Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Sting

I honestly don't know what to make of this, though if it is true that James O'Keefe, conservative filmmaker and investigator, actually attempted to bug the phones at the office of Senator Mary Landrieu, it was undoubtedly a boneheaded move on part.

I still think there is a lot more to the story than we are being told. One of his alleged co-conspirators is Robert Flanagan, the son of US Attorney for Western Louisiana James J Flanagan. Another individual is rumored to be the operator of some kind of obscure private "spy school".

Andrew Breitbart, who has long been a supporter of O'Keefe, has denied all knowledge of O'Keefe's actions, which could, if he is tried and convicted, earn him a lengthy prison sentence on federal charges.

Personally, I think he was set up. That doesn't excuse his actions, but it damn sure mitigates them, especially if he was led to believe by an authoritative source that his recent attempts to apparently uncover damaging information about Landrieu's official activities were legal, if unethical.

It becomes a matter of concern when you consider that this might have been a set-up that goes all the way up to the Justice Department and the very FBI who busted O'Keefe and his crew. Why were they investigating him to begin with? Who tipped them off? Is it possible that they weren't exactly so much tipped off as they were in on this from the beginning?

ACORN is still facing potential legal problems, to say nothing of losing it's considerable federal funding, over a series of undercover film exposes conducted by O'Keefe in which he shows the depths to which ACORN personnel were willing to sink, advising him and a partner, both of them in disguise (he as pimp, she as prostitute) as to how best to go about importing Salvadoran underage girls to work as prostitutes in a proposed brothel in such a way as to avoid tax and legal problems. One of the videos which resulted from the investigation of an ACORN office in Baltimore, follows below.

It goes without saying that ACORN has friends in high places who would like to see their present problems go away as much as they would. What better way to do that than to manipulate a scheme aimed at tarnishing, preferably outright destroying, the reputation of the man who caused them their problems to begin with?

Shamefully, everybody on the right seems eager to hang O'Keefe out to dry, despite the fact that he performed an obvious service, one of incalculable merit to the country. Now, even Breitbart seems determined to distance himself from O'Keefe.

I am not impressed by claims that Landrieu's person and offices is sacrosanct. This is not ancient Rome, where a Senator's person is considered inviolable. At least, this certainly should not be the case. How is she different from the myriads of people targeted in undercover investigations by journalists over the years, such as 60 Minutes? This is a woman who is a known whore, only getting on board the latest health care reform scam after she was promised that her state would be the beneficiary of extra federal funds, to the tune of 100,000 dollars, in an affair that has been dubbed The Louisiana Purchase. Are we supposed to accept that she should be immune from investigation by a citizen journalist? Why? While we are at it, is she above the law as well? Well, that would seem to be the case, as the last I heard, vote-buying is illegal. But then again, that seems to be yet another example of a law that applies only to private citizens, yet is business as usual in Washington.

That's all right, Landrieu's time is coming soon, as are many, many others.

And to those who like to insinuate that the actions of the ACORN employees in the film above has been taken out of context, or that it might be one example of a few employees who are not reflective of the organization as a whole, I would suggest that you watch it once more, very carefully, this video taken surreptitiously at an ACORN office in Baltimore.

Then watch the following one, which was taken at an ACORN office in San Bernardino California, which in many ways is even more disturbing, the female employee here going into vivid detail as to how she set her allegedly abusive husband up to kill him by making the rounds at several abuse shelters in order to establish a defense.

Also, O'Keefe informs her he plans on using the proceeds of his business as seed money to run for Congress, which doesn't seem to elicit any kind of surprise from her. Then again, this is a woman advising him, just as in the video above, as to how best establish a business utilizing underage prostitutes in such a way as to avoid any potential legal hassles.

I'll come right out and say it, I know to my own satisfaction that O'Keefe was set up, and if the truth ever does manage to come out, it might well serve to replace the current Tea Party movement with another movement that hearkens back to the days of the founding of the country, and one which I would actually prefer in some ways.

The Tar-And-Feather movement.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Delaware-Changes In Attitudes

Scott Brown's victory in the Massachusetts Senate race has been called a shot heard round the world, and that is probably not an exaggeration. It was certainly heard in Delaware, where Vice-President Bidens son Joe, the states Attorney General, has declined to run for his father's old Senate seat. The prevailing wisdom here is he knows his chances of winning would be slim in the current political climate. This leaves the way clear for Representative Mike Castle who, as the most popular politician in the state, would be a shoe-in to win the seat.

Not so fast though. The Tea Party movement, which has a strong presence in Delaware, isn't exactly enamored of Castle's past vote in favor of Cap And Trade, so there might be a primary challenge, which, if successful, depending on who comes out on top and on who the Democrats nominate, might well put the race up in the air.

Can't somebody please take Castle off to the side and have a nice long talk with him? He can think of it as a Come to Jesus moment, or a trip to the woodshed, or a simple heartfelt change of position. He wouldn't be the first politician in the world to change his mind.

This is a Senate seat we're talking about here.

Brangelina Forever, Unfortunately

Somebody who is undoubtedly associated with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie leaked a story to a British tabloid to the effect that the pair were splitting up, which served it's ultimate purpose. Attention was once again focused on the couple by way of this story, which is for now one of the top listed features in Google News. Brad and Angelina have denied the report, which yet served its purpose. Everybody is thinking about Brangelina again.

After all, why should people focus so much attention on important world affairs, including a disaster which might well have already claimed hundreds of thousands of lives amidst further incalculable suffering, when they could just as easily be thinking about the insignificant and self-centered lives of two vain, vapid, and pretentious Hollywood movie stars?

I don't know, but I think one or both of them were involved in the Haitian Relief Telethon. Evidently they were disappointed to discover they could not exactly be the center of attention this time around.

Naturally, you can almost count the days until this Dumbnamic Duo announce they are soon to adopt some Haitian orphans whose presence in the same general vicinity as the two will probably be limited to those times the cameras are flashing and rolling, as is probably the case with the remainder of both the adopted brood as well as those naturally conceived by them.

The remainder of the children's time is probably spent in the company of household staff and assistants whose places they are being groomed to take over at some future date.

