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Conversation with Allende, 1970
03.28.2011
06:55 pm

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Things could have been different, if America hadn’t plotted against Chile’s first democratically elected Marxist President, Salvador Allende. For he wouldn’t have died in suspicious circumstances, after a military coup, financed by the US, put a halt to Allende’s plans for a “Chilean path to Socialism.”

That said, he did achieve much in his 3 short years in power. Allende’s government redistributed wealth; nationalized industries; improved health care and education; built houses; increased wages - which saw those at the lowest level of Chilean society able to feed and clothe themselves better than they had been able to before. Not bad for a first time President. Even so, Allende did have his detractors at home and abroad.

President Nixon considered him a major threat to US security, and vetoed any co-existence with the Chilean leader after Allende’s election in 1970. While Nixon’s B-movie goon-henchman, Henry Kissinger, told CIA director, Richard Helms, “We will not let Chile go down the drain.” Kissinger also said:

“The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves … I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its people.”

Over the next 3 years, the US destabilized Chile’s economy, funded opposition parties, and just stopped short of direct involvement in the military coup (led by General Pinochet) that ended Allende’s presidency.

In his farewell speech, on September 11 1973, Allende said:

“Workers of my country, I have faith in Chile and its destiny. Other men will overcome this dark and bitter moment when treason seeks to prevail. Keep in mind that, much sooner than later, the great avenues will again be opened through which will pass free men to construct a better society.”

Not long after this, on the same day, Allende “committed suicide” His death has been a focus of much controversy since, and in January 2011, Chilean authorities announced an investigation into Allende’s death.

In this historic interview, Conversation with Allende, filmed not long after his election, the new President:

articulates his basic beliefs and lays out the program he intended to persue as leader of the Popular Unity government. The conversation shows with rare candor Allende´s deep-seated belief in the Chilean Constitution and in the ability of his coalition to maintain control for the elected six-year period. He discusses the legal road to socialism, the anticipated problems with the Nixon Administration and the CIA, and how he planned to handle the antagonism of the Chilean bourgeoisie. He also talks about his early days as doctor, recounting how his medical career and contact with the poor led to his conversion to socialism.

 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Bob Herbert: ‘America has lost its way entirely’
03.28.2011
02:01 pm

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Class War
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Thinkers

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Sad to see that the great New York Times columnist Bob Herbert hung up his Opinion page soapbox yesterday. With Herbert’s departure and of course, Frank Rich leaving as well, the editorial page gravitas of The New York Times will be greatly diminished. How do you fill shoes like theirs? Herberts’s final piece, I gotta say is pretty heavy:

So here we are pouring shiploads of cash into yet another war, this time in Libya, while simultaneously demolishing school budgets, closing libraries, laying off teachers and police officers, and generally letting the bottom fall out of the quality of life here at home.

Welcome to America in the second decade of the 21st century. An army of long-term unemployed workers is spread across the land, the human fallout from the Great Recession and long years of misguided economic policies. Optimism is in short supply. The few jobs now being created too often pay a pittance, not nearly enough to pry open the doors to a middle-class standard of living.

Arthur Miller, echoing the poet Archibald MacLeish, liked to say that the essence of America was its promises. That was a long time ago. Limitless greed, unrestrained corporate power and a ferocious addiction to foreign oil have led us to an era of perpetual war and economic decline. Young people today are staring at a future in which they will be less well off than their elders, a reversal of fortune that should send a shudder through everyone.

The U.S. has not just misplaced its priorities. When the most powerful country ever to inhabit the earth finds it so easy to plunge into the horror of warfare but almost impossible to find adequate work for its people or to properly educate its young, it has lost its way entirely.

Nearly 14 million Americans are jobless and the outlook for many of them is grim. Since there is just one job available for every five individuals looking for work, four of the five are out of luck. Instead of a land of opportunity, the U.S. is increasingly becoming a place of limited expectations. A college professor in Washington told me this week that graduates from his program were finding jobs, but they were not making very much money, certainly not enough to think about raising a family.

There is plenty of economic activity in the U.S., and plenty of wealth. But like greedy children, the folks at the top are seizing virtually all the marbles. Income and wealth inequality in the U.S. have reached stages that would make the third world blush. As the Economic Policy Institute has reported, the richest 10 percent of Americans received an unconscionable 100 percent of the average income growth in the years 2000 to 2007, the most recent extended period of economic expansion.

