August 24, 2012

3 days in Jakarta: Cheap massages & desperately seeking Obama

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Jane Stillwater @ 12:13 pm

After spending ten hours in the Doha airport and 24 hours at the Singapore airport, I was totally looking forward to spending three whole days in Jakarta — but had no idea what to expect. Jakarta? Capital of Indonesia? Located on the island of Java, famous for its coffee and Krakatoa? Where Mel Gibson fell in love with Sigourney Weaver during their “Year of Living Dangerously” Barack Obama’s old boyhood home? What is Jakarta really like? I was about to find out.

An old friend of mine from back when we both worked at Berkeley law offices met me at the airport and immediately whisked me off into a fabulous whirl of fun and food — a sort of three-day-long “Girls Night Out”.

Jakarta has definitely changed a whole lot since 1965 when Sukarno was top dog and Linda Hunt was taking photos of poor people rioting in the streets. Poor people no longer riot in the streets here. Now they know better. The foreign and local “extractive industry” moguls who apparently own most of Indonesia these days have done a really good job of teaching Indonesian poor people to know their place — except of course for a few pesky ingrates over in East Timor. But they no longer count now, having been mostly killed off.

The poor people in Indonesia clearly know their place now — just like the “extractive industries” in America are also happily teaching America’s 99% our places so they can steal our resources too.

But oil companies no longer have to kill people in America to get their hands on our land — because, unlike the people of East Timor (or Sitting Bull or Geronimo either for that matter), Americans have become so, er, gullible that they now allow the “extractive industries” to legally seize their property by use of eminent domain.

According to environmental researcher Allison Grass, “The controversial Kelo v. City of New London (2005) is credited with broadening the interpretation of ‘public use’. In this case, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of New London, deciding that the city could take private property and give it to another private entity for ‘economic development’. The Court decided that this met the ‘public use’ provision of the Fifth Amendment.”

What does this ruling mean for Americans? It means that if the “extractive industry” wants your land, they can have it. Period. And you of course will be S.O.L. Never forget that extractive-industry people are running a very harsh economic dictatorship behind that Oil Curtain — and they are not our friends.

As I was being driven though the streets of Jakarta, it became immediately clear that this city is now more like Dallas than Zuccotti Park. Neiman Marcus fans would feel right at home here. The Bush dynasty would love it. And my guilty secret? I too loved Jakarta.

First my friend and I went off to a top-of-the-line beauty salon for full-body massages. Only five dollars! Then we went to the old port of Jakarta where the docks are lined with funky old wooden schooners still being used for transporting goods to and from Indonesia’s 1700-odd islands.

Next we went to visit the old Dutch colony of Batavia. Did you know that the Dutch East India Company was one of the world’s very first global conglomerates? Back in 1602, it was a pioneer poster-boy for globalization — and was probably just as cruel and ruthless back then as Monsanto is now.

What to see and do next? Off to a wonderful Rijsttafel dinner with some delightful Indonesian women and a handful of ex-pats from America, Australia and Korea. And then another body massage. I could get used to this!

Next we experienced a top-of-the-line display of wealth that went way beyond my mere concept of “mall”. So much money here in Jakarta. Streets crammed with chauffeur-driven Mercedes and BMWs. And then after the “shopping complex” experience, we visited a folk-art museum, ate avocado ice cream and — went for a massage!

I owe so much to my friend from Berkeley and her Indonesian friends for giving me the full Jakarta experience.

And the food here! Marvelous. Everyone was getting ready to observe Ramadan in this mostly-Muslim country — and everyone here was either eating or shopping for food or thinking about eating. Me too!

Next came a tour of Jakarta’s largest mosque. “It is the third largest mosque in the world — only Mecca and Medinah have larger ones.” I’ve been to both those other mosques but this one was different — all modern in design and using lots of copper and chrome.

Across the street from the mosque was a large European-style cathedral. Catholics in Indonesia? Yeah. Just like there were Catholics in Nagasaki when American pilots in World War II used Nagasaki’s cathedral spire as a landmark for dropping their atomic bomb, wiping out 8,500 Japanese Christians attending Sunday services in one shot Ah, the smell of burning Christians in the morning. One of America’s finest hours. But I digress.

Time for another massage.

“You know what I would really love to do here?” I asked my wonderful new Indonesian BFF. “Can we go see where Barack Obama lived as a boy and also visit the school that he went to?” The school was easy to find. The two homes where Obama used to live were harder to find — but a local journalist gave us the 411 and we actually found them.

“Did you know that Barack, as a boy, was reputed to be rather pudgy — and that he confused his fellow students because his step-father was Indonesian and his mother was a white American and yet he had really curly hair. Most students finally decided that he was from Papua-New Guinea. And did you know that Obama’s father was an oilman?” No I didn’t. An oilman? Hmmm. Then I can’t understand why Republicans don’t just love Obama. Republicans always seem to love anyone who exploits natural resources for their own benefit (not ours).

And those were my three days of (not) living dangerously in Jakarta. And now it’s time for me to go off to spend yet another night in yet another airport — Narita, in Tokyo. “Ah, but wait!” said my old friend from Berkeley and my new BFF from Jakarta. “We still have time to fit in just one more massage!”


