Friday, March 26, 2010


sociopath |ˈsōsēōˌpaθ|
a person with a personality disorder manifesting itself in extreme antisocial attitudes and behavior and a lack of conscience.

It seems to me that the definition when applied to political discourse may very well be a descriptor of the many disgruntled partisans on the right. After the new health insurance reform law was signed this week by President Obama an increase of extreme antisocial attitudes and behavior by opposition party members, and followers was noted.
In defense of their rhetoric instilling fear, and hate among the conservative flock leaders of the GOP have let it once again be known that any resemblance to the truth that the media may point out will be met with dissemination of facts, and derision for having simply stated the truth. The "lame stream media" as rejected vice presidential contender, and drop out Alaskan governor Sarah Palin accused just yesterday in a speech for soon to be ousted from office Senator John McCain was a "ginned up controversy". Surely she had no information in which to base this remark on. Information is only chatter by those that oppose her quest for power. Even if she were aware of the 10 year old little girl in the back of a car being run off the road it simply could not have to do with the bumper sticker on the rear of the car. It couldn't possibly because "our incitement to violence is simply a metaphore for voting". We vote the bastards out!
Well someone just voted with the front end of their SUV.

The lack of conscience?
Maybe it has to do with blaming the messenger for making it sound as bad as it really is.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

A Teabagger In the Crowd!

It amazes me how real life can play out years or decades ahead of time in the movies. It was only a year and a half ago that I watched the film A Face in the Crowd for the first time. A classic movie directed by Elia Kazan, who you may remember also directed many other socially relevant films such as On the Waterfront, and East of Eden.
The film takes place in the 1950's during the heyday of radio, and the beginnings of television. Its main focus was a character named Lonesome Rhodes as played by a youngish Andy Griffith. Griffith was absolutely captivating in this film, and if you get the chance to see it you will never be able to watch his series The Andy Griffith Show again without instinctively recoiling at his saccharine voice. The character Rhodes is a found star living among the captives at a small town jail who likes to dispense advise, and grassroots wisdom, while plucking a guitar. Lonesome likes the limelight, and power that comes from the attention his populist screeds on television, and radio bring. He gins up hatred, and anger in a way I find comparable to the way the modern GOP does today.
It was during last years election that I first saw similarity between this "found star" Rhodes, and the Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin. She too, (just like ol' Lonesome) can muster mobs of people and raise anger toward made up boogie men, and fake issues using an amazingly sweet voice. People like Sarah, and Lonesome Rhodes often do get the attention they seek, but in real life, as in the film they too find themselves washed up when former allies turn on them. I do not believe it will be long before the cooler heads in the GOP begin to reel in their crazy activist counterparts, and give them a map to the door. If they ever plan to make a run at 2012 in a serious way, they will need to be able to point to level headed leadership in order to woo a majority of voters.

If they are not able to do so, we may be seeing the real end of the GOP as we ever knew them. History shows again, and again how mob mentality eventually leads to the path of destruction. Generally the destruction of those behind the curtains pulling the strings.
Make no mistake, it IS the GOP pulling the strings, and pushing a mob mentality this weekend. For every congress person the GOP sends people to scream at, and shout down at town hall meetings this month, they are loosing many voters that came to hear about the health care plan they want and need badly. This time voters will not blame the Democrats for the destruction of health care reform, as the evidence is clear that Republicans are the party of NO!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Thoughts that Cross my mind

It struck me that the people I hear who use every single cool day in the summer to sarcastically ask "where's that Global Warming" (never mind that any 3rd grader should be able to tell you Global Warming refers to average global temperatures and not any one day or year in any one region) are also the same ones who complain that the stimulus hasn't helped because we are still losing jobs (never mind that the stimulus may in fact have kept tens or potentially hundreds of thousands of people from being unemployed which would have added to those numbers even more) and that it has cost too much were also the same ones who said repealing the Bush tax cuts would be a "job killer" while ignoring the bloating deficit. These same simple-minded people are also the same ones who blast the Governor for "not doing anything" while cheerleading the G.O.P. to stonewall her every effort and ignore that she's been right from the beginning about what was wrong with the Michigan economy and prevented her from doing anything about it.

These people remind me of our illustrious Attorney General Mike Cox. So fevered in his desire to win the love of the state's right wingers in his bid to be Governor that he talks out of both sides of his mouth when trying to attack that favorite Republican target, Blue Cross Blue Shield. Cox will try to argue one minute that Blue Cross needs to do more to cover the uninsured:

"Let us not forget the mission of Blue Cross is to put people over profits and not profits over people."

But then the next week Cox will turn around and try to knee cap Blue Cross' ability to do that very mission. Just as Blue Cross reports mammoth losses, Cox is trying to follow the GOP playbook of starving the beast in order to drown it in the bath tub. Blue Cross announced losses of $144.9 million in 2008 ("losses in the individual market... could exceed $1 billion by 2011") and plans to eliminate 1,000 jobs yet Cox is fighting the plans of the 'insurer of last resort' to stay solvent. It's obvious what he's doing yet media reports neglect to mention that he seems to want it both ways. He pretends to like Blue Cross' effort to insure the poor yet he does everything he can to prevent them from doing that. While private health care costs sky rocket, Republicans like Cox use BCBS's own mission statement as a cudgel to beat it to death by blocking any possible rate increases, saying it would hurt the poor people Blue Cross is in existence to serve (who would be hurt even more if Blue Cross were killed or privatized as Republican allies like the Mackinac Center have long wished).

