Sunday, April 24, 2016

Trump and Cruz

As the corporate media's credibility circles the drain, Rush Limbaugh falls and both political party establishments quake and quiver on the verge of revolution, I give you Donald Trump and Ted Cruz on the road to perdition.
Every now and then a malignant ideologue rears their ugly head in the body politic. Some are charming, some charismatic, and some just intimidating and ugly. They all have three things in common. First, they are generally liars, usually fanatics and always name callers. Without exception they seize upon a term with which to define others as social pariahs and use it freely. Secondly, they are not interested in the common good. For all their mouthing off about freedom, patriotism, Christianity and the wonder of democracy they are without exception self promoting power junkies. Finally, they all come to an ignominious end generally at the hands of the institutions that supported them.
In the 1930’s - during the Great Depression - a priest known as Father Charles Coughlin took the job. He was a rabid anti-Semite and supporter of many of Hitler and Mussolini’s policies. He hated Communism. After initially supporting Roosevelt, Coughlin turned on him and the New Deal. He spewed his detestable venom over the public airways via a series of radio broadcasts. In 1942 the Bishop of Detroit, Edward Mooney, ordered Coughlin to clam up and go back to his parish duties. He did until he retired in 1966. However, this particular ideological nut case introduced the world of demagoguery to the mass media. Therefore, he is the grandfather of the Rush Limbaughs and the Glenn Becks of today.
Some twenty years later along came Joseph McCarthy, Republican Senator from Wisconsin. This guy was a paranoid tyrant who saw little red communists under every car and dining room table. Using the bludgeon of the Senate’s subpoena power he brought countless innocent people before that august body to be intimidated, slandered, filleted and ruined. They were all communists to him, and all communists looked alike. He served from 1947 until his death in 1957. It is worth noting that McCarthy was never able to prove any of his charges of Communism, and that in 1954 the Senate voted to censure him by 67 to 22. This effectively put him back in his box for the duration of his tenure.
The brilliant journalist Edward R. Murrow once said of McCarthy, "His primary achievement has been in confusing the public mind, as between the internal and the external threats of Communism. . . We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law."
If you substitute the word terrorism for the word communism you will have exactly what is going on today. The Right’s lies, the blatant hypocrisy, the false accusations and the distortions are all designed to confuse, muddle and mislead the electorate. This has nothing to do with serving the public good. It is about power and political gain pure and simple.
There are so many demagogues slithering through the political scene today that one is hard pressed to identify a single primary perpetrator. Like Coughlin and McCarthy they are for the most part on the far right tending toward the lunatic fringe. Unable to articulate any kind of coherent public policy argument, lacking any pretense of a serious commitment to the electorate, willing to say anything to get their face in front of a camera, profoundly judgmental, prone to name calling and hypocrisy - at times cruel - they are the most destructive personalities on the public stage. Most of them have a large following as did Father Coughlin and Joe McCarthy. All of them are extremely adept at inspiring fear, hatred, and anger. As were Coughlin and McCarthy.
How far they will rise in the political world isn’t so much up to them or the Republican power brokers as it is up to us. We are a people who love to follow a Pied Piper with a mouth full of ear candy until it becomes obvious that we are being taken for a ride. By then we have generally paid dearly for the privilege. I would suggest a review of George W. Bush's run up to Iraq and the subsequent fear mongering of the next several years.
McCarthy was worse than Coughlin, because he was more powerful then Coughlin. The new breed of ideologues have a definite potential to be worse than McCarthy because they have access to greater wealth and a slavish media. With only a few exceptions there are no more Edward R. Murrows.
When someone inspires fear in me I don’t automatically think of following them. Fear mongers are fear mongering for a reason, and it is never a noble or honorable reason no matter how well it is wrapped in Christianity, integrity or patriotism.
If we believe that it is possible ". . . to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. . ." then we had better stop following every snake oil salesman with a false face and a fall guy down the road to perdition.

