Thursday, December 19, 2002

I'm going on vacation, but will do my best to post while I'm in NY visiting the folks and all. Here's an article from slate about deficit spending and the current about face 180 degree turn the Bush administration has taken on. It's great and you should really read it......

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

What I learned (or was reminded of at least) from the Trent Lott Fiasco

I didn't see the apology/groveling session on BET, but I have to say this - If Lott's comments about segregation didn't do him in as Senate Majority Leader, then coming out in favor of affirmative action will. It's one thing to make a joke about Jim Crow and do damage to the GOP... its a whole 'nother ballgame to come out against something that has become a GOP party statute.

(George Will posted this idea first though, even if I did come up with this idea completely & independetly on my own while driving into work this morning)

Since the Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott Death Watch has officially commenced, I'd like to review what I've learned;

1-Robert Novak is a worthless sack of shit - this old bastard is a poor excuse for a journalist. I read about the virtual silence on the part of the "liberal media" (New York Time, National Public Radio, Washington Post) journaled in Conason's column. Next thing I know I'm hearing that old hairbag Novak making excuses for Lott and starting to bitch and moan how the "liberal media" is just trying to use the race card. (See Salon article linked here)

"He thought it was a social occasion," Novak said of Lott. "He's thinking what comes to his mind. He's saying -- if you listen to the whole speech, he's making extravagant statements about Strom Thurmond, as he should on his 100th birthday." Novak blamed the press of picking "up something that's said at a birthday party and turn it into a case of whether he should be impeached."

All that tells you is that there are conservatives who don't even wait for liberals to say what they think they will say, my guess is they've been so conditioned and brainwashed into believing GOP propaganda that they bitch about "liberal media bias" before it even happens, which it didn't until after conservatives brought this subject up. His knee jerk reaction against liberals bringing up the Lott comment when liberals had hardly said anything pissed me off more than anything any other pundit said or did. Never pay attention to this windbag ever again.

This old Salon article only confirms how I feel about him.

2-Sean Hannity is also a worthless sack of horseshit
I watched Fox News at the gym when this fiasco first started to gain steam. It was pretty fascinating because I went in with a more observant rather than prejudgemental mind, doing my best just to listen to what GOP TV had to say. I was a bit surprised by Bill O'Reilly not letting the dittohead emailers (to his show) bitch and moan about the closest thing the hardline GOPers have to compare Lott to, that being Senator Byrd. I can't say impressed because O'Reilly has already made a lousy impression on me that he's so scummy it make me queasy. BUT it was unexpected and suprised to see him reprimand his audience in saying that this strategy is really distraction from what Lott said and the media hoopla (I'm paraphrasing).

I caught Hannity and Colmes afterwards however, and I came pretty close to puking. Hannity pestered his guest, doing his best to use the distraction strategy with whomever was on last Thursday(some Female African American Radio Talk Show host, her name escapes me).

Now I don't think the Byrd comparrison is completely out of line, even if is a bit disingenous to bring it up now. Quite frankly I am all about bringing up double standards, they are the best way to judge someone's true intensions. And if they censure Lott, and someone really feels the need to play tit for tat and bring up Byrd's comments, so be it, even if it is disingenous, even if it's just to make the Dems look as bad (it won't work). But what so many have forgotten is this isn't about just any Senator making a comment like this, but rather the Senate Majority Leader said it.

What did send me over the top though was bringing up Al Gore's father vote in a civil rights bill in the 1960's - That's bullshit and Hannity (and anyone who dares bring this up) should know that! The history of segregation and the Democratic party is well documented, along with the Dixiecrat split, and bringing up something from that far back is pathetic for the following reasons;

a) A lot of people in and out of Government were quite openly biased then, and it was more tolerated back then (including Strom Thurmond, remember?) Are we gonna judge everyone Dem and Repub, past and present (not just what Al Gore's dad did 40 years ago as in reference to Lott's comments)? We wouldn't be having this conversation if it weren.t for the fact that everyone saw Gore as the leading challenger to Bush up until his announcement in 60 Minutes. Maybe Hannity can find something on Lieberman's or Kerry's dad on the next show.

A reminder -wasn't it David Duke who ran for Gov. of Louisiana on the GOP ticket? The we start a list of who to judge it should be noted that the GOP list is far longer than Dems.

b) Al Gore's father said after voting againt the civil rights act that it was the biggest mistake of his life. Al actually was pretty miffed at his dad and told him so when they spoke after the vote (it's in a book about Al Gore's life, but I can't tell you what the name of the book is).

And the biggest reason this is bullshit is;

c) It's Al Gore's father!!!!! (1)Al Gore's father isn't a Senator any more and (2)Are all children of Governent officials now responsible for everything their parent did in the past? You couldn't pick anything less relevant and more pathetic example to use in this argument. What a $%@%& joke! If you use this standard for judging any politician then let the Senate Hearings on the involvement of George W. Bush in the Iran Contra Scandal commence immediately!

