A Tea Party Halloween

October 30, 2010

Can’t come up with a costume idea this Halloween?  The candidates of the Tea Party movement have some fine suggestions.

“I’m not a witch”, insists Chrissie O’Donnell, “but I like to dress up as one.”  Chrissie favors the standard “black gown, pointed hat” look, and “one of those satanic symbols around your neck.”   O’Donnell does caution parents not to let their young enchantresses sit on brooms, as “something long and hard between their thighs might lead to sinning instead of trick-or-treating!”

Parents making the rounds with their children should consider a joint costume, suggests Sharon Angle.  “A dad escorting his teenage daughter, for example, could go as Uncle Warren [convicted child molester and fundamentalist mormon leader Warren Jeffs] and one of his plural wives.”  As an added touch, Angle says stuff a pillow up the daughter’s prairie dress to simulate “a blessing.”

Joe Miller thinks everyone should go as Charlie Brown. “The days of government hand-outs are over.  From now on if you come begging, you’re getting a rock!”

Meg Whitman likes going as Miss Piggy.  As a billionaire, Meggers could buy any costume in the world, but “I wear a peach skirt-suit with pearls most days, so why change?  Also, the porcine muppet fits her personality. “As I like so say,” Meg quips, “it’s not easy being green when you offshore production to Chinese factories!”   Whitman adds that she learned a pretty good ‘oink-oink’ while chowing at the trough with her fellow Goldman-Sachs board members.  But what about costume suggestions for other people?  “Like I give a damn about other people,” Whitman replies.

Ilario Pantano warns trick-or-treaters not to approach his house.  The “Trespassers Will be Shot on Sight” sign in his front lawn is “no joke,” emphasizes Pantano.

Michele Bachmann swears by the traditional ghost.  “My good friend, Tony Perkins, does wonders with a simple white sheet,” exclaims Bachmann.  “All the darkies are scared to death when Tony and his klan roam their neighborhood at night!”

Marc Rubio enjoys wearing a costume and entertaining trick-or-treaters.  “I get done up like one of those SWAT guys who nabbed Elian Gonzalez,” says Cuban-American Rubio. “A tyke’ll come to the door and shout, ‘trick-or-treat’ and I’ll grab him by the shirt, stuff the muzzle of my toy M-16 in his face and scream, ‘we’re sending you to back to Castro and atheism!’  They usually cry, but then I say, “Hey kid, it’s a joke!  Forget about your mom; you can stay in America and eat candy.”

Rand Paul wonders why no one dresses up any more as one of his personal heroes.  “Strom Thurmond understood that the government didn’t have the right to force businesses to serve black people.  More young Americans should honor his legacy, as I do.”

Why not revive an old costume gathering dust in the closet, asks Rich Iott?  “Most Americans have a military reenactment uniform laying around,” notes Iott, who for years dressed up as a Stürmbahnführer of the 5th SS “Wiking” Division.  For those who don’t, Iott suggests contacting your local gun club or Aryan Brotherhood chapter.  “Attention to detail is important,” insists Iott, who, while admitting he built his Panzerfaust out of stove pipe, boasts that his Walther PPK sidearm “is an authentic ‘Wiking’ piece used to shoot Russian peasants in the head.”

Whatever you go as this Halloween, if you follow the Tea Party’s advice, it’s guaranteed to be SCARY!


(c) 2010 by ‘tamerlane.’  All rights reserved.

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Barack Obama: “I Want to Meet Ima Puma”

October 22, 2010

Ima Puma responds to a request to meet with the President of the United States of America.


Dear Ima,
Two years ago, just before I accepted our party’s nomination in front of 80,000 people in Denver, I spoke with 10 grassroots supporters who had won a trip to meet me backstage.

“Backstage?”  Yes, it was stage production, wasn’t it?

I still remember the time we spent together — because these are the people, like you, who … got me through the tough fights since.

By making excuse after excuse for your pathetic performance.

But we face another test on November 2nd … and I need you by my side again. A Supreme Court decision I strongly disagree with has shifted the balance of power in our elections from folks like you to giant corporations. Their massive spending on attack ads could have a real impact on who represents you at all levels of government.