Same World, Different Election

Four years have gone by since the last presidential election and little has changed. Save that two of the craziest bastards in the country are leading the Republican ticket. A failure to turn up to the polls this time could be the end for our democracy, shuttering under the arrogance and greed of legalized corruption.
The Senate can be taken back. Damage can be done in the House. The unemployment office can be the next government office frequented by the monsters in state houses across this land who chipped away at the rights of our brothers and sisters in the LGBT community and at a woman's right to choose; not to mention the damage they have done to voting rights and the social safety net.
Whoever you support for president - everybody who can read or reads my blog knows where I stand - be clear that the president is not a monarch, a magician or a miracle worker. One of the reasons that Obama has been so harassed, crippled and confounded is that this ungrateful nation checked out on him in '10. The attitude was, the president has got it. Well, he didn't have it - no one person can have it, not in our system of government.
I am not a cheerleader for the Obama Administration. I don't subscribe to the claptrap that he speaks infallibly, walks on water, can't be questioned. I don't work for him; he works for me. Accordingly, President Obama is way too far to the center for my liking - but let that go.
The sitting president of these United States has been shit upon, stabbed in the back, kicked in the head, rolled in the mud, abandoned and scapegoated. Not just by the opposition or the cowardly Blue Dogs in his own party, but by a feckless and negligent electorate - his own hero worshiping constituents have ignored the necessity of supporting him down ballot.
In other words, the horrors of which I wrote two years ago in the essay that follows are, in no small part, down to us. Let us resolve now to get off our sorry asses and VOTE come November.

Written February 2010
"I keep hearing Republican Right wingers cracking wise about the deficit, spending and the critical need to save the government’s money. For what? For whom? Certainly not for the children of the poor that they insist be brought into the world, rape and incest notwithstanding. After birth they hold these children in such low esteem that they are willing to roll back their healthcare, kick the crap out their educational system and worse yet limit their food supply all in the name of fiscal responsibility the new mantra of morally crippled, ethically deranged anencephalics like Ted Cruz and Paul Ryan.
How you might ask can they put a price tag on the life of a hungry child, deciding that there can even be such a thing as too much money spent to help take care of them? Is it possible they actually believe that an economy staggering under the weight of years of greed and excess will inevitably slip into final ruin for the cost of a little child’s school lunch or the few dollars in food stamps that a struggling mother will collect to help her provide all the other meals that a child must have? Accordingly, is it possible that they truly believe that poverty is like liposuction – elective?
In light of the stingy, mean spirit, I am-the-center-of-the-living-universe mentality that pollutes our public discourse in America today, this feels punitive as if we are punishing children for the gross negligence of the vampires who brought on the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression or for the poverty, even short comings of their parents. Isn’t it bad enough that so many of us walk down the street a little faster past the homeless and hungry pretending we don’t see them? Isn’t it bad enough that some speed up behind the wheel, looking through the despair of the poor as if it didn’t exist? Must we assess penalties as well, and to the children of all people? Yet in this best country in Christendom that is exactly what the good Christian men and women in Congress, our pious leaders, are doing when they put the school lunch and food stamp programs at the top of their deficit busting, spending reduction and government savings hit list.
I am not a Christian. I am not charged with, suffering the little children to come unto Jesus. I am not instructed to care for the poor, the sick, the homeless and the hungry. No such commandments are necessary in my faith. To see need and walk away, to look into the eyes of a starving child and turn away is unthinkable in my creed. In the parlance of the three “great” religions it is sinful, forbidden – unless of course you are a masochist who wishes to incur the Karma that comes of offending the Great Crone. Thus, I am confounded at how easily these posturing, pandering, pontificating bible thumpers in the House and Senate can raise their second finger at the central doctrines of their avowed belief system.
It is unlikely that there is anyone who doesn’t know that I am an unashamed, outspoken, sometimes in-your-face Pagan. I honor my Goddess, am devout in my faith, proud of my heritage and my Witch’s path and craft. Therefore I have a right to ask; who in the hell are these people? Are they Christians or moneylenders? Are they the church and body of the crucified Christ, or are they the crucifers? Under whose authority and in whose name do they dishonor their own God and disregard one of the Holiest of Holies in all faiths – the life of a child – anybody’s child?
The gravest question of all is how much longer will we tolerate this duplicity, hypocrisy and conceit? The American Middle Class is no longer the richest in the world. We lag behind Canada, and it is only a matter of time until we slip behind other industrialized nations. We are the engine of the United States’ economy, the source of American Exceptionalism. Not because we build bigger and better weapons, run around the world shouting about a Democracy we are destroying at home, but because we have built and funded the programs that have raised thousands of our brothers and sisters out of poverty while helping to feed and educate their children. We are at a crossroads now. One path leads to the end of this country as we know it; the other leads to the polls and a vote in November to pull all of the sad, sorry marionettes of the 1% out of office. Take your pick."

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

What Bloody Party?

