…..And We’re Back!!!

Sorry for the delay again in posting…..I waited too late to renew my domain name; and I had to wait until payday to buy it back.

Everything should be working fine now.

Plus, I’m now on an official paid vacation from work for a week….so now I can catch up on things.  Just be patient…. 🙂 

This Is Your Democracy, People. Use It, Or Lose It.

Well….between the US Supreme Court transforming itself into the executuve wing of the Federalist Society, King Dubya deciding that Scooter Libby should not be punished with jail time for outing an CIA agent to cover up the propaganda war preceding the real war in Iraq, and the usual cravenness of the Dimocrats in responding to such with empty cries signifying nothing…well, this year’s Fourth of July isn’t feeling so jolly to me today.

Especially since it takes a TV journalist to say the things that our supposed quasi-liberal “opposition” party should have been screaming in unison from the very beginning.

Paraphrasing the immortal words of Arsenio Hall: Kick it, KO.

From Countdown with Keith Olbermann: Special Comment on Scooter Libby Commutation (7/3/07) via YouTube, with the usual h/t to Crooks and Liars)

Though I’m not hitching my hopes on Dubya or Big Dick resigning in disgrace (more likely, they’ll sooner be dragged out of the White House kicking and screaming, or hatch another terrorist plot to suspend the elections for good), resignation seems to be looking pretty good as an option. Especially since the Dimocrats aren’t going to revive impeachment any time soon……damn them to hell.

The Nigeria Tribune Takes On The Masturbation Menace

Gotta hand it to them….for all of the twisted stats and bloated claims they use to debunk self-pleasure, they do have a way with words.  A proper fisking follows.

Taken from the Nigeria Tribune: 

MASTURBATION: Temporary sexual pleasure with many dangers

There is a secret sexual practice common to both the young and old and it is known as masturbation. Seye Adeniyi in this report examines the causes, and the negative impacts it is having on health.

THERE is a secretive sexual practice common to both men and women, as well as young people, and it is known as masturbation. A team of scientists in Australia recently found that 98 per cent of men engage in this sexual act, while many women cannot also feign ignorance on this sexual act. In fact, they revealed that 89 per cent of females also practise masturbation. Your Health findings show that this habit is no respecter of age, as many young boys and girls are also aware of what masturbation is all about.

Oh, yeah..it’s so “secretive” that almost everyone participates in the act of self-pleasure without remorse or harm….except, perhaps, certain writers for a supposedly national newspaper who are so obsessed with regulating other people’s sex lives.

Many of the medical practitioners who spoke with Your Health agreed that masturbation, which is the self-stimulation of one’s sexual organ by hand or by other means to achieve sexual excitement, satisfaction and ultimately, to ejaculation, is generally, secretive, but a bad practice common with teenagers.

Yup…really bad, like spitting in public and jaywalking, I suppose.

Though Dr. Adewale Oguntuase says adults also masturbate, but scientists have different opinions on its effect on health. Some say that masturbation is an act that must be resisted and that those already into it should find a way to stop it because it has harmful effects on the body, especially the brain.

Yeah, right…..like simply having men rape women unabated and reducing women to baby factories for God and nation is that much better??

Of course, there are some others that say that masturbation is a normal and healthy practice if done privately and discreetly…but let’s not give our own biases away, mmmmm-kay???

Another research also indicates that more children are masturbating. The survey indicates that about one-third of all girls and about half of all boys have masturbated to orgasm by the time they reached the age of 13, with boys generally starting earlier than girls.

“Another research”??? Ahhh….are y’all so busy fighting Ponzi schemes to mix in a proofreader for syntax??

For instance, an American social historian, Edward Brecher, in a research work published in a book about sex among older people in the United States entitled Love, Sex and Ageing (1984), reports that 33 per cent of women 70 years of age and older and 43 per cent of men in the same age range still engage in self-stimulation of their sexual organs.

“Sixty-five per cent of married women and 59 per cent of married men in that age range,” the researcher stated, still have sexual intercourse with their spouses. This means that even some of the old people still masturbate.

Oh, the horrrrah!!!  We have OLD PEOPLE who can’t keep their hands out of their pants and panties!!! This.  Must. Stop. Now. Next thing you know, we’ll have brothels in the geriatric wards of hospitals!!!

The next question then is: Does masturbation have any ill-effect on one’s life, sexual life, libido and most especially, one’s health? Going by submissions of medical experts, sexual coldness in women is far more common than lack of sex drive in men. Many women that practise masturbation develop the habit as a result of many factors, including peer influence.

Now…notice the intro of the phrase “sexual coldness”…of which we can readily translate to “women who won’t open their legs for their husbands/boyfriends/whomever and make for the babies for the glory of God, family, and country. How this is blamed on rampant masturbation may be a loss for most of us mormal folk…but I do digress….

In many women, the trouble often arises from lack of normal sex instructions during the early years. Many have been indoctrinated by their parents or elders that all matters pertaining to sex are shameful and wicked.

According to a health instructor, who simply wants to be addressed as Mrs. Oyemade, “it is a strange fact that some women can enjoy sex while away on vacation, but fail to do so on returning home and assuming the normal burdens of everyday living. This shows how important it is that all women and girls should be made to understand fully the real functions of their reproductive organs at the early stage of life, and the part they play in building and maintaining a happy home.”

Many girls and women don’t have this knowledge, and that is why some of them engage in unwholesome sexual habits like lesbianism and masturbation.

