Tuesday, February 10, 2009

R.I.P J. Dilla “King of the Beats"

Madlib - Beat Konducta Vol. 5-6: A Tribute to… (2009; Stones Throw)

When Madlib followed J Dilla’s now-classic Donuts with an instrumental concept-album of his own, a series was born. “Beat Konducta,” the alias he often scribbled on the beat CDs he handed to friends and potential collaborators, left the realm of the unknown and entered the record-buying public’s conscious as Madlib’s latest nom de plume. His unedited CDs often wove quirky narratives, served as obsessive listening material to those lucky enough to hear them, and became raw working material for Madvillain, Jaylib, Ghostface, De La Soul, Talib Kweli, and Erykah Badu.

The concept of the Beat Konducta series was simple: put Madlib’s raw beat tapes into album form--one by one on vinyl, with two volumes at a time appearing on sporadically released CDs.

The first two volumes of Beat Konducta, Movie Scenes, were a soundtrack to a movie that existed only in Madlib’s mind. It’s score ranged from Blaxploitation soul to African-psychedelia, from Tropicalia to moody progressive rock. The second installment took its listeners on a tour of Bollywood, circa 1975. Beat Konducta in India paid sincere tribute to musical giants largely unheard of by Western ears. And kept the funk levels up all the way.

Beat Konducta Vol. 5-6: A Tribute to...is a 42-track piece dedicated to the late J Dilla. Madlib and J. Rocc--arguably Dilla’s closest musical compatriots during his time spent in Los Angeles--lovingly remember their friend and reflect on his boundless influence. As was the case with Donuts and in keeping with the Beat Konducta’s all-embracing musical bent, this album does not settle into one groove for too long. The result is a transfixing, sometimes jarring, and always soulful homage to the man Madlib crowned “King of the Beats.”


Sunday, February 1, 2009

Herbert Hoover Lives


HERE’S a bottom line to keep you up at night: The economy is falling faster than Washington can get moving. President Obama says his stimulus plan will save or create four million jobs in two years. In the last four months of 2008 alone, employment fell by 1.9 million. Do the math.

The abyss is widening. Of the 30 companies in the Dow Jones industrial index, 22 have announced job cuts since October. Unemployment is up in all 50 states, with layoffs at both high-tech companies (Microsoft) and low (Caterpillar). The December job loss in retailing is the worst since at least 1939. The new-home sales rate has fallen to its all-time low since record-keeping began in 1963.

What are Americans still buying? Big Macs, Campbell’s soup, Hershey’s chocolate and Spam — the four food groups of the apocalypse.

The crisis is at least as grave as the one that confronted us — and, for a time, united us — after 9/11. Which is why the antics among Republicans on Capitol Hill seem so surreal. These are the same politicians who only yesterday smeared the patriotism of any dissenters from Bush’s “war on terror.” Where is their own patriotism now that economic terror is inflicting far more harm on their constituents than Saddam Hussein’s nonexistent W.M.D.?

The House stimulus bill is an inevitably imperfect hodgepodge-in-progress. Obama’s next move, a new plan to prevent the collapse of America’s banks, may prove more problematic still, especially given the subpar record of the new Treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, in warding off calamity while at the New York Fed. No one should expect the Republicans to give the new president carte blanche, fall blindly into lock step or be “post-partisan.” (Though that’s exactly what the G.O.P. demanded of Democrats with Bush: You were either with him or with the terrorists.)

But you might think that a loyal opposition would want to pitch in and play a serious role at a time of national peril. Not by singing “Kumbaya” but by collaborating on possible solutions and advancing a policy debate that many Americans’ lives depend on. As Raymond Moley, of F.D.R.’s brain trust, said of the cross-party effort at the harrowing start of that presidency in March 1933, Hoover and Roosevelt acolytes “had forgotten to be Republicans or Democrats” as they urgently tried to rescue their country.

The current G.O.P. acts as if it — and we — have all the time in the world. It kept hoping in vain that the fast-waning Blago sideshow would somehow impale Obama or Rahm Emanuel. It has come perilously close to wishing aloud that a terrorist attack will materialize to discredit Obama’s reversals of Bush policy on torture, military tribunals and Gitmo. The party’s sole consistent ambition is to play petty politics to gum up the works.

