Saturday, September 6, 2008

I Don't Think That Word Means What You Think It Means

"A black person voting Republican," said the father of African-American congressman J.C. Watts (R), "is like a chicken voting for Colonel Sanders."

It's a hard truth that takes away a lot of options for African-American voters. What it means is that the Democratic party can take our support for granted because they know and we know that the alternative is so much worse. It's the difference between a bad sunburn and skin cancer.

However, it doesn't stop some misguided "house negroes" from trying.

Take the example of "Cowboy Troy" Coleman, an African-American "Hick-Hop" singer who performed the national anthem at the GOP convention in Minneapolis. Strangely enough, Coleman was one of the few chocolate chips to be found in the Republican's big white bowl of cookie dough. I wonder why. Anyway, Coleman was enthused about the opportunity. "This is the biggest thing that has ever happened to me," he said. "With my social beliefs, namely being pro-choice, this party is the one for me. My skin is secondary to the fact that I want my politicians to make laws that positively affect my life and the lives of my friends."

When I read that, I thought about the scene in The Princess Bride where Andre The Giant says to Wallace Shawn, "You keep using that word but I don't think it means what you think it means." If you ask me, "pro-life" is a word that doesn't belong in the mouth of a Republican because it's a lie that's no different than the other overworked phrase they like to use: "compassionate consevatism". They don't know what it means.

In spite of their noisy propaganda, the Republicans aren't "pro-life". What the Republicans do really, really well is kill people.

Republicans launched the war in Iraq. Republicans want abortion to be illegal and dangerous. Republicans ignore global warming. Republicans oppose stem-cell research. Republicans don't want national health care. Republicans torture. Republicans watched New Orleans drown. Laws don't kill people, Republicans make the laws that kill people. Think of their ideology as "kinder and gentler" genocide.

And Republicans believe that "pro-life" translates as "Imaginary babies are cute, but once you get a birth certificate, you're on your own".

Now, maybe "Cowboy Troy" Coleman is simply naive or a cynical opportunist, but other African-Americans know better. For us, voting Democrat isn't a philosophical abstract; it's self-defense. Damned if I know why poor and middle-class white Americans who religiously vote Republican haven't figured it out. It's one of those perplexing "What's The Matter With Kansas?" questions, I guess. But, for their sake, I hope they figure it out soon because they're not safe either. None of us are.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Truthiness and Sarah Palinovski

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane, Bilerico Project & My Left Wing

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When I was studying economics at Wake Forest University, the Cold War was still on and Reagan was in his second term. As part of the course, we had to read the English version of Pravda. It was an eye opening experience and a icy dip into some high class propaganda.

One issue that has stuck in my mind all this time had some guy smiling in the camera and the caption was something like “Siberians Happy With Government” or some such. The photo of the man showed him squatting, barefoot, in front of a pot bellied stove. In the background, the door was open and the landscape beyond was snow covered. Even though he was smiling, it showed the utter poverty the USSR had produced. The headline, if read by low information people, might see something different, but someone from my cynical generation would see something altogether different.

During the last eight years of Bush/Cheney/McCain has proven to have the same level of propaganda and denial of the facts. War is peace. Civil rights are weakness. Debt is stability.

Palin is like those guys on steroids. Not only is she willing to bend the truth, she has a panache to lie, not just once but in a steady stream. It is like drinking from the fire hose of hate.

Bush has been often compared to Hitler and the Nazi regime. Some of those attacks were warrantless, while some of those acquisitions were analogous. But Palin is a bit different, slightly out of phase from Cheney and his minions. To me, Palin seems to be old school Soviet. She is a whole different breed of fascist.

She is their new messiah… and we can’t let them win.

Me Talk Pretty One Day

Community Organizers

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Failing Ever Upward

Appearing at The Jaundiced Eye, the Independent Bloggers' Alliance, and My Left Wing.

Well, if you can't get Bernie Ebbers:

Carly Fiorina Live at the RNC
photo: AP/Paul Sancya

Carly Fiorina, who has been headlining with the McCain campaign -- and was even discussed as a possible running mate -- is being touted as a super-successful vagina-person. A reigning authority on big business and the tech world, or so we're told. Last night she spoke to the convention audience about the wonders of John McCain and with reporters about the travesty of sexist attacks on Sarah Palin.