I know that sounds a little harsh, but I think it's spot on. The leaked report in question is an old Hollywood trick. Leak reports to the tabloids, then issue a denial or confirmation. Sometimes it comes back to bite them on the ass, for example when Michael Jackson's staff, on Jackson's directions, encouraged one tabloid to refer to one of Jackson's photographed exploits as "bizarre". So successful was the story, it led to a run of them, and they helped wreck Jackson's life.

Naturally, many of the most obvious offenders like to play the victims of the tabloids, when in reality the only people truly victimized is society at large, which can't escape the odious aspects of the addictive natures of those who shell out millions of dollars a year to read this garbage, which is everywhere you go, down every supermarket checkout lane and every prime time entertainment news program.

There has to be an all-encompassing emptiness in the lives of those who obsess over this pair and others like them, a vacuum that is every bit as pronounced as the people they focus their adulation around. And make no mistake, they encourage this kind of idolatry. For example, the picture above is of a sculpture they had installed in the ceiling of their master bedroom, made out of crushed wine glasses which contains their DNA. This is an indication that these two have an exaggerated sense of their own self-importance, but at least it's a private bit of pretentiousness. Unfortunately, it doesn't stop there.

The same sculptor created this monstrosity as a public display in honor of "National Breast Feeding Month". It appeared in Oklahoma City in September, and from there was shipped to England. It features Angelina Jolie breastfeeding two of her infants. I guess the significance of this is it implies that most mothers would never engage in breastfeeding without Angelina's recommendation. I would point out that there has never actually been a photograph of her breastfeeding anybody, and I personally feel the only child she has ever actually breast-fed is Brad Pitt.

Oh, but we're not finished yet. The same sculptor was a busy, busy man, so busy in fact, he tried his hand at architecture.

I am not really clear on this, but I think this house is in New Orleans, or it may be in Oklahoma, or possibly LA, but the point is, the name of it is Brangelina House. The good news is, you can buy it yourself for $500,000. Unfortunately, you have to sign an agreement to the effect that Brangelina are the "honorary owners" of the residence. What this means is anytime they are in town, you have to pretty much give them the run of the place. It would be interesting to see how this plays out, whether they would actually push a person out of their home to accommodate them, and for how long they would do so. Are they entitled to move their kids in on a permanent basis, or even staff?

But the main point is, these works were obviously commissioned by the two, who it must be obvious by now think rather highly of themselves. Is it beyond reason then to suspect that the rumors of their split up were planted in order to grab the attention of a public with nothing better to do than lives their lives vicariously through the public lives of this ego-centric pair?

The really sad thing is, while granted they are both attractive and talented people, in another era they would be considered quite average B-list or maybe even c-list performers.

Friday, January 22, 2010

My Recommended Charities For Haiti, And-A Joke

I don't know how many people watched the Telethon for Haiti that permeated broadcast television Friday night, I do know I didn't. Even though I won't make any judgments as to the sincerity of any individual performer or the many actors who manned the phones to take pledge calls, I will have to admit that, in general, I have to consider much of this just so much self-promotion, and in some cases nothing more than an excuse to promote leftist politics. Case in point-the preening little narcissist John Edwards, fresh off current revelations that yes he did father a "love child" with Rielle Hunter behind the back of his cancer stricken wife (who, admittedly, is a world class bitch). When Edwards went to Haiti to "help", it was obviously a way to repair his beyond damaged reputation. The fact that he went there accompanied by Marxist actor and Chavez/Castro supporter Sean Penn speaks volumes. As an aside I should point out that it has not been so long ago that Edwards tried to package himself as a centrist Democrat. If that in itself doesn't make you wary of all such self-styled moderates within the Democratic Party, nothing will.

Mainly, however, I fear that the telethon will do more harm than good, mainly because of the expense involved in putting the thing on, which can not help but drain many of the resources from the many good and well-meaning people who called in to make their pledges, the vast majority of whom would more than likely feel no need to hear Bruce Springsteen butcher We Shall Overcome in order to do so. Nor would the prospect of speaking on the phone to Jack Nicholson or Julia Roberts induce most to give more. For those who were so influenced, I hate to break it to you, but they probably forgot your name the minute you got off the phone with them, unless you said something really, REALLY inappropriate.

Even in the best of circumstances, even if this did inspire more people to give than would ordinarily have given, and even if it encouraged many to give twice as much, the fact remains, the production expenses will eat up a great deal of it. And then there's the important question-who gets the money.

Two of the projected recipients raise some red flags. Yele, which is the charity of Haitian musician Wyclef Jean has been accused of financial improprieties, yet was a recipient, even though Jean has been accused of using a large portion of the funds of his Haitian charity, Yele, for his own personal use. When I first heard of this, I considered the possibility that this might be an unfair attempt by other charities to harm a competitor, because let's face it, Big Charity is a business in it's own right, just one that isn't legally allowed to make a profit. That's the only difference. The bigger a charity is, the more in the way of wages, salaries, bonuses, and overhead it has to pay out. I was of the mind then that perhaps Wyclef Jean's charity was unfairly targeted and maligned by supporters of other charities, many of whom are run by people who are every bit the shark as your most ruthless corporate CEO.

Even Rush Limbaugh defended Wyclif Jean, probably for this very reason, but as it turns out, where there's smoke, often there really is fire. Wyclef Jean hung his staff out to dry, hired a new set of accountants, and appeared as a featured performer at the same Telethon of which his charity remains a major beneficiary.

Another odious recipient is The Red Cross, the penultimate example of a Byzantine, bureaucratic charity that eats up a large percentage of it's donations in overhead, salaries, and bonuses. They were also a subject of controversy in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks for refusing to utilize money received ostensibly to benefit 9/11 survivors families, instead transferring funds for projected future needs against the expressed wishes of the majority of contributors to 9/11 relief.

A good rule of thumb is, the intended recipients of charity relief should receive at the very least one third of the money a private charity takes in ostensibly for their benefit. I would prefer to see that number go to well over half the charities intake. The point to all this is, before you give to any charity, you should attempt to research exactly how effective they are. Charities such as the aforementioned Yele should be given a wide berth, and the Red Cross deserves a similar degree of skepticism. There are some charities I could recommend for Haitian relief, but even so I still suggest you look into them yourselves before you send them anything. All I can do is point out the directions, you still have to watch your step along the way.

As for which charities, I'll get into that soon, but first-a joke!

