November 6, 2009

The Tattlesnake – Post-Election Portents and Predictions Edition

…And How the Big Media Speculators Got It Wrong Again

The usual Big Media Punchinellos were out in force the past few days, blaring and bleating the Beltway Conventional Wisdom that the Democratic Party’s loss of the gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey are a sure referendum on Obama Administration policies. This is the sort of doomed facile reasoning found in the bottom of a Washington cocktail glass typical of Our Pundit Class who, from non-existent Iraq WMD to Fred Thompson’s popularity with voters, can never seem to fit the square peg in the round hole, pound though they might.

A brief review of the Dem candidates in VA and NJ clearly shows why progressives and like-minded independents didn’t bother to vote for Creigh Deeds in Virginia or Jon Corzine in New Jersey, and it had nothing to do with Obama. For various reasons explained below, they were both terrible candidates.

Creigh Deeds: In an era of change, Deeds was a shambling throwback, a dismal campaign clunker with four flat tires, who rejected Obama’s advice and help until it dawned on him in the final weeks he was going to lose in a landslide. He ran a miserably negative campaign, devoid of ideas, and presented his pap on toast so dry even peppy Dem loyalists fought to stay awake during his speeches. A Dem Blue Dog so blue he threatened to opt out of a public option should it become available to Virginians, he was nearly as conservative as his GOP opponent Bob McDonnell. Why leave the house to vote when the choice is between a Republican and a Dem who thinks like a Republican? Seen clearly, this was a referendum, and portent of the future, for Blue Dog Dems rather than President Obama.

Jon Corzine: The one-time ‘Garden State’ US Senator who was just bounced from the governor’s mansion is a Goldman Sachs Golden Boy who made piles of money on Wall Street and insists on spending it on vanity campaigns. Why he doesn’t just buy a new summer home or sumptuous overpriced yacht instead of squadering his fortune to impose himself on our political process is beyond me, but Corzine has never shown much talent for governing once elected, and what few things he has accomplished were always moderate to the point of invisibility. Jon is the kind of drab Dudley Do-Nothing the Democratic Party needs to send packing, if they expect to keep the majority in the future. Again, the portentiousness of Corzine’s defeat was not his affiliation with Obama’s policies, but the yellow line up the middle of his back from avoiding tenaciously either the right or left lane. He will not be missed, at least by this writer.

The point? Neither of them were progressives and didn’t stir independents or liberal Dems to go out and vote for them.

And now to stare into the crystal – but not Kristol – ball for some predictions on the Republican winners of those two elections:


October 16, 2009

Zen and the Art of Hoaxes

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 3:11 pm

(El Paso, TX) America is the home of the “Inconsistency for fun and profit” school of business philosophy.  Here’s a good example:  Richard Heene says he didn’t know that his kid wasn’t in the balloon and a large part of the USA reacts by crying:  “Fraud!”  George W. Bush claims he didn’t know that the WMD’s in Iran were a figment of his own imagination and all Republicans respond with this nonchalant reaction:  “well, that’s good enough to start a war (even though it contradicts the American philosophy as stated at the Nuremburg War Crimes Trials) and let’s let it go at that.”  Who, other than the Who, cares about getting fooled again?

Isn’t inconsistency the basis for driving people nuts (as well as the hobgoblin of small minds?)?  When Pavlov’s bell rings and the dog doesn’t get the expected treat isn’t that a good way to make the dog begin to manifest schizophrenic behavior?

Don’t Texans, and especially the 43rd President, know that a different term for hoax is to call it a practical joke or to at least use a deceptively exotic label such as:  “preemptive strike” rather than calling it a “sucker punch”?

Richard Heene should be held accountable for an expensive prank, and George W. Bush should get a pass regarding any war crimes trials and be hailed as the one who should be getting this year’s Nobel Prize for his efforts to track down rogue weapons of mass destruction.  What’s wrong with a little bit of inconsistency?

“You got your mind right, Luke?”

Good patriotic American Christian Republicans have no trouble seeing that a Texan like George W. Bush deserves an “attaboy” for his use of extreme questioning because the results saved American lives.  The Geheime Stastspoltzei used the same methods while questioning French citizens (AKA “frogs”) in an effort to root out members of the resistance and they faced charges of war crimes for their dastardly efforts, but if it could have been proven that by doing so, they had saved American lives, then all the expenses involved in the Nuremberg trials could have been avoided.

Can’t the Democrats see that sending American troops to Afghanistan today is in the same commendable tradition as sending volunteers to the Alamo? 

When Texas was invited to join the United States, they put a secession clause into the contract and by golly if Americans can’t live up to the contracts they sign, then hellfire, they are getting this capitalism stuff all wrong. 