January 6, 2010

The Secret Life of Charles Krauthammer

Click below for the stirring conclusion!


October 23, 2009

The Tattlesnake – Who Said What? Edition

Time for a quiz? I thought so. Grab your paper and pencil and no cheating with the Google machine. As you read, you’ll catch on to the theme of this baker’s dozen of questionable quotes:

1. “Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.”

A. Benito Mussolini
B. Adolf Hitler
C. Dick Cheney
D. Barack Obama

2. “Socialism is a fraud, a comedy, a phantom, a blackmail.”

A. Benito Mussolini
B. Adolf Hitler
C. Dick Cheney
D. Barack Obama

3. “War alone brings up to their highest tension all human energies and imposes the stamp of nobility upon the peoples who have the courage to make it.”

A. Benito Mussolini
B. Adolf Hitler
C. Dick Cheney
D. Barack Obama

4. “We must be prepared to face our responsibilities and be willing to use force if necessary.”

A. Benito Mussolini
B. Adolf Hitler
C. Dick Cheney
D. Barack Obama

5. “The fate of nations is intimately bound up with their powers of reproduction.”

A. Benito Mussolini
B. Adolf Hitler
C. Dick Cheney
D. Barack Obama


January 20, 2009

The Tattlesnake — Bush: The Way of All Flash Edition

The End of An Irritant

Rational people, when faced with a massive failure of their own making, normally take some time for private circumspection and avoid further contact with the public, at least until the outrage of the torch-wielding villagers has subsided. But that’s not our Crawford Dauphin, whose capacity for realistic introspection is String Theory microcosmic while his unrefined chutzpah remains as large and lumbering as his political party’s logo.

Such is the case with this recent series of cringe-inducing Bush ‘exit interviews’ wherein Our Worst President Ever insists on trying to polish a turd that was flushed away years ago in the receding waters of 2005′s Hurricane Katrina. Even with the prodigious help of future cellmates like Karl Rove and Dick Cheney, assiduously applying the spit shine of hastily rewritten history to the ‘Bush Legacy Project’ (a slim library containing the works of Niccolo Machiavelli, Chuck Palahniuk’s “Stranger Than Fiction,” a copy of George Orwell’s “1984″ annotated in red ink by Lee Atwater, tracts by Aimee Semple McPherson, the collected speeches of Father Charles Coughlin and Herbert Hoover, and, of course, the paint-by-number version of “My Pet Goat”) the Little President That Couldn’t continues to maintain approval ratings that read like an Iowa thermometer in January.

Bush, in his stubbornly obtuse inability to recognize the spreading stain when he’s wet his pants, admits to few mistakes and those that he grudgingly examples are of such a pathetic and hilariously off-target nature that he must be moonlighting as a monologue writer for David Letterman.

In his last press conference (thank you, merciful Jeebus), he assigned as one of his mistakes the “Mission Accomplished” banner that decorated the space behind his head during his ludicrous publicity stunt aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln in May of 2003. Neglecting to apologize for the pusillanimous White House fib that the banner was created by grateful sailors and not Rove’s relentless propaganda machine, this was characteristic of Junior’s endless fusillade of misguided missiles: The mistake was the banner — not the phony and unnecessary Hollywood PR stunt, not declaring a premature end to combat operations, not the trumped-up unnecessary war itself – just the banner.

This event encapsulates the entire eight years of Bush’s failed residency in the Oval Office. There was no reason, other than Rove’s fevered obsession with primping his oblivious client as some sort of war hero, to dress up the graying Bush as a young fighter jock and have him ferried to the carrier via Navy jet. Past presidents handled such ceremonies with a modicum of dignity in a civilian business suit and relied on a helicopter for transport – but then they didn’t need a flight deck and surrounding throng of ordered-to-be-there fawning sailors to indemnify their masculinity the way Junior does. A touch of cosmic comedy was added as President Top Gun forgot to release the crotch straps on his Fly Boy get-up; although apparently too dull to notice, or too inept to unhook them himself, the imperial testicles were no doubt reminded of the pain of command.

So this was the repeated play that Americans have been forced to witness for nearly a decade; a shambling, awkward boy-child, insecure in himself, incessantly pretending to be a simple, resolute man with the experience, virtue and wisdom to make the proper decisions and perpetually foiled by the forgotten crotch strap of reality biting into his flesh. Every pretend heroic moment has turned into a tragic farce, the stage set by Bush’s own words when he occasionally slipped and uttered the truth. Recall when Candidate Bush said he would be the “CEO president,” and that he was basically “a media creation”?


January 10, 2009

The Tattlesnake – Presidential Meeting at the White House Edition

On January 7, 2009, the four living US presidents and President-Elect Barack Obama met for lunch at the White House. Details of their private conversation have been kept from the media but, thanks to a Tattler fly on the wall, the details can now be revealed.

Scene: George W. Bush (JUNIOR), his father George H.W. Bush (POPPY), Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama in the Oval Office.

JUNIOR: “Let’s all take a load off an’ get this here thing started.”

[Everyone sits down.]