French President Sarkozy, having studied up on the sad, tragic history of France's past with Haiti, decided France should make a contribution to the relief efforts. But he was in a bind, as the state of the French economy was far from ideal. Still, human decency and compassion compelled him to make a pledge on behalf of the great people of France.

When his wife learned what he had done, she almost literally hit the roof and, in a rage, ordered her chauffeur to rush her to the airport in an attempt to put a stop to what she considered a foolishly insane promise.

She arrived just in time to see Sarkozy readying to board his private jet, tugging a luggage rack on wheels with four different suitcases, one atop the other. She shouted at him to stop. Turning, he saw her approaching hurriedly. Handing his luggage to an attendant, he ordered him to take it up the ramp.

"What did you promise those people?" she demanded. "Money? Medicine? Clothing? What?"

"None of that, my dear," he reassured her in a calm but firm voice. "I simply pledged to the Haitian President that I would donate, on behalf of France, a years supply of personal grooming supplies. You know-soap, shampoo, tampons, deodorant, that kind of thing."

"Is that a year's supply worth for Haiti, or for France?" she demanded, obviously seething.

"France," he replied sheepishly.

"You idiot!" she screamed. "What are the people of France to do for the next year?"

"Oh, for God's sake, Carla, the companies will just increase production, and the donation will be replaced probably before they are ever missed. You must have faith in my decisions. After all, I am your husband, and need I remind you, the President of France. I must set an example."

This untypical determination on the part of her husband actually shamed Carla, and the First Lady of France lowered her head, suddenly humbled in the face of her husband's magnanimous gesture and strong determination.

"I apologize deeply my husband," she said apologetically. "I don't know what came over me. I only want what is best for you, and for our country. I love you."

"As I do you, my dear," Sarkozy replied. "Now go back to the Presidential palace and wait. I shall return in a few days, I promise."

With that, Carla left, and Sarkozy boarded the plane, where he was greeted by the pilot.

"That was very brave of you, Mr. President," the pilot said admiringly.

"Yes, well, let's just please be on our way before she changes her mind." Sarkozy said as he then pointed in the direction of the four piece luggage set that now rested by his seat. "Besides, I want to give this to the Haitians as soon as possible."

(Okay you can stop laughing now, joke over)

As for what charities I can recommend, well not many, but there are some.

The first one that comes to mind is The Salvation Army, which I learned from The Fat Guy, has actually established a significant presence in Haiti over the course of a good many years. As such, they presumably already have the means to distribute any donations they receive in an effective manner.

Samaritan's Purse is one I had never heard of before. It comes recommended by Lemuel Calhoun of the blog Hillbilly White Trash who assures us that they put every dime they give to good use. Of course, there are expenses involved with any charitable organization.

Jason of The Wild Hunt Blog recommends that you make use of the website Charity Navigator, which functions as a kind of Better Business Bureau of the Charity world. Jason especially recommends the group Doctors Without Borders.

I have to admit, I find their recommendation of The Red Cross dubious, but I will grant them this one error, because in fact, I do concede The Red Cross does good work. I just feel they, and a good many others, could do a lot better.

Charity Navigator also gives good advice on what to avoid. Telemarketers and on-line requests for aid should be ignored, and in some cases it might be appropriate to report them to the proper authorities. They also strongly urge that you do not give money directly to the Haitian government nor to any officials of that corrupt entity.

Finally, I feel that I should point out that there are many good local and regional charities throughout the United States that by reason of their limited range fly under the radar and remain generally unknown. However, that is not a reflection of the actual work they do, much of which can be considerable.

Agape Flights,for example, is an organization which flies in supplies of donations received through the auspices of several different churches in the Kentucky area as listed on WAVE Channel 3. They are geared mainly towards supplying food, medicine and other supplies to Haitian earthquake victims and survivors.

There is an emphasis in some local drives in Kentucky on peanut butter, which is a high source of needed protein. Presumably, there is not a significant level of the peanut allergy phenomenon which is so prevalent in the States, and which may have an environmental origin of some sort.

I am sure there are many other worthwhile charities you can find on your own in your local areas. It is good to give, but if you feel moved to do so, why not give by way of those who can utilize your donations to the greatest effect, and with the utmost efficiency? It's the right thing to do when you really want to make a difference.

That Hugo-He Has All The Answers

First, Pat Robertson blamed it on God's anger over a pact with the devil. Then, Danny Glover blamed it on Gaea's anger over the collapse of the Copenhagen Summit. But Hugo Chavez ain't having any of that superstitious nonsense. He has determined the true culprit responsible for the Haitian earthquake, and all the resultant devastation is-wait for it-

The United States, who he claims did all this by testing a new, super secret earthquake machine. Why did they do this? They are planning to use it against Iran, naturally.

After all, would the Russian North Fleet tell him something like that if it wasn't true?

Air America Crashes, Burns

Air America has officially ceased live broadcasting and announced it is filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. HuffPo readers react. Of course, they whine, complain, and get all defensive while they offer one cheap excuse after another for the program's failures. Some of them are so far removed from reality they crow about the success of Rachel Maddow and Al Franken, among others.

I would point out that Rachel Maddow has been on MSNBC for years, and I sure wouldn't be too quick to credit Al Franken's Minnesota Senate victory to Air America. Crooked lawyers, corrupt Democratic Party state officials, the SEIU and ACORN get the lion's share of the credit for that travesty, all aided and abetted by a strong third party Senate candidacy. If the truth were known, more people were negatively than positively influenced by Franken's Air America association.

Air America has been for years a giant zeppelin spewing hot air and steadily approaching ground level. The Hindenburg explosion could not have been more obvious. The most absurd excuse I've yet heard for Air America's problems-and bear in mind I heard this one years ago-is the notion that liberal listeners just work too hard to be able to find the time to patronize a radio program. More than just an implication, the stated charge here is that Rush Limbaugh listeners are for the most part uneducated, illiterate, unemployed trailer trash hicks who don't have anything more constructive to do with their time than listen to Rush Limbaugh and call in to spew their "right wing hate", what times they aren't guzzling booze and fucking their sisters in the bed of their pick-up trucks.

