Archive for November, 2014

The Audacity of No

November 21, 2014

The last five years, 10 months and one day, in a nutshell. From my friend, low-life attorney, high priced bookie (or maybe the other way around) Jeff Friedman.  It totally encapsulates the visceral disrespect and hatred of President Obama. Because, well, they can’t really put a finger on it, but it has something to do with the melanin in his skin tone.

“You could see violence,” [Sen. Tom] Coburn continued. “This is a big step, to not work with Congress, now that he’s got a new Congress, to go completely around it.”
Really? Is it a bigger step for a president to not work with Congress than it has been for 53 Senators and roughly 235 Representatives to refuse to work with the President of the United States for the last six years?
Forget about everything else: Just the unmitigated gall of Republican Congressmen, in and of itself, should disqualify them from being taken seriously by anyone with an IQ that’s visible to the naked eye.
Is the party of voter suppression, the unprecedented misuse of the filibuster, and nonstop lying to the public actually accusing someone else of “lawlessness”?
I haven’t been able to watch MSNBC or follow politics at all since November 4th. I don’t know what has sickened me more: the dishonesty of the GOP or the gutlessness and wishy washiness of Democrats.
But I can’t stay silent any longer. Those pea-brained Morlocks are now suggesting that the President of the United States should be subject to a jail sentence for the heinous offense of refusing to break up families by deporting innocent people who have made incalculable contributions to our society??
Speaking of jail, what’s going on with the investigations of Chris Christy, “Yosemite Rick” Perry, Nikki Haley, and the worst of the worst: Scott Walker?
Each and every one of them is a REAL criminal and should be subject to extended periods of incarceration for having committed numerous crimes against the people of their respective states.
But no one ever talks about those felons in waiting. However, the “pro-family values” party is now arguing that the President of the United States should be prosecuted for trying his best to keep millions of innocent families together???
So how do brave, courageous Democrats respond? They decline to bring the President’s Attorney General nominee to the floor for a confirmation vote before the Goons take Congress and instead spend their time and energy on trying to pass the Keystone Pipeline because of a misguided fantasy that passage might help Mary Landrieu retain her senate seat, which it won’t.
Keystone Pipeline? They should call it the Keystone Pipe Dream.
Besides, the latest projections have Sen. Landrieu losing to her Republican opponent by 21 points, and, hell, even Captain Kirk knew that Landrieu was a “projection.”

THE most important thing that ANY president does is his or her appointments of judges and justices. Certainly, the last 14 years have eliminated any possible remaining doubt that judges do whatever the hell they want; the law is whatever they say it is. You can predict the outcome of 90% of appellate lawsuits by merely knowing who the judges are.
The best example was provided by Vince Bugliosi in “The Betrayal of America”:
How many of you believe that the five right wing Supreme Court justices would have stepped in and halted the Florida recount and used the Equal Protection Clause as their theoretical basis to permanently end the recount if Al Gore had been slightly ahead of W. at the time?
I bring this up because, when January rolls around, the new Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee will be Chuck Grassley, one of the most virulent opponents of the appointments of moderate, much less liberal, judges and justices of any of the crop of senators who are set to take control of the upper chamber in less than two months.
Grassley is SO extreme that he was actively urging other senators to ELIMINATE three open seats from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals just so Obama wouldn’t be able to fulfill his constitutional duty of replacing the previous occupiers of those seats.
{To show how malicious, as well as stupid, Grassley is, if he would have gotten his way and eliminated the three vacant seats, the number of judges on that court would have been reduced from 11 to eight, and, last I looked, an even number of judges is somewhat more likely to wind up evenly divided and, therefore, unable to reach a decision by majority vote than an odd number of judges is.]
But Republicans don’t care about trifling details like that just like they have consistently refused to: (1) extend ANY unemployment insurance benefits; (2) raise ANY taxes on the Top 1%; (3) enact ANY increase in the minimum wage; (4) agree to ANY half way reasonable immigration reform bill; (5) pass ANY reasonable gun safety legislation, etc., they have made it clear that they will oppose ANY person that Obama nominates to a judgeship (unless the nominee’s philosophy is somewhere between Clarence the Silent and the late Robert Bork.
Bottom Line: You better get busy, Harry Reid, because, come January, this president will be unable to appoint a single judge or justice to the federal courts.
You see, everyone who has adopted the theory that the entire mess we’re living through is the result of right wing hatred of Barack Obama is grossly mistaken.

 

What is it all about then?
It’s about dishonest, Machiavellian Republicans deciding some time ago that they are going to force this country to be transformed into a far right wish list comprised exclusively of right wing laws administered by right wing appointees.
So when a Democrat is president, Republicans will block everything he or she tries to do that even smacks of moderation, much less liberalism.
Conversely, when a Republican next occupies the White House (and for anyone who doubts that this scenario is a possibility, I have two words for you: Joni Ernst), the game plan will NOT be to enact conservative legislation and appoint conservative judges to the federal bench. It will be to enact extreme right wing legislation and appoint extreme right wing judges and justices.
In other words, exactly what George W. Bush did.
The Founding Father devised a brilliant scheme by which, no matter how extreme one party was when it controlled our government, their fanaticism would be neutralized when the other party took over.
But that concept doesn’t work when Party A obstructs everything that Party B tries to do when it is in power so that, when Party A regains power, they can pick up where they left off the last time they were in control so they can continue to move this country farther and farther to their side of the spectrum until “middle of the road” becomes regarded as “extremism” on the part of Party B.
With all due respect to the Founders, it is easy to understand why they never envisioned that the system their genius created would be as warped and distorted as it has steadily become since 1980.
They might have suspected that one party might some day become as power mad, as dishonest, and as capable of fooling an ignorant, disinterested, cerebraly challenged electorate as the GOP has become.
But they could never have imagined in their wildest nightmares that the opposing party would deteriorate into the spineless group of frightened rabbits that the Democrats have become?”

