Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Cintra Wilson - King Dick’s Brave Conquering Of California

Cintra Wilson is the funniest person alive. I read her book "A Massive Swelling - Celebrity Re-Examined As A Grotesque Crippling Disease" and laughed until I peed myself. Then, I went to her blog and found this awesome post:

This story happened six long years ago, so nobody remembers, except for old wise elves like Jason Leopold, ex-LA bureau chief for Dow Jones Newswire, who just did an investigative report for Truthout.org.

ONCE there was a Thomas Cruickshank, who, in the 1960’s, was the Vice President of an oil-field services company called Halliburton.

When Mr. Cruickshank stepped down, he handed his golden Halliburton crown to his good friend, Mr. Dick Cheney.

Mr. Cheney went on, in the year 2000, to become Vice President of the Entire World, with Dominion Over All Powers and Energies both Temporal and Thermonuclear.

In 2001, King President Bush, an oil man, told his Vice King Cheney to create an Energy Task Force which would help dictate energy policy throughout the land. Cheney and his friend, Ken Lay, King of Enron, had secret meetings with all the Kings of Energy from all over the world: Exxon Mobil Corp., Conoco, Shell Oil Co., BP America Inc., Chevron, and others, according to the Washington Post. “Nearly 300 people and organizations….Virtually every major oil and diversified energy company,” said the New York Times on Thursday.

Go here to read the rest. You'll thank me.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Live Blogging the Debate At 'Comments From Left Field'




Getting a late start, but inviting y'all over to Comments From Left Field to the live-blog going on in the comments.

Join me, my blogfather* Kyle E. Moore (the former 'Mr. M' who is now 'out and proud' with his own name) and a bunch of other folks to armchair-quarterback the YouTube debate on CNN!

*it drives him crazy when I call him that!

Check Out Blue Gal's Kucinich Video!

Go visit Blue Gal to see the latest Kucinich video, featuring the lovely and talented Blue Gal!

Kucinich - in your heart, you know he's right.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

How Tammy Faye Changed My Mind

Like many of you, I find Christian hypocrisy horrifying. As a Christian, I have a hard time reconciling the Jesus of love, compassion, and poverty with the 'religion' that celebrates worldly wealth and condemnation of others. The excesses of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker during the 'PTL' days seemed to be the prime example of everything that was wrong with that particular style of Christianity - the constant begging for money on the air, soliciting (one might even say strong-arming) the donations of the poor, the elderly, the lonely and gullible, who often sent what they could not afford to send in the hopes that God would bless them for it, all the while using those donations to live high on the hog. The idea that God shows His favor by conferring earthly riches upon His followers is antithetical to everything that the Christ taught us.

I'm sorry to have to say I found a certain amount of satisfaction in the fall of Jim and Tammy Faye - an embarrassing bit of schadenfreude which is un-Christian in itself. But the idea of manipulating people for money in God's name repelled me, and I was glad to see someone actually have to pay in some way. That whole group of holier-than-thou evangelists - Oral Roberts, Jerry Falwell, Jimmy Swaggart, Ted Haggard and the like - often are found to be unholier-than-thou, excoriating others for behavior that they are later discovered to be involved in, often far more than those they chastise.

So imagine my consternation, years after the PTL scandal, to find myself sharing the green room of the Roseanne show (where my husband and I were in the house band that played on taping day to keep the studio audience amused between takes) with none other than Tammy Faye - now Mrs. Roe Messner. I was about 8 months pregnant with my second child, so I was spending a lot of time sitting down and eating, when we weren't playing in between takes. Tammy Faye was a guest star. It was the last season of Roseanne, where she wins the lottery and the story line went wild, and there were all sorts of unusual guest stars (Arianna Huffington, for one) so it was always fascinating.

Anyway, sitting there by ourselves in the green room, I couldn't imagine that Tammy Faye and I would have anything to talk about, but she broke the ice by asking me about my kids, and talking about being pregnant. From then on, we talked about husbands (she adored hers, as do I), and Palm Springs (she hated it - she thought that palm trees looked like 'upside-down brooms') and Burbank and Florida and North Carolina and babies. Every once in a while someone would come in and gush over her (usually someone gay, with a picture for her to autograph) and she was always friendly and funny and totally charming.

