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Friday, February 8, 2008


Fifteen thousand plus folk showed up for Hillary's rally in Tacoma. That would have to be the shortest lived rally record in Washington State history. Latter in the day seventeen thousand showed up to hear Barack with another five thousand standing outside Key Arena in the winter Northwest weather listening to loudspeakers. The Dems are transcendentally aroused, and unwilling to tolerate a third term of Bushie policies.

Ron Paul: Walking Temper Tantrum

I don't care about Ron Paul, but his supporters do bother me a bit. It's not even his regular speaking dates before the White Citizen's Council or his Neo-Confederate movement supporters, but the libertarian dilettantes with his yard signs that give me the willies. Except in Alaska Paul isn't polling  over 2% anywhere. So why all the enthusiasm for a seventy-two year old man with no prospects for ever getting a nomination? It defies logic, even if you are pissed off and too lazy to actually, I don't know, actually get involved or something. So you are pissed off about the IRS, or more precisely, having to pay taxes. Fair enough. The tax system is unnecessarily confused by eighty years of congressional fiddling. If you want the US to be the sort of world leader of Western Civilization that we have become, then it'll cost ya'. That means big taxes. If you want cheap, may I suggest Afghanistan. No taxes there.  Want to go back to the gold standard? Then the only economic activity that would make any sense would be refining and mining gold. If you want to replace all the M1 and M2 out there you are going to need a lot of gold. More than currently exists. If gold went to $100,000/oz there still wouldn't be enough gold to back all the money in circulation.  And that's just his economics. There are lots of other delusions that libertarians suffer, but I'll get to those some other time.

Soup? Yes Soup!

My favorite diner here in Port Orchard is The Bethel Cafe. It's a Norman Rockwell sort of joint without all the sentimentality. My favorite waitress is a woman on my side of fifty with the build and personality of a woman's prison guard. The cafe is an adjunct to the bar next door, and I suspect the beanery is financed by the beer sold at the tavern. There was a time when, under Washington Law, the income of a saloon had to be a certain percentage food sales. It could well have changed, but most bars seem to have cooking facilities. I digress. I've been going in there for a year and a half, and the burley, flinty eyed waitress has never asked my name. Within two weeks, the ladies at the joint where I occasionally have breakfast in Gig Harbor were calling me "Bert" and knew of my taste for poached eggs and bacon, but the young gals are just too damn perky. 
Even though I consider myself a good tipper ($2 or 20%, whichever is greater) my waitress treats me as if I had asked for a second bowl of gruel at the orphanage where she was recently second matron. Please don't hit me....whimper....whimper. Ha! It's like being in a little amateur production of a play based on the painting "Night Hawks". She always brings me a menu and asks what I want to drink, even though I've turned my coffee mug over and arranged the sweeteners and cream. Did I mention that every place setting has paper napkin, knife fork and spoon, and one of those heavy pottery coffee mugs? These people mean business. About half the time I order the patty melt with soup instead of fries because the rye bread is about all my type 2 diabetes can tolerate. 
Their soup is  a generally great. generally thick tomato and bean based with bits of yesterday's dinner special simmered in for the meat. This is the way god meant for soup to be if there were such a thing. God, not soup. The short order cook does as well as the best of this sort of cooking that I have seen. This is American food defined. Most everything from scratch. There is a meat market across Bethel that makes its own sausages, and these are found in their breakfasts. I recommend the "Southwestern" for those who like a bit of kick. The cook doesn't chat with the customers, but from the look of him I suspect he is retired Navy, probably a cook there too. There is usually a bus boy that hustles between the tavern and cafe doing bus boy stuff. The bartender, and I suspect the owner, is another retired Navy types, except he wears a leather vest instead of the cook's formerly white apron.
Some may say I go there for the abuse, but you would be wrong. I go for the decent and cheap food and theater. There are much better places nearby, but none for the solo diner wanting to remain that way. The afternoon waitress and weekend gal  are much nicer. I think the older chain smoker is a retired biker chick. The ingenue is learning the waitressing trade from her two elders, but has far too much of the milk of human kindness flowing in her veins.
The clientele is all American. Like me. Fat, out of shape and hungry. Mostly retirees and families wanting no surprises. Like the oldies station that plays in the background it is comfortable and uncomplicated. Oh, and the soup is good.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Mike Versus The Tornado

Last night Mike Huckabee won the very same states that were hit by tornados, killing four dozen people. It wasn't long ago when televangelist Pat Robertson claimed to have turned a hurricane away from his estate's grounds and business headquarters in Virginia. Of course the storm hit further North, but those were Yankees that Jeebus doesn't care about.