Americans behave as if this is somehow normal or acceptable. It shouldn’t be, and didn’t used to be. Through much of the post-World War II era, income distribution was far more equitable, with the top 10 percent of families accounting for just a third of average income growth, and the bottom 90 percent receiving two-thirds. That seems like ancient history now.

The current maldistribution of wealth is also scandalous. In 2009, the richest 5 percent claimed 63.5 percent of the nation’s wealth. The overwhelming majority, the bottom 80 percent, collectively held just 12.8 percent.

This inequality, in which an enormous segment of the population struggles while the fortunate few ride the gravy train, is a world-class recipe for social unrest. Downward mobility is an ever-shortening fuse leading to profound consequences.

You can read the entire essay “Losing Our Way” at The New York Times

In a note following his final weekly essay, Herbert, who is now 66, writes that he’s off to “expand my efforts on behalf of working people, the poor and others who are struggling in our society.” Few writers in America could convey the plight of the working poor in America to the readers of the New York Times—in a way that they can understand—the way that Herbert has for nearly two decades. Obviously the NY Times Opinion page is no small propaganda platform from which to advocate for the good of the common man and it’s a disappointment, as a longtime reader, that he’s leaving this post. Isn’t the great Bob Herbert more effective here than he could be anywhere else?

Herbert in his high profile role at the Times editorial department, along with Frank Rich, has been at the moral center of that great organization, In my lifetime, I’ve read enough words written by Bob Herbert that I am convinced—and have been for a long time—that he’s one of the smartest and wisest people in this country. Herbert has been such an important contributor to the American group mind for decades. I hope he’ll write again for the Times, and soon. His career has been one spent in service of a better America and his voice will really—really, desperately—be missed in the current era of such wild historical shit and upheaval. around the world. I will miss reading Bob Herbert and I salute him. He’s a good man.
 
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A great interview with Bob Herbert from The Progressive

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Poet, prophet and redneck revolutionary: Joe Bageant R.I.P.
03.27.2011
08:22 pm

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Joe in Hopkins Village
 

After a vibrant life, Joe Bageant died yesterday following a four-month struggle with cancer. He was 64. Joe is survived by his wife, Barbara, his three children, Timothy, Patrick and Elizabeth, and thousands of friends and admirers. He is also survived by his work and ideas.”

Joe Bageant was an extraordinarily gifted writer and thinker.  Author of Deer Hunting With Jesus and countless essays and editorials on politics and society, Joe was a champion of human rights and a fearless critic of our government’s mistreatment of its working class. His writing is imbued with compassion but also a caustic wit that laid bare the working class’s tendency to do what is in their own worst interests. Watching Joe tear into the Teabaggers was like watching an extremely large feral cat play with its food. His death comes at a time when his voice is needed more than ever. I’m not sure there’s anyone out there that can fill the void.

This is not an obituary. I’m not trying to give the reader an overview of Joe’s life in a few paragraphs. I am sharing a few of my memories of Joe as a friend and writer.

The last time I saw Joe Bageant was in February of 2009. He helped save my life. I was in the middle of an agonizing divorce, a divorce I didn’t want. I was struggling with the most profound despair I’d ever experienced, barely hanging on, trying to keep my business, my home and my marriage together. I could see the marriage part was doomed but I held on, pretending to the people who worked for me and my customers that everything was okay. It was a pathetic charade and one that was exhausting to maintain. Between bouts of drinking and staring at walls, I somehow managed to create a theater of normalcy…until I couldn’t anymore. While all my friends were telling me to do the responsible thing, to stick it out for the sake of maintaining control of my business and home, it was an unending nightmare trying to sustain a sense of order while suffering through an emotional apocalypse. Money, the house, the business didn’t mean jackshit to me compared to having someone I deeply loved leave me, and leave ugly, after 18 years of being together. I knew I’d die by drink or my own hand if the pain continued.

It was in the darkest night of my dark night of the soul that I received a phone call from an old friend that I hadn’t heard from in at least a decade. It was Joe Bageant. He had no idea what I’d been going through, but I am convinced that somewhere deep down Joe had heard my sobs and felt my desperation. I told him of my situation and he gave me the only advice that made any real difference. Joe said “Marc, it’s alright to run from your problems.” I repeat, he said “Marc, it’s alright to run from your problems.” He was the only one of my friends to say what I had been thinking and feeling but was too emotionally conflicted to do: get the fuck out of Dodge, and get out now! And Joe backed it up by offering me his beach hut in Belize as a sanctuary. I packed my car and drove to the coffeehouse I owned with my wife. She was behind the counter waiting on a customer. I walked up to her and gave her a long and heartfelt kiss. I said goodbye. I haven’t seen her since.