For years, Republicans have dreamed of doing away with Blue Cross- just look at how much furor the notion of a "public option" has gotten in the national debate as it goes against everything the modern hyper-capitalists believe in (unregulated markets, a government that competes with the private sector or does what the private sector is unwilling or unable to do). Then look back here at Michigan and ask yourself if these people are really worried that any health care reform which includes the public option won't work... or that it will.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Peter the Tweeter is at it again!

Apparently fearing that the Iranian election dissent has taken America's eyes off the unbearable tragedies of being a Republican our favorite torture loving extremist decided to make a post in his twitter account.

Photo Courtesy Crooks and Liars

Follow as Logan Murphy, nails it when he points to the best part of this absurd statement:

The comments afterward!

Personal favorite?

michstjame: @petehoekstra Laughed so hard at your tweet water came out my nose. Now I know what waterboarding feels like. #GOPfail

This of course made me laugh until I realized that this idiot could be our Governor soon.
Nahhh! that would kinda be like.....

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Serf and turf

Yesterday I was driving by the Barry County Friend of the Court and noticed that the county was getting free landscape work courtesy of an inmate at the county jail. Well, free if you ignore the cost to the taxpayer to keep someone in the county jail and to drive them to a work site and to pay someone to keep an eye on them so they don't escape.

I know that often the tattooed arms that restrain the pets at the local shelter which get photographed and printed in the local paper belong to jail inmates who do jobs to help pay for their 3 squares and a bed at Sheriff Leaf's B&B. So it didn't seem unusual in any way to see one of trimming the lawn. In fact, it was nice to know some guy wasn't getting paid 3 times my hourly wage to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine while I toil away inside an office not quite enjoying the stale air and flourescent lighting.

Various citizens of Hastings were out walking the streets on a nice day. I noticed a few women strolling along a sidewalk not far from the inmate doing some weed whacking. I wondered how they felt looking over to realize a convict was standing not too far from them, without any apparent cuffs, leg irons, shackles or other implement to impede his movement that I could see. Even that didn't seem too odd given that this was at perhaps the busiest corner in the county, despite not seeing any armed guard or other presence to prevent an incident, since chances are this guy would like to hurry up and serve his time so he get out and perform the same menial task for at least minimum wage (if he's lucky enough to find employment, but that's another story I suppose). Maybe I've seen too many films but I half expected the Sheriff to be chewing on a toothpick or match, hand on his revolver or cradling a shotgun while keeping a watchful eye on his ward, but if any one was keeping an eye on the inmate while he performed his duties I didn't notice. I drove off without giving it any more thought.

Then today I drove by that same spot and what I saw did seem a bit off to me- enough to remember what I'd seen, and nearly forgotten, from the day before. The same jail inmate in his orange jumpsuit was in nearly the same spot behind the Barry County Friend of the Court building in downtown Hastings. This time instead of doing the yard work he was performing another task, a surprising one, at least as I saw it. This time the orange-adorned inmate was buffing a shine onto a nice looking black Chrysler (a 300, I believe).

Now, I have no way of knowing just from driving by and seeing this fleeting image whether the car in question is a county vehicle or privately owned but I didn't see any department insignia that would lead me to believe this car was official government property and I guess I didn't think a nicer car such as this would be used as a county vehicle- then again I still don't get why the Sheriff's Department has to drive gas guzzling SUVs while the state cops and city boys still seem to be able to fit their gear in a car just fine.

Is it just me or does anyone else see a different between making jail inmates do some yard work and having them shine a car, especially if the car isn't county property? If someone in the county might order him to clean their car would they then also ask to get their shoes shined? What is the limit of what these inmates are forced to do? Does any one care or does this fall into the common attitude that we don't care how prisoners are treated as long as we feel someone is "bring tough" on them?

Blogger's note: I though about waiting on this since I know local law enforcement is a bit pre-occupied tonight (my condolences to those affected) but I figured if I waited I'd just forget about it or put it off and it would be another month before I posted something.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Hoekstra knew of torture...Admits it!

"It was not necessary to release details of the enhanced interrogation techniques, because members of Congress from both parties have been fully aware of them since the program began in 2002."

If it is true as Congressman Hoekstra admits in his editorial yesterday in the Wall Street Journal that he knew about, and even condoned torture in his position as ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, we as his constituents should call for his immediate resignation.

in his own words:
"Members of Congress calling for an investigation of the enhanced interrogation program should remember that such an investigation can't be a selective review of information, or solely focus on the lawyers who wrote the memos, or the low-level employees who carried out this program.".