3-Not all conservatives are hopeless
I may not like Andrew Sullivan all that much but at least he didn't pull any punches and continues to blog away about how Lott is going down.

There were other conservatives, including Jonah Goldberg of the National Review and a slew of others, but to link to every article right now would prove difficult, for there are too many.

PS - I may appreciate Sullivan's take on Lott, but his assessment of Bush having his "Sister Soulja moment" last Friday in Philadelphia is pretty silly; Clinton said what he said in front of a primarily black audience, with no idea what would happen, before he was elected President (was he even the Democratic nominee yet?) Bush said it as the President after the situation had more than a week to boil over.

4-Everything is not hunky dory with race relations in America
It just seems like there are a lot of people who prefer to think that after some definite time point everyone in America magically figured out that Racism is wrong and completely lost all racial biases (except for the KKK). No need for real discussion or dialoge, racism is now dead.

The sad part of all this is The GOP will sack Lott, but nothing else will really change. Here's a genuine opportunity to look at race relations, a chance to stop pretending everything is fine and really look at this nation in terms of race. Instead the GOP will dump Lott and give the Republicans a chance to pat themselves on the back, say they fought racism in their party, and use the sacking as proof they have no other racial biased tendecies.

5-It's not that hard to masquerade as a conservative when you are really racist
I still think there are more people with similar political views as Lott but do a better job of hiding them. I think Lott just slipped up. It's not hard for a racist or white supremicist to use the GOP platform to achieve suppossedly conservative goals.

Some other notes about covert racists; history revision isn't that hard either, with a skilled spinster -
- Apparently the Civil War was about states rights... yeah, the right for states to allow citizens to own slaves!

- Strom Thurmond's presidency was about states rights too? yeah, states rights to keep white and blacks separate! Like the Southern states would have rectified this injustice by themselves..... sheesh

Let's stop pretending everything is okay, okay?

6-Its easy to love MLK now that he's dead.
I always wanted to blog on this, but it'll have to wait. It is amazing though how easy it is for conservatives to drop Martin Luther King's name gratuitously and heap praise on him without having to face up to MLK's scrutiny. Most of the name dropping pundits were against him when he was doing his work way back when, and they never understood (may never understand) what he stood for. Hell, if he were alive today the same name dropping pundits would probably be railing against much of his other work on behalf of the poor (and the other causes he fought for) and probably label him a commie to boot.

7-Heaping praise on the Civil Rights movement (that so many conservatives fought rigorously) is much easier now that we've put more than 35 years between then and now -
same notes on MLK apply here.

8-You don't have to be thrilled with the idea of Affirmative Action to be in favor of it-
I also wanted to blog on this in the past, but you're better off just reading what Ted Barlow's blog opinion is linked here(you may have to scroll a bit after you link to get to it), because he said exactly what I have thought for a long time;

You know, I understand the arguments against affirmative action. Affirmative action is absolutely not fair, and the stigma of being a quota is very real. I don't know how to heal race relations. But you know, it wouldn't hurt if affirmative action opponents recognized that minorities have good reason to doubt that they're being treated fairly in hiring. It's not all in Jesse Jackson's head. And it doesn't hurt when they actively reject ads like this: "You needed that job, but they had to give it to a minority." In the absence of any recognition that minorities actually do have a harder time succeeding than whites, that kind of message is just a thumb in the eye.

And yet after all of this, would you believe I actually feel sorry for Lott - I can't believe it. Listening to him squirm on BET was embarassing. It must be the bleeding heart liberal in me.....

With all this mess about Lott, something far more sinister is brewing and no one is paying attention. Very little can shock me about what Dubya does as President. He could appoint a college football mascot as Surgeon General and I wouldn't think twice except that it will make great late night comedy fodder. He could say that trees are polluting the air or that real reason there has been so many corporate scandals are because of the teachers union and it wouldn't surprise me in the least. But I think for the first time in a long time Dubya has actually shocked me - Timothy Noah cited an editorial a couple of weeks ago in the WSJ about how the poor don't pay enough taxes. That idea that is now gaining steam - Now that the Bush administration is begining to parrot this line.

Everyday I wonder how much worse it can get and almost everyday Bush manages to find a way to do just that, make it worse.

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

From Slate's Today's Papers;

the papers have noticed something Lott said in a 1980 campaign rally, immediately after Thurmond spoke. "You know," Lott said, "if we had elected this man 30 years ago, we wouldn't be in the mess we are today."


Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, who will take over as House Democratic leader next month, said of Lott, ``He can apologize all he wants. It doesn't remove the sentiment that escaped his mouth that day."