Joe Bageant wasn’t big on doing the “responsible” things in life. He was big on telling the truth, when he wasn’t making colorful shit up, and he was real big at trying to change the fucked-up world we live in. Joe was responsible in that that he kept gas in the truck and food on the table, but Joe never did anything that he didn’t want to do. He got through life by really and truly being himself. Joe had the Buddha nature. He instinctively knew that life was a richer experience if you didn’t try to control or organize it according to outmoded belief systems. If responsibility entailed compromising your values, your compassion and happiness, then Joe was the most irresponsible man on the planet.

I know Joe made his rep as a progressive redneck with a conscience, but that was only one dimension of a complex and tricky dude. When I first met him in Boulder, Colorado in the early 70s, Joe was living in a converted school bus with his wife Cindy and son Timothy (named after Dr. Leary). On the surface they looked like your stereotypical hippie family. But when they spoke in their sultry southern drawls the words that came out of their mouths weren’t littered with hippie cliches or new age jargon. The Bageant family weren’t Aquarian age Clampetts, they were totally unique and totally magic. Cindy was an oldschool southern gal with the most bodacious Afro I’ve ever seen on a white chick and Joe was some kind of madcap hillbilly visionary. Joe laid the southern thing on thick, mostly to humorous effect. He knew his chicken-fried diphthongs would spook the longhairs who were still re-living the last reel of Easy Rider in their heads. Joe played with people’s expectations, he was a real mindfucker. Like Neal Cassidy, Joe had a sense of playfulness and knew how to drive a bus.

Boulder in the 70s was becoming a mecca for poets thanks to the Naropa Institute’s Jack Kerouac School Of Disembodied Poetics. The streets and bars were crawling with bards and beatniks. Ginsberg, Burroughs, Corso, Creeley, Di Prima, Waldman and dozens of other writers were reading, writing and speechifying in bookstores, schoolrooms and coffeehouses. The Muses had gathered over Boulder like a radiant syntactical cloud, raining down vowels and consonants on tongues of invisible angels. It was impossible to be around the energy of the moment and not think poetic thoughts.

Bageant wasn’t a writer, or much of one at the time. He wasn’t part of Boulder’s literary scene. But, as I would soon discover, Joe was paying very close attention to what was going on and secretly he wanted in. Years later, in an interview with Energy Grid magazine, Joe described Boulder’s poetry vortex and writing in general:

Nobody was sitting me on their knee and telling me the secrets of writing and magicianship. But I was accepted in their company and at parties and got to watch them live their lives creatively and with passion. I came to the conclusion that this writing thing and the arts in general had as much to do with how you lived as anything else. It was clear to me that I should watch and learn from people like Ginsberg, who was the most famous poet on the planet for a reason.

As far as writing goes, I was influenced by all the usual suspects of my generation, Tom Wolfe, Hunter Thompson, Gay Talese, William Styron, Genet, and especially all the Southern writers, Welty, Willie Morris… not to mention a lot of people who never got the respect they deserved, especially poets like Marc Campbell of Taos, New Mexico and Jack Collom of Boulder, Colorado. Their works really clued me in on the connection between words, your brain and your heart.

Joe mentions me in the above quote and I share it not to flatter myself but to give you some insight to Joe’s approach to the whole writing thing. I had no idea at the time that Joe gave a shit about my poetry or anybody’s. In some ways I think he may have actually been embarrassed by the notion of becoming a writer. It was too much of a “scene,” too bourgeois and narcissistic. I never saw him writing. I read him my poems and he would nod and smile and blurt out a “right on” now and then, but I had no idea that he was listening with the ears of a blossoming writer. When Joe eventually sprung his work on me it was jaw-droppingly good, fully formed, inventive and visionary. He worked the southern vernacular up into something that drifted on wings of song.

Poets are a competitive lot, lyrical gunslingers looking to lay waste to the latest hotshot wordsmith that pulls into town. I must admit that, along with just about every local poet in Boulder, Joe’s talent sent me racing to the typewriter to take up the gauntlet he had thrown down. Envy, jealousy and the competitive urge may lack virtue in and of themselves, but they can fuel great works. When poets say they only write for themselves, I respond “bullshit.” Go to any open poetry reading and watch the poets chomping at the bit to hit the lectern and spew their restless poesy. It makes the open mic night at a blues club look like the epitome of brotherly goodwill and graciousness. Joe had quietly been honing his craft in the shadows, but when he finally unleashed his writing it was one glorious monster.

