An Open Letter To The President-Elect Of The United States Of America


Mr. Obama,

Forgive the rather unwieldy and crude medium by which I choose to address you.  However unlikely it is that you’ll actually read this message, I felt it would have a better chance of completing it’s intended journey from an open internet forum than at the bottom of a White House mail bin.

Firstly, congratulations on one of the most decisive electoral victories I’ve seen in my lifetime.  In terms of clear mandates, yours is nearly transparent.  Also, Obama victory parties had way better weed than McCain parties would have, so thanks for a great Tuesday.


I should begin by explaining precisely why you did not receive my vote.  Ironically or understandably, depending on your political persuasion, it is much the same reason John McCain did not receive my vote.  It is certainly not a referendum on you as a thinker, orator, or campaigner.  It is also not a referendum on Senator McCain as an able and moderate member of the government for many years.  In fact, as I’d written earlier, I am still of the belief that both the Republicans and the Democrats succeeded in putting their absolute best candidates forward during this election.

No sir, it was a statement on the nature of BOTH your parties, whom you have the unfortunate duty to represent to the world at large.  For as long as I’ve been alive, the Republicans have drawn support from religious fanatics whose presence in this society quite frankly makes me uncomfortable.  The Democrats meanwhile, have carried the banner of an economic and cultural policy born in the leftism of American academia.  This is an environment that seems to lean toward a British-modelled Orwellianism just as frightening as anything Pat Robertson could dream up, only with less Jesus.  Once upon a time, I could take comfort in that at least the Republicans favored LESS government with which to attempt to impose their will on me.  But the last eight years have proved that even Republicans can raid the Treasury, or in this case run up the Federal credit line.  BOTH parties are capable of limited-engagement unpopular foreign wars with ambiguous goals, though I will give you a Democrats sense of SCALE on the matter is generally smaller.



In short, I’ve seen a series of back-to-back catastrophes on the Presidential level, and until someone proves to me that they can do well in spite of the party they’re attached to, then both said parties can seek a vote elsewhere.  In other words, my vote is up for grabs every election, and I’d like to tell you how you can impress me enough to secure it for a 2012 re-election.  I know this is one man’s opinion, but I feel it’s statistically safe to say I’m not the only one thinking this at the moment.

First of all, I’m a rational person.  My expectations of your office aren’t messianic in nature by any means.  To hear some of the fawning tripe out there, half the country expects to have flying cars and health insurance by the end of the first hundred days.  I am not that person.  So long as you’re not vacationing at a ranch two hundred days out of the year, I can assume that you’re moving as fast as you can.



But move you must, obviously.  And the question on punditry’s collective blabbering lips everywhere has been: Move how? My question, and the point of this posting, is this: Will you be the centrist you promised everyone during the election?

Much has been made from your campaign staff about “governing from the center”.  Your affinity for Lincoln’s method and idolization of the “Team Of Rivals” model is well noted.  And considering your initial pick for Secretary Of State, it looks as though you may on some level be adopting the same policy.  This is a good sign.

My concern, as a moderate, is that the party you represent may take advantage of your presence to push forward an agenda just as extreme on the left-hand path as the one everyone feared while strolling down the right-hand path these past eight years.  Their vehement push to get government assistance to the utterly failed auto industry bespeaks this sort of cronyism and agenda-based governing.  I do understand the unions helped you get elected, but on that issue I would implore you to inject some common sense into the argument at your first available opportunity.  I did not approve when seven hundred billion dollars went to stabilizing CEO paychecks, and I will approve even less if some of it is allocated to an industry whose crown jewel of innovation is the Chevy Aveo.



These are the kinds of moves that are going to drive the moderate base of this country away from supporting your initiatives in other areas.  On many issues, you and I are in agreement for reasons that are rational and cohesive.  The Gitmo detention facility is an international embarrassment of the first caliber.  Shut it down.  I can and do receive government car insurance, I may as well have access to your health insurance, too.  If you get your sights on Bin Laden, take the shot.  No one REALLY cares what Pakistan thinks about the matter.  And fund stem cell research till the cows come home.  I have Parkinson’s and ALS in my family history, and I’d like to live.

I don’t expect you to wave a magic wand to revive the economy.  I don’t even expect you to pull us out of Iraq, as I think you know doing so too precipitously would cause more trouble than going in did.  I would like to see a moderate, RATIONAL approach to the central issues of our age without having to let Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank conduct a hippie love-in on the Senate floor.  I know as the chief executive you only have so much power on domestic issues, but… they’re listening to you, sir.  They’re ALL listening.

And so am I.  If a Presidential candidate can actually turn into the President he portrayed himself as during the campaign, THAT would be change I can genuinely believe in.  What sent my vote to a third party candidate was my inability to believe that either you OR John McCain would turn out to be what they said they were.  With the election over, I can impart on its victor the honest desire that you will prove my cynicism wrong.  Please be the moderate you promised.  Please be the President we need.

Good luck.

Hail To The Chief…

– Paris ‘Rev’ Battle

On The Threshold Of Electoral Fury, Two Scenarios Emerge


It seems the bards of our media age are all singing in perfect harmony before the eve of the Election of 2008.  And indeed, this is a storied hour.  The longest so-called “cycle” since the horrifically long Senate fiasco of the Late Roman Republic in 72 BC is now drawing to a close.  It was an epic tale, periodically even prompting my own internet-spewed two cents worth, which has paraded and stomped its way across every form of human communication for seemingly countless months.  And the gods alone know what our country will look like in the next 24 hours.

