Wednesday, March 26, 2014

And then she said, "That's going too far!"

I've been writing this blog for ten years now, and I've never done this before. No, not lick the monitor. Self promotion.

If you end up here for some reason (you mistyped the URL for a porn site), and perhaps you enjoyed something you read, tell a friend who you think might also appreciate political observations and satire from a progressive perspective. Best of all, it won't cost you a penny.

As a 10-year anniversary limited time special offer, if you refer a friend and that friend posts a comment, I'll send you an autographed photo of me wearing a mankini dancing to the Butthole Surfers from a boom box in Times Square.

Time's up.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Many questions still surround Malaysia Flight 370

Something seems a bit off to me about the Malaysian government’s recent announcement that missing Flight 370 definitely went into the Indian Ocean killing all passengers. The evidence for this can hardly be considered airtight. An article about the crash in the Huffington Post explains it this way:

The conclusions were based on a thorough analysis of the brief signals the plane sent every hour to a satellite belonging to Inmarsat, a British company, even after other communication systems on the jetliner shut down for unknown reasons.

Relatives of the passengers are understandably upset, and some suspect, as I do, that the announcement that the flight crashed into the sea had as much to do with trying to appease the families with closure as it did with finding conclusive new evidence. It is a logical assumption that the plane probably did go down, but I’m skeptical of the definitive explanation given by Malaysian officials.

Even beyond this, there are dozens of other questions that remain unanswered. Why did the plane go off course so dramatically? Why was the transponder and other tracking devices turned off? Was it hijacked? Were there explosives on board?

It’s a big planet with deep oceans, and unfortunately, we may never get these questions answered.

Spy agencies turning to Snowden as convenient scapegoat

In something of a follow-up to yesterday’s post about the failure of our intelligence agencies to foresee Russia’s plan to invade Crimea, there’s this: It’s Edward Snowden’s fault.

According to an article in today’s BuzzFeed, hints and whispers coming out of the surveillance community are about trying to pin our Crimea intelligence failure on leaked Snowden documents. They somehow gave Russia a leg up on our spooks. Sorry, I just snorted coffee out of my nose. I’ve also heard that climate change and the Washington landslide are being pinned on Mr. Snowden.

There seems to be a large group within the intelligence community who really, really hate Edward Snowden, and it’s clear they will stoop to anything to try and discredit him. As is apparent, they’re not above shifting blame for their own failures to the fugitive hacker. The charges are ludicrous, but even if they weren’t, our spy agencies know that Snowden is not in a position where he can defend himself, so they can make up pretty much anything about him and toss it to the media. Glenn Greenwald does a pretty good job of batting back the insane claims of the agencies, but it’s a large task to take on.

We need to take anything and everything Washington, D.C. says about Edward Snowden with a huge grain of salt.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Our navel-gazing spy agencies miss the big picture

Seems the CIA, NSA and every other acronym in the government’s alphabet soup of spy agencies missed the Russian invasion of Crimea. The Ruskies somehow cloaked their communications, and ooops, slipped into another country before our spooks had their second cup of coffee. They could probably write a five-page report on what I had for lunch yesterday, but couldn’t see one of the world’s largest militaries mass at their border and invade a neighboring country.

Could it be that their attention was focused inward, instead of on the real threats that exist in the world? The expenditure of billions of dollars and many thousands of man hours spying on innocent Americans is, beyond the legal and constitutional ramifications, a huge waste of time and energy and one that undoubtedly distracts our spies from focusing on actual threats.

A few members of congress are asking for an investigation into our surveillance agencies and their activities. I wish I could be optimistic about this, but I know what’s going to happen. If an actual investigation becomes a reality, the agencies and the president will only allow it if everything is kept secret. National security, you know. We will continue to be kept in the dark, maybe thrown a few bones of “reform,” and then the spooks will return to business as usual. And our country will once again not see the forest for the trees.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

My new short story blog - They're Only Shadows

I have created a new blog featuring my short stories called "They're Only Shadows." If you're into horror, suspense or supernatural stories, please check it out here. Thanks.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The secret to becoming a billionaire: A psych evaluation

Yet another billionaire has issued another apology for comparing critics of income inequality to Nazis. This time it’s Home Depot founder and long-time GOP supporter Ken Langone. The only conclusion I can come to after the recent string of tone-deaf billionaire bloopers is that our wealthiest citizens are truly clueless about the world that lies beneath their penthouses. Is it simply willful ignorance or something more innate?