These days, Fiorina is usually described as a former CEO of Hewlett-Packard. Sounds impressive, but it leaves out a few things. Like the fact she's the former CEO because she was fired, loathed by many board members and shareholders, and handed a golden parachute worth over $21 million that resulted in a lawsuit against the company. On the day Fiorina was given her walking papers, HP's stock jumped 7 percent. That's a whole lotta hate.

The HP board of directors asked Carly Fiorina to resign last week, ending the six-year reign of the highest-profile woman in American business. HP's dismal financial results provide the easiest explanation for the dismissal: while its revenues are climbing slowly, its stock is down 50 percent since her tenure began, and her poorly conceived and contentious takeover of Compaq has done little to strengthen HP's balance sheet. (The poor performance perhaps justified the board's particularly harsh public statement, which didn't contain the usual excuse of a suddenly demanding family.)

But the problem wasn't just the substance of Fiorina's leadership--it was also her style. She had plenty of it. Fiorina brought panache to HP: she combined the showmanship of Steve Jobs with a dash of Donald Trump's ostentatiousness. Instead of working quietly for the first few years to fix the company, she believed that building buzz for herself--including appearances in early TV ads--was key to re-energizing staff and exciting customers. Tech CEOs named Jobs, Ellison and Gates can get away with this; as founders, they seemingly have more leeway in cultivating a cult of personality. But Fiorina's style clanged dissonantly off HP's wonky products and the staid corporate culture that HP founders Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard initiated 65 years ago in a Palo Alto, Calif., garage. Some employees loved her--but many disliked her and were no doubt glad to see her go. Last week, interim CEO Robert Wayman told NEWSWEEK that senior executives "were very pleased with the reaction of the employees to all the communication. They were way more comfortable than [senior execs] had worried they would be."

But, Fiorina picked herself up, dusted herself off, and reinvented herself as a political mover and shaker. Thus were we treated to her compassionate words last night about the concerns of average Americans.

Today, Americans are concerned about keeping their jobs. They're concerned about keeping their homes; about the rising price of food and fuel. They are concerned about whether they will able to find and afford the right kind of health care. They are concerned about whether they or their children with have the skills and education they need to compete in the 21st Century.

Yes. I'm guessing the thousands of workers HP laid off, under her tenure, had many such concerns.

At HP, Fiorina developed the reputation of a manager who knocked heads together—or who chopped them off. And there were massive layoffs during her tenure. In 2003, the company announced it would dismiss almost 18,000 people. (That year, the firm posted a $903 million loss on $56.6 billion in revenue.) When the outsourcing of jobs turned into a national political issue, Fiorina became the poster-girl for an industry campaign aimed at blocking any legislation that would restrict a company's ability to can American employees in favor of workers overseas. She and executives from seven other tech companies issued a report that argued that any such measures would hurt the U.S. economy. The best way to increase American competitiveness, they declared, was to improve schools and, yes, reduce taxes. At a Washington press conference, Fiorina said, "There is no job that is America's God-given right anymore. We have to compete for jobs." The remark did not go over well with critics of outsourcing, who have ever since used it as an indicator of corporate insensitivity.

Such detached perspective is a whole lot easier when your own fuck-ups net you a $21 million severance. Most of us average folk don't get to make soft landings on big piles of money, when we're shit-canned.

Last night she also talked about the importance of corporate transparency and accountability. Hmmm.....

In March 2004, after HP shareholders voted 1.21 billion to 925 million to expense stock options, she opposed the move, essentially opting to stick with accounting practices (that were used by other corporations) that did not reveal a company's true value. That same year, Forbes reported that Hewlett-Packard was "among many other U.S. companies that kept offices in Dubai and were linked to Iranian traders there." The article suggested that HP and other countries were skirting export controls to trade with Iran.

But, no one should be surprised that Fiorina's star is rising within the Republican Party. She could be its poster child. She embodies the ethic that has driven them since the glory days of Ronald Reagan and the era of greedy excess he ushered in.

