Wednesday, October 31, 2012

And The Winner Is.......

Official Logo Of  The BPBC
The Undead are People, Too!

Welcome, to the first annual Brain Police Broadcasting Corporation Halloween Awards Ceremony. Here at the Brain Police, we are committed to celebrating the utmost douchebaggery, the ultimate cynically dishonest most excellent political chicanery that America has to offer. It's been tough for our judges this year especially because our nominees have been mainly Mitt Romney, Mitt Romney and Mitt Romney....though this year, we are giving a very special mention to our runner up, Paul Ryan for his Soup Kitchen family clean up photo op...luckily, Lyin Ryan didn't have to actually come into close proximity with any actual homeless or poor people, and he and his wife didn't have to touch any really yucky dirty utensils. Smooth move, Pauly.
Douchebaggery at its finest!
Mitt, though gave our judges a run for our money...just in the last 2 months he came up with a number of potentially prize winning examples of superlative douchbaggery. His rapid misfire response to the Benghazi attack on September 11th was looking like a winner, but then he threw one over the top with his attempt to panic Ohio auto workers by claiming Chrysler was sending their jobs to China. We thought we had a winner there, but we have to hand it to the bishop, even after the revelation that he had cheated the government out of 15 years of taxes by cheating his church as well, he managed to ace it all yesterday in Dayton, Ohio. After claiming he was suspending political campaigning temporarily because of Hurricane Sandy, he created an event that was a political rally disguised as a charity event. He showed his propaganda videos to his hand chosen crowd of supporters after buying $5,000 worth of canned goods from the local Dayton Walmart, distributing them to his supporters who were told to get in line and give them back to the bishop so he could talk about concerned Americans spontaneously coming together to help out their fellow citizen brothers, man! Who needs FEMA when these great Americans prove they can give canned goods when the chips are down? Then he refused to answer any reporters questions about his stated position to eliminating FEMA. Listen, Mittens, we have to hand it to you, this bit of manipulative cynicism won hands down and eclipsed everything you have accomplished before. The only way you could top it is to get your accountants to figure out how to write off the $5,000 bucks you blew on canned ravioli....
For this and all you've done, I, Mr. Microdot, would like to personally congratulate you and present you with the first annual Brain Police Gold Plated Turd deserve it and shucks, sob, sir c'mon up here and get it while it's still warm!

The First Annual Brain Police Halloween
Gold Plated Turd Award\
Presented to Mitt Romney this evening!

The Monster Mash

My favorite Halloween Tradition, The 1968 version of The Monster Mash as interpreted by The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band on the BBC Prehistoric Proto Python  Program, 
Do Not Adjust Your Set.
(By the way, the monster was portrayed by Terry Gilliam, who was the art director of the show)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Little House I Used To Live In

An amazing video from last night of the transformer explosions at the East 14th Street and Avenue C Street Con Ed Complex in Lower Manhattan. It was shot from across the East River from Long Island City. This was only a few blocks from the corner of Avenue B and East 5th Street where I lived for 30 years. My old building was flooded and cars were floating in the torrent that raged along Avenue C when the tidal surge coupled with the full moon high tide created the biggest flood in Manhattan's history. A lot of the power had been shut down in Lower Manhattan already by Con Ed, but when the transformers exploded when they were inundated, I got a message from a friend in the East Village just about the time it happened and she said that there had been a few explosions that shook the ground and she was at East 9th Street and Avenue B. I think she lost all of her power shortly after. You can see lights begin to flicker and go dark. I'm sure if you are anywhere with electricity and media, you have seen Big Sandy's devastation. I've been following it because this is where I lived for so long and where so many of my very good friends still live. I just got a message from my buddy who lives up in the Bronx...he's okay, where he lives is on much higher ground, but he has been stuck at his job for the last 28 hours. No subway for days and he has no idea when the buses will start to run again.
This is what was occurring on East 14th Street and Avenue C
when the transformers blew up! 

Here's a picture from this morning from Avenue C and East 11th Street...a little closer to home and just two block from my friend, Virginia's apartment..the person who emailed me about the explosions.
And here's a soundtrack for you, Frank Zappa and the Mothers live from 1969 playing the composition, The Little House I Used To Live In and Aybe Sea

Finally, this is for my wife who spent a lot of time as a young girl around Atlantic City and expressed great concern about Lucy the Elephant. Sandy made landfall approximately 5 miles southwest of Atlantic City, NJ. That means Sandy came ashore in Margate, NJ, on the exact site of Lucy the Elephant -- a charming 19th century house built in the shape of a gigantic circus elephant. Lucy has survived the ravages of time for more than 120 years, but she sits just a block off the beach in Margate, so things did not look good for the old girl when Sandy struck. This morning, however, This photo of the site which revealed that Lucy the Elephant survived — and more or less intact. Incredible.
Lucy Still Lives!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Big Sandy 1960/2012

Little Jimmy Dickens, around 1960...dedicated to all of my friends and family who might be feelin the effects of Big Sandy 2012...I'm with you and Little Jimmy Dickens is gonna cross  it with you....
The tandem Gretsch Country Gentlemen guitar solo just makes my big toe shoot right up in my boot!
Big Sandy 2012