As alluded to, the screaming chorus of our informed media has reached a near-universal common pitch in their election swan song.  And, quite frankly, it sounds like they’re proclaiming the second coming of a completely neutral and non-religious though nevertheless messianic figure guaranteed not to offend anyone (sorry, death threats again).

Here, let me just give you an example:



In all fairness, that’s from the end of the primaries, but it’s a sentiment that pretty much spread when the journalist set got over their Hillary-despair.  If you don’t pull a check from Rupert Murdoch, you pretty much want this guy to either win the election AND/OR father your love children.  I was going to make an Anderson Cooper joke here, but my blind Tuvan manservant said it might be offensive.

So far as analysis of the situation goes, their celebration seems by every measure to be inevitably appropriate.  Virtually every poll, old and new, shows Obama in a runaway.  Except when they don’t.  It looks like the key result of the economic crisis (and corresponding cooling of charm vis-a-vis folksy frontier governors) has taken it’s toll on the electorate, prompting an unbreachable acceleration of Obama’s movement toward the White House.  The most modest of polling data shows Obama within (if not AT) 270 electoral vote.  That’s like a blackjack score where you win the world.  Just thirty days ago I predicted here that McCain’s long sought-after unification of the GOP “base” under the Palin banner would seal Obama’s fate.  That’s what I get for making predictions more than thirty days out.  Though in my defense… Nationalizing all the banks?  Man, who would have seen THAT coming?

So, that should be it, really.  Since the integrity of the American media is unassailable and beyond reproach, especially on cable, we may as well talk about how blue the map is going to look tomorrow night.  I could make the rest of this article about what I think an “Obama America” will look like.  After all, never once in ALL of history has the vaunted 4th Estate mislead or misrepresented the will of the American people in ANY capacity, has it?




Well, okay.  We can explore the other possibility.  I’m almost hesitant to say it honestly, since it runs counter to the truth that everyone’s talking boxes have been going on about.  Nevertheless, I’ll venture toward this possibility:


I know.  Breathtaking.

But for the purposes at looking to the other side of this apparent electoral blowout, let us explore a contrary possibility.  We’ll play a little game called “if history holds”.

See, because if history holds, McCain will start the evening with a surprise bang as the independents of New Hampshire re-assert their love for the old man.  This will have all the talking heads in a tizzy about the possible implications, thus ASSURING that everyone in the country is aware by lunchtime or just past that the first indicator state went red.  If history further holds, the incoming barrage from the East Coast isn’t going to do Obama any favors, either.  The whole country will learn WHY Virginia has gone red every election since 1964.  And a subtle combination of xenophobic white turn-out in north Florida and a weaker-than-expected showing for Obama among Hispanics is about all it would take at this point to lose everyone’s favorite electoral fuck-up state.  Obama’s likely built up huge margins to win New York and Pennsylvania, but the first signs of real trouble will come when the results start moving westward.



See if history holds, middle America will still be suffering under a lingering fear of that Hussein in his name and the color of his skin.  It’s not that everyone is racist, but enough are to make a statistical difference.  In unfortunate concentrations, that’s the sort of force that could swing a lynch-pin state.  Michigan is probably going blue, but Ohio might be in trouble.  It’s difficult to gauge how well his primary showing there will translate to a national race.  By the time it gets much further West, it’d be no surprise that he loses Colorado, even if he does manage to flip New Mexico, Iowa, AND Nevada from red to blue.  At this point, even an unqualified showing on the West Coast wouldn’t really help.  If history holds.

What are some signs that this might happen?  Well, as many are fond of pointing out, Obama’s campaign IS history making.  It’s altered the electoral map, it’s altered American’s perception of itself AND the world’s perception of America.  It’s brought out more enthusiasm and is expected to bring out more VOTERS than any election in… well, ever I think.

For all those reasons, I think it would be foolish not to assume this candidacy has altered the nature of our polling practices.  Never more has communication of facts on the ground been joined by the incessant humming of a billion other forms of media communication.  For every story you get in a mass mailer about Obama being a secret Muslim or McCain collaborating with his NVA captors in Nam, you get another 24-hour media blitz about the latest “gaffe” to make all the people who still wear monocles pop them out in shock.

Did anyone ever stop to think that polling data might be gloriously FUCKED because of all this?  There’s already the emerging story about most of these polls not including people who are only using cell phones (which is everyone I know, I think).  Common sense says that might lead to an even GREATER Obama lead, but I’ll be damned if I’m taking that for gospel.  Mix in the unexpected factor of people who’ve said to a pollster YES I’m gonna vote for Obama because it seems like the “in” thing to do, and you have a glorious recipe for misinformation.

There’s also the perpetual Democratic reliance on “the young people coming out in DROVES this time, I SWEAR IT” that perplexes me to no end.  College age kids have two underlying and fundamental traits, folks.  They love to talk shit, and they hate DOING shit.  Obama may have every Facebook page on campus buzzing, but believing that’s going to lead to massive voter turnout from the campuses of the United States is a stretch I’m not willing to make until I see it happen.



So let me put this in the most succinct way I can manage.  For McCain to come out on top tomorrow, he has to defeat the numbers.  For Obama to do so, he has to defeat HISTORY.

The good news for Obama, in this scenario, is that he already has experience doing that.

So what’s my final call on the election, after all these months and on the eve of the great event?  I honestly see one of two things happening.  Either it’s the Obama blow-out everyone is expecting, or it’s going to be a LONG-assed night tomorrow.  Fortunately, I have a bottle of whiskey and a television in my bedroom.