Didn’t some great capitalist say “I don’t want lawyers who will tell me what I can and can not do; I want lawyer who will get done, what I tell them to do!”  Wasn’t whoever said that the same fellow who coined the phrase:  “Get ‘er done!”?  Would he have let some lawyer foil attempts to save American lives by using whatever interrogation methods were necessary to learn what a terrorist didn’t want to tell?  

In a capitalistic democracy the bottom line is king.

The big difference between George W. Bush’s search for WMD’s and Balloon Boy’s adventures is that 43 was smart enough to not let a six year old spill the beans on national TV.  The Bush bunch knew that once you make up a story, you stick to it and so the search for WMD’s in Iraq has become a sacred American tradition that is not questioned.

Letting a kid commit a blooper that “lets the cat out of the bag,” isn’t a good game plan.  If you are going to fool all of the people all of the time, you’d best select a Svengali spokesman who is erudite and eloquent.  Shouldn’t Donald Rumsfeld have offered his services to the Heene family?

Online Davy Crockett is credited with saying:  “Step down off your high horse, Mister.  You don’t get lard unless you boil the hog.”

The disk jockey will now play, Marty Robin’s “El Paso,” Kinky Friedman’s “Proud to be from El Paso,” and Bobby Fuller’s “I Fought the Law (and the Law Won).”  Now, it’s time for us to go down to Rose’s cantina.  Have a “Just Kidding!” type week.

October 5, 2009

Dick Cheney’s Startling New Memoir


September 14, 2009

Secret Republican House Organ


September 11, 2009

The Day Before 9/11

Filed under: Commentary,Opinion,Toon — Tags: , , , , , , — RS Janes @ 4:51 am


THIS IS NOT AN ACTUAL LETTER! It’s just indicative of the attitude of Republicans like Dick Armey on the day before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

September 10, 2009

The Tattlesnake – Obama Saves the Democrats (and Himself) Edition

In his speech to a joint session of Congress last night, did President Obama ‘hit it out of the park’ to use a dog-eared Big Media cliché? For the most part, he did. It was especially refreshing to hear someone in Washington say the word ‘lie’ as Obama did when he called out the Republicans for pushing their ‘Death Panel’ buncombe, and there were a few other ‘right on’ air pumping moments as well. He also clearly outlined what he wants in a health care bill, including a public option, a good first step to universal single-payer coverage, which is what we really need. As Keith Olbermann said on MSNBC post-speech, the most important thing was what Obama didn’t say – if Congress passes his plan, for-profit health insurers will finally be accountable to the elected government of We the People. Last night, President Obama came to work and earned his pay – now it’s time for the Democrats in Congress to do the same.

“I will not back down…we will provide you with a choice.”
– President Barack Obama in his speech to Congress on health care reform September 9, 2009, endorsing a public option.

“It will provide more security and stability to those who have health insurance. It will provide insurance to those who don’t. And it will lower the cost of health care for our families, our businesses, and our government.”
– President Barack Obama in his speech to Congress on health care reform September 9, 2009, speaking about his health care plan.

BTW, I think you’re going to see a quick uptick in Obama’s approval ratings – America saw a real adult president in action last night, quite a change (you can believe in) after eight years of the Bumbling Bush Boy.

© 2009 R.S. Janes.

June 25, 2009

GOP A-Holes on Parade


June 23, 2009

The Anti-Republican Reality Belt

Filed under: Commentary,Opinion,Toon — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — RS Janes @ 4:53 am


May 30, 2009

The Tattlesnake – On Celebrating Memorial Day in the Aftermath of Cheney’s New Rome Edition

Filed under: Commentary,Opinion — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — RS Janes @ 6:58 pm

My uncle was an Army Ranger during the Korean War who saw the results of ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ performed by the North Koreans on American GIs. Although there were no waterboardings mentioned that I recall, sleep deprivation, exposure to extreme temperatures, lengthy confinement in small spaces, prisoners kept for days with their head covered by burlap bags, and other forms of torture were routinely practiced. There were no ‘major organ failures,’ yet my uncle, and every one who saw the psychologically broken, hollow-eyed men released by the NK knew what they had ungone was torture, without question. He was proud to say that America didn’t torture our captives. So was my father, who witnessed the results of torture of American POWs in the Pacific Theater during WWII.

It was simple: America does not torture.

The Bush/Cheney Gang, supported by those other execrable toads Bybee, Bradbury and Yoo, have dishonored the service of my father, my uncle and millions of others who sacrificed their youth and risked or lost their lives for a Constitution and a form of government that adhered to its own laws and didn’t descend to barbarism out of panic or sadism or incompetence. Dick Cheney knew very well that Americans would not countenance torture so he had his lawyers invent another name for it, and he continues to dishonor our veterans, living and dead, and all Americans, justifying the crimes he committed in our name and without our permission by insisting he has protected us, when he is really only protecting himself. If Cheney had the kind of guts he is purported to have, he would come out and admit he ordered the torture and take responsibility for it, instead of wrapping himself in weasely euphemisms and the flag. But ‘tough guy’ Cheney doesn’t have the courage to do that — my father and my uncle had more courage in their little fingers than ‘desk jockey’ Cheney has displayed in his entire career. They risked their lives for their country; Dick Cheney has done nothing more than play pathetic political games for his own profit. To say he is disgusting is an understatement.