My question to that risible proposition would be, do liberals work twenty-four fucking hours a day? Are radio station programmers too inept to pick an appropriate time slot? Or is this yet another part of one of those right-wing corporate conspiracies we're always hearing so much about?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Mixed Feelings

The Supreme Court has just reversed a long-standing law, going back in fact more than a century, to 1907, which barred corporations from contributing money to political campaigns. They still can't give money directly to politicians, but they can purchase advertisement. The Court, in fact, by a 5-4 margin, has ruled that corporations can spend as much money as they please to this end, and that they have as much right as individuals to do so. Presumably, this will in effect also end the ban on labor unions contributing to campaigns. That will be up to the rank-and-file to decide, presumably, if they ever decide to take that up. More than likely, they will just continue doing what they have always done-vote for who they damn well please, as they damn well should.

All of these extravagantly expensive political campaigns you've been seeing over the course of the last few election cycles? Well, they just got a whole lot more expensive.

Teddy Roosevelt pushed and lobbied for the old law way back when, so one can assume he would not be too happy with this latest development, but you know what? Who cares? Back then, corporations were engaged in some pretty bad behaviors, things that make today's corporate sharks look like pantywaists. Today's ruling is a far cry from paving the way for a return to the days of the trusts and monopolies that Roosevelt thought, with some merit, were tantamount to turning the American economy into the personal fiefdom of a select group of corporate titans and their major shareholders. This actually puts things on a more even keel. Corporations now will have the flexibility and the freedom to make the point that they aren't necessarily the bad guys in all cases, that overly-intrusive government bureaucracy, taxes and regulations, are at least as much responsible for rising prices and high unemployment as corporate greed and corruption.

Take what they say with a healthy, skeptical grain of salt, sure, but don't begrudge them their rights to make their case just like nearly anyone or anything else does.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Massachusetts Senate Coakley Ad Satire-My IowaHawk Submission


UPDATE-Scott Brown is no RINO, insists John R. Guardiano on the American Spectator blog.

UPDATE- Pajammas Media has Scott Brown up 9.6 percent among likely voters, which is identical to his lead over Coakley in a poll conducted by the Merriman River Group.

(Any further updates at bottom of post).

Things are really heating up in the special election for the Massachusetts Senate seat formerly held by the late Edward Kennedy. In fact, Martha Coakley, the former state AG once considered the sure winner of the election, seems to be getting desperate in the face of polls which variously show Republican State Senator Scott Brown to either be within two points, or solidly in the lead in polling, according even to Coakley's own internal polling.

So over the top have been her ads, including one that insists Brown wants to turn away all rape victims from the hospitals, that Brown himself has threatened to file a lawsuit against Coakley's campaign if the charge is not retracted by Tuesday morning.

In the meantime, Iowahawk has come up with a brilliant concept. He has asked readers to submit proposed satires of Coakley ads. This is also an unusual move, in that Iowahawk ordinarily does not post comments to his blog.

Naturally, I came up with my own submission, which is as follows-


In the background a violin with tones representing despair combined with a sense of mounting evil sets the stage as a woman arrives home to her affluent Boston suburban home from a hard days work, unsuspecting of the horrible news that awaits. She opens her front door and enters to see her young teenage daughter, about fourteen years old, crying and visibly shaken. Worried, she approaches anxiously.

Mom: What happened at the doctor’s, Mary?

Mary: Oh mom, the doc told me that my baby was a Moderate Retarded fetus. It’s awful.

Mom: It’s all right sweetheart. These things happen. You can get an abortion, and maybe in a year or two you’ll be able to have a normal baby.

Mary: You don’t understand Mom. Senator Scott Brown won’t allow the doctor to give me an abortion. According to him, my retarded baby has as much of a right to life as any real person does. Oh mom, how could this happen? Why did you vote for such an uncaring, evil, backwards thinking person like Scott Brown? How could the people of Massachusetts elect him to Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat?

Pan to mother expressing an anxious, defeated look of sadness, as the image fades.

V/O-Could such a thing really happen? Unfortunately, yes it could and will if Scott Brown wins. Scott Brown claims he cares about the citizens of Massachusetts. Yet, he has demonstrated time after time that Scott Brown cares for nothing but the special interests of Retarded Moderates.

And he wants to make sure there are more and more Retarded Moderates, who will support his insane, anti-progressive agenda, until eventually they have taken over-

OUR SCHOOLS (Fade to image of a large group of retarded kids taking over tables in a school cafeteria. One of them eats buggers from his nose during lunch in full sight while they all gaze lustfully at normal teenage girls and boys, breathing deeply and making other inappropriate comments and noises, some of them apparently masturbating under the table.)

OUR WORKPLACES (Cut to a scene of a large group of retarded adults taking over a warehouse, one of them knocking over large stacked boxes with a fork lift while the rest of them run amok, laughing maniacally as the normal workers cower in the corners, while smoke gathers from an area off camera and a fire alarm blares).

OUR PLACES OF BUSINESS (To a scene at a supermarket, where a riot of retarded people ensues due to a product being sold out, a leader of the riot glaring menacingly at a store clerk, leading a chant of “We want Pringles now! We want Pringles now!”).

OUR NEIGHBORHOODS (A scene of a normal Massachusetts family looking worriedly out their window as a loud, raucous group of retarded families who have moved into the neighborhood make an ungodly racket in the middle of the night, one man knocking on the door demanding a soda while his young retarded son defecates in the yard. The young son of the normal couple asks worriedly, “Mom, dad, isn’t there anything we can do?”)

EVEN OUR PLACES OF WORSHIP (Pan to a scene of a retarded woman demanding a large glass of wine as she steps up to partake of the Eucharist, the Priest helplessly acceding to the request in order to keep the peace).


(Fade to scene at a polling place where a large group of retarded people stand waving posters proclaiming “Trig’s Mother Rocks-Vote Palin in 2012”.

Back to present scene of everyday voters of Massachusetts, going to and fro in their daily routines, unsuspecting of the impending tragedy as the music continues ominously in the background.

V/O-This could well be the future of Massachusetts, if Scott Brown succeeds in imposing his pro-Retarded Moderate agenda-an agenda that is anti-woman, anti-choice, anti-family, anti-business, anti-jobs, anti-education, anti-health care, and anti-Massachusetts. An agenda that could well end with a law mandating television shows and movies starring Retarded heroes, the promotion of books and music by Retarded artists, and even demands that normal people accept the Retarded as their equals in every way. How would you feel if the law forced your son or daughter to date a Retarded Moderate?

And once Retarded Moderates have paved the way-can Retarded Conservatives be far behind?