In other words, if Nigerian women would just remember that God created them to make plenty of babies and that they should just be quiet when their hubbies want to mount them, men wouldn’t “abuse” themselves quite as much. And….they would probably be soooooo satisfied by the magical working of such “swordsmanship” (so to speak) that they would never want to touch their clits again. 

And this woman is a “health instructor”???  Eeeeeee-yeah.

And for Mr. Bosun Banjoko, an immunologist/public health specialist at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, “masturbation can actually affect one’s sexual life in future and also has both psychological and social effects on the doer.”

Mr. Idowu Bakare of Movement Against HIV/AIDS and Poverty (MAAIDS) and Olubowale Gbolahan, of Centre for Rural and Reproductive Health Development (CRRHD), also share the same view with Bosun Banjoko. Another health practitioner, Mr. Femi Adereti described masturbation as a secret act of sexual excitement which he said can be definitely harmful, especially when carried to excess. “Often the individual tends to become secretive, living in a kind of dream world where fantasy plays a dominant part. Many highly nervous older women freely admit that most of their troubles stem from some form of self-stimulation, indulged in for over a long period of time.”

For Dr. Bayo Omole, any young person who engages in masturbation is only exposing himself/herself to nervous problems. “In fact, nervous problems are always more common in those who indulge in this sort of thing. Many of them seem unable to face reality. Frequent masturbation, with its tendency to day-dreaming, can be harmful, particularly to those who are subject to nervous depression. So, I would advise young people, especially anybody who wants to enjoy his/her life to avoid the dirty, unholy sexual habit called masturbation,” Dr. Omole said.

Now, you do happen to spot the trend here towards citing numerous psychoanalyst “experts” to prove their case about the ultimate evil threat of masturbation to Nigerian civilization……because, quite simply, it’s a distraction f from doing God’s work, or so I guess.

From a religious point of view, Pastor Yemi Aduloju, an Ibadan-based man of God, in one of his sermons, submitted that masturbation is a sexual sin with dangers to health and most especially to one’s spiritual life. According to him, masturbation opens one to sickness and diseases as spelt out in biblical passages like Proverb 6: 32 – 33. Pastor Aduloju said: “Sexual sins like masturbation bring down great men and has also brought down great destiny in life. It makes God turn His back on you, even immediately you commence the dirty, unholy, sexual act with temporary pleasures.”

You mean, it’s not just about Lot defying God by spilling his seed??

For Okeke Uzoamaka, a senior social worker with CEREHAD – a non-governmental organisation, increasing cases of unwholesome sexual habit like masturbation, lesbianism and homosexuality among youths can also be traced to the advent of the internet. “Many young school boys and girls now go to cybercafe to watch pornographic films on the internet. Though many of them would tell you they are going to browse, but ask them what actually are they browsing? It is either X-rated films or blue films or they are looking for ways to commit internet fraud or crime. So, this is where they learn all these dirty sexual habits like masturbation which eventually would mar their health later in future,” Uzoamaka stated while speaking with Your Health recently.

Memo to Amber Rhea: You can forget about starting up a Sex 2.0 branch in Nigeria anytime soon.

Howeover, some people who spoke with Your Health do not see anything bad in masturbation. Many of them believe that masturbation is a normal sexual behaviour which almost everybody engages in. A medical doctor who will not want her name mentioned stated that for many people, masturbation remains a taboo subject and a practice that is still regarded as perverse or immoral. “Some medical practitioners and psychologists had condemned masturbation as destructive to mental health, even recommending amputation of the penis as a way to cure the habit in compulsive males. But today, many medical experts are beginning to change their belief.

“But for me, there is no ill-effect attached to masturbation. There is nothing wrong in it. It is not against the law, it is not immoral. It is perfectly a normal healthy thing done by 98 per cent of men, but the other two per cent are liars, who will not want to say the truth, but yet practise it,” she stated. In the opinion of Dr. Andrew Weil in his report entitled: “Dr Weil’s Vitamin Advisor for your Body, he states: “Now it appears that masturbation is not normal, it may be healthy and protective, especially for men. Said he: “In my view, masturbation can be a normal expression of sexuality in both men and women, when done compulsively or addictively. It can be irritating or exhausting, but in moderation it is medically harmless and may even be healthy, so if the Australian Scientists’ findings are confirmed, they should be part of the advice doctors would give men for protecting their repoduction systems.”

So….first off, why not publish the name of the “medical doctor” who offered a defense of masturbation….or for that matter, the names of all those who are not so reticent about defending mutual masturbation as a perfectly harmless (when done privately and consensually and respectfully) act of self-pleasure??  Could it be because that would really destroy the (il)logic of this entire article??  Naaaaaah…

Nonetheless, other dangers of masturbation as spelt out by medical experts include psychological guilt. A chance masturbator stands the risk of nervous-depressing permanent insanity, premature death, especially for those with high blood pressure, diabetes, blood diseases, inability to perform sexual act naturally, etc. Other dangers attached to masturbation sexes include inability to pull out of the act. It has even been documented to cause more deaths among boys in Europe than any plaque or war. Masturbation also results in total loss of sexual feelings and desire due to lack of sensation when it is time to actually engage in legitimate sexual intercourse. Quick, early or premature ejaculation is also one of the rewards of regular masturbation.

WOW.  If we are to believe that, masturbation causes death…more death than the Middle Ages wars, the Bubonic plague, cancer, lung disease, malnutrition, and violence….combined. And…it also leads to premature ejaculation in the “main event” of conception, too.  Really.  For sure.  Experts prove it!!!!