Diavolo Armstrong

Giovanni Gerbi/Diavolo Rosso
This is a  live version of the song called Diavolo Rosso by the great Italian Artist, Paolo Conte. Conte wrote the song about the first real bicycle racing hero, an Italian named  Giovanni Gerbi who won race after race from 1906 to 1913. His nick name because of his trademark red jersey was The Red Devil. Gerbi died in 1955 as the successful owner of a bike company in Asti Italy. He held the worlds records and his tactics were part of his legend. Gerbi never quite admitted to "cheating" but he did employ a lot of little tricks to sabotage the performance of his competition and actually his cunning is part of his legend.We will never know if Gerbi used any performance enhancing potions...that has been a trade secret of bicycle racing throughout the history of the sport. How many bike racers have died from amphetamine abuse and coke ODs? We will never know, it's only in the last  40 or so years, in the Mexican Olympics, that any real attempt at drug testing of athletes began. That was years after anyone first noticed that there might be a problem with substance abuse of performance enhancing drugs and techniques in cycling. What has emerged in the last 30 years are the statistics fro example on blood doping which show, for example, that in the span of 3 years, 1987 to 1990, 17 Dutch and Belgian professional cyclists died from this technique. We've always been aware of cyclings' dark little secret, but we demand super human performance from these athletes. I have been a cycling enthusiast all my life. I followed the career of Lance Armstrong since I first became aware of him in the early 90's. Lance truly did seem superhuman. It was even easy for me to forgive him when he started palling around with George Bush Jr....after all he was just raising awareness of cycling and the charity foundation work he was engaged in. I really believed the reports that he had always tested negative for drugs. I admired his triumphant battle with testicular cancer, after which he came back and won the Tour de France 3 times.
I suppose for me as well as a lot of other cycling enthusiast, the the charges and the deepening involvement  in doping and his participation is the cover up was all the more crushing. For me, it was like a small child discovering that there was no Santa Claus..
Armstrong has never tested positive for doping, yet we know...know...that he is the embodiment of athletic malfeasance. Stories have come bubbling up to confirm his guilt: accusations of fraud, bribery, bullying, perjury, etc. Swift and severe consequences must be applied, so Armstrong has been stripped of his titles, banned from cycling (not just as a sport but as part of other events as well), stepped down from his cancer foundation and if that's not enough, now there's a campaign to demand back his millions in winnings. After all, Armstrong must be made a lesson to others that we will not tolerate someone compromising the integrity of this sport.
I'm actually agnostic on Armstrong. I don't know if he's guilty, but frankly, I don't care. What strikes me is how unevenly this outrage and the demand for integrity and justice is applied. Sure, let Armstrong be a lesson to others. But where is the outrage and the swift and severe consequences for those who have done damage to more than themselves? Where's the punishment for Jamie Dimon and his buddies at Bank of America/Countrywide? Who will hold the Congressional Republicans responsible for their record number of filibusters, putting partisan benefit ahead of the country? Yes, by all means, let us stand for integrity and fairness. But if we're going to do that, let's make it matter. Not in the cycling world, but for the whole country.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Who's Gonna Save My Soul?

Great Sunday Soul Music. Live performance by Gnarls Barkley featuring the absolutely awesome Cee Lo Green.

“Got some bad news this morning
Which in turn made my day
When this someone spoke I listened
All of a sudden has less and less to say
Oh how could this be
All this time
I lived vicariously
Made me feel like somebody
Like somebody else
Although he was imitated often
It felt like I was being myself
This is a shame that someone else’s song
Was totally and completely depended on
I wonder if I’ll live to grow old now
Getting high ‘cause I feel so low down
I may be just a little selfish
All I have is the memory
Yet I never start to wonder
Was it possible you were hurting worse than me
Still my hunger turns to greed
‘Cause what about what I need?

Who’s gonna save my soul now?”

Friday, October 26, 2012

Actually, it looks pretty interesting...I might check it out....

