Monday, April 28, 2008


Chris Floyd on Empire Burlesque quotes Barack Obama’s promise to continue America’s foreign policy of continued dominance. In a late March AP story, Obama says:

"The truth is that my foreign policy is actually a return to the traditional bipartisan realistic policy of George Bush's father, of John F. Kennedy, of, in some ways, Ronald Reagan...."

The rest of Floyd’s article is a bill of criminal particulars against the three presidents Obama names as models.

After making a thorough case for foreign policy despair, Floyd says this:

…an Obama presidency, like a H. Clinton presidency, will mean some measure of genuine mitigation of some of the worst depredations of the Bush Regime.

…but no one who openly embraces the foreign policy of Ronald Reagan and George HW Bush, or John F. Kennedy for that matter, is going to change in any substantial way the militarist-corporate machine that has already destroyed our democracy.

… “Should [we vote] to mitigate some small measure of the mass suffering wrought by this machine; or does that action, that participation, merely legitimize the machine, and strengthen it?”

That is the only question at issue in this election.

----- o -----

Friday, April 25, 2008



Some psychologists assert that telling a successful lie is a key moment in childhood ego-development.

I believe that there are no grown-ups who have never told a lie.

Yet, it is considered serious business to call someone a liar. Like calling a man a fucker—how could that be an insult?

Lies are more or less evil depending on contexts and outcomes.

While everyone has told a lie, not everyone has, or would lie in every context regarding every outcome.

So, when then-Mayor Willie Brown defended his police chief’s newly revealed resume-fib by saying, “Everyone lies on their resume,” we have to apply a truth-test.

Brown’s statement is obviously false. There are actually some people on the face of the earth who have no need, and perceive no need, to lie on their resumes.

Telling oneself that everyone does it makes it easier to do wrong.

So, we shouldn’t be surprised that Willie Brown’s former mistress, and presumable mentoree, turns up defrauding the federal government of $5-10 Million of border protection money. [Sweet Melissa breaks it down beautifully.]

Regarding Kamala and Willie Brown I recall the ending of Yeats’ Leda and the Swan.

Did she put on his knowledge with his power
Before the indifferent beak could let her drop?

Kamala Harris has “taken responsibility” for the false claims. I’m pretty sure this DOESN’T mean she’s repaying the money out of her own pocket.

Hopefully this puts an end to her political ambitions.

We hear that the year-old Baker’s Dozen gang-assault case has resulted in dismissal of all charges except one misdemeanor charge against one of the many assailants.

Insufficient evidence was turned up by an investigation delayed by City Powers for two weeks. We now know that D.A. Harris was too busy creating false claims to worry about mere felonious assaults.

Popular gay Ed Harrington was City Controller at the time of the fraud. He reportedly participated in, and has asserted “good intentions” in the matter.

The money returned to the Federal Government goes into the city’s books as a “defalcation.” It is a controller’s highest duty to prevent “defalcations.”

Harrington was moved from City Controller to an appointed commission just a few days before the Harris-Harrington-Hennessy Federal fraud case was revealed.

Such is our local Democratic Party.

----- o -----

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Mayor Newsom’s fiancée, Jennifer Siebel, is both beautiful and photogenic (independent qualities) and she looks great in couture.

Not many local trophy wives, at least per SFLuxe, who have all three talents and Jennifer Siebel is one of them.

Ms Siebel is a first-place trophy, at least in the looks department. [Click on picture for source.]

And she has guts.

Women with weaker stomachs might shy away from suitor whose past infidelity has been so public, and repugnant. Not Ms Siebel.

More “prudent” women would never have gone swimming in the snark tank of SFist’s comments section.

And only the bravest of San Francisco mayoral wives-to-be would register as a member of the American Independent Party (as reported this morning by Matier and Ross).