OBAMA: “First, I’d like to ask you all for your opinions on the crisis in the Gaza –”

JUNIOR: “Whoa, doggies, there, pard’ner. I’m still the president here so I get to do the decidin’ of whut goes first where.”

OBAMA: “Of course, Mr. President. What topic would you like to address first?”

JUNIOR: “Uh, I dunno – hey, since muh Daddy’s here, why don’t we talk about pussy?”

POPPY: “Arrrhhhh, har, har, har, har, arrrhhhh, uuuhhhh.”

OBAMA: “Pussy?”

CARTER: “Oh, my God.”

CLINTON: “Sweet Jesus on a pogo stick.”

JUNIOR: “Yeah, ah think thass a real good topic for conversatin’ over. Hey, Bill, show us whut happened with that Lew-in-sky girl in here.”

POPPY: “Arrrhhhh, har, har, har, har, arrrhhhh, uuuhhhh.”

CLINTON: “George, you know I’m not gonna talk about that.”

OBAMA: “Excuse me, Mr. President, but I asked for this meeting to get your perspectives on some of the pressing issues of our time.”

JUNIOR: “Take th’ stick outta yore butt, Bar-rack! Presidentin’ is easy – all you do is sign yore name where they tell yuh tuh sign it, say whut they tell ya’ tuh say, and pose pretty for th’ pictures. Oh, yeah, an’ yuh gotta main-tain the dignity of the office. Ain’t that right, Daddy?”

POPPY: “Arrrhhhh, har, har, har, har, arrrhhhh, uuuhhhh.”

CLINTON: “That’s what’s known as the ‘Bush Doctrine,’ I believe.”

JUNIOR: “I sleep like a baby ever night ’cause I don’t let things get tuh me by thinkin’ about ‘em too much. Thass the key to successful presidentin’!”

CLINTON: “We aren’t going to accomplish much here. We’ll talk later in private, Barack.”

OBAMA: “I think you’re right, Bill.”

CARTER: “Let’s pose for the photo-op and get the hell out of here.”

OBAMA: “Can we have the photographers in now?”

JUNIOR: “Yuh mean we ain’t gonna talk about pussy?”

POPPY: “Arrrhhhh, har, har, har, har, arrrhhhh, uuuhhhh.”

(Photographers enter; the end.)

October 8, 2008

The Tattlesnake – Obama-McCain Round Two Edition

Best and Worst of the Second Presidential Debate, in Brief:

Obama’s Worst Moment: No really bad moments or gaffes, but it would be nice if he answered the question and then explained his answer rather than the other way around. Still, looking at how far he’s come, maybe Obama knows what he’s doing after all.

McCain’s Worst Moment: What was with answering a question about who he would appoint Treasury Secretary by saying to debate moderator Brokaw “Not you, Tom”? I appreciate an oddball sense of humor and have one myself, but I could not fathom the wit or point in this ‘joke’ – maybe he should have said “Major Tom” and tried to nab some David Bowie fans. Also, when he approached the bystanders in the bleachers too closely, I got the feeling they were hastily looking for a crucifix to ward him off. Other than that, McCain was the best McCain he could be.

Obama’s Best Moment: When he finally said, harkening back to FDR in 1944, that health care is a right. That one line by itself may have been sufficient to nail down enough votes in the hard-hit Rust Belt states to win him the election.

McCain’s Best Moment: Considering McCain’s never been a great public speaker, he didn’t do a bad job overall, and, to his credit, he assiduously avoided diving to the slimy ‘dark side.’ But that’s not what this election is about anyway; it helps that Obama can speak populist poetry to McCain’s Reagan-GOP boilerplate when necessary, but the election is really about who looks like they’re up to the job of saving the country. The hunched and elderly McCain, lurching around spouting his stump speech Talking Points, did not look like that man; Obama did.

And the Winner Is: Obama. In the final analysis, this all boiled down to appearances: Obama, as in the last debate, once again looked presidential and poised; McCain, partly due to factors beyond his control such as his age and physical appearance, looked old and weary and annoyingly lapsed into his standard “My friends” mode halfway through the thing, indicating that he was running out of gas. Cap’n Crash is going to discover on November 4th that a majority of Americans just aren’t his buddies.

Put the champagne on ice; the last eight years of our history – a rambling Hunter S. Thompson nightmare of treachery, deceit and devastating Republican Doom ‘n’ Gloom as scripted by the two Terry’s, Gilliam and Southern, and Mario Puzo — is about to take a turn for the better angels of our Frank Capra, as Mr. Deeds Goes to Washington to effect a Change We Can Believe In. (Whew! Have another swig, Mr. Tattlehead.)

Is it really all over but the shouting? Barring an October Surprise of unimaginable proportions, some unforgivable gaffe by Barack or Biden, or the presidential preference of computer hackers, it’s all about the ‘O’ now.

September 20, 2008

The Tattlesnake – Joan of Snark Jumps the Shark Edition

Serial-Liar Mom Palin Tanks Along with the Economy

“The trouble you brew today, you will drink tomorrow.”
– From “Samson and Delilah,” a 1949 film.

