar bonus because he saved the company X amount of money by holding onto pallets of food because it would cost the company more money to give it away than to let it sit and rot?

It seems as I read Bob Woodward's State of Denial that in "managing" the illegal invasion of Iraq that the Bush underlings were all too busy waiting on something rather than picking up the god damned phone and getting electricity on or sewage lines cleared. Rice was waiting on Rummy to do X. Powell and Tenet were waiting on the generals to do Y. No one ever got off their ass and went out in the street and started barking orders because in the atmosphere they had created for themselves, everything was micromanaged and no one wanted to take the fall for the mistakes even if that meant (and still means) that nothing got done.

Indigo Girls had a song called Least Complicated. Check it.

What makes me think I could start clean slated
The hardest to learn was the least complicated

That's where we are in this country. The least complicated concept is "People are dying and we can stop that". That's the least complicated but as a country, a nation, a collective, Americans can't seem to grasp it. We've been brainwashed to think that we have to consider the most ridiculous of concepts. For instance, corporations and "property rights" are now trumping "large numbers of people are dying from starvation".

And the idea that maybe corporations, "property rights" and the like should be trumped at all even by something like "people are dying and we can stop that" is somehow now a radical train of thought. It is even subversive. Even if it saves peoples' lives. Even if it keeps children from growing up without parents.

Another of my broken records is recounting how in the days following the attacks on 9.11, not one person considered "price" when sending supplies to Ground Zero. No one was so moronic as to send a bill behind any equipment they sent to the site to dig out survivors or recover victims. Sure, now, corporations probably use the donations as advertising but, come on, no one was so cynical on 9.11 around 10 AM to say, "Hey, here's an advertising opportunity!" (Were they? Ugh. That's a stomach-turning thought.) Surely, all that happened was an exec called a warehouse manager and said, "Load whatever frontend loaders we have on the lot and get them to Manhattan right now." And no warehouse manager with half a heart or a quarter of a brain asked for paperwork.

They just turned to Joe and Terrance and said, "Go pull a rig over here, get all the keys you can find. Right now."

We have the power to make our dreams come true. "We're lost in a cloud" where we're taught to think that the dream of a world without hunger and disease is unattainable and even childish. This is ludicrous and pathetic. The country that put men on the moon can feed a world of 8 billion people. I'm pretty sure that's doable. Considering that we are paying people not to farm land, it seems damned doable. Yes, the people who make their millions by controlling demand and supply won't make millions off this dream. They've got enough money. Don'tcha think?

It's not good enough for me to know that my kid's stomach is full every night when he goes to bed. It's not good enough for me to know that when I have a sinus infection or my wife is pregnant or my son eventually breaks an arm that we have insurance that will pay for us to go to a doctor.

The "president" can launch a trillion dollar war on a whim for kicks but we as a nation can't decide to be the humanitarians of the world? Sure, sure, America donates more money and so forth than any other nation. So WHAT!?!?! There are still hungry and sick and dying people in the world. The government is the tool we use to solve collective issues. Let's use it to solve all of them for every man, woman and child. It's got the money, the manpower and the clout. Do it. Right now!

Elvis says so.

Tuesday 08 May 2007

A Little Perspective Is Always Good For the Soul

on 08 May : 20:11  Posted by Brassmask  Category: Misc  

Shelby County Dem Party Growing Pains

on 08 May : 00:11  Posted by Brassmask  Category: Misc  
demo_logo_766.gifLeftWingCracker has a kudos to the new chairman of the SCDP up over at his site. There were some comments there that bear reading by anyone who is disgusted with local politics and those running local politics.

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Keith Norman (pastor), by nearly all accounts, is a decent man. I'll be totally honest about him. When he spoke at the Main Library prior to the convention, I had respect for him and thought he had it in him to run the party fairly. (LWC confirms that supposition for me with his post.) But, on the honesty tip, he was very churchy. I tried to be high-minded and fair and non-biased but, as an atheist, I view politics as every man's domain and when I hear answers to political questions delivered with an obligatory bible verse, it kind of puts me off.

Now, that's not Pastor Norman's fault. In fact, I feel that it is no one's "fault", it is simply my own personal fact. I don't think he should be barred from serving as the Chairman. (Two years ago, I would have said different.) I don't think he's going to fail to bring the "factions" within the Dem Party together. There doesn't seem to be a reticence to religion being integrated with politics in Shelby County. (I'm not implying that there is eagerness towards theocracy either, though I think that could be debated fairly.)

It is good to hear that the Chairman has decided to shut down the ne'er-do-wells who want to run the party by using Roberts' Rules to kill everything that anyone else has thought of. This is a great sign. There are those who want to be the kings of the party even at the expense of the party.