Tammy Faye and I chatted for about 3 hours in that room, and I left a little bit different than I went in. I met someone who broke the stereotype I had formed in my mind about 'that type' of Christian. She survived one of the most publicly humiliating scandals a person can imagine, and came to embrace the gay community - which her particular denomination considered hellbound - while managing to keep her real faith intact. She learned what it's like to be hated and despised by strangers, and was loved by a community who understood that, and understood her, and she understood and loved them back.

It takes a lot of gumption and courage - and faith - to come back from something as devastating as that with an open heart and head held high, but Tammy Faye did it, and I became one of her fans that night. My wedding anniversary was coming up that week, and Tammy Faye asked me what we were going to do. I told her that we usually went to Chadney's, a steak restaurant in Burbank that we considered 'our place', but which had recently closed, so we hadn't decided yet.

"Oh, then you should go to the Smokehouse," she declared. "It's Roe's and my favorite place. It's all wood paneling and big comfy booths. You'll love it."

We did go to the Smokehouse for that anniversary, and we did love it. It has now become 'our place', thanks to Tammy Faye.

This week, my husband and I will go to the Smokehouse - this time in honor of Tammy Faye. Thank you, Tammy Faye, for helping me to be more open-minded and less judgmental. That's the kind of Christian I want to be.

Update - there are so many people who have written about Tammy Faye and/or linked here that I want to share them with you all too. As I find more, I'll add them. Interesting to see all the different takes on Tammy Faye.

Blue Gal
Yikes!
The Omnipotent Poobah
Mock, Paper, Scissors
Shakesville


I don't know if you all ever saw the episode she was on (I don't watch TV much myself) but Roseanne and her sister were at some posh spa, in reclining chairs facing the audience, and the makeup artist had her back to the audience and was talking to them about subtlety and the 'natural look' and 'less is more' and how the goal of makeup is to look like you don't have any on, etc., etc. - and then, of course, she turns around and it's Tammy Faye.

I think her saving grace was that she could laugh at herself. We should all be so fortunate.

Update II - Princess Sparkle Pony has Tammy Faye audio and album covers!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Why Impeachment?

My friend Dr. Zaius raises a point that deserves discussion. Here is his comment from the Avalanche! post:

You need a 2/3rds majority in the senate to impeach, and either Chief Justice John Roberts (Bush appointed) or Dick Cheney will act as judge.

I am not sure that is the best short term solution.


A valid point. Here's my take on it:

You are right, zaius, that we don't have the votes. Perhaps you are even right in that it would be unsuccessful. And you may be right in that it is not a short-term solution.

But I believe that we must attempt it nonetheless, for the long-term health of our Constitution. Otherwise, you might as well strike out the possibility of impeachment at all, for any reason. Just save some ink and take it out of the Constitution.

What could be more of an impeachable offense than lying our country into war? If that is not an impeachable offense, then what is?

If the President (and if Bush) gets away with this without a mark, a precedent is set that may never be undone. Precedent is an onerous burden to overcome, even if accidental. Especially if accidental.

In the decision that gave corporations legal personhood - possessing rights rather than privileges, as other artificial legal constructs such as churches, unions, and civic clubs, even governments have - Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad , the actual decision by the Supreme Court mentioned no such rights for corporations. The court reporter, J.C. Bancroft Davis – a former railroad president – added a commentary called a headnote (which has no legal status) which stated: "The defendant Corporations are persons within the intent of the clause in section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which forbids a State to deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." There has been much speculation ever since as to whether the Waite court actually agreed with the idea of corporate personhood – it might have - but the bottom line is that corporate personhood was not addressed in the decision itself. The headnote was immediately seized on by corporate lawyers, who used it at every opportunity, and once the Supreme Court quoted it in subsequent cases, the doctrine of corporate personhood became law.