Someone in the news makes a verbal gaffe that is this bad, such as Lott or John Rocker (or anyone past/present/future) and then that same person proceeds to apologize. I have frequently had this thought after these situations -

Are you sorry that you said something that reflects your true feelings and you wish to work on yourself to improve those negative ideas or biases that you have OR are you sorry that you opened up your big fat trap and now have to pay the price?

They are two really different things. I've said more than my share of the wrong thing at the wrong time and I have been sorry for saying what I said, maybe said in a mean or inappropriate way. But many times, while I apologized for my lack of diplomacy, I pretty much felt strongly about the sentiment, even if I regretted saying what I said (i.e. "your band sucks"or "honey, you went about complaining to the neighbors upstairs about all the noise they're making totally wrong" etc).

Lott chose the weakest and most opaque way to express something that is downright morally reprehensible (Segregation, Jim Crow, etc.) The apology he issued could not have been any weaker for the a guy that slammed the Dems mercilesly after Daschle and Dem Leaders questioned the war on terrorism. I am a bit surprised that Dem. leaders in the Senate are steering clear of something so obviously awful. Pansy asses... all of them. And the very thing that hurt them so much during 2002 election might very well do damage if some Dems don't get some balls and start saying something about what Lott implied in his celebration for that geezer Strom.

The black vote won't have confidence in the Dems unless someone speaks up. Hell, the black vote that the Democrats deperately need to unseat Dubya might decide not show up in 2004. Gore is the only guy who said a damn thing and that might be enough to put him over the top in the Democratic Primary for 2004. I don't want to go out on a limb on a prediction like this, anything can happen between now and Nov 04, but I really think that this might be the kinda thing that puts him on the ticket and potentially in the White House. You could do better than Gore.... but you could do a lot worse.

Monday, December 09, 2002

A shoutout to my new best friend Chas of The Chasbah . It's nice to be noticed and appreciated. Chasbah gave me a nice compliment but it isn't obvious unless you go here and then run your mouse over the words Blowtorch Monkey Armada on the post for Sunday Dec. 8th (theres a little help/tag line) It's nothing big, just a well appreciated compliment on my blogging. Thank you Chas, it's nice to be appreciated, not to mention even acknowledged that someone is reading this thing and it's not a complete waste of time.

Sometimes I have to wonder what people are thinking when they wind up here or read my blog. I rarely get unsolicited email, and since I don't have commenting ability (yet), I'm not sure if they come to BMA to read what I have to say based on my latest post, or because they came here looking for classical music of the devil or cock longe white movie (doh! a spelling error makes BMA #1 for that net search). I wish I could post more - it's just this thing called my job keeps getting in the way of my blogging damnit!

I don't read local daily newspapers very often, but since someone brought one in today I took a peek at lunch and I'm glad I did. There was a great article by Mark Sheilds in the Daily Herald opinion section entitled "Clinton is gone and so are years of prosperity" -

Here, according to columnist E.J. Dionne, is what candidate Michaud had to say to Clinton in October before 2,500 Maine citizens in Augusta: "The country's economy was in the ditch, and you made the hard decisions and turned things around. But the Republicans in Washington could never give you any credit. Oh no. They said it was not Bill Clinton who brought prosperity, it was the House Republicans and Alan Greenspan. Guess what? We still have the House Republicans. We still have Alan Greenspan. And where's the economy? Back in the ditch." This Michaud fellow is clearly on to something.

I read it during lunch and laughed at the last line in the article quite a bit. I highly recommend you take a look at it. Reminds me of that headline on an issue of the Onion with Bush on the cover saying "Our Long National Nightmare of Peace and Prosperity is Finally Over", except the Onion is parody and Mark's column is for real.

Arriana Huffington is in rare form, talking about The White House's efforts to undermine McCain Feingold. I guess McCain is pretty pissed since he got a promise from Bush and now - Big Surprise - they're backing out on him. I guess the White House is maintaining the facade that they care about campaign finance but behind the scenes they are doing everything and anything to see it goes down in flames. Luckily for you this article is free, no need for Salon Premium to read this one.

Here's a really thoughtful article on Bill O'Reilly and Chris Matthews, their respective (but not so respected) cable news shows and where they come from. It's a little older but still worth reading if you have the time.

Joe Conason is asking why no one in the liberal biased media (my own italics) is making a big deal about the covertly racist comments made by Trent Lott in regards to Strom Thrumond's failed run for President as a Dixiecrat in 1948, in light of his 100th birthday and his retirement in January.
"I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president we voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had of followed our lead we wouldn't of had all these problems over all these years, either."