If anything, the Republican Congressional leadership seems to be emulating John McCain’s September stunt of “suspending” his campaign to “fix” the Wall Street meltdown. For all his bluster, McCain in the end had no fixes to offer and sat like a pet rock at the White House meeting on the crisis before capitulating to the bailout. His imitators likewise posture in public about their determination to take action, then do nothing while more and more Americans cry for help.

The problem is not that House Republicans gave the stimulus bill zero votes last week. That’s transitory political symbolism, and it had no effect on the outcome. Some of the naysayers will vote for the revised final bill anyway (and claim, Kerry-style, that they were against it before they were for it). The more disturbing problem is that the party has zero leaders and zero ideas. It is as AWOL in this disaster as the Bush administration was during Katrina.

If the country wasn’t suffering, the Republicans’ behavior would be a laugh riot. The House minority leader, John Boehner, from the economic wasteland of Ohio, declared on “Meet the Press” last Sunday that the G.O.P. didn’t want to be “the party of ‘No’ ” but “the party of better ideas, better solutions.” And what are those ideas, exactly? He said he’ll get back to us “over the coming months.”

His deputy, the Virginia congressman Eric Cantor, has followed the same script, claiming that the G.O.P. will not be “the party of ‘No’ ” but will someday offer unspecified “solutions and alternatives.” Not to be left out, the party’s great white hope, Sarah Palin, unveiled a new political action committee last week with a Web site also promising “fresh ideas.” But as the liberal blogger Markos Moulitsas Zúniga observed, the site invites visitors to make donations and read Palin hagiography while offering no links to any ideas, fresh or otherwise.

For its own contribution to this intellectual void, the Republican National Committee convened last week under a new banner, “Republican for a Reason.” Perhaps that unidentified reason will be determined by a panel of judges on a TV reality show. It had better be brilliant given that only five states (with 20 total electoral votes) now lean red in party affiliation, according to Gallup. At this rate the G.O.P. will be in Alf Landon territory by 2012.

The Republicans do have one idea, of course, but it’s hardly fresh: more and bigger tax cuts, particularly for business and the well-off. That’s the sum of their “alternative” stimulus plan. Obama has tried to accommodate this panacea, perhaps to a fault. Mainstream economists in both parties believe that tax cuts in the stimulus package will deliver far less bang for the buck than, say, infrastructure spending. The tax-cut stimulus embraced a year ago by the G.O.P. induced next-to-no consumer spending as Americans merely banked the savings or paid down debt.

We also now know conclusively that the larger Bush tax cuts, besides running up record deficits and exacerbating income inequality, were also at best a placebo on our road to ruin. In a January survey of economists, including former McCain advisers like Douglas Holtz-Eakin and Mark Zandi, The Washington Post determined that the job growth the Bush administration kept bragging about (“52 straight months!”) was a mirage inflated by the housing bubble. Job growth — about 2 percent — was in fact the most tepid of any eight-year period “since data collection began seven decades ago.” Gross domestic product grew at a slower pace than in any eight years since the Truman administration.

But even if tax cuts alone could jump-start a recovery, they couldn’t do the heavy lifting that Obama has promised and the country desperately needs: a down payment on a new economy to replace our dilapidated 20th-century model and bring back long-term growth. The Republicans don’t acknowledge the need for this transformation, or debate it in good conscience, preferring instead to hyperventilate over the contraceptives in a small family-planning program since removed from the stimulus bill. All it takes is the specter of condoms for the party of Vitter, Foley and Craig to go gaga.

The Republicans’ other preoccupation remains Rush Limbaugh, who is by default becoming their de facto leader. While most Americans are fearing fear itself, G.O.P. politicians are tripping over themselves in morbid terror of Rush.

These pratfalls commenced after Obama casually told some Republican congressmen (correctly) that they won’t “get things done” if they take their orders from Limbaugh. That’s all the stimulus the big man needed to go on a new bender of self-aggrandizement. He boasted that Obama is “more frightened” of him than he is of the Republican leaders in the House or Senate. He said of the new president, “I hope he fails.”