This morning I read about Bernie's defeat in New York.  I also read comments like, "Hillary wins, crowds aren't votes."  How goddamn dare they close the system, leaving millions of voters out, then brag about their bloody victory?  "Bernie get out! Unite the Party now.'  Unite the Party?  The Independents won't be shut out of the general.  Unite what Party?  How in hell do the Clintonistas plan to force people to vote for her in November; clone Bill and stand him up in front of polling places across the country to smile and trade on his faded celebrity; clone that miserable Barney Frank, and have him stand next to voting booths and outside of people's homes calling them McCarthyites?  How exactly do they plan to unite the "Party", that is the question; and it's a big one.

I have said before and will say again, Bernie Sanders is the greatest Socialist voice of my day. He is the leader of the new, reinvigorated Left. He has given the Liberal's their voice back, founded a revolution and brought the Democratic Socialist Movement out of the wilderness. I am a member of that movement. Anyone who doesn't like that can kiss my beautiful Italian ass at high noon, on Main Street, any city of your choice. I will pay your airfare.

Bernie is too good for the Oval Office. The White House has always had the bouquet of the sewer, but since Reagan and over the last seven years thanks to the work of his obstructionist acolytes, it has become a raging toilet. Toilets are for turds, and we may well have two of the best running in November. For now Bernie is in, until he says he is out. Millions of us are with him until it is over; and to quote another great man and great Italian, Yogi Berra, "It ain't over ‘til it's over."

Monday, April 18, 2016

A Meddlesome Priest

I recently ran across a priest, one Robert Sirico. I watched him instruct a group of Senators, Republicans admiring and Democrats disgusted, with regard to what the Pope was allowed to speak about in a moral context. Catholic brothers and sisters enlighten me; am I wrong in believing this guy was overstepping his bounds?

At any rate, in a smug and condescending tone Sirico let Senator Barbara Boxer know that when Francis pontificates against birth control and abortion in order to control the lives and bodies of women, he is within the righteous scope of the Holy See. When, however, he speaks out against greed and the excesses of the free market, the Pope is somehow in desperate dereliction of his duty. Call me a naive Pagan, but if I didn't know better I could swear this bird was a lobbyist for any corporate entity in America – wearing his collar backward to give a sense of dignity and reverence to a position that deserves neither.

The priest was making a case for the continued use of fossil fuels before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, in a hearing concerned with the science of climate change. As leader of the conservative Action Institute, claiming to study religion and liberty, and the author of a book entitled "Defending the Free Market", Sirico has no background in science. His only degree as near as I can tell is a Masters in Divinity. Apparently, early on in his ministerial career he became concerned that the Catholic clergy were not treating business people fairly. I am not sure what that means when speaking as the earthly representative of an impoverished Jewish carpenter who founded his religion on the concepts of piece, humility and a decided lack of interest in if not contempt for commercialism/materialism. Again, Catholic brothers and sisters, enlighten me.

Suffice it to say, that people like Sirico are playing an increasingly influential part in our socioeconomic and political lives. The religion-rabid Republicans will accept any principle that reinforces their self interest and invokes the name of Jesus Christ; a man of whom they are intent upon making a mockery. Indeed, this spurious need to pander to the churches and their doctrines seems to be a litmus test in most political campaigns in this secular state.

The election season of 2016 has provoked, and rightly, a great deal of talk about what is at stake; the Supreme Court, the rights of women, social justice for people of color, income inequality, climate change, foreign policy that seems to spin around war like plaster horses on a merry-go-round. Yet, one thing that is seldom discussed, and needs to be, is the constant bleating and screeching about religious freedom. The people making this issue a loud and pronounced part of their platform are talking about freedom for one religion only, theirs. In this respect I give you Ted Cruz who is the emperor of the two-for-a-nickel-bible-toting-Elmer Gantries. Make no mistake Cruz, Sirico and their like are not promoting religious freedom; they are the heralds of religious tyranny. Many other forms of tyranny have been built on this foundation: for instance, monarchies and the Divine Right of Kings with the accompanying “holy” privilege of lay and religious aristocracies; religion's complicity in the abuses of the Feudal state, the atrocity of slavery, the genocide of our Native Americans and of economic tyrannies worldwide throughout history.