San Franciscans pretend to be liberal or progressive, and, on national issues this is sometimes true. Certainly most San Franciscans are registered Democrats. So people like Dianne Feinstein and Gavin Newsom, (who are Nelson Rockefeller Republicans at heart) have to work within the Democratic Party, or leave the city.

In San Francisco where the Republican party is déclassé, the American Independent Party is only slightly less anathema than the American Nazi Party, or, maybe, the KKK.

Republican is the party of Lincoln.

Democrat is the party of Roosevelt and Kennedy.

American Independent is the party of George Wallace and Curtis LeMay.

While we don’t share Ms Siebel’s extreme right-wing views, we salute her for standing up for her values as a proud white woman.

Of course, Jennifer is learning that such candor might hurt her future husband’s political career (as if) and so she has to go along with the “mistake” story, claiming she checked “American Independent” on the voter registration form when she meant to check “Decline to State.”

Just like that—she goes from “proud white woman” to “ignorant beyond belief.”

Being a political wifey is almost like a job. What a team Jen and Gav will make!

----- o -----

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


One of the great scenes of the old Mary Tyler Moore show is when Mary invites her boss, Lou Grant (Ed Asner) to her apartment for dinner. Mary, of course, is nervous and wants everything to go right.

She offers Lou a drink, he says “bourbon on the rocks,” and follows Mary into her little kitchen. Mary puts ice in a large glass, then pours some bourbon into a shot glass slow and careful because her hands are shaking.

Lou grabs the whiskey bottle out of May’s hand, saying “That’s not how you make a drink… here’s how you make a drink.”

Lou pours directly from the bottle until the large glass is about half full, and exclaims, “THAT’s how you make a drink.”

Mary is non-plussed. She looks at the nearly-full shotglass in her hand and asks Lou, “What about this?”

Lou looks at the shotglass, grabs it from her hand, and knocks it back.

And Mary does a comic take.

Because it’s more visually complex, movies tend to portray boilermakers (shot and a beer) as depth-charges (shotglass in the beer). But, as I learned as a kid, and as Wikipedia points out:

Classically, the liquor is drunk in one gulp and chased immediately by the beer.
Then after a brief discussion of delivery methods, (sidecars, depth charges etc) Wikipedia states clearly:

Guides differ on the preferred technique, but all agree that speed is the essence of this drink: one generally aims to drink a boilermaker quickly.
This is fairly common knowledge among American working-class drinkers.

Because it’s a working class drink, and a heavy-drinker’s drink, boilermakers usually include well whiskey and draught beer (the cheapest).

So yesterday we see Hillary, full Deerhunter mode, doing a barroom photo-op attempting to drink a boilermaker.

We see Hillary sipping at the shotglass, reportedly filled with Crown Royal, a Canadian whiskey, which costs a lot more than the bar’s well-whiskey.

Then we see her sipping at a beer mug (full pint).

It’s wrong in so many ways.

This shows that Hillary isn’t just elitist, her entire staff is elitist—not one of them could tell her how to drink a boilermaker.

When it comes to booze, an American presidential candidate need remember only four words:

Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.

As jazz is to the world of music, so Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is to the world of booze--a uniquely American contribution.

Maybe there’s some local Penn. custom of drinking Crown Royal, that imported Canadian is superior to American stuff, with the crown and all, but this would be self-loathing and shouldn’t be encouraged.

And the beer should be served in a straight-sided glass that holds maybe eight ounces, not in a big old sixteen-ounce pub-style mug. The whole idea is down-the-hatch, and, after a hard day in the coal mines, who has the energy (or breath) to chug sixteen ounces?

Also, what kind of a working-class bar would allow a woman her age to drink standing up? Working class men would have offered their seats to her and refused to sit while Hillary remained standing.

The cameras would have enjoyed Hillary’s thigh-flesh draping over the sides of a barstool, like a real working-class woman.
Not gonna happen.

----- o -----

Monday, April 14, 2008


When Barack Obama discusses ultra-sensitive topics he challenges the accepted wisdom that such issues are “off-limits.”