Obama no doubt finds Limbaugh’s grandiosity more amusing than frightening, but G.O.P. politicians are shaking like Jell-O. When asked by Andrea Mitchell of NBC News on Wednesday if he shared Limbaugh’s hope that Obama fails, Eric Cantor spun like a top before running off, as it happened, to appear on Limbaugh’s radio show. Mike Pence of Indiana, No. 3 in the Republican House leadership, similarly squirmed when asked if he agreed with Limbaugh. Though the Republicans’ official, poll-driven line is that they want Obama to succeed, they’d rather abandon that disingenuous nicety than cross Rush.

Most pathetic of all was Phil Gingrey, a right-wing Republican congressman from Georgia, who mildly criticized both Limbaugh and Sean Hannity to Politico because they “stand back and throw bricks” while lawmakers labor in the trenches. So many called Gingrey’s office to complain that the poor congressman begged Limbaugh to bring him on air to publicly recant on Wednesday. As Gingrey abjectly apologized to talk radio’s commandant for his “stupid comments” and “foot-in-mouth disease,” he sounded like the inmate in a B-prison-movie cowering before the warden after a failed jailbreak.

“It’s up to me to hijack the Obama honeymoon,” Limbaugh soon gloated, “and I’ve done it.” In his dreams. He has hijacked what’s left of the Republican Party; the Obama honeymoon remains intact. The nightmare is that we have so irrelevant, clownish and childish an opposition party at a moment when America is in an all-hands-on-deck emergency that’s as trying as war. To paraphrase a dictum that has been variously attributed to two of our most storied leaders in times of great challenge, Thomas Paine and George Patton, the Republicans should either lead, follow or get out of the grown-ups’ way.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Radical Obama acting like he won the election

According to the Washington Post, right-wingers are angry with Obama for...not being right-wing. It seems they're upset that Obama isn't appointing the same people John McCain would have appointed if he had won. As the Post put it, "conservatives fear that some of these Obama transition advisers are too far left on the political spectrum and are a sign of radical policies to come."

What are the signs of "radicalism" that Obama is showing? He's filling regulatory positions with people who want regulate industry -- instead of the industry-stooge-hack-lobbyists who have filled the positions during the Bush years.

And in the area of civil rights, it's even worse -- Obama has people on his transition advisory team who are, get this, gay and, gulp, non-white.

To conservative tool Roger Clegg, this is "disturbing." Roger is also "has some fears about a return to racial quotas." Why? Because Obama had the radical gall to put the president of the NAACP on his civil rights advisory team.

So all those emails from our grandparents were right -- Obama really is a radical hellbent on destroy America with gays, blacks, and extremists who believe corporations should follow some rules.

But back to the matter at hand--conservatives who are in stunned disbelief that Obama isn't following the usual rules of an election whereby right-wing hacks get to have all the administration jobs even if they don't win the election. How are they to deal with Obama's brazen and outrageous decision to implement the policies the public voted for?

Here's our suggestion for how right-wingers can cope with the unfairness of Obama's appointments...

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Quick Thoughts from Kansas

By: nate silver

Six points of general consensus among the reporters, strategists and analysts that were present at the Dole Institute.

1. Obama will have a relatively long honeymoon period, and the public will be inclined to be relatively sympathetic toward him.
1a. The Democrats' largest problem is with the public perception of their Congressional leadership.

2. Obama, politically speaking, has handled his transition very well. The Republicans on the panel felt extremely reassured by appointments like Jim Jones and Robert Gates. This bought Obama a huge amount of political capital.

3. The Republican bench is relatively inadequate at the present time in terms of candidates for national office.
3a. On the other hand, the 2012 Presidential cycle is already being looked at as something of a lost cause. Some of the stronger candidates -- both known and unknown -- might want to wait until 2016 to run.
3b. In the long-term, the future of the party probably lies in governor's offices. If the Republicans are smart, this may be their major focus in 2010-12, as opposed to the Congress and even perhaps the Presidency.

4. Sarah Palin is, for the time being, the public face of the Republican Party.
4a. This is not necessarily a good thing for the Republican Party.

5. The compressed primary calendar is problematic.
5a. The compressed primary calendar is unlikely to change.

6. Obama ran the best campaign we have seen in a generation.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Center Left Nation

Conservatives started spinning even before the dancing stopped on election night. Obama's victory is impressive, but "this is still a center right nation," went the mantra. "This was a good Democratic year, says Bill Kristol, "but this is still a center-right country. Conservative and the Republican Party will have a real chance for a comeback. National Review editor Rich Lowry is less sanguine, but concludes:

"Even in unimaginably challenging conditions for Republicans, the ideological composition of the election was essentially unchanged from 2004. Only 22 percent of voters identified themselves as liberals. The rest were moderates or conservatives. It is indeed, as conservatives have been insisting in recent days, a center-right country. The question is how to appeal to the center again."

