Tuesday, August 31, 2010

"Checkers" Doubt Birther Taitz Paid the $20K, Demand Proof

It would seem that, the longest running bone-headed maneuver by Queen Bee Birther - other than her Birther activities, themselves - has come to an end. After failing to get the Supreme Court to woosh in and save her bacon, Orly swallowed, pulled out a check, and paid up the $20,000 she owed Judge Land for engaging in undue legal frivolity in his courtroom.


A hot new counter-conspiracy theory is already on the rise, spiraling out of Birther mythology much like the "Earthers" we've previously reported on. But this new theory isn't arguing whether Obama is or is not a Natural Born Citizen, but whether Orly Taitz actually paid up her money or not.

The group - calling itself "Checkers" - is convinced that Orly still owes $20,000 dollars to Judge Land, and that the image of the check is either a total phony, or doesn't provide enough evidence to prove that the money was indeed handed over.

"What most Americans don't realize is that a short-form check, like what Orly's posted online, doesn't have enough information," Allen Bees announced today: "The only way we can be certain of the money having been paid, and Orly actually being off the hook, is to see the long-form check, which would have all the information, and show both sides.

"All she would have to do is show it to us, and we'd be satisfied. Why won't she show us the long form of the check? It's a bit puzzling."

Another, some say the first Checker, Bill Furg, not only reiterated what Mr. Bees said, but also pointed out that the signature on the check does not match Orly Tatiz's other signatures, nor does her handwriting seem at all similar. Several anonymous handwriting experts came forward on Furg's website, ORLYGATE, to add their testimony to his, and promise to reveal more of their credentials sometime next week, provided they get some tasty paypal donations.

Rational debunking of their claims does not seem to work. The fact that covering up the routing numbers, address, and other information is a sensible thing? A sign of her hiding something! The fact that the check has clearly been franked? A sign of it being a forgery! Telltale anti-counterfeiting marks in place? A sign of it being a really good forgery!

Calls to the Bank of America to confirm that this particular check was legitimate was met with an unhelpful stone wall of "no comment," followed by a non-denial denial from Myron Steelshanks - Chief Teller of Orly's Branch in California.

"No one outside of the owner of the checking account, the person it was written to, and bank employees have any business whatsoever looking at a full, information-laden check," he said: "If I have to explain why, you're an idiot. If you have no problem wanting to look at someone else's financial information, take the initiative and post your own up online so complete strangers can play with it. And have a nice day."

Mr. Steelshanks' tantrum was oddly backed up by the bank, itself, which quickly sent around an internal memo stating that, due to the large number of Checkers calling up to verify that Orly Taitz's check was legitimate, all tellers had the right to refuse to even give such persons the time of day, and could blow rape whistles into the phone and hang up with total corportate impunity.

Having been stonewalled by the Bank of America, the Checkers are weighing their legal options. Still others have detailed stranger scenarios, such as the one that proves, extensively, with much legal documentation, that immigrants from Moldavia aren't Constitutionally allowed to write checks in the first place. However, most Checkers admit that Vinnie Gotfriedo's theories are just a little "out there."

Are the Checkers right? Did Orly weasel out of yet another chance to pay her debt to the American legal system? Is the American government, banking system, and Obama himself in on the conspiracy to deny Georgia $20,000 that could be spent on getting Judge Land another solid gold golf cart? Only time will tell...

But as it's Tuesday, here's Thomas Dolby to help us out. We have, indeed, been blinded by science.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tuesday Night Music 8 24 10

Years ago, one of the cable channels used to have this great program called "Night Flight." They played music videos that you wouldn't normally see, either because MTV wouldn't play them, didn't play them all that often, or didn't know they existed. Some of them were creepy, some of them were fucking weird, and some of them were just amazing, mind-blowing stuff.

In the creepy category is this video, which has haunted me for years. I remember watching it, and knowing it was a slow, sad version of "Tainted Love," and knowing the narrative was about AIDS, but I had no idea who the hell did it for years. Every once in a while I'd wonder, but I guess the wondering never reached the fever pitch where I'd have to go dig and look, huh?

Well, thanks to the wonder of Youtube's playlists, I have my answer. It was done by Coil. Dead flies and honey, social allegory, and Marc Almond from Soft Cell shows up, eats a grape, and turns his back on the victim. It's sad, it's wonderful, it is.