We have reached escape velocity and launched into the No-Consequences Economy. To pause for a moment of overgeneralization: America used to be about exceptionalism and optimism, a place where anybody could try anything and make it work. Across the business and political spectrum, it's now about entitlement, where everyone deserves a shot but no one gets blamed for screwing it up. Stuff happens, as Donald Rumsfeld said, referring to another affair with no consequences for the architects. (Read more about the consequences of no consequences.)

When Bob Nardelli said in September 2006 that he took "full responsibility" for manhandling Home Depot, how was he to know that he'd be kicked out four months later with an extra $210 million in the bank? Or that he'd end up at the wheel of an American icon, Stan O'Neal, who also mouthed the responsibility platitude, received $160 million when he was dumped after billions of dollars of bets went bad and word leaked out that he had toyed with selling the company without talking to his board.

Other disgraced Wall Street executives are hot commodities in the job market, valued for their perceived ability to walk through fire and survive. Private equity firms are turning away from deals signed mere months before. J.C. Flowers & Co. even managed to leave Sallie Mae at the altar and not pay the contractually negotiated breakup fee. Housing-industry shills who championed a rising market are keeping their jobs. Banks that made disastrous loans are cutting in line to borrow at below-market rates from the Federal Reserve. "It's amazing, the lack of shame," says Lawrence Mitchell, a George Washington University professor and author of The Speculation Economy: How Finance Triumphed Over Industry. "The guys on Wall Street claim they believe in free markets and are entitled to enormous compensation because of their risk taking. But when they lose, do they say to themselves, 'I'm going to take my losses'? No, they go running to Uncle Ben"—Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman—"and he, in a grotesquely irresponsible move, bails them out.

After all, we've endured nearly eight nearly 8 years of an incompetent CEO President Portfolio once compared to Fiorina.

Fiorina didn't know the industry or the company, and she announced the day she arrived that she had her strategy.

No, Fiorina was right at home on that stage and will, no doubt, be right at home in a McCain Administration.

The Sarah Palin Coup d'état

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane, Bilerico Project & My Left Wing

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Here is my new theory. I believe the GOP NeoCons, like Rove, are working to make the best out of a bad situation. McCain is really not their boy. He is malleable to a point, but he is not the puppet that Bush is.

So they find Palin who already has puppet strings attached and she is more than willing to destroy the nation to achieve their NeoCon fantasies.

After McCain is in office, the unreal pressures of office will be applied, including internal pressures to get McCain to crack. If he doesn't do something stupid on his own, some other psychological event could be faked and he would be forced from office for care in a mental facility. At this point, Palin is commander in chief.

After the past 8 years, I have learned these people are capable of anything.

Special Note: I will be giving a presentation at Adobe's San Francisco 601 Townsend Street office on September 16th at 6:45pm. During the presentation I will chat about how I started the strip and show how I use Adobe's software to create the strip along. Expect antics!

Print out your favorite TCD comic strip and I will autograph it!

The event is free and Adobe feeds you pizza! Seats are still available so RSVP HERE.

Worse Than Stupid

Sarah Palin is stupid.

O.K., I know it's a controversial accusation, and I'll probably be categorized as a bone-headed sexist idiot for putting it in print, but I don't think I'm wrong. No matter how hard the right-wing gasbags try to cook the books, the evidence against John McCain's choice as his VP is just too overwhelming. Troopergate. The loyal Gal Friday for Ted ("The Bridge To Nowhere") Stevens. Using her daughter Bristol as a stage prop. Palin is White Male Privilage grip-wrapped in a skirt.

And Palin's ideology is the usual Republican bullshit: Darwin was a fraud. Happiness is a warm AK-47. Ignore those floating icebergs. There's too damned many polar bears. Who cares if Uncle George raped you, you're gonna have that baby anyway. Drill, baby, drill. Not exactly an independent thinker, huh? Palin and McCain will get along just fine. I'm sorry, but anyone who buys into this hateful, superstitious nonsense is stupid and anyone trying to define Palin as a progressive symbol for women's liberation is like calling Jack The Ripper a feminist. It's one small step for Palin and one giant step backwards for every man and woman in the United States if her and McCain win.

It's worse than stupid. It's crazy.