In girls, the breast development is arrested or retarded and the individual also stands the risk of experiencing spinal irritation resulting from epilepsy as a result of loss of seminal fluid in a male.

Oh, please….so loss of sperm count leads directly to epilepsy and spinal injury in women, as well as smaller breasts???  Gee, you forgot smaller, less rounded asses, too!!!

In.  Freakin’. Credible.  And I thought that only the Mormons and Paul Cameron had the exclusive monopoly on sexual crackpottery and wingnuttery.

US Appelate Court to FCC on Obscenity Rules:

Oh, but this is too damn sweet for words.

Memo to Teh Veep Dick: Try not to tell an opposing Senator to “f’ck yourself”; cause it just might come back to bite your ass.

From the New York Times today:

June 5, 2007
 

Court Rebuffs F.C.C. on Fines for Indecency

WASHINGTON, June 4 — If President Bush and Vice President Cheney can blurt out vulgar language, then the government cannot punish broadcast television stations for broadcasting the same words in similarly fleeting contexts.

That, in essence, was the decision on Monday, when a federal appeals panel struck down the government policy that allows stations and networks to be fined if they broadcast shows containing obscene language.

Although the case was primarily concerned with what is known as “fleeting expletives,” or blurted obscenities, on television, both network executives and top officials at the Federal Communications Commission said the opinion could gut the ability of the commission to regulate any speech on television or radio.

Now, while that would probably be a very good thing…more than likely probably it wouldn’t, since cable TV and satellite already exist for the more raunchier forms of TV, and over-the-air staions would still fall under FCC licensing purview.

Kevin J. Martin, the chairman of the F.C.C., said that the agency was now considering whether to seek an appeal before all the judges of the appeals court or to take the matter directly to the Supreme Court.

The decision, by a divided panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York, was a sharp rebuke for the F.C.C. and for the Bush administration. For the four television networks that filed the lawsuit — Fox, CBS, NBC and ABC — it was a major victory in a legal and cultural battle that they are waging with the commission and its supporters.

Under President Bush, the F.C.C. has expanded its indecency rules, taking a much harder line on obscenities uttered on broadcast television and radio. While the judges sent the case back to the commission to rewrite its indecency policy, it said that it was “doubtful” that the agency would be able to “adequately respond to the constitutional and statutory challenges raised by the networks.”

The networks hailed the decision.

“We are very pleased with the court’s decision and continue to believe that the government regulation of content serves no purpose other than to chill artistic expression in violation of the First Amendment,” said Scott Grogin, a senior vice president at Fox. “Viewers should be allowed to determine for themselves and their families, through the many parental control technologies available, what is appropriate viewing for their home.”

Hear, hear.  That’s why we have filters and that thing we call the “OFF” switch.

Mr. Martin, the chairman of the commission, attacked the panel’s reasoning.

“I completely disagree with the court’s ruling and am disappointed for American families,” he said. “The court says the commission is ‘divorced from reality.’ It is the New York court, not the commission, that is divorced from reality.”

He said that if the agency was unable to prohibit some vulgarities during prime time, “Hollywood will be able to say anything they want, whenever they want.”

Oh, really, Mr. Martin???  I mean, it’s not as if people were howling four-letter bombs before your “Zero Tolerance” policy took effect.  Well..other than Dick Cheney, of course….

Beginning with the F.C.C.’s indecency finding in a case against NBC for a vulgarity uttered by the U2 singer Bono during the Golden Globes awards ceremony in 2003, President Bush’s Republican and Democratic appointees to the commission have imposed a tougher policy by punishing any station that broadcast a fleeting expletive. That includes vulgar language blurted out on live shows like the Golden Globes or scripted shows like “NYPD Blue,” which was cited in the case.

Reversing decades of a more lenient policy, the commission had found that the mere utterance of certain words implied that sexual or excretory acts were carried out and therefore violated the indecency rules.

But the judges said vulgar words are just as often used out of frustration or excitement, and not to convey any broader obscene meaning. “In recent times even the top leaders of our government have used variants of these expletives in a manner that no reasonable person would believe referenced sexual or excretory organs or activities.”

Adopting an argument made by lawyers for NBC, the judges then cited examples in which Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney had used the same language that would be penalized under the policy. Mr. Bush was caught on videotape last July using a common vulgarity that the commission finds objectionable in a conversation with Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain. Three years ago, Mr. Cheney was widely reported to have muttered an angry obscene version of “get lost” to Senator Patrick Leahy on the floor of the United States Senate.

“We find that the F.C.C.’s new policy regarding ‘fleeting expletives’ fails to provide a reasoned analysis justifying its departure from the agency’s established practice,” said the panel.

Emily A. Lawrimore, a White House spokeswoman, said Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney had no comment about the ruling.

Although the judges struck down the policy on statutory grounds, they also said there were serious constitutional problems with the commission’s attempt to regulate the language of television shows.

“We are skeptical that the commission can provide a reasoned explanation for its ‘fleeting expletive’ regime that would pass constitutional muster,” said the panel in an opinion written by Judge Rosemary S. Pooler and joined by Judge Peter W. Hall. “We question whether the F.C.C.’s indecency test can survive First Amendment scrutiny.”

In his dissent, Judge Pierre N. Leval defended the commission’s decision to toughen its indecency policy.

“In explanation of this relatively modest change of standard, the commission gave a sensible, although not necessarily compelling, reason,” he said.

“What we have is at most a difference of opinion between a court and an agency,” Judge Leval said. “Because of the deference courts must give to the reasoning of a duly authorized administrative agency in matters within the agency’s competence, a court’s disagreement with the commission on this question is of no consequence. The commission’s position is not irrational; it is not arbitrary and capricious.”

