Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Really? Confederate Party of Republicanism

Some of you may think I'm being humorous with the post tag "Confederate Party of Republicanism" - I assure you I'm not looking very hard in that direction. I think
Dennis G over at Balloon Juice has it right.

Bozell Denounces O'Keefe - Oh Sure, Liar

Brent Bozell has just recently "denounced" James O'Keefe over his CNN stunt.

The MRC unequivocally denounces James O’Keefe for his attempted assault on CNN. It isn’t just childish and immature; it’s ugly, dishonest and filthy.
"Could the Citizen Journalist abuse the public trust?" I wrote in this piece that should run in the next few days. "Hypothetically, of course. Conservatives must all guard against this. Let there be scrutiny, by all means." And I repeat: there must be scrutiny.

Bottom line: We want nothing to do with O’Keefe or his dirty antics.

Well, OK.
I don't want to be a prick about assholes like Bozell but there also is this, that he posted to his Facebook page (sorry, not allowed to embed) bragging about ACORN and, yes, O'Keefe's dirty lies.

It seems there's a difference if you get your tit caught in a wringer right off the bat or the complicit media runs with your crap regarding denouncing.

*BTW, regarding silly phony voter registration forms: By law, once you've been handed a registration form you are required to turn it in, regardless of your assessment of it. The GOP is the one that has actually faced legal problems in this regard, several times.

Clowns, Clowns Everywhere And Nary A Brain To Think

With Democrats in general starting to close the gap in likely voters one could be forgiven for beginning to have some belief that the general intelligence of voters exceeds that of rocks. The fact that a low turn out Primary election resulted in candidates with extreme views by an infuriated discarded segment of the electorate isn't all that meaningful, the fact that such candidates can poll even somewhat close to mainstream candidates isn't encouraging to such a view of the breadth of intelligence. This is particularly true in the face of it being all of two years since the clowns wrecked the economic bus.

I have stated pretty clearly that the remaining Republicans after the '06 and '08 house cleaning are ... well, obstructionist clowns. This is what happens when close districts lose the moderates of a Party leaving a small minority in totally safe districts/states. Picture for yourself these people being joined by the likes of Sharon Angle and so far I haven't seen any evidence that the prospective newcomers are any less clownish than the incumbents.

There has been a fair amount of howling about how the 'base' won't come out because they're upset with Pres Obama over the lack of progressive elements to legislation. Other than a mere handful who think something about punishing Democrats I've seen no such evidence. Starting at the beginning, for this group to be upset would mean they're paying attention to politics, which would mean that they know who gets to take over and what it means - unlikely and not in evidence. Now if you were to broaden the idea of base out to those who ordinarily vote Democratic and include low information, low enthusiasm Democrats who don't pay much attention to more than day to day needs and the effects of the recession on their immediate lives - you can get to a serious problem for Democratic candidates. Independents, who say a pox on both your houses, are a real problem for Democrats in that they don't feel much of a reason to vote for either.

It seems that maybe the White House has gotten away from taking swipes at its own side and gotten to the point of saying why voting will count. It may be true that in the GOP talking badly about the President of your own side is bad form, but that isn't the way Democrats work. The President's own Party will yell at him ... and then vote for him and the Party. The ones who don't yell don't because they're not paying attention and/or think it won't matter that they do. They also are the ones who are easily discouraged into not voting.

I don't give enough of a damn about hit numbers to bash segments of the blogosphere to get defenders and pilers on going at it. I do give a damn about vote numbers and who gets elected. I do give a damn about the rightward drift of this country and the abandonment of large parts of our society and worse - the dehumanization of parts of our populace.

If you're thinking that the results of the past year are short of what you wanted - I'll agree, in spades. If you're thinking the Democrats and the President have failed to communicate with the public - I'll once again agree in spades. If you're thinking it doesn't matter who is in office - I'll call you a psychiatrist. If you're thinking any of this is the fault of Democratic left activists - well, I don't think much of your ability to analyze. If you'd like to look at the results being the outcome of the GOP voting nearly universally as a unanimous bloc to oppose any Democratic initiative - I'd listen.

Maybe you ought to contribute to our shared destiny by at least voting.

And I know perfectly well that if you're reading this you will regardless of my incitement.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Republicans At War?

Lately I've heard quite a bit of talk about the GOP being at war with itself thanks to the TEA Partier's successes in Primaries. It seems that people think that the GOP is two different ideas united under one banner, that what the TEA idjits think is different than what the GOP thinks. Excuse me while I laugh my ass off.

If there is any kind of warfare it is between amateurs and professionals. The problem isn't what the TEA Party candidates think, it is what they're willing to say in public. (well maybe not including O'Donnell's masturbation thing) The GOP has gotten by for years with not saying things out loud, but by using code words and other dog whistles to make their appeal. You certainly don't get far by scaring the snot out of old people with talk of ash canning their Social Security and Medicare, so you use code words.