Even if something is not codified into law originally, precedent can make it so.

We as a democracy cannot afford to let this stand without challenge.

We seem to be approaching this as if we should only take action if we are assured of a successful outcome.

I believe we should take action regardless of whether we are guaranteed success, simply because it's right.

Our Founding Fathers risked everything - their fortunes, their families, their lives - to create a nation of laws, rather than men. We rightfully deride the chicken-hawks who cheerlead for the 'war' but would never dream of fighting it themselves. Yet we are unwilling as a party to risk what we have - our slender majority, our 'power' or influence; money, comfort, our perceived 'approval' - to do the right thing and check these megalomaniacs before they destroy our democracy.

We have been told by this administration in so many words that what we do or say will have no influence on the decisions made by the Decider. Why don't we believe him? He's telling us, "Scream all you want to - I'm still doing it my way."

We should take him at his word. In this, for once, he's telling the truth. And we should respond appropriately, and take the steps that the Constitution demands that we take in this situation. Otherwise we are giving our tacit approval and support to what these criminals are doing to us and the rest of the world. We would be establishing a precedent that may be impossible to overcome.

Impeachment is all that's left. The Founding Fathers did not say, "We'll break away from King George, if he'll let us, and not get too mad at us, and agrees with us that independence would be best for everyone."

We shouldn't say that either.

Friday, July 20, 2007

For the 2½ Hours Cheney is 'Officially' President Tomorrow...

...as opposed to his usual unofficial Presidency, I will be wearing a black armband.

God help us all.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Avalanche! We're Being Buried Alive

Whoa Nelly!

Is it just me, or do things seem as if they are sliding downhill at an accelerated pace? Is it just getting crazier and crazier? Each offense more egregious than the next, as if, when you pile one on top of another, you don't notice each one individually as much?

As the end of the Bush regime looms over the horizon, it seems as if they are scrambling to do as much damage as they can to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights before they are ushered out - if, that is, they indeed will be ushered out, or if they plan on extending their reign of terror by some kind of false-flag, Gulf-of-Tonkin maneuver. At this point, the tin-foil hat is perched smartly atop my head, and it looks like it's going to be a staple of my wardrobe for a while.

This last week has been filled with the most shocking, arrogant power-grabs imaginable.

First, Bush slithers out an Executive Order calling for "Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq". This order says that "I, George W. Bush" can seize the assets of anyone accused of:
(i) committ(ing), or pos(ing) a significant risk of committing, an act or acts of violence that have the purpose or effect of:

(A) threatening the peace or stability of Iraq or the Government of Iraq; or

(B) undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq or to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people;

(ii) to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, logistical, or technical support for, or goods or services in support of, such an act or acts of violence or any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order; or

(iii) to be owned or controlled by, or to have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order.
Furthermore, he doesn't have to tell anyone he's doing it, and anyone who tells that he's doing it will suffer the same consequences.

What does 'promoting economic reconstruction and political reform' mean?

(hint: whenever you see the word 'reform' associated with the Bush Crime Family, you know that it means utter destruction in some form or other.)

Translated into English from Bush-gibber, it means "I'm gonna git my grubby paws on all o' that Eye-racky oll, and ain't none o' y'all gonna stop me." The increasingly desperate attempts by the Bush-whackers to steal the oil in Iraq can be seen for the naked theft that it is. All the talk about 'benchmarks' merely means that Pirate Cap'n Bush ain't quittin' till the Iraqis give up the booty - the majority of their oil revenue - the only asset they have. 'Stabilization' my ass.

Bush is acting as if the Iraqis are at fault - as if they owe us! Remember, at the start of this shameful attack, the American people were promised that the 'war' wouldn't cost us a dime, because the Iraqis were swimmin' in oil! They could 'pay for their own reconstruction'! In February 2003, White House Spokesman Ari Fleischer said that in the event that there is a war to oust Saddam Hussein,
"Iraq, unlike Afghanistan, is a rather wealthy country. Iraq has tremendous resources that belong to the Iraqi people. And so there are a variety of means that Iraq has to be able to shoulder much of the burden for their own reconstruction,"

Imagine the gall!