Perhaps the House and Senate, before voting on Bybee’s impeachment or, indeed, the prosecution of any of these war criminals, should be required to see a film of what American soldiers looked like after they had been subjected to the techniques outlined in the Bybee/Yoo memos, and allow men like my uncle, who have seen the terrible results of Cheney’s ‘enhanced interrogation techniques,’ and those who have experienced them first-hand, to testify in public. It might wake them up to the true horror of what the Bush/Cheney Regime has done in our name.

Also read:
“Everyone Should See ‘Torturing Democracy’”
Bill Moyers and Michael Winship, Common Dreams, May 30, 2009.

© 2009 R.S. Janes.

May 25, 2009

Memorial Day 2009


May 21, 2009

Beware of the Terrorist Supervillains!


April 30, 2009

Bush set to learn the “Paybacks are hell” lesson?

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 8:21 pm

Is time for some plea bargaining rapidly approaching?  If members of the military sent memos objecting to torture to the President, and if they were adept enough at bureaucratic gamesmanship to keep copies, will they accept a chance to do some plea bargaining in return for copies of those memos and their testimony against the President or is it likely that they will all decline the offer and display the  “take the bullet” attitude to protect a man who apparently bullied them into submission?  Sure he was able to make them follow orders they found objectionable then but, now, isn’t it soon going to be time for the former President to learn the truth behind the street wisdom that holds:  “Paybacks are hell!”?

April 27, 2009

Bush’s Torture Memo Lawyers Didn’t Read the Geneva Convention (or Their Oaths of Office)?

Seriously – Jay Bybee, Bush’s former Assistant Attorney General in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, apparently didn’t bother to read the Geneva Convention definitions of torture before giving advice to Bush and Cheney on what constitutes torture? And this guy’s still a federal judge?

“Judge [Jay] Bybee’s résumé tells us that he has four children and is both a Cubmaster for the Boy Scouts and a youth baseball and basketball coach. He currently occupies a tenured seat on the United States Court of Appeals. As an assistant attorney general, he was the author of the Aug. 1, 2002, memo endorsing in lengthy, prurient detail interrogation ‘techniques’ like ‘facial slap (insult slap)’ and ‘insects placed in a confinement box.’

“He proposed using 10 such techniques ‘in some sort of escalating fashion, culminating with the waterboard, though not necessarily ending with this technique.’ Waterboarding, the near-drowning favored by Pol Pot and the Spanish Inquisition, was prosecuted by the United States in war-crimes trials after World War II. But Bybee concluded that it ‘does not, in our view, inflict ‘severe pain or suffering.” ”
– Frank Rich, “The Banality of Bush White House Evil,” NY Times, April 26, 2009.

From the Geneva Convention:

Part II, Section I, Article 13, “General Protection of Prisoners of War”: “Prisoners of war must at all times be humanely treated. Any unlawful act or omission by the Detaining Power causing death or seriously endangering the health of a prisoner of war in its custody is prohibited, and will be regarded as a serious breach of the present Convention.” [...]

“Likewise, prisoners of war must at all times be protected, particularly against acts of violence or intimidation and against insults and public curiosity.”

Part III, Section I, Article 17, “Captivity”: “No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever. Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to any unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind.”
– From the “Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War,” adopted August 12, 1949 and signed by the United States on October 21, 1950. Published by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Everything proposed by Bybee and Yoo was illegal under both the Geneva Convention and US torture laws, and they should have known that. So should Bush, Cheney and the others who took an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution. Read the exact oaths below:


March 22, 2009

Scenes from the Neocon Paradise Illustrated

Filed under: Commentary,Opinion,Toon — Tags: , , , — RS Janes @ 11:34 am


March 16, 2009

Silence Implies Consent

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 3:39 pm

After the news stories broke last week that Seymour Hersh would be publishing a story about a death squad that reported directly to Dick Cheney, we sat back and waited for a tsunami of editorials decrying the appearance of the final link in the chain of similarities between the Nazis and the Bush Junta.

When the story about U. S. actions at Abu Ghraib Prison first broke, back when many U. S. newspapers had large staffs and would have had the resources to check for any relevant editorials from the Nuremberg trial era, did any one of them, some, or none; bother to check to see if any of the rules, which America helped establish, had been broken? Were the ones who remained silent giving their tacit approval to whatever happened?