We can’t talk about the historical crimes against democracy committed by the US government.

We can’t suggest that black people in America tend to get a raw deal.

And we can’t talk about the working class because we don’t have a working class.

To raise these issues indicts corporate big media and their overpaid stooges who recite their corporate version the news.

Eighty percent of Americans including congressional panels and even members of the Warren Commission are convinced that if he shot at Kennedy at all that day, Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone and therefore there was a conspiracy.

But 99.9% of corporate media talking heads deride such an idea. Anyone who suggests that Oswald didn’t fire the “magic bullet” is labeled by them as a conspiracy nut.

Why does the media respond this way? Because they can’t stand to admit that they muffed the biggest story of post-war America.

Why are they horrified by talk about race and class? Because they have staked their careers on the notion that you can’t talk about those things—that those problems are intractable. They are wrong, just as they were wrong about the Kennedy assassination.

The wave of criticism on MSNBC against Obama’s recent comments on poor-whites is led by new show-host David Gregory, and by Joe Scarborough who seems to be working the angle day and night.

Remember, Scarborough was a Republican congressman from the Florida panhandle with a business constituency and an ignorant, racist, poor-white votership. Why are we not surprised that he doesn’t like Obama?

David Gregory now hosts “Race for the White House” weekday afternoons on MSNBC.

You remember David Gregory, Karl Rove’s back-up dancer. They may as well have been fellating.

In my view, journalists shouldn’t socialize with the people they cover. A journalist is less free if the choice to report something, or not, might affect his or her social calendar.

The major TV journalists are paid enough that they can afford to socialize with the ruling class—at least enough to make themselves presentable at events.

“Off the record” means the journalist agrees not to share valuable information with his or her readership.

Like, who’s your friend?

Stephen Colbert will not be invited back.

David Gregory will.

----- o -----

Friday, April 11, 2008


After her swearing-in yesterday, California Congressional District 12 term filler-outer Jackie Speier made a few comments which a sycophantic SFGate reported as a “fiery speech,” supposedly against the war, that caused “some” Republicans to “boo and walk out of the house chamber.”

Some interpret this as a hopeful sign. I have to admit it’s preferable that my congressperson receive Republicans’ boos rather than their cheers.

Is it time for me to soften my skepticism? I looked at the Congressional Record.

The war-related parts of Speier’s comments were quoted in the SFGate article in their entirety. It wasn’t a long speech against the war: here’s all she said about the war, per the Congressional Record:

While holding over 60 community meetings across my district this year, the most common question was, ``When will we get out of Iraq?'' It was asked by voters across the spectrum: veterans, students, parents, the prosperous, middle class, those still working towards their piece of the American Dream.

The process to bring the troops home must begin immediately. The President wants to stay the course, and a man who wants to replace him suggests we could be in Iraq for a hundred years.

But, Madam Speaker, history will not judge us kindly if we sacrifice four generations of Americans because of the folly of one.

Here is a summary of Speier’s points following by my comments in italics:

1. Her constituents position: “When will we get out…?”
This is a weak representation. I bet her constituents position is closer to “immediate, complete, unconditional withdrawal,” not some wimpy quizzicalness.

2. The process of withdrawing troops must begin now.
It already has begun. The only question is, “When will it be completed?” Hillary and Barack are talking about 2010. My suggestion—all troops out by April ’09.

3. Bush has the wrong position.
Cheap shot, not appropriate for a non-partisan swearing-in ceremony.

4. McCain wants a 100-year war.
See #3.

5. We must get out of Iraq in less than 100 years.

The congressional Democrats’ position on the war is essentially that of Pontius Pilate: innocence for the evil that happens on their watch. Speier’s gonna be a good, loyal democrat.

----- o -----

Monday, April 07, 2008


As a long suffering resident of California’s Twelfth Congressional District, I get to vote tomorrow to replace dead Democratic hack, Tom Lantos. Mr Lantos had a compelling concentration camp story and a reliable party-line vote.

Jackie Speier, famous for getting shot in the jungle and for being a good looking woman, is assumed to be Lantos’ replacement-for-life.

She is so confident that she hasn’t even asked for my vote. No mailer. No tv ads. Nothing.

Being a reliable Democratic Party hack is not qualification enough for me. I assume she's Pelosi-lite: pro war, pro torture, anti-impeachment.

I’m voting for the Green Party candidate, Barry Hermanson. At least he sent me a mailer asking for my vote.

White guy, about my age. Actually we look sort of alike.

Go Barry. His website here.

The Voter Information Pamphlet for this election has all the boilerplate of a major election, but content specific to this race consists of a Letter from the John Arntz, Director of SF Board of Elections, and a barebones sample ballot.

Arntz explains the open primary: Candidates from all parties appear on one ballot. If a candidate receives a majority of votes cast (50%+1), he or she wins. If not, there will be a runoff election between the top vote-getters from each party. This runoff will be part of the June 3, 2008 primary ballot.

Note: Tomorrow’s vote is to fill the remainder of Lantos’ term, ending January, 2009 (next January).

To make things complicated, the June 3 ballot will also contain a primary election for the term beginning Jan. ’09 ending Jan’11.

Both could appear on the same ballot.

The voter pamphlet contains no information on the candidates, other than what appears on the sample ballot (below).

I expect at least “Candidate Statements” and lists of endorsers. This seems strange, kind of makeitupaswegoalong.

As you see, there are three parties on the ballot. If there is a runoff, Barry Hermanson will automatically be on it, as the top vote getter in the Green Party. I wonder if Barry would be on the runoff ballot even if he had received zero votes in this election.

Anyway, that won’t happen, because I’m voting for Barry Hermanson, even if he forgets.

----- o -----

Friday, April 04, 2008


As the media does its gee-whizzing on this fortieth anniversary of Martin Luther King’s assassination, let us remember that the “lone nut” theory is the invention of “conspiracy deniers.”

My firm conviction is that J. Edgar Hoover was criminally liable in the murder of Martin Luther King.

J. Edgar Hoover was also criminally liable in the murders of John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X., Robert Kennedy, and in the attempted murder of George Wallace.

Hoover was a hit man for the ruling class.

In terms of harm done, J. Edgar Hoover is the most evil American in our history, so far.

Yet, he is remembered, and vilified, as a cross dresser. It’s like, go ahead and kill presidents and opposition leaders, but goddammit, wear men's undergarments when you do it.

This is similar to recent reports of an overly cozy relationship between John McCain and an attractive female lobbyist. The media doesn’t care about possible corrupt transactions between McCain and the lady as long as they didn’t have sex.

Why did Hoover get away with his crimes? Why was he the longest surviving department head in the history of western government?

Because he knew all the sex-secrets (and booze and drug secrets) of all the powerful people in Washington. That was his modus operandi.

Our founding fathers created “checks and balances” because they knew that unchecked, powerful people tend to be greedy assholes.

They were right.

Including the media.

----- o -----

Thursday, April 03, 2008

C.W., Q & A

In his SFGate column this morning, converted sports writer C.W. Nevius tsk-tsks the Board of Supes torch-inspired condemnation of China’s ongoing rape of Tibet.

Nevius’ dull comments are like those of the old white ladies I used to overhear on the L-Car.

The only reason I read his column is because it google-alerted on Carmen Chu, the Mayor-appointed Supervisor representing my district.

In the months since her appointment, Chu has followed Newsompolicy to the letter. In the torch matter, because she’s Chinese-American, Chu has been Newsom’s point-person against any criticism of the current Beijing regime.

Despite efforts by Newsom and Chu to kill the resolution condemning China, Daly's anti-China resolution was finally approved by the Board of Supervisors. Nevius is confused:

“That it passed Tuesday at the full board meeting 8-3 seems to indicate that this wasn't exactly a ticking time bomb of controversy. After all, who doesn't want to vote against human rights violations?”

Answer: Well, if the vote was 8-3, that means three supervisors didn’t “want to vote against human rights violations.” Their names are Chu, Elsbernd (Jesuit educated), and Alioto-Pier. They are the Newsom appointees on the board.

Later, Nevius again expresses puzzlement:

“God only knows why San Francisco was picked as the only North American city for an Olympic torch run.”

Answer: The greedy people who run this town (City Powers) actually wanted the torch run to come here. They lobbied for it. It must have smelled like money to them, it probably still does. They probably gave assurances.

To end the column, Nevius takes a jab at Chris Daly, sponsor of the anti-China pro-Tibet resolution, for not commenting (yet) on some proposed liquor sales restriction sponsored by outgoing dud Gerardo Sandoval.

Quite an unexpected juxtaposition!

Per Nevius, this is one little scene in the epic contest between Daly and Newsom, two local boy-heroes about whom the rest of the world remains blissfully ignorant.

To sum up Nevius’ column:

Screw Tibet, let’s hassle winos!

Such is C.W., conventional wisdom, in San Francisco.

----- o -----

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


After much consultation Mayor Newsom has come out in favor of the First Amendment. This decision required careful consideration because the US Constitution is silent on the issue of sucking Chinese Communist ass.

The Mayor has released the route of the San Francisco leg of the Torch Relay, in plenty of time for protest groups to incorporate specific geography in their planning. [Map from SFGate.]

This is all good, I guess.

Speaking of geography, the SF leg of the Torch Relay will be the only time the torch is in the United States, actually it’s the only stop in North America, something San Franciscans can be proud or ashamed of.

Those ashamed can take heart that the Torch, while invading our soil, doesn’t make it very far inland.

I looked at the route on googlemaps with my plastic ruler, and found that at no point is the torch route much farther than 1000 feet from the shore (bay). Not a substantial beachhead.

It’ll sort of blend in with those annoying seals at Pier 39.

While we accept the torch with fear and loathing, we've managed to keep it at bay. SF should be proud.

----- o -----


The last time I actually showed up for jury duty it was a civil asbestos trial, and the defendant was Union Carbide.

I didn’t know much about Union Carbide, except the nagging thought, Weren’t those the folks who gassed thousands in Bhopal, India?

Union Carbide doesn’t exist anymore, it was purchased by some larger corporate entity. It’s India division had already been sold off.

You can argue about Rev. Wright’s rhetoric. But if you read the story of the Bhopal Disaster, you will agree that there at least some people in the world who can say with some justice, “God damn America.”

BTW: The lawyers for Dow (which bought Union Carbide) were the slickest litigators I’ve ever seen in action, including at least five trials and five more voir-dires as a juror, and one trial, lasting seven weeks, as a defendant. The Dow lawyers were world-class.

The plaintiff’s lawyer was fine—he could beat the pants off any Dep DA I’ve ever seen, but he was nowhere near as perfect as Dow’s guys (all guys). The mismatch in lawyers was probably to compensate for a similar mismatch in facts that tilted toward the defendants.

On a lighter note, Aloha Airlines has been in the news—it’s going out of business. I was kind of surprised that it was still in business.

Similar to the Union Carbide deal, my first association with the words, “Aloha Airlines,” is this:

Talk about fresh air exchange!

Aloha is such a nice word! According to Wikipedia:

Aloha in the Hawaiian language means affection, love, peace, compassion, mercy, goodbye, and hello, among other sentiments of a similar nature. It is used especially in Hawaii as a greeting meaning hello and goodbye. Variations occur based on circumstances when used as a salutation. "Aloha kakahiaka" is the phrase for "good morning". "Aloha auinalā" is the phrase for "good afternoon". "Aloha ahiahi" is the phrase for "good evening". "Aloha kākou" is a common form of "welcome to all".



----- o -----