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TEN REASONS TED NUGENT WAS INVITED TO THE STATE OF THE UNION

Steve Stockman, a US Representative from, guess where, Texas, has invited Ted Nugent to be his guest at the State of the Union address by President Obama. You may be wondering why. For more info about this Stockman character, click here.
Nugent has made no secret of his hatred for Barack Obama. He’s a rabid right winger. He is beloved by the NRA, and not just because he loves to shoot animals, including at least one rhinoceros. He’s made lewd, violent suggestions about what he thinks President Obama and also Hillary Clinton should do with his assault rifle. Given the serious problems our nation is facing–including climate change, the economy, voter suppression, and a very serious debate about ways to keep innocent citizens from being murdered by the truckload by people who buy military weapons as easily as you can go buy a quart of milk–you might be wondering, Why the heck would anyone invited a foul-mouthed, hateful idiot like Ted Nugent to a serious, important event like the State of the Union address?

Also, if you are a kind of a music fan under the age of 60, you might be asking, “Who the heck is Ted Nugent, anyway?”

Here are Ten Reasons Ted Nugent was invited to attend the State of the Union address by the president.

1. Krusty the Clown was already booked.

2. A bucket of pond scum carefully considered the invitation and then declined.

3. Ted is curious to see what a bona fide rock star looks like.

4. They are cleaning Ted’s cage at the zoo that day anyway.

6. Stockman is a huge Nugent fan. But we wonder what his wife thinks of lyrics like these, from “Stranglehold”:

Here I come again now baby
like a dog in heat…

You ran that night you left now baby

You put me in my place

I got you in a stranglehold baby

then I crushed your face

7. Ed Gein wasn’t available.

8. Because musicians like Beyonce and Bruce Springsteen, for example, sell millions of records and have won multiple Grammys. Ted Nugent sells dozens of records and no one has heard of him except your old Gramma.

9. Because large crowds have an adverse affect on Stockman’s pet chicken, Bushmaster, who suffers from irritable bowel syndrome.

10. In Congressman Stockman’s words, “I am sick and tired of Rick Perry getting credit for being the stupidest Texan in the world.”

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ESCAPE TO CIVIL WAR LAND

 

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Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States of America, reelected to a second term on Nov. 6, 2012.

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2012 Petition to allow Texas to secede from the Union.

 

During the 2012 presidential campaign the Republicans talked an awful lot about democracy and American principles, but after the November 6 election, when their ideas were rejected by a large majority, it turns out they’re not all that fond of those things. Mitt Romney’s dream of a nation of yeomen corporations was downsized and shuttered–despite the countless roadblocks to voting in Democratic-leaning and minority-heavy districts, erected by people who talk loudly about democracy and the constitution, but their actions send a very different message.
Now they’re mad as hell and they just want to get away from it all.
Over at the White House “We the People” online petition forum, tens of thousands of these dead-enders are signing secession petitions, asking that their state (actually, not just their own state, as you don’t have to be a citizen of the state whose petition you’re signing) be allowed to go its own way, perhaps to become an indie republic, perhaps to team up with other unhappy-feeling states to form a sort of post-modern Confederacy.
It’s a weird thing. After his defeat, Mitt picked up his sad face and went to Disneyland,but the sorest of losers seem to be heading off to Civil War Land.

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After his drubbing at the polls, Mitt went to Disneyland. Many of his fans headed off to Civil War Land

Raging against the iron boot heel of affordable health care on their necks, not to mention clean air and water, a path to energy independence, foreign wars ending, terrorists hunted down and expanded guarantees of fairness and equality in marriage, the workplace and the military, these sore losers want to take their toys and go home. Actually, the place they yearn for isn’t home, exactly, but some fantasyland version of the USA, one that exists somewhere in the silver mists of their misguided adolescent fantasies. In a time when so many conservatives believe in a literal interpretation of the biblical story of creation, as well as absurd new definitions of rape and personhood, it’s no surprise that their ideas about the founding fathers’ vision of the Republic seem about as thin as a pop-up book on the US constitution.

Silly as this secession talk sounds, in some a ways it’s a big deal. As of noon Friday, December 7, secession petitions from 40 states had been filed through the wonderful new White House widget. Not surprisingly, Texas leads the pack, with 118,949 signatures. The person who created this petition, identified as “Micah H., Arlington, TX,” filed it on November 9, 2012. That’s three days after November 6, when Barack Obama was reelected, and three days plus 152 years after the election of Abraham Lincoln. The prelude to the US Civil War began on December 20, six weeks later, when South Carolina voted to secede. Ten additional states left the Union over the next several months. (Texas was number seven.)

As of December 7, 2012, only 24,809 had signed the South Carolina petition to secede (again). Since it’s known as the “Cradle of Secession” you’d think there would be more interest. Maybe it’s a case of been-there-done-that.

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Dead Confederates in trenches of Ft. Mahone April 3, 186

The 2012 petitioners complain that the federal government has egregiously abused their constitutional rights. Interestingly, the 11 treasonous states who withdrew from the Union in 1860-1861 also complained about their rights being steamrolled by both the fed and the northern states. The primary rights at issue concerned slavery–the right of Southerners to buy, sell, keep, rape and otherwise utilize slaves as their personal property, to have such property returned to them when runaway slaves escaped to states where slavery had been outlawed, and other such deeply cherished rights.
Ironic and ugly, isn’t it? Why would anyone want to be associated with a verb like “secession” these days?
As we have seen in so many other examples of tragic-comic bad behavior, Texas is only too proud to be leading the way. None of the other secession petitions comes close to Texas. The second most popular, Louisiana, had 37,289. Five other states have 30,000-plus signatures, six others have 20,000-plus signatures, and then the numbers fall off rather quickly. In case you want to see where your state ranks in this online wall of shame, go to the “We the People” home page at https://petitions.whitehouse.gov.