The case involved findings that the networks had violated the indecency rules for comments by Cher and Nicole Richie on the Billboard Music Awards, the use of expletives by the character Andy Sipowicz on “NYPD Blue” and a comment on “The Early Show” by a contestant from CBS’s reality show “Survivor.”

The commission did not issue fines in any of the cases because the programs were broadcast before the agency changed its policy. But the networks were concerned about the new interpretation of the rules, particularly since the agency has been issuing a record number of fines.

Two years ago, Congress increased the potential maximum penalty for each indecency infraction to $325,000, from $32,500. Producers and writers have complained that the prospect of stiff fines had begun to chill their creative efforts.

The case, Fox et al. v. Federal Communications Commission, along with a second case now before a federal appeals court in Philadelphia involving the malfunctioning wardrobe that exposed one of the pop singer Janet Jackson’s breasts during the halftime show of the 2004 Super Bowl, have been closely watched by the television industry and its critics for their broad implications for television programming.

Neither cable TV nor satellite programming faces the same indecency rules even though they cover about 85 percent of homes. And as the Bush administration’s appointees have taken a tougher view on indecency, the industry has waged a countercampaign in the courts.

The commission has struggled to consistently explain how it applies the rules. In the Bono case involving the Golden Globe awards, the staff initially ruled in favor of the network. After lawmakers began to complain about that decision, the commission, then led by Michael K. Powell, reversed the staff decision.

But the commission declined to impose a fine because, it noted, “existing precedent would have permitted this broadcast” and therefore NBC and its affiliates “necessarily did not have the requisite notice to justify a penalty.”

For those who might have missed the Bono/GGA brohaha, Bono dropped the “f’n brilliant” bomb when recieving his award. The FCC board mostly responded to the DeLay/Dole Congress, who raised such a stink that “liberal Hollywood” was so corrupting people by allowing graitiuous f-bombs.  Of course, dropping real bombs on Iraqis is perfectly OK still, you know…

Broadcast television executives have complained about what they say has been the arbitrary application of the rules. They expressed concern, for instance, that they might be penalized for broadcasting “Saving Private Ryan,” a Steven Spielberg movie about the invasion of Normandy during World War II, because of the repeated use of vulgarities.

But the F.C.C. in that case ruled in favor of the networks, finding that deleting the expletives “would have altered the nature of the artistic work and diminished the power, realism and immediacy of the film experience for viewers.”

WOW.  That would be considered a total rout.

Of course, it will be appealed to the Supremes, and with the new Scalito majority, you never know about these things.  Just stay tuned.

 

“Blogging For Sex-Ed (Post) Day”: My Penny’s Worth

As is the usual for me, I tend to catch things a bit too late…so I will apologize to Renegade Evolution if my contribution to her mighty and well-timed carnival isn’t so well-timed. 

Most of my thoughts are reflected all so well by other contributors, to which you can check their links over there at Ren’s…so my contribution will be a bit more brief. Mostly, it will be an expansion on a comment I sent there today.

Personally, I do happen to believe that sex education is pretty much FUBAR..mostly because of the natural monopoly that the Christian Right has established over the dominant ideology with their "abstinence only" policy of denial combined with their meme of "Sex is a privilege given only to married couples for the direct purpose of procreating God’s/Allah’s, Yahweh’s/whatever deity is king of the moment’s childen; anything else is sin and heresy and a direct threat to homeland security worse than ‘Islamofascism’". I’m not so sure, though, that using the schools as a vehicle for an alternative would be an effective counter solution.

The problem I see is that all the political and social institutions in this culture are driven by a lot of sex negativity and sexual denial to begin with; and it doesn’t necessarily come exclusively from the Christian Right. Even the most supposedly liberal and hip and cool parents are just as capable of passing extreme judgements on adolescents about their sexuality and their sexual development, even as they pay begrudging respect to the incessant growth and popularity of sexual imagery driven by both the improvements in technology (especially the Internet) and the natural thirst for information previously hidden from young adolescents and young adults. Of course, there is much to be concerned about when it comes to teenage sexuality….STD’s, reproductive issues such as unwanted pregnancy and abortion, proper health care, and simply negotiating sexual desire with others who might not have their better interests in mind.  But simply firing stats about how many women get infected with the variant strains of herpes or other STDs or moaning about how many young girls are dressing like the Pussycat Dolls and reading Jenna Jameson’s bio without wanting to burn it afterwards is no more effective than merely throwing condoms at young men and telling them, "Just do it, as long as you wrap up." (Not that the latter shouldn’t be part of the message, mind you."

The main issue here for me is that most young adults don’t have the resources or the access to non-judgmental, accurate, and humane information about their personal sexuality, and that the alternatives (either watching porn or relying on the usual misinformation and disinformation) simply don’t meet their needs adquately enough.  The fact that the overwhelming majority of these adolescents happen to be working class who often rely on material designed basically for the more economically privileged might be a factor that has been lost on a lot of sex-ed activists.  For these people, it isn’t enough merely to offer condoms at the local clinic; there has to be a complete system of health care available and accessible to them. So, it is as much a class and economic issue as it is a cultural issue…indeed, the two simply cannot be seperated.