In his editorial he uses the same "everybody was doing it" excuse that my own parents would not accept from me as a child, and an end justifies the means excuse that reminds me of Nixonian days. What others knew, and when they knew it is a matter for investigators, and constituents of other congressional districts. But we cannot sit idly by when our own representative admits to allowing our nation to commit illegal actions.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Of tea bags and d-bags

So, the Republican Party has suddenly once again found its voice when it comes to deficits and bailouts to large industries. Despite years of being in power where they increased deficits, taking the nation from surpluses that could have secured Social Security and Medicare to deficits that were given mostly to the richest among us, and were in fact still power when the government handed out the largest of the bailouts that are they now so vociferously opposed to (it was fine when it was Wall Street but when Main Street started getting help they finally got up in arms about it), now we have to hear the sanctimonious blathering of the un-useful idiots who are now so enamored with the Constitution despite having spent 8 years dumping on it.

Now, thanks to the endless cheer leading at Fox News and other right wing propaganda outlets, the so-called 'Tea Party' movement has loudly begun to protest problems that were created by the party they support. Oh, I know their press releases said the events were bi-partisan but looking at the lists of speakers at local rallies one can't help but notice the list of prominent 'celebrity' wingnuts (like "Joe the Plummer" whose major claim to fame was lying about his income in a staged public ambush against the Democratic presidential candidate), right wing party hacks and even announced candidates for office such as Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox who 's making a bid for governor. It's not exactly a bi-partisan movement when your most prominent advocates are Michelle Malkin, Glenn Beck and Neil Cavuto.

According to their web site:

The Tea Party effort is just a small piece of a much larger movement aimed at restoring the basic free-market principles our country was built on. The Constitution, for the most part, is being ignored by our current government and we intend on working together to correct the problem.

The Tea Party effort is a grassroots, collaborative volunteer organization made up of every day American citizens from across the country. We take pride in the fact that we've built a 50 state network of leaders and activists using nothing more than the internet, a few websites and a burning desire to restore freedom.

Interesting stuff. Funny, how many times have we heard the protest is against bailouts and yet the "current government" isn't the one that handed that AIG and others billions in taxpayer money. Funny that the current administration has actually done much more to ensure any money is used for its intended purpose and with oversight. It was the Republican administration and its media lapdogs that demanded the money immediately and with no accountability. I give some Republicans credit for having originally opposed the bailout but too many of them were the ones demanding no public oversight and that the money be handed out in the middle of the night like gambling debts paid to a bookie in a back alley. The biggest problem here is that the Republicans seem to oppose government programs for the wrong reason. Once upon a time even most Republicans believed in regulated capitalism but now all we hear is "SOCIALISM" every time the government tries to do what it should and needs to be doing to restore order in the markets and security to our financial system.

The Republican party's financial benefactors have spent so much time and money "educating" its grassroots that all government is bad, that all regulation is flawed and any social safety net is immoral that too many have swallowed the party line and now hold an economic viewpoint that seems much closer to Mussolini's Italy than to Reagan's America.

More disturbing, the groups fomenting these public demonstrations keep using code words such as "revolt" and "revolution." A Congresswoman has even taken to calling for "an armed revolution." Recent news reports speak of how people are buying guns and ammo in large numbers. These add up to disturbing trends that could lead down dangerous paths. We have already seen too many instances of people making threats of violence. It all seems like the 1990s again when the right wing rhetoric pumped up such "every day citizens" as Timothy McVeigh and Eric Rudolph to oppose government in a way that was much more than simple protest. The level of rhetoric is quickly ratcheting up and the paranoid hostility seems misplaced when many of the "government actions" these people oppose were ones originally enacted during the past adminstration.

So, let's dial down the heated rhetoric and realize that the right wing lost the election and that the way to ensure being out of power for even longer is to embrace the nuttiest loons in the party and on it's fringes. The GOP is on the verge of becoming a regional party, isolated in the deep south. A recent survey showed the majority of Americans outside the deep south, including a majority of Republicans, outside of the deep south holding favorable opinions of such "liberal" icons as San Francisco and France yet listening to prominent Republicans you'd think they were despised by most Americans and certainly most Republicans. Most Americans support the current administration's efforts to re-enact regulation that prevented the type of calamity seen in the stock market over the last few months. Just as Republican opposition to the attempts by Franklin Roosevelt to repair the damage created by the GOP which helped fuel the Great Depression left them in the minority for years (one of the most vocal critics being Michigan's own Father Coughlin), the current right wing's exuberant opposition to common sense and mainstream plans to fix years of fiscal "reforms" that dismantled consumer and worker protection and that promoted endless mergers and consolidation which turned our economy into a perilous house of cards could just make it harder for them to win in November... even if it helps them win in August.

With a gubernatorial campaign and a dismal economy, the candidates for office in the Republican Party will fall all over themselves to see who can most strongly embrace right wing anger over having been kicked out of power and doing so might just help them win in the primary, but chances are it could actually hurt their chances to win in November. The Republican Party seems virtually assured of owning the Michigan Governor's Mansion unless they decide to dump those chances in the harbor. Will restraint win out? Given the nature of the GOP base over the last few years, I think the tea leaves suggest it's not likely.