This from a guy who broke his promise to stick to campaign spending limits, and went on to spend $700 million.

So next week, just 11 days before the elections, I want to meet three supporters like you backstage at a rally in Las Vegas — one of the last big rallies of this campaign.

Because Las Vegas epitomizes everything about your character and your administration.

This movement has always been about more than me.

I understand. It’s also about getting your golf handicap to at least -5.

It’s about change, and the kind of future we envision for this country.

I envision a future where you are not president.

The folks I met backstage in Denver told me they wanted health reform, a clean-energy economy, and a resolution to the war in Iraq.

Suckers!

They wanted a new kind of politics, and a new kind of leader.

Instead, they got a Chicago thug.

It was their hope and expectation that together we would move beyond the status quo, that we would counter the special interests and corporate influence in Washington —

God, I hate koolaid hangovers.

— that we would do what was right and necessary for all Americans.

” And by ‘all Americans,’ I mean the insurance lobby.”

With your help, we have made historic progress,

The Titanic was ‘historic’, too.

but there is much left to do —

Step One: Nominate Hillary.

and it will not happen without your involvement. Your donation today will provide critical support to our Vote 2010 campaign.

What? Is Soros skint?

It will determine if we pass this test, and win our toughest fight yet.

The fight to get elected after having dragged your sorry ass around for two years.

Please donate $3 or more to be automatically entered to win a trip to Las Vegas to meet me backstage:

Just thinking about that makes me faint!  Will I get to play the tambourine during your encore?

I hope to see you out there,

No, you really, really don’t.

— President Barack Obama

If it limps like a duck…


Constitutional Refresher Course

October 21, 2010

In yet another bizarre, embarrassing moment, Tea Party poster child, Chrissie O’Donnell, brought gasps and chuckles to the audience during a debate at a law school by claiming the First Amendment says nothing about separation of church and state.  But don’t pile on Chrissie, folks — every TP candidate thinks this is so.

The TP is a strange fusing of christian fundamentalists and libertarian anarchists, followed meekly by a host of criminally uninformed voters. One of its key planks is a pledge to adhere closely to the US Constitution — an odd desire for people whose views and aims conflict so fundamentally with that document.  They have a work-around to that conflict — wildly misinterpret certain sections, then pretend the rest doesn’t even exist.

For the christian fundamentalist, that literal believer in a bible chock full of glaring contradictions and falsehoods, ‘creative reading’ is second nature.  For the libertarian, living in a delusional world where the US economy was humming along perfectly until wrecked by the New Deal, ignoring facts is child’s play.  The TP version is less a competing interpretation of our nation’s highest law, than a Hollywood-esque “re-imagining” bearing scant resemblance to the original.

Even were their comprehension of the Constitution accurate, the TPers’ call for a “traditional, strict interpretation” has not been seriously considered for over two centuries. The immensely influential chief justice, John Marshall, deemed that the Constitution was “intended to endure for ages to come, to be adapted to various crises of human affairs.”  It was Marshall (in Marbury v. Madison, 1803) who codified the Founding Fathers’ intention to provide for judicial review.  To the Judiciary has been given the exclusive role of interpreting the Constitution.  And for two centuries, the plethora of decisions handed down by Supreme Courts have yielded remarkably consistent interpretations, none of which look anything at all like those TP re-imaginings.  (That hackneyed right-wing complaint over “activist judges” is nothing but frustration at the proper role of the judiciary as established in Marbury.)

While it’s a waste of time to talk reason to the O’Donnell and her fellow delusionals, for the benefit of those confused by the TP’s fanciful re-imagining of the Constitution, here’s a little refresher course.


Separation of Church and State

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….” — Amendment I

O’Donnell is technically correct: the actual words “separation of church and state” never appear in the first amendment, nor anywhere, in the Constitution.  That phrase came from contemporary statements by Jefferson and Madison, who both rejoiced that the Bill of Rights firmly established “a permanent wall of separation,” reflecting the universal desire of the Founding Fathers and the American people. They were intensely concerned that their new nation avoid the fights over state religion and consequent persecutions, tyranny, and civil wars that had devastated England and Europe for centuries.