A Tale of Two Conventions

Only 36 of the 2,380 delegates seated at RNC are Black

Republican Party Still Segregated

I like a number of black bloggers had the opportunity to attend the Democratic National Convention last week in Denver. I also had the opportunity to watch the Republican National Convention last night. Talk about tales of two conventions. At the Democratic National convention in was a sea of black folks, from all walks of life, people with disabilities, rich, economically challenged and the midde class. Candidly, I thought I was at a NAACP, or Urban League convention there was so many black folks. At the Republic Convention that I watched last night, all I saw was a sea of white faces. Blogger Shay of the blog, Booker Rising, reported about this earlier in the week.

The Washington Post has a great article on how "Republican organizers conceived of this convention as a means to inspire, but some African American Republicans have found the Xcel Energy Center depressing this week. Everywhere they look, they see evidence of what they consider one of their party's biggest shortcomings. As the country rapidly diversifies, Republicans are presenting a convention that is almost entirely white.

Only 36 of the 2,380 delegates seated on the convention floor are black, the lowest number since the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies began tracking diversity at political conventions 40 years ago. Each night, the overwhelmingly white audience watches a series of white politicians step to the lectern -- a visual reminder that no black Republican has served as a governor, U.S. senator or U.S. House member in the past six years.

"It's hard to look around and not get frustrated," said Michael S. Steele, a black Republican and former lieutenant governor of Maryland. "You almost have to think, 'Wait. How did it come to this?' ead More HERE

Visit: African American Political Pundit. Com

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Sorting The Palin Family Laundry -- Updated

Appearing at The Jaundiced Eye, the Independent Bloggers' Alliance, and My Left Wing.

I think when all is said in done, the thing I will take away from the bizarre Sarah Palin fiasco is the certainty that the Daily Kos is ridiculous. They win the prize for catapulting an utterly irresponsible piece of "journalism" into the public eye. While it shows the power of the blogosphere to shoehorn issues into the MSM, it also opens the left wing blogosphere to charges of really shoddy, tawdry, bottom-feeder reporting.

The absurdity of all this is not lost on Lee Stranahan, whose own coverage of the John Edwards mess, got him banned from the orange city.

The irony for me, of course, is that despite making over fifty short political videos with a clear progressive point of view, I was banned on DailyKos for saying that it seemed reasonable that John Edwards was seen at the Beverly Hilton late at night.

This is what marks Daily Kos as a thoroughly partisan organ, trafficking in the worst sort of hackery. When legitimate questions are raised about a prominent Democrat, shout down the offending voices for spouting tabloid sleaze. When dubious charges are leveled at a rather suddenly prominent Republican, it's full speed ahead and don't worry about trifles like proof before you publicly try and convict.

I will not be pulling up the Daily Kos story in question. I did so the other evening and it froze up my browser for a good twenty minutes. It wasn't worth it. I was stunned at the crappiness of it. I was stunned at the quite possibly libelous nature of it. I could not believe that a diarist could be so stupid as to state such assertions as fact. And, I could not believe that a blog as censorious as DKos allowed that to stand, when so many perfectly fair diaries have been deleted and so many reasonable people been banned.

I will, however, tip my hat to doberman pinche, who offered up the outrage of Townhall.

"Sarah Palin is NOT the Mother" is the title of this DailyKos blog that accuses Bristol, a completely fit-looking adolescent teen, of having a "baby bump" in a photo they allege was taken March 9th of this year.

"Sarah, I'm calling you a liar" wrote blogger ArcXIX. "And not even a good one. Trig Paxson Van Palin is not your son. He is your grandson. The sooner you come forward with this revelation to the public, the better. " Photos of Bristol with detailed commentary about her abdomen are contained in the post.

Not only is the DailyKos disgustingly inspecting Bristol's midriff with all the fervor of LA paparazzi examining J-Lo's or Jennifer Aniston's washboard stomachs for evidence of a "bump," the DailyKos is wrong on when the photo was taken. It was taken, and published, by the Anchorage Daily News in 2006. Baby Trig, a child with Down's Syndrome, was born on April 18, 2008. That's a long time for a teen girl to be carrying a "bump" which looks nothing more than the curve of a tight sweater.