Saying, "We can destroy a sovereign nation who did not threaten us, and then make them pay for it!" Like the thief that breaks into your house, steals everything you have, murders your family, and then sues you for breaking his arm while on your property, Bush even has the unbelievable, unmitigated grapes to accuse Iraq of being 'ungrateful'!

Ungrateful.

Ungrateful.

This is the kind of insane and delusional thinking (and acting) that has destroyed America's reputation and any shred of moral authority we once were able to claim on the world stage. This is what has created more terrorism, emboldened our enemies, and made us less safe than ever. And the thugs in charge are dismantling, brick by brick, any recourse we have of stopping them.

Next on this week's Hit Parade Countdown, BushCo pushes on with its dictum of omnipotence, according to the Washington Post:
Bush administration officials unveiled a bold new assertion of executive authority yesterday in the dispute over the firing of nine U.S. attorneys, saying that the Justice Department will never be allowed to pursue contempt charges initiated by Congress against White House officials once the president has invoked executive privilege.

Under federal law, a statutory contempt citation by the House or Senate must be submitted to the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, "whose duty it shall be to bring the matter before the grand jury for its action." But administration officials argued yesterday that Congress has no power to force a U.S. attorney to pursue contempt charges in cases, such as the prosecutor firings, in which the president has declared that testimony or documents are protected from release by executive privilege.

Officials pointed to a Justice Department legal opinion during the Reagan administration, which made the same argument in a case that was never resolved by the courts."A U.S. attorney would not be permitted to bring contempt charges or convene a grand jury in an executive privilege case," said a senior official, who said his remarks reflect a consensus within the administration. "And a U.S. attorney wouldn't be permitted to argue against the reasoned legal opinion that the Justice Department provided. No one should expect that to happen."


A 'bold new assertion'? Is that what the kids are calling it these days? Every time The Kowboy Koward of Krawford shoves his boot up the rectum of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, the media fawningly calls it 'bold' or 'steadfast' or 'strong' or some other flattering term. 'Executive privilege' is Bush-squawk for "L'├ętat, c'est moi".

And in a not-unrelated story, Valerie Plame's suit has been thrown out of court. According to the Associated Press,
A federal judge dismissed former CIA operative Valerie Plame's lawsuit against members of the Bush administration Thursday, eliminating one of the last courtroom remnants of the leak scandal. Plame, the wife of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, had accused Vice President Dick Cheney and others of conspiring to leak her identity in 2003. Plame said that violated her privacy rights and was illegal retribution for her husband's criticism of the administration.U.S. District Judge John D. Bates dismissed the case on jurisdictional grounds and said he would not express an opinion on the constitutional arguments. Bates dismissed the case against all defendants: Cheney, White House political adviser Karl Rove, former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby and former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage.
And who is this impartial pillar of jurisprudence who threw out the suit? Bob Fertik at Democrats.com tells us:
So who is Judge John D. Bates, the judge who threw out Valerie Plame's lawsuit against Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Scooter Libby, and Richard Armitage? A "loyal Bushie," of course.

  • Deputy Independent Counsel for the Whitewater investigation from 1995 to mid-1997, where he forced the White House to release thousands of documents related to Hillary Clinton's conversations about Whitewater.
  • Appointed as Federal judge in December 2001 by George W. Bush
  • In December 2002, he dismissed a lawsuit filed by the GAO against Cheney over access to his energy task force documents, claiming the GAO lacked authority to sue the VP.
  • In February 2006, he was appointed by Chief Justice Roberts to serve as a judge of the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court - replacing a judge who resigned in protest over the illegal NSA wiretapping. It's a safe bet Bates has been a reliable rubber stamp allowing Bush's NSA to spy on millions of Americans without a warrant.
  • In August 2006, Bates declared it acceptable for Bush to sign a bill that had not been passed by Congress.
"The alleged means by which defendants chose to rebut Mr. Wilson's comments and attack his credibility may have been highly unsavory, " Bates wrote. "But there can be no serious dispute that the act of rebutting public criticism, such as that levied by Mr. Wilson against the Bush administration's handling of prewar foreign intelligence, by speaking with members of the press is within the scope of defendants' duties as high-level Executive Branch officials."
Even if it's treason.