Monday, August 23, 2010

How Fox Betrayed Petraeus, by Frank Rich

THE “ground zero mosque,” as you may well know by now, is not at ground zero. It’s not a mosque but an Islamic cultural center containing a prayer room. It’s not going to determine President Obama’s political future or the elections of 2010 or 2012. Still, the battle that has broken out over this project in Lower Manhattan — on the “hallowed ground” of a shuttered Burlington Coat Factory store one block from the New York Dolls Gentlemen’s Club — will prove eventful all the same. And the consequences will be far more profound than any midterm election results or any of the grand debates now raging 24/7 over the parameters of tolerance, religious freedom, and the real estate gospel of location, location, location.

Here’s what’s been lost in all the screaming. The prime movers in the campaign against the “ground zero mosque” just happen to be among the last cheerleaders for America’s nine-year war in Afghanistan. The wrecking ball they’re wielding is not merely pounding Park51, as the project is known, but is demolishing America’s already frail support for that war, which is dedicated to nation-building in a nation whose most conspicuous asset besides opium is actual mosques.

So virulent is the Islamophobic hysteria of the neocon and Fox News right — abetted by the useful idiocy of the Anti-Defamation League, Harry Reid and other cowed Democrats — that it has also rendered Gen. David Petraeus’s last-ditch counterinsurgency strategy for fighting the war inoperative. How do you win Muslim hearts and minds in Kandahar when you are calling Muslims every filthy name in the book in New York?

This article is an absolute must-read on the "ground zero mosque" issue. It makes clear how dumb the opposition to it is, and how that opposition is biting supporters of the Afghanistan conflict in the ass. How fitting that some of that ass-biting is self-inflicted!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Orly Gambles and Loses on Supreme Court Save

orly dig

You have to hand it to Orly Taitz. After having the chutzpah to ask Justice Clarence Thomas to block the $20,000 contempt of court fine, and being turned down, she downed another bottle of chutzpah and made a similar request to Judge Alito. He, in turn, referred it to the whole Supreme Court, which led to some speculation as to whether Alito was a Birther, or what they might do with it. And I have to say, the idea of Orly making a complete fool of herself in front of The Nine was keeping some of us in stitches.

But it turned out all the back benching and fantasizing was for nothing. Orly was turned down once again.

Of course, it's all part of teh USURPER CONSPIRACY!

...Taitz told TPMMuckraker she is convinced that none of the members of the court read her request, and that clerks made the decision for the justices. She cited a passage from a book co-authored by Justice Antonin Scalia in which, she claimed, Scalia said that less than one percent of cases are actually read by a judge.

"It was never seen by Justice [Clarence] Thomas, there's not evidence it was seen by Justice Thomas," Taitz said. "I don't believe the Justices read a word of the pleadings." She said she wanted to see the original court document with the signature of a member of the court.

Of course, Orly will keep fighting the bastard Kenyan fascist commie tyrant usurper, but in the meantime she says she's working towards coughing up the dough, one paypal press at a time.

...she would be able to cover the $20,000 fine with donations from her supporters. "I have means to pay, the public is collecting funds," Taitz said. She said she received $3,500 in four or five days. "Within a month, I will have the $20,000," Taitz said. "Most of them are contributing maybe $20, $25 dollars, there's a lot of support."

This is, incidentally, in direct opposition to Orly Taitz of almost a year ago, who said she would not be paying the fine under any circumstances.

"Are you kidding? Of course not," she said, asked whether she planned to send a check. "This is a form of intimidation."

Maybe having the US Attorney's Office threaten to "pursue enforced collection action" on her changed her mind? She denies there's a lien on her house, but who knows what the situation with her dental practice is...?

Ah, poor, poor, Orly. If only she'd learned when to shut the hell up, leave a dead end, and try again somewhere else without rattling her broken saber on the way out the door, she might not be having this problem. I guess there's some things they didn't teach in that legal correspondence course she undertook to pass the California bar? Or maybe she skimmed over the "useless" chapters on legal etiquette? The world may never know.

As a few people have said lately, schadenfreude is a dish best served by youtube. So, since it's Tuesday night, here's a fitting song for poor Mrs. Taitz: Loser, by Beck. Let's get crazy with the cheese whiz!

Olbermann on the Mosque: "Because this is America, Damn it."

"Because this is America, damn it. And in America, when someone comes for your neighbor, or his Bible, or his Torah, or his Atheist Manifesto, or his Quran, you and I do what our fathers did and our grandmothers did and our Founders did. You and I SPEAK UP."

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Anti-Mosque Movement is Politically Correct Nonsense

roflbot picture

Sometimes you have to laugh through the tears, and the brouhaha over the so-called Ground Zero Mosque is one of those times.