My only other word on the matter will come afterward, when I break character, get personal, and tell everyone who I voted for.

Out for now…

– Paris ‘Rev’ Battle

A User’s Guide To Economic Crisis

So there we were in a certain universe.  The Great Campaign of ’08 was proceeding exactly as all the others, with a very familiar final act unfolding before us all.  That is to say both candidates were proceeding to out-dull one another into a submission hold of fatigue and predictable political ploys.


And then, in the midst of this election of Change (TM) something truly remarkable happened.  Something actually changed.

And of course by “change” I mean “collapsed on an epic level” and by “something” I mean the United States economy.  Not that economy hasn’t been an issue the entire election, but now something has started to happen that has given both candidates an opportunity to rise to the occasion… to take bold uncompromising steps toward leadership as a crisis unfolds in this election’s latter days.  And, to their credit, one candidate DID make a slight halfhearted attempt at it.


So with both Obama and McCain trying their best to sound as much like one another (and the polled preferences of the majority of likely American voters), their opinions on the matter are effectively irrelevant.  I imagine they’re JUST as irrelevant by phone or in person, in case it matters.  The important thing to note is that the immediate state of everyone’s credit and finances is in the hands of the US Federal Government.  So really, how can there be anything to worry about?  They do such a bang-up job on everything else.


The United States Department of Pulling Numbers Out Their Asses have apparently generated a $700 billion dollar price tag on what is, to my understanding, the economic equivalent of cleaning out an engine and all its filters so it doesn’t blow up on Dead Man’s Curve down by the old Thompson Farm.  Except that no one knows if engine gunk is actually the problem.  But whatever that problem is, it doesn’t act like anything else that’s ever been solved by conventional means on a car engine, anywhere, any time.

For the average citizen, there are two main responses to this crisis.  The first is open sarcasm.  As such, here are your Final Four brackets for all the banks in the Free Market.  Everyone feel free to start office pools, I’m sure that’s why it was created:

The other path is political action of some sort.  And here I have a proposition to my fellow Americans.  A proposition as to the path that we can take in the immediate, for we are fortunate enough to have a catastophe too fresh to wear off by Election Day.  Allow me to outline my proposal.

For the next few days, and on into forever, you’re going to hear Republicans and Democrats do what they do best: blame each other for shit going wrong.

Since a few Republicans suddenly decided that NOW they were gonna remember the Constitution, it’s already begun.  The point-counterpoint that followed as even the President seemed to shrink to irrelevancy only served to further drive home the point that zealots and pricks have taken over Congress.

Mind you, I’m not saying the bailout is a good thing or a bad thing.  I find it a CURIOUS thing when one considers a few points.  First, the majority of economics experts are predicting something far less dire than people seem to be imagining (myself, at times, among them).  The second thing to keep it mind is that if the US taxpayer winds up having to foot this bill, and I honestly don’t see how we’re not gonna get stuck with this, then there’s a HOST of other things $700 billion dollars could be used for that don’t involve a plan that might not even work.

A few examples?  Well, $365 billion could fix every collapsing road and every shitty railroad line in the United States.  For another $185 billion we could establish BOTH a national health care system and a universal automated health information system, something I was shocked to learn we don’t actually have already (the two groups with the finest communication of respective medical histories in this country are veterans and convicts).  That’s $515 billion, and I’m not done.  Because if the Gila Bend solar array is any indicator of potential, another $85 billion could conceivably provide power to nearly SIX MILLION US HOMES and that would STILL leave us another $100 billion for the infrastructure necessary to carry that power from the southern deserts to wherever the fuck it needs to go.

It should also be pointed out that these projects all address issues that have ALSO been pestering the United States Congress for several years, each one of them threatening this nation in one way or another.  It suddenly becomes very funny how Congress can come up with 700 billion dollars when their rich friends are in trouble.


The apologists for this bailout will make a big deal about how the government may recuperate all its losses from flipping reams and reams of shitty credit.  Because if there’s one thing everybody’s going to rush to do, it’s buy bad loans from the government.  They also point out that any one of the ambitious projects I just brought up will DEFINITELY mean a tax increase (which isn’t totally true, but it might).  They don’t mention, however, the number of jobs an infrastructure overhaul alone will create, to say nothing of side industries.  Definitely a tax, but definitely a return, which is more than we can say for Operation: “Panic And Throw Money At It”.

But regardless how you feel about the plan, one thing we can ALL agree on is the need to do precisely what DIDN’T get done this week.  Which is to say, something productive.  Maybe the bailout is a better idea, maybe it’s not, but… I don’t know… ISN’T THIS WHAT WE ELECT THESE FUCKERS TO FIGURE OUT?

And so enters my aforementioned humble proposition.  I propose, my fellow voters, that we all do something to blow their fucking minds.  Something none of their pollsters could POSSIBLY envision.  We act like responsible voters.  We use our powers of democracy to attack the REAL culprits of government ineptitude in the face of crisis.

We vote against incumbents.


Fuck all if they’re Republicans.  Vote Democrat.  Democrats?  Vote Republican.  Or vote third party.  Just make a showing against whoever is CURRENTLY in office, and that you’re eligible to vote against.  Rush the polls.  Toss a bunch of close races the other way, or narrow the margin of a sure-thing enough he or she notices.  Send them a message.  All of them.

Current economic wisdom says this crisis traces its roots as far back as the mid-1990’s.  Now I don’t know the numbers, but I HAVE to guess there are a lot of motherfuckers (and fuckerettes) who have been in the Senate and the House since at LEAST then.  I’m talking Republicans and Democrats ALIKE.  Maybe it’s time these fine individuals sought work elsewhere.