Scott Brown-In the pockets of the Retarded Moderates lobby. Bad for Massachusetts.

Paid for by the Committee of Normal Voters To Elect Martha Coakley

(the end)

If you are interested, IowaHawk is going to take what he considers the best ads and possibly make actual ad satires based on them. He hasn't announced a set date for that, but I would suggest you make any submissions you might wish to make as quickly as possible.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Deal Or No Deal

I accepted some time ago that, in the mind of many (probably most) conservative Christians, if you do not worship their God, you are by definition a "devil worshiper". You might not necessarily be aware of that fact, but to them it is nonetheless a fact. It should come as no surprise then that Pat Robertson considers the ancestors of the present day inhabitants of Haiti to have made a pact with the devil on that day they rebelled from the French.

For those who might be interested, here is the actual "prayer" that amounted to what one might term the "Haitian Declaration of Independence"-

The god who created the earth; who created the sun that gives us light. The god who holds up the ocean; who makes the thunder roar. Our God who has ears to hear. You who are hidden in the clouds; who watch us from where you are. You see all that the white has made us suffer. The white man’s god asks him to commit crimes. But the god within us wants to do good. Our god, who is so good, so just, He orders us to revenge our wrongs. It’s He who will direct our arms and bring us the victory. It’s He who will assist us. We all should throw away the image of the white men’s god who is so pitiless. Listen to the voice for liberty that speaks in all our hearts.

This prayer was uttered by one Boukman Dutty, said to have been a Voudoun priest himself(though this is in dispute, and in fact there is no evidence to support this, although he was associated and allied with Voodoo, or Voudoun, priests in the course of the revolt) who led the initial revolt against the French. He had formerly been a British slave sold to a French plantation owner. He was an educated man, as well as a giant of fierce appearance, and so was given a position of authority as a slave overseer on several plantations, which entailed traveling from one estate to the other on the island of St. Dominique (the former name of Haiti). This enabled him to gather intelligence and form bonds with future co-conspirators. He was eventually captured by the French and executed, his head placed on public display. (All of this by the way happened during the last decade of the 1790's, prior to the ascension of any of the Napoleons).

Killing him did not stop the revolution, which ended in massive loss of life, the slaughter of numerous French slave-holding families and citizens, and incalculable destruction of property. After some eight years, Haiti became a nation in 1804-the first republic of freed slaves in history.

Now put yourself in the position of a typical white person from this era who might have learned of this prayer after the fact, and saw it's results. Once you see it in context of the outright butchery that transpired in Haiti on the eve of the revolt and it's aftermath, and consider the very real and palpable fear this event inspired throughout the slave-owning world, especially in the western hemisphere, which would of course have included the American slave-owning southern plantation owners, it's easy to see why they would consider the God worshiped by these Haitians to be the devil, and why they would view any such prayer as above the equivalent of a pact with said devil.

The Haitian revolt was yet another shot heard round the world, and influenced slave policy for decades to come, including but not limited to the abolition of slavery in the British Empire and the limitations on the slave trade in America which went into effect prior to the American Civil War. This website in fact claims that the Haitian revolt was the major, if not the sole reason, for the events that led to the eventual end of slavery. As for the "devil" whom Boukman invoked, 2nd look identifies him-

Boukman Dutty, a Voudou N’Gan (oungan, houngan, voodoo priest), killed a pig as a part of an African tribal ritual Bwa Kayiman, dedicated to his ancestors and Ogoun, God of fire, iron and war. Ogoun and Erzulie Dantor (Ezili Dantor), a Vodou l’wha (loa) a warrior spirit, responded to this call to protect these slave warriors.

So the "devil" in this case seems to be a West-Central African version of Ares, (which would certainly explain the resultant carnage) or possibly even Hephaestus (fire and iron). That would of course be a simplistic way of looking at it, as such identifications and cross-cultural associations are fraught with hazard by their natures, but there is some merit to it as well, seeing as how Voudoun, in this case Haitian Voudou, is itself a syncretic faith binding old Central-East African deities with Catholic Saints, many of whom in fact are alleged to be old Roman gods in disguise. In the case of Ogoun, the Catholic Saint most often associated with him (at least by Voudoun devotees in Brazil) is Saint George.

As for the actual ritual that called upon the vengeful deity Ogoun, I would point out that this particular ritual was probably nothing original, nor was Boukman the first to conduct it over the course of the preceding century of that oppressive French lash that stung and scarred multiple generations of Haitian backs.

Who actually was the devil here?

To people in the New World, especially to slave-owners, this was all understandably a matter of grave concern. Of course they viewed the prayer as a satanic pact. Actually it doubtless was a religious based pact, and according to this site, Voudoun itself, while it was a syncretic faith forged in an attempt to maintain ties to the beliefs of their ancestral African homeland, it was also an attempt by these same black Haitian slaves to plan for the day of revolt from the French. Even their animal sacrifices were symbolic of the day when the gods would join them in the battle against their oppressors.

Back to Robertson, who naturally views all this from the perspective of a fundamentalist Christian and who who, though he probably has some degree of empathy and understanding for those early Haitians desire to be free from the yoke of French slavery, would naturally view their faith, both then and as practiced to this day, with a great deal of alarm. To him, the satanic influence is obvious and undeniable.

Is this foolish? I think it is vastly ignorant especially to adhere to such a view today, even granted the very real problems of poverty, crime, illiteracy, and yes superstition which has gripped the island for far too long. However, Robertson is blaming the wrong source for these conditions, which owes more-far, far more-to the influence of the Duvalier family over the last fifty years, and before them, to a history of civil strife, insurrections, and assassinations. Is this the influence of some demonic entity, even granted the Duvaliers use and encouragement of the Haitian religious traditions, or does it have more to do with the lack of a culture of self-rule and governance, exacerbated by a lack of adequate development capabilities and trade potential?

It's safe to assume the French were not exactly breaking down doors to try to assist the Haitians in the development of their fledgling new nation, and it's a pretty safe bet no one else was in a hurry to do so either. Robertson should keep some of these factors in mind when he assigns demonic status and blame.