The Daily Kos induced furor has now forced the campaign to announce that 17 year old Bristol is 5 months pregnant and planning to do what all good, Christian, teen mothers do; get married. I wish her well and I'm truly saddened that her private life has been dragged into the spotlight. But it is certainly arguable that Sarah Palin's own richly layered idiocy is largely to blame.

I'm ambivalent about a lot of this. There is certainly plenty of fodder with which to attack Sarah Palin's candidacy, without dragging out anyone's gynecological history. From the bizarre video in which she wonders aloud what a VP does all day, to the fact that her own mother-in-law seems unsure she's qualified, to the statements about Iraq being both a war for oil and God's work, to the fact that she was almost a recalled over corruption charges as mayor, to possible secessionist leanings... Okay. The list gets pretty long. But, I remain unconvinced that the questions surrounding the birth of little Trig aren't relevant and worthy of, all be it, more responsible scrutiny.

Sarah Palin: Not Flat Busted
Photo: Provided by the Palin Family
I Can't Take This Woman Seriously

I found myself somewhat at odds with Maryscott on this issue. I agree strongly about the sanctity of a woman's right to privacy regarding reproductive choice, but I have a hard time defending that right for a woman who would take that very privacy away from women everywhere.

I disagree (8.00 / 1)

and this is why. Because this is a woman, running for the Vice Presidency, who fully intends to have her nose in every other woman's uterus, not only in this country, but in any nation to which we apportion aid. This is a woman who wants to make abstinence only education the law of the land, but who can't get her own, unwed teen daughter to close her legs. And, I can say that now, because I just heard on the car radio that Bristol is pregnant right now, at 17, and they are busily arranging a shotgun wedding.

"What fresh hell is this?" -- Dorothy Parker

So. Because SHE'S a hypocrite, WE have the right to be hypocrites? (0.00 / 0)

Interesting logic.

--7.88, --6.56 If I can't rant, I don't want to be part of your revolution.


Because she's a hypocrite
(6.00 / 1)

she has a right to be exposed as a hypocrite. Period. It reminds me of when both Bush the senior and Quayle were asked if someone in their family had an unplanned pregnancy, if they would want them to have access to abortion. They both said, it would be a private family matter, and they wouldn't discuss it. Fuck that. When you're talking about intruding on the privacy and integrity of every other woman's body in America, fuck you. You don't get a right to privacy.

Right to life extremists are pushing for legislation all over that country that would force women who miscarry -- miscarry -- to prove it. So fuck 'em. You want to crawl up my twat with a flashlight? You don't get dispensation to do things that women could be prosecuted for under some of the legislation you and your wingnut pals want to push through. If she traveled after her water broke, she endangered the life of her unborn child. That will be prosecutable offense if some of these whackjobs get their way.

"What fresh hell is this?" -- Dorothy Parker

Admittedly, I can get a little worked up over this issue... And, I may have lost my objectivity. Mainly because I'm sick to fucking death of these whack jobs who are bound and determined to legislate a standard of morality that even they cannot meet.

But, there is a line. Daily Kos crossed it.

Update: It would seem that the powers that be at Daily Kos have been sufficiently shamed into deleting the diary (or diaries) in question. The user known as ArcXIX now shows no diaries in his listing. As of this writing, he also has no comments listed after 8/29, for whatever it's worth.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

McCain - An Achievement You Can Believe In

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane, Bilerico Project & My Left Wing

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The last 4 days have left many of us bewildered and sleep deprived. "It is 3am and I can't go to bed now, there may be ANOTHER Palin story that breaks!" But somehow we managed to get some sleep.

But after astonishment after astonishment, we continue to shake our head in disbelief and in many cases, utter shock!

Some in the punditry have mentioned that "liberals' never saw the Palin pick coming. That is true, I never did. Why? Well, mainly because, I didn't think McCain could be that damn stupid. I gave him a lot more credit than I should have. I thought he would pick someone that would help him compete in the election, to SUPPORT his ticket.

But there is one meme that has disappeared from the pundit-o-sphere - disunited Democrats. I am unsure if that is what McCain would have wanted to happen, but somehow, McCain picked the only candidate he could have to unite Democrats in a way that Obama and Clinton could never have done.