Thursday, May 28, 2009

Repugnant Party Politics

The nomination of Sonia Sotomayor for Supreme Court Justice is just one of the latest triggers to set the Repugnican Party trash-talk machine a-sputtering.

(Why is it that a nominee's personal experience, race or gender is only an issue when it is not a straight white male being considered? hmmmmm... Antonin Scalia, John Roberts, and Samuel Alito would never let their personal backgrounds influence the way they think or how they apply the law. No siree. It's a white thing. Minorities just wouldn't understand.)

Making such a significant decision that will shape the legal and social landscape of this country for years to come is one of the most powerful functions that the victor in any US Presidential campaign gets to perform. So it is perhaps no surprise that the biggest sore losers in the race would be going so totally spastic over Obama's pick, especially coming so soon as it does after the bruising the repugnant GOP took in the recent election.

Of course, you could pick any issue in the news of the day and relate this same observation about this New Repugnican Party: whatever the Obama-led Democrats are doing or proposing is automatically met by vicious knee-jerk opposition from the GOP's designated repugnant mouthpieces. And when it's time for a vote, the remaining elected Repugnicans in Congress, on orders from the home office follow the party line and "Just Say No."

In a democracy, the minority party (or more preferably parties) in opposition to the ruling party can always be expected to clash over differences in policy and ideology. But it is safe to say that no sitting President of any party has ever been so publicly vilified so quickly - starting from day one of this new administration. That Obama has not enjoyed the traditional "honeymoon" as prior Presidents have had with both parties is only undetectable because of the overwhelming support he has earned within his own Party - who, with the progressive independents who helped oust the despised Repugnicans eight months ago, now constitute the majority opinion of Americans.

Though not unexpected, the immediate full-blown obstructionist posture the New Repugnicans have adopted after the 2009 election signals something radically different in American politics from what we have ever seen before.

It is now obvious that their current stance represents no mere difference in vision among members of Congress in different parties and the Executive branch of government which can only be held by one party at a time. It is clearly the substance of a calculated political Master Plan devised by Repugnican Party strategists as a means to keep the extremist voter base emotionally engaged. Having let slip their monopolistic grip on power, they can ill afford to lose the only numerically significant voter base they have: those who can be easily manipulated to vote against their own self-interest simply by exciting their most irrational fears, prejudices, and undeserved feelings of entitlement.

The unconscionable political twist they have added is a provision of deniability to those elected members of Congress who actually have constituencies to whom they can be held accountable. You may have noticed that most Congressional Repugnicans, currently in office, tend not to speak out publicly with anything near the level of vehemence that their unelected mouthpieces do with no inhibition in the least.

In fact, most of the official rhetoric used in responding to the Democratic agenda - the floor speeches in the House and Senate - is empty at best. It is either pointless and bereft of any workable ideas or it consists of blatant regurgitation of the garbage that brought us to this point of desperation (i.e. "blah blah blah... don't tax rich people or corporations... blah blah blah.").

A look through the official Talking Points posted at is revealing in that it relays those points in the restrained way their party's legislators are commanded to address them in their official roles. You will not find there any off-the-wall sound bites like "We want Obama to fail!" But the crafty effect of the Talking Points overall is to frame every issue in baseless projections about the future effects Obama's agenda will have on the US economy if super-rich people have to continue paying taxes.

This provides the required cover for those schmucks who have the job of casting votes as elected Representatives to do so with no further explanation and the potential to say "I told you so" later when some of the measures do not fully achieve the goals set for them. At the same time the language in which they are stated allow the Talking Points to be picked up and run with by the designated mouthpieces at Fox News and elsewhere.

Of course, the Talking Points are primarily intended to have an audience of one: the syndicated Repugnican fathead, Rush Limbaugh, who has proved his seemingly super-unhuman capacity to cast the fearful projections in the most extreme light allowable within the rules of the FCC, which were compromised under the Bush Administration (for just this purpose?).

With few exeptions (the insane Rep. Michelle Bachmann, R-MN springs to mind) Congressional Repugnicans are dutifully following the script and sticking to the role assigned to them. That is: to keep their mouths shut other than just saying "nay" (witness the totally partisan House vote on the first economic recovery bill).

As though by long-advanced planning it is now the function of those unbridled Limbaughs, Hannities, Becks and the whole Faux News gang of loudmouth idiots and unelected jerks WHO REPRESENT NO ONE but their commercial sponsors, to do the dirty work of keeping the base engaged until the next election cycle.