Sure, this is a center-right country, but only if you substitute addition for analysis. There are more conservatives than liberals - as there has been for years. So add them to the 44% of the electorate that says they are "moderates," and you get a center-right majority.

But do a little analysis. "Moderate" isn't a place holder, as voters who describe themselves that way have attitudes on the issues of the day. And when you look at attitudes, rather than addition, there is no question: Conservatives have had their day. This is a center-left, not a center-right nation.

The Center for America's Future joined with Democracy Corps to do a nation wide poll on election eve and with an expanded sample, we could probe attitudes of voters by political identification. What we found was clear: on both values and issues, moderates line up with liberals to form a strong majority that isolates conservatives.

On national security, does our security depend on building strong ties with other nations or on our own military strength? Liberals say ties with other nations 76-20; moderates 63-31. Conservatives go the other way 51-43.

Should we begin to take troops out of Iraq or stay the course until we reach stability? Liberals 92-7 for getting troops out; moderates 64-33. Conservatives? By two to one -- 66-33 -- they would stay the course.

Does government regulation do more good or more harm? Liberals believe it does more good than harm by 75-18; moderates by 60-36. Conservatives go the other way, even after the financial collapse, 52-44.

Are you worried that we will fail to make investments we need to create jobs or worry that we will spend too much and have to raise taxes? Liberals worry about not making needed investments 73-23; moderates by 53-44. Conservatives worry about spending and taxes 69-29.

Did you worry more that Barack Obama would raise taxes or that John McCain would continue Bush's economic policies? Liberals by a margin of 58% worry about McCain; moderates the same by 29%. Conservatives by 46 - 70-24 - worry about Obama.

Should homosexuality be accepted or discouraged by society. Liberals say accepted by 82-17; moderates by 61-28. Conservatives want homosexuality discouraged by 63-31.

When we asked whether Republicans lost because they were too conservative or not conservative enough, or whether they should move to the center or reaffirm their principles and stay on the right, liberals and moderates were clear. They lost because they were too conservative and should move back towards the center. Conservatives, not surprisingly, reaffirmed the faith.

On issue after issue, moderates stand with liberals, not conservatives. This is a center-left nation.

Republicans are not only an aging, monochromatic, regional minority party. They not only must now suffer the circular firing squad that follows defeat. They not only struggle to find a compelling leader or a relevant agenda. They swim against the tide. They are a largely conservative party in a center-left nation. Obama's mandate is clear. And they'd be well advised to get out of the way.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Crystal Stilts: Alight of Night

click cover to download

1. The Dazzled
2. Crystal Stilts
3. Graveyard Orbit
4. Prismatic Room
5. The Sinking
6. Departure
7. Shattered Shine
8. Verdant Gaze
9. Bright Night
10. Spiral Transit
11. The City in the Sea

enjoy 3

A Center-Left Agenda for the First 100 Days

By: Katrina vanden Heuvel

At the end of this remarkable week, we're starting to look ahead to the First 100 Days of the Obama presidency. Already, we're hearing calls in the mainstream media warning the new administration "not to overreach." And working overtime, the Inside-the-Beltway Punditocracy continues to reveal its ability to ignore reality -- even while describing itself as "realist" -- with its claims that this is still a center-right nation, despite all evidence to the contrary.

But as Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman writes in yesterday's New York Times, "Let's hope that Mr. Obama has the good sense to ignore this advice...this year's presidential election was a clear referendum on political philosophies -- and the progressive philosophy won."

Obama himself his talked about needing to measure his accomplishments over the first 1,000 Days, rather than 100, given the problems he has inherited from arguably the worst president ever (my words, not Obama's). Indeed, it will take years to undo the damage of the Bush administration and the conservative ideology that has dominated this country for nearly thirty years. But the First 100 Days are still crucial -- not only in signaling to the American people and the world that the administration will take determined steps to repair this nation -- but there is a historical precedent for the need to move forward expeditiously in order to seize the moment and the mandate.