I would have thought that the good folk of Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri and Tennessee, thanks to their voting in large numbers for Gawd's own snake handler, would have been saved from such mayhem. Mysterious ways could just be a cover for nonexistence.

Political Memory

I was contacted by Peter Goldmark to help support ($) his run for Washington Commissioner of Public Lands, a position that is a lot more interesting than it sounds. I did donate to his run for congress because of my connection to the Fifth Congressional District and the vicious persecution of his father and brother by Washington State fascists. I think Fascist is an appropriate term for John Birch Society organizers and neo-nazi murderers. 

Peter's brother, the brother's wife and two children were murdered at home during Christmas  Eve 1985 by an American Nazi who mistakenly thought he was killing the father / grandfather  John Goldmark, former state legislator. Stirring in the sewer that is Eastern Washington Rethuglican politics is a nasty strain of Christian Identity and anti-Semitic ugliness. John Goldmark a State Senator, was attacked weeks before the '62 election by Ashley Holden in his newspaper, The Tonasket Tribune, as a communist bent on the destruction of America. Reds under the rug was a decade late coming to Eastern Washington, and the Bircher Holden preyed on the unsophisticated folk in the district by employing a big smear against Goldmark and his wife. By the time the Goldmarks realized that people were taking the lies seriously the election was over and a Rethuglican was elected. Goldmark sued the paper and several of the Birchers involved in the smear, and won a substantial settlement. Later the Supreme Court vacated the decision when it ruled for the first time that a public figure cannot be slandered. 

The lore of the Rethuglican Right cooked up a legend that they were just uncovering a communist plot, and that here was an office in the Kremlin dedicated to ruining the Washington apple industry (I was actually told this once by a guy who was dead serious). The Christian Identity group called by the innocuous name "Duck Club" stewed for a decade, amplified the lore and sent a little nobody named David Rice out to kill the Goldmarks. He stabbed and beat them to death with an iron, and thought he was saving America from the commie jews. The Duck Club now mostly concerns itself with anti indian and anti-immigrant causes.

Peter Goldmark doesn't like to revisit all this crap, for obvious reasons, but those old wheat ranchers have long memories and defeated him in his run for congress. He was perfect. A rancher, biologist who had his own lab alongside a bunkhouse on his
 acreage.  He has a PHD in Bio Chemestry. Exactly the sort of congressman rural Washington State needs.  Smart, modern and reasonable.

Now Peter is running for the Lands spot, and once again he is perfect for the job. This time Eastern Washington wingnuts won't be calling the tune. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Night Of The Long Knives

They are still voting in the Super Dooper Tuesday primaries and, as I predicted, the Rethuglicans are cannibalizing their young. The Limbaugh / Dobson wing has laid down the law against McCain by vowing that they would rather lose the White House than support the Senator from Arizona. The snake handler wing has elected to ally themselves with McCain against the Mormon Mitt. It's a religious conflict that cannot be healed without bloodshed. Who said that you had to wear a turban to be spoiling for a religious war?

In the last days of the Nazi empire, Der Fuher and most of his lackeys hunkered in their bunker drawing elaborate plans for counter-attacks with troops that were cooling their heels in Allied POW camps. There were outriders in Berlin that were hanging the minions who tried to escape from the advancing Soviet doom. The same thing is happening at the RNC. No strategy can save them. The wingnut gasbags of AM radio are aware that a Democratic president would be a financial windfall for their businesses. Rage sells lots of advertisers time on ultra right stations. With the fall of the Rethuglicans power in DC the true believers will be bewildered, despondent and looking for someone to blame. We can't have true de-Nazification, but we will have a teaching moment where the poor deluded folk who have been living under the influence of the bloviating righties can be brought back to rationality. They all won't come, but a lot may because winning is its own reward. Ultra conservatives like to feel that they are voices in the wilderness anyway, much like snake handlers like to think that they are being persecuted. 

There is even an outside chance that the Democrats will have the sixty votes that will make Rethuglican filibustering impossible, at the least they can strip Lieberman of his power and let him serve out his term in the political wilderness. That result alone would be worth the money.