There was much early September hand-wringing and angst amongst Obama supporters that, after a strong finish at the Democratic convention in Denver, he was allowing the Palin-McCain ticket — for that’s what it truly is now as the aging Republican’s candidacy is overwhelmed by the media incandescence of Gov. Horse-Hockey Mom — put him on the defensive, dropping his inspirational charisma in favor of dull ‘wonky talk’ on the issues and curling into a timid Kerryesque ball, fighting off scurrilous and specious charges, while fecklessly laughing at or ignoring ludicrous accusations such as that he voted to teach Sex Ed to kindergarten tots. All of this is the standard GOP endgame of the past twenty-some years – wildly slander with Big Lies while the Dem refuses to ‘go negative’ – that results in another humiliating Dem defeat in November.(Bill Clinton, of course, being the notable exception.)

But that was last week. Now Palin is in free-fall, exposed as a pathologically prevaricating, power-abusing, crony-hiring GOP cipher, ignorant on foreign policy and most everything else, and pit bull-tenacious only at regurgitating her prepared Talking Points, kowtowing to the interests of large energy corporations, and using her office to conduct vendettas on those who contradict or are perceived as disloyal to her. In short, she’s Junior in a beehive, albeit more articulate and better at reciting her Bushian bumper-sticker slogans.

Meantime, Sarah’s more boring co-pilot McCain is himself treading sewer water, hauled up in buckets from the same sea of Republican red ink that swallowed do-nothing big business Republicans in 1932; he’s even taken to quoting Herbert Hoover’s peculiar dictum that the economy is fundamentally strong, while banks fail, wages fall, prices rise, and Americans are losing their jobs and homes. Well, what should one expect from a man who thinks shady corporate lobbyist Phil Gramm is the second coming of John Maynard Keynes?


September 11, 2008

The Tattlesnake – H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks Mom and Other Randomized Media Bleat Edition

Bush Two in a Pantsuit
or, Summer and Smoke and Mirrors

“…[T]he media is failing to apply the same standard to John McCain [and Sarah Palin] that they did to Al Gore in 2000.”
– DDay, “Why The Media Game Is Rigged,” Digby’s Hullabaloo, Sept. 9, 2008.

– It’s becoming pretty obvious that McCain’s Veep pick, Sarah Palin, regardless of the GOP blustering over her ‘smarts,’ is actually just the Bush Boy in a Beehive, a crackpot-religion dingbat from the Great White North with a predisposition to pathological deceit, close ties to big energy corporations, a willingness to use taxpayer money to help herself and her family, disregard for the law, and a slave of Talking Points with a lack of curiosity about, or grasp of, the world around her. While she may not mangle the English language as much as the Installed One, she hews to the same repetition of bumper-sticker slogans and shows her deep ignorance whenever she goes off-script. (Just look at her recent confusion when she tried to ad lib regarding Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – she didn’t know they were already private companies with investors.) Since the GOP Convention, she’s been repeating the same speech provided her by – voila! – a Bush speechwriter! (Change you can believe in – if you’re an idiot.) Of course McCain’s Rovian handlers want to keep Gov. Gaffe-O-Matic from even the nearly-toothless jaws of the American Big Media – imagine the reaction if Independent Voters and others with any scrap of rationality remaining get the hint she’s another bumbling blank slate like the current Dunce Cap in the Oval Office – Disaster! — and there just aren’t enough Christopublican Whack-Jobs and Small-Town Dead-Enders to shoehorn Grandpa and the Beauty Queen into office.

Sure she’s going to have a sit-down with ABC’s Charlie “Capital Gains Tax” Gibson soon, but no doubt she’ll have the questions in advance and there will be a teleprompter off-camera to help her through the answers. Besides, ditzoid Gibson is an in-the-tank Republican fawner – he won’t be tossing any hardball faster than asking her to name her five children in order of birth and how the whirlwind of celebrity has affected her family. Perhaps there will even be a touching video tribute to the joys of snowmobiling featuring hubby Todd and the score from Rocky. Daughter Bristol could then host a fashion show of maternity clothes for high school girls, and Sarah could have her ‘fired’ cook talk Gibson through a diaper change of baby Trig. Political junkies be forewarned: Look out for a tiny flesh-colored earpiece in place during the Biden debate with Steve Schmidt or some other Spawn of the Country Club Jesus feeding her the responses.

– Laugh of the Week: The McCainiacs claiming they won’t make Lady Vain available for open questioning by the BM because US reporters won’t act with the proper ‘respect and deference’ for Alaska’s Beauty Queen Runner-Up. Ha, ha, this is absurd even for Rick Davis – since when did an American politician morph into British royalty? Let’s put on our Rove Smear Cap for a moment: If the Obama camp refused to let Biden be interviewed for the same reason, you just know Karl’s Korps would be endlessly repeating the line: “If he can’t stand up to the media, how’s he going to stand up to Putin?”

– It’s also becoming pretty obvious that we should be calling this the Palin-McCain ticket, as the hapless former Navy Flyboy isn’t the one bringing out the curious crowds on the campaign trail. The wretched McCain just stands there behind her, a blob of aged empty-eyed flesh — occasionally appearing appalled at how low he has sunk, but mostly fidgeting, gaping in senility, and working at maintaining a semblance of a genuine smile. The level of audience interest palpably drops into single-digits when he steps up to speak. It must be galling to McSame that after all these years his fevered presidential aspirations are in the hands of an irritatingly perky nitwit from Alaska and Bush’s Rove-clones who destroyed his presidential campaign in 2000. Wife Cindy must be getting an earful of vicious bile in private.