As confirmation of this well-documented intent, over twenty major Supreme Court decisions have resoundedly confirmed the Constitution’s separation of church and state.  In response, O’Donnell and friends can offer but a flimsy, grammarian sophistry.  (TPM to Chrissie: the words “Bill of Rights” aren’t even in the The Bill of Rights.)  Interestingly, while TPers are quick to claim the First Amendment does not say church & state should be separate, they never explain what it supposedly does say.


The Right to Keep and Bear Arms

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”  — Amendment II

If sheer volume of words is a guide, the Second Amendment is by far the TP’s favorite section of the Constitution.  They should be glad that a truly strict interpretation has not not been applied.  Per 18th century syntax, that opening clause grants one the right to keep and bear arms only as a member of a well regulated militia — and a dozen skinheads shooting cans in Idaho is not what the Founding Fathers had in mind.

Written by some former minutemen, the Second Amendment has not aged well.  Our present day militia is called the National Guard.  Forced to adapt this amendment to modern times, the courts have chosen an exceedingly broad interpretation, granting the government powers based on the “well-regulated” part (shotgun? yes; flamethrower? no), while generously ignoring the militia membership requirement for citizens.  The interpretive pedant could also point out that, strictly, there’s nothing about protecting one’s right to keep and wear armor.


Unconstitutionality of The Federal income Tax

TPers’ aversion to taxation exceeds that of the Wicked Witch of the West to water buckets.  With increasing brazenness, they matter-of-factly state that the federal income tax is unconstitutional.

Now, considering its import and broad scope, the Constitution is a surprisingly short document.  So it seems a bit sloppy for the TPers to have missed Article 1, Section 8, which states:

“The Congress shall have Power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States…. “

and then goes on to give a long list, known as the enumerated powers, of all the things Congress can do, then finishes by further granting Congress power “to make all Laws necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing Powers….” Stricties claim this is a narrow permission list.  But beginning with Marshall, every Supreme Court has confirmed that the seventeen clauses of wide-ranging enumerated powers permit Congress considerable “discretion with respect to means … to enable that body to perform the high duties assigned to it in the manner most beneficial to the people.”

If Art I, Sec 8 was not convincing enough, Amendment XVI, passed in 1913, puts the taxation question to rest:

“The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived….”

There are even those who insist the USPS is unconstitutional, perhaps based on the obscure wording of this Art 1, Sec 8 clause:

“The Congress shall have Power … [t]o establish Post Offices and post Roads….”

Ah!  But the TP has found a way to get around the enumerated powers, with a trick last employed by the Confederacy.


State’s Rights

TPers are gaga for States’ Rights — the concept that ultimate sovereignty lies not with the United States, but rather with each individual state.  As proof, they cite Amendment X:

“The Powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the People.”

The Tenth Amendment, they (O’Donnell, apparently, excepted) argue, negates Art 1 Sec 8, leaving the Federal Government with almost no enumerated powers, meaning nearly every federal law ever passed can be ignored.  But the Supreme Court ( United States v. Sprague, 1931) found that the Tenth amendment “added nothing to the instrument as originally ratified.”

It defies credulity to imagine the Founding Fathers carefully codifying their highest ideals into federal law, only to immediately add an amendment that permitted lesser jurisdictions to ignore those ideals —  thus undermining majority rule and rendering the federal democracy non-functional.


The Party of Nullify

Also known as Nullification, this principle was first proposed during the late 1820’s, when Georgia wished to circumvent Federal Indian treaties so they could to drive the remaining Indians off their land.  The Supreme Court ruled (albeit too late for the Indians) against Georgia.

In 1832, South Carolina’s legislature, claiming State’s Rights to ignore federal tariffs designed to help (largely Northern) industry, passed a resolution to secede if the tariffs were not abolished. In response, President Jackson sternly declared

“the power to annul a law of the United States, assumed by one State, incompatible with the existence of the Union, contradicted expressly by the letter of the Constitution, unauthorized by its spirit, inconsistent with every principle on which it was founded, and destructive of the great object for which it was formed.”