There have been articles published in recent years about how many clinical sociopaths there are in the C-suits of large companies. These are charismatic people who are incapable of experiencing guilt or shame for their actions and rarely apologize for their behavior (unless forced to). They are also very manipulative and constantly try to influence and dominate others. Sound familiar? If you want to become a billionaire in America (and probably other countries as well) you need to possess the characteristics of a sociopath.

This is a sad commentary on what it takes to achieve wealth in the twenty-first century.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

They come after you. Pelosi admits reps are cowed by intelligence community

Back in October I wrote a post speculating that the reason why Congress has been so lax in its oversight of the CIA and NSA is that the House and Senate members know that if they push too hard, these surveillance agencies could come after them with embarrassing information. No one has any firm evidence that this is the case, but it did seem to make sense to me as a distinct possibility. Now, however, there is some indication that this may in fact be something more than speculation. According to a March 13 article in Roll Call, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi praised Sen. Diane Feinstein’s courage for alleging the CIA spied on members of the Senate Intelligence Committee in this statement.

“I salute Sen. Feinstein. I’ll tell you, you take on the intelligence community, you’re a person of courage, and she does not do that lightly. Not without evidence, and when I say evidence, documentation of what it is that she is putting forth. You don’t fight it without a price because they come after you and they don’t always tell the truth.”

They come after you. Here is the most powerful person in the House of Representatives telling the American people that even if you’re a Senator or Congressperson, the intelligence community will seek retribution if you cross them. Isn’t this admitting that blackmail is being used to keep representatives in line? Again, I’m sure that it is not overt. No one has spell this out. You just know that if you get on the bad side of the NSA or CIA, embarrassing events from your past can suddenly become very public. And, as Pelosi states, they’re not above making up shit about you.

How do you rein in a monster like this? Who has the guts to even try?