President Obama will need to be bold to deal with the challenges he faces: a cratering economy, broken healthcare system, two wars, poverty and inequality, and the stained US reputation in the world. The millions who were mobilized and inspired by Obama's campaign and candidacy also have their work cut out for them -- continuing to drive a bold agenda to respond to these crises -- just as progressives have in recent years on the war, energy independence, trade, healthcare, and other issues that are defining the new "center" of American politics and hearts and minds.

Here is a list of actions -- ones I care deeply about -- that President Obama can take in the First 100 Days to immediately achieve real and significant change. Some of these he can literally achieve on Day 1 with the stroke of a pen, others will demand coalition building and an inside-outside strategy to push legislation. Many of these ideas are drawn from good groups like the Center for Constitutional Rights, Amnesty International USA, the Apollo Alliance, and Public Citizen. You may have others and I'd welcome hearing yours -- just post a comment.

Bush Executive Orders: As Obama himself said of his first 100 days when campaigning in Denver, "I would call my attorney general in and review every single executive order issued by George Bush and overturn those laws or executive decisions that I feel violate the constitution."

Economic Stimulus: Stop the bleeding -- through expanded health and unemployment benefits and providing real aid to beleaguered state and local governments so they can sustain essential public services.

Iraq: Present plan and hold to your timeline for withdrawal.

Health Care Reform: Begin immediately by expanding health insurance to kids and passing the State Children's Health Insurance Program legislation vetoed by Bush.

Women's Health and Reproductive Rights: Repeal the Global Gag Rule that requires NGOs receiving federal funding to neither promote nor perform abortions in other countries.

Energy and the Economy: Announce a clean energy strategy that will reduce oil dependence, address global warming, create thousands of green jobs, and improve national security. Groups like the Apollo Alliance, Center for American Progress, and Natural Resources Defense Council have strong and concrete plans in this regard. Incorporate elements of this plan into stimulus package.

Bailout for Main Street: Work to ensure that homeowners have real opportunities to renegotiate mortgages and remain in their homes.

Poverty and Inequality: Appoint a Hunger Czar -- as Senator George McGovern and Congressman Jim McGovern call for in a recent op-ed -- who would "coordinate the various food, nutrition and anti-poverty programs... to increase the independence, purchasing power and food security of every human being." Announce your commitment to the goal of cutting poverty in half in ten years.

Labor and Trade: Reject Colombia, Korea and Panama trade agreements as currently written and ensure future agreements promote the public interest. Work towards passage of Employee Free Choice Act.

Science: Allow federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.

Global Warming: Reverse the Bush EPA decision and allow California to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks. Call for a new climate treaty and ask Al Gore to lead that effort.

Guantánamo: Close it, and try people in the US or resettle in countries where they face no risk of persecution or torture. New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof offers a compelling idea to "turn it into an international center for research on tropical diseases that afflict poor countries... [serving as] an example of multilateral humanitarianism."

Detention: Close all CIA black sites and secret detention sites. End extraordinary rendition. Abolish preventive detention that allows people to be held indefinitely without charge. Initiate criminal investigations into programs of rendition and secret detention. End trials by military commission. End opposition to full habeas corpus hearings for detainees in Guantánamo and other similar situations. Make known the names and whereabouts of all those detained in rendition and secret detention programs.

Torture: End use in court of any evidence obtained through torture. Officially reject all memos, signing statements and executive orders that justify the use of torture. Establish an independent commission of inquiry into all aspects of detention and interrogation practices in the "war on terror." Announce administration will work for redress and remedy for victims of human rights violations for which US authorities are found to be responsible.

Protect Dissent: Ensure that the FBI adheres to surveillance guidelines. Open Justice Department investigation into surveillance related misconduct. Pledge to end all secret surveillance programs not reviewed by courts or congressional committees.

Limit State Secrets Privilege: Issue new Executive Orders that reverse the expansion of state secrets privilege and the over-classification of documents. Pass legislation making it clear that military contractors are accountable for abuses.

Roll Back Executive Power: Repudiate unitary presidency. Renounce use of signing statements as a tool for altering legislation. Pledge to abide by the War Powers Act and end abuse of Authorization to Use Military Force. (Or as Bruce Fein -- a key player in the Reagan Justice Department -- said, "Renounce presidential power to initiate war anywhere on the planet, including Iran.")

