Thursday, May 17, 2012

Which Obama?

I would far rather hear Obama foreswear aggressive, pre-emptive, non-constitutionally-authorized war and to swear a commitment to restoring the Bill of Rights and the value of the Dollar than to make a mealy-mouthed, unenforceable comment about "supporting" gay marriage. It is nice to see a liberal supporting States' Rights though.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Fake

During the GOP debate in Mesa, AZ, John King asked Representative Ron Paul why his new ads label former-senator Rick Santorum "a fake"? Paul replied, "because he is." That got a large laugh from the attendees in the performance arts center in Mesa, and it got Santorum's temper up, which is always a good place for it to be.

For the entire rest of the evening, Santorum proceeded with one excuse and rationalization after another to prove Paul correct. Hopefully the people of Arizona noticed, especially when he rationalized that the reason he spent so much time on Social Security and Medicare issues was "because all my rich seniors moved to Florida and Arizona." (I assume he meant Medicare prescription drug coverage, the biggest expansion of entitlements since the Johnson era.)

Earlier in the week we found out that four years ago Santorum declared 45 million American Protestants no longer to be Christians. Now he is accusing Arizona's massive retiree population of abandoning their social responsibilities back home in Pennsylvania. This sure is a strange approach for trying to win an election.

I'm not exactly sure that Santorum sounds like a liberal (as Paul accuses), but he sure doesn't sound like a conservative either--and he definitely isn't a libertarian. He mostly just sounds like an angry teenager who doesn't yet know what he wants to be when he grows up, but who does know that, whatever it is, he wants to judge and hurt people.

That should equally scare Catholics, Protestants, liberals, conservatives, and just about everyone else on the planet. The last thing America needs at this point is a president who is more temperamentally suited to working at Abu Graib than as a diplomatic peacemaker.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Surprise, surprise...

So it turns out that a former analyst for the CIA's Bin Laden Unit, Michael Scheuer, supports Ron Paul's suggested changes in U.S. foreign policy. Mr. Scheuer observes, ‘the real danger is if we attack them, they would never attack us first but if we the Isrealis or both [the U.S. and the Israelis] attack them, will see a lot of terrorism in our country [the U.S.] conducted by the Iranians’. See the article and listen to the entire interview here.

Sounds like that translates into: Israel has become the greatest threat to American peace and security --  not to mention a drain on our economy. 

[Ed.: A consolation (see below): at least we know the Israelis haven't spent any American tax money prosecuting their service men and women for being born with the wrong sexual orientation. The Pentagon, under both Bush and Obama, spent plenty of money doing that themselves.]

A Step into the Sunlight

Google is a socially responsible company that celebrates events such as "Wildebeest Migration Day," "Medellin Flower Celebration Day," and the birthdays of important artists and scientists with custom "doodle art" on their homepage. 

They also do this to mark the "independence" days of virtually every country on the planet, even for those countries that were never colonized or liberated. 

It is sad to note though, that Google didn't see fit to mark today's liberation of a few million Americans, Americans who will for the first time will be able to step out into the sunlight while wearing a uniform, the uniform of the United States military. "Don't Ask Don't Tell" may have ended, institutional discrimination in the military may have ended, but clearly there is work yet to be done. Perhaps Google doesn't want to call attention to the fact that the political party who promised Gay service members liberation took almost 20 years to make good on that promise. Perhaps it was just an oversight. In either case, it is unfortunate.

If there are any artists out there who want to send the Snarkmeister their version of the art that Google should have posted, we'll make our best effort to display it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Buy a clue, Dick.

Dick Cheney was on The View today, making the argument that the U.S. needs to stay in Afghanistan "until they can defend themselves." The Afghanis' ability to defend themselves, all too well, is a large part of the reason way we're still there. The Afghanis are the most defense capable people on the face of the planet. In known history, no foreign occupier has held Afghani territory for more than a few years, and always at a high cost to the occupier. Trying to occupy and hold Afghanistan was a large part of what brought down the Soviet Union. It is fast becoming a large part of what is going to bring down the U.S.

The U.S. arrogantly thinks we have something to teach the Afghan people about self-defense. We should be asking them to come to America to teach us. With our military spread out all around the world, our borders at home undefended, our economy in ruins, and the average American terrified to even touch a gun, it is only a matter of time before someone is going to see the "American corporation" as a prime target for a hostile takeover. Given the current state of things, Canada could probably take control the U.S. in about 48 hours.

In the meantime, America is "celebrating" the day ten years ago when a few guys with box cutters where able to cower several hundred Americans into becoming flying missiles. Why was that even possible? Because the American government had deprived pilots of the right to carry weapons and because Americans have been conditioned not to defend themselves.

Buy a clue, Dick. Wake up, America. We don't need to change Afghanistan, we need to become more like Afghanistan. No planes full Afghanis ever would have been flown into the sides of buildings. The hijackers would have been tossed from the planes, at altitude.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Operation Fast and Furious

Anyone who believes that some bureaucrat sent 2,000 weapons into an allied nation, knowingly into the hands of a criminal element that has been actively working to undermine that country's government, without the direct sign-off of the president of the United States, is a fool. 