On the one hand, Joe was a down-to-earth, unschooled, self-taught everyman who happened to have a brilliant analytical mind. On the other, he was a cosmic cowboy who had eaten his fair share of good LSD and knew that within the yin and yang of the material world lay dimensions of untold beauty and mystery. Instead of fracturing his point of view, Joe’s multiple and occasionally opposing characteristics played off of each other and deepened his perspective on all things, from the mundane to the magnificent. With the added element of a biting sense of humor and a healthy dose of cynicism, Bageant was son and brother to Lenny Bruce, Paul Krassner and Tim Leary. Eating peyote with Joe was like taking a fast ride down the highway of absolute reality while a hyperkinetic bluegrass band played the music of the spheres on a transistor radio made of human brain matter.

When I spent time with Joe in 2009 he was ill. He had problems with his liver (he had been a drinker in his life) and his energy level was somewhat diminished, but his mind was as quick and lucid as ever. He spoke of the many projects he was working on - his blog, a screenplay, memoirs, columns, essays, etc - and gave no hint that his days might be numbered. The word “cancer” was never spoken, so I assume he didn’t have it then or didn’t want to talk about it. I did detect in Joe a sense of urgency at the time. Upon reflection, it seemed as though he was trying to get as much done as swiftly as possible. He had passed the age of 60 and, along with his liver problems, I think he was very conscious of his own mortality. I was used to seeing Joe operating at a high level, but I was not used to seeing him in states of exhaustion. It’s usually spine-stiffening to see an old friend after years of no physical contact. Those are moments when you’re reminded that we’re not going to live forever and there are no exceptions. Not you, not me, not Joe.

Joe had chosen Belize as a retreat because he liked the small fishing village where he lived. It wasn’t a tourist area. It was dirt poor and Joe felt connected to the people living there. Hopkins Village was founded by Africans who had jumped from shipwrecked slave ships in the 1600s and forged out a life for themselves and defended it against the encroachment of European imperialists. These were Joe’s kind of people - independent and loving life despite hardship and adversity.

I had gone to Belize to cry on a friend’s shoulder, but Joe really wasn’t up for wallowing in pity. I mistook his coolness to my pain as being Buddhist detachment or his own self-absorption. As I said, I understand now that he intuitively knew his days on earth were limited and to waste it on the past, mine or his own, was to squander precious time. He had pulled me out the fire and that was enough. It was time to move on, brother. Losing your life always trumps losing your wife. He had saved my fucking life. What more did I want?

Any day spent with Joe was a spiritual adventure. He was always sparking on all cylinders, a speedfreak without the speed. Fortunately for all of us, Joe finished his memoir before he died. I have the feeling it was just the first volume of others to follow. I can’t wait to read it. Rainbow Pie: A Redneck Memoir comes out on March 30th and you can pre-order it here. Buy it and be happy to get a chance to spend some time with an extraordinary soul.

I have no idea what Joe would have done had he lived another 20 years. But I like the future he imagined for himself:

I plan to have a cottage in someplace like Andalusia, or French Martinique; someplace VERY cheap that I can go and write and snipe at the Republic of terror. One man never beat a mob in its own turf. I’ll stroke my wife’s sweet snatch, pet my dogs and give heart to my children (every one of whom is a good lefty) in some dry place where my arthritic fingers will loosen up enough to learn to play flamenco guitar. I’m serious folks! There is not a person on this earth who can say I never did what I promised… eventually. And every reader here, every son and daughter of good yeoman liberty and decency, as it is defined by the suffering poor of this planet, is invited to come visit, eat tapas and drink wine at my table. Solidarity!”

I drank wine at Joe Bageant’s table and it was sweet and the taste lingers still.
 

From Joe Bageant’s Lafayette Park Blues:

America: When we first stepped onto this playground of the national soul together, I truly believed you were not a bully, that you were the protector of queers and thick-tongued immigrants and laboring spiritual hoboes like me. I have tossed down your dreams straight from the bottle with no chaser, then bought a round for the house, because this is the goddam land of the free where even a redneck boy from Virginia can dream the dreams of bards, call himself a writer then walk away from dark ancestral ghosts to actually become one.