My own personal solution to this dilemma is to combine progressive peer- and community-based structures of role modeling and mentoring where adults and the more mature adolescents can do the bulk of the shoe leather and educating work on demystifying sexuality and providing the accurate and non-judgmental information and resources needed; with an overall assault on economic inequality overall.  A focus on a radical, sex-positive, humane, and egalitarian approach to sex education that doesn’t rely on imposition from above, but rather on reform and even revolution from the masses and from those most affected would do much good, in my view.  This is NOT the libertarian Right "if it feels good to you, it’s OK, and damn the consequenses for everyone else" approach that is far too commonly pushed as an opposite to the "faith-based abstinence only" lies; it simply acknowleges that adolescents are, no less than adults are, sexual beings who do deserve both support, respect, and the full array of choices and responsibilities for exercising their right to explore that aspect of their being. If, after some time, the educational establishment decides to catch up and adopt this approach, that would be fine by me….but until then, I wouldn’t trust them to teach my nephews and nieces about the facts of life any more than I’d trust Playboy or Penthouse or the next Vivid feature.

And yet…..even they would be totally preferable to the numbnuts who currently populate the White House and who are channelling the worst of sexual Puritanism to impose sexual ignorance on the rest of us.

OK…that should be enough for now, I guess.  I’d say more..but I gotta go earn my paycheck.

 

 

Presente, Steve Gilliard

Steve Gilliard (1966-2007)

[Updated on 6-5-07 for minor syntax errors.]

When I heard the news that Steve Gilliard of The News Blog finally surrendered to his recent illness at the far too young age of 51 41; I was more than a bit saddened.

I was a regular reader of his blog even when it was at Blogger, and I had heard for the past two months a daily account of his degeneration, his surgery, and the prognosis of recovery from his companion and blog co-hostess Jen….but I never anticipated that things would spiral downhill this quick.

Although my own personal politics and outlook was and still remains pretty far to the left of Mr. Gilliard — he was an old school liberal Democrat pragmatist with no love for third parties and Naderites (whom he dismissed as single issue hagglers) — I can say without malice that he was a major pioneer who made it possible for other Black progressive/radical bloggers like me to exist in the first place.

His no-nonsense, no frills philosophy and his low tolerance of BS — not to mention his willingness to take on even friends and allies when needed to set them right about race and class issues — raised the bar for Black progressive bloggers and the blogosphere in general.

And despite his mental toughness, he could also be just as much a sensitive and heartwarming fella, too.

May he hook up with Miss Molly in the afterlife, and both of them make beautiful music together smacking down right-wing nonsense.

His current blog is presently preparing a memorial to his legacy; you can also catch some of his work at the old location of his blog here.

Wingnuttery Plus Manifest Destiny = Whiskey? Tonto? Foxtrot???

The following is a classic result of what happens when you consume a little too much of the right-wing Kool-Aid.

The New York Sun, who obviously must see the New York Post as a bastion of evil liberalism in comparison, decided to bring forth an editorial on the “sellout” of Dimocrats in Iraq. (For them, though, the sellout is not in backing Dubya’s war, but in having the gall to criticize Dubya’s noble mission in the first place.)

And to that end, they envoke the earlier period of “Manifest Destiny”; the acquisition (or, as real honest historians would call it, the outright theft) of half of Mexico to justify the present campaign.

Nezua does such a good job of dissecting this pile of horse dung over at his place..but this deserves a special can of SmackDog Whupass(TM) on its own.  So, if you will pardon my indulgence, on with the fisking.

Iraq and Mexico

New York Sun Editorial
May 29, 2007

News that Senators Clinton and Obama, acting on the eve of Memorial Day weekend, cast their votes against funding our GIs in Iraq put us in a mind to read about Abraham Lincoln and the Mexican War. This had been suggested by Governor Cuomo, in his spirited letter to the editor in response to our editorial about how President Lincoln turned away the editor of Chicago Tribune, Joseph Medill, and a delegation that had gone to see him, late in the Civil War, in hopes of getting him to back off a draft call from Cook County.

Of course, we all know the reality of that vote (and how Hilary and Barack really maneuvered themselves to act like they were in opposition…but why let facts get in the way of a good McCarthyite smear??

Lincoln had listened to the Illinois pleaders in the cavern of maps that was the office of his war secretary, Edwin Stanton. As Stanton recited the sanguinary statistics that illuminated the need for yet more men for the battle, Lincoln bowed his head. Then he turned on Medill, long a supporter, reminded him of how the Tribune had supported the war and called for Emancipation and told him to go back to Chicago and get the men. Medill retreated, saying that it was the first time he’d ever been whipped and that he didn’t have an answer.

The better analogy, Mr. Cuomo argued in his letter to the Sun (http://www.nysun.com/article/54464) , is the war that President Polk started with Mexico. “As a Congressman in the late 1840s,” Mr. Cuomo wrote, Lincoln, “objected passionately to America‘s war with Mexico.” The former governor quotes the man who would become the 16th president as warning, on the floor of the House on January 12, 1848, of the “exceeding brightness of military glory that attractive rainbow, that rises in showers of blood that serpent’s eye, that charms to destroy.”

The more we read about Lincoln and the Mexican War, however, the less it strikes us as offering a historical harbor for Democrats seeking to legitimize their appeasement line in Iraq. It is certainly true that Lincoln objected to the war, demanding that Polk show him the spot where the first firefight took place, Lincoln believing that it was not in America at all but in Mexican territory. Then a Whig congressman, Lincoln reckoned that the war would lead to an expansion of slave territories. Much of his term in the House was consumed to his opposition to the war.

OK…so tell me how giving the President a virtual blank check with timetables that he can basically ignore like so much chaffe in the wind amounts to legitimizing “appeasment”??  I guess that according to the Sun editorialist, only outright boosting for the war and unswerving allegiance to the President will count as anything other than “surrender”.