Another Voice

This was posted on my friend's, The Engineer of Knowledge blog. Another person who I share so much in common with, but EOK is a lifelong Republican and has been very active in Republican Party Politics. He posted a very eloquent essay on why he is still a Republican, and why he feels totally betrayed by what his Party has evolved into today. First, I'd like to post the Republican Response by John Sununu to Colin Powell's critique of Mitt Romney's utter lack of a coherent grip on foreign policy and his endorsement of Barack Obama's re election. Sununu sinks to the lowest possible apologetic  race baiting level in only a matter of seconds ( the entire CNN interview is interesting but the racist comments start at about 1 minute 7 seconds into the video):
With out further ado, here is the piece by The very esteemed Engineer of Knowledge:
How the GOP Destroyed Its Moderates
As I have told many of my readers I have been very busy working 10 ½ to 11 ½ a day and I have found a subject, and thus the time, to post on this current phenomena subject with reference to the upcoming election.
I am writing this posting from the viewpoint of growing up in a Moderate Republican family….or what some are calling today,“RINOS.” The current Republican “Du Jour” Party today has set itself to frantically, fanatically expunge its moderates, quasi-moderates, suspected moderates, and fellow travelers of moderates chose as its standard bearer the lineal heir, biographically and genealogically, to its moderate traditions.
Moderates, or at least relative moderates, do continue to exist in the Republican Party. They merely do not exercise power in any meaningful, open way. They provide off-the-record quotations to reporters, expressing unease over whichever radical turn the party has taken at any given moment. They can be found in Washington and elsewhere rolling their eyes at their colleagues. There are still the odd figures, such as John McCain, with nothing left to lose who will even deliver a forceful assault on the party’s uncompromising direction. For the most part, “Republican Moderation” is a kind of secret creed, a“Freemasonry” aspect of the right to speak as such.
Today “Moderate Republicans” lack the institutions that might legitimize, to even present a voice, or language to express themselves. Instead today, “Conservatism” is the only acceptable ideology, and the Party will NOT allow any open arguments with itself to at least take into consideration a much less extreme agenda. Any assemblance of what could appear as a “Debate” in the Republican Party is entirely between genuine ultra-conservative ideological warriors, plus some uncomfortable self-preserving conscripts, on nothing more than what can be called a self-imposed “Inquisition” to purge via “Political Witch Hunts” for the secret heresies of Moderates within the Party.
To win the Republican nomination, Romney stood shoulder to shoulder with his party’s ultra right reactionary wing. When Romney took on his hapless opponents, he assailed them from the right, as “Soft on Immigration” or Anti-Capitalist.” Now that he is on the national rounds campaigning, and expounding a softer moderate view to the general electorate in hopes of gaining the independents and moderates across the spectrum; rest assured should he get into office the Ultra Conservatives will be in control and pushing their extreme agendas that will ultimately harm, if not destroy, the Middle Class citizens of this country.
It was not like this when I was growing up and my parents were the voting Republicans of their time. Republican moderates in the early 1960s held a place of influence and comfort within their party that is hard to imagine today. The worldview of the party’s Rockefeller faction was formed and propagated with the help of organizations such as the Ripon Society, Republican Advance, and the Committee on Economic Development, and publications such as the New York Herald Tribune, Confluence, and Advance. Then when the great wave of the“Goldwater Movement” arrived in the early 1960s, with the explicit goal of cleansing the party of moderates and re-making it in the image of monolithic conservatism, the moderates fought back, albeit using more gentlemanly methods than those often employed against them
Moderates at the GOP convention in 1964 proposed a resolution condemning extremism of all varieties. Goldwater supporters voted it down, their position echoed by the candidate’s famous declaration that “Extremism in the Defense of Liberty is No Vice” and that “Moderation in the Pursuit of Justice is No Virtue.” Many moderates stalked out of the convention, including Michigan Governor George Romney and his teenage son, Mitt. (My how times have changed!!)
When conservatives defeated “Moderate Republican California Senator Thomas Kuchel,” he lashed out at what he called a “Fanatical Neo-Fascist Political Cult” in the grips of a “Strange Mixture of Corrosive Hatred and Sickening Fear.”
The “Moderate Republican Tradition” had always leaned heavily on elitism, which abhorred demagoguery and the crude appeals to self-interest that they correctly identified with the machine hacks and“Southern Racists of the Democratic Party” in the 1960′s. As I have written in the past, it was “Maryland Republican Governor Spiro Agnew” who toured the South and converted the “White Democratic Southerner Klansmens” into the Republican Party. With this accomplishment Nixon brought him on as his Vice President running mate.
Nixon’s strategy of counting upon “White Southern Tradition Resentment” began to identify the party as a LESS congenial place for thoughtful, educated people. Nixon’s re-branding of the party helped set in motion a long-term political swap, in which Republicans slowly lost support among white voters with a college education while gaining traction among the white working class.
The transformation is now so complete that Rick Santorum can proudly announce “We will never have the Elite, ‘Smart’ People on our side!” Of course “Smart” referring not to native intelligence, but to those who aspire to a certain level of intellectual respectability.
What remains of “Moderation” within the party has taken on a definition very distinct from the meaning that it held originally. Unlike the moderate and liberal Republicans of yore, today’s “Moderates” generally identify themselves as “Conservatives,” probably mainly out of fear of being ostracized or even expunged by the Party.
So in conclusion when Mitt Romney is now going around presenting his new found “Chameleon Moderate and Middle Class Kinder” side placating and pandering to the “Working Middle Classes” for their votes; let it be known the ultimate result will be in the vision of theRush Limbaughs, Koch Brothers, and other Extreme Voices of Right-Wing “Purity Forces.”

I have to thank this guy for stranding up for sanity against the purely power fascistic anti ideological forces that have claimed his Party as a platform to destroy our democracy by sheer corporatic manipulation. This is not about concepts of how our country should be governed any more, The Republican Party has been co opted and made into a machine to allow the destruction of of our democratic republic by the corporate elite. They will use any means necessary to accomplish this.
This next video is pretty neat because it further illustrates the total ideological bankruptcy and corruption of the party...their candidate, the multi millionaire Mormon Bishop might be a lying flip flopper, but his biggest supporters today were his biggest critics only a few months ago!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Party Time!

One of those "days"...If you know what I mean...Yesterday, I realized something bizarre, horrible and strange was occurring out in the front flower garden. Water was bubbling up from the ground. Foul, evil smelling water...then the top of the regarde pipe sort of blew out and wads of toilet paper and foul smelling muck oozed out...I realized I had a problem...I spent some time digging around the pipe and trying to remember how I had marked the plaques that covered the top of the septic tank years ago...
You know, I am not an expert in these matters...all knowledge I have acquired about plumbing and waste disposal matters has been painfully earned. I grew up in apartments and when their was a problem...well you called the I live in the profound country side...this is my problem and if I can't solve it myself, well, I have to find an "expert"....
So, I woke up at 4 am this morning trying to figure out where the fatal clog was...At 10 am, my very good friend, Marius came over to help. We did what we knew how to do best...dig, dig and keep digging. We excavated the top of the septic tank or Fosse septique as we call it here in La Sechere and opened the the gates of hell...Luckily, we were able to deduce that the tank was not full, but there was nothing entering it or leaving it. We opened the sand bed on the lawn, and found it quite healthy looking. So the problem began to become apparent. We used a snake to try to unclog the pipe line into the tank...the snake went in, but nothing happened...I realized my wife had covered the ventilation pipe because she objected to the occasional smell it released...she had sealed it almost airtight with bungi cords and plastic bags..
We got a pressure hose and started to blast the pipe and I kept running into the house to make sure that the pressure wasn't backing up and coming out of the toilet....after an hour...something started to bubble and voila! water started to flow into the was unclogged! We did it! My night mare ended... everything is flowing smoothly...I thought I was going to have to get a big truck out here to pump out the tank and pay them a few hundred Euros to clean the system...
Microdot and Marius are so very happy!
I'm so relieved that all I want to do is just dance! No heavy thinking today...I am so happy!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Electoral College?