Operation Fast and Furious could by any almost any standard be interpreted as an act of war against Mexico by the United States government. No one, at any level of government would do such a thing without White House approval, although in all likelihood the White House would have attempted to ensure itself a reasonable level of deniability. That deniability is not credible on its face though. One country arming a group within another country, a group that is not part of its sovereign government, is de facto war.

What most likely gives Obama his Get Out of Jail Free Card is that the Mexican government most likely knew about Operation Fast and Furious and was complicate with it, which is a very dangerous position for a government that is already on the verge of being a failed state to have taken. Right now the Mexican people are mostly furious at America over the drug violence that has killed almost 35,000 people in the last five years, but if they knew their own government was helping to facilitate it, that anger could quickly boil over into internal chaos. Perhaps that is exactly the U.S. plan. 

Such machinations are a perfect example of why WikiLeaks serves a vital public interest.

[Update: Members of congress are starting to ask questions as well.]

John Brown's Body Lies a Spinning in His Grave

Consider the following comment about President Obama from a recent Der Standard article, one of Austria's largest newspapers:
Two-and-a-half years after his election, Barack Obama, the first African-American president in the history of the United States, is in danger of becoming a one-term president, a failure who has largely lost the support of the urban liberals, workers, black and Hispanic Americans, environmentalists and youth of the 2008 election through his hesitation and wavering. The 50-year-old Obama is no longer the shining light for the start of a new age, but rather a politician, who, through his zigzag course and sellouts in economic, finance and social policy, has deeply disappointed the (admittedly inflated) expectations of his supporters.
Perhaps Barack Obama's biggest crime is that because of his broken promises, because his weakness and inaction, because of his war-making and continuance of Bush-era civil liberty violations -- because of all of this -- it is likely that no other minority-American candidate for higher office will be given the benefit of the doubt for a generation. Perhaps for even longer. Obama's biggest crime is that he has made statements like that which titles this post conceptually plausible, rather than merely racist -- and that is perhaps the one thing he has done that is unforgivable.

What, five wars isn't enough?

The warmongers over at FoxNews are calling for yet another war, a cyber war. This one against WikiLeaks, for revealing America's "secrets." Of course, most of the secrets weren't actually about America, but about America's international meddling in the affairs in other countries and about the corruption our spies and diplomats had fomented in those countries.

It was exactly the release of that information that lead to what has become called the "Arab Spring." It was when the people of countries like Egypt and Libya realized how corrupt and in-bed with Washington their leaders were that they finally rose up against the dictatorships that Langley and Foggy Bottom had been imposing on them for decades. Julian Assange jump-started democracy in half-a-dozen countries with only a few keystrokes and a few servers, something that George Bush (and now Barack Obama) haven't been able to accomplish in a even one country, despite trillions of dollars and tens of thousands of lives destroyed.

So why is Fox News upset? That is a good question. Supposedly they are the "conservative" news source in America. The truth is though, FoxNew is not conservative, but rather neo-conservative. It always has been. And the neo-conservative movement is about anything but freedom or liberty. Given the association of both the Bush and Obama administrations with the neo-con and neo-liberal movements, one has to wonder if democracy in Iraq was really ever America's real purpose. With that question in mind, it should be Americans who should be rioting in the streets.

This country was founded on the idea of free speech, on the idea of a free press, on the idea that people should be free in their persons and papers, that the country should mind its own business. All of that is right there in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution that real conservatives hold so holy -- or at least claim to. This country was not supposed to have secrets. It was not supposed to  be waging war willy-nilly at the president's whim. It was not supposed to be occupying nations and imposing democracy and forcing open markets for corporations. It was not supposed to be committing the type of war crimes that requires a WikiLeaks to expose those crimes.

Any true American, conservative or liberal, should be supporting the restoration of an America where WikiLeaks would have nothing to report on. It is only the neo-cons and neo-liberals (very little difference really, they are all fascist), and their internationalist corporate-statists friends who have reason to hate WikiLeaks.

When America was a free and tolerant, nominally Christian country, it knew a simply truth: 'All those who doeth evil hateth the light.'

WikiLeaks is shining a light on a very different America though, on a country that has become far worse than the empire it once overthrew, on a country whose banks and corporations are attempting to reinstate a neo-feudalist order, and on a country where the blood-lusters seem to hold the biggest sway. Those who are calling for war against WikiLeaks are in truth calling for a war against those who would shine light on and do battle against evil. Those who are calling for war against WikiLeaks are in truth calling for the preservation and protection of the evil doers and the darkness within which they operate.

Shame on any conservative who has let themselves be fooled by Fox's faux-conservative worldview. It is not an American view at all. The truth is right there in the founding documents.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Man the Gates!

The Jon Stewart video below tangentially brings up the issue of immigration and border protection.