September 9, 2008

The Tattlesnake – More GOP Goop: Deaf Con 3 Edition

Random Notes Summing Up the End of Summer Bummer in St. Paul

“Fight with me! Fight with me!”
– John McCain in his acceptance speech at the GOP Con, Sept. 4, 2008, so desperate for combat he invited the audience to throw a punch at him.

The 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, was entertaining and credible if you happen to have that happy zealot’s mindset indistinguishable from serious brain damage, or you’re a member of the Inner Party with a large Memory Hole nearby and a strong stomach. Indeed, George Orwell could have written the script for this GOP Con and you could hear echoes of the boot-heel patriotism of Oceania ringing in its blaring signage and loudly repeated declarations – “Country First!” “Service!” “Character Counts!” “War Hero!” “Reformer!” “Maverick!” “USA!” “Surge Working!” “NO-bama!” — simple themes for simple minds marinated in the bottomless pit of Big Media Infotainment Newspeak and endless wars against shifting enemies, buttressed by increasingly irrational rationales.

Yet never was heard a discouraging word against the Bush Administration and the avaricious corporate-Republican values for which it stands that have promulgated and prolonged the various disasters sinking us on every front – instead, Frank Luntz’s cheesy framing word “Washington” was employed so that the top-of-the-ticket ‘reformers’ had something to ‘change’ other than the guiding precepts of their own party and Sarah Palin’s prominently-displayed infant son. The unasked question that hung over the convention like a cloud from Hurricane Gustav: ‘Yes, Washington is even more corrupt than usual and we are descending into utter catastrophe – and who is responsible for causing all of this misery?’ He That Must Be Obliged But Otherwise Go Unmentioned appeared on the Jumbotron screen early in the evening on the first day, his embarrassing video endorsing McCain stuck into those hours of the evening when, presumably, small-town America was still having dinner and would never see the Bush Boy and think of his Unmentionable PNAC Partner-in-Crime Dick Cheney, the True Author of our rampant economic and global woes.

McCain and Palin both exhibited signs of having an out-of-party experience as they berated the soulless suppurating boils and abscesses populating the Potomac Swamplands in the form of Big Money lobbyists and Special Interests that have brought the country so low, without ever hinting that most of them had an RNC elephant logo on their money clips and the rapacious Jesus of Mammon in their born-again hearts. For that matter, most of the larger fish work in McCain’s own campaign. But perhaps the most comically surreal moment of the three nights came when Mitt Romney, formerly McCain’s dedicated primary foe, erupted from the podium with this public hallucination to the cheers of the damned and deranged:

“We need change, all right. Change from a liberal Washington to a conservative Washington. We have a prescription for every American who wants change in Washington — throw out the big-government liberals.”
– Mitt Romney, Sept. 3, 2008.

That’s the essence of the snake-eating-its-tail message emerging from St. Paul to unite the party – let’s toss out big-government liberals Bush and Cheney and start anew.

We’re Not Out of Touch – We’re Republicans Without Issues!

“This election is not about issues. This election is about a composite view of what people take away from these candidates.”
– Rick Davis, McCain’s campaign manager, quoted by the Washington Post’s The Fix blog.

To the party leaders and McCain’s campaign staff, ignorance is strength, and really the only strength McCain has left. If the public can be allayed by clever rhetoric, bamboozled by slick video bios, befuddled by down-is-up deceptions, or baffled by calculated bluster from determining the bitter truth about the Republican presidential candidate and his running mate for just two months, the GOP believes they can seize the White House for the third time in this new century.


August 29, 2008

The Tattlesnake – If Obama Keeps This Up, It’s All Over But the Shouting Edition

Dem Convention Closer Fulfills Part of King’s Dream of 45 Years Ago

“Our government should work for us, not against us.” […]
“If John McCain wants have a debate about who has the temperament and judgment to be commander-in-chief, that’s a debate I’m ready to have.”

– Barack Obama at Invesco Stadium, Aug. 28, 2008.

Regardless of the Usual Big Media Wretches sniffing around for some kind of disunity story, both Bill and Hillary Clinton graciously and unreservedly endorsed Barack Obama with resounding speeches, bringing the Denver convention to its feet. Others like John Kerry, Bill Richardson and Iraq War vet Rep. Patrick Murphy also gave good speeches, but you’d have to watch C-Span to catch them in their entirety since MSNBC and, especially, CNN, preferred to air the rumblings of their own teams of feeble prognosticators and analysts to the words from the podium.

But all of that was the set-up to Thursday night, when Obama appeared before an audience of over 70,000 at Invesco Stadium to formally accept the Democratic nomination for president. The heat was on, and some in the Eternally Damned Pundit Class predicted Obama would blow it with a high-minded ‘professorial’ diatribe that condescended to the average voter as it bored them silly. They were wrong.