The GOP knows that the only social programs or laws that you go after are the ones held important by those who'd never vote for you except out of extreme masochism. The amateurs don't get that, they're loose cannons that think their narrow circles represent most people and say things way too many people won't go for. If you think Karl Rove resents what O'Donnell thinks, you're not paying attention. He doesn't want to lose a seat they should have gotten regardless of whether Castle didn't match Rove's view point.

I'm real tired of the pretense that there are reasonable responsible Republicans. All it takes to disabuse oneself of that delusion is a look at the votes over the last two years. You'd think there actually was some socialist communistic Muslim conspiracy going on within the Democratic bills instead of lukewarm 80's Republican measures. Reasonable and responsible my ass - there's no war, they're all ... (I don't have a polite word).

Now I'm Sorry - Castle

So ... Mike, did you bother to complain previous to being the victim of their crap? Now that these rat bastards cost you a Primary you've got a complaint? I suppose you thought something other than this would be the result?

I have not the least sympathy for these folks when they get attacked from the Right with the same tactics that have been used against Democrats. These same "reasonable" Republicans have ridden on the backs of the very folks Castle is now angry about.

Karl Rove has now backtracked since the same bunch went after him for telling the truth.

Monday, September 13, 2010

So, If 9/11 Is Done For A Year...

Since September 11 is over and September 12 is in its waning minutes maybe we can talk about things related to it without competing with the festivities or sacredness or whatever the hell it is that seems to have happened to that date. About three thousand people died nine years ago, murdered by lunatics - and some other things seem to have died with them. What happened that day ought to have been tragedy enough and yet it has been magnified by other actors.

Somehow an entire religion has been become vilified in the minds of many thanks to the actions of a handful of its adherents. This is scarcely the first time such actions have been taken under the guise of religion and that includes other than Islam. The terrorist goal of creating social disorder is accomplished and some will try to profit politically and monetarily on that discord.

The reaction of the governing powers was predictable, increased police powers - in the face of a document deliberately designed to rein them in. How long term and practically serious the damage done continues is not known, but it shows no sign of retreating. Power surrendered to government is seldom returned and certainly not in the face of a large portion of willing populace.

The goal of inflicting economic pain has been abetted by the inclusion of a war of choice and a mismanaged one. Whatever natural outcomes of smashing those buildings and their occupants might foreseeably had on an economy unpaid wars in their name has had a huge multiplier effect.

Maybe the most unfortunate result of those deaths is the increase in jingoism. This involves uncritical support of government or political allies and the creation of enemies, both external and internal. This means that fallible political entities are treated as infallible and dissent or opposition as dangerous and deserving of repression and vitriol.

Things of stone or metal will be erected to honor or mourn the lost lives, the real monuments are much sadder - they are the harm we've done ourselves.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Maybe It's Time For GOP Winning

So the Democrats have managed to alienate huge chunks of the electorate, the loonytoons 28% were bound to be alienated since anything other than their particular brand is un-American but… The Democratic controlled Congress has managed to ape the Republicans of 30 years ago and that has had the predictable lack of effect on the issues and managed to knock enthusiasm in the head. In the process of playing at being old timey GOPers the Democrats also managed to not only not sell what they could do, they ran away from it and let the current GOPers set the argument in their terms.

That is about strategic and legislative failures, this isn’t about that. This is about polling that shows that generic GOP candidates beat generic Democrats. Whatever failures the Democrats have committed in the name of politics the polling is about more than that. It is about Americans’ perennial love affair with the GOP myth, the Reagan myth. You could be forgiven believing that thirty years of its failure would discredit the nonsense, but noooooo. I think it is time to hand the reins back to them, in a large way and let them have their heads.

I know that involves some real pain for a significant chunk of the population, the question is really how much difference is that compared to the ongoing GOP myth being reenacted repeatedly? Maybe a real demonstration of what happens when they have their way would clear the air. Maybe the infliction of enough pain would convince Americans that they didn’t need more. That’s the rub, maybe.

The years of GOP domination in Congress and then most of the W presidency leading to a rather serious disaster ought to have gotten the idea across. Sure there was the creeping debilitation of working America for a long time but I suppose Americans are like the frog in the pot of slowly heated water and could be allowed that one. The latest smash-up is a bit difficult to excuse on such a basis. This means that, well damn if the polls are correct, Americans are all set to repeat the experience.