Isn't this something that we should start having a serious constitutional discussion about?

Consider the following: The Constitution has been interpreted to grant exclusive control over and responsibility for customs, immigration, and defense of the borders and waters of the United States, to the Federal Government. This is the root the ongoing spat between the State of Arizona (and now also Alabama), who want the right to seek out and deport illegal immigrants. The federal government claims it is their job and their job only. The problem is, they aren't doing the job, and won't do the job. They haven't been doing it for a very long time.


9/11 -- For the sake of this argument, we'll take the official story at face value. Every single one of the hijackers was in the country legally on a visa issued by the State Department. Noticed that I didn't say "properly" issued. It if had been properly issued the State Department would have done a proper background check to have determined the risk these individuals presented. Further, some of the visas had expired, but the individuals were still in the country. Had the U.S. federal government deported them? Of course not. They didn't even know where they were, or if they were in the country. The Feds really didn't care, no more than they cared when private citizens alerted the FBI that there were foreign students asking to learn to fly planes but not to land them.

Cuba -- Cubans in South Florida's exiled Cuban community sends things back and forth between the mainland and Cuba all the time, even occasionally themselves. Oh, this isn't advertised. It is very illegal and highly dangerous, but it goes on, and with a frequency that would shock just about anyone.

20 million+ illegal immigrants -- 20 million, 15 million, 30 million. The numbers vary depending on the source. No matter, it is still a lot of people. More people than should be able to simply waltz across a national border without being accosted. What's more, the debate it racist in assuming these illegal immigrants are all Mexican. They are not. Go to any Westside Los Angeles restaurant and there you'll hear U.K. English, Australian, South African, Canadian accents galore. No one really complains about those illegals, they blend in. They are here though. Like the 9/11 hijackers, most arrive via student or tourist visas and simply never leave. The Feds are simply so incompetent that the White illegals can live and work here for years without risk of being discovered.

Mexico -- Can we say drugs? It isn't just people flowing into the U.S. Tunnels under the wall, over the wall, through the wall. Yes, that wall, that very expensive wall that was supposed to stop it all. And what about the submarines running those drugs across the Gulf of Mexico and up the Mississippi? We catch one of those every once in a while, but how many don't we catch? And why exactly is it that the Obama administration is giving weapons to the drug cartels in Mexico? Please explain that one to me. It hasn't gotten much press in America (surprise, surprise), but Operation Fast and Furious, certainly has gotten a lot of press elsewhere. The Obama Administration has claimed it knew nothing about it, but that is quite simply not believable. You don't supply a massive cache of weapons to a criminal element of an ally nation without the President of the United States signing off on it. Why? Because doing so is an act of war; it constitutes an effort to undermine the government.

These are just a few examples, I'm certain I could come up with more, including complications caused by multi-nationals (which will have to be another post). But here are the points:

  • The Federal government is doing a lousy job of protecting our borders.
  • The Federal government doesn't even appear to be inclined to want to protect our borders.
  • The Federal government is failing to do proper background checks on visitors and immigrants into the country.
  • The Federal government is failing to keep track of those visitors and to expel those who commit crimes or who over stay their visa.
  • The Federal government is providing weapons to criminals to use against our own border guards.
  • The Federal government appears to be inclined to put our borders at risk by inciting war with out neighboring friendly nations.

In fact, and this can hardly be argued, the Federal government's every domestic regulatory and police effort appears to be focused on peaceful Americans instead. How do you explain that?

And the result, what do we have? 9/11. Attempted terrorist incidents (although apparently many of these were false flag operations orchestrated by the FBI). Crime by illegals. Lost jobs. Lost public resources due to illegal consumption. Lost civil liberties. An economy in tatters. Lost security and lost confidence in government. Government has become the enemy.

So, let's ask ourselves, why not let the States manage their own customs and immigration? Why not let them police their own borders? How would that work and could it be any worse? We'll explore that next. In the meantime, comments?

Stewart, Obama, and DOMA

For those who are still operating under the delusion that Barack Obama, or even the Democrat Party, is a friend to sexual minorities, please watch this funny, and as always, pointed Jon Stewart segment.

(ED. The video also subtly observes that one of the Republican candidates that the mainstream media is pushing for the GOP, Rick Santorum, is just as fuzzyheaded as Obama when it comes to thinking clearly on this issue. Ron Paul, however, the "unserious" candidate, whom the media tells us "doesn't have a chance," says to let the States handle the issue independently each in their own manner. That sounds like a better solution to me than this one-size-fits all madness.)

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Sarah Jane, you will be missed.

It is easy to write grand notes on the passing of great politicians and industrialists, less so on those who have simply made the lives of others more pleasant through their talent, charm and generosity. The Snark is saddened to note last week's passing of Elizebeth Sladen, better know for almost four decades to Dr. Who fans as the indomitable and effervescent Sarah Jane Smith. Ms. Sladen passed quietly on April 19, with few outside her family having even become aware that she was badly ill with cancer. She was 63, and appeared to be half her age and in perfect health. The fifth season of the popular Sarah Jane Chronicles was due to begin shooting this next month. 