The founding fathers, as seen on TV

The Electoral College? How Medieval...
Americans take a great deal of pride in the peculiarity of our political institutions. The history and form of those institutions have become 
fetishized in our political culture. The image of the Founding Fathers, gathered in Philadelphia to write the Constitution is one of the most powerful national symbols we have.
Consequently, we're encouraged to an unwarranted smugness about our system. Examples are the supposed advantages we have over
 a parliamentary system, or the superiority of a two party system over a multi-party system.
And in fact, there are some advantages to doing things in our idiosyncratic way. A parliamentary system usually eliminates the checks and balances inherent in separation of powers. A two-party system is inherently more stable than a multi-party system, which typically forces the formation of fragile, hard to sustain coalitions. And elections focused on a candidate rather than on his party may theoretically provide better representation at the constituency level.
But there are
disadvantages to the way we do things, too. No doubt some will occur to you now, at the climax of a Presidential election. Thegerrymandered district is an abomination. Campaign finance is more corrupt than at any time since Watergate. And don't even get me started on the filibuster...
But of all the eccentric, dysfunctional disadvantages we Americans tolerate, the one farthest up my nose is the Electoral College.
I get why it's there, but, I get impatient with all the 
citizen experts that look at me with pity and explain, as though to a small child...
"It's a republic, not a democracy".
First of all, republics are a type of democracy. But thanks for establishing your complete unfamiliarity with basic Political Science..
More importantly, let me remind you; the Founding Fathers were steeped in
Livy, and Thucydides,Machiavelli and Plato. Their education consisted largely of reading authors whose idea of democracy was drawn entirely from observing the worst excesses of Athenian direct democracy, and contrasting it to the best moments of the Roman Republic.
In the time of the Founders, only 1/2 to 3/4 of the American populace could read (it varied with urbanization). The logistics of a national election were completely different. The Founding Fathers' greatest fear was that the unruly and uneducated mass of the people were going to rise up and equalize property, probably after appointing a dictator. Until the election of Andrew Jackson, in most states you HAD TO OWN PROPERTY before they'd let you vote. 
You couldn't even vote for your Senator. State Legislatures elected the Senate until 1913, with the passage of the 17th Amendment. Willard Romney's anxieties about the 47% of takers who think they're entitled to food and healthcare were an important part of the Founder's political paradigm.
A Very Important Person Of Color,
who definitely was not a Republican
no matter what that Anonymous dink troll
tried to tell me earlier this evening!
I'd like to think we've made some progress since then. Democracy has expanded to include women. Democracy has expanded (fitfully) to include people of color. Hell, you don't even have to own property to vote anymore, although (incredibly) some Tea Party authoritarians advocate a return to just such a tyrannical measure. Chris Hayes nails it in his "Forward" spot on MSNBC, "it (democratization) is the defining feature of the moments we now view with the greatest pride."
The Electoral College was devised as a measure to weaken the influence of the people on the selection of the President. The Framers believed that the selection of the nation's Chief Executive was best discussed in quiet rooms, away from an angry rabble that might demand some of the good things to which refined gentlemen were entitled.
On that basis alone the Electoral College needs to be replaced with direct popular election of the President. Democratization and progress are exactly synonymous.
But the effect of the Electoral College on American politics is less abstract, and much more pathological than it's anachronistic elitism. There are practical political consequences that go beyond mere considerations of Political Theory.
The Electoral College systematically gives greater political power and influence to rural citizens, to the detriment of urban citizens. All men may be created equal, but if you live in North Dakota, your vote counts for more than if you live in California. This is because of the way in which Electors are apportioned to the College. Each state sends a number of Electors to the college equal to the state's entire congressional delegation; that's congressmen + senators. Not all congressional districts are the same size. Montana has a single Congressman representing 905,000. Wyoming's single Congressman represents 560,000.
That's not even the biggest inequity. Wyoming has exactly the same number of senators as California, and that magnifies it's power in the Electoral College. A presidential voter in Wyoming is about 3 times as influential as one in California. One can find people who staunchly defend the importance of giving rural voters a disproportionate say in who should run the country...
One of your typical "rural areas"
just look in rural areas.

I should also point out that there is no constitutional requirement for an Elector to vote for the presidential candidate who won the popular vote in their state. About half the states DO have laws requiring Electors to vote for the candidate who wins their state, but 24 states do not. It's generally not a problem, but "faithless electors" do sometimes pop up.
Finally, the Electoral College is not guaranteed to elect the candidate who won the popular vote. This has profound and disturbing implications for the health of our democracy. In 2000, George W. Bush did not win the popular vote. The President who took us into the Iraq War, who squandered the surplus, who threw us into the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression...
Not the other guy
had fewer votes than the other guy. In fairness, my countrymen DID vote him in the 2nd time. That's the kind of democratic outcome that wakes me up in a cold sweat, some nights.

Getting rid of the Electoral College by amending the Constitution is probably impossible. It would require 3/4 of all the state legislatures to ratify the amendment...
states like Wyoming and Montana. Hell, we couldn't get 3/4 of the states to ratify the ERA.
A better shot is the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. That's an easier lift than a Constitutional Amendment, but still awfully dicey. As long as one party sees an advantage for itself in the current system, they'll oppose the compact. But we SHOULD get rid of the
Electoral College. It would be good public policy, and good governance. It would be more democratic. It would be progress.
Yes, Justice, That's all we really ask....