As serious and responsible people in a world that appears to be losing its bloody mind, I submit that we need to take a firm stand on two issues. First, there is no reason for the American people to continue to take moral instruction from politicians. Their profession while not the oldest is certainly one of the dirtiest - with a few exceptions. Second, freedom of religion is freedom for all religions or it is meaningless. Codifying the tenets of one faith into law or overemphasizing the credibility of one faith in particular is tantamount to autocracy through theology. In the case of this oil soaked, bible thumping cheerleader, Sirico, it may be contraindicated to the survival of our species and our planet.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Blah, Blah, Blah

In the article that follows, Tom Lobianco, insinuates that Bernie is making a great deal of money - never mind that Sanders is one of the poorest people serving in that giant whorehouse know as Washington D.C. In point of fact, Bernie earned less in a year than Hillary earned for one speech.  On his Twitter feed, Lobianco talks about the huge sum of money that Jane "raked in" for sitting as commissioner for the Texas Low Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission - a whopping $4,900.  
I have come to the conclusion that the swirling cesspool that is corporate media is promoting Clinton while praying to the Gods of Wall Street that she can't beat the Republican. Make no mistake that the people corrupting the political process are by in large Republicans. The owners of CNN and MSNBC are right leaning to say the least. The owners of Fox are leaning toward clinical psychosis and the asylum.
I believe this kind of insinuating, if not outright insulting, nonsense is designed to insure a Republican victory by seeming to side with one Democrat while infuriating the supporters of the other; thus, hoping for a split that will guarantee their apparent favorite a loss.
I am growing increasingly appalled at the thought of voting for Clinton, this is down to her and not the media. This stems no doubt in part from a determination to see the influence of the two bloated and corrupt parties smashed. The Democrats blackmail their members with choice and marriage equality; the Republicans blackmail their's with guns and God. In the final analysis there isn't a hell of a lot of difference between them in that they are both chronically venal systems - debased with greed and favoritism passing for party ideology.
I hope to see the rise of an empowered third party in my lifetime. I will actively work toward that end, and toward the marginalization of the influence of corporate media.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016


The corporate media is so far in the tank for Clinton that they should be wearing scuba gear.  They are, in no small part, responsible for the monstrous phenomenon that is Donald Trump. It is my belief that they want to have a contest between these two politicians, not because it is good for the country or for the people, but because it is good for their ratings and their corporate bottom line/shareholders.
I have heard people like the Caterpillar, Chris Matthews, discussing the foul nature of such a contest - a bit gleefully, I might add.  Be you a Clinton supporter or for Bernie, you must know that corporate media is parasitic in nature; feeding off dirt like earthworms and blood like mosquitoes. I put it to you that had Democracy Spring resulted in injuries, MSNBC and CNN would have been all over the coverage sporting their feigned concern and shallow sympathies.  Accordingly, the hoped for contest between Clinton and Trump will be a much promoted, over publicized, gotcha, slime fest, blood letting brawl - a battle of the grotesques.  This is the hope of corporate media, its subsidiaries, repugnant reporters and talking heads, rattling along like empty wagons.
By the time it is over, the American people will be so disgusted, so sickened that many will simply turn away from the process. I submit that it matters little to the media, the party establishments and the donor class. We aren't part of the process in any real way. We are simply fodder - like mushroom compost in a vegetable garden - for the T.V. reality show known as election season. The fewer of us that participate, the more control they have within the body politic.
Let me say, without equivocation, that I am fed up with what passes for the free press in the corporate whorehouse known as network and cable television. I am turning exclusively to independent news, information and opinions sources. What follows is an independent opinion piece. It is an opinion blog, not news reporting in my estimation. I don't care if you like it. I don't care if you agree with it. Suffice it to say that as a highly intelligent, well informed and deeply serious person, I find the woman's opinions backed up with multiple links of documentation to be persuasive; but let that go.
The material point is that we are daily manipulated, misinformed and misdirected by a media complex that has no use for us and little interest in what is best for this country. They are disrespectful louts not only to us and our institutions, but to the people we support for whatever reason and in whatever way.
It is time to boycott corporate, mainstream media.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Double Talk

I keep hearing that Bernie's supporters are responsible for JoAnne Kloppenburg's defeat in Wisconsin - at stake a 10 year Supreme Court term.  In fact, one non-personal and classy Hillary supporter even congratulated the "assholes supporting Bernie in Wisconsin," for electing a Republican.

As near as I can tell after scouring the internet and according to the "Daily Kos" - article to follow - the single source for this information is one exist poll. "The sole piece of evidence used to make this claim has been a Battleground Polling exit poll ..."