The Palmetto state claimed the right to Nullify again in 1860 over another issue.

Today, TPers turn to Nullification as cover to reject any federal statute they don’t care for.  Not just “obamacare”, but also women’s choice, gay equality, social security numbers, and, as always, those evil taxes.  When a TP candidate mentions the Tenth Amendment, it’s nothing less than a coded threat to secede.


“Read Carefully Before Operating”

In retrospect, TPers should rethink their professed love for the Constitution.  Their vision of America is clearly at odds with that of its authors.  Still, had the TPers bothered to either read the Constitution onlinedownload it, or ask their buddies at the Heritage Foundation to send them a free copy, they’d have discovered a nifty way to rewrite the Constitution to their liking — the simple how-to instructions are laid out right there in Article V.  Maybe getting two-thirds of fellow Americans to agree with their crack-pot vision seemed a little daunting. So instead, TPers have chosen to simply ignore the law of the land.

For a centuries-old, hashed-out compromise, the US Constitution was written with prodigious clarity and amazing foresight.  It was never perfect, but frequent revision and reasoned interpretation has allowed it to keep up fairly well with developments. It’s the user’s manual thoughtfully left by the Founding Fathers in the glove compartment of our nation.  Anyone seeking to operate the machinery of government should first thoroughly familiarize themselves with it.


(c) 2010 by ‘tamerlane.’  All Rights reserved.



How to Really Give a Speech That Brings Hope and Change

October 20, 2010

If you have to come to TLN to discover this video, you’re definitely not plugged-in, but this speech is so powerful, so heartfelt, and stands in such striking contrast to the insipid demagoguery of lesser figures, it deserves a post.


 


Cry Babies

October 14, 2010

That nebulous cloud of disaffected Democrat & liberal independent voters, commonly labeled “pumas,” deserves a new monicker: “cry babies.”

After a relentless, two-year campaign of whining to each other on blogs, accompanied by not a single act of political activism, our eternal outrage now compels pumas to protest, punish, or dispense penance in the 2010 midterm elections.

Protest:  At a seminal crossroads for the continued viability of our Nation, the likes of which has not been witnessed since 1860, many pumas feel that a protest vote — voting for a green candidate, say, or simply abstaining — will somehow compel the Dem leadership to prick up its ears and heed our puma roar.  Or at least it will assuage our aversion to voting for any but the ideal candidate;

Punish:  Other pumas, for dark reasons known only to them, liken their prior affiliation to the Dem party to a romantic relationship.  When their partner/party betrayed their fidelity by shacking up with obama, these furies vowed revenge.  This November, they intend on taking a Louisville Slugger to both headlights, so the Democratic Party will think next time before he cheats.  Not a few of these punishing pumas have undergone a total inversion, abandoning principles and ideals to become fanatic Republicans.  Which makes one wonder what this was all about for them.

Penance:  There’s a lot of pop psychology going about saying the Democratic Party needs to “hit rock bottom” before it can recover — to “learn its lesson” so to speak — so let’s expedite the process by helping them lose the midterms.

This thought process is flawed on at least two counts.  First, it accepts the meme that ‘hitting rock bottom’ is the sole and certain path to ‘recovery.’   In reality, many people with addictions, antisocial behavior, etc. straighten themselves out before hitting bottom, while many others hit bottom and just stay there, never ‘learning their lesson.’   Second, this theory envisions the entire Democratic party as a single person.  Which it is not.  The Democratic Party is an (especially loose) agglomerate of individuals.  Those capable of learning their lesson have already learned it; facilitating a GOP landslide will not scare straight any others.

A flawed anthropomorphizing of party dynamics, this tenuous strategy also ignores the reality that the TP juggernaut cares not one iota for the aims of liberals.  A minority that includes Blanche Lincoln but lacks Russ Feingold fixes what, exactly?  In short, there is no path to ‘recovery’, however you define that, which leads through a right-wing landslide in this election.