Even the token/puppet Repugnican leader, Michael Steele, was forced to bow his head in submission to the Master Plan and retract his critical remarks about the ignorant arrogance of Rush Limbaugh. Failing to bow down to Limbaugh would have thrown a monkey wrench into the plan and no doubt cost the hapless Steele his patronage job.

The unelected backroom Repugnican strategists - including their once-acknowledged evil-genius leader Karl Rove (Bush called him "the Architect") - have even applied a mid-level layer of deniability to their blueprint for rebuilding the Repugnican power structure.

Former office holders like the has-beens Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Dick Cheney are given a special role to play that ostensibly adds a level of credibility to the Repugnican cause since they have not yet signed any lucrative contracts with Fox News or another GOP propaganda organization. Since the Party cannot risk losing any more seats they currently hold, and since the ones filling those seats are only assigned one word to use ("no") these stand-in losers have to make themselves available to spout the party line on talk shows where they are interviewed by the has-beens who have signed up as talk-show "entertainment" hosts.

The Repugnican Mater Plan is a gamble, of course, that is firmly rooted in a confidence in the ignorance of the American masses. While the Democrats in and out of office have to look like they are actually trying to do something to fix the unfathomable mess they stepped into, Congressional Repugnicans just have to stand by and offer nothing but complaints about the partisan nature of the Democrats' actions (the nerve!) and just make sure to just show up and use their one-word vocabulary when the yay or nay vote is taken.

The only other complaint they make is that the President is trying to accomplish too much ("accomplishment" a forbidden word in their vocabulary and the idea of it is totally outside their realm of experience as highly paid "servants of the people").

The "unaffiliated" GOP mouthpieces on radio and TV are doing their part extremely well: conjuring the most extremely damaging, discredited and absurd fears about Obama's "socialist" agenda, among all the other ridiculous lies they make up on the spot. Of course, they are counting on the tried and true Rovian tactic by which the spewing of so much insipid crap, regurgitated as often as possible, creates solid truth in a calculated percentage of the thick ditto-heads of their listeners. This is how the Party will be guaranteed a reliable number of votes in the next election.

The rejected candidates who are assigned those stand-in roles in the game plan also deserve credit for dutifully mouthing and affirming the lies spread by those wired-in players on talk shows and taking the heat for those who still hold their seats in Congress. They have little to lose personally since they have been written off as potential candidates for office in the future, though this fact is contrary to the image they would like for themselves.

The Repugnican strategists are not interested in re-running those losers. Their past failures as politicians make them expendable pawns in the game. They can always find fresh meat heads to fill the roles of political candidates who can be thrust into the national spotlight that will be distracted by the novelty without having to repack all the known baggage of a Sarah Palin, say, or that dorky governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal, who they suckered into following Obama's first major address and became an instant laughing stock.

If you want to keep up with the Repugnican trash-talk sputterings but can't stomach the thought of actually listening to Rush Limbaugh's daily three-hour spew, the good folks at Media Matters for America are providing a real-time digest, dispatched by the hour, every day of the week. You won't believe this fathead's mind-boggling audacity! From what I can tell Limbaugh's role in the Repugnican Master Plan is modeled on that of Japan's Tokyo Rose during WW2.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Spinning The Proposition 8 Decision

The State Supreme Court Ruling in California legalizing same-sex marriage for those already married - but nobody else - should be proof enough that the left coast referendum process is fundamentally retarded.

This stupidly divisive waste of time and energy - not to mention $$ in this weak economy - ends up in a cop-out decision by the high court, guaranteeing either an ugly re-play of the voter campaign or - best case scenario - setting up a case to be taken by the US Supreme Court.

Though such a case could and should, in one fell swoop, strike down all restrictive state marriage laws in the country , it only comes about because the State Court took the easy way out, tried to have it both ways and just passed off a politically risky decision to somebody else to decide. Why don't they just do their damn jobs and issue a real opinion?

Margaret Cho's reaction is the best I've heard. She said, "I blame Miss California!"

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Memorial Day 2009

This weekend Americans will stop at some point in their White Sale Shopping Frenzy to pay obligatory tribute to our veterans. Our most somber tributes will be reserved for the hundreds of thousands (could it be millions?) of our countrymen and women who died in service, in combat, or after surviving their tours of duty. The memories of their service and their wars are kept alive by veterans who served with them marching in parades every year even as their bodies age, their steps falter, and their numbers dwindle with the passage of time.