Friday, July 09, 2010

The Office Manager Speaks

Rahm Emanuel, chief of staff for President Obama, has issued a press release saying that the arrest of 10 Russian agents who spent years in the U.S. posing as Americans citizens sends a signal to other countries that the U.S. is "on guard."

It's ironic that Emanuel would presume to comment on anyone else's "posing as an American citizen" given that he is a duel national and has even worked with the Israeli Defense Force. Further, there is ample evidence that the only reason these Russian spies may have been ejected is because Israel doesn't want any competition when it comes to brokering stolen U.S. intelligence information.

Why is this man being given a platform to speak on any issue? He is not the President of the United States. He is not the Press Secretary. He is not even an elected official. He is an office administrator. FoxNews insults democracy and the American people by giving this man a soapbox.

Of course, maybe Rahm Emanuel isn't just the chief of staff, which might explain why he never seems to be outside of whispering range of Barrack Obama -- but in that case, what exactly is his role?

The only person doing anything involuntary...

The only person doing anything involuntary here is Oscar Grant, who is involuntarily dying.

Amazingly, Oakland did not erupt in flames last night after an all-White jury found the cop that did this killing guilty of involuntary manslaughter rather than murder. Time will tell whether true justice is finally done in the case of Oscar Grant.

Friday, October 09, 2009


This is not a good thing, not even for the Obama administration. Half of America is gasping; the other half rolling on the floor laughing. As my waitress at breakfast exclaimed, while reading the news over my shoulder, "For what?"

It's a good question. The nomination deadline was February 1, less than two weeks after he took office. The voting for the prize reportedly took place many months ago, so the possibility exists that Obama may even have won the prize prior to the Cairo Speech, which is arguably the only significant policy change that he has even announced (although not much followed through on).

It is indeed laughable. The Norwegians have made a laughing stock of Alfred Nobel's intent, of Norway, and demeaned each deserving person who previously won the prize by deserving it.

Good Company

Obama isn't the first sitting U.S. president to win the Peace Price. The first was Teddy Roosevelt, in 1906. Roosevelt was not known as a peaceful man, but rather as one who was fond of shooting things and who established America a globe straddling empire. The second was Woodrow Wilson, in 1919, who is considered by many scholars to have be the worst of American presidents. Wilson was also the president who took America into World War I, a self-serving and decidedly non-peaceful decision that (even Winston Churchill concluded) lead directly to World War II.

If we know people by the company they keep, Obama having received this award bodes well for anything but peace. He is already the leader of a country that is waging war on two countries that did not attack his own, that is maintaining a concentration camp in contravention to the Geneva Accords, and a network of unlawful (no-longer-quite-so-secret) prisons throughout a network of host states.

One has to wonder by exactly what standards do the Scandicavians judge peace? Or did they just have a little too much Aquavit the other night? Perhaps this is some version of a drunken practical joke.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Best Actress

Kate Winslet may have gotten the Oscar, but Meryl Streep got the Award. Wow.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Love thy own son first...

Maybe if the son of the homophobic mega-church pastor had not had to spend his life hiding his sexuality from his father... Perhaps if his father had embraced and loved him, as Jesus had instructed him to... Maybe if the son had had the option of forming a loving, committed relationship, of even getting married... Perhaps if the son had been home that night with his own husband, their own children, instead of cruising a public park... 

...then Potter's House founder T.D. Jakes would not now be facing the embarrassment he now faces (but so richly deserves) as his son stands charged of trying to participate in a circle-jerk with two policeman in a Dallas park. Reverend, you reap what you sow.

And, dear reader, ask yourself this additional question... Do you really believe those two Dallas policeman had their own willies in their pants when they arrested Jermaine Jakes? (If so, I've got bridge in Alaska to sell you.) Dallas' Finest -- we hope that Jermaine wouldn't have gotten himself arrested for anything less than prime -- were breaking the law, in order to induce someone else into breaking the law. This was entrapment pure and simple. 

It only goes to prove, any fool who lives in Texas is exactly that -- most especially if you are Black and Gay.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Who is that rising star on the Israeli flag?

Avigdor Lieberman -- and he makes Saddam Hussein look to have been downright humanitarian.  

He not only advocates total Apartheid, but wants to also strip non-Jewish Israelis of their citizenship. Why bother with with a two-state solution, when you can just kick them all out; let them to wonder the globe, stateless. However, that might not be quite enough of a final solution for Lieberman. He has also advocated a holocaust of sorts against the captive population in the Gaza camp, even going so far as to obliquely suggest the use of nuclear weapons to accomplish an ethnic cleansing. 

And this guy presumes to be an Israeli-Obama, the change candidate of our "nearest and dearest" ally. If the real Obama doesn't want to end up being compared to Chamberlain, rather than Lincoln, he better consider carefully our relationship with Israel. Least we forget, America considered Germany an ally at the start of WWII. The Bush family was even involved in underwriting Germany's war bonds. It would be unconscionable if we were to repeat the mistake of closing our eyes to horror, merely so we could make some money off of the devil.