So much for the Department of 'Justice', Like Rupert Murdoch, they solve their problems by buying or taking over any organization that can impede their vision.

So, here we sit, taking hit after hit after hit from these disgusting criminals, and we're being buried alive.

But we have to ask ourselves, is it any wonder these guys are getting more aggressively dictatorial every day?

After all, every time they try something and get away with it, the message we send is "We're not going to stop you." Like Neville Chamberlain appeasing Hitler, attempting to persuade this President to act rationally and legally and in the interest of the American people by 'taking the high road' and going through the congressional channels merely tells Bush and Cheney that we're weaklings. They chortle and give us the finger, and instruct us to go Cheney ourselves while they continue to rape and pillage and loot and fatten themselves and their cronies. And we'd better not complain about it, either, or we may find our assets seized and ourselves 'disappeared'.

Please understand that we are past the point of rationality here. We are past the point of being able to expect these criminals to obey the law. And up to now we have given them every assurance that we aren't going to stop them.

Nothing else but impeachment will do.

The Dems claim that, instead of impeachment, we should concentrate on trying to make some much-needed changes in policy, blah blah blah.

But how do they think they're going to make any changes or pass a Democratic agenda when they can't even deal with a filibustering Repub Senate - the same ones, incredibly, who shoved through these horrible judges by threatening Democrats who even talked about considering a filibuster with the 'nuclear option'. Somehow, Dems who filibuster are 'obstructionists' but not Repubs. (Remember the howls for an 'up or down vote'? No? I didn't think so. Neither do the Repubs .)

The definition of insanity, in the Big Book, is taking the same action over and over and expecting different results.

Al Wilson, an artist who I was fortunate to have played with when I was very young, had a hit song that described this situation perfectly. It's the story of a 'tender-hearted woman and a poor half-frozen snake'. The snake begs to be taken in and taken care of, and the tender-hearted woman complies, and brings him back to life. The lyrics go on to say:
Now she clutched him to her bosom, "You're so beautiful," she cried
"But if I hadn't brought you in by now you might have died"
Now she stroked his pretty skin and then she kissed and held him tight
But instead of saying thanks, that snake gave her a vicious bite.

"I saved you," cried that woman
"And you've bit me even, why?
You know your bite is poisonous and now I'm going to die"
"Oh shut up, silly woman," said the reptile with a grin
"You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in."

Sorry, kiddies, but playtime is over. These snakes are not going to change their natures.

We must impeach now - while there is still hope that we can.

I don't want to be buried alive.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

My Impressions of Camp Casey


My ambitious plans before leaving for Camp Casey included much blogging and regular updating. I found out right away that this was a ridiculous idea. We were so busy and there was so much going on that I had to use every minute to do what I came to do - take pictures, record peoples' stories, and help Bree get up to speed on who's who and what's what here in Crawford, so that she can begin to develop a game plan for this next phase of Camp Casey. As it was, I was up till at least 4 or 5 in the morning every day we were there.

As of now, I'm on the train back to LA from San Diego, and my brain is still spinning from information overload, so I'll try to start from the beginning and sort out my impressions.

Day One - Thursday, July 5

Bree and I leave from the San Diego airport in the morning, heading to Dallas/Fort Worth and from there on to Waco, the closest airport to Crawford. Bree is on the no-fly list (big surprise there!) so there is no convenient check-in at the kiosk. Fortunately we both travel light, so we don't have to deal with checking bags.