Obama laid into a stem-winder, jazzing up the crowd as he proved he’s going to fight McCain by returning fire on some of the Republican’s recent attacks and leaving Cap’n McCain’s Swift Boat dead in the water. Celebrity status? Damn right – the jealous GOP would kill for that kind of popularity. Grecian columns? You’ve got to be kidding. A Nuremberg rally redux hallucination? Peggy Noonan needs to lay off the sauce. Squirrel-bait Jerry Corsi’s crackpot work of fiction? Get a net.

All of the rightie tripe and snipe faded back to the dark pit from whence it came as Obama spelled out point-by-point where he was going to take the country, refuted every McCain negative ad, and then went after Sen. Maverick’s flip-flopping hide. In the clutch, Obama brought his A-game and rolled over the opposition like a Straight-Talk cement mixer.

(Incidentally, in all fairness to John McCain, he did air an ad yesterday cordially congratulating Obama on his historic nomination, although his campaign also attacked Obama on the same day, even after McCain said in his congratulatory ad, “Tomorrow we’ll be back at it, but tonight, senator, job well done.” What is it with this guy?)

Barring any unforeseen and unlikely total meltdown, we just heard the next president of the United States speaking at Invesco Stadium last night.

How can I say that with two months to go until the election? Let’s look at some factoids mixed with obvious observations:


August 27, 2008

The Tattlesnake – Small Wagers of Sin Edition

I’d bet that …

… At least once during the GOP convention, and likely more often than that, the theme from Rocky will be played to bring a speaker on stage, probably Scooter Libby or Alberto Gonzales.

… Also during the Republican convention, some Big Media dunce – I’m looking at you, Charlie Gibson – will ask Joe Lieberman for a ‘Democrat’s perspective on the GOP convention.’

… Even if Obama delivers the equivalent of the Gettysburg Address on Thursday at Invesco Field, the Punditocracy will determine it wasn’t enough to unify the Democratic Party.

… No one in the Official Washington Press Gaggle will raise an eyebrow over McCain sending his wife Cindy to Georgia to inspect the human suffering there. (Of course, if Obama tried this, there would be a locust-like screeching that it smacks of outrageous presumption.)

… By the end of the week, Michelle Obama’s speech Monday at the Dem convention will be adjudged by the Solons of Pundit Planet as a failure, since it fell short of convincing every Democratic and Independent woman in the Known Universe to vote for Obama.

… Keith Olbermann will finally throttle the life out of MSNBC convention co-host Chris Matthews for the good of his audience and the country, right in the middle of the Hardball host’s braying spittle-flecked recollection of his imaginary tough- teen years on the mean streets of Philadelphia. A jury of his peers will not only acquit KO, but also award him a medal for service in the public interest beyond the call of duty.


August 23, 2008

MSNBC Says It’s Biden

MSNBC reported early Saturday morning that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has picked Sen. Joseph Biden, 65, to be his vice presidential running mate. There is an Obama rally planned in Springfield, Illinois, this afternoon to officially announce Biden’s addition to the Dem ticket.

Predictably, the half-crazed wingnuts aboard the sinking USS McCain and their allies, the 101st Keyboard Commandos, will be sharpening their pitchforks ready to stick it to the Delaware Senator and erstwhile presidential candidate in any spot that looks tender. Here are the soft places they’ll likely poke with glee:

1. Biden was once called the Senator from DuPont, and for good reason. Joe has been very chummy with the chemical giant, as well as other large corporations from his state, which has no corporate tax. These slings and arrows of outrageous fortune — considering they’re from the wholly-corporatized Republican Party — will be shamelessly slung at Biden for being too close to evil Big Bidness, probably via a strenuous Internet email campaign and multiple postings on some of the more frothing hoof-and-mouth neocon websites like Hind-Acher’s Powerline blog and Freeper Republic.

2. Joe will be endlessly drubbed for appropriating without attribution British Labour Party PM candidate Neil Kinnock’s “born the son of a coal miner, first in the family to attend college” bio that derailed Biden’s presidential run in 1988. That this might have been an innocent mistake won’t cut any mustard with the ravening wolves of the right — “Plagiarist!” “Liar!” will be sprinkled like salt on potato chips all over the right-wing Media Vomitorium, with Michelle Malkin no doubt inferring in a screechy nut-pile smackdown that perhaps Biden really is a liberal Brit, and therefore a foreigner not to be trusted. Next Sean Hannity will demand that Pennsylvania-born Biden produce his birth certificate and, when produced, will ignore it. I can see the Fox News splash now: “Is Joe Biden Really an American Citizen – How Can We Be Sure?”

3. Obama will take a hit for naming Biden since Joe has been in the US Senate for over 30 years, longer than John Sidney McBush III. “Some change you can believe in,” the Tighty-Righties will sneer without embarrassment while in the next paragraph they praise their sealed-in-amber candidate, trying to drag the country back to the Age of the Cold War and a victory in Vietnam – I mean, Iraq.

Also, look for McCainiac ads quoting Biden during the 2008 Dem primary debates wherein he called Obama too inexperienced to be president, and for his ‘yea’ vote on the Iraq invasion. I hope the Obama campaign has some quick short answers ready for these slaps up the side of the head.