Were there any editorials at the time of the Nuremberg War Crime Trials denouncing the moral turpitude of the members of the German Military who carried out the heinous atrocities committed to please the Fuhrer?

Should American journalists have established any differences between the two countries’ actions, to eliminate any possible misperception prevalent at that time?

Didn’t Americans, in the post WWII period, revel in their righteous indignation knowing that American troops would never (ever) resort to Gestapo methods of interrogation?

Didn’t the war crimes trials at Nuremberg, establish the principle that the German troops (as did all soldiers around the world) had a moral obligation to refuse to follow orders to commit atrocities?

Wouldn’t the legal principle that silence implies consent mean that if (speculation alert!) President George W. Bush is ever convicted of war crimes, then the American troops who remained silent were guilty of violating the principles established at Nuremberg? Wouldn’t it also mean that when the allegedly pro-Liberal mainstream media remained silent, they were giving their consent for what happened? Wouldn’t it also mean that members of the clergy in America were also giving their consent?

If the legal axiom that silence implies consent is valid, and if Bush is ever convicted, then some people who expressed patriotic enthusiasm for what was happening, would then have some need for confession and contrition, if they also have endorsed the principles established at Nuremberg.

If President Bush’s authorization of extreme questioning methods was not prohibited by the rules established at Nuremberg, then shouldn’t a Congressional investigation be held to clear up any doubt and misconceptions about what he knew, sanctioned, and ordered?

Ordinary citizens who want to establish that Americans did not consent to any violations of the Nuremberg rules of military conduct during war: write to your congressional representative and your two Senators and urge that a preliminary inquiry be conducted so that at least from this point forward, each citizen will know that he or she didn’t hide behind a “go along to get along” attitude that was the same as consent by silence endorsement of any possible Bush violations of the rules of war.

Readers can speak up now, by forwarding this column to various well known (bur curiously silent about the death squads) journalists and ask them to reveal their philosophy about what President George W. Bush did and didn’t do or they can continue to remain silent.

Robert Benchley said: “Drawing on my fine command of language, I said nothing. ”

Now, the disk jockey will play Simon and Garfunkel’s “Sounds of Silence” and we will quietly sneak out of here. Have a (Silence is) Golden week.

March 14, 2009

The Tattlesnake – Tales of Incredible GOP Slop Edition

“But after September 11th, having been being hit once, how could we take a chance that Saddam Hussein might not strike again?”
Ari Fleischer to Chris Matthews, March 11, 2009.

You Know When They’re Lying…

Not that I want them to ever figure this out, but if the GOP wishes to know why wide swatches of the American public no longer trusts them, aside from the Little King’s eight long years of rule by error, and an economy that had to be peeled from the bottom of the barrel, they might look at some of the incredible statements that emanate from the acrid mouths of the supply-siders.

For instance, Martian Talking Point Ari Fleischer appeared on the Matthews boy’s MSNBC variety hour the other day and spread it on thick for Bush’s Legacy. Out of the steaming heap of preposterous twaddle and dead-eyed slag with which he repeatedly insulted the audience, one statement, along with the outrageously delirious quote that heads this piece, was the ‘tell’ that removed all credibility from any other word he spoke – that’s when he implied that Republicans would never blame Obama should there be another 9/11. The remnants of Karl Rove’s viperous, vile, vicious, kick-below-the-belt Republican Party and their cohorts in Murdoch’s Media would give Obama a pass on a major terrorist attack? As Mark Twain once wrote, it’s enough to make a cow laugh.

“I thought they [CEOs] were honest.”
Jim Cramer to Jon Stewart, March 12, 2009.

Then there was CNBC’s Mad Money maniac Jim Cramer getting some needed schooling in journalism from Jon Stewart on The Daily Show last Thursday. As much as Cramer bobbed and weaved, Stewart kept landing solid punches, but the one line that took any faint breeze of credibility out of Cap’n Jimbo’s sails was the ludicrous, fall-on-the-floor funny take that he didn’t realize corporate CEOs were lying to him. This hyperactive lump of dross has been selling his 20 years of financial experience on Wall Street and he didn’t know CEOs LIE? Okay, either this guy is the dumbest wide-eyed hayseed to ever hit the big time, in which case CNBC should rip up his contract and send him back to Mayberry, or he has such contempt for average Americans that he thinks he can get away with this monumental sleazebag-of-the-month con job, and I’d pick Door Number Two here.

Since Obama’s election, we’ve heard a landfill of these absurd head-slapping ‘tells’ from the Party of Limbo – “We believe in small government”; “We honor the Constitution”; “We’re the party of fiscal responsibility”; “Bush beat al-Qaeda and won the war on terror”; “We’re against earmarks”; “It’s Obama’s recession” – and I hope the Republicants keep it up. No advertising from the opposition could more effectively doom the GOP than endlessly repeating something as patently ridiculous as, “We’re the party that cares about the people!”


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