I don't mean to be too hard on Robertson, any more than I mean to excuse him, therefore as a matter of balance I will add that greatly overlooked the last few days has been the fact that Robertson uttered these words on his 700 Club cable program in the context of an appeal to his viewers to send aid for the purpose of helping victims of the recent Haitian disaster. So kindly bear that in mind as well. It is perfectly clear at the end of the already infamous video which follows, and in fact the number to call for the aid assistance appears at the beginning of the video as well-

Of course, it goes without saying that Robertson is hoping for a mass Christian conversion in Haiti. Seeing as how he believes conditions in Haiti, not only now but throughout the entire troubled history of the island, is directly traceable to a pact with the devil, how could he not hope for this?

Of course, the wags amongst us would suggest Pat is himself offering what is tantamount to a deal with the devil, in the guise of conversion to a God most easily identified in Voudoun as a God named Bondye, whom most practitioners of Haitian Voudou believe is, though supreme, inaccessible, a condition that necessitates their reliance on the various loa (spirit guides), in the form of pagan gods and ancestors.

How does this divide from Christianity all play out in general terms? There is a current belief in Haiti that, when the many trees on the island were felled a few years back, ostensibly to provide farmland for the impoverished yet growing population, this was actually a ploy meant to deprive practitioners of Voudou of vegetation, woods, and herbs required for their rituals. To this end, so goes the story, the Protestant Christians especially took special pains to eliminate the trees and other vegetation of Bois Caiman, where the original Voudoun cermeony performed by Boukman Dutty first transpired more than one hundred ten years ago. This is their attempt to combat the practice of the faith, and to "hinder remembrance of the event". Or so the story goes.

Meanwhile, Ogoun is yet worshiped today with offerings of tobacco and rum, while his devotees pray to him to provide a government that is more responsible to the needs of the people.

Pat and others would do well to remember that old saying-folks prefer the devils they know to those they do not.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

President Hu Jin Tao, Tear, Down, This, Firewall

In light of certain parties in China apparently attempting to hack the G-Mail accounts of Chinese human rights activists, in addition to several businesses and other organizations, Google is considering a change in it's China policy. It very likely will no longer adhere to China's censorship policies, and as such, might well withdraw from China all together. This is a move that has heralded acclaim from human rights watchdog groups, freedom of information and free speech ideologues, techno-geeks, and those who monitor advances in technology and relevant concerns in legal and ethical applications, like here.

But is there more to all this than meets the eye?

It would seem as though another prominent Chinese search engine, Baidu, was also hacked, by the Iranian Cyber Army, the same group that recently hacked Twitter.

This brings up, to me, an interesting prospect. Was the recent breach of Chinese search engine Baidu really conducted by the Iranian Cyber Army, or was it the Chinese looking for a scapegoat in order to conceal their own alleged actions against Google accounts by establishing a degree of plausible deniability?

If so, is it possible that the previous Twitter hack was in reality a test run conducted by the CCP, taking advantage of the recent turmoil in Iran in order to set up it's own espionage operations targeting Chinese dissidents who might also make use of Twitter?

Interestingly, the People's Daily On-Line has an account of the Baidu hack, but nothing about the controversy over Google.

Ahhh Those Insclutabal Olientals.

(Psssst-some people are saying Google is really just wanting to leave China because Baidu is cleaning their clocks, but don't tell anybody, because if that's true, that might upset Google shareholders even more, which might be why this article has been censored from Google's search engine, nyuk nyuk).

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Shocker Out Of Massachusetts, Maybe

Is it actually possible that the US Senate seat left vacant by the death of Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Chappaquiddick) could be filled by such a little known State Senator as Scott Brown-a fiscally conservative Republican?

Not only does the Boston Herald think so-it hopes so. The Herald has endorsed Scott Brown for Massachusetts Senator over Democrat Martha Coakley.

In fact, since Brown basically creamed Coakley in the last televised debate, Brown has picked up 1.3 million dollars in donations, despite a flurry of ads by Coakley where she accuses Brown of being-well, of being a Republican in all the worse ways-a charge to which Brown replies, well, er, yeah, guilty as charged on that Republican thing, but in all the best ways, actually.

Brown will not please everyone, to be sure. He is a social moderate who has proclaimed Roe v Wade settled law and has supported state funded embryonic stem cell research, on the grounds of jobs creation in Massachusetts in addition to the advancement of medical research into cures for various diseases.

My advice to social conservatives-learn to live with it.

Let's just hope he gets in there in time to keep the Harry Reid branch of the KKK from doing any more damage than it's already done. If they want to eat their own young as a consolation prize, who am I to object to that?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Blagojevich Comes Out Swinging

Former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich has a new dog (Skittles), a new source of income (Elvis impersonations) and — despite an old worry (prison) — a confounding optimism. You have to read this.

Yep, it's an in-depth interview conducted by Scott Raab with disgraced former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich-courtesy of Esquire.

Some fascinating stuff. To quote Blago from the article-

"A lot of what's happened to me is Machiavellian, and yet my vision and the rightness of what I've done is kind of Galilean."

And evidently, he called Barak Obama a cocksucker, and here claims that he is as black as Obama, because he shined shoes and his father owned a business in a black neighborhood.

On politicians in general-

"It's such a cynical business, and most of the people in the business are full of shit and phonies, but I was real, man — and am real.

Frankly, I can't wait for this guy to get on the stand. After all, this is a man who will do almost anything for his kids, short of blowing sailors.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Knee Deep In The Hoopla-Destination, Dark Ages

When Brit Hume suggests that Tiger Woods should think of becoming a Christian in order to achieve the kind of forgiveness that isn't available in Buddhism-which is Wood's stated religious belief-it behooves us to look rationally at what he is really saying, as opposed to the knee-jerk reactions that we typically see from most pundits who want to shut out any and all kind of public discourse regarding matters of faith.

The first thing we need to look at is the difference between the two faiths, and their usual approach to such matters as the Tiger Woods scandal. I am neither an expert at Buddhism or Christianity, but the main applicable difference, as I see it, is-

In Buddhism, one is taught that attachment to the material world is the cause of all hardships, grief, and anxiety. In order to extricate oneself from this situation, one needs to withdraw from the source of the problem. Otherwise, much like the oft-quoted definition of insanity, you are bound to keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again.

In the case of Tiger Woods, the question becomes, to what extent is his personal peccadilloes, his sexual infidelities and the resultant marital woes, an outgrowth of the fame, wealth, and the adulation of his pro-golf life and lifestyle. An honest assessment might reveal that they are directly related. Or, this might not be the case, but it is almost a foregone conclusion that Wood's personal life and problems have certainly been enhanced as well as negatively influenced by his public persona.