Constructive Engagement

A comment found below the McClatchy story on Cliff Cornell, the young Army "deserter" (read, "Iraq protester") who was recently deported by that holier-than-thou "peace-mongering" nation to our north. 

To those in uniform who are attacking Mr. Cornell


Submitted by tharms on February 6, 2009 - 7:54pm.

Gentlemen, your commitment to your country, under the U.S. constitution, is limited to two years. Period. Look it up. Further, that is for the express purpose of defending this country, not for freeing other countries. Not for liberating oil. Not for making the world safe for democracy. It certainly isn't for the purpose of killing and torturing innocent civilians half a world away just because they pray to the wrong god.

So waving the flag at the disillusioned and expecting them to bow down to your sacrifice if probably not the best strategy. You joined up because you wanted a salary and because you wanted to feel good about yourself--and possibly because you really were gullible enough to buy into Bush's line of Texas bullshit. And when you come home, and are protecting New York Harbor or the Golden Gate, undoubtedly you will find each and every one of these critics respecting your commitment, but until then you shouldn't be overly surprised by their hostility. You've cooperated in great embarrassment to this country -- and you did so willing. At least Cliff Cornell had the integrity to stand up and say "no" to what he knew was wrong. He's justifiably earned some respect for that.

Serving the American nation, the American people and serving the American government are two different things. One is a group composed of your families, your neighbors, your towns, cities and states; the other is a group who used to work for the former, but who has now taken over the latter -- and their intent is to build an empire paid for with the sweat of American labor and the blood of American youth. That's you, that's your blood they intend to spill, and for what? Oil? The false hope of democracy in some foreign land? For expanded markets for corporations we're having to bailout with taxpayers money anyway? Ask yourself, is this really the way it is suppose to work? Is this really what Franklin and Jefferson intended? Is this really worth dying for?

The American people have been made decidedly less safe, less respected, and less prosperous by this misadventure in Iraq -- and the blowback will haunt us, our children, your children, for generations. If you want to talk about taking responsibility. Take some responsibility for that -- or at least give it some thought. Surprising as it might be, you just might discover that, instead of criticizing Cliff Cornell, it is far more patriotic to join him.

Faux Diversity

President Obama says his new team of economic advisors is diverse, not stacked with sycophant "yes" men (and women). So, surely we will find among the Keynesians, a few free-marketers, an Austrian economists or two, perhaps a representative of the Cato Institute, if not someone from Auburn? Nope -- not a one. 

Mr. President, your openness to a diversity of economic opinion is about as authentic as your openness to sexual diversity -- in short, you are a puppet of the old corporate financial elite, dressed up in a nice Africa-American suit. You are just as white and bigoted and as opposed to true equality for the disadvantages as those limousine liberals from the other Hyde Park were 75 years ago.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Who'd of thunk it?

Today the Pew Research Center's Social & Demographic Trends Project released a new study investigating where Americans want to live.

Among its findings: Denver is the most desirable place in the country to live -- which any Coloradan could easily have told you. No study needed. Another discovery: People who live in cities -- as well as people who want to live cities -- are more open than others to the idea of living with immigrants and neighbors of different races. Whoa, stop the presses!

We can all be grateful to Pew for investing in a study that provides the shocking, absolutely shocking, news that country hicks are bigots. Who could have imagined that?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Man, 72, knocks out whole group of gang bangers

Jack get's it...

The stimulus package is not going to be a walk in the park either. Republicans are yelling it's too costly and doesn't stimulate enough. And they might have point. It's at $825 billion now and could go higher. Hundreds of millions for condoms and other contraceptives doesn't belong in there either, unless it's for what's about to happen to the American taxpayer. (Jack Cafferty, 1/26/09)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Congratulations, President Obama!

This has been reprinted in several places today, and for good reason. It is an an acerbic and appropriate observation. Thanks to Rob Wicks:

Congratulations, President Obama!

I just wanted to congratulate President Barack Obama in his performing that grand rite of passage for American Presidents. No, not any such silliness as his first bill or executive order. I meant something much more important. Today, President Obama ordered his first murder.

So, while you can look into the loving eyes of your own beautiful daughters, somewhere in Afghanistan, a grieving family will never look into the loving eyes of three children again.

Where is the change?

With one hand President Obama is standing in front of the television cameras waiving executive orders announcing "change," while with the other he is dropping Bush's left-over missiles into the territory of a friendly, ally nation. The illegal attacks on Pakistan today only drive Pakistan's northwest border region further from its own government and further into militancy--and thereby undermined the authority of a U.S.-friendly Pakistani government in the process.

There is great potential here for coalition of Democrats, Libertarians, Constitutionalists, Greens and other Progressives to reinforce President Obama's mandate for change by opposing today's missile strikes into Pakistan -- and they should so forthwith.