So fuck it, then.  They can’t get their act together, for WHATEVER reason?  They ALL let this situation get to this point in the first place.  Let’s remind them they work at our pleasure.  Let’s make them feel some real “change”.


Out For Now…

– Paris ‘Rev’ Battle

(If you’d like to know which of your current Senators or Representatives are incumbents, and whether or not they’re up for firing this year, the full lists by district may be found here and here)

You Can Put Lipstick On A Pig, But It’s Still A Lost Election. Or: My Second-To-Last Comment On This Debacle Called The 2008 Presidential Race

This has been the pivotal week.

This is “read my lips, no new taxes” and “it’s the economy stupid” and “I actually DID vote for etc, before I voted against it.”

It’s “The Moment”.  It happens in every election, and it seals the deal.  Sometimes it comes early, and slaps a label on a candidate they can’t shake (Kerry The Flip-Flopper), and sometimes it comes late and gets used as a weapon against a crucial voting block (Obama The Woman Hater).  Either way, The Moment is as inescapable and inevitable as its results.  Results which, over the last week, have become all too apparent.

Mind you, I was preparing a draft for this latest blog entry entitled “Calling The Election For John McCain” before this happened.  But events early this week have made what was going to be a simple assessment of solid red states and battleground poll numbers is instead going to turn into something perhaps a little more flashy here in the home stretch.

This has all been going downhill for Obama since the selection of Sarah Palin.  What at first seemed the baffling pick of a woefully under-experienced and unknown VP candidate quickly crystallized into a cohesive and effective strategy from the GOP side.  Steve Schmidt has apparently learned well from his dark master.



Much like Chase and Ackroyd in Spies Like Us, she’s a decoy.  They put Palin out there as a target with an Alaska-sized bear-trap sitting right next to her.  And the Democrats stepped right the fuck into it.


It started with the experience question.  As some rare souls in the media mainstream (if the Post can even be called that) have somehow miraculously noticed, Obama got sucked into an argument that he was preset to lose.  By attacking Palin on the experience question, they set themselves up for a counter-attack on Senator Obama’s own experience, his consistent weak spot.  This led to a “tale of the tape” style back-and-forth between the two campaigns over whether community organizers, small town mayors, or governors with states that have roughly the population of a large trailer park are better experienced to lead this entire nation.  The Democrats played into this nonsense by essentially pitting the HEAD of their ticket against the number two on the Republican side.  So even if the argument is won, it’s lost.  It will read that if Obama’s having trouble with Number One, how’s anyone to believe he’s going to beat Blofeld?

Then this shit happened:

Which is memorable apparently for being so memorable, to hear everyone tell it.  I’d almost erased this moment of retarded levity from my memory and now it may go down as the lamest joke to ever win an election.  Observe:

This is what an overworked candidate looks like, incidentally.  And likely campaign exhaustion is what led to this strategic level fuck-up.  See, a fully refreshed and prepped Barack Obama would have had every ounce of Sarah Palin intel ready to spring into action from the depths of his Vulcan-like mind to prevent uttering those exact words at THIS exact time.  And it would have recalled that atrocious bit of semi-humor and it’s apparent bumper sticker appeal among “working class whites” (racist people).  Or at least recalled before the audience did, and started laughing about it.  You can see him almost realizing what he’s saying halfway through it after their gleeful response, if you look closely.  If it had broken through fully he probably would have cracked a laugh, and with good reason: Because calling Sarah Palin a pig by accident is fucking funny.  Not good for your campaign, but funny.

So the Republicans respond by snapping that bear trap shut with an outraged, ‘OH NOES OBAMA CALLED SARA A PIG WTF!!!1!’  Oh, and a hastily thrown together advertisement I’d love to show you, but apparently CBS made YouTube take it down because it contained illicitly gained footage of Katie Couric, a statement that shouldn’t sound sexy but kinda does anyway.  This is the same CBS that ran a story with fake documents discrediting a sitting president during an election year and tarnishing the reputation of their finest anchor.  But I’m sure that’s just a coincidence.

In any case, that text-message outrage leaked it’s way into the sea and was snapped up for the journalistic gangbang called the 24-hour cable news cycle.  The Obama campaign was, to say the least, a bit rattled.  There was a poll slip, then a dead heat again.  If you don’t believe they were rattled, observe their response.  Witness Obama’s thunderous denunciation:

Heartfelt, emotional in places, played well in the room, and entirely too late.  Obama slammed the barn door pretty hard, but the horse was already contending for the Triple-Crown.  And if I’m calculating this correctly, Obama is mounting his primary defense on the assumption that everyone is smart enough to know the difference between an exhausted non-comment turning into a funny moment and an actual insult.  In other words, he’s hinging his bet on the political acumen and keen observational skills of the American public.  I’ve never seen a more effective way of losing than that.

For those of you all high on “hope” and “change” (or anything else) that makes you think that somehow this election will be different, I apologize for killing your buzz.  I know that sucks.  But now for the injection of some hard cold factual analysis.  Voters are essentially ignorant, as most serious studies on the matter have apparently concluded.  Social scientists are nicer guys about it and don’t use words like that, but there’s very little doubt you can call an electorate who believes the things they do in the numbers they do anything but that.  Ignorant.  And the answer is YES, this dirty little episode is going to make an impact, an impression, AND a difference.  The Republicans can even pretend some moral high ground my not mentioning it anymore (they’ve already stopped), because they’ve gotten what they wanted out of it.  Unified, overwhelming support for the ticket among their own base, something they’ve not really had up until this point.  And the results speak for themselves.