Of course, in the comments at LWC's site , there is that voice out there saying that no one should complain about the party or what they do unless they come down and hand out cokes or make calls and so forth. Utter hogwash. Yes, it would be great if everyone could contribute their weekends to making the SCDP the powerhouse that it probably could be, but to what end? So, they couldn't stop Harold Ford, Jr from telling the world that he's not a Democrat but then have a D after his name on the ballot? Personally, I have done a few things for the party and each time I was treated like I was being paid $5 an hour and had no business talking to anyone about politics or the party's bee's wax.

When the SCDP is the powerhouse it promises to be, who then will it serve? Surely not Fords, for I feel that family is done politically and if the SCDP would like to resuscitate that dynasty then my job is to make sure it fails as an entity. I'd have to post every day about how it is ruining the free world by supporting a Harold Ford Jr run for another senate seat.

The way I see it, the SCDP only deserves support when it does what I like; otherwise, it's a religion. And I'm not in the market for a religion. On the occasions when I have the time and the inclination to do some kind of business with the SCDP, I often hear comments that rile me more than inspire me. During the caucus and the convention, I was around one person both times who continually told me that "Hillary is the presumed nominee". That irks me. That kind of mindset is what sank us on 2004 when all the stalwarts of the local party (including one HF,J) insisted that anyone supporting someone other than John Kerry was simply wasting their time.

That went well, didn't it?

And if the SCDP stalwarts are going into 2008 with the mindset that Hillary is going to be the nominee then cancel my subscription, kids. Hillary is being whooped up on by one Barak Obama and John Edwards is nipping at their heels. Admittedly, we're 20 months out right now and a lot can change but come on, it is WAAAAAY too early to be calling it. And anyone on the SCDP Exec Committee calling it at this time for Hillary should be shouted down at every opportunity.

It has always annoyed me when people cry for party loyalty even though the nominee they are covering for sucks ass. Harold Ford, Jr is the obvious example. The guy went out of his way to crap on Democrats high and low and then he has these morons here in town and across Tennessee and the nation crying that we have to vote for him anyway because a D is always better than an R. I disagree.

Joe Lieberman is not better than an R. Joe Lieberman is WORSE than an R because he continues to support the Iraq invasion and he has the word "democrat" after his name. (Yes, I know, it's INDEPENDENT Democrat, but who the f cares?)

It sickens me to think of all the good, loyal Democrats who think the Iraq "war" was wrong and we were lied into it who will, in 8 to 10 months time, be defending Hillary's vote for it and her never ending refusal to openly apologize and renounce it without actually apologizing. It is my belief that she knows the "war" will be winding up in the weeks prior to the election in '08 and she will be waggling her finger at the "fringe lefties" who were crying about the sky falling and the like.

The real problem with the whole idea of a D versus an R is that you sometimes have trouble telling them apart. In 2000, I had a real problem telling Bush apart from Gore. I don't anymore. When viewed through the prism of Iraq, I can't tell much difference between Hillary and Bush. Both want to continue dynasties. (Boo.) Both don't seem to understand that thousands have died in the illegal invasion of Iraq not to mention the devastation of the lives of those left without their loved ones.

Sure, sure, people will want to point out how Hillary wants health care for all but so what? She voted for the war and doesn't renounce that decision. She wants people to think that she could push the button if it came to that. She wants to be seen as "strong on defense" so she can't renounce her vote because she's afraid that rich, white guys will think she's a weak-kneed lassy who would let the middle-easterners take over the world and bring an end to the rich, white guys' way of life. Boo frickin' hoo.

All ranting aside, the SCDP has got to show me something. Sure, I'll come and vote at the conventions and caucuses and I'll get out in my neighborhood and encourage folk to vote for the Dem candidate but only if I LIKE the Dem candidate. Don't expect me to just come out and support the home team when they don't have the basic common sense to put their best players on the field or, even worse, just throw some jackasses out on the field just because they happen to be on our side of the stadium but don't know crap about how we play football over here.

What does the SCDP stand for anyway? One of the things that I cheered former Chairman Matt Kuhn for was his decision (at least, I THINK it was his decision) to put together a "covenant" of basic principles for the party. A lot of people put some time and effort into that and then after it was finished, no one ran with it. (Possibly due to Kuhn's inability to make people be tight ends and halfbacks instead of quarterback wannabe's?) If I knew that every candidate the SCDP supported was going to be against urban sprawl, fully invested in lowering the infant mortality rate in SC and really interested in making the SC education system into a world class model, then hell yes! Sign me up! I'll give a few bucks for that!

I feel like the party is in for some real positive changes. I have confidence in Keith Norman. It's the locals I'm worried about. They don't seem to know what they stand for other than a D after their candidates' names. Sort of like how people feel about being Baptist or Catholic or Episcopalian. If asked why they go to that church or belong to the religion, they usually reply with either "Because it's the one, true religion" or "That's just how I was raised".

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