Monday, March 17, 2014

There are Secrets… A short story

Rain droplets spattered on the mahogany coffin lid. The day was gray and grim, with a chilly late September storm enveloping the graveside ceremony. A cluster of men, women and children holding black umbrellas stood in a horseshoe around the hole in the earth and the coffin poised above it. An elderly priest with a wisp of fluttering grey hair stood under a canvas tent top, holding the bible in his left hand like a tray of appetizers, imploring the Lord to accept the ever-faithful William Paul Keppler into his heavenly mansion. Sarah Keppler-Hardt, William’s eldest daughter, stood solemnly under her husband Brandon’s umbrella.
The coffin was finally lowered into the muddy abyss and mourners shuffled by Sarah and her younger sister Amy, hugging them mechanically and whispering words of condolence. As the last guests made their way through the small cemetery to their cars, Sarah took Amy’s hand.
            “How’re you doing?”
            “I’ll be better once I get out of this place. I can’t believe Mom didn’t want to come,” responded Amy.
            “There are days when she doesn’t even remember being married.”
            “Does it mean Alzheimer’s is in our future?”
            “Why don’t you stop by the house before you leave town to warm up? I’ll make some coffee.”
            Fifteen minutes later, Amy was peeling off her raincoat in the entryway while Sarah bustled around the kitchen. Brandon disappeared upstairs and Amy joined her sister at the kitchen table.
            “Can’t I talk you into spending the night?” asked Sarah.
            “Thanks, but I’ve got to work tomorrow and it’s a seven hour drive back to Chicago. The coffee will help. When are you moving?”
            “We have a bid on this place, so it might be soon. There are sill things of Mom and Dad’s to go through. I have mixed feelings about moving into the house we grew up in. Freaks me out a bit.”
            “Yeah, I can appreciate that,” said Amy, her gaze fixed on some distant event. “But you’ll have a lot more room, and once you’ve painted and got your furniture in there, it’ll be fine.”
            “You couldn’t wait to get out of there.”
            “That had to do with the occupants of the house, not the structure itself.”
            Sarah put a hand over her sister’s. “I know. Sorry.”
            “It’s okay. I just got so tired of the ‘Do as I say, not as I do’ act.”
            “I can relate.”
            “I always felt like they were putting on an act in front of us. Like, they were hiding their true selves and wearing the parent mask only when they were around us.”
            “I’m no expert, but I think that’s what all parents do.”
            “I suppose, but I didn’t feel that way around my friend’s parents. Anyway that’s old news. Thanks for the coffee, but I should get on the road.”
            Sarah stood on the porch and waved as her sister pulled out of the driveway and disappeared down the misty street. She regretted alluding to the past, but it was pretty hard not to do after you’d spent 17 years living with a person. Although she always tried to be the adult big sister, she empathized with Amy’s feelings about their parents. They never seemed to be genuinely engaged.
            The house sold and Sarah and Brandon spent time at their new home painting, tearing out old carpet and cleaning. Two weeks later they were officially moved in, although stacks of boxes were piled up in almost every room. Throughout the move, Sarah reminisced about events that happened in this room and that, some that were happy and others that brought tears to her eyes.
            Boxes of seasonal decorations went directly to the basement. Even as an adult, Sarah didn’t feel comfortable in the large, musty room. Shelves that looked older than the house lined two walls, and there were several pieces of her parent’s furniture connected by cobwebs piled in a far corner. Small rectangular windows let in dull, dust-filled beams of sunlight that did little to warm up the room. She remembered having nightmares about the basement as a child and would only come down the steep stairs if someone else, usually her sister, joined her. Sarah wiped her damp palms on her jeans and trotted back up to the kitchen, closing the door behind her.
            Two days later Sarah found herself back in the basement with Brandon putting more boxes up on shelves. Brandon knocked a screwdriver off of a shelf and bent down to pick it up.
            “Hey, what’s this?” he asked, kneeling down to inspect what appeared to be a doorbell button on the wall hidden under a shelf.
Sarah came over and looked. “I have no idea.”
“Should I push it?” he said smiling. Before she could answer he pushed it. There was a slight “snap” from somewhere and the entire shelf structure swung out slowly like a large door. “What the fucking fuck?” he asked. Behind the bookcase was a wood door with a padlock on it. Sarah’s expression grew concerned. Brandon turned toward her expectantly. “A secret room? You had a secret room and you never said anything to me about it?”
“I didn’t know about it,” said Sarah weakly.
“Come on. You’re kidding me.”
“No. Honestly, I had no idea it was there.
“So you don’t have a clue as to what’s behind the door?”
“No.” Her answer was tentative, and she didn’t know why.
            “And you don’t know where the key is.”
            “No. Of course not.”
            “Could be…treasure, Matey.”
            Like an excited child, Brandon rummaged through a box full of tools, pulled out a crowbar and began violently twisting and turning the lock. Sarah went upstairs to the kitchen, trying to understand the odd feelings she was experiencing. How could she not know about a secret room in the basement? What was her family hiding? She became apprehensive. Maybe I don’t want to know what’s behind the door, she thought, busying herself with tedious tasks. Ten minutes later there was a triumphant cry from below. “Got it.” Curiosity pulled her to the stairs.