We take a small prop plane from DFW to Waco. When we arrive, we are greeted in the terminal by a contingent of the Camp Casey regulars, waving ands holding up "Welcome Home Bree" signs. I don't know anyone yet, but I recognize Cindy Sheehan, who has come to pick us up in her RV, newly dubbed "Jezebel", which she bought with the proceeds of the Camp Casey property. Jezebel will be taking her on her next road trip, which will begin Tuesday the 10th and end up in New York on the 29th.

After she and Bree greet each other, she comes up to me, says, "Hi, I'm Cindy" and gives me a big hug. She's taller than I expected, and looks younger and prettier in person than the news pictures of her indicate. Bree and I climb aboard Jezebel. Cindy is going to take us to Camp Casey first before we go to the hotel we're staying at in nearby McGregor. I have my camera out, and I get some pictures of some of the flooded areas. By the side of the road, you can see trees here and there that look like they're coming out of the water like mangroves in a swamp.

As we get into Crawford we see the 'downtown' area, with the famous Yellow Rose store, which proudly proclaims its allegiance to all things Bush. On the opposite corner is a restaurant/ gift shop/gas station, also featuring a plethora of Bush swag. There is a dilapidated barber shop, several antique shops, and a lonely-looking barbecue joint (which I hoped to sample but didn't get a chance to) and Crawford City Hall, which is not a stand-alone building but a storefront a couple of doors down from the Yellow Rose. We continue on past the town area and soon we can see the driveway to Camp Casey on our right.

We turn into the driveway through the open gate with its 'Camp Casey' sign. To our immediate left on the driveway is a picture of Casey Sheehan amid a bed of sunflowers - the most prevalent flowers we see. The property is grassy and greener than I expected, most likely due to the extra rain and flooding. Next on our left is what appears to be a wooden pallet stood on end, with a sign saying 'Blessed Are the Peacemakers", and after that a large circle of white stones enclosing rows and rows of small markers - mostly white crosses with a flower on each one, although there are some black crosses and also a Star of David or two. In the midst of the markers is an American flag at half-mast. There is a pile of stones with scattered flowers surrounding a sign which asks "For What Noble Cause" and lists the number of American dead and wounded. It is updated daily by one of the vets who take care of the property day-to-day. Although these are poignant reminders of loss, there is a calm and peaceful energy which is almost palpable from the minute you enter the property.

It is indeed 'hallowed ground'.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Look Out Crawford, Here We Come!

Hi folks - just a short note from Dallas while we wait for our plane change to Waco, and then on to Crawford!

I'll be updating y'all on what goes on this weekend - as it is, right now I have no idea what we'll be doing or what to expect! It's going to be interesting, that much I know.

More news this evening. Hope to see some of you Texas progressives here!

Every Day Is Independence Day - When You're the Decider!

Did anyone else notice the admiring way that the 'critics' described the Kowboy Koward of Krawford's shockingly cavalier disregard for the rule of law and the American electorate? The slap in the face to the justice system?

On the talk-shows, the chattering monkeys were going wild. That Bush! What a macho, two-fisted guy! He doesn't care what the people think - he's da man! He just goes ahead and imposes his will regardless of pesky distractions like the justice system, the Bill of Rights, the irritating gnats that the public has become. Lesser men and women - those weak and craven bootlickers who actually pay attention to judges and the decisions of juries - may be swayed this way and that by the incessant whining of the rabble, but not The Commander Guy! They described Bush's pissing on the Constitution in the awestruck tones usually sounded by Geraldo Rivera when he's in the throes of an especially intense man-crush on Bill O'Reilly.

Make no mistake about it - the more the Decider tromps all over us and kicks us in our collective groins with his oversized hob-nailed, steel-toed jackboots, the more impressed these babblers are. Even as they enumerate his blatant offenses against democracy , against justice and against America, you can hear that tinge of - is it envy? Or the groveling of the cowardly at the feet of the meanest bully on the playground? How cool is it to just be able to do whatever you feel like, and spit in the face of your irrelevant and impotent detractors at the same time? To chortle gleefully, because you know no one is going to be able to do anything to stop you?

Yep, let's fire up the barbecue and throw another Democrat on the grill. When you're the Decider, every day is Independence Day!