According to MSNBC, this “Palin bounce” over the “enthusiasm gap”, has not only erased Obama’s lead in national polls, which are mostly garbage anyway, but cut significantly into his electoral vote advantage.  That’s a number that actually makes blood-pressures rise on campaign buses when it jumps around like this.  And it’s coming from a network that doesn’t like to report bad news about Obama, so you know it’s got to be REALLY bad, if not worse than they’re making it sound.

Whatever the case, the raw numbers are as follows: Obama’s gone from being a 28 point favorite in the race for electors to having a 6 point lead, by their estimations.  Most of this is a result of traditional red states which had looked like possibilities for Obama now firmly slamming the door in his face, and the movement of Florida from a total toss-up to leaning McCain’s way.

But all of that is just the beginning.  The Republican juggernaut of church-going suburbanite voters that put the least likable President in US history in office twice is now amped-up behind McCain.  Well, behind Palin at least, but it got them off their asses and that’s pretty much all they need.  The sheer NUMBER of votes these people can generate has been the death-knell for every Democrat candidate since Carter’s re-election attempt.  And the Obama campaign has pulled out… basically nothing.  If ever there were time for a late-game rush on some “hope and change”, now would be it.  This week, with hurricane coverage obscuring politics they may have gotten a reprieve for a moment, but if Team Obama wants to field some crazy last minute move, they have forty-nine more days to make it work.


But don’t look so down!  My very LAST post on the election will be about who I’M actually voting for, and why it doesn’t matter in the end because American democracy is past salvation.  That’ll be sure to cheer  you up.

Out for now…

– Paris ‘Rev’ Battle

A Few Victims Of That Bus Everyone’s Being Thrown Under (To Greater Or Lesser Degree)

Politics is a game of bullshit.  A nuanced, complex and sometimes surreal game of bullshit on a mass level that I enjoy thoroughly, but still bullshit.  A politician’s job is to spin whatever is done, said, or randomly occurred by ANY individual or group of individuals into a sound bite that plays well for their side.  When it’s done right, it works beautifully (“I feel your pain”).  And when it’s done poorly, it’s a campaign killer:


Occasionally, candidates have to bite the bullet and say something to appease and/or motivate their respective bases.  These are the moments they sound most like raving lunatics, because only the raving lunatics in this country are motivated enough to vote regularly.  For the Right, these are generally megachurch-going, minivan driving, shitty-musical-taste having suburbanites in the South and Midwest coupled with God-fearing but less church-going drunken rednecks found in rural areas the nation over (rebel flags optional).  For the Left, this base consists of every other fringe lunatic known to man, from whaling boat chasing hippies to Robert Mapplethorpe.  Republicans like numbers, Democrats like variety, I suppose.  Anyway these sorts of statements are along the lines of “the Constitution should be re-written to exclude those damn queers” and “maybe we should just try offering the Iranians cupcakes and love”.  I’m paraphrasing those last two, by the way, in case you’re a dipshit.


In the process of this memetic warfare/cosmic douchebaggery, there are inevitably casualties.  Aside from our collective dignity, I mean.  I’m referring to people who get wounded (or taken out entirely) on the gladiatorial floor of American politics for doing nothing more basic, and heretical, as telling the truth AS THEY SAW IT.  So in the interest of illustration, I’m profiling just a few right here that have occurred recently.  In the interest of equity, I’m offering an equal portion from the Left and Right, just to prove that this sort of dickheadedness doesn’t discriminate.


“If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position.”

SAID BY: Geraldine Ferraro

THE FUSS: Sounds racist as fuck.

FIRST SIGN OF BULLSHIT: Anyone actually BELIEVE Ferraro is a racist?  And if so, why wasn’t that part of the national media debate?

AS SHE SAW IT: More than likely, Geraldine was simply ruminating that if Obama were a young, charismatic junior Democratic Senator with a populist/moderate appeal AND he were white, he’d look just like half a dozen other suit-and-tie Ken Dolls the Democrats have in the stable, one of whom was already in the primaries.


BUS FACTOR: A total bus throw.  Hillary wasted no time in severing ties with Ferraro, probably in an effort to get this little comment out of the news cycle as fast as possible.

WAY I SEE IT: Ferraro was probably wrong in actuality.  Obama turned out to be able enough a politician by far to carve out his own identity and beat anyone on the field regardless of standing out ethnically.  He hadn’t yet beat Team Clinton when this quote caused all the fuss.  Or maybe her failure to give him the benefit of the doubt in that ability IS some latent racism on her part, who the fuck knows or cares?  The statement itself isn’t one of hate so much as poor politics from someone who was only ever on the shittiest presidential ticket in modern history.  Doddering old people should be ignored in every human endeavour, quite frankly.  Still, in America, it was enough to kill whatever she had left of a career (not much).  Unfair, but no big loss.


“Certainly [another terrorist attack on US soil] would be a big advantage to [John McCain].”

SAID BY: Charlie Black, McCain’s chief strategist.

THE FUSS: 9-11 The Sequel, and this guy is contemplating a poll bump?


FIRST SIGN OF BULLSHIT: Does anyone think John McCain ACTUALLY wants to see another 9-11?

AS HE SAW IT: Probably that from a purely rational standpoint, he was totally correct.  The current number one issue in the race is economics, and right now the only thing that’s likely to push that back far enough to seal the deal is a dirty bomb going off in Scranton or the like.