            Twisting a fall of her long brown hair with her fingers, Sarah found Brandon standing in a space about the size of a typical bedroom, his arms outstretched, wearing a triumphant look. A single overhead light illuminated the cold room, which clearly wasn’t built for food storage. White soundproof panels covered the walls and ceiling. The floor was concrete with a large drainage grate in the middle of the room. Benches attached to the wall lined the longer section of the room. The smell was overwhelmingly earthy and musty, but there was also a tinge of smoke lingering in the air. It was bare of any visual hints as to its use, but it felt oppressive to Sarah and her eyes teared up.
            “Do you remember something?” asked Brandon.
            “No. I just don’t like it in here.”
            “It’s creepy. I’ll give you that. What the hell were your parents into?”
            She gave him a, “How-could-you-ask-such-a-thing” look and left the room.
            Brandon considered going after her, but the lure of high strangeness in the most common of places kept his feet from moving. Taking a second look around, he noticed details he’d initially missed. There was an air vent high on the wall that brought in fresh air and a dead bolt lock on the inside of the door. He knelt down and discovered four dark marks on the floor in a rectangular pattern, like the scars table legs might make. His mind ticked off possibilities, but he couldn’t come up with a satisfying explanation for the purpose of the room, and was especially puzzled by the need for drainage in the floor. An additional subtle odor in the air caught his attention. He could swear he smelled bleach.
            Sarah stood impatiently at her bedroom window, phone to her ear, waiting for her sister to answer.
            “Did you know about the secret room in the basement?”
            “What? What’s wrong?”
            “A secret room behind the shelves. I was just in it.”
            “Honestly, I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Sarah tried to speak, but her throat was clinching and tears started cascading down her cheeks. “Sarah? Are you okay?”
            “Listen, it’s Friday. I’ll book a flight and be there later this evening.”
            “No, that’s crazy,” said Sarah.
            “So is what you’re saying. I’ll call you when I get in.” The phone went dead.
            Amy, still wearing her coat, stood in the middle of the secret room with a bewildered expression. “I really don’t understand. What is this place?”
            Sarah leaned against the wall, just beyond the room’s threshold in the basement. “You had no idea this was here?”
            Amy turned and locked in on her sister’s eyes. “Not a clue. How could they keep this a secret for seventeen years? What’s it for?”
            “There’s one way we might find out,” said Sarah.
            “She can hardly remember what happened ten minutes ago, let alone the past thirty years.”
            “I know, but every once in a while there’s a moment of lucidity. Maybe we can tap into one. This…is such a weird thing, she might remember.”
            A short time later, Sarah and Amy traversed the hallways of the Webster Assisted Living Center on their way to their mother’s room. They stopped at room 148, each stealing a moment to inhale the stale, urine tainted air before entering. The room was dark and stuffy as usual. A small TV glowed in a corner with its sound off. Elizabeth sat hunched over and sleeping in her Lay-Z-Boy. The women looked at each other and then Sarah reached out and touched her mother’s bony shoulder. It took several gentle prods to get Elizabeth to stir from her slumber. As she did she looked around the room as if everything was new to her.
            “Mom, it’s Sarah and Amy.”
            Gauzy, marble eyes searched in confusion until they finally rested on Sarah’s face. Gaunt, her skin pale yellow, Elizabeth wore a stained housecoat and slippers, her thin silver hair a rat’s nest of neglect. She brought a bony hand up and brushed Sarah’s cheek.
            “Amy, my sweetheart.”
            “It’s Sarah, Mom, but Amy’s right here.”
            Amy leaned in. “Mom, it’s me.”
            “How nice. Is dinner ready?”
            Sarah knelt down and rested her hands on the arm of the chair. “I’m sure they’ll be serving dinner soon.”
            “The food here is horrible,” confided Elizabeth. “I swear they’re trying to poison me. Where’s William? Why hasn’t he been here to visit me?”
            Sarah knew this was going to be difficult. “Mom, can I ask you a question?”
            “Of course, Dear.”
            “It’s about the…secret room, in the basement.”
            “The what?”
            “Remember in your house, where you used to live with William. In the basement of that house, there was a secret room. Do you remember?”
            Elizabeth’s expression went through several transitions before it settled on agitation. “No one’s supposed to know about that.”
            Sarah shot a glance at Amy. “Right. You’re right, but we found it today. What is it?”
            An orderly poked her head in the door. “You all doing okay?”
            “Fine,” said Amy.
            “That’s the one who stole things from my purse,” said Elizabeth.
            “Mom,” coaxed the patient Sarah. “You were talking about the secret room in the basement of our house.”
            Elizabeth’s gaze turned to the window. “It was truly amazing.”
            “What was?” asked Amy.
            “You can’t tell anyone, William said.”
            “You can tell us. We’re family.”