But what does this illuminate that could possibly help the Democrats in their current predicament? In contrast to Lincoln, Mrs. Clinton did not object to our entry into either the global war on terror or the battle of Iraq. On the contrary, she voted for it. Mr. Obama, who was not yet in the Senate, opposed Iraq expedition. In any event, there is another difference; once our military was engaged in battle in Mexico, Lincoln always voted to supply our soldiers, a point underlined for us by one of the city’s notable Lincoln scholars, Harold Holzer, co-author of part of Mr. Cuomo’s ” Why Lincoln Matters, Now More Than Ever.”

Lincoln’s support for our soldiers in the Mexican war is something that the Illinoisan boasted about in his debates with Judge Douglas. After all, his opposition to the war with Mexico, however high-minded, was costing him votes. This was particularly true because, even if Polk’s motives were ignoble and the fight seemed unjust at the beginning, the Mexican war had a favorable outcome for America. The Mexican Cession, made under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that ended the war on February 2, 1848, established our border at the Rio Grande, ended any dispute over Texas, and gained us not only California, Nevada, and Utah but also parts of Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico.

Translation: Hey, who cares about moral considerations….WE WON!! And who cares about principles if it costs us votes??

But here’s where the cesspool really meets the Cat 3 hurricane (and this is exactly the money paragraph that Nez grabs):

Can it be that Mr. Cuomo and his fellow Democrats want to go into the 2008 election questioning the bona fides of the states of Texas, California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico? That’s a lot of electoral votes. The fact is the fate of those states illustrates one of the great truths about America — that those who either threw in with us or were won by us prospered and lived more freely than any of them would have under the ancien regimes. This is something that has been learned by other peoples, in Europe and in Asia, even into the late 20th century.

Oh, yeah….like the brown folk down there really do appreciate everything that the gringos have done to “liberate” them..just as the Iraqis really do, despite popular protests to the contrary, appreciate all the freedom that “we” have brought to them through the democratic means of torture chambers, carpet bombs, and pilfering their assests. Why, there really are flowers underneath those suicide bombs.

I wonder what these asshats would say about Black folks benefitting from slavery and Jim Crow. Or…maybe I shouldn’t.

 

***

As for Lincoln, his comprehension of the responsibilities of leadership changed radically when he acceded as president. He prosecuted the Civil War relentlessly, and his generals knew who was in command or suffered the consequences. Lincoln’s officers arrested the most troublesome of the Copperhead Democrats. In the case of Clement Vallandigham, who was discouraging enlistees in Ohio, Lincoln himself sent that particular Copperhead down through Confederate lines and into exile. Lincoln tested the Constitution as it had never been tested before. He fought his war to win.

 

Now…not that I as a Black man don’t appreciate the fact that the North won the Civil War and slavery was vanquished…but what the hell does that have to do with Iraq??  That because Honest Abe was the Commander-In-Chief who did manage to run the war and outgun his critics, that justifies his running roughshod over the Constitution??  And how does that justifies Dubya’s war games during a war in which 3/4ths of Americans do not support, that the supposed “benefactors” of such war (read, the citizens of Iraq) do not support, and was justified on base lies about Saddam’s invisible WMD and ties to al Queda and September 11th???

Oh, but I didn’t know…to the editorialists of the NY Sun, Saddam was in cahoots with bin Laden making nukes with Iran’s mullahs with the full connivance of those “cut-n-run” Democrat appeasers….which more than justifies making Dubya our supreme Emperor and protector against Islamofascists, illegal aliens, and evil socialists/liberals/radical feminists/whatever the particular right-wing panic button is.

It’s hard to imagine what Lincoln would have made of Mrs. Clinton, who started out in Illinois, when she claims to “fully support our troops” but votes against funding for the war in which they are risking everything. Or what he would have made of another Illinoisan, Mr. Obama, when he declares, as he did last week, that “enough is enough” and that the president should not get a “blank check,” or even, at least on these terms, any check. The more one reads about it, the more one gets the sense that Lincoln might have wondered why Mr. Bush has been so punctilious about the legal niceties. It’s hard to imagine Lincoln would not have understood Mr. Bush on the larger issues, particuarly his understanding of, and his willingness to shoulder, the responsibilities of the president in a time of war.

 

 

How nice that these editorialists have such wonderous powers of mindreading, that they can extrapolate the motives of a President who passed from this earthly coil nearly 150 years ago, and read him exactly to fit the mindset of our current occupant of the White House…and be so perfect to say that Lincoln would be smiling at Bush today, cheering him on to do more shredding of the “goddam piece of paper” that the former took to heart to defend the unity of the nation against the Confederates.

Ahhh…the mind of a right-wing wingnut….so simple in its complexity, so brutal in its subtlety….and so genocidal and arrogant in its equnamity.

 

 

Dimocrat Cave-In Smothers Cindy Sheehan

Well, well, well…guess who became the  first announced public victim of the Great Dimocratic Iraqi Cave-In???  None other than the patron saint of war mom protesters herself, Cindy Sheehan.

From her blog entry at AfterDowningStreet.org:

I have endured a lot of smear and hatred since Casey was killed and especially since I became the so-called “Face” of the American anti-war movement. Especially since I renounced any tie I have remaining with the Democratic Party, I have been further trashed on such “liberal blogs” as the Democratic Underground. Being called an “attention whore” and being told “good riddance” are some of the more milder rebukes.