These are doable, and by taking these steps -- with deliberate haste -- President Obama would get a real start on repairing our nation and people's lives


Sunday, November 9, 2008

Peter & The Wolf - Mellow Owl

click cover to download

"Mellow Owl was written and recorded on a farm in Canada, and an undisclosed location in Vermont, according to liner notes. As Red Hunter told Splice Today in a recent interview, "I'm trying out all kinds of new stuff here to see what works. I'm really influenced by these native dudes I met in Fiji who sang super mellow beach harmonies, so I guess it'll be some island jams."

1. Supermellofied
2. Moondance Of Nightowl
3. Ballad of Redhook
4. Fireflies
5. Bottle Rockettes
6. Dime Novel Afterparty
7. Trainhopper
8. City Birds
9. Fiji Boy Part VII
10. The Owl Speaks
11. This Kid I Knew
12. The Bride Of S. Travels

enjoy 3

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Christian Right Killed the Republican Party

By: Jane Devin

When Ronald Reagan began courting the religious right in his bid to win the Presidency, I doubt he knew he was spelling death to the lean tenets of Goldwater conservatism. Yet soon afterward, under the thumb of right-wing religion, the Republican party became a bloated fool, stuffed with hypocrisy, greed, and anti-intellectualism. In 2008, the price is being paid through lost elections and a loss of public trust.

While Bush railed about the axis of evil, there was another axis that gathered steam during the Reagan years. The Moral Majority, Focus on the Family, and The Christian Coalition were all formed within years of each other as religiopolitical groups. Jerry Falwell, James Dobson, and Pat Robertson, the respective leaders of these movements, formed a triad that sought to influence politics through a gospel of neo-conservative Christian rhetoric aimed at millions of faithful adherents whose votes, it was hoped, could swing the socio-political pendulum away from progress and back to "traditional values."

In order to win the votes of the triad's faithful followers, Republican politicians bartered themselves into a hear-no-wrong, see-no-wrong trade-off. This trade-off allowed Falwell to hold sway with politicians, and appear as a respected political pundit on right-wing shows, even after outlandishly insisting that the purple Tinky Winky children's character was gay, or that the anti-Christ was coming in the form of a Jew. He could promote the idea of ending the public school system in favor of church-run schools, as he did in his book, America Can Be Saved, yet still wield considerable influence in Washington.

In trading endorsements for blindness, Pat Robertson could say that feminism "is a socialist, anti-family, political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians" -- and even suggest that a nuclear device should be used to blow up the State Department -- yet Senators and other politicians would still appear on his CBN network, even after other controversies, such as the use of Operation Blessing planes for mining activities, splintered his Coalition.

Republican politicians continued to cater to James Dobson even after he distorted the research of scientists to promote his anti-gay agenda in Time magazine. Dobson, who operates several non-profits, has used millions in tax-free donations to try to influence nominations for the Supreme Court and to subvert the First Amendment separation of church and State, but legislators, rather than reining in the 800-pound gorilla, quaked under threat of being targeted by Dobson's political media machine.

There was a mutuality to the trade-off between the Christian right and its adopted Republican politicians. In exchange for being given credibility and influence in Washington, the triad and their various branches would justify the intrusive Patriot Act, torture at Guantanamo Bay, and massive governmental debt to their audience of millions -- if politicians would stand against Roe v. Wade. They wouldn't make a stink about outrageously expensive no-bid contracts -- if it meant that their "faith-based" charities could get governmental grants. They would support war against a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 -- if politicians went on the record against same-sex marriage.

The would ignore or excuse the fact that a large percentage of corporations paid no taxes at all -- if it meant no new taxes for them. They'd support Bush even as he misled the public about weapons of mass destruction, and they'd excuse the unethical actions of henchmen like Rove and Libby -- if it meant that school vouchers would be put on the agenda.

Working in tandem with their pocketed politicians, the Christian right would rejoice at the FCC's repeal of the Fairness Doctrine, which gave rise to a slew of unchecked right-wing programs that hawked the myth of a vast "liberal media", even as markets narrowed and became dominated by a handful of corporations.