Contact the White House website to voice your displeasure, and let your Congressional delegation know your views as well. It is easy to do:

Thursday, January 22, 2009


The First Minority Executive

Barack Obama is not the first partially non-European American to achieve an executive office position in American government. That distinction belongs to Charles Curtis who was the 31st Vice President of the United States (under Herbert Hoover) and a member of the native-American Kaw nation. It is of interest that, like President Obama, Curtis was raised by his grandparents. Perhaps of more interest, at least to constitutional scholars, should be that fact that Curtis was not born in the United States, but rather in the Kansas Territory prior to statehood. If anyone can explain why this did not present an obstacle to his election, please post the details.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

To the swift

In what will hopefully establish a precedent pace, President Obama acting quickly on Wednesday to begin the process of shutting down the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center by issuing an executive order halting all prosecutions of detainees for 120 days.

Comment of the week...

No. 35 · Arrogant Bastard Ale

"I thought you had to be 21 to drink in Oregon, this kid turns 18 and first thing he is sucking down a Sam Adams?"
Reader comment regarding the breaking sex scandal involving Portland's newly elected Gay mayor, Sam Adams.

Record Turnaround in Government Reporting!

The Bush Administration accomplished a phenomenal piece of government investigating at a record pace. Never before in the annals of flight accident investigation history has a case been closed so quickly. The very last thing President Bush did, as he left the White House, was to leave a classified report on the cause of the U.S. Air Flight 1549 accident laying on the president's desk for Barack Obama's attention. The report is classified, but the Snarkmeister has been able to obtain a copy. In the interest of the public's right to know, he is disclosing it today, at great personal risk. The Bush administration, of course, concluded that the accident was caused by terrorists. The photographic evidence is a bit grainy, but unlike with the weapons of mass destruction, their proof this time appears incontrovertible:

U.S. Air Flight 1549
Confidential Report

For Eyes Only

National Security Clearance Required

U.S. Air Flight 1549 was brought down by radical Islamic geese, likely owned, trained, and smuggled into the country by Osama bin Laden. Supporting this conclusion is the fact that small bit of turban were found in the remains of both engines.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Brown or Lincoln?

John Brown was hanged by the State of Virginia on December 2, 1859, on the very day that Victor Hugo's letter was printed prophesying that Brown's death would result in a civil war. The predicted American Civil War would begin within 18 months and cost the lives of roughly 3% of the American population, including an extraordinary 18% of the male population of the South.

Presently, John Brown is pariah to history, labeled a radical and a terrorist, for having been judged indirectly responsible for the killing of (almost all in self-defense) fewer than 30 radicalized slavery advocates in his efforts to free African Americans from their bondage. On the other hand, the racist Abraham Lincoln, who cynically exploited John Brown's cause for political gain and who was directly responsible for the deaths of well over a million Americans, is held out this very day by Barack Obama as a role model.

That choice, from a highly educated African American who would presume to lead this country on issues of unity, should give all Americans pause.

And interesting historical detail...

It is of interest to note that none other than the great Victor Hugo publicly predicted that the State of Virginia's murder of John Brown would result in an American civil war, and of course, he was correct. And for those who think that Barack Obama, or even Martin Luther King, speaks eloquently on the subject of equality, consider this, and weep for the century and a half that our country lost by its deafness:

To the Editor of the London News:

Sir: When our thoughts dwell upon the United States of America, a majestic form rises before the eye of imagination. It is a Washington!

Look, then, to what is taking place in that country of Washington at this present moment.

In the Southern States of the Union there are slaves; and this circumstance is regarded with indignation, as the most monstrous of inconsistencies, by the pure and logical conscience of the Northern States. A white man, a free man, John Brown, sought to deliver these negro slaves from bondage. Assuredly, if insurrection is ever a sacred duty, it must be when it is directed against Slavery. John Brown endeavored to commence the work of emancipation by the liberation of slaves in Virginia. Pious, austere, animated with the old Puritan spirit, inspired by the spirit of the Gospel, he sounded to these men, these oppressed brothers, the rallying cry of Freedom. The slaves, enervated by servitude, made no response to the appeal. Slavery afflicts the soul with weakness. Brown, though deserted, still fought at the head of a handful of heroic men; he was riddled with balls; his two young sons, sacred martyrs, fell dead at his side, and he himself was taken. This is what they call the affair at Harper’s Ferry.

John Brown has been tried, with four of his comrades, Stephens, Coppic, Gree and Copeland.