I have come to some heartbreaking conclusions this Memorial Day Morning. These are not spur of the moment reflections, but things I have been meditating on for about a year now. The conclusions that I have slowly and very reluctantly come to are very heartbreaking to me.

The first conclusion is that I was the darling of the so-called left as long as I limited my protests to George Bush and the Republican Party. Of course, I was slandered and libeled by the right as a “tool” of the Democratic Party. This label was to marginalize me and my message. How could a woman have an original thought, or be working outside of our “two-party” system?

However, when I started to hold the Democratic Party to the same standards that I held the Republican Party, support for my cause started to erode and the “left” started labeling me with the same slurs that the right used. I guess no one paid attention to me when I said that the issue of peace and people dying for no reason is not a matter of “right or left”, but “right and wrong.”

I am deemed a radical because I believe that partisan politics should be left to the wayside when hundreds of thousands of people are dying for a war based on lies that is supported by Democrats and Republican alike. It amazes me that people who are sharp on the issues and can zero in like a laser beam on lies, misrepresentations, and political expediency when it comes to one party refuse to recognize it in their own party. Blind party loyalty is dangerous whatever side it occurs on. People of the world look on us Americans as jokes because we allow our political leaders so much murderous latitude and if we don’t find alternatives to this corrupt “two” party system our Representative Republic will die and be replaced with what we are rapidly descending into with nary a check or balance: a fascist corporate wasteland. I am demonized because I don’t see party affiliation or nationality when I look at a person, I see that person’s heart. If someone looks, dresses, acts, talks and votes like a Republican, then why do they deserve support just because he/she calls him/herself a Democrat?

[…]

The most devastating conclusion that I reached this morning, however, was that Casey did indeed die for nothing. His precious lifeblood drained out in a country far away from his family who loves him, killed by his own country which is beholden to and run by a war machine that even controls what we think. I have tried every since he died to make his sacrifice meaningful. Casey died for a country which cares more about who will be the next American Idol than how many people will be killed in the next few months while Democrats and Republicans play politics with human lives. It is so painful to me to know that I bought into this system for so many years and Casey paid the price for that allegiance. I failed my boy and that hurts the most.

I have also tried to work within a peace movement that often puts personal egos above peace and human life. This group won’t work with that group; he won’t attend an event if she is going to be there; and why does Cindy Sheehan get all the attention anyway? It is hard to work for peace when the very movement that is named after it has so many divisions.

[…]

This is my resignation letter as the “face” of the American anti-war movement. This is not my “Checkers” moment, because I will never give up trying to help people in the world who are harmed by the empire of the good old US of A, but I am finished working in, or outside of this system. This system forcefully resists being helped and eats up the people who try to help it. I am getting out before it totally consumes me or anymore people that I love and the rest of my resources.

Good-bye, America…you are not the country that I love and I finally realized no matter how much I sacrifice, I can’t make you be that country unless you want it.

It’s up to you now.

And Mrs. Sheehan didn’t stop there, either….in a special open letter resignation to the Dimocrat leadership, posted in CounterPunch today, she tore new ones into them:

[….]

Naively, I set off on my tireless campaign calling on Congress to rescind George’s authority to wage his war of terror while asking him "for what noble cause" did Casey and thousands of other have to die. Now, with Democrats in control of Congress, I have lost my optimistic naiveté and have become cynically pessimistic as I see you all caving into "Mr. 28%"

There is absolutely no sane or defensible reason for you to hand Bloody King George more money to condemn more of our brave, tired, and damaged soldiers and the people of Iraq to more death and carnage. You think giving him more money is politically expedient, but it is a moral abomination and every second the occupation of Iraq endures, you all have more blood on your hands.

Ms. Pelosi, Speaker of the House, said after George signed the new weak as a newborn baby funding authorization bill: "Now, I think the president’s policy will begin to unravel." Begin to unravel? How many more of our children will have to be killed and how much more of Iraq will have to be demolished before you all think enough unraveling has occurred? How many more crimes will BushCo be allowed to commit while their poll numbers are crumbling before you all gain the political "courage" to hold them accountable. If Iraq hasn’t unraveled in Ms. Pelosi’s mind, what will it take? With almost 700,000 Iraqis dead and four million refugees (which the US refuses to admit) how could it get worse? Well, it is getting worse and it can get much worse thanks to your complicity.

[….]

So, Democratic Congress, with the current daily death toll of 3.72 troops per day, you have condemned 473 more to these early graves. 473 more lives wasted for your political greed: Thousands of broken hearts because of your cowardice and avarice. How can you even go to sleep at night or look at yourselves in a mirror? How do you put behind you the screaming mothers on both sides of the conflict? How does the agony you have created escape you? It will never escape me…I can’t run far enough or hide well enough to get away from it.

By the end of September, we will be about 80 troops short of another bloody milestone: 4000, and MoveOn.org will hold nationwide candlelight vigils and you all will be busy passing legislation that will snuff the lights out of thousands more human beings.

Congratulations Congress, you have bought yourself a few more months of an illegal and immoral bloodbath. And you know you mean to continue it indefinitely so "other presidents" can solve the horrid problem BushCo forced our world into.

It used to be George Bush’s war. You could have ended it honorably. Now it is yours and you all will descend into calumnious history with BushCo.

Pretty sad to see, I’d say, and quite painful to watch…..but more than necessary to break through the psychological chains and see the truth.

I’m sure that we will be seeing the "attention whore traitor" smack from the "lesser evil" Dimocrat loyalists any time now….as if Cindy Sheehan would be held personally responsible for allowing Dubya to get his blank check.