Biden’s Good Points:


August 22, 2008

The Tattlesnake – McCain’s Latest Shameful Four-Play Edition

Double-Deuces This Month — And August Isn’t Over Yet…

1. McCain’s Threadbare Surge Suit, Part Deux: The most recent misinformational sludge oozing its way through the Big Media pipeline is John McCain’s continued insistence that Bush’s build-up of US troops in Baghdad, AKA ‘The Surge,’ worked to quell most of the violence over there. This is more bizarre McCain piffle that any decent journalist could demolish in a few hours of research on the Inner-tubes. The increase in US troop strength focused on Baghdad, not the al-Anbar province and the rest of Iraq. For most of the country, and in neighborhoods of the Iraqi capital city itself, it was millions of dollars in baksheesh bribery to Iraqi warlords, courtesy of the flat-broke American taxpayer, and a tacit agreement among the warring Iraqi factions to keep a low profile for a while, to perhaps lull the Americans into finally leaving, that has resulted in a lessening in violence, much more so than any enhanced US military presence. Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army, estimated to be 50 to 100,000 strong, are temporarily dormant, and the tribes of Sunni-dominated al-Anbar province, formerly our most dedicated enemies, have taken US bribes to pursue Al-Qaeda, whom they hate a tad more than the American military. Both factions, however, will not be quelled indefinitely. Now, even the marionettes in the al-Maliki government are asking us to get out within 16 months, per Obama’s withdrawal plan. Since the Iraqis follow the election news in the US very closely and clearly favor an Obama victory in November, here’s an October Surprise for the Republicans – if it appears a month before the election that McCain is likely to win, look for an upsurge in violence in Iraq on such a scale as to make McCain’s fevered “The surge is working!” chant as repugnant and risible as Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” banner.

2. This is Leadership? There was McCain all over the airwaves last week, delivering a speech per day on the Russia-Georgia dust-up that Putin ungraciously ended with a truce, denying wannabe CinC John-Boy the ability to play the “Russians are coming!” panic card he so obviously salivated over like Flounder in Animal House: “Oh, boy, is this great!” Naturally our leash-trained Punditrocracy and their fellow carnival performers in the BM barked on command to spotlight McCain’s fear-inducing drivel, most of which sounded like it was lifted straight out of some Red Scare pamphlet from the McCarthy Era. For days, I heard all about McCain’s ‘leadership’ for informing us the Russian Bear was back with teeth and claws; of his daily intimate phone chats with Georgia’s President Mikhail Saakashvili; and about how totally awesome it was that he dispatched Tweedle-Dum Joe Lieberman and Tweedle-Dumber Lindsey Graham to illegally conduct US foreign policy overseas without portfolio. Had the vacationing Obama done any of this, he would, of course, have been grimly called to account by the BM for being too presumptuous – the nerve of the guy, pretending to be president when he hasn’t been elected — particularly if he’d attempted, as the arrogant McCain did, to speak for the American people. But one question left unasked in the midst of media praise for the GOP Golden Child — a seasoned military leader who’s never commanded anything that didn’t end in disaster, and a master at foreign affairs who advocated the idiotic Iraq invasion and has supported nearly every Bush catastrophe since – was this: What did all of McCain’s speechifying and posing and dispatching of minions actually accomplish? As far as I can tell, it’s somewhere between zip and zilch. If this is an example of his ‘leadership’ in a crisis, it may be time for the nation to collectively take the gas pipe, should McCain wheedle his way into the presidency.


August 19, 2008

The Tattlesnake – Corsi for Dummies Edition

Was ‘The Obama Nation’ Author Convicted of Distributing Child Pornography in 2003?

Jerome R. Corsi is the author of “The Obama Nation,” [1] a book that includes what influential columnist Joseph A. Palermo has dubbed an “excrementitious narrative” [2] packed with lies [3] and achieved The New York Times’ bestseller list by suspicious means [4]. Corsi also co-authored, with John E. O’Neill, the equally excremental “Unfit For Command” [5] in 2004, which helped sink decorated Vietnam war hero John Kerry’s bid for the presidency.

Now a reputable news source [6] has reported that Corsi was convicted of peddling child pornography in 2003. “In early 2003, authorities indicate, Corsi was indicted for the distribution of child pornography. …Corsi was handed a lenient sentence that included no prison time.” [7] This is not difficult to believe since those on the Republican right, such as former Congressman Mark Foley, have a consistent inclination towards this sort of vile pornography and the despicable use of underage children for sexual satisfaction [8] and typically receive lenient sentences from Republican judges. [9] It’s undeniable that Corsi has a deviant obsession with, as he puts it, “buggering boys” [10a] and “boy bumpers,” [10b] as evidenced in his past statements.

Is Corsi a Racist?

Corsi has demonstrated his strong affiliation to racist white supremacists, both in the past and recently. [11] It is not hard to imagine that someone of this mindset would agree wholeheartedly with these words of David Duke, former head of the Ku Klux Klan, “Obama is a visual aid for white Americans who just don’t get it yet that we have lost control of our country, and unless we get it back we are heading for complete annihilation as a people.” [12] The idea of a black man as president no doubt has Corsi crawling the walls. [13]

What we are left with is a clear picture of Jerome R. Corsi as a perverted white racist peddler of lies and child porn who would be welcomed by NAMBLA. [14] This is a man, plainly, who is not to be trusted. [15]

(Please make sure you read the footnotes and my final paragraph below the fold.)