What has been the character of his trial? Let us sum it up in a few words:—

John Brown, upon a wretched pallet, with six half gaping wounds, a gun-shot wound in his arm, another in his loins, and two in his head, scarcely conscious of surrounding sounds, bathing his mattress in blood, and with the ghastly presence his two dead sons ever beside him; his four fellow-sufferers wounded, dragging themselves along by his side; Stephens bleeding from saber wounds; justice in a hurry, and overleaping all obstacles; an attorney, Hunter, who wishes to proceed hastily, and a judge, Parker, who suffers him to have his way; the hearing cut short, almost every application for delay refused, forged and mutilated documents produced, the witnesses for the defence kidnapped, every obstacle thrown in the way of the prisoner’s counsel, two cannon loaded with canister stationed in the Court, orders given to the jailers to shoot the prisoners if they sought to escape, forty minutes of deliberation, and three men sentenced to die! I declare on my honor that all this took place, not in Turkey, but in America!

Such things cannot be done with impunity in the face of the civilized world. The universal conscience of humanity is an ever-watchful eye. Let the judges of Charlestown, and Hunter and Parker, and the slaveholding jurors, and the whole population of Virginia, ponder it well: they are watched! They are not alone in the world. At this moment, America attracts the eyes of the whole of Europe.

John Brown, condemned to die, was to have been hanged on the 2d of December — this very day.

But news has just reached us. A respite has been granted to him. It is not until the 16th that he is to die. The interval is a brief one. Before it has ended, will a cry of mercy have had time to make itself effectually heard?

No matter! It is our duty to speak out.

Perhaps a second respite may be granted. America is a noble nation. The impulse of humanity springs quickly into life among a free people. We may yet hope that Brown will be saved.

If it were otherwise, if Brown should die on the scaffold on the 16th of December, what a terrible calamity! The executioner of Brown, let us avow it openly (for the day of the Kings is past, and the day of the peoples dawns, and to the people we are bound frankly to speak the truth) — the executioner of Brown would be neither the attorney Hunter, nor the judge Parker, nor the Governor Wise, nor the State of Virginia; it would be, though we can scarce think or speak of it without a shudder, the whole American Republic.

The more one loves, the more one admires, the more one venerates that Republic, the more heart-sick one feels at the contemplation of such a catastrophe. A single State out not to have the power to dishonor all the rest, and in this case there is an obvious justification for a federal intervention. Otherwise, by hesitating to interfere when it might prevent a crime, the Union becomes a participator in its guilt. No matter how intense may be the indignation of the generous Northern States, the Southern States force them to share the opprobrium of this murder. All of us, no matter who we may be, who are bound together as compatriots by the common tie of a democratic creed, feel ourselves in some measure compromised. If the scaffold should be erected on the 16th of December, the incorruptible voice of history would thenceforward testify that the august Confederation of the New World, had added to all its rites of holy brotherhood a brotherhood of blood, and the fasces of that splendid Republic would be bound together with the running noose that hung from the gibbet of Brown!

This is a bond that kills.

When we reflect on what Brown, the liberator, the champion of Christ, has striven to effect, and when we remember that he is about to die, slaughtered by the American Republic, that crime assumes an importance co-extensive with that of the nation which commits it — and when we say to ourselves that this nation is one of the glories of the human race; that, like France, like England, like Germany, she is one of the great agents of civilization; that she sometimes even leaves Europe in the rear by the sublime audacity of some of her progressive movements; that she is the Queen of an entire world, and that her brow is irradiated with a glorious halo of freedom, we declare our conviction that John Brown will not die; for we recoil horror-struck from the idea of so great a crime committed by so great a people.

Viewed in a political light, the murder of Brown would be an irreparable fault. It would penetrate the Union with a gaping fissure which would lead in the end to its entire disruption. It is possible that the execution of Brown might establish slavery on a firm basis in Virginia, but it is certain that it would shake to its centre the entire fabric of American democracy. You preserve your infamy, but you sacrifice your glory. Viewed in a moral light, it seems to me that a portion of the enlightenment of humanity would be eclipsed, that even the ideas of justice and injustice would be obscured on the day which should witness the assassination of Emancipation by Liberty.

As for myself, though I am but a mere atom, yet being, as I am, in common with all other men, inspired with the conscience of humanity, I fall on my knees, weeping before the great starry banner of the New World; and with clasped hands, and with profound and filial respect, I implore the illustrious American Republic, sister of the French Republic, to see to the safety of the universal moral law, to save John Brown, to demolish the threatening scaffold of the 16th of December, and not to suffer that beneath its eyes, and I add, with a shudder, almost by its fault, a crime should be perpetrated surpassing the first fratricide in iniquity.

For — yes, let America know it, and ponder on it well — there is something more terrible than Cain slaying Abel: It is Washington slaying Spartacus!

Victor Hugo

Hautville House, Dec. 2d, 1859.

Alas, America was not the noble nation that Hugo imagined, although perhaps it is a bit closer today than it was even eight years ago.

John Brown can rest

Old John Brown’s body lies moldering in the grave,
While weep the sons of bondage whom he ventured all to save;
But tho he lost his life while struggling for the slave,
His soul is marching on.

John Brown was a hero, undaunted, true and brave,
And Kansas knows his valor when he fought her rights to save;
Now, tho the grass grows green above his grave,
His soul is marching on.