I’m sure you’ve heard about it. They say about 70% of America disapproves of it. In fact, a recent trip to “middle America” revealed to me that a number of otherwise intelligent, well-educated people weren’t particularly in favor of its construction, to the point where they were making sick jokes about someone flying a plane into it once it was done.

The fact that it’s two blocks away from Ground Zero, and not being built right on top of it, as the debate seems to make it sound, isn’t seemingly relevant. The fact that the outreach center’s Imam is a Sufi, rather than a Sunni or Shiite, isn’t seemingly understood. And the fact that there’s a horse betting bureau, two strip clubs, and a lingerie store within four blocks of this “hallowed ground?” Who cares?

The talking head cotillion on the anti- side, with many Republican rising (and slithering) stars behind it, seems to be unanimous in their disdain for it. And they seem unanimous in the reasons why. It’s a slap in the face to the people who died, ignoring the fact that Muslims died in the WTC that day, too. It’s insensitive to those who lost people, again ignoring the fact that Muslims lost people that day, too.

And of course they agree with freedom of religion! Of course they do. Legally there’s no issue, and the Constitution says what it says. No one’s suggesting otherwise. No...

But gosh, couldn’t those Muslims just be sensitive to the feelings of people in Manhattan? (sad face of concern goes here)

Well, all I can say to every Republican who’s out there, telling us that the Muslims need to be “sensitive” to how non-Muslims feel, is “how do YOU like them apples?”

Let me explain: remember back during the 1990s, when there was this meme going around called Political Correctness? Remember when we were being told we had to watch what we said, wrote, and ultimately thought because we might inadvertently offend someone’s race, gender, or creed? And suddenly that was super bad?

Ah yes, PC. It could be as simple as not using the term “mankind,” or as convoluted as what to call African Americans this week. It could also be as obnoxious as campus speech codes, or having your instructors downgrade your paper because you didn’t use the new “PC” terms like they “asked” you to. Men were men, women were womyn, and woe befall you if you admitted to being a white, Christian, heterosexual male who voted Republican, didn’t recycle, or thought that the evisceration of the English language for “sensitivity’s sake” was an obscenity even worse than the ills PC was supposedly correcting.

I’m sure you remember all that. And I’m sure, if you think back, you’ll remember what side of the fence most American conservatives were on in the matter of Political Correctness. They were on the “no” side, poking their tongues through the slats and saying they admired the women’s movement – from behind.

Slavery? Racism? Sexism? Religious persecution? Disadvantaged minorities? Gay rights? They told us to suck it up and quit complaining. They told us we didn’t want equal rights, but special rights. And they said we should be grateful that we lived in the greatest and freest nation in the world EVARRR.

(Oh, and we were wrong, anyway, so there.)

Me? I agreed with the spirit of the PC movement. I disagreed with how it was implemented. I never liked groupthink, and hated the notion of campus speech codes, or anyone telling me I shouldn’t, or couldn’t, say things in a certain way because I might offend someone. There’s calling someone to a higher standard, and then there’s blackmailing their GPA or social standing because they just won’t conform.

That’s fascist, and that’s wrong.

So you can imagine my amusement now that conservatives are telling me, and those like me, that those awful Muslims are being “insensitive” to the needs of people. They should put the Cordoba House somewhere else – five, ten, twenty blocks away – because the wound of Ground Zero is still too fresh in people’s minds.

They should prove how Islam is a religion of peace by sitting at the back of the bus.

Well, I call shenanigans. I think the outreach center needs to be put right where it is, so that New Yorkers can come on in and see what Islam is all about. Not the cartoon Islam that most Americans think they know, and fear. Not the dangerous Islam of Al-Qaeda and those like them. But the Islam many Americans profess and practice peaceably every day.

We don’t do anyone any favors by being territorial and hypocritical. We don’t honor the dead through fear, ignorance, or anger. And we don’t do our standing in the world a lot of good by talking out of both sides of our mouths when it comes to religious freedom.

All we do by opposing this outreach center is prove, yet again, that we lack the understanding that Islam did not attack us on 9/11, but rather a splinter group that doesn’t understand its own religion.

And until we get that fact through our heads, we will never really be healed from what happened on 9/11. Even if we hunt down every member of Al-Qaeda, and bring Osama bin Laden and his cronies to justice, if we still look askance at Muslims, and Mosques, and think that the Muslim world is a dark blot on the globe, and wish that their mosques and marches and outreach centers would be kept as far from us as possible, then we will not have overcome the events of that day.