August 15, 2008

The Tattlesnake — Wolf Woman On the Prowl and Other Howlers Edition

Is There a Full Moon?

– Hawaii Jive-O: Cokie “Larry Talbot” Roberts just can’t get over Barack Obama going on vacation in a – gasp! – “foreign, exotic” locale like Hawaii, where he was born and raised, and where his grandmother still lives. It just “doesn’t make any sense whatsoever,” she blathered dementedly on ABC’s This Week last Sunday, even though she reluctantly admitted that she knows “Hawaii is a state” and all, but it seems in Cokie’s World it’s not a real blood-and-guts American state like, say, one-time secessionist Louisiana, her birthplace. (It’s a uniquely dumb angle of attack on Obama, especially considering that the audience for Cokie’s Sunday morning entrail-readings on ABC generally have intact frontal lobes and go on vacation there themselves, and a flip-off even the rest of the Punditocracy apparently thinks is too goofy to echo.)**

Then the very next day on NPR’s Morning Edition, the radio network’s Senior News Analyst “Two Hits” Cokie — part of the Steve and Edie Roberts power couple who no doubt vacation in the blue-collar Indiana Dunes when not busy traversing gossipy Washington cocktail parties, primping for TV appearances, and regurgitating David Broder’s latest conventional wisdom — reiterated her batty babblings regarding the “exotic” and “odd” vacation spot of Hawaii, but omitted her ABC suggestion that Obama instead go to mundane Myrtle Beach, SC, for his down time. Gee, if he had, I wonder what she’d be carping about then? “It’s incredible to me that Obama, who grew up in Hawaii and still has his 85-year-old white grandmother living there, would take this opportunity to politicize even his vacation by going to Myrtle Beach – why, he has no family or connections to that area! Is he ashamed of his white grandmother, afraid it might put off some black voters by reminding them of his mixed racial heritage? He should have visited her in Hawaii – I mean, it is a US state, after all!” And that’s the way the sausage is made these days by our ‘Obama-friendly’ Big Media, folks.

**(Correction: <Today’s New York Times features an article by Michael Falcone that repeats Cokie’s nonsense.)

– They Like Me; They Really Like Me! Check the people surrounding McCain at a real public event, as opposed to those green-screen Berlin beer hall meetings with the obvious party-hack GOPbots cheering as one at his Talking Points and giggling at his lame jokes. I saw a clip just the other day on MSNBC from a factory in Ohio, and the ‘average workers’ standing behind McNasty all looked like they just ate wallpaper paste. The moneybags Republican factory owner, drooling over paying no taxes under the GOP, no doubt ordered his wage slave proles to provide PR window-dressing for Johnny Mac’s eruptions, but they just couldn’t force themselves drag a smile along. ($100 bucks to gas up the beast and losing your home will do that to you.) Reminded me of the facial expressions of real combat troops in Iraq when the loathed Rummy came calling – “You can order me here to greet him, but I don’t have to look like I enjoy it.”

– Unprecedented: Speaking of the military, Jack Cafferty reported on CNN on Aug. 15th that, for the first time in many years, the military is donating more money to the candidate without military experience than the veteran. Obama’s campaign is apparently racking up the bucks from our people in uniform, nearly twice as much as the Republican ‘War Hero.’ Perhaps they’ve realized that the screwy GOP doesn’t know how to fight a war or take care of the troops.

– What does it say about McCain’s integrity that he’s willing to take money from this slick pile of money-humpin’ Christopublican offal? Read on:


August 13, 2008

The Tattlesnake – ‘Underdog’ McCain’s Rocky Road Edition

Does the Superficial Stupidity Never Cease? CNN reported Aug. 12th that at a McCain rally in Pennsylvania recently, his campaign played the theme from ‘Rocky’ to announce his entrance. Oh, boy. Yep, we know the not-so-subtle subtext: Long-shot working-class white guy crawls into the ring against a snooty, pampered black champ for the Heavyweight title. Has anyone in McCain’s zoo actually seen this film? In the first ‘Rocky,’ the black champ ends up winning the fight after the white guy takes a bloody beating.

Incidentally, where are the Big Media fulminations over the presumptuousness of McCain speaking for “every American” regarding the Russia-Georgia conflict? If that isn’t presumptuous, I don’t know what is.

Praying For Reign: You may have read that James Dobson’s Focus on the Family is trying to stir up a mass prayer asking the Lawd to provide a deluge of rain to drown out Obama’s acceptance speech in Denver, August 28th. Nice folks these far-right Christians.

Aside from the fact that Dobson so far does not support McCain, and has said he could never bring himself to vote for him, what if the weather in Colorado’s largest city is nice that day? Will the wingnut Family Focusers admit that the Almighty isn’t listening to them and prefers Obama for president? Furthermore, will they stop invoking God’s name for the crass political purposes of influencing an election and go pound sand? (Update: The video advocating that Obama’s speech be rained out has been removed from the FF website and the perpetrator is now claiming it was all just a joke.)

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