Oh Doze Waskully Wepubwicans

Actual buttons used by the Richard Nixon Campaign in 1972
Quinda Qute, actuawway.....

Other Voices, The Missing Debate

There was another presidential debate broadcast in America last night. This was the debate that illustrates the sorry fact that America is really not a true open democracy any more. All of these candidates are the representatives of the other parties, you never hear from because they can't afford to participate on the level the big money major Republican and Democrat Parties are forced to participate by the Corporate PACs who just want a figure head to promote their Corporacracy Interests. American politics are not about you...As the Bishop and his wife, Luvy say..."those people" and you sure as hell are one of "those people" if you are reading this blog. Here is the entire video of the debate if you care to watch it. The Candidates are Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, Virgil Goode and Rocky Anderson.
I live in a land where there were 17 parties represented in the last election. The Green Party is a viable force here and in The European Union. The Pirate Party has representatives in the German and Swedish legislatures. The Far Right Front National was able to promote their interests in the last French election. There is no Super PAC money here. All political media is strictly monitored and the equal time law is strictly enforced. The money for the campaigns is strictly monitored. The parties receive equal funding from the government. They of course have to qualify by first getting sponsorship from at least 500 mayors in France. 
The heads up over the third party debate came from my buddy, J.O.B., or Johnny O'Blogger as he calls himself. J.O.B. proves to me over and over again that I don't necessarily have to agree with someone to like him, but I find the more I listen, the more common ground we seem to share. I have to thank him to remind me how absolutely broken and corrupt politics really are in America. The other voices, the other issues and concerns of a vast portion of America are being stifled by the Corporacracy that destroyed true Democracy in America.
If you watch this debate and would like to participate in a poll reflecting how you feel about them and their opinions, you have until 8 pm tonight, October 24 to voice your preference HERE!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