Right-wing provocateurs like Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh were encouraged to truck in fear, loathing, and controversy, mirroring the religious right's mission to divide the country into red/blue, good/evil, conservative/liberal, Christian/un-Christian factions. There was no room for the moderate middle in this "with us or against us" equation, as witnessed by the public shredding of moderate Republican politicians like Arlen Specter, a Jew, and a vocal critic of the Christian right. "What some are trying to do is take over the party," Specter warned in 1994. "That's bad for the Republican Party and bad for the country." Specter became a target of the religious right for his support of Roe v. Wade, and his refusal to bend to the will of religious power brokers like Dobson, who attempted to use his influence to block Specter's 2005 bid to become chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee

Today, Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann are among two of the more prominent Republican figures that have become mouthpieces for the religious right. Their attempts to split a diverse, multi-cultural country into "pro-America" and "anti-America" factions have left little doubt who is to be considered patriotic and who is not.

Those who are right-wing Christians -- anti-abortion, anti-feminism, anti-gay, anti-evolution, anti-taxes, pro-gun, and pro-deregulation -- and who are willing to ignore or justify massive governmental debt, corporate welfare, bank nationalization, unjustified war, falling markets, depleted retirement accounts, record foreclosures, government spying, broken treaties, torture, the impingement of a free press, the subversion of the First Amendment, the hiding of official records, the missing millions from Halliburton, and more - are patriotic. Everyone else is not.

Barry Goldwater once said that he was "sick and tired of the political preachers" that tried to dictate his morality.

"And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of "conservatism."
Goldwater, I think, would be rolling in his grave at the hijacking of his party by religious fundamentalists. It remains to be seen if the Republican party can recover from its long and seedy affair with the extreme right, but there is no doubt that many socially moderate, fiscally conservative Republicans are waiting for a leadership that is driven more by Goldwater ethics than by the bogeyman of a separatist, neo-con God.


Evangelical Leaders Using God Like a Hired Gun

By: Christine Wicker

They tried branding Obama the anti-Christ. They tried linking him with Islamic terrorists. They've implied that unknown powers bought his allegiance by financing his education at Ivy League universities. They've used their pulpits to endorse McCain, hoping to spur a fight with the I.R.S. that would rouse their troops.

None of these tactics has brought their errant minions under control.

So using God like a hired gun to terrorize the town's people, the evangelical Christian mullahs are declaring that Obamageddon is at hand, using that very word and asking as the Religious Right/Republican Townhall magazine did in a September headline, "Could We Survive a Barack Presidency?"

Evangelical publisher James Strang answers the survival question by warning his readers that people who hate Christianity will take over the country once Obama is elected.

In fact, "life as we know it will end," Strang writes.

Last week Focus on the Family's James Dobson added his own doomsday predictions with a 16-page rant about evils that will befall the United States by 2012 if Obama is elected. A British commentator dubbed Dobson's list of a parade of horrors.

As a warm up Dobson blames misguided young evangelicals for putting Obama in office. It's them he's hoping to scare most. But they and emergent church leaders such as Brian McLaren, who endorsed Obama, have broken ranks and won't be coming back. He's truly delusional if he thinks they're listening to him.

A great mass of other evangelicals, who never followed the evangelical mullahs and never will, are also going for Obama. Maybe Dobson thinks they'll listen to him.

Not likely. They're using tried-and true-evangelical tactics on behalf of their own cause.

Seattle's Jim Henderson, a former Pentecostal preacher and head of Offthemap.com, is trying guilt.

He recently sent a mass email urging his friends to support Obama because he has the character and bearing to be president, and because his election gives Christians the opportunity to transform historical wrong.

The enslavement of Africans contributed greatly to our nation's wealth and has never been addressed directly and concretely by our leaders, Henderson wrote. Linking that lack of repentance to the country's $13 trillion of debt, he told his friends that our current troubles are a matter of reaping what we've sown. He then cited the chance to elect Obama as an example of "God's mercy - as a way through this historic dilemma and one that will do for our national character what reparations never could."

He and his ilk won't be convinced by Dobson's scare tactics. They're more likely to agree with a new bumper sticker popular in Colorado, where Focus on the Family is based.

It reads, "Focus on your own damn family."

So which evangelicals are left? Oh, I know. How could I have left them until last? The true faithful. The ones who always listen to Dobson.

He's going after evangelicals who may stay home on election day because they paid too much attention to his reasons for refusing to support McCain earlier in the year.

At that time, thinking that he was powerful enough to quash McCain's nomination, Dobson chastised fellow evangelical Gary Bauer for supporting the senator from Arizona.