            Yellow teeth appeared behind a sudden smile. “Remember how we used to play hide and seek?”
            Sarah’s expression morphed from expectant to perturbed at the sudden change of topic. “Yes. We remember.”
            “But every time we played, Amy used to hide in that broom closet off of the laundry room. She thought it was the best hiding place in the world. Lord, we caught her every time. Silly girl.”
            “Okay, Mom.”
            “And tell William to come visit me.”
            The late afternoon sky was a low grey blanket and the air was brisk. Sarah and Amy walked in silence across the parking lot amid swirling leaves, pulling their coats around themselves, each lost in the disconnected words of their fading mother. Once inside the car, Sarah turned to Amy. “What do you think she meant by ‘It was truly amazing?’”
            “No idea. Why do you think she brought up playing hide and seek as kids?”
            Sarah pulled the car out onto the highway. “I think we should check out the closet as soon as we get back.”
            Brooms, a vacuum, and bottles and cans of cleaning fluids were now sitting out on the kitchen floor as Sarah and Amy surveyed the small closet off of the kitchen. There was one row of shelving about chest level that ran across the three interior walls. Barely enough room for the two of them, the women bumped into each other as they searched for anything that might be out of the ordinary.
            “Look. Up there,” pointed Amy.  In one corner, near the ceiling there was a paper patch about ten inches long and four inches high. Sarah brought in a step stool that allowed her to reach the paper.
            “It’s covering a hole,” she announced, and then poked her fingers in and started tearing away the brittle covering. Reaching into the dark crevice, she pulled out a black scrapbook and blew off a layer of dust. The women looked at each other, knowing that it was hidden for a reason, and that they may find out much more than they wanted to about their parents and the secret room. Sarah stepped down off the stool with a determined expression.
            “Come on,” she instructed Amy.
            They sat on the couch next to each other with the book laying unopened on the coffee table.
            “Are you ready?” asked Sarah.
            “No, but let’s do this.”
            Sarah turned over the cover. On the first page, three photos were stuck to the thick, black material. Written in the margin next to the photos: “1967 - success.” The images were dark and not well focused, but they appeared to show a group of black robed people sitting in the secret room on the benches against the walls, six on each side. Hoods hid their faces in shadows. In the middle of the room was a waist high, rectangular table like one you might see in an old medical school photo. Candles are burning in wall sconces. Both women shook their heads in disbelief.
            “This is before either of us was born. What the hell are they doing?” asked Amy.
            Sarah reluctantly reached down and turned the page. It took a few moments for the subject matter of the seven photos to reach clarity, and when it did, both Sarah and Amy gasped. Now lying on the table was a naked body. It wasn’t the body of a living person, but a corpse. Patches of flesh hung from the body like torn material. Skin and muscle were missing along the person’s arms and legs, exposing sections of bone. Insects and time had ravaged the face and lips were missing, exposing grinning rows of rotted teeth. The body was in such a state of decay it was impossible to tell if it was a man or a woman. A robed individual stood at the feet of the corpse, hands held out, palms up, seeming to be praying or chanting, but the face was hidden. Amy’s hand came to her mouth as she tried to hold back the nausea. Scanning the photos, Sarah came to the fifth in the series.
            “Oh my God,” she cried aloud.
            In this photo, the upper body of the corpse has risen several inches off of the table. As the robed person supplicates, the subsequent photos record the dead body sitting up until it is perpendicular, its spine poking through the thin skin of its back. Amy took her right hand and angrily pushed the book off of the table onto the floor. Sobbing, Sarah wrapped her younger sister in her arms and they both clung to each other in a state of shock and disbelief.
            “This is insanity. What were they doing?” asked Amy.
            “I want answers.”
            Visibly upset, Sarah got up and retrieved the book. “I want to know what in the fuck is going on here. What does this mean? Is it some kind of sick Halloween prank? Get your coat, we’re going to the Webster Center.”
            They didn’t talk in the car as Sarah drove through the light drizzle, her hands turning white from gripping the steering wheel. The shock of seeing what their parents were involved in had both of them shaking with disgust and anger. Tires screeched as she turned quickly into a parking slot and stopped. Sarah, the book tucked under her arm, and Amy marched across the wet lot to the Center entrance. The small, round receptionist smiled as the women passed, but the gesture wasn’t returned. Sarah pushed open the door to room 148. Elizabeth wasn’t there.
            “Excuse me,” called Sarah as they approached the reception desk.
            “Yes?” the woman managed to say through her perpetual grin.
            “Elizabeth Keppler. She’s not in her room. Do you know where she is?”
            The woman referred to a log in front of her. “Oh right. Her husband came in about thirty minutes ago and took her for a walk.”
            “What?” whispered Amy.
            “I know it’s none of my business,” she said, leaning in and lowering her voice, “but that man don’t look well. Not well at all.”