The Dogs Against Romney Poop Bag Economy Pack

U.N. Eurotrash Will Monitor US Election

As you know, I live in France. I hold dual citizenship. I vote in the USA and I vote here. I've written a lot about the open, transparent electoral process here. After any election, I am invited to witness the physical vote count. Even though, I am a naturalized French citizen, I am welcomed by my mayor personally when I vote. The only thing I need is my French Nationality Identity Card which every French citizen has to have. It is a simple uniform identity card for every one here. So I have I have no qualms about the requirement that you verify you identity to vote. It's just that here, all over the country, it is a uniform regulation and believe me, voter fraud is not an issue in this country. The French and the rest of Europe support the condition of supplying proper identification to vote. That makes sense, but because of this, it would seem that Republicans hate the United Nations. They hate globalism and the world government that supposedly threatens to consume the freedoms Americans enjoy – at least before they themselves can strip them from us. Recent events aren’t going to make them happy.
They brought it on themselves.
The Hill reports that “International monitors at US polling spots draw criticism from voter fraud groups.”
United Nations-affiliated election monitors from Europe and central Asia will be at polling places around the U.S. looking for voter suppression activities by conservative groups, a concern raised by civil rights groups during a meeting this week. The intervention has drawn criticism from a prominent conservative-leaning group combating election fraud.
Of course, given that voter/election fraud groups is a conservative euphemism forvoter suppression groups, it’s not surprising they’d bristle at the idea of UN observation.
Greta Van Susteren says if we can’t make our own eleections fair we ought to “hang it up.” In other words, what the hell is up with conservatives not being able to blatantly suppress the vote this year? Some other “Patriot” yokel thew up this headline: “U.N. Eurotrash Will Monitor Polling Places Around the U.S. for ‘Voter Suppression’.”
Glenn Beck’s The Blaze went with this headline, answering their own question: “U.N. PARTNER TO MONITOR U.S. ELECTIONS FOR VOTER SUPPRESSION BY…CONSERVATIVES?”
Yes Glenn, by conservatives.
Just to be clear,  we all know that Tea Party groups plan to deploy their stromtrooper bullies on Election Day to suppress the vote under the guise of “protecting us” from electionfraud – you know: minorities voting and you can be sure with the performance of the bishop last night, they are more desperate than ever...we have every right to fear the craziness...
It is a sad commentary on conditions in the United States that we actually need the UN to protect our rights; rights, ironically, conservatives claim the UN threatens.
I never thought that the people of the United States would need the United Nations to protect us on our own soil from our own elites. That’s something that is supposed to happen in developing nations, what I grew up thinking of as the Third World.
But it’s real. As I reported on Sunday, Oct. 21 in my post The early Warning Signs of Fascism, The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe will deploy 44 observers from its human rights office around the country on Election Day to monitor an array of activities, including potential disputes at polling places. It’s part of a broader observation mission that will send out an additional 80 to 90 members of parliament from nearly 30 countries.”
You can imagine how unhappy conservative voter suppression groups are to have witnesses to their act ivies on Election Day, especially from a group that specializes in this sort of thing. The OSCE says that they are “a leading organization in the field of election observation. It conducts election-related activities across the 56 participating States, including technical assistance and election observation missions.”
Good thing. Recent news tells me America's going to need all the help it can get.
The United States is one of those 56 states. You can bet if Romney wins, that will no longer be the case.
The Hill reports:
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the NAACP and the ACLU, among other groups, warned this month in a letter to Daan Everts, a senior official with OSCE, of “a coordinated political effort to disenfranchise millions of Americans — particularly traditionally disenfranchised groups like minorities.”
Predictably, “The request for foreign monitoring of election sites drew a strong rebuke from Catherine Engelbrecht, founder and president of True the Vote, a conservative-leaning group seeking to crack down on election fraud.”
Crack down on voting, you mean, given that Engelbrecht is excited about having thousands of volunteers suppressing the vote this year.. Yes, like Bulgaria, Romania, and Belarus, America, we do need the OSCE; we need them more than we have ever needed anything, this coming Election Day.
Engelbrecht whines that “These activist groups sought assistance not from American sources, but from the United Nations,” she said in a statement to The Hill. “The United Nations has no jurisdiction over American elections.”
Where else are they going to seek help from? They’re not going to get help from you, who are trying to silence their vote, who are seeking to disenfranchise millions of Americans so that a few rich white folks can put their surrogate in the White House.
The Hill points out that, “Neil Simon, director of communications for the OSCE’s parliamentary assembly, agreed the U.N. does not have jurisdiction over U.S. elections but noted all OSCE member counties, which include the United States, have committed since 1990 to hold free and democratic elections and to allow one another to observe their elections.”
Free elections the GOP has decided we don’t need after all. Trickle Down Economics has now become Trickle Down Voting Rights. The money doesn’t trickle down folks, and you don’t need me to tell you that the vote doesn’t either., of course, is in a tizzy. “Dr. Susan Berry” storms:
News of the UN-affiliated observers comes one day after Breitbart Editor-in-Chief Joel Pollak reported that the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights has warned Americans not to elect Republican candidate Mitt Romney as the next president. Alluding to Romney’s refusal to ban waterboarding in interrogation practices of terror detainees, Ben Emmerson of the UN said that electing Romney would be “a democratic mandate for torture.”
We already know that this election will not be like any other election we have experienced. Because of Obama’s overwhelming willingness to apologize to the world for the supposed “sins” of the United States, he has furthered the cause of the United Nations becoming a global government. As the Romney-Ryan campaign continues to gain momentum, we can expect more input than ever thought imaginable from other nations and the UN regarding what the U.S.’s actions and decisions should be. It is also sobering to remember that, even if Romney wins the election, Obama will still be president until January, enough time to do yet more considerable damage.
If you peruse the web you will find comments like this from conservative readers (these were at The Yeshiva World News):
1. I think there is a joke in this article, but I don’t get it. We’re worried about conservatives cheating at the polls? How about all those Chicago-vote-early-and-often folks? How about those black panthers in Philadelphia in 2008? They sure guarded the polling places. Also, we seem to be asking the wolves to guard the henhouse! Maybe it takeh is a joke, but the joke’s on us, folks!!!
2. So is this what the UN spends its money on with our USA-provided taxpayer money??
3. #1, No, they’re concerned about conservatives trying to prevent cheating.
The usual. Despite the lack of evidence for voter fraud anywhere, conservatives acting in the finest traditions of cognitive dissonance, have convinced themselves that liberals are stealing elections through voter fraud. These fine readers have somehow missed all the news of Republican shenanigans since President Obama was elected.
The same goes for sites like Patriots for America, where the headline…
Is This Constitutional? – “International monitors at US polling places draw criticism”
… and is followed by the question,
“Is this constitutional? If so, please explain how by referencing the U.S. Constitution only.
Unfortunately, folks, this “Twana” person is serious. She really wants you to explain how this can be constitutional, referencing only the U.S. Constitution. The U.S. Constitution isn’t going to mention the United Nations. They didn’t have the United Nations in 1789 (which I’m sure is a point “Twana” would raise. Rest assured, Twana, this is constitutional. Or do you perhaps not know what “observing” means?
Unsurprisingly, her readers are feeling, shall we say, typically aggressive and violent and would make Hitler proud:
with this action, every honest American citizen has been slapped in the face and betrayed yet again by a president who himself has made a complete mockery of our constitution since the first day he took office. this may get very ugly and my question is, will these monitors be just as willing to intervene every time they come across voter fraud at the polls by acorn and other liberals.
Yeah, okay, stupid question. Twana and her readers didn’t read the article, just the headline (see that all the time here, too, don’t we?) and they do not know what “observing” means.
The next one is the Nazi…er, I mean, Tea Party at it’s best:
I have read ing (sic) the Constitution and no where (sic) in it does it give any one (sic) authority to monitor our elections! If some faggot wearing U.S. Blue shows up at any polling station, feel frree (sic) to kick his ass on the spot!
These people are living proof that Americans need the UN. I think that along with sending mosquito netting to Africa, we need to send mirrors to Red States. When they ask “Why?”, all they will need to do for an answer is to lift up their mirrors and look into them.
And this next comment captures conservative behavior perfectly:
If I go to the polls here in My district,and see even a HINT of intimidation,
I will come back and react in kind.
If I see even a HINT of a UN “observer”,well,violence,of course,will not be
necessary,but NO-ONE with tender ears will want to hear the dressing-down
I’ll hand the SOB,and there won’t be a damn thing he/she can do about it.
Have Me arrested?For what? Disturbing the peace,maybe?I’ll be out by morning,
I have an excellent lawyer.
This I promise.
Republicans are all in a tizzy over the origins of these vote monitors: places where icky brown foreign people come from. I dunno, reading the comments above I’ll pick the “icky brown foreign people” over icky yokels who marry their sisters.
Erica Ritz, at The Blaze, asked, “Though, really, what inspires more confidence in fair elections than representatives from Kazakhstan?” I would ask, “Though, really, what inspires less confidence in fair elections than representatives of the Republican Party?”
If you see an OCSE monitor at your polling place, please, for me, shake his or her hand....
Artist: Matthew Lucas

Monday, October 22, 2012

One More Heart Ache

Not many people remember this song...but in 1966, this was one of my favorite songs of all time. My friend Velvet lived on the next street in the house in back of Motown Studios...actually 2 houses on West Grand Boulevard. The recording studios were in the basements. So, we'd be in Velvets yard and all the Motown stars would be hanging out. We'd talk over the fence...I was the weird white kid in love with a girl named Jackie who had hair just like Diana Ross...