Puma Piss

On the whole, pumas are a pissy lot.  We whine, we foment, we take umbrage at every slight.  On each of our shoulders sits a chip wearing an orange pant suit.  This November, pumas seem eager to stage a massive pissing-into-the-wind protest.  That’ll show ’em!

Yet, in this year of the Tea Party, where were all the Puma rallies?  Who were the Puma candidates in the primaries?  Given, unlike the TP, no billionaire benefactor jump-started our movement, but it didn’t help that there was no real movement to jump-start in the first place.

Every two years, all on her lonesome, Cindy Sheehan gets herself on the ballot to run against Nancy Pelosi.  Not a single “big name” puma could be aroused from their torpor and pathetic self-pity to do likewise.

There’s no avoiding that we pumas pissed away the past two years.  Oh, some of us did try to do something constructive way back.  Known by the ill-chosen name “Just Say No Deal,” and despite assembling an impressive array of experience and talent, for various reasons — an incompetent narcissist as its organizer, for one — this nascent “Puma Party” never got off the ground.  Thereafter followed The Denver Group, a savvy, well-crafted, but ultimately quixotic, protest of the DNC convention, and then … nothing.

Could a Puma Party have arisen then, as did the Tea party a year later?  Sure, but it didn’t.  It still could, and should, happen, in future.  And, in an upcoming post I will be announcing the formation of a new party/movement/PAC.  But back to today.

“First, Do No Harm”

Is the Democratic Party a total write-off?  Absolutely not.  To those who never got as close to politics as did I, it may come as a shock to discover that all politicians have an oily sheen about them.  But let’s not ignore that on 5/31/08, 12 of 27 RBC powerlords voted in favor of Hillary Clinton; that most democratic primary voters chose Clinton over obama; that the obamalonians were so worried by a straw poll of delegates, which indicated Clinton might win a floor vote, that they rigged the formal nomination.  Roughly, then, at least half of the Democratic rank & file membership is salvageable, as is nearly all of the Party platform.

Leave yesterday be; we’ll deal with that tomorrow.  Today, we must be pragmatic about what we can and cannot accomplish at this juncture.  Yes, ideally things would be better with true liberals in the Senate rather than the likes of Reid and Boxer.  But we blew our chance to improve those particular seats during this Spring’s primaries.  Our next opportunity to improve on Reid & Boxer, et al., comes around in 2016.  In 2010, we can only prevent those seats from getting FAR WORSE.  As political surgeons, we must all abide by the Hippocratic Oath.

It’s A Dirty Job

It’s 2010, and there’s no Puma Party around to throw our weight behind.  As disaffected dems and liberal independents, we’re stuck with making the best of a bad situation with what’s on hand.  What’s on hand are the existing Democrats and the TP-laden GOP.  The situation is too dire, the threats to our institutions, liberties and democracy too grave, for protests or statements.   For all intents and purposes, we have a Republican president in obama — handing him a GOP Congress would be disastrous.  This will be no small nudge to the right:  there will be an all-out assault on the institutions, principles, the very foundation of our American Liberty.

Our task today is simple, and it is narrow:  pick the lesser of two evils.  And the greater is very evil, indeed.  In 2008, this true liberal was prepared to vote for McCain, had the race in California proved close, simply to avert the pending obamalonian disaster.  I do not like John McCain, and share but few of his ideals.  So when a fellow puma tells me they cannot, in principle, vote for Barbara Boxer, who despite her many flaws, closely matches their political views, I have no sympathy.  It’s a dirty job, but we’ve got to hold our noses and cast a vote that matters.  No more crying: do your duty.  The welfare of our Nation demands it.


(c) 2010 by ‘tamerlane.’  All rights reserved.



Triple “Historicalness”

October 13, 2010

Not to be missed is this post by Ducksoup over at JohnWSmart.  One of the sharpest of the many smart, eloquent commenters at JWS, ‘duck responds to renewed calls for Hillary Clinton to step in as VP by offering some alternate career paths for the current POTUS.  Not only is Ducksoup’s piece both witty and thoughtful, it’s also spurred an invigorating discussion on a wide-range of subjects!