By one statistic I heard in the lead up to this 2009 Memorial Day, WWII veterans are now dying at the rate of about a thousand per day. It's sobering by itself but inevitably also makes you flash ahead to that time coming when no one is left from the era of the last "Great War." The time is not too far off when few Vietnam Vets who will still be able to shuffle along in the processions and parades will be pushing their elderly commanding officers in wheelchairs, and those now dying in Iraq and Afghanistan will be honored by their great grandchildren.

How many lives of those born this year will be memorialized on the twentieth and later anniversaries of Memorial Day 2009? Whatever names will be given to the future military actions whose dead will be remembered then, how long will it be before our gestures of gratitude and respect - for those we will have sent to early graves in battles today and yet to come - can be felt with no need to rationalize that gnawing sense of the ultimate futility of waging these wasteful senseless wars?

Remembering our losses, what can we say we have gained in Iraq and Afghanistan, or for that matter, Vietnam?

Kurt Vonnegut was once questioned about his sentiments behind those brilliant semi-biographical fantasies he wrote like Slaughterhouse Five, which included many references to his real-life experiences as a soldier and prisoner of war during the last Great War. He was asked if the recurring critically satirical themes of his novels should be taken as anti-war statements? Surprisingly, he objected to the idea that he may have been constitutionally anti-war.

While Vonnegut acknowledged the absurdity of war he also considered it absurd and useless to be opposed to it as a matter of practicality. To be anti-war would be as pointless as to be opposed to tides, he said.

Maybe he was right. Humans as a group seem to be as capable of avoiding war as we are of stopping the ocean tides. It seems to be a compulsion of our collective nature. Throughout my life - which began not so long after World War II, there have been continual wars on the planet and not one of them has proven necessary, productive or, least of all, by any means "great."

On Memorial Day, we may accept that war is inevitable, but do we think there will ever be another "Great War" to remember?

Is that really something we should be hopeful for?

It would be shameful to say that we yearn for the next "Great War," if only to assuage our conflicted emotions that surface on these morbid holidays each year. But we must be looking forward to just such an eventuality.

We revere our troops and military machinery and we tithe with extreme monetary obligation to the Pentagon on high as though we believe that someday they will deliver our salvation. Only in this context I think that this reverence for our saviors in uniform is what compels the true believers among us to be so faithfully committed to maintaining the false ideal of the military's moral purity.

The desire to hold our troops to standards beyond what is acceptable in civil society seems the only rational basis for rejecting otherwise good and honorable servicemembers who are known to possess the human "flaw" of an inclination toward homosexual gratification. Only it's not rational. It is, in fact, as absurd to be anti-gay as it is to be anti-war. And for the same reason.

As long as people are sexual, we will be homosexual. As long as there is a military, there will be homosexuals in the military. Always have been, always will be.

"There you go - disrespecting the military again. Throwing sex in where it don't belong! Especially on this solemn occasion of Memorial Day! Why do you have to bring up queers on this solemn occasion, boy? The dead don't have sex. It's disrespectful and totally irrelevant!"

Which is, of course, the point.

Statistically, we can surmise that among those who die in service of our country, there are and will be a number of homosexuals. One study conducted by the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network after the 2000 Census, estimated that 2.5% of active military personnel were exclusively homosexual.

It may be safe to apply that seemingly low figure to our heroes and casualties of all past wars as well as those to come. In recent years, especially since "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," had those gay dead troops survived and later been found out, they would have been humiliated, their careers condemned and they would be discharged abruptly and unceremoniously.

As it is, having given the ultimate sacrifice alongside their straight comrades before taking a chance on coming out, they are honored for once without discrimination. By their deaths, the truth of their and honor and sacrifice in equal measure to all our other dead soldiers cannot be denied or abrogated.

Ironically, it is only after they've "given their last full measure of devotion" that the irrelevance of their sexuality may finally be acknowledged.

It is the lot of those gay men and women heroes that survive even the harshest of battlefield conditions to later face the judgement of a cynically ungrateful and disrespectful policy of expulsion on the grounds of "moral inferiority."

All those who died in service to our country are generally memorialized with a reverence accruing to the fallen as a group.

I guess when they're dead it's just up to God to sort them out.

Gay Men & Lesbians in the US Military: Estimated from Census 2000

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The US Military. More than National Defense: It's a Job.

...and some people are still being fired from their jobs with the Military just for being gay.

President Obama pledged to end "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" -- but in slightly more than 100 days as Commander In Chief he has done nothing to prevent 206 more gay military employees from being fired in that same time.

Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