The Buddhist approach would almost certainly suggest that, in order to begin the healing process, Woods should withdraw from public life, from professional golf, possibly even completely from golf, withdraw at least temporarily but for an extended time into a life of seclusion and reflection. There is a good probability that he would be led to withdraw permanently from his former life. There is even a chance he might be led to withdraw from any form of social life, including any present, past, or potentially future romantic or sexual relationships-including his relationship with his wife.

The Christian approach might be entirely different. Although it would almost definitely suggest a similar need for temporary withdrawal, prayer, and reflection, this would be more of a very brief and temporary approach, mainly to afford Woods a breathing space. It would be up to Woods to honestly look at where he needs to change his life, but the main thing he would be asked to look at is how, as a sinner, he can not possibly change himself, no matter how badly he might honestly want to do so.

The Christian answer would be for Woods to turn his life over to God by asking for forgiveness of his sins through the blood shed by Jesus Christ on the cross. He would be assured that by trusting in the shed blood of Christ, his sins would be forgiven. However, he must honestly desire this, and the only way this can possibly come about is if he recognizes the fact of his sinful nature and his need for God and for God's forgiveness.

What would follow is an incremental growing process. Once Woods is saved, it must be stressed that this does not mean that he is a changed person inside and out. He should, if truly saved, desire to change his life by following the Biblical command of Jesus to "go, and sin no more". There is no assurance that Woods would never sin again. There is only the assurance that, if he has faith, he can change, and he can grow. God can make of him a "new creature". Whether or not Woods remains in the world of pro-golf, with all the public pressure that brings, is up to him. But, it might well be a greater inducement for him to remain faithful, so he would doubtless bee encouraged to remain in the world of pro-golf.

The Bible never states that any such change is easy. In fact, it promises, in effect, that there will be a constant war between the spirit and the flesh. He would definitely be encouraged to reconcile with his wife, if that is at all possible, and he would be strongly discouraged, quite naturally, from any further extra-marital affairs (or premarital sexual relationships should he fail to reconcile with his wife).

But the main thing that should be stressed is that Brit Hume was, I think, referring to the effect on Tiger Woods life in the here and now should he become a Christian, as much as he was talking about the afterlife and prospect of going to heaven.

That is what Brit Hume meant, I think, when he made the statement that God would use Woods, if he became a Christian, as an example of his power and grace, of how through him such a person can rise above their sinful natures and be better than ever. There would not necessarily be a need to abandon the sport he loves that has brought him such success, and in fact, more than likely the world of pro-golf would remain an important part of Woods life, and God's plan, whereas in Buddhism, Woods would almost certainly be or feel encouraged to abandon that life completely, and irrevocably.

That's the way I look at Hume's statement anyway. I am sure there will continue to be those who will say that people like Hume should not make such public statements proselytizing for his faith. Well, for one thing, Hume is speaking from personal experience. He became a devout Christian following the death of his son, and it has helped him cope with the loss. His advice to Tiger was something that he felt obligated to offer in return for what he honestly feels God has done for him.

I would also point out that Hume made this statement in his capacity as commentator, not as a hard news reporter, but many others don't see it that way. Others simply disagree.

For other views on this complex subject and controversy, I would direct you to the following sites.

Buddhists are by no means in agreement with Hume's assessment, as might be expected, and this article points out that, if fact, Buddhists tend to to be more faithful in the marital relationships than Christians.

Atheists are by and large incensed, of course, incensed that the subject has even come up at all in the public sphere. One such site has honored Hume with the appellation Idiot Of The Week.

The Washington Post has an excellent piece up, by columnist Michael Gerson, which defends Brit Humes First Amendment right to express his opinion on the subject.

Gerson's column in fact expresses my sentiments exactly. As far as I'm concerned, the only people who need or deserved to be shut out of public discourse are those people and their ideals that proclaim the need to shut anyone or anything else out of public discourse.

So yes, I can defend Hume's right to make such statements without necessarily agreeing or disagreeing with him, and I give short shrift to anyone that deigns it their constitutional right to limit the constitutional rights of others, even news commentators and Christians, out of some misguided notion or ideal of the need for laser guided and targeted tolerance or sensitivity.

I could and well might at some point offer reasons as to why I think Tiger Woods-or for that matter Brit Hume-might consider becoming a pagan. Such a proposal, were it ever to see the light of day in a major media outlet, might well be the subject of mirth in many quarters, but I seriously doubt I would be criticized for intolerance or insensitivity in the inherent implication that I dare to publicly proclaim my own faith superior to any other.

We're headed deeper and deeper these days into the well-charted but yet uncertain dark waters of a very old kind of intolerance. If we don't set a firm course of resistance, we might well find ourselves in way over our heads.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Socialist In Name Only

One of the biggest stories (well, one of the most important ones) during the last week of last year was the influence of China on the Global Climate Change Summit that took place in Copenhagen Denmark. The Summit itself was actually supposed to be that biggest story of the year. It's implications extended well beyond national borders to encompass the globe, because whatever was decided would of course have a global impact. And, if nothing was decided, that too would have a pronounced impact, even if you don't believe there is anything to Global Climate Change-or if you do but consider mankind's contribution to the phenomenon minimal to non-existent.

However, the biggest story of the year turned out to be China, and how it pretty much derailed the Summit.

This should have come as no big surprise to anybody. After all, it is by no means an exaggeration to suggest that China all but invented the concept of national sovereignty. Even back in the days of Mao, the Great Leap Forward, and the Cultural Revolution, they made terrible communists, even by communist standards.

Now things have changed in a way that would have been unfathomable two decades ago. If conservative Democrats are DINOs and moderate Republicans are RINOs, I guess you could legitimately view the bureaucrats of the Chinese Communist Party as SINOs-Socialists In Name Only. Sure, they still have an oppressive, totalitarian regime held in place by one party rule, with next to nothing in the way of civil liberties and nothing approaching United States standards of constitutional protections.

Yet, they have a healthy and thriving capitalist economy, albeit this is tentative-one might say it is barely past the toddler stage. Will it grow and propser over time? If it does, will this lead to greater political and social freedoms? It's hard to say. If it does, it will probably be very gradual.