BUS FACTOR: Well you can’t call this a complete bus throw, since the man still has a job.  However, it wasn’t long after that McCain completely restructured his campaign (again) under one of Karl Rove’s former padawan learners.  One would assume part of this restructuring involves limiting Charlie Black’s press exposure, if that hasn’t been done already.  Also, McCain was damn quick to denounce this statement.

WAY I SEE IT: As even the Fortune magazine writer who reported this admits, these comments were made after he did the standard American journalist “press for a take on my wild and completely off-base speculation about something juicy” technique.  On top of that, he did it to a career political man so he knew any answer with candor was going to sound cold-blooded as hell.  At most, this quote illustrates that McCain employees the same sorts of single-minded reptiles in his campaign team that everyone else does; it’s not really news.


“They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.” [AKA: BITTERGATE]

SAID BY: Barack Obama

THE FUSS: Sounds classist as fuck.

FIRST SIGN OF BULLSHIT: First off, that’s the most soft-petaled classism I’ve ever heard in my life.  “Let them eat cake” it ain’t.  But the real bullshit here is that the people slamming him for this feel the same way about the same people, they’re just more adept at mining them for votes.  And THOSE yacht-club dickheads don’t have the street cred of having worked in a Chicago soup kitchen when they could have been making a few million a year suing the shit out doctors like the rest of the Harvard Law grads.

AS HE SAW IT: Obama would never have used those PARTICULAR words in a place he thought he’d be recorded at, because he knows how they’d play.  The room he was in, however, was being sent a clear message, proving the adage that politics isn’t what you say or how you say it, but WHY you’re saying it and to whom.  To translate, it was his way of communicating in intractable dickhead Democrat-speak that “small-town people aren’t stupid, they’re just scared, which is something you might understand if you didn’t have your heads up your asses”.  Maybe not the last part, but still.

BUS FACTOR: Never a true bus-throwing possibility, as the only people who could throw Obama under a bus would be the people voting for him.  Still, this little gaffe barrelled out of control enough to count for perhaps the bus running over the Senator’s foot.  Painful, but nothing a few weeks in crutches can’t fix.

WAY I SEE IT: Know the following:  I don’t go to church.  I don’t own a gun.  But I AM a working class small-town kid.  And I support and deeply empathize with the fears and indeed attitudes of people like me.  But the fact is that critical self-examination shows an element of truth to what Obama said.  SURE there are people in our communities who are finding Jesus or hating immigrants just a LITTLE bit more because they have nothing else to turn to (or think they don’t).  Doesn’t make it any less true when it’s observed by an Ivy League lawyer.  The man was in no way suggesting that we, or the fanatics among us, be marginalized in any systematic way.  It doesn’t even show a particular disdain, unless the reader chooses to read it that way, honestly.  And on a side note… Attaching the suffix “-gate” to the end of every minor flap in politics is fucking moronic.  Stop it.



“We have sort of become a nation of whiners. You just hear this constant whining, complaining about a loss of competitiveness, America in decline…You’ve heard of mental depression; this is a mental recession.”

SAID BY: Phil Gramm, economic adviser to John McCain

THE FUSS: After the tenth time in a month of being sodomized at the filling station and the fourth home foreclosure to hit your block, most people don’t want to be told they’re whiners.

FIRST SIGN OF BULLSHIT: The immediate and rabid activation of the spin machines on both sides, complete with lame humor.  McCain jumped right off the straight-talk express to deliver a “Phil Gramm does not speak for me” speech in the heart of Michigan, conveniently surrounded by people hoping against hope that auto manufacturing jobs are going to return to America.  Obama’s people fared even worse, prepping him with a speech that included the line “America already has one Dr. Phil. We don’t need another one when it comes to the economy.”  At least, I HOPE that line came from one of his team and not Obama himself, because it’s fucking stupid.  In all of this, not one bit of effort was taken on the part of either campaign OR the media to examine the actual FACTS of Gramm’s assertion.  Better by far to dance to the tune of economic fear-mongering, after all.

AS HE SAW IT: Gramm has never been one to mince words when reached for a statement.  Point in fact, he called CNN directly to clarify his position on the matter.  Relevant excerpts include: “The whiners are the leaders. Hell, the American people are victims, but it didn’t quite come out that way in the story… [Congressional leaders] blame speculators and oil companies for our problems…What we need is more leadership and less whining…I said we are in a mental recession. We keep getting the steady drumbeat of bad news … it’s become a mental recession.  We don’t have measured negative growth. That’s a fact, that’s not a commentary.”  He went on to say he understood the outrage over his remarks as part of the “game”, and that the media were a collection of irrelevancy-peddling shit-buzzards.  Okay, I made that last part up, but the subtext was there, I think.

BUS FACTOR: Well, McCain was once again DAMN quick to distance himself from the remarks.  It’s curious, since distancing yourself from economic remarks which were made by YOUR ECONOMIC ADVISER is a move that could only work out in American politics.  Still, when asked directly whether Gramm would be in the running for a job a Treasury Secretary in a McCain administration, the question was deflected with a joke about Belarus.  No, seriously.  So it seems Gramm has been saved from tire marks for now.

[UPDATE 7-18-08:  Looks like I spoke too soon, though to hear Gramm tell it, he threw HIMSELF under the bus.  Draw your own conclusions.]

WAY I SEE IT: Phil Gramm has a PhD in economics from the University of Georgia.  He taught on the subject for twelve years at Texas A&M and is currently a vice-chairman of UBS Investment Bank.  Now MAYBE (just maybe) when he speaks on the subject of America’s financial situation, it might be a good idea for us to listen and evaluate instead of worrying whether or not these statements jibe with the feelings of some impoverished SUV driver who’s having to downsize to (gasp!) a full-sized sedan.