The "Daily Kos" is neither in the tank for Clinton, nor on the bandwagon for Sanders. For the most part, out of the mainstream media, they appear to be reasonably objective. The material point of this article is stated thus, " ... it’s easy to prove that even if 100% of Bernie voters had backed Kloppenburg, she still would have lost!  Rebecca Bradley got a total of 1,017,083 votes last night. Combined, Bernie and Hillary got less than that! So even if every Bernie and Hillary supporter had voted down ticket, Bradley still would have won."

I guess I am a bit confused.  I am old now and took a fall in the garden yesterday.  I didn't hit my head, but I could have scrambled my brain.  Out of one side of the Clinton camp's mouth I hear, Vote Blue, unify the Progressives, Vote Blue, sing Kumbaya all the way to the polls.  Out of the other side I hear this specious drivel of questionable merit and dubious authority. So, do Clinton's people really want her to win in November if she is nominated?

Calling us bad Democrats just makes us chuckle.  Most of us aren't Democrats at all.  We are Independents.  Insisting that Independents are responsible for Democratic Party building is counter intuitive to the point of brain death.  Holding us accountable for the election of a Rightwing nutjob like Rebecca Bradley pisses us off.  The final question is how many of us can they piss off before Hillary Clinton is doomed never to see the Oval Office again, save as a visitor.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Blessed Be

I am sick to death of hearing about "Religious Freedom".  There is no religious freedom to hate, marginalize, victimize, discriminate, terrorize, manipulate or scapegoat.  Any religion that teaches, promotes, insists upon or mandates such behavior is worthy neither of faith nor worship.  Any such religion that attempts to or succeeds in codifying the pollution of its tenets into law is not, not I say, engaged in defending religious freedom. They are establishing a religious tyranny of the type our founding fathers committed themselves to preventing in the Constitution.

Over the years I have made many statements of my faith.  As Pagans we don't evangelize, proselytize or in any other way demand compliance with our beliefs.  Thus when I speak of my religion it is out of a very human need to share the beauty of my creed. The statement that follows is one of my favorites.  I wrote it some years ago and will add one sentence to make it even more timely then it feels.  Sin is not part of my vocabulary; but if it were what is being perpetrated against the LGBT community in a number of Red States in this country would certainly qualify as a mortal and most deadly sin.

"There are those of us who prefer night to day, darkness to light, Moon to Sun. Many of us are called Witches. Like the night, the darkness and the Moon, we are often misunderstood by people who fear much, understand little and think as infrequently as possible. Whose fault is that?"

Tuesday, April 5, 2016


Recently I have seen a lot and heard more about how Bernie has been graciously, condescendingly and magnanimously given the privilege of running as a Democrat.  Further, how he needs to check his brain, opinions and conscience at the door because taking issue with Clinton's policies and methods is negative campaigning; taking issue with President Obama's position on anything amounts to questioning the infallibility of the Pope. In a word, BULLSHIT.
First, anyone can become a Democrat and run under that banner.  Up until recently all it took was a slavish devotion to the party line and the largess of rich Democratic donors.  To wit: $353,000 to sit with George Clooney - a Clinton supporter - at dinner.  I wouldn't pay that kind of money to sit with Kenneth Branagh, Judy Dench or Johnny Depp, and they are the greatest actors of their respective generations. Not to mention the fact that this is exactly the type of slimy behavior that has corrupted the body politic.
Second, the nomination process at all levels of government - particularly the highest office - has been virtually tied up, like a torture victim, by the Democratic and Republican Parties. You don't get to rig a game then whine, snivel, cry, bitch, piss and moan when somebody plays by your idiotic rules and beats you at that game. So, pull up you big boy and girl undies and get a grip; your stranglehold was never ethical.
Third, as I have Tweeted to Secretary Clinton, James Carville, Barney Franks, half the staff of MSNBC and most of the staff at CNN, be very goddamn careful what you ask for in insisting that Bernie is not good enough, grateful enough or complicit enough to run as a Democrat. If he takes you at your word and runs as an Independent, I am not sure he would lose. I am pretty sure Clinton would. 
Ah, it is a great life if you can stand the smell of manure passing for journalism and the pathetic spectacle of candidates strolling up and down the Washington Mall, Wall Street and Hollywood Blvd., in their Joan-Crawford-hurt-me-pumps, singing "Hey Sailor" to every rich donor in town. Feel the Bern.