We will be forever living the shadow of those towers, and afraid of the light.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Obama’s Mosque Stance Reveals President We Never Had


“We must all recognize and respect the sensitivities surrounding the development of lower Manhattan. The 9/11 attacks were a deeply traumatic event for our country. And the pain and the experience of suffering by those who lost loved ones is just unimaginable. … But let me be clear – as a citizen, and as President, I believe that Muslims have the right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country. And that includes the right to build a place of worship, and a community center, on private property, in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances.

“This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country, and that they will not be treated differently by their government, is essential to who we are. The writ of the founders must endure.”

I can’t begin to tell you how amazingly gratifying it was to hear those words come from the mouth of an American President. No hesitation, no hedging. No equivocation, no mealy-mouthed meandering. It could have been any number of statements, but it became a simple, but eloquent reminder to those too willing to ignore history, and overlook the pitfalls of unreasoning fear, that we are Americans, in America, and we should be doing things differently than the rest of the world.

But at the same time, listening to that speech – a speech that is going to cost him a good deal of support from so-called Middle America, at a time neither he nor the Democrats can afford that loss – I realized that I may have been very wrong about the person who’s been my President for the last year and change. While I maintain that Barack Obama is still fully committed to doing the right things for America, I think I may have overestimated where his priorities lay.

I think he might be, rather than the next great Progressive hope, another left of center functionary who needs to be led to the promised land.

You see, before Obama took that public stance on the so-called Ground Zero Mosque, I maintained (hopeless optimist I) that Obama wasn’t making with the promised – or implied – progressive promises because he was being far too cautious. I thought that he’d taken the lessons of Bill Clinton’s first four years in office too much to heart, and was avoiding a replay of 1994.

Remember 1994? I sure do. After four years of Bush I’s listless and seemingly-impotent little-c conservatism, Bill Clinton came into office swinging both progressive fists, with big talk and bigger plans. His reward for laying those plans out on the table was a near-total repudiation of national health care, the loss of the House to the Republicans, and the subsequent years in which the likes of Newt Gingrich ate out on calling Clinton the “enemy of all normal Americans.”

(More on Newt Gingrich’s hypocrisy at the time can be found at this Esquire article, here, lest you want to see the Republicans take the White House in 2012.)

That Bill Clinton was able to still be an effective President – though clearly not accomplishing everything he’d intended – speaks more of his ability to compromise when possible, dodge when not, and slide for home whenever he could, even if his team didn’t have the ball at the moment. The end result was that, in spite of failing to enact a Progressive Presidency, and overseeing the legislation of things that gave many Progressives pause (like NAFTA), Clinton legacy is still championed by many Progressives as something of a golden age.

If nothing else, they can point out that a “tax and spend” President gave America a surplus, while his “conservative” successor, Bush II, left us deep in the hole.

But it would appear that Obama is not eager for a replay of 1994. The battle for Health Care Reform – such as it is – was tough enough without adding the deadly words “single payer” into the mix. And even though it was a highly-compromised thing that has clearly not been the panacea that sane America’s been hoping for, it is still seen as a terrible plague upon the land by the Obama’s many detractors. The question is how many of them are crucial swing voters who cast a ballot for Obama in 2008, but will abandon his party at the polls in 2010, leading to another Republican takeover of the House, and possibly the Senate.

Seen in that light, could be perfectly understandable why I could have thought Obama might not be anywhere as openly Progressive as we’d like him to be. He might have been operating under the belief that, even though he’d thrown us that one, big bone – such as it is – and done a lot of quiet good, he was still going to play middle of the road enough to make sure his party wasn’t punished too badly in the upcoming elections by either side.

Maybe – oh maybe – I hoped, he was of the belief that, once 2010 came and went, and he still held a majority in both Houses, he could pull out the cards he didn’t play in the first two years and make good on that Hope and Change thing. The next referendum wouldn’t be until 2012, and then it’d be on both his party and his Administration, so what would he have to lose? Free ponies for everyone!

Well, after hearing that speech about the Ground Zero Mosque, I have to take a deep breath and admit I was fooled. Obama isn’t being cautious. This is just the way he is, and we are not going to get a lot of Progressive hope and change out of him. He is still a damn sight better than W, or McCain, on a lot of key issues, but on others, we may have been hoping for a change that did not come.

Who is the President? He's a smart man whose heart is in the right place, but whose head isn't where we need it to be. He's a caretaker who is more interested in making sure the economy-makers are happy than securing us a better future free from some of the big money interests. He will stand up for our rights (usually) but deny us ones that are inconvenient to the powers that be. And while we can count on him to bring home certain slices of partisan bacon, we're not going to get a lot of our progressive ponies out of the stable in his Administration.