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Obama hatred taken to new levels

A decade ago, those of us who criticized the president’s actions were dismissed by the media as being “Bush haters,” and as a result, our arguments were marginalized and dismissed. Time, however, has proven us right and has shown that our arguments were directed more at policy decisions than personality. Today’s Obama haters are in a whole different stratosphere of visceral abhorrence that blinds them not only to common sense, but will turn them against their own belief systems.

The epicenter of Obama hate is the U.S. Congress, where more time is spent trying to derail Obama’s policies than is devoted to breathing and eating. While one Republican congressperson sleeps, the other is holding votes to defund the Affordable Care Act, for the 51st time. The latest craziness comes from a Republican attempt to force the president to uphold the drug laws in states that are relaxing enforcement. One of the bill’s backers is Rand Paul. Yes, the libertarian, state’s rights guy.

The bullshit is so deep here you need a monsoon to wash it away. Paul has made a career out of advocating for state’s rights and has previously declared he supports a state’s right to legalize marijuana. All of a sudden, he’s demanding the federal government step into the state’s business and start enforcing federal laws. Why? Because he hates Obama. It’s really that simple. Congressional Republicans will grasp at anything, and I mean anything, they think will weaken or embarrass the president. They are even willing to put their long cherished beliefs on the shelf if it means knocking Obama down a peg.

Despite the fact that Obama won two elections, and that he is actually a business-friendly, very moderate Democrat, the haters won’t stop their hatin’. You and I and  they know it’s about more than simply disagreeing on policies. It’s about a black man telling them what to do. It’s about an intelligent black man with a loving family who’s not smoking crack and blaring rap out of his limousine speakers. It’s about a black man who refuses to be defined by their stereotypes. It’s about plain old racism.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Tomorrow's Headlines Today

Putin Challenges Obama to Thumb Wrestle for Crimea

Paul Ryan Claims Reference to “Lazy Dark-Skinned People” Had Nothing To Do With Race

Billionaires Worry Raising Minimum Wage May Force Them To Cheaper Bentley Model

“Arming Children Best Deterrent to School Shootings” Claims NRA

NASA Says Plane Captured In Mars Rover Photograph Not Malaysia Air Flight MH370

New Phone App Puts NSA On Hold And Plays Scratchy 70s Disco Hits

Thursday, March 13, 2014

High times for news junkies

Crazy times! Your fix of today’s top stories.

Missing plane still missing

Five days ago, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, with 239 people on board, dropped off air traffic control screens less than an hour into its flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. China, Vietnam and a number of other countries have been intently searching for wreckage in the oceans around Malaysia. There have been several false alarms, but nothing related to the flight has been found. Today, the Wall Street Journal reports that based on data automatically sent from the plane’s engines, the plane continued flying for four hours after dropping off of radar screens, leading to speculation that the plane was hijacked and landed somewhere for use at another time.

Ukraine and the Russian invasion of Crimea

Tension between Russia and western nations remains high as the impasse around negotiations continues. German Chancellor Angela Merkel today threatened Putin with “massive” political and economic consequences if the Russians continued to refuse to negotiate and retreat from Crimea. For their part, Russians refuse to acknowledge the validity of the current government in Kiev. Crimea is scheduled to hold a referendum on Sunday on whether Crimea should become part of Russia, but the ballots do not allow a straight up “no” vote and western leaders will not recognize the results as legitimate.

CIA spying on congress

Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee Sen. Diane Feinstein has accused the CIA of spying on the committee’s investigation into the CIA detention and interrogation program. After years of investigation, the committee produced a report that was highly critical of the CIA and its interrogation (torture) methods. The report has yet to be made public. Feinstein’s accusations bring up serious implications about both the real lack of oversight of U.S. surveillance agencies and the consequences of one branch of government (the executive) purposefully undermining the operations of another branch of government (the legislative). The irony of Feinstein not raising an eyebrow about mass surveillance until she is the victim has not been lost on many media outlets (see yesterday’s The Daily Show).

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

"I Could Care Less": The game show


Hi, everyone. I’m Bob Schmidt and welcome to “I Could Care Less,” the game show where conservatives go toe-to-toe to find out who is the least empathetic human on the planet. Responses are judged by our audience, and the winner gets an all expense paid trip to India to stay in a five-star hotel with a penthouse balcony overlooking…wait for it…the slums of Calcutta.

[Audience applause]

Let’s welcome today’s contestants. First up is Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan. Next, from the great state of Minnesota, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. And finally, let’s hear it for former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. Glad you can all be here to play, “I Could Care Less.”

Today’s topic: America’s children.

Congressman Ryan, I’ll start with you. Tell us, how you could you care less about America’s children?


Well, Bob, I could really care less about giving underprivileged children free school lunches. I mean, this is setting these impressionable young boys and girls on a path to a welfare mentality right from the start. Free lunches today extends to free Cadillacs and bling tomorrow.


Senator Santorum, how do you respond to that?