I believed it all, America. And I still fall for it if I let my guard down, just like the abused wife who believes she will not be punched again for that thousand and first time. All the neighbors — whole nations — believed in you too, despite the muffled screams of the black slave and the Red Indian coming from within your own house. But now you are lurking on the neighbors’ porches smelling of the halls of Abu Gharib and gun grease and there are no cops to call because you ARE the cops, so they are going to break down the doors and cut your balls off.

I can’t sleep at nights and don’t you pretend that you are asleep. Talk to me! You are going to have to say you love your native son or this whole terrible ecstatic thing of ours is over. You have changed over the many years we have been writhing together in this little power struggle of yours and mine — the one between little guy liberty and big authority. Now you have become the police court judge of my days and I dare not even leave your house for a quart of milk or a look at the stars. It’s too late for counseling. You have broken my heart one too many times. Cracked one too many ribs.

Time is short. Dawn will bring nothing good, I promise you.
Speak to me like you used to.
Right now.
Or it’s over.”

There’ll never be another like Joe…but that doesn’t mean we all can’t try. Power to the people and the poets!
 
In August of 2009 Richard Metzger interviewed Joe Bageant for Dangerous Minds: Deer Hunting With Jesus: Joe Bageant.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
‘Monterey Pop’ film maker Richard Leacock R.I.P.
03.25.2011
05:07 pm

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Richard Leacock is best known for his work with D.A. Pennebaker on the documentary Monterey Pop (1968). But prior to that, Leacock had established himself within the film community as a major figure in the “direct cinema” movement, a style of film making that shot scenes as they actually happened without manipulating the content and without narration - an American version of cinema verite.

Born in London, Leacock got his start making films when he was in his teens. He moved to the United States, went to Harvard where he studied physics in order to better understand the technology of filmmaking, became a war photographer, and eventually got a serious start as a film maker working with legendary director Richard Flaherty on The Louisiana Story (1948).

Leacock later went on to work with Albert Maysles filming John F. Kennedy on the campaign trail and as Norman Mailer’s cinematographer on the ill-fated Maidstone. He collaborated with Godard in the early 70s on the unfinished One American Movie, which under Leacock’s direction was completed as One Parallel Movie. The film is a fascinating look at American 60s cultural icons including Eldridge Cleaver and The Jefferson Airplane.

While Leacock’s reputation was high among film makers, it was his partnership with D.A. Pennebaker on the production of Monterey Pop that took him to another level in terms of popular success. MP contains some of the greatest rock and roll scenes ever put on film with epic performances by Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Otis Redding and The Who. Ironically, Leacock didn’t particularly care for rock music or rock musicians. He later said:

I didn’t appreciate that kind of bullshit.” As for Joplin: “She was always just full of drugs and alcohol. I remember her coming to look at the film afterwards at our place in New York. She was lying there stone drunk, sucking on a bottle of Southern Comfort.”

Mr. Leacock died at the age of 89 on March 23 at his home in France. His memoirs, The Feeling Of Being There, can be pre-ordered here.

One of Leacock’s personal favorites among his many films is also among the simplest: a lovely interview with film goddess Louise Brooks conducted in 1984.
 

 
The Jefferson Airplane shot by Leacock after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
IN prosecutor resigns after advising Walker to stage fake attack on himself!

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Above, Carlos F. Lam, former Indiana Deputy Prosecutor, now and forevermore, just an unemployable idiot!
 
The gods of Republican schadenfreude have once again smiled on America’s working class. However the events in this story took place so quickly that there was scarcely enough time for it to make the news nationally, so here’s a post-mortem on the dead as a doornail legal career of one utterly silly fellow,  a former Indiana deputy persecutor prosecutor—and arch Republican buffoon—by the name of Carlos F. Lam.

Amidst the more than 50,000 emails sent to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker during the heat of the anti-union uprising, a two paragraph email from Lam, shall we say, stuck out like a sore thumb. In it, a PUBLIC OFFICIAL WHO ACTUALLY HAS A LAW DEGREE wrote:

“If you could employ an associate who pretends to be sympathetic to the unions’ cause to physically attack you (or even use a firearm against you), you could discredit the unions. Currently, the media is painting the union protest as a democratic uprising and failing to mention the role of the DNC (Democratic National Committee) and umbrella union organizations in the protests. Employing a false flag operation would assist in undercutting any support that the media may be creating in favor of the unions. God bless, Carlos F. Lam.”

According to the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism:

Carlos F. Lam submitted his resignation shortly before the Center published a story quoting his Feb. 19 email, which praised Walker for standing up to unions but went on to say that the chaos in Wisconsin presented “a good opportunity for what’s called a ‘false flag’ operation.”

At 5 a.m. Thursday, expecting the story to come out that day, Lam called his boss, Johnson County, Ind., Prosecutor Brad Cooper, and told him he had been up all night thinking about it. “He wanted to come clean, I guess, and said he is the one who sent that email,” Cooper said.

He came into the office and gave his resignation verbally, Cooper told the Daily Journal in Franklin, Ind. The resignation was announced after the Center’s initial story was published.

Email headers with detailed IP addresses suggested that the message was sent from Indianapolis.

Lam, an Indianapolis resident, at first told the Center he never wrote it.

Reached Tuesday by phone at the number listed on the email, Lam confirmed his email address matched the Hotmail address appearing on the Walker email, but said he had never written to Walker. “I am flabbergasted and would never advocate for something like this, and would like everyone to be sure that that’s just not me,” he said, after being read the email.

Except that it was him. And he SIGNED IT WITH HIS OWN NAME and even added his telephone number! And it came from his IP address! Of course it’s not him, why, a um, a UNION THUG must have sent it!!!!

Shit, these Republicans crack me the fuck up! How can someone able to pass the bar exam not realize this is a PREPOSTEROUSLY stupid thing to do???

From Mother Jones:

Lam wasn’t alone in proposing to undermine unions with sleazy tactics during the Wisconsin protests. The day after Lam sent his email, radio talk show host Mark Williams [former Tea Party Express leader] wrote a blog post urging his followers to cause trouble at a Sacramento solidarity event by wearing Service Employees International Union T-shirts and say outrageous things to embarrass the union. “If I do get the ‘in’ I am going to do my darnedest to get podium access and take the mic to do that rant from there,” Williams wrote. “With any luck and if I can manage the moments to build up to it, I can probably get a cheer out of the crowd for something extreme.” This, of course, was the same Mark Williams who infamously wrote a blog post in the voice of black slave who said that slavery was “a great gig.”

You expect such buffoonery from Williams. But from a deputy attorney general and a county prosecutor? All in all, it’s been a rough month or so for prosecutors in the great state of Indiana.

That last sentence, should you have already forgotten, refers also to disgraced Indiana state Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Cox, who wrote on his Twitter account that riot police should “use live ammunition” in the Wisconsin capital against union members and protesters. When Mother Jones reported on this matter on Feb. 23, Cox was fired from his job.As he should have been.

With all their new-found free time, Cox and Lam will have lots of time to consider the fact that career-wise, they’re both KAPUT in the legal profession. Who would hire lawyers THIS STUPID? An idiotic, loose cannon attorney is the last thing any respectable law firm requires. These stunts will follow them around on Google like shit on their shoes for the rest of their lives and I sure hope they’ve both got some INSANE debt from law school. Imagine what it must be like googling yourself and reading articles like this one calling you an abject moron and there are tens of thousands of them! And if either one of them is married, good luck holding onto your wife!

Indiana prosecutor Carlos F. Lam resigns after recommending Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker stage fake attack against himself (Post Crescent)

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Michele Bachmann for President!?!?!

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YES!!! It really looks like the dingbat MN Congresswoman from what must be the lowest IQ district in all of America—they elected her didn’t they? I rest my case—is going to, or has already, if you’ve been watching her behind the scenes moves, thrown her hat in the ring for the Republican Presidential nomination. CNN reports that she’s planning to form a national exploratory committee in June, if not earlier and she’s already making moves in Iowa (where her office could open as early as this weekend) New Hampshire and South Carolina. Comedians, lefty pundits and every single Democrat in the nation are praying to the gods of schadenfreude that Michele Bachmann makes good on her threat. Hell, the woman might even be able to keep the great Garrison Keillor from retiring!

Me? Lets just say, I think it will be good for democracy…. and leave it at that!

One extremely funny thing to contemplate is “Who would be her running mate?” should she secure the nomination (in some fucked up parallel universe, I mean). Looking at the field of all possible candidates—and American electoral politics being what they are—it would almost assuredly be a male Republican. Which one of them would to craven enough to take a strap-on up the ass and be her bitch boy? Obviously, figuratively speaking, that would be a requirement for the job.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Is the Tea party’s brew getting weaker?
03.23.2011
11:44 am

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Has the Tea party movement burned itself out, save for all but the most fanatical types? It’s difficult to draw definitive conclusions from the attendance of just one (very) poorly populated event, but when the event in question is in Florida and they can’t even find the requisite number of cranky, dumb old Republicans to fill the seats for something called the “Save America Convention,” you can’t really help but wonder if something’s gone seriously off the boil:

With Fox News host Glenn Beck’s ratings down and the biggest tea party rally eclipsed by a recent pro-labor rally in Wisconsin, could the tea party be losing steam? One new sign: a big tea party convention in Tampa, FL this weekend — headlined by such conservative favorites as Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), Fox News Judge Andrew Napolitano, and former GOP Congressman Tom Tancredo — attracted only about 300 people. The Save America Convention’s website lists 25 guest speakers, meaning there was one speaker for every 12 attendees. If one includes the 13 musicians and other performers listed as entertainment, that ratio drops to one for every 7 and a half.

Joseph Farah, the founder of the birther news website World Net Daily, who spoke at the event, promised “lots of opportunities for interactivity between participants and presenters.” Indeed, this photo from the convention posted by Saint Petersblog suggests attendees would have little competition to meet Farah and the other speakers’

Aimed at the farthest right of the far right, the three-day event touted a sponsorship from the John Birch Society and an appearance by Stewart Rhodes, the founder of the Oath Keepers militia. But this kind of uber-conservative fare has had no trouble attracting bigger crowds not long ago. There’s no video of the event — which didn’t include a single female speaker — since “video recorders and audio rendering devices are prohibited and would be grounds for removal without refund.”

Probably because they desperately didn’t want images like the above pic getting out. A videotape would only have made this wingnut micro-gathering seem even more pathetic. If a picture paints a thousand words, what would you title this one?

Via Think Progress

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Stupid or Evil? MN GOP tries to outlaw the poor having more than $20 in cash!

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What’s next from the folks who gave us John Kline, Michele Bachmann and Erik Paulsen? You don’t wanna know… This one is fucking breathtaking.

I’m going to debut a new category on Dangerous Minds for this doozy: “Stupid or Evil?”

From Fight Back News:

St. Paul, MN – Minnesota Republicans are pushing legislation that would make it a crime for people on public assistance to have more $20 in cash in their pockets any given month. This represents a change from their initial proposal, which banned them from having any money at all.

On March 15, Angel Buechner of the Welfare Rights Committee testified in front of the House Health and Human Services Reform Committee on House File 171. Buechner told committee members, “We would like to address the provision that makes it illegal for MFIP [one of Minnesota’s welfare programs] families to withdraw cash from the cash portion of the MFIP grant - and in fact, appears to make it illegal for MFIP families to have any type of money at all in their pockets. How do you expect people to take care of business like paying bills such as lights, gas, water, trash and phone?”

House File 171 would make it so that families on MFIP - and disabled single adults on General Assistance and Minnesota Supplemental Aid - could not have their cash grants in cash or put into a checking account. Rather, they could only use a state-issued debit card at special terminals in certain businesses that are set up to accept the card.

The bill also calls for unconstitutional residency requirements, not allowing the debit card to be used across state lines and other provisions that the Welfare Rights Committee and others consider unacceptable.

Buechner testified, “We’ll leave you with this. It is not right to punish a whole group because of the supposed actions of a few. You in this room could have a pretty rough time if that was the case. It is not right to stigmatize and dehumanize women living the hard life of trying to raise children while living 60% below the poverty level. It is not right to use racist, bumper-sticker hate to inflict human misery for political gain.”

These people are evil and stupid. What’s happening to this country that such bizarre people can make it into public office? THIS is what you get when you vote Republican or sit out the midterm elections.

Via Crooks and Liars

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Republicans avert ‘NPR emergency’
03.18.2011
01:22 pm

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Fantastic. New York Congressman Anthony Weiner razzes the Republicans over the “NPR emergency.”

I love Weiner’s appearances on Sean Hannity’s program. He always treats Hannity with the respect he deserves, like he’s talking to a child or a complete idiot…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Protesters in DC crash fundraiser for Wisconsin GOP

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Yay team! Yesterday protesters crashed a fundraising event for the Wisconsin Republican Party in Washington D.C. A Salon videographer was there:
 

 
Via Scott Walker Watch

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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