So there was me, up until I heard that speech - running around the filthy stable that hasn’t been cleaned in 1000 years, shoveling like mad to find the pony that wasn't there. Maybe I should have re-read what I wrote some time ago and saved myself the bother of disappointment?

To wit:

Who is going to confront Obama about the bad decisions he’s made so far and try to get him to reverse them, or at least do a better job of explaining why he made them.

Who is going to effectively make noise to make those mistakes visible, and explain why they’re wrong in a way that makes the right people listen, and makes everyone who gives a damn act on them.

Who is going to use their influence to influence others to put pressure on the folks up at the top to get them to change their ways.

It looks like the answer is “us.” Now more than ever. Never more than now.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tuesday Night Music 8 10 10

Arcade Fire has done something interesting for their new CD, The Suburbs. They have stopped being themselves as much and become something a little more mellow, and a little more offbeat. You didn't think that was possible, did you? You might or might not like this, but you should at least give it a listen. This is Rococo.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

LTC Lakin off to Arraignment - "Don't Turn Your Back!"

The latest news in the tragicomic case of LTC Terrence Lakin, by way of TPM Muckraker: as expected, the case has been turned over to a general Court Martial, and this Friday he will be appearing in court for a formal arraignment.

As stated by a press release at Safeguard Our Constitution:

The Army has now referred charges against LTC Terrence Lakin for a General Court Martial. This action triggered the appointment of a Military Judge to preside over the trial, which will likely be scheduled before October, and held in Washington, D.C. at Ft. McNair.

On August 6, 2010 at Ft. McNair in Washington, D.C., the court will convene for the purpose of Judge Lind taking Lakin’s plea to the charges which consist of “missing movement” and of refusing to obey orders. Today Lakin stated: “I am not guilty of these charges, and will plead ‘not guilty’ to them because of my conviction that our Commander-in-Chief may be ineligible under the United States Constitution to serve in that highest of all offices. The truth matters. The Constitution matters. If President Obama is a natural born citizen then the American people deserve to see proof, and if he is not, then I believe the orders in this case were illegal.” If convicted, Lakin faces up to four years at hard labor in a federal penitentiary.

Emphasis has been added, in order to fully highlight the tragic folly of this case. It should be horribly and clearly clear to anyone that, having announced his attention to disobey orders, and then followed through on disobeying them, LTC Lakin is clearly guilty of both "missing movement" and disobeying orders.

It's also clear that, under the defacto officer doctrine, that even if Obama was ineligible to be President, then Lakin was still duty-bound to carry out all orders, and is still guilty of both charges.

Which means that, either way things go, LTC Lakin is screwed.

This latest bit of news is the most noise we've heard from Lakin in a while. The last major salvo fired was a "waaah, the Army won't let me do what I want in court!" video posted up at his website, in which the LTC, without irony, complained that what his many critics have been saying all along was going to happen actually DID happen.

It would seem the only people surprised were Lakin and his civilian lawyer, Paul "Otis" Jensen, who got into it with Anderson Cooper on his show some time ago. You would think a competent lawyer would tell his client how to proceed in order to save his butt as much as possible, but it seems that Mr. Jensen, who normally handles dog bite cases, is on a mission, and doesn't give two tugs on a dead canine's cock about his client's well being.

But getting used is something of a theme in this case. It has become terribly obvious that LTC. Lakin is a naive but well-meaning fellow who's being used like a sheep in a minefield by his Birther allies at the American Patriot Foundation. They clearly don't care what happens to him, so long as they either get closer to the goal - the ever elusive total discovery - or at least make President Obama look bad for not handing over the goods on demand like a good little Negro.

Yes, I said it. It's about time people looked past the slick ads and well-done websites and saw that, beating around the black heart of the Birther mythology, there's a thick thread of horror that some black fellow with a Muslim-sounding middle name is now our President. Maybe not all the Birthers are racists, but you can't tell me with a straight face that the fear of a black planet isn't fueling a good deal of the forward thrust on this non-issue.

Is Lakin a racist? I doubt it. But what about the people backing him? Who are the American Patriot Foundation? Where do they get their money? Who runs it? And why?

Maybe it's not the President's secret files we need to see, here...

So, since it's Tuesday night, and we should be playing some music, here's an oldie from the vaults for Terry Lakin. Blue Oyster Cult, from the awesome "Fire of Unknown Origin" - 'Don't Turn Your Back.' If I could give the poor man any advice right now, this song would cover just about all of it. "Danger surrounds you."