To be sure, this mid-term can’t do the real job of educating the populace; there will still be Barack Obama who might not repeat the Clinton signing of GOP bills with bad outcomes. The real experience would have to await the 2012 Presidential election of a GOP nut like Palin. Politically I find the whole idea reprehensible, but I wonder if the culture and society wouldn’t benefit in the long term. That question surely rides on whether the country could recover from such an experiment in any reasonable form. Previously I’d have said that this place is pretty damn resilient and that no short term political movement could ruin it, I’m not real confident of that anymore and this anniversary of September 11, 2001 makes me shiver in that regard.
I’m not really advocating anything here, I suppose this is analogous to wondering out loud – what do you think?

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

A Church Just Because

Nothing of particular note about this picture, it was taken not too far from the ND/MT border in ND.
(click pic for full size)

This church is pretty much in the middle of nowhere, if memory serves the nearest town was about 20 miles. My guess is that its location has to do with horse and buggy travel.

On the western edge of the Fort Peck Reservation in MT there is a Spanish style church also in the middle of nowhere but I had no good opportunity to get a photo thanks to no shoulders and a gravel entrance drive up quite a steep hill - something that never works well with this bike and especially with luggage piled high. That one was all boarded up.

As I've noted, there isn't much out here in ND/MT so missing the chance to get a good photo is disappointing. US 2 is fairly narrow and high speed (70 mph) so the entire lack of shoulders in sections means fooling around parked on the road is damn bad idea.

I'm getting ready to pull out of Havre, MT this morning and I'm posting this while waiting for the temperature to warm. 55F is a bit cool on a bike at 70 mph and it also looks as though I'll be riding into ... rain. Yuck.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Motorcycle Musings On Myths

The thing about riding solo for a long distance on a motorcycle is that your mind has time for thinking about, well, stuff. There certainly is the little matter of keeping the scooter where it belongs and watching out for things that could interfere with your continued breathing but with experience that becomes somewhat automatic and doesn’t occupy your entire intellect. So the, in my case, questionable occupation becomes mulling over somewhat larger concepts than food and drink.

Since I was spending a whole lot of time riding across the plains of Montana and North Dakota I needed something to occupy my mind – there is a really large amount of not much out there. “Oh look, there’s a tree,” quickly loses its novelty. So I reflected on the folks I was meeting along the way, friendly open folks - that was amongst us white folks. There is a real strong current of that "descendants of the rugged individualist Old West" theme.

I certainly won't deny that it was hard dangerous work ranching and homesteading the Plains, but it also has generated a myth of stand on your own and keep the government out of the way in that spirit. This ignores some rather inconvenient facts in service to the charges of socialistic Obama-ism. No cowboys or homesteads would have happened without a way to get the products to market and that way was railroads. Rails got laid out here because the government handed out right of way parcels to the railroads on each side of the rails - serious parcels worth serious money because close to rails is valuable to own. Lots of land to sell for lots of money. Importing cheap labor also wasn't a problem.

There is the little matter of the land the ranches and homesteads were put on, very nearly free or free from the government in pursuit of settling the land. The largest purchaser of the products from the lands was the government - in great part to supply the Army. That Army was very busy subduing, moving, or slaughtering the indigenous people, different religion terrorists called American Indians. The descendants of the beneficiaries of serious socialism are real busy crying about socialism now in the name of their history (er myth).

I take nothing away from their ancestors, but the government had an end in mind and didn't care a bit about seriously subsidizing the people who were accomplishing that end. It continues today as ethanol is subsidized to add to gasoline so that 15% power and mileage can be lost in search of ... well I'm not sure what. The math is very troublesome.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Weather Maker

I left Ashland, MI in pretty nice weather, temps in mid-60s with a light breeze. About 20 miles from Superior, MI the wind began to pick up out of the NE and the temps began dropping with increasing humidity. Here's the reason why.

(click pic for full size)

This is the port of Superior and north is the port of Duluth, WI - on Lake Superior. The largest body of fresh water in the world is larger than many states and over 1000 feet deep and stays 45F year around. It doesn't effect weather, it virtually creates it.

I expected to get 40 miles inland west and get away from that but I ran into another weather system packing wind and a ways back from that edge, rain. Just a bit into ND I found that rain and spent about 4 hours in the rain suit cooking along at 75 mph. The difficulty is that the rain suit is essentially a sail and the helmet attempts to drag the head backward. Fairly reasonably, I'm tired and bedded down in Rugby, ND.

Upper Penninsula

Lake Michigan seen from the Upper Penninsula, there is a whole lot of water thare. It is quite sufficient to seriously affect the weather in its neighborhood.
(click pics for full size)

The Mackinaw Straits Bridge is impressive no matter what man made structure you've seen. It is also usually windy which makes motorcycles and the steel grate lane interesting.

Yes, it pays to remember that people were here. Lots of casinos around here.

This stuff was taken on the way to Michigan.

Friday, September 03, 2010


I've been lacking an internet connection and this is short term so no posts until I get somewhere to do so. Arrived in Charlevoix, MI about 6PM Monday safely.