(If you don't know about the Dixiecrats/Strom Thurmond, it's when the Democratic party had it's big split with the solid south that had always voted Democratic after the Civil War - up until Hubert Humphrey, Minnesota Democrat brought it up and said this Jim Crow crap that we tolerate to keep the party together is ridiculous)

When you really think about it, I'm not totally surprised by the lack of coverage, although it does raise an eyebrow. The major media doesn't want to kick a 100 year old in the shins, and since you can't say anything to Trent Lott about this comment without making the geezer Strom look bad, they're giving that greasy bastard Lott a free pass. I just wish someone in the press would ask Lott for some clarification on just what all of these problems over all the years is exactly. I still can't belive that the GOP thinks he's the best they have to offer as Speaker for the Senate - what an embarrasment.

Friday, December 06, 2002

Ya know, you don't post for a couple of days because of vacation time and then you're completely out of rhythm. There is no shortage of news out there, but chances are you've heard most of these stories if you've been paying any attention -

-Bush & GOP Co. can't find money for social programs or extending unemployment...but it can find money for bonuses for his political appointees! For people making $100k+ no less! GetDonkey gave me the idea that coining a new tag for this Congress and GOPers/ Conservatives in general might be needed. You have have "tax and spend" Democrats, what about "taxcut/spend anyway" Republicans? I've been brainstorming but have yet to come up with a good tag line. The most valuable piece of advice my dad ever gave me was "life is all about priorities". All I can say is Dubya your priorities are fucked up.

-Paul O'Neil has resigned. This slate article talks about Sec. of Treasurer O'Neil being the only voice of reason in this administration see quote below;

O'Neill was one of the last dissenting voices for fiscal sanity. In recent days he let slip the heresy that the economy appeared to be recovering and might not need another massive deficit-increasing tax-cut package. The fact that the erratic O'Neill turned out to be the voice of economic reason in this administration is a sign of how dismal economic planning has become.

... and now he's gone. I'm not saying I was a big fan of O'Neil or was really all that familiar with his contribution to our current fiscal policy, but at least he said we should reexamine the current cut taxes- deficit be damned econmic policy of the Bush Administration. Daniel Gross accurately asses-

we've got an Ichabod Crane economic policy—headless, and galloping wildly on a horse named Tax Cut.

There is no way this economy will rebound by 2004 elections, not with unemployement on the rise, not with this headless economic policy team in charge.

-I saw Pat Robertson on ABC's This Week this past Sunday. You can't fathom how idiotic this guy sounds sometimes, even if he is well informed on selective incidents in history that fits his assesment of our political situation. Long story short he reiterated that Islam is a violent religion, but Bush rebuking him is a good strategy because we are trying to hold on to the Arab world in order to accomplish our geopolitical goals. William Saletan's analysis is scathing;

Let's review Robertson's comments. 1) To win the war, Bush needs to avoid saying Islam is rotten. 2) Islam is rotten. 3) I'm Bush's best friend. 4) I'm not against Muslims; I just want them to stop being Muslims. 5) The only people trying to make this a Muslim-Christian thing are those rotten Muslims. 6) I want everyone watching this TV show to know that this issue is no big deal.

-Kissinger to chair the independent 9/11 commision. Some guy that posts on the Fray on Slate does the best job of accurately assessing what you have to fear. However Kissinger is supposed to report his clients in the past couple of years to the commision, and he may not do that, which might prevent him from chairing the commision.

-Bush is pushing for logging on public lands. I don't even know why anybody bats an eye when this shit happens anymore. The administration wouldn't know even partially reasonable environmental legislation if it was hit over the head with it. I have to come back to this one. My biggest aggravation with Dubya is not his environmental policy. I fully expected all of this.

What gets me is the dishonesty of it all. They rape the environment and then Karl Rove and Co do their best to put together some bullshit plan (i.e. - Clear Skies Initiative) to make it seem like Bush cares about the environment. Why don't you come clean? You don't give a fuck about the environment - never have never will. All your EPA appointees are either (a)former lawyers/lobbyists for traditionally environmental damaging segments of industry (oil, paper, coal, etc.) or (b) people who don't even believe there is such a thing as an ecosystem. This is all an attempt to prevent alienating the swing voters - ya know, those people who live in the suburbs that are generally better off financially than the average American, somewhat fiscally conservative but also just socially moderate enough and more educated (than the redneck base that the GOP does so well) and are aware that global warming isn't a Greenpeace conspiracy.

I dare you to come clean. Just say it Dubya! Just say you think all environmental policy is a bunch of treehugging hippy shit! Just say you don't think that Global Warming is an issue! Just say you that you never intended to keep the promise about reduce emmisions and increase fuel eficiency. Just say that you think arsenic in the water is good for you! Just say loosening air pollution regulations is good for our young people's lungs! Just say what all of your moronic puppet master conservative idealouges believe to begin with. Just stop pretending, that's all I ask. Is that too much? a website I came across. Like the name anyway.