"The Senator," Dobson said in a press release from Focus on the Family, "is being touted by the media as a man of principle, yet he was involved with other women while married to his first wife, and was implicated in the so-called Keating scandal with four other senators. He was eventually reprimanded by the Congress for the 'appearance of impropriety.' The Senator reportedly has a violent temper and can be extremely confrontational and profane when angry. These red flags about Senator McCain's character are reminiscent of the man who now occupies the White House."

The man who now occupies the White House? Oh yeah. That guy. Isn't he the last president the Religious Right elected?

But let's forget about that. Many of God's men have fallen. God's people move on.

Dobson's jeremiad against McCain also noted the senator's love of alcohol and gambling, as well as his acceptance of support from Log Cabin Republicans, a gay group.

Pretty strong stuff. All true. But let's forget about that.

The Republicans anointed McCain anyway.

When Dobson saw that threats to take his toys and go home didn't keep McCain from winning the nomination, he forgot his previous scruples. Now Dobson sees McCain as God's man. It's Obama who's the devil. And under God's direction, as he always is, Dobson is speaking out again. But this time he is no longer dealing in truth.

As he notes in the letter's preface, Dobson is now imagining things, things that could happen if Christians don't unite behind McCain and give that adulterous, profane, violent, scandal-tainted, bought-out-by-the-homsexuals drinker and gambler the most powerful elective office in the world.

In the letter Dobson imagines Boy Scouts disbanding rather than allowing gay scout leaders the complete license they will get if Obama is elected. He imagines the Pledge of Allegiance being banned in schools. He imagines Communism gaining new power. He imagines doctors killing children just minutes before birth. He imagines Americans forbidden to own guns. He imagines television and radio stations forbidden to preach the Bible. He imagines ministers, lawyers, doctors, social workers all being punished for following their consciences.

Dobson may have gotten his letter idea from Christian radio's Janet Porter who wrote an imaginary "Letter from a Future Prisoner" last year. She was fear mongering over the idea the Hillary might be elected. If that happened "thought crimes" would be instituted. Christian books would be banned. Christian speech would be called hate speech.

Porter, an even bigger drama queen than Dobson, imagined herself in prison doing hard labor merely for defending her faith. And who does she imagine in the cell next to her?

No, no. Not Jesus. Don't be ridiculous.

It's a home-schooling mother weeping inconsolably because her innocent children have been put in foster care.

All because they loved Jesus.

All because that adulterous, profane, violent, scandal-tainted, bought-out-by-the-homsexuals drinker and gambler didn't win the presidential election.

It's enough to make Mickey Rooney weep.

Monday, October 27, 2008

We Are Bulletproof Atease Vol. 1

Click Cover for Free Artist Supported Download

1. The Gadflies - Weight Of The World
( www.myspace.com/thegadflies )
2. Companions In The Haze - There She Goes
( www.myspace.com/companionsinthehaze )
3. Luna Park Rescue - Paperplastic
( www.myspace.com/lunaparkrescue )
4. Dead Ringer - Where The Fuck Are My Keys?
( http://virb.com/deadringer )
5. Harry Burgess - Hold On Forget Me
( http://www.myspace.com/harryburgessmusic )
6. William H. Bonney - Bigger Than Me
( wearebulletpfoof.blogspot.com )
7. Martijn Duiven - Stop Videotaping
( www.myspace.com/martijnduiven )
8. A Clever Name Here - X'd
( wearebulletpfoof.blogspot.com )
9. Elliott Mor - Fire Rabbit
( http://www.myspace.com/runoutgroove )
10. Steady Downhill - Open The Window
( www.myspace.com/steadydownhill )
11. Popular Mechanics - Voiceless Motion ( demo )
( http://www.myspace.com/haveagoodflightonpopularmechanics )
12. Tandem Felix - Yooden Vranx
( www.tandem-felix.com )
13. Wes Scott - Lie
( www.myspace.com/wesleyscottmusic )
14. Man's Small Step - The Day Has Slowly Passed
( www.myspace.com/manssmallstep )
15. Primm And Propeller - Daniel Day-Lewis In Boxing Vs. Terrorism
( myspace.com/primmmusic )
16. William Cremin - Army Ants
( www.thetornacls.net )

Enjoy 3