What Has He Done So Far?

Yeah, well, we know what the fuck Obama has done so far......

Down Here On The Ground

I wrote yesterday about US Civil Rights Groups requesting International Election Monitors to be the polls in crucial states where we can expect voter intimidation and electoral hankypanky. The OCSE has  had representatives in Ohio since October 4. But lets take a second to thank some of the real heroes of this election. The committed men and women who have been on the streets, ringing doorbells and registering people and encouraging them to get out and vote! This is a photo from todays Toledo Blade of volunteers out on the street in Sylvania, Ohio going from door to door. The gentleman in the background is hero of mine, the Author of the great and passionate blog in Toledo of which I am a member and occasional co author, Man With The Mudrake. Thanks Mr. Mudrake...Remember, request a paper ballot and if you can, vote early! It's your right!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Rock and Roll Doctor.....

1980, 3:30 am in the morning at the opening night of the A7 Club on the corner of East 7th Street and Ave A in the East Village...A brave little band named Belle Star proves that you can really kick ass and sing in French at the same time.
I play bass, Timmy Chisholm is the greatest drummer I ever worked with, Didier Poursain sings and plays guitar and Janet Kerr, who happens to be my wife plays electric autoharp and sings.

Mitt Romney's Easy Five-Step Approach to Foreign Policy

Early Warning Signs of Fascism

Look, I live in France as if you aren't aware. I have fought hard to obtain dual nationality. I can vote here and I can vote in the USA. I am a registered New York City voter and through the Overseas Voter Foundation, I find it very easy to vote in New York and National elections with a traceable paper ballot. I was able to vote early in the presidential election last week and sent my ballot via DHL, which makes it very easy for Americans living overseas to have a totally trackable record of their vote.
Most democracies in the world have never adopted or have rejected electronic voting. As far as I can see, the only popular reasoning for e voting is the illusion of media immediacy. You can have the results in seconds, instead of minutes. 
In French elections, I go to my little mayors office in my village, sign my ballots in privacy and drop them in a big transparent glass urn. When I do it, a bell rings and the adjutant mayor announces that I have voted. Lots of kisses and handshakes accompany this ceremony. When the election is officially over, we are all invited to publicly witness the vote count. What could be simpler and more open than this? So we wait a little longer for the returns...but hey, Fascism is fast and Democracy takes a little more patience. One thing is certain, though, electoral fraud is not an issue here and it is virtually impossible to steal an election.
In my last post, I documented how the Romney family is directly involved with the company supplying the E Voting machines and soft ware in many states. The alumni of Bain Capital are very involved with the promotion and management of corporations supplying Electronic Voting technology in America. We all lived through the debacle of the Diebold machines and the manipulation and suppression of voting in the last 3 presidential elections.  In Dr. Lawrence Britt's study on Fascism, he raises 14 Defining points as warning signs. This is #14: 
14. Fraudulent Elections - Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.
If you are able to demand a paper ballot, and if you can vote early, I implore you to do it. If you have any acquaintances who are concerned and you can influence to do the same, please, do it.
Because voter suppression, intimidation and electronic manipulation is how the Republicans plan to steal this election. A stolen election is not a valid election, but it is a de facto coup d'etat. This was the front page story in the Guardian Observer today...and of course at this point in time, it's too little too late.
Will the request for  International Election Monitors by U.S. Civil Rights groups even get picked up on by the American media? None the less, The OSCE (Organisation of Security and Co-operation in Europe) opened its observer mission in the US on October 9, led by OSCE ambassador Daan Everts. It has 13 international experts based in DC and 44 long-term observers from 23 countries being deployed throughout the country. There is an unprecedented putsch to steal this election, by voter suppression, intimidation, fear propaganda, economic manipulation of employees and actual subversion of the actual electoral process. Just about the only way you can fight back now is to vote on paper and demand accountability. Please!

I was reminded of this video today. Zdob si Zdub, still my favorite pop band currently on this planet...
Moldavia Rocks!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Hart Intercivic/Ohio Voter Alert

(I am an ex Ohio resident and still have many friends and family living there. I published this piece earlier today on very excellent The Man With The Muckrake blog from Toledo which I am very proud to be a member of and occasional co author.)
Hart Intercivic? What’s that? Why, that is the Tech Company that manufactures the E voting machines used in Ohio and a few other states now. Yes, we all have our suspicions about the reliability and flawed software about electronic voting and how it has been hacked in previous elections. Why do we even need them? They seem to cause more problems than they purport to solve, even when they function correctly. In fact, they are banned in most democratic countries. We still have clear glass or plastic ballot boxes here in France and the public is invited to witness the vote counting procedure.

Hart Intercivic Technologies was recently acquired as a “strategic investment” by a Company called H.I.G. Capital which is directly controlled by the Romney/Bain Investment team and a partner with Solamere Capital, the investment group the Romneys are involved in and under investigation at the present time for unethical business practices, even though they are trying desperately to cover it up before the election This trail leads directly to Tagg Romney.

This seems to be a pattern followed by many of the Bain Capital Alumni who are the money bundlers for the Romney campaign. They are all involved in the E Voting business. This seems to be a repeat of the involvement of Wally O’Neil, the former CEO of Diebold, who raised money for Bush while supplying the infamous Diebold E Voting Machines and hackable software in the 2004 election.