Only message that I’d send to Mrs. Sheehan would be this: Welcome to the club….and there is an alternative.

 

…And While Dimocrats Retreat; Dubya Surges…Again

And. right on the cue, this is how Dubya rewards the Dimocrats for giving him basically all he wants: by grabbing more and more.

Say hello to the "second surge" plan…thanks to the San Francisco Chronicle:

 

Bush could double force by Christmas

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

(05-22) 04:00 PDT Washington — The Bush administration is quietly on track to nearly double the number of combat troops in Iraq this year, an analysis of Pentagon deployment orders showed Monday.

The little-noticed second surge, designed to reinforce U.S. troops in Iraq, is being executed by sending more combat brigades and extending tours of duty for troops already there.

The actions could boost the number of combat soldiers from 52,500 in early January to as many as 98,000 by the end of this year if the Pentagon overlaps arriving and departing combat brigades.

Separately, when additional support troops are included in this second troop increase, the total number of U.S. troops in Iraq could increase from 162,000 now to more than 200,000 — a record-high number — by the end of the year.

The numbers were arrived at by an analysis of deployment orders by Hearst Newspapers.

"It doesn’t surprise me that they’re not talking about it," said retired Army Maj. Gen. William Nash, a former U.S. commander of NATO troops in Bosnia, referring to the Bush administration. "I think they would be very happy not to have any more attention paid to this."

The first surge was prominently announced by President Bush in a nationally televised address on Jan. 10, when he ordered five more combat brigades to join 15 brigades already in Iraq.

The buildup was designed to give commanders the 20 combat brigades Pentagon planners said were needed to provide security in Baghdad and western Anbar province.

Since then, the Pentagon has extended combat tours for units in Iraq from 12 months to 15 months and announced the deployment of additional brigades.

Taken together, the steps could put elements of as many as 28 combat brigades in Iraq by Christmas, according the deployment orders examined by Hearst Newspapers.

Army spokesman Lt. Col. Carl S. Ey said there was no effort by the Army to carry out "a secret surge" beyond the 20 combat brigades ordered by Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

"There isn’t a second surge going on; we’ve got what we’ve got," Ey said. "The idea that there are ever going to be more combat brigades in theater in the future than the secretary of defense has authorized is pure speculation."

Ey attributed the increase in troops to "temporary increases that typically occur during the crossover period" as arriving combat brigades move into position to replace departing combat brigades.

He said that only elements of the eight additional combat brigades beyond the 20 already authorized would actually be in Iraq in December.

The U.S. Joint Forces Command, based in Norfolk, Va., that tracks combat forces heading to and returning from Iraq, declined to discuss unit-by-unit deployments.

"Due to operational security, we cannot confirm or discuss military unit movements or schedules," Navy Lt. Jereal Dorsey said in an e-mail.

The Pentagon has repeatedly extended unit tours in Iraq during the past four years to achieve temporary increases in combat power. For example, three combat brigades were extended up to three months in November 2004 to boost the number of U.S. troops from 138,000 to 150,000 before, during and after the Jan. 30, 2005, Iraqi national elections.

Lawrence Korb, an assistant defense secretary for manpower during the Reagan administration, said the Pentagon deployment schedule enables the Bush administration to achieve quick increases in combat forces in the future by delaying units’ scheduled departures from Iraq and overlapping them with arriving replacement forces.

"The administration is giving itself the capability to increase the number of troops in Iraq," Korb said. "It remains to be seen whether they actually choose to do that."

Nash said the capability could reflect an effort by the Bush administration to "get the number of troops into Iraq that we’ve needed there all along."

I’m sure if this strategy works as well as the first "surge" did (like, not at all), then the next step will be formal reinstatement of the military draft.  I wonder how many Dimocrats will cave in on that??

Two-party system, my ass. Maybe time for an alternative.

 

Rot In Hell, Jerry Falwell; Presente!, Joe Levine

It’s not just the fact that he was a blatant segregationist in the 60s.

It’s not just the fact that his church was the primer behind the "Moral Majority".

It’s not just the fact that he was the pioneer spokesman for the Religious Right, the forrunner to the likes of Pat Robertson.

It’s not just the fact that he called feminists "witches", called Tinky Winky gay, and Jewish folk "Satanist".

No…if you want to know everything about the man who passed from this earth yesterday, this legendary quote just after September 11, 2001, will suffice just fine:

"I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America, I point the finger in their face and say you helped this happen"

Ernest Greene’s dad, who passed away pretty much the same day as "Rev. Falwell", gets far more love and sympathy from me than Falwell ever will. Nina’s notation from her site diary:

Sadly, Ernest’s father passed away yesterday, so we’re on a plane to Denver on Tuesday.
[…]

Joe was 91 years old on the 12th of this month and was healthy and living life to the fullest until the
very end. He had business property in town and even worked some that day!

He didn’t feel so well when he woke up Sunday and, while in the hospital room waiting for a CAT scan, his aortic aneurysm, which he’d had for over five years, burst, and he died quietly and without pain, his girlfriend of twenty years holding his hand.

While we’re understandably quite sad, it was good to know he didn’t suffer and that he was living his
life the way he wanted to, full of work, travel and friends.

May Aphrodite and the rest of the Goddesses comfort and guide you on your journey, Mr. Joe…you lived well and did good….and raised one hell of a son to boot.  Even if he did turn out to be slightly perverted…in the best way.

And may the same Goddesses rain down lightning bolts on Falwell’s ass on his journey…in the opposite direction.