He captured Harper’s Ferry, with his nineteen men so few,
And frightened "Old Virginny" till she trembled thru and thru;
They hung him for a traitor, they themselves the traitor crew,
But his soul is marching on.

John Brown was John the Baptist of the Christ we are to see,
Christ who of the bondmen shall the Liberator be,
And soon thruout the Sunny South the slaves shall all be free,
For his soul is marching on.

The conflict that he heralded he looks from heaven to view,
On the army of the Union with its flag red, white and blue.
And heaven shall ring with anthems o’er the deed they mean to do,
For his soul is marching on.

Ye soldiers of Freedom, then strike, while strike ye may,
The death blow of oppression in a better time and way,
For the dawn of old John Brown has brightened into day,
And his soul is marching on

--William Weston Patton

Good Riddence

Saturday, January 17, 2009


As we end another eight disastrous years of straight men running the world, with the most impressive thing to show for it being a little device that lets you run a program called Wobbles which animates a "wobble" onto photos of women with overly large breasts, I have to wonder -- what in the hell are we thinking?

Clearly these guys have impaired judgment. They can't run financial institutions, or auto companies, or governments; at least not without causing bankruptcies, frauds, and wars, so why are we letting them run things? Sure they are great in the sack, or so I'm told, but that doesn't mean we have to hand them the keys to the kingdom.

If you have at your disposal an entertaining source of propagation, but who can't balance a column of numbers, who can't tell the truth, and who can't talk to the neighbors with getting into a fight, well, then the rational solution is to just keep them at home, naked, and chained to the bedpost. What's wrong with that? After all, that's essentially what they did with women for, like since -- FOREVER.

Really, what could it hurt?

Would it really be all that damaging to run companies at a fair profit without the goal of destroying every competitor by any means, and without bilking investors and taxpayers out of billions of dollars? Would it really hurt to let us "creative types" actually run things, like car companies, rather than to just design their interiors? How exactly would the world be worse off if it was run by guys who would rather make love with each other than to kill each other?

I wobble at the concept, and so should you, because if you think a straight black guy with power is going to be any saner than a long line of straight white guys with power, than I have a nice deal on a mortgage for you: no money down, no points, zero interest for the first five years until the rate adjusts up with inflation -- and you don't even have to qualify! Just sign here: _______________________________.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Blair House 3.0

Today is the 15th, the day that the President Elect is traditionally supposed to have access to Blair House. So, do we yet know who was in Blair House all this time? Who was it that was occupying this entire 14 bedroom complex, such that it required the Obamas to run up a taxpayer-paid bill in the millions for hotel and security charges at the Hay Adams Hotel?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A Dream for Some, but not for others

Writes Andrew Sullivan...

What Equality Looks Like

When I came to America from Britain, the gay rights movement was way ahead here of the old country. No longer. Here is a list of the most powerful openly gay people in Britain. The whole list is a staggering contrast with the US. At the top:
  1. Spencer Livermore, 32, Director of Political Strategy, 10 Downing Street
  2. Nick Brown, 57, Deputy Chief Whip, MP for Newcastle upon Tyne East and Wallsend
  3. Peter Mandelson, 54, EU Trade Commissioner. He's back in the cabinet as Business secretary and Brown's main spin doctor.
  4. Angela Eagle, 46, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, MP for Wallasey
  5. Ben Bradshaw, 47, Minister of State for Health Services, MP for Exeter
  6. Andrew Pierce, 46, Assistant Editor, Daily Telegraph. Julian Glover, Matthew Parris partner, is opinion editor al The Guardian.
The bigotry that infects the Republican party and the cynicism and cowardice that dominates the Democrats on this issue prevent such success and integration in America. And yet many of the causes that have prevailed in Britain - marriage equality and military service, for example - were pioneered on this side of the Atlantic.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Gaza Update...

Rather than attempt to rewrite an excellent piece, I'll merely point you to Andrew Sullivan's entry today on Gaza:

With Allies like Israel, Who Needs Enemies?

Yet another case of Israeli spying on the United States is in the news today. It was discovered back in the spring that for six years, from 1979 to 1985, U.S. Army mechanical engineer Ben-ami Kadish had been letting Israeli agents photograph classified documents that he snuck home from work. Kadish's handler back then was Yossi Yagur, who also directed Jonathan Pollard.

Pollard was caught while committing his crimes and as such, is serving a life sentence in Butner Federal Correctional Institution in South Carolina. Israel granted him retroactive citizenship in 1995 and now lobbies for his release. [Ed. Don't be surprised if Pollard is on George Bush's last minute pardon list.]

Kadish's crime however was not discovered until years after the fact. He retired in 1990. The now 85-year-old Kadish has this week negotiated a non-prison time plea agreement with U.S. Magistrate Judge Theodore H. Katz and Assistant U.S. Attorney Iris Lan.

Quite a cozy deal: treason, espionage, no death sentence, not even prison time. Great work if you can get it, especially since a passport and a luxury condo on the beach in Tel Aviv are probably already ready and waiting.