Demand a traceable, physical paper ballot if you can. You can now vote early in Ohio after the Court Ruling earlier this week. I would urge everyone to encourage all concerned Ohioans to vote early and on paper! Make sure your vote is counted!            I voted early as an overseas voter from France last week.
So, I read that Glenn Beck started his own line of expensive $129.00 designer jeans  because he has "issues" with the Levi Strauss Company. That's just great! Now everyone can have a pompous ass!
Binders Full Of Wonder Woman

Friday, October 19, 2012

You Don't Really Have To Read This...Warning!!!!

How's your blood pressure today?
Cuz if it's on the high side, I recommend
NOT reading this:
Mitt Romney’s opposition to the auto bailout has haunted him on the campaign trail, especially in Rust Belt states like Ohio. There, in September, the Obama campaign launched television ads blasting Romney’s November 2008 New York Times op-ed, “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.” But Romney has done a good job of concealing, until now, the fact that he and his wife, Ann, personally gained at least $15.3 million from the bailout—and a few of Romney’s most important Wall Street donors made more than $4 billion. Their gains, and the Romneys’, were astronomical—more than 3,000 percent on their investment.
Yup, you read that right. A THREE THOUSAND PERCENT RETURN on their investment. 

But see, it's okay, you aren't authorized or experienced enough to responsibly deal with or really understand a bailout...see for him, it's all right...for those people...well...those people just aren't capable enough or even able to understand! But Mitt is...and Mittens and Ann just adore a good bailout.....
Right Luvey?

What's A Cozy Little Coup d'Etat Among Friends?

This is the personal Linkedin page for a fellow named Colin Small. Colin was arrested last night for attempting to destroy voter registration forms which he was subcontracted  to collect and deliver in Harrisburg,Virginia.  The voter registration forms in question were all from citizens attempting to register as Democrats. Small was identified as a Voter Registration Supervisor employed by Pinpoint,
an independent private organization contracted by the Republican Party of Virginia for purposes of general voter registration. Now, it turns out that Mr. Small is a self identified employee of the Republican National Committee out of Washington, DC. He lists his position as a Grassroots Field Director.
The Republican seem dead set on proving their outlandish claims of voter fraud in America even if they have to do it themselves, which they are on a massive level in an ongoing multi staged initiative to seize power in America by what ever means they can. Dishonest voter information from Republican State Governments is a problem all over the country. The promotion of highly flawed hackable electronic voting technology is a Republican priority and a money making business for the corporations which get the contracts. Over and over again, on this blog and everyday in the news, the attempts of Republican State Administrations to disenfranchise and deny the right to vote to any segment of the population they deem as a potentially Democrat voting bloc is an ongoing theme of this election cycle. .The super pac money pumped into conservative initiatives by corporate America is so out of proportion to the money that can be raised by citizens donating to progressive candidates is mind boggling. We are getting dazed and inured to the daily desperate requests to chip in 5 bucks here, 30 bucks support Democrats. 
Then there is the level of propaganda....FOX NEWS is not a news network, even CNBC Business News is now a totally Conservative Noise Machine. Corporate CEOs are now threatening employees jobs and attempting to create real fear with their workers to try to coherce them to vote Republican.
The hierarchy of the Catholic Church, the Evangelical Protestants all have stepped over the constitutional limit of the separation of church and state in a blatant challenge to influence their parishioners with eternal damnation if they don't vote Republican.
With this background, we can safely assume that Colin Small is not just a rogue operative, but the one that was simply dumb enough to get caught.
This is not new. History does repeat itself. But it is up to us to pay attention. I have written about how the Socialist Popular Front Government of Leon Blum was destroyed in the 1930's in France by the financiers and corporations who destabilized the economy by moving industry and capital out France to Nazi Germany. Is it any surprise that Prescott Bush, the Grandfather of George Bush Jr. was trying to do the exact same thing along with the major financial players at the same time in America to destabilize and destroy the Roosevelt Government? Preston also moved money and invested in Hitlers Germany.
Let's look at real American history from 1933 and try to discern the parellel with oligarchic attempts of the conservatives to usurp the constitution and destroy our democracy to preserve what they perceive as their class perogative:
 A Democratic president rushing into office after the miserable failure of the preceding Republican with the shadow of economic Armageddon looming across the land.
Thinking of the Tea-baggers of today reminded me of the Business Plot of 1933.
In the summer of 1933, shortly after Roosevelt's "First 100 Days," America's richest businessmen were in a panic. It was clear that Roosevelt intended to conduct a massive redistribution of wealth from the rich to the poor. Roosevelt had to be stopped at all costs.
The answer was a military coup. It was to be secretly financed and organized by leading officers of the Morgan and Du Pont empires.
Smedley Darlington Butler (July 30, 1881 -- June 21, 1940), nicknamed "The Fighting Quaker" and "Old Gimlet Eye", was a Major General in the U.S. Marine Corps and, at the time of his death, the most decorated Marine in U.S. history.
In 1934, Butler came forward and reported to the U.S. Congress that a group of wealthy pro-Fascist industrialists had been plotting to overthrow the government of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in a military coup. Even though the House Un-American Activities Committee corroborated most of the specifics of his testimony, no further action was taken.
For every action there is a reaction. So, the Right Wing feels as though it must react to the new direction that this nation has set its course to. There is an army of self righteous dupes out there working  as the foot soldiers, stealing voter registration forms, attacking honest voter registration initiatives, working as operatives hacking voting machines. They are cutting their own throats, but, they would never admit to being one of the downtrodden masses, just temporarily financially embarrassed wannabee millionaires....
All this has happened before and so goes the old saying that the more things change the more that they say the same. But, you say, It can't happen here? It is happening and it has already happened. It's up to us to become and remain pragmatically mobilized, because out future vitally depends upon it.

Here is the link for a very good History Channel program of the Business Plot video...