I seriously doubt we will see significant advances in our lifetimes, certainly not a multi-party system. But seeing as how much of a mess the West, including the US, has made of two-party and multi-party democracy, is that really such a bad thing?

Can a one party system over time evolve into a no-party system, where officials are appointed based on merit, possibly in time subject to the will of the voters? In point of fact, while it seems unlikely, China has executed public officials for corruption. So is China really politically communist, and if so, can it really evolve beyond that stage, seeing as how it was never a bona fide communist nation to begin with, but more of a feudal style, agrarian based dictatorship?

The real Great Leap Forward, the real Cultural Revolution, came about when China adopted capitalist economic reforms. It has in fact grown by leaps and bounds, and continues to grow today. Still, it has several albatrosses around it's neck. It has the crazy uncle nobody quite knows what to do with in North Korea. It has the unruly stepson in the form of Myanmar. Then there is Tibet. And of course Taiwan. China takes diplomatic heat for it's influence in these areas, and rightly so, especially it's attitude toward Sudan.

But amazingly, while it is easy to criticize them for dealing with Khartoum during the on-going human rights atrocities that government engages in in Darfur, their approach is actually-libertarian.

The difference seems to be, China tolerates the human rights abuses due to it's desire for Sudanese oil. The US does it in return for cooperation from Sudan in the Global War On Terror. The Chinese just sit back and watch it all happen, while the US moans and cries about it-and sits back and watches it all happen.

The Chinese excuse is that Sudan is, of course, a sovereign nation and should run their own internal affairs. So extreme is the situation in Darfur that this would be an incredible pronouncement from any nation but the one that built the Great Wall. China will never compromise it's national sovereignty, so any attempt to curb their economic growth will certainly be lost on them.

Hard to blame them. They look at the recent Global Climate Change e-mail fiasco out of England and no doubt they wonder, just who does the West think it's fooling. For all of the rhetoric, China sees the proposals put forth at the Copenhagen Summit as chiefly benefiting the European Union-and rightly so, when you consider the economic impact of the proposals, which would put Europe on firmer ground by leveling the playing field against all it's economic competitors, including China, in addition to India and the US.

What the European Union never took into consideration was, China was at one time a part of a European Empire. They have no desire to go that route again, and the people running the country don't intend for that to ever happen, certainly not under their watch.

I'm sure the world will somehow survive. I know China will in one form or another, no matter what steps they have to take to insure their survival. They are old masters at that game.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Angel Falls

Angel Falls, in Venezuela, was not actually named after "angels", it was just a happy coincidence that the first outsider to Venezuela to "discover" the Falls was an American bush pilot named Jimmy Angel, who in 1933, while searching for a river of gold, almost flew into the damn thing. Thus, the falls were named after him.

Or, well, they were, until Hugo Chavez decided to change that.

"This is ours, long before Angel arrived there," Chávez said on his weekly television show, in front of a painted mural of the falls and surrounding wilderness. "This is indigenous property, ours, aborigine."

Henceforth the falls are to be known as Kerepakupai-Merú, which means "waterfall of the deepest place" in the indigenous Pemon language.

"One could say he was the first one to see it from a plane," Chávez said of Angel. "But how many millions of indigenous eyes saw it, and prayed to it? No one should refer to Angel Falls any more."

For all that fool knows, those more like tens of thousands of indigenous eyes probably wondered who those giants were and why they were constantly pissing down the mountain. Now, based on nothing but Hugo's Supreme Will And Ego, he has decided to arbitrarily rename a world renown tourist attraction to something that is meaningless, to say nothing of unpronounceable, to probably 99.9% of the earth's inhabitants.

Of course, what Hugo is really ticked off about is this.

Seems like Columbia has been using drones to monitor activities along their pipeline routes, in order to protect against rebel attacks. Hugo is convinced the CIA and Columbia is planning sabotage and a possible attack against the All-Mighty Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

The Columbians just laughed at Hugo, suggesting he mistook Santa's sleigh for a spy plane.

So I guess you could say Hugo has a big problem with American pilots in general, which put Jimmy Angel on his shit list.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

So How Was YOUR New Year's?

Well, I followed my New Year's plan. Right before the clock struck twelve I went outside and breathed in the cold night air of the New Year. After that, I posted the rather whimsical little musical video, which was more positive than the more somber post that preceded it. While I was outside, I did more than stand there and breathe in and out as I wished myself a Happy New Year. I practically cast a circle around my home, starting at the north, in back. I guess you could say I took stock of my life.

While at the north, I found myself focused on the illusory nature of health and prosperity, which can vanish as easily as it appears. At the east, I found myself at first caught up in a plan to add more pleasurable surroundings to the old estate, such as it is, before I realized it would be even better to recognize the need to see more clearly through the facade thrown up by certain individuals-to say nothing of myself. It was while at the south that I found myself somewhat at a loss. My spiritual energies have been much too monopolized in the expenditure towards a kind of psychic self-defense towards perceived encroachments, fighting a shadow war based on false perceptions and misapprehensions. Far better to expend such energies in reaching out, as opposed to withdrawing inside a fortress of solitude. It was while at the west, however, that I really had a moment of enlightenment. I came face to face with the fact that I have been in the grip of an emotional fear that is so encompassing, you learn to live with it and adapt to it, without necessarily dealing with the causes, and their effects. I could feel it and almost taste it, as though it were a tangible thing. And in that one brief instant-I walked away from it in haste.

Yes, I have some ways to go yet. But the New Year beckons. It's been somewhat tedious the last few days. Also very hectic. I started to post something last night, but my browser, or something, wasn't responding. I kept trying to go back to something to edit, after I had posted several paragraphs. I clicked and clicked and clicked, and cursed and cursed and cursed, until, suddenly, for no apparent reason-everything I had composed just magically disappeared. It didn't take too long for me to figure out I wasn't going to be able to pull it back.

That's pretty much the way life is, isn't it? For something that seems so tangible and solid, it really is all so-I think the right word might be ephemeral.

It was a post about China, incidentally, the first of a series I was going to do about subjects to watch for over the course of the coming year based on important events that transpired during or close to the Winter Solstice.

I think I'll get around to doing that too, hopefully before the year is half over. This post has been brought to you by a need to let you know I'm still around, just kind of overwhelmed the last few days.

Peace out.