Out for now…

– Paris ‘Rev’ Battle

What The United States Of America Means To Me, And Why It Still Kicks Ass

In the days leading up to this country’s Independence celebration, I found myself contemplative for this particular entry into the Memetic Press blog.  Two hundred and thirty-two years ago, a ragtag group of businessmen, smugglers, and pillars of their respective communities gathered together to solidify their ideas about national identity and natural rights on a piece of paper.  That scrap of hemp parchment was destined to live forever as history’s greatest middle finger, aimed squarely at the King of England.

This is the time of year I usually imagine this scene playing out: I see John Hancock, you know… chillin’.  Standing against the wall as everyone else signs, just hanging back, you know.  And Jefferson looks up and says… “Hey Hancock, you gonna get down on this?”  And Hancock’s just waiting, smug like, and he says, “Nah, I’ll get it in a minute.  Save room.  Lots of room.”  Probably drinking, too.  I heard they had to stop him before he dipped his gigantic balls into the inkwell and planted them right next to his signature.  Let the king see that, indeed.


Anyway, that leads me to the subject of today’s musing… What the United States of America Means To Me, And Why It Still Kicks Ass.

The ass-kickery begins, as most ass-kickery does, at the beginning.  For whatever reason the forces of fate decided to bring together the exact right people at the exact right moment.  Most of the Founders themselves would have called this Providence, but whatever the driving principle behind it, the result remains the same and the pattern is inescapable.  You can see it in other points of American history where two or more convergent forces raise the status of one another.  For example, without say, Howard Hawks and John Ford, John Wayne would be just another Western serial actor.  Without the RZA and the rest of the Wu, the Ol’ Dirty Bastard would just be a drunk dude screaming into a microphone.  And thusly, without one another, each constituent part of the Founding Fathers posse would simply be a historical footnote; Franklin a quirky 18th century inventor, Washington a prominent military commander in a forgotten war with the French, and Adams not even worth an HBO mini-series.  And so on.

But that’s not what happened.  What happened was that these men not only came together to combine their powers, not unlike Voltron, but they did so at the PRECISE moment that history required.  Think of it as a perfect storm of complimentary social, political, and philosophical ingredients, brought to a boil in the unrest of a shit-load of cider-drunk hemp farmers.  And the result, my friends, was something truly amazing.


For perhaps the first time in modern history, a nation set out to build itself FROM SCRATCH.  Without tradition or monarchy to guide them, without religious fervor to inform their ceremony, with nothing but the brains in their heads these men attempted to create a country that worked on the principles of REASON and COMMON SENSE.  It’s goal was nothing less than freedom to live for even its lowest and meanest of citizen.  Revolutionary?  Without question.

It was on the promise of this that a ragtag, disorganized citizens brigade proceeded to pull off the greatest military upset since Leonidas rallied Greece against Xerxes with his own blood.  The most powerful military force on Earth lost to screaming hillbillies and starving New England men who were fighting for nothing more than the PROMISE of a free land.  This was a message that resounded so clearly, so incontrovertibly, that every monarchy in Europe shook with fear.  In some cases, this fear was well justified.


In recent years, it’s become somewhat fashionable for our own intellectual elite and ignorant suburbanites to bash America.  And, considering the trajectory this country has been moving along in recent years, that’s somewhat understandable.  But I myself draw a line between criticism of our government’s actions (which, at the end of the day, we’ve no one but ourselves to blame for) and denigration of this country’s origins and ideals.

Was the nation born of the Revolution a perfect one?  Certainly not, nor was that ever the claim.  If the Founding Fathers pretended to perfection, they’d never have allowed amendments to the Constitution.  Jefferson for one advised each succeeding generation to throw the whole damn system out if it suited their fancy, and the day may yet come where I advocate taking him up on it.  But the INTENT, you see, was the important thing.  They TRIED.  Within the framework of their understanding of the universe around them, they created the best system THEY could come up with.  And, recognizing that future generations would have a greater understanding than they, implemented a system to adapt to that understanding.

This system itself hasn’t always stood up to the rigors of civilized dialogue.  The issues of states rights and slavery degenerated into bloodletting, but the nation survived.  The equal distribution of our freedoms to various groups has often come slowly, but it HAS come.  And today, the United States faces the painful duality of having a bloated expansionist government with an isolationist population.  Problems, as they will, arise.

But throughout it all, a ray of undiluted promise remains.  Freedom.  Independence.  The ability for any person of any persuasion to live their life HOWEVER they please, so long as it harm no other.  Some have proclaimed it impossible.  Some have mocked its very existence and called it an illusion.  Some have degraded the symbols by which this country pursues this promise, burning flags and championing degenerate failed political ideologies from overseas.  All these people, I say here and now, are fucking fools.

Is this country perfect?  Hardly.  No more so than the day it was formed.  But is it’s IDEAL the pinnacle of human achievement?  The notion that all humanity: large and small, rich and poor, male and female, has the right to pursue its happiness however it sees fit?  You bet your American ass it is.

Between the institutionalized self-loathing of the left and the twisted nationalist territoriality of the right there exists a medium of thinking that STILL makes sense.  Common sense, as Thomas Paine might recognize.  Freedom has been slow to come to some in this country.  But it has come.  And it will come.  And the inexorable march toward equality for all under the law and opportunity for everyone in this great nation will continue.  It survived the Civil War.  It survived the Great Depression.  That very simple notion that all should be free… codified in a document by a group of irritable, disagreeing, and heavily sweating men in powdered wigs… lives still.  The promise made in Philadelphia, the gigantic ‘go fuck yourself’ pointed toward King George and indeed all tyrants, still lives.