To qualify for posting on this online platform, a petition must collect 150 signatures within 30 days. The petition must amass 25,000 signatures in the next 30 days to merit an official response from the White House. This could be interesting to watch. I’m anxious to hear what the President says about the petition to: “Deport everyone that signed a petition to withdraw their state from the United States of America.” That one already has 26,405 signatures.
As a Texan, I feel some responsibility for this, sort of like inheriting an original sin. When I was a boy growing up in Johnson City, Texas, I remember how proud it made me that Texas was so big and storied, a state that was once an independent nation. We used to take our toy guns to the dumping ground by the creek near my house and reenact famous battles like Custer’s Last Stand, the Shoot-out at the OK Corral and the previous week’s episode of Combat. Every adolescent boy had a coonskin cap in those days, and so we idolized Davy Crockett, and we fought the hell out of the Battle of the Alamo, over and over again. In that one, we all died, just like the 200 or so doomed defenders in San Antonio on March 6, 1836. Then we’d spring back to life and reenact the Battle of San Jacinto, where on April 21, 1836, General Sam Houston led a larger Texan Army into a deadly ambush of Santa Anna’s forces, who happened to be sleeping at the time. The Texans howled “Remember the Alamo” as they drove the Mexican Army into a humiliating defeat. Thus, liberty and revenge were achieved in one fell swoop.
Houston’s military leadership, combined with his service in public office, his skills as a multi-cultural ambassador, and the fact that he was just a damned interesting dude, combined to make him Texas’ greatest hero–even more beloved than Rick Perry, even though Perry has served longer in office than Houston.

coonskin cap

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As a boy in Texas, you’ll always Remember the Alamo.

When you’re a kid, fighting with make-believe weapons and invisible bullets, it’s awesome fun to go down in a blaze of glory, fighting for a seemingly brilliant cause–even though you don’t yet have the fuzziest idea of the facts behind it (even though we were obliged to take a full two years of Texas history in public school).
What a thrilling fantasy it must also be, for all those disgruntled Republicans and severely disgruntled right wing conservatives, shaking off their post-election depression by marching in the army of secessionist petitioners, citizens so disenchanted with the federal government and the ideas and feelings of the rest of the nation that they no longer want their state to be one of the United States.

It’s particularly sad for the Texas petitioners who find inspiration in the mistaken idea that Texas was not only an independent nation, but a powerful, glorious one. In fact, the nine years of Texas independence were no great shakes. Yes, the Republic of Texas received official recognition from a handful of nations. There was a French Legation in Austin and a Texas Embassy in Britain (which actually did not officially recognize Texas, but the Texas Embassy did serve a useful purpose later in life, first as the headquarters of the White Star Line and later, a Tex-Mex cantina called The Texas Embassy.  We even had our own toy navy. Wealth? Not so much. Texas was overburdened with debt, and being accepted to the Union in 1845 was the best thing that ever happened to us. In fact, annexation was the cherished goal of Sam Houston.

In fact, Houston was heartbroken over the vote to secede from the Union in 1861. He made an impassion plea to the secession convention, trying desperately to inject some reason into the debate, but to no avail. He retired to his home in Huntsville, heartbroken.

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A very impressive collection of Davy Crockett hats at FurHatWorld.com.

As an Austinite, I’ve always been immensely proud of the fact that this part of the state, Travis County, voted against secession. And we are still in the liberal Democrat column today, a bold blue marble in a sea of red Republicanism.
And so, as this parade of knuckleheads follows Texas down this rutted path, I can’t help being reminded of the fantasy play of snot-nosed young boys in Texas in the 1960s. We thought war and revolution was glorious, but hell, we thought bubble gum cards were glorious, too.

I worry what will happen. If these petitioners don’t cool it with their pseudo-Confederacy schemes they might  give Civil War reenactors a bad name.

Newt-as-Confederate-Cavalry-reenactor.jpg" alt="secession chronicle, civil war, right wing extremism, secession blog, jesse sublett, jessesublett.com, grave digger blues, salon, politico

If at first you don’t secede….

When it comes down to it, the petitions aren’t very impressive, either. The one from Texas, for example:

 

We petition the Obama administration to: Peacefully grant the State of Texas to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government.

The US continues to suffer economic difficulties stemming from the federal government’s neglect to reform domestic and foreign spending. The citizens of the US suffer from blatant abuses of their rights such as the NDAA, the TSA, etc. Given that the state of Texas maintains a balanced budget and is the 15th largest economy in the world, it is practically feasible for Texas to withdraw from the union, and to do so would protect it’s [SIC] citizens’ standard of living and re-secure their rights and liberties in accordance with the original ideas and beliefs of our founding fathers which are no longer being reflected by the federal government.

So, a big complaint here is that the US has failed to “reform domestic and foreign spending.” But is this an objection to financial aid to the poor, student loans and protecting the environment, or wasteful expenditures such as subsidies to oil companies, tax breaks for billionaires, that sort of thing? If one is to believe the claim that the federal government is a bloated bully with its satanic hooves upon our backs, wouldn’t one expect a beefier list of “blatant abusers” than “NDAA, the TSA, etc.”?

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is a arguably a nasty piece of work, as it includes provisions like the one allowing the federal government to indefinitely detain domestic terrorism suspects. Naming the Transportation Safety Agency (TSA), however, I suspect was done to placate some of the uptight elderly Tea Party members who think that only swarthy air travelers in Bedouin robes should be groped and body scanned at security check-points.

Then there’s the last part: “Given that the state of Texas maintains a balanced budget and is the 15th largest economy in the world, it is practically feasible for Texas to withdraw from the union…”

Here, a few inconvenient facts come to mind. As most of us start working on our Christmas shopping lists and exchanging fruitcake recipes,  Governor Rick Perry and other state officials are forced to contemplate a very uncheerful set of possibilities. If Obama administration and the Republicans fail to make a deal to avoid the dreaded financial-geographical metaphor we know as “the fiscal cliff,” on January 2, 2013, automatic federal spending cuts will be triggered (as per the sequestration outlined in the Budget Control Act of 2011). If that happens, then states like Texas, yes, even mighty Texas, will face Draconian cuts in federal aid.

Some of the specifics were mentioned in a December 4, 2012 story in the Austin American-Statesman. According to the Texas Legislative Budget Board, the cuts could reach $1.1 billion and affect 13 state agencies over the next two years. Over the next week or two, expect to see some pained expressions around the granite domed state capitol building (which, in case some Texan hasn’t told you already, is five feet taller than the one in Washington, D.C.).

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Rick Perry, going for the 2012 GOP clown crown

The Texas Legislature has scheduled a hearing to discuss the issue the second week of December, but miracles are not expected.  If the automatic cuts should come to pass, Texas’ genitals, caught in the proverbial vise, would be torqued even further because of the state’s dependence on federal spending on defense, homeland security and border security, and so forth. All of this, despite the fact that Texas used to be an independent nation, with a president, a flag, and everything. Yes, and despite the fact that Mexico was so badly routed at San Jacinto, the Republic of Texas continued to be invaded by Mexico with great regularity. Like it was a sport or something.

Oddly enough, for a state claiming to be the “15th largest economy in the world,” Texas and the federal tit are never very far apart.According to Eva DeLuna Castro of the Center for Public Policy Priorities, (cited in the Statesman article) federal spending accounts for about one-fifth of the Texas economy. In 2010 a total of $226 billion federal dollars were expended in the Lone Star State, including $43 billion from Social Security; $16 billion from Medicare, and a total $59 billion from the Department of Defense.

If the fiscal cliff comes under our wheels, just try throwing a rock without hitting someone reeling from the impact. OK, maybe you could just drop it on a Houston oil man’s head or something.
Public education would be poleaxed: Title 1 grants to schools cut by $100.8 million, 1,386 education jobs gone, 254,704 fewer students served, 422 fewer schools receiving grants, and many other cuts to areas already hurting. Thus would acceleration be applied to the state’s race to the bottom in education.

These quirks and coincidences are all kind of tangled up together. If there’s any logic to my presentation, it should become clear enough soon. The aforementioned fiscal freak-out story was reported on December 4, the same day that Elizabeth Flock, on the US News blog Washington Whispers, quoted a series of breathless brags from Dan Miller, president of an organization called the Texas Nationalist Movement (TNM). According to Miller, the group’s paid membership had risen by 400 percent in recent months. Although Miller declined to provide any specific numbers or proof of these claims, he also claimed that traffic to the group’s website, TexasNationalist.comhas increased by 9,000 percent.

Some of that increase, however, is likely due to a copy editing error that was overlooked when a pro-gambling group, Let Texans Decide, ran a series of radio spots, seeking support for a referendum to legalize gambling in the state. In the ad copy, the organization’s home page URL was misspelled, and thus, instead of sending listeners to LetTexansDecide.com, they were directed to LetTexasDecide.com, where they found a petition sponsored by TNM advocating a referendum on Texas independence. It’s an ill wind that blows a Libertarian no good. (My definition of libertarian, by the way, is a redneck with a bong.)

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Antietam, Confederate dead by a fence on the Hagerstown Road


Miller insists that the secession/independence fad is not merely a reaction against the reelection of Barack Obama, who happens to be a Democrat, an African-American and a non-Texan. ”A lot of people in the opposition want to downplay this as extreme and fringe,” says Miller, “But at our meetings in different counties, we’re sometimes drawing more people than the Democratic and Republican parties…. This political and cultural disconnect between Texas and the federal system has been talked about for generations. Now, it has entered into mainstream political discourse.”

Miller is obviously enjoying his moment in the spotlight, but I would disagree that being talked about in the mainstream political arena is the same thing as being involved in the mainstream swing of things. I mean, when traffic on the freeway slows down to gawk at a bloody accident, it doesn’t mean all those drivers wish they were sitting in a crumpled car, waiting for the jaws of life to arrive.

Speaking of disconnect, there’s a cherished myth in this state that rugged, independent Texas folk, particularly those who live in rural areas or who happen to own oil producing land, could get along quite nicely without the generous pipeline of federal money carried between the federal government and the state. You know, such as agricultural subsidies, defense contracts, oil company tax breaks, and things like that. Maybe you actually believe that.

Maybe you were actually excited at the prospect of  President Rick Perry.

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Rick Perry, going for the 2012 GOP clown crown

There’s also a misconception that Texas joined the Union under some sort of non-binding agreement, one that allowed it to leave again, no strings attached, whenever it felt like it. There’s not one molecule of truth to this notion. Zip, nada, zero. By now, we hope someone has shared this info with Rick Perry, who helped spread this bit of misinformation.

Texas’ abrasive, disconnected character got a boost in the 1950s, when the oil was flowing and all that oil money helped make Texas a valuable player in right wing political discourse. It was a rich Texas oil man who gave Senator Joseph McCarthy a brand new Cadillac for being such a great American. Conservative Texas Republicans also never quite forgave FDR for not only leading the Allies to victory over Germany and Japan during World War II, but his New Deal programs that got us out of the Great Depression.Gov. Allan Shivers, a hard line conservative old school Deep South Democrat, desperate to win reelection, turned even more severely conservative and delivered the state’s conservative Dems to Eisenhower in 1952 and ’56. Shivers fought hard to preserve segregated schools, too. Everyone remembers Arkansas Gov. Orval Faubus in Little Rock in 1957 as a racist retrograde, but he was emboldened and inspired by Shivers’ crackdown on the attempted integration of public schools at Mansfield the previous year. Shivers was a cold piece of work.

Texans just like to talk tough, right? Here’s a couple more examples from this season of madness. Last August a county judge from Lubbock named Tom Head warned that Obama’s reelection could spark a second civil war. Why? Because Judge Head expects Obama to hand the reins of power over to the United Nations. (And are we positive that this guy’s first name isn’t actually Dick?)

Another tough guy, Peter Morrison, treasurer of the Hardin County Republican Party, said there was no reason for the Lone Star State and bastions of effeminacy and communism, like, Vermont, for example, to “live under the same government.” The people who had elected Barack Obama, he said, were “maggots,” many of whom voted on an “ethnic basis.”

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Herman Cain stood toe-to-toe with Rick Perry on the campaign trail.

But enough digression. Back to the state of Texas’ budget woes, which will be getting worse in the next couple of years, even if the fiscal cliff is avoided. Very early in Obama’s first term, Gov. Perry went on record as being adamantly opposed to the federal stimulus program. Like so many Republican political leaders, he railed against the stimulus, but he was waiting at the trough when it was doled out, and it was those six billion dollars of dirty federal dough that allowed Gov. Perry to claim that his administration had not only made big spending cuts, but created jobs and balanced the budget.
The dreaded stimulus program also happened to be the subject of discussion back in April 2009, when Perry made his first veiled threats about secession.
Speaking to a rowdy crowd of tax protesters in Austin, back in the heady, early days of the Tea Party movement, Perry obviously sought to burnish his right-winginess in a memorable way.
“There’s a lot of different scenarios,” he said. “We’ve got a great union. There’s absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that. But Texas is a very unique place, and we’re a pretty independent lot to boot.”

If everyone who thumbed their nose at me was about to give me six billion dollars, or even a few hundred, I’d be very happy. Who knows what might come out of that?

 

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Rick Perry is worried. No evil socialist stimulus money this year so he can magically claim a “balanced” state budget

Why would a governor of a state joke or tease or play around with the concept of secession? Maybe Perry thought it was the best way to guarantee a seat on the classic clown car that was the 2012 Republican presidential campaign. If so, the gambit paid off. For a few heady minutes there, Perry was the man to beat. A few minutes later, he was beat. Few other rising stars have so efficiently showcased their shortcomings. Making a fool of yourself when your only competition is Mitt Romney, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul really is not as easy as it looks.

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Newt Gingrich was a tough clown to beat in 2012

Now Perry and his team have another big show ahead of them–another balancing act with the state budget. But this time, he won’t have the dreaded fed forcing another six billion dollars on us, and if Perry’s colleagues in Congress want to continue their fantasy battles with President Obama and the US economy, sending us over the fiscal cliff, Perry’s budget woes will become a whole lot worse.
It’s almost enough to make you feel sorry for Rick Perry. He’s got the kind of problems that would make any chief executive want to run away to Civil War Land, or Disneyland. Even one who can count all the way to three.

One final observation about numbers, and then it’s down to the research lab to start working on the next installment of these Secession Chronicles. The numbers of signatories on these post-modern secession petitions are chimerical, just like all the action over at Daniel Miller’s Texas Nationalists Movement. When you look at the Texas petition, with its 115,000 signatures, the addresses are from all over the country. On the first screen of 40 names, only 12 have Texas addresses.

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The Texas petition has 40 names on page 1, and only 12 have Texas addresses.

That’s just a random example, but even if three-fourths of the unhappy Republicans in this state wanted to secede, that still wouldn’t be a majority. There may be a lot of dumb Texans, but they’re not all dumb, and this state doesn’t want to secede, nor do any other of the forty-nine. And as excited as people like Daniel Miller might be about their growing ranks, they’re all dying breed. Demographics are against them. Even in Texas, most of the big cities went to Obama. Some rural counties where the vote was a lopsided 80 percent Romney vs. 17 percent Obama are adjacent to counties where the voters preferred Obama over Romney in equal proportions. As you may have guessed, those counties are home to Latino majorities, and that’s the direction the whole country is headed.

In the same Washington Whispers post that dutifully repeats Daniel Miller’s claims that the tide of Texanism is on the rise, she writes that “according to the New York Times, even sales of a ‘SECEDE’ bumper sticker have dramatically increased in Texas in recent weeks.” Big deal. Those things came out at least 20 years ago. Usually you saw them on the backs of banged-up pickup trucks driven by cosmic cowpokes, whose idea of a new Republic of Texas had something to do with cheap pot, braless women and Willie Nelson as president.
It was a joke then.
It’s a joke now.

Finally, here’s a kind of sad note. This Google search result indicates that a large number of people who want to know if Texas has the right to secede are not very good at spelling it.

Google succeed v secede

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Filed under Books & other writing by Jesse Sublett, NOIR & TRUE CRIME, politics, secession

Ron Paul, Poster Boy for White Supremacy

Check with your local Ron Paul Revolution campaign to see if your donation buys this nifty poster AND the white cape and hood. In some places they cost extra.

With Rick Perry’s elevated profile during his bottle rocket-like presidential candidacy, there were always constant reminders of the many different embarrassments that come with being a Texan, including having an incoherent, bumbler for governor, a chief executive who wants to strip mine both the environment AND the federal government, even while boasting about how many more military misadventures he would get the country involved in. Now after being flushed down the Iowa caucus toilet, he’s come back to Texas to “reassess” his campaign, sort of like Napoleon had to “reassess” things after Waterloo.

When Rick Perry finally drops out of the race, some other candidate will have to push for the institution of Gun Friday every month.

So now everyone’s talking about the razor-thin victory eked out by Romney over Santorum, or, as Andy Borowitz said, “Romney is jubilant after finishing in a dead heat with a walking joke in a sweater vest.” And they’re talking about the big Ron Paul surge, surprising for such an unconventional candidate to do so well, they say, and that this must surely reflect the overall anti-government mood in the country. Many college students, old hippies and curmudgeons love the guy. So do big corporations, who see him as their standard-bearer, a guy who wants them to be free to rape the environment and workers’ rights with absolutely no regulation or restrictions. Oh yeah, he’s from the Houston/Galveston/Texas City area. His district catches fire and explodes more often than most places. Those hard-working petrochemical companies, they just need to be left alone, right, RP? (In case you’ve forgotten about the 2005 BP disaster in Texas City, just one of countless petro disasters there, refresh your memory here.)

And then there’s the race issue. I’ve mentioned it many times, including to young people who admire the guy, mostly because he speaks out against war and for legalizing dope. I tell them they must be smoking crack. Michael Lind hits this nail on the head today in his brilliant piece in Salon, which I have quoted here in full (or you can read it on their site here). And guess what? Michael is from Texas, and he’s not an embarrassment.

Race, liberty and Ron Paul
The libertarian standard bearer trashes the Civil Rights Act

By Michael Lind
Did the Civil Rights Act of 1964 put America on the path to a police state? The answer is yes, according to Ron Paul, the Texas Republican Congressman and candidate for the Republican presidential nomination. Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, Paul explained that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 “destroyed the principle of private property and private choices” and “undermine[d] the concept of liberty.” The candidate drew a direct line from the Civil Rights Act to illiberal legislation passed in the panic that followed the 9/11 attacks: “Look at what’s happened with the PATRIOT Act. They can come into our houses, our bedrooms our businesses … And it was started back then.”
By equating the Civil Rights Act, which expanded American civil liberty, with the Patriot Act, which reduced it, on the grounds that both are federal laws with sanctions, Ron Paul displays the moral idiocy of someone who declares that a person who pushes a little old lady out of the path of a bus is just as bad as a person who pushes a little old lady into the path of a bus, because both are equally guilty of pushing little old ladies around.
Like other libertarians, Ron Paul does not understand American values. The American experiment is an experiment in creating and maintaining a democratic republic, not a minimal state. American political culture is founded not on the theories of Ayn Rand or Ludwig von Mises but on the reasoning of natural rights theorists like John Locke, for whom coercion in the service of communal self-defense is perfectly legitimate. In Lockean social contract theory, in order to protect themselves from human predators, people form a community and then transfer the pooled power of self-defense to the community’s trustee, the state, the better to resist invasion and crime. While abuses of military and police power are to be guarded against, the idea that the military and police and government as such are inherently tyrannical, a familiar theme in libertarian and anarchist thought, is utterly alien to America’s Lockean republican tradition.
Libertarians typically argue that only government, backed by military and police power, can be tyrannical. Lockean republicans in contrast believe that private power located in the for-profit or non-profit sectors can be tyrannical, as well. By means of their agent, the state, the sovereign people legitimately can protect themselves from predation by private sector tyrants as well as public sector tyrants.
Libertarians are not the brightest lights in the candelabra, a fact that is evident from the alternatives they tend to offer to public prevention of private abuses. For example: if you don’t like working a hundred hours a week for twenty-five cents a day, then find another employer! It is obvious to intelligent people, if not libertarians, that more generous employers will price themselves out of a market whose standards are set by the most rapacious.
The other popular libertarian remedy for exploitation is to move somewhere else where you will be treated better. But what if you can’t emigrate? Well, it seems, you must suffer your exploitation in silence, rather than enlist the aid of the law in restraining your thuggish employer, your predatory landlord, your exploitative banker or the vendors who sell you toxic food and dangerous products.
Some libertarians concede the legitimacy of government coercion in protecting property rights. But in doing so, these libertarians, like Ron Paul, give up any principled objection to government coercion. They simply want government coercion to be used for some purposes—protecting property rights—and not others—enforcing civil rights.
The Civil Rights Act did not mark an intrusion of government into a realm previously governed purely by what Paul calls “private choices.” Until the federal Civil Rights Act was passed, the coercive power of state and local governments was routinely used to enforce the “private choices” and “property rights” of racists. If a diner owner banned blacks from his diner, and blacks sat down at the counter and insisted on being served, then the diner owner could call the police, who, protecting the property rights of the owner, would drag the would-be black patrons of the restaurant off to jail.
The straightforward way to interpret Paul’s remarks on CNN is to read him as saying that bigoted property owners, like owners of restaurants, should to this day have the right to call on the coercive power of the police department to enforce their decisions to refuse to serve certain categories of customers on their property. Anti-semitic store owners, for example, should have the right not merely to put up a “No Jews” sign, but also to summon the police, at the taxpayer’s expense, to arrest any Jew who insisted on entering the store.
Perhaps I am misreading Paul. Perhaps he does not think that business owners should have retained the right, abolished by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, to have the government, in the form of the police, use coercion to enforce their racist “private choices” to exclude certain classes of clients. Perhaps he thinks that the police should not be involved in the effort to expel the Jew from the Judenrein store. Perhaps true libertarianism means that the anti-semitic store owner should try to persuade the unwanted Jew in the store to leave by noncoercive means—“Shoo, Jew!” Or perhaps authentic libertarianism would sanction private not public coercion, so the Jew-hating store owner should be allowed to hire Slow-Eye Pete and Philadelphia Jack to enforce the store’s No-Jew policy.
But I don’t think this is what Paul meant to say. From his statement that the Civil Rights act “destroyed the principle of private property and private choices,” I think his meaning is quite clear: civil rights legislation at any level—federal, state or local—should never have been passed. To this day, store owners should be free to call on the public police at public expense to drag blacks, Jews, or members of other groups that the owners do not like from their business establishments, in the name of property rights.
Should we be impressed if Paul says that as a personal matter he would oppose such things, while defending their legality? It is hard to see any daylight between an overt racist and someone who claims to oppose racism or anti-semitism, but also denounces the only effective ways to put a stop to them—that is, civil rights laws. If you argue that private racism is bad but anti-racist laws are worse, and if you have no problem with the state’s coercive power when it enforces racism but object to coercive state power only in the service of anti-racism, then you cannot complain when others draw their own conclusions about your motives (even if, unlike Ron Paul, you did not publish white supremacist newsletters for years under your own name).
Abraham Lincoln dissected the sophistical rhetoric of people like Ron Paul, long before the noble word “liberty” was tortured into “libertarianism.” In 1864, during the Civil War, he told an audience:

“The world has never had a good definition of the word liberty, and the American people, just now, are much in want of one. We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men’s labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatible things, called by the same name———liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatible names———liberty and tyranny.
The shepherd drives the wolf from the sheep’s throat, for which the sheep thanks the shepherd as a liberator, while the wolf denounces him for the same act as the destroyer of liberty, especially as the sheep was a black one. Plainly the sheep and the wolf are not agreed upon a definition of the word liberty…”

Michael Lind is the author of “The Next American Nation: The New Nationalism and the Fourth American Revolution” and “The American Way of Strategy.”

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Perry is on Brokeback Mountain; SKUNKS 45 RE-ISSUED!

A couple of news bits here, completely unrelated, I think. First, I’m sure you’ve seen the vile, psychotic Rick Perry ad in which he complains about how “gays can serve openly in the military, while our kids can’t celebrate Christmas openly.” And goes on to lie about some mythical “war against religion” being conducted by President Obama. (Hey, I was thinking, if a person really wanted to sign up for this war, where would they go to find it? I can’t find a single place to volunteer, offer aid or anything. In fact, I can’t find any evidence of such fanciful beast.)

Anyway, so look what Gov. Rick Perry, CEO of the nation’s dumbest and most deprived state, is wearing in this anti-gay ad: The jacket from Brokeback Mountain.

I stole this from alternet, by the way. Click the link to read the full post.

The other, unrelated news is that the reissue of The Skunks’ first single, “Earthquake Shake” b/w “Can’t Get Loose” is now available from Last Laugh records. This is a true artifact, recorded in a garage in the west campus area in early 1979 on a two-track reel to reel recorder. We bounced the tracks once to add backing vocals, mixed it down and sent the half inch tape off to a pressing plant along with our $300 and then when the records arrived, drank a case of beer while we slipped the 45s into a sleeve designed by our roadie and which was printed for free by a fan who worked at the Ginny’s in Dobie Mall. This is a true facsimile production in glorious low-fi; not remastered or recorded or sweetened in any way. This was the first punk single to emerge from the Austin, Texas scene and it helped put Austin on the map. We headed off to NYC to conquer the world from the stages of CBGB, Max’s Kansas City, Hurrah’s, etc. and crisscrossed the USA in shitty vans, playing in the midwest, Deep South, Oklahoma, LA, and every bar and dive across Texas who was brave enough to take a chance on a loud glorified garage band from Austin, Texas. OK. so we didn’t conquer the world. Like a dog catching a car, what are you gonna do next? So there you go. Last Laugh plans to release our big hit, our terrifying albatross, our “Stairway to Heaven,” —- “Cheap Girl” — next. Stay tuned.

Last Laugh, based in Brooklyn, NY, where a lot of other cool stuff comes from, also does some contemporary bands, including the totally rocking new release “Yeah Buddy” from the band Liquor Store. Some of the tracks are reminiscent of early New York Dolls. And what great cover art. {see above}

Order your copy of “Earthquake Shake” here, just in time for Xmas.

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SURREALISM SURROUNDS US

Reality is here, staring you in the face, announcing its crazy dream. Yes, there is no way to interpret the 2012 GOP candidates as anything but contemporary dadaists. “Clown Car” is fabulous, but it only goes so far, only touches the air just above the skin of the truth. Theirs is not a political campaign or a movement but a performance piece. Agitprop. Think of them as traveling circus freaks.

How else to explain a parade of fatsos and blowhards whose primary efforts to distinguish themselves from their rival clowns is to be even more repulsively extreme? Herman Cain brags that he doesn’t have time to bother with learning third grade geography, not to mention the leader of Ubekistan (or “Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan”), and as President, he would be far too busy to ready any legislation over three pages long. “We need a leader, not a reader,” he says. No snappy retorts are necessary from your correspondent. Rick Perry wants to dismantle the federal government but lacks the mental horsepower to count to three, and he has bullish advice on foreign policy, suggesting a no-fly zone over Syria, based primarily on his expertise with the Confederate Air Force. Newt Gingrich… oh, Lord, do we have to discuss that bloated island of malevolence and hypocrisy and new age fascist demagoguery? We have noticed that during the course of each GOP debate, the flabby blimp that is Newt Gingrich inflates another ten or fifteen pounds. He juts out his chin during speech because he thinks it looks statesmanlike, emulating other great statesmen like Mussolini, but primarily because it reduces the number of chins from four to only two and one half. Newt’s background in foreign policy is only slightly enhanced by the fact that he is currently married to an extraterrestrial. It is not widely known that a special variance was required under DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) to allow a marriage between an extraterrestrial and a zombie. But of course, we all knew that the parade of slapstick misogynists riding around clobbering mailboxes in that GOP clown car are all, without a doubt, undead in the deadest possible way, not the cute, sexy way of the vampire or loup garou (Fr. for werewolf). How else to explain their brainless persistence? They keep coming, plying their sociopathic little minstrel show, screaming that we MUST BOMB IRAN RIGHT NOW… or anybody else who is not currently under attack by US forces, because that is after all the basis of US foreign policy as envisioned by our Founding Fathers, such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, who, as Michele Bachmann reminds us, worked TIRELESSLY TO ABOLISH SLAVERY, somehow, in the 1700s, or was it the 1600s, as Rick Perry recently said, that we fought the Civil War… But I digress. Herman Cain also, in an intellectual assertion that must have truly tested his zombie IQ, reminded us that one of the great difficulties in going to war against Iran is that country’s mountainous terrain. (see image above)

And actually, this entire post has turned out to be, somehow, a weird digression. I meant to tell you that, following up to last week’s post of my musical version of Lorca’s “Unfaithful Wife / La Casada Infiel,” I am working on yet another Lorca project, and this has led me into a weird and wonderful new wilderness, which I will describe later. All things are connected. The dadaism of the GOP candidates, our recent trip to Houston’s Fine Arts museum to see King Tut which was, sorry to say, rather anti-climactic, but their Moderne collection is always worth another view, and their Joan Miro is practically worth the drive all by itself, and I have been collecting more Arthur Cravan material, which I will present to you later (Cravan being the nephew of Oscar Wilde, a poet provocateur, pro to-Dadaist, mystery man, “Poet & Pugilist,” publisher, and, no doubt about it, the first punk rocker in history. And so all this surrealism has been much on my mind lately, and I feel kinda like a new man. More than you wanted to know about me, probably, and in the future I’ll try to be more objective. The other thing I wanted to mention is that I’ll be revamping this site just slightly in the near future, with my great friend and digital guru, Nettie Hartsock, soon to begin her service as a chaplain, which I am thrilled to hear. And anyway, we’ll be adding a music player to this site, which will free us of the insidious tyranny of Reverbnation. Anyhow, happy Thanksgiving weekend.

Oh, but wait, there’s more. Notwithstanding these comments re GOP-zombieism, my previous assertions (GOP DEBATES SHOULD BE REPLACED WITH PUMPKIN CHUNK CONTEST and WHO SAID RICK PERRY IS A WHITE TRASH SLACKER) still stand. And more proof that Newt is a zombie, when he said that Occupy protestors should “Go get a job right after you take a bath,” he was dropping an obvious clue that he had just awoken from the late sixties, when “Love it or Leave it” was supposed to shut up critics of the Vietnam war and Merle Haggard was enjoying a huge hit with “Okie from Muskogee.” Sadly, Newt and the other GOP zombies missed the memo about that song being regarded by its author as a tongue-in-cheek bit of sarcasm, NOT meant to be taken seriously. MUCH LIKE THE GOP CANDIDATES, I MIGHT ADD!!! Sorry for shouting. Too much caffeine this morning.

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Who said “RICK PERRY IS A WHITE TRASH SLACKER”

“He never had to really work for anything.”

How do we know Rick Perry is spreading racist propaganda? His mouth is open.

That’s what Rick Perry says of Barack Obama. Did he say, “The President of the USA is a lazy n-word”? No. But he wants you to think that. Just like he wanted to thrill the nuvo-Confederates by teasing about seceding from the US, now that we have a black president.

I did not say that Rick Perry is a dumb, uneducated, brain-damaged, white trash slacker who couldn’t spell cat if you spotted him the first and last letter. No. I didn’t say he has no soul, can’t dance, can’t sing, has no empathy, no imagination, no future, because he’s white, dumb, ill-educated, unsophisticated and stupid and hateful. No, I didn’t say that.

But maybe he deserves a taste of his own medicine.

Here he goes, trying his little tricks. He’s a desperate man. Stay tuned for more moronic, last-ditch attempts to reshape America into his own Neanderthal image. The original link to the story is <a href="Here’s a story you should read. “>here.

Gov. Rick Perry on Wednesday night said President Barack Obama “grew up in a privileged way” and that America’s foreign policy reputation has suffered because of the president’s “mentality that he’s the smartest guy in the room.”
“It reveals to me that he grew up in a privileged way,” Perry said of Obama when asked by host FOX News host Sean Hannity to comment on the president’s recent comment that American business interests have been “lazy” in their approach to the global economy. “He never had to really work for anything.”

Brian Snyder/Reuters
Republican presidential candidate and Texas Gov. Rick Perry answers a question from the audience Wednesday at a town hall campaign stop in Nashua, N.H., before the airing of his appearance on FOX News with Sean Hannity.
“This president has never felt that angst that they have in their heart,” he added, referring to the nation’s 14 million unemployed. “And I think he’s always, when he has had problems, he’s always pointed to somebody else and said it’s their fault, not mine.”
Obama’s rise to the presidency was powered in part by his personal narrative as the son of a young white mother who was at times dependent on food stamps after her black husband deserted her. Obama later went on to become the first black president of the Harvard Law Review.
Perry, who grew up poor in rural Texas and frequently jokes about his poor college grades, added in his interview with Hannity that Obama’s perceived intellect has contributed to the decline of the United States in its relationships with other nations.
“His thinking that he’s the smartest guy in the room has hurt America around the world, particularly when it comes to foreign policy. And I think that mentality of ‘I’m the smartest guy in the room and therefore it couldn’t be my fault’ is really hurting America. And we need a president who has been through their ups and downs in life, and understands what it’s like to have to deal with the issues in our economy that we have today in America.”

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REPLACE GOP DEBATES WITH PUMPKIN CANNON CONTEST

Would you rather hose out your cat litter box than watch another “I’m dumber and more Stone Age than you are” GOP debate? You’re not alone. How about midget wrestling? Pumpkin cannon contests? Now you’re talking. Right wing change, like farts after a frijole eating contest, is in the wind.

Here we are, this morning in America, where it’s getting easier and easier to buy a gun than it is to vote. The mob is cheering to let uninsured sick people die but shouting support of the poor endangered, much maligned sea turtle — wait, no, I mean oil companies.

Have you noticed that whenever there’s a GOP debate, the TV ratings for shows like Swamp People, America’s Funniest Home Videos and Do-it-Yourself-Hemmorrhoid-Removal are in the single digits? Just last night outside a sports bar a mob of people watching mating dogs immediately disbanded as soon as the GOP debate began.

Down in Mississippi, the Personhood backers are unbowed after their gut-wrenching repudiation by their saner neighbors. The spokesperson for the group, who is actually a pool of unidentified semen and an egg of indeterminate species, backing an all-pet-rock slate of candidates for 2012. After this announcement, the group’s spokesperson, who contacted the media from a petri dish in an unspecified location, refused to answer questions.

Mitt Romney has not backed down on his “Corporations are people, my friend,” statements, either. While in a legal sense, the statement is more or less accurate in certain legal situations, the reaction has been widespread shock. It’s not what he said, exactly, but the way he said it, that made him seem like such a tone deaf doofus. Remember that geeky principal in high school, the one who told all the longhairs that they had to go get hair cuts before they could come back to school, that they’d only miss one class if they went immediately and got it done? And when one of them said, But it’s Monday, and the barbershops are closed, this jackass, instead of admitting he was wrong, called the barber at home and begged him to open his shop for a couple of hours? (Maybe you don’t remember, but this actually happened to me, in Johnson City, Texas 1972. In a strange bit of irony, the principal’s first name was Perry. But I digress.) Anyway, Mitt Romney is that kind of vapid, shapeless, air-headed candidate.

So anyway, if you’re a corporation, and you want to suppress the voting rights of poor Americans, Mitt feels your pain. Corporations need much less regulation. Poor people, women’s bodies, etc., those things need much more regulation.

This just in, Rick Perry says that when he’s elected president, he’ll disband Department of Commerce, Education and… and, uh, oh yeah, the Environmental Protection Agency. Certainly it would be weird if the Executive Dunce of Texas was a big backer of Education. He’d replace Commerce with a drive-in gun shop. Apparently his claim that the EPA is nothing but a job-killer is based on a peculiar mathematical equation. See, if the EPA did not regulate things like DDT, toxic waste, the draining of every estuarial body that nurtures aquatic life, and things like that, an X number (somewhere in the multiple millions) would die every year, some of them from horrid birth defects and diseases that blossom from chromosome damage and/or early exposure to poisons in the womb. So if you subtract all those dead people from the population, you somehow come out with more jobs for the mutants who survive. Plus some of those people, having extra digits, tails, two heads, etc., they could be extra productive on certain jobs. A little known fact is that Perry blames endangered brain eating cave fish for his recent poor debate performances.

Rumor has it that the GOP has considered alternatives to the debate format, since the candidates have only managed to illustrate their shortcomings while also revealing the Tea Party crowd to be somewhat Neanderthal (although the Neanderthal Defamation League has filed a libel suite over such claims). Possibly the next GOP debate will involve competitive events such as harvesting bull semen, administering an enema to an elephant and last but not least, midget wrestling.

An idea was floated about replacing the GOP debates with shooting midgets out of cannons, but when it was revealed that Herman Cain had made unwanted sexual advances to 4 out of 5 of the proposed cannon fodder the idea was dropped. (As we went to press, a new rumor came out about the pizza man. Apparently, before pushing 999 at every opportunity, it was just 69. But we digress.).

Now it looks like the GOP candidates will compete in the building of pumpkin launchers, which could be either any type of cannon, trebuchet, or giant sling shot. Perry’s idea of using hydrogen bombs packed in a toilet was nixed, however, as were several other ideas floated by New Gingrich, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum — ideas which we would rather not visualize here.

Perry followed up his most recent debate debacle by vowing that, once he becomes “Czar or King or whatever the heck it is,” he will disband those pesky agencies he mentioned, including the EPA, and will launch an energy policy of “Drill, baby, uh, uh, you know, you know, whatever…”

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Rick Perry’s NRA Nation

You COULD say that Rick Perry is a visionary, kind of like the brown acid at Woodstock.

Rick Perry is an embarrassment to Texas and to the nation, actually.

I’ve had enough of Rick Perry.

At least the Perry who stood on the steps of the Texas Capitol today bashing our federal government and talking openly about Texas seceding from the United States.

This isn’t the Perry I knew 25 years ago, when he first ran for the Legislature from my part of West Texas, and it’s not the Perry who earned the respect of his colleagues and most Capitol reporters in the late ’80s for his work on the House Appropriations Committee.

Perry’s always been a conservative, but that isn’t the issue. He’s a demagogue now, and every single newspaper in Texas with a decent editorial page should denounce these remarks and call for him to retract them publicly or resign.

I mean that. This isn’t a joke.

Partisanship and political philosophy aside, I can think of few things more irresponsible in this economy than the governor of Texas speaking freely about secession. What business is going to relocate to Texas with him talking like that? Who wants to come to a state to do research at its large land grant universities with a governor who sounds like George Wallace or Lester Maddox naming the regents.

The reality is that few if any Texans believe he is serious, and Texas isn’t going to secede. Most Texans just pass this off as Perry pandering to a crowd of right-wing malcontents to whip up support for his upcoming re-election.

Few have said it better. Read the rest here on HuffPost.

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Rick Perry’s Pistol Envy

Rick Perry & Saddam Hussein, deluded, corrupt, poseurs, demagogues, mental midgets.

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SADDAM + RICK No. 2: Gun Crazy Men Who Would Be Kings

Saddam Hussein + Rick Perry seem to share an egregious sense of taste in clothes, too!

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