The prion disease that has infected the far-right since 1980 (really, since 1964) has run full boar since Barack Obama became President.  When you have an entire industry set out to destroy this man simply because they don’t like his name or his skin color or the fact that he won an election and then re-election in convincing fashion both times, and yet everything he has tried to do or accomplish on behalf of the American People has been blocked or filibustered or shot down just to ruin this country or make him look weak, bad or stupid (which he’s not, on any of those accounts), is simply outrageous.

The crazy has become so outrageous that the old bat herself, Phyllis Schlafly, came out of her shoe and said the President’s actions last night were akin to the start of the Civil War:

“Schlafly at first considered comparing the Obama amnesty to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor but decided that Obama’s plan is much more subtle.  “With Pearl Harbor, the American people knew what was happening,” she said.

But Fort Sumter, where the opening shots of the Civil War were fired, represented the beginning of a ruinous conflict, and Schlafly, like fellow conservative luminary Richard Viguerie, speculates that an executive amnesty might touch off a sort of modern-day conflagration.”

This, is of course, beyond the pale, even for a 175-year-old Witch.  But when you have AM radio playing nothing but Rush, Beck, Hannity and the lessers like Michael Weiner and Dennis Miller, you have room for very little else in the tiny faction of grey matter that this well-organized opposition to this man that they hate, then all reason, logic and facts are unpossible.  Like the fact that this (executive action on immigration) was done by their personal lord and savior, Ronald Reagan, in 1986.  Or that the Affordable Care Act was written by Republicans, ran on by Bob Dole in 1996 and Willard Romney first used its template in Massachusetts in 2006, it’s still Obamacare and “socialism.” Which is bull and shit to the nth degree (and they know it).

To wrap this up, do I expect the new Congress to work with this President?  No. They are there for two things and two things only: To impeach and impede Hilary Clinton from winning in 2016.  From the looks of it, they are well on their way to achieving at least one of those goals.

Love Stinks (Part 1)

November 18, 2014

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The above picture is a photo of Peter Wolf, he of the famous J. Geils Band and a personal friend of mine and local legend, Martin “Tino” Gross, front-man, funky daddy (and grandpa now, boy Carol Ilku and I had him pegged 25 years ago) and musical genius who fronts the even more local legendary band the Howling Diablos.

But this isn’t about my love for him, or Geils or Mr. Wolf.  This is about love and loss, something both bands cover very well.  And I know a lot about.  Loving and losing, that is.

A little history here first, back in the 70’s, long before MTV (and Adam Ant, Billy Idol, Duran Duran, the Go-Go’s and Madonna), J. Geils was working the road 320 days a year.  Not unlike James Brown, or Bob Seger, they played everywhere, including the long-gone Cinderella Ballroom here in Detroit that produced “Full House Live,” which is one of the top five “live” records you should have in your collection.  They were loved here in Detroit before “Centerfold” made them famous.

One of their pre-MTV songs was a little song called “Love Stinks.” It was written by Wolf about his breakup with the actress Faye Dunaway.  Well, as we (most) know, love does stink sometimes.

It was about 20 years ago when I first heard the term “Best friend and soul mate.” It was said to me by a woman who a) had no business telling me that, and b) wouldn’t know a friend or a “soul mate,” if they walked up to her and explained it to her.  Her name is unimportant, but it set a pattern for me over then next 10 years would come to define me and ultimately break my spirit when it came to matters of the heart.

She was young and could talk a good game. I recall the one time she said “I love you,” it sent a chill down my spine that made me realize that I was being used.  It turns out she was lying about everything, how she was getting a divorce, how she was going to school, where she was living.  It was all a big lie to achieve what, I have no idea, but she was a wily one.  One night, she came over and threw a bunch of clothes in the laundry, I went to get them out and lo, and behold, was her husband’s clothes.  I threw them back in the dryer and went back to my apartment and asked her about it. She said it must have got mixed up when she brought over her stuff.  I told her to leave when the stuff was out of the dryer.  She did.

So much for that, right? Wrong. She somehow gave out my phone card to a few of her husband’s friends who then proceeded to run up my bill to an amount that even the Koch Brothers wouldn’t pay. Then she told me that she wasn’t getting divorced, had dropped out of school and was going to have a baby with her husband.  That is always the end game, getting what she wanted the way she wanted it.

Little did I know that pattern would repeat itself twice in the decade that followed, each time inflicting more and more pain, hurt and resentment on me that only allows itself to continue to this day.

Whenever I hear that term, “Best friend and soul mate,” I cringe.

As J. Geils so aptly put it…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0LAs7X5ybE