The United States Of America kicks ass.


Out for now…

– Paris ‘Rev’ Battle

And Then There Were Two


Well I made a promise, and I kept a promise. I vowed not to speak again on the campaign until we were down to two official candidates. Little did I know.

Honestly, probably best I kept quiet about the internal affairs of any party. I get disgusted enough by the majority of BOTH their antics in pursuit of swing votes like my own, so we’ll leave it at that. I will only say I think ‘superdelegates’ are a colossally asinine idea.

Anyway, without getting too deep into the situation, I’ll just make a list of my most recent observations concerning how Senators Obama and McCain are likely going to throw down before November.



So first off, the right honorable Senator Barack Obama, finally wresting victory from the jaws of a deluded loser. It’s not as though this win wasn’t self-evident since at least early March, but the upshot to this, er… unexpected delay is that Obama’s campaign has had extra time to craft their general election strategy. Of course, so has the GOP.

Regardless of all that, the question of the hour seems to be swirling around possible running mates. Some people are under the impression that Obama has utterly no choice but to extend the offer to Hillary. I’m not sure what dimension these observers are living in, but it appears to be one where John Edwards doesn’t exist. Or Ted Strickland. Or Chet Culver. Or any one of a NUMBER of well-thought-of complimentary Democrat governors dotting the landscape. Why, I ask you logically, would Obama pick a running mate fully half his own party just told him they can’t stomach? Guys like Edwards and Strickland are well-known faces in some battleground states, including my own. Or, failing that, someone with military or foreign policy to balance out the fact Obama has about two squirrel shits worth of experience in it.

Have I mentioned that for the first time in my life, I’m in a swing state? Places like North Carolina represent the unpredictable nature of this campaign. Everything that may work for or against Obama in this area (high turn-out among blacks, draw of college kids that normally don’t vote, the defection of white Democrats toward McCain) is purely speculative. This state hasn’t voted Democrat for a president since 1976, but all the rules are changed now.

So in short: Fresh off beating the unbeatable Clintons, clearly invigorated, and clearly coming with a plan, the Obama campaign promises to be one of the most dynamic in modern history. And what’s even better, it looks like he’s got decent competition…

Son, Your Ego\'s Writing Checks Your Body Can\'t Cash.


Enter Senator John McCain, who is doing his level best to appear unimpressed by this whippersnapper that’s got all the young’ns excited. Which is a tough job, considering that this election came in a package marked “change”, and it’s going to be perpetually difficult to convince younger voters that one of the oldest candidates to ever run is a paragon of radical thinking.

Still, young people don’t do so well deciding Presidential elections in this country, so there’s that.

Either way, McCain’s campaign so far looks a little dualistic in nature, if not schitzophrenic. On the one hand, now that the general election is officially on, McCain can highlight his strongest appeal among swing voters. That is mainly that most Republicans can’t stand him. It looks like the campaign has firmly decided to say “fuck the conservative base”, assuming they’ll opt to vote AGAINST someone named Barack Obama even if they despise McCain. Which they do. Makes sense; it’s presidential politics 101. Court the crazies in your party till it’s down to two, then run back toward the middle as fast as you can. Also, careful not to bang your head on the other guy, cause he’ll be coming the other way, doing the same shit.

On the other hand, John McCain isn’t moving a goddamn inch on the economy. Consider for a moment the STATE of the economy and reflect what a strange tactic that is. His first general election attack on Obama is an engagement in McCain’s weakest field, money matters. His line of attack is to try and define Obama’s most liberal economic tendencies as a BAD thing. There’s even been some recusitating of the old ‘tax and spend’ label that used to scare people away from Democrats. At the beginning of a long hot summer of high gas/food prices, home foreclosures, and a screaming for SOMETHING to be done about it, John McCain’s campaign is attempting to turn Obama’s “change” message into a LIABILITY. All the while his own economic plan looks pretty much exactly like Bush’s did in 2000. They pull this off, and McCain could go down as one of the most brilliant politicians in history.

And then there’s the real (forgive me) elephant in the room, McCain’s own potential VP nominees. As much noise as the media is making about who might ride with Obama on the dusty campaign trail, his decision is far less critical than McCain’s on the matter. If McCain wins, he’ll be 72 when he’s inaugurated. He has lingering health questions by perception if not fact, and Democrats are going to key in on that. The voters will know (or at least suppose) that his vice-presidential candidate is MORE than just an academic feature of the campaign. It ideally needs to be someone who could be President, if need be. An easy guess would be any one of the people who showed up at his cook-out in Sedona in April; Mitt Romney, Bobby Jindal, and Charlie Crist, for example.

There For The Taking

So that’s how things are looking now, other than the bump-by-bump potshots starting up over the sordid pasts of lobbyists and buddies-of-3rd-world dictators that everyone seems to have working for them. Apparently now it’s against the rules to have anyone with dirt on the team. I always thought it’s how these people GOT their jobs. Weird.

On a personal note, I will say I’m excited, as a political junkie and as an American. Because it looks like we’ve finally got an election with two real stand-up guys in it. Or as close to stand-up as 20+ years in the American political system and the virtue of having risen to national prominence on two book deals and a speech can possibly be.

Out for now…

– Paris ‘Rev’ Battle