Of course, I agree. No one should get anything for free. These children should work for their meal. They could wash cars or shine shoes or sew garments like children in other countries do. And that’s why I believe we should lower the legal working age to three. Instead of sitting around the house eating Ding Dongs and watching their parents smoke crack, they could be out selling apples or…building things.


I think my fellow contestants are missing an important point. When they took God out of our public schools, guess what? The Devil stepped in. What these children really need is prayer, and lots of it. If we returned prayer to our classrooms, these precious children might have empty stomachs, but they would be spiritually obese.



Well, Representative Bachmann seems to have struck a chord with the audience. How do you respond to that Congressman Ryan?


It’s the liberal curriculum of public schools we need to be concerned with. Kids today are being indoctrinated with liberal facts instead of conservative ideology. We need to shape these young minds to accept their miserable existence instead of filling their heads with hope for a better life.


And we need more corporal punishment. Children don’t respect adults anymore because we aren’t allowed to slap them around. They think we’re their pals. No. We’re their gods, and they should be treating as such. My father used hit me so hard—


Congresswoman Bachmann. Your response?


White Christian children are the future of this country… Did I say that out loud?


Representative Ryan?


Allowing same sex couples to adopt children is an abomination. It was Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.


Any science teacher who believes the earth is more than six-thousand years old should be drawn and quartered in the public square.



I’m not wearing panties.


Okay, that was an exciting round. We’ll be back for more, “I Could Care Less” after this commercial.

Monday, March 10, 2014

What happened to the Barack Obama I voted for?

There’s an excellent article in today’s Salon that analyzes why Obama’s words and actions have been at odds with each other since he took office in 2008. Many liberals were excited and optimistic during Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, and themes like “change” and “transparency” seduced many lefties into thinking that Obama would herald in a new age of progressivism. Of course, that didn’t happen.

Author David Bromwich does a good job of describing a man who has a long history of confusing rhetoric with action, personae with policy. Contrary to what many of his supporters would claim, Obama has risen to the highest office in the country not based on strong ideals or leadership skills, but on his ability to articulate appealing policies that he later would not or could not bring into reality.

Friday, March 07, 2014

President Bernie Sanders?

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders says he may decide to run for president in 2016. He would get my vote. Wow. It would be an extremely interesting presidential race if Sanders were to jump in the fray, because he would be opposed not merely by the Republican and Democratic candidates, but by the entire military/industrial/media complex. Nobody in “the establishment” will want to see Sanders win, because he is too much of a threat to the status quo. Despite some liberal rhetoric during his two campaigns, Obama has proven to be highly malleable, and you know Hillary will fall in line should she win the White House, but not Bernie.

As much as I would like to see him run, Bernie is too far to the left to win the presidency at this point in America’s history. The shadow government will not allow it. Big money will flow to his two opponents, and Bernie will have to rely on small donations from people like me. The mainstream media will marginalize him and his “socialist” ideas. The surveillance agencies will be looking to dig up dirt from his past. Bernie would truly be playing David to the elites Goliath.

All of that being said, there are still many unknown factors that could work in his favor. Who the Republicans and Democrats choose to run will matter. If it’s Hillary for the Dems, his chances grow even dimmer. How the economy is doing will matter. Whether or not we are at war with somebody will matter. The country’s mood for real as opposed to cosmetic change will matter.

Even if Sanders has no chance of winning, it would be a refreshing change to have someone presenting progressive ideas to a national audience in between the psychotic ranting of the right and the disingenuous hyperbole of the establishment Dems.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

The American government is seriously out of control

The newest revelations that the CIA was conducting surveillance on Congressional committee members looking into the CIA is mind boggling. No one seems to be in control in Washington. The intelligence community is now a shadow government, operating in its own world on its own terms, and no branch of government has the power to rein it in. As I’ve said before, Bush and Cheney created a monster that now has a life of its own and answers to no one.

If you haven’t already, sign one of the numerous petitions online or write or call your Congressperson and tell them you want Congress and the President to put a stop to NSA and CIA mass surveillance. They currently have no accountability. Their leaders can lie to Congress and get away with it, their budgets are secret so we have no idea how billions of our tax dollars are being spent (although you can be sure a large portion of that is being used to spy on you), and they are involved in numerous operations that have little to nothing to do with national security.

On top of all of this, evidence is emerging that we (the CIA) played a part in instigating the turmoil in Ukraine in another attempt at regime change, which is of course, turning out to be an international nightmare.

It’s time to raise our voices and put a stop to this madness.