The first of the Manson murders: Aug. 9, 1969

Another bizarre anniversary today. Forty years ago, Richard Milhous Nixon resigned as president of the United States.

But 45 years ago, the first of a series of crazed murders occurred in California:

Charlie Manson is a psychopath. His followers were insane sheep. Patricia Krenwinkel was a member of the flock. She’s still in jail and as poignant as this interview is, she should stay there for the rest of her life..

If you don’t know what happened that day 45 years ago, the best book about it was “Helter Skelter” by Vincent Bugliosi, the prosecutor of the Manson family,

Here’s how crazy the Manson clan was. They believed a song that Paul McCartney wrote because he wanted to make a really loud song, was, in their reality, and I have to quote Wikipedia on this:

A part of the Beatles’ coded prophecy of an apocalyptic war in which racist and non-racist whites would be manoeuvered into virtually exterminating each other over the treatment of blacks. Upon the war’s conclusion, after black militants would kill off the few whites they would know to have survived, Manson and his companions would emerge from an underground city in which they would have escaped the conflict. As the only remaining whites, they would rule blacks, who, as the vision went, would be incapable of running America. Manson employed “helter skelter” as the term for this sequence of events.

I try to refrain from profanity in my postings, I can’t come up with any other way to describe this: That was some fucked up shit!

President Nixon announces he will resign: Aug. 8, 1974

I was 19 and had just returned to where I was staying after coming from a movie double feature: “The Devil in Miss Jones” and “Deep Throat.”

Which made this a surreal yet appropriate combination, especially since everybody pretty much considered Richard Nixon the Devil, and Deep Throat was the person who led the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein to the truth of Watergate.

The GOP rebranding strategy for 2016

It’s 2014, which means we’re gearing up for the 2016 presidential election. (Yeah, we have the midterm congressional elections coming up, but now is when the messaging for 2016 actually begins.

So which Republicans are among the likely presidential contenders, and what are they doing?

From the Washington Post:

Since giving up on cowboy boots (the arched heels agitated his back) and wearing hipster glasses, [Rick] Perry has a look more bookish than buckaroo — and more in keeping with his attempt at intellectual reinvention.

What was it that Rick Perry did that made him look dumb, anyway?

Yeah, glasses. That’ll fix everything. Because we all know that people who wear glasses are smart. Here’s what the site Eye Candy Optical says:

Scientific research has shown that we do perceive people who wear glasses as more intelligent when compared to those who do not wear glasses (As an aside, we also view people who wear glasses as more competent, and more industrious according to a recent article in Psychology News and Reviews).  Count me in!

Although perception is not a reality, you may give yourself a leg up just by putting on a proper pair of specs.  Let’s face it….it couldn’t hurt! In today’s competitive world anything that gives us a little extra boost (real or perceived) is worth a try.

Rick PerryNow there’s a smart looking man!

And since looking intelligent is part of the strategy for potential Republican presidential candidates, what other ways will they present themselves to the American voter?

Again from the Washington Post:

The last time Republicans began running for president, there was a race to be the most confrontational, the most unbending. Mitt Romney said he was “severely conservative” and got caught mocking the “47 percent.” Rick Perry called the Federal Reserve “treasonous.” Rick Santorum said he was “for income inequality.”

What a difference a disastrous election, two years and terrible polling make. If 2012 was a contest to be the toughest, the 2016 presidential Republican primary is likely to include a competition to appear the most compassionate.

The rebranding effort is taking center stage this week with pleas for more compassion from four potential GOP presidential candidates: Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Rand Paul (Ky.), House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (Wis.) and former Florida governor Jeb Bush. The Republicans are working to redefine the GOP as kinder, more connected to the daily economic anxieties of poor Americans — and better able to win national elections.

Remember the last compassionate conservative?

But how do you look compassionate?

image11406142490That’s Paul Ryan on the right at a heroin clinic, looking compassionate. The GOP message had been, “You use heroin, you go to jail.” Now, let’s pull a gem from the past, quoting George Bush (the smarter): “Message: I care.”

We are not dealing in substance anymore. This is all about illusion. Nobody is going to read these guys speeches or cross reference their statements in newspaper articles. This is the first step in the Fox News election strategy.

We know what the message will be, and how they’re going to present it. So what can we do?

Man on the moon: July 20, 1969

And here’s a Nova episode on the lunar mission:

I’ve probably said this before, but this was the greatest human achievement in history. So it’s frustrating to think that what I consider the most outstanding event of my lifetime happened 45 years ago.

C’mon, people. We’re now in the 21st century. We can do better. We already did.

Can a Democrat win the Mississippi U.S. Senate race?

Political junkies are in a frenzy today because Mississippi Republican Thad Cochran won his Republican primary race Tuesday in a close race against a Tea Party firebrand.

That, to the rest of America, neither comes as a surprise nor, in reality, generates any interest anywhere. Americans aren’t at the edge of their seats wondering who would be the Republican nominee for the Mississippi U.S. Senate race.

Cochran’s opponent, state Sen. Chris McDaniel, is a Tea Party poster boy. Which means he’s pretty much a douche. How bad is he?

Well, this is a television ad that Cochran’s campaign didn’t broadcast against him:

That’s pretty insane. But how Cochran, a conservative Republican (Isn’t that redundant, though? Those are the only kinds of Republicans) won against a Tea Bagger is even crazier (from the Washington Post):

In an e-mail sent late last week, the black Democratic mayor of Vicksburg, Miss., urged 2,000 supporters to vote Tuesday for Sen. Thad Cochran, crediting the Republican for securing federal money for key local projects and calling him one of the city’s “best economic development tools.”

The voice of an African American state lawmaker was heard in a recorded phone call Tuesday asserting that Cochran stood between the state and a tea party conservative who would do away with government services. And full-page ads in black newspapers lauded the senator as a champion of historically black colleges.

An intensive strategy over the past three weeks to draw black voters to the polls and spare Cochran from what once seemed like a certain defeat at the hands of a tea party challenger in Tuesday’s GOP runoff appears to have worked.

Voter data shows that turnout rose sharply in Tuesday’s election in black areas of the state over the initial June 3 primary, a runoff made necessary when Chris McDaniel narrowly edged Cochran but was unable to win 50 percent of the vote.

That suggested that not only did traditionally Democratic black voters turn out on behalf of the state’s 76-year-old white Republican senator, but they may have provided his margin of victory.

What? I don’t get it. I mean, I do get it. It was a brilliant political move by the Cochran campaign. But let’s face it. The Republican party didn’t rise in the South because it was appealing to black voters.

Anyway, McDaniel is pissed. He refuses to concede. Something about “liberal Democrats” intruding on Republican elections.

But no laws were broken. And who’s to stop McDaniel from waging a write-in campaign in the general election.

Which brings us to the headline.

If McDaniel runs and splits the Tea Bagging crazies from the Republican Conservatives, it seems like the Democrat could actually win the damn thing in November. Unless African-American voters rally around Cochran again.

Mississippi Democrats wanted McDaniel to win, because … hell, look at the ad again. And there’s tons of additional McDaniel gems on women and minorities (he was a national right-wing talk radio phenom for a while). Given the way the GOP has consistently snatched defeat from certain victory by putting Tea Party crazies up for elections (Akin in Missouri, Mourdock in Indiana, Angle in Nevada, O’Donnell in Delaware), the Dems felt they had a shot in Mississippi.

But then, black people saved the incumbent Republican, and screwed that strategy up.

I think black voters, though, will probably go to the Democrat if this meme is passed around:

Impeachment is a two-step process that starts in the House. All it takes is a simple majority of that chamber to approve a single article of impeachment against the president for “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” Once that happens, a president is forever branded as having been impeached. President Andrew Johnson (1868) and President Bill Clinton (1998) share that distinction. President Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 before the full House could vote to impeach him.

To officially remove a president from office, two-thirds of the Senate must vote to convict him on those articles of impeachment. Johnson and Clinton were not convicted. Obama could share the same or worse fate. A Republican-controlled Senate could lead to Obama becoming the third president impeached and the first ever to be removed from office.

 

Obama has two years left in office. Time for the Democrats in Mississippi to step up and make sure he stays there. And if I’m the Democrat in the Mississippi race and McDaniel is still running, I’m going to make sure Cochran answers the question: Would you vote to impeach President Obama? If he answers yes, let’s see how much of the black vote he keeps.

Happy birthday Jean-Paul Sartre … or nothingness

Jean-Paul Sartre was born 109 years ago today.

Whatever.

If you studied French or philosophy in college, chances are you got hit with the rot of moral decay in “Les Mouches/The Flies” or the “Hell is other people” in “Huis Clos/No Exit.” Sartre was one of the major voices of existentialism, which in historical context could have been just a passing moral philosophy. But then the Nazis came along and concepts of morality, religion and life’s meaning were shattered by the physical and mental destruction they unleashed on humanity. And people wondered: Where do you find meaning in a meaningless world?

Sartre said:

I must be without remorse or regrets as I am without excuse; for from the instant of my upsurge into being, I carry the weight of the world by myself alone without help, engaged in a world for which I bear the whole responsibility without being able, whatever I do, to tear myself away from this responsibility for an instant.

He won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1964. According to the prize committee:

[T]he existentialism Sartre formulated and popularized is profoundly original. Its popularity and that of its author reached a climax in the forties, and Sartre’s theoretical writings as well as his novels and plays constitute one of the main inspirational sources of modern literature. In his philosophical view atheism is taken for granted; the “loss of God” is not mourned. Man is condemned to freedom, a freedom from all authority, which he may seek to evade, distort, and deny but which he will have to face if he is to become a moral being. The meaning of man’s life is not established before his existence. Once the terrible freedom is acknowledged, man has to make this meaning himself, has to commit himself to a role in this world, has to commit his freedom. And this attempt to make oneself is futile without the “solidarity” of others.

But we’re in another age now. How would Sartre be received in a world of social media and Internet access?

Philosophie.fr Bulletin Board - 1936
Sartre died in 1980. Now, you have to carry the weight of the world by yourself alone without help.

I’m busy.

The right’s new hero

TMW2014-05-14color

Did you notice how when the GOP’s favorite rancher and Tea Party terrorist, Cliven Bundy, got in touch with his inner racist, Benghazi all of a sudden became the urgent Fox News/Republican talking point? That and new criticism of Hillary Clinton?

Karl Rove suggested at a conference Thursday that Hillary Clinton suffered a “traumatic brain injury,” according to the New York Post’s Page Six.

“Thirty days in the hospital? And when she reappears, she’s wearing glasses that are only for people who have traumatic brain injury?” Rove told the audience, as quoted by the Post. “We need to know what’s up with that.”

The Post reported that Rove repeated the claim several times at the conference, where he was speaking alongside former Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs and CBS correspondent Dan Raviv. He urged Republicans to continue pressing for answers about the Benghazi attacks and said voters deserve to know about the former secretary of state’s health issues if she decides to run for president, according to the Post.

The scumbaggery never ceases to amaze. (You know, of course, that the New York Post is owned by Rupert Murdock, who, coincidence of coincidences, owns Fox News.)

Divide and conquer: The GOP solution to the poor

North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis in action:

Do you really need a translation? When a Republican says:

And we need to get those folks to look down at these people who choose to get into a condition that makes them dependent on the government and say at some point, “You’re on your own. We may end up taking care of those babies, but we’re not going to take care of you.” And we’ve got to start having that serious discussion.”

These people means “those people” because for a GOP crowd it’s always a matter of Us vs. Them. And for a Republican, who might “them” be?

Let’s stop pretending we don’t know when Republicans are speaking in code. Tillis gets away with what he’s saying because he knows how to use the code words. Listen to the message: Thom Tillis is saying EXACTLY THE SAME THING Cliven Bundy is saying. The difference? Bundy was just using the language of the past, when you could run as a politician in the South against the “nigra”.

Time to quote the godfather of racial code Lee Atwater:

You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger”—that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites.… “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.”

For anyone running against the GOP, it isn’t a matter of divide and conquer. There’s no difference between the sophisticates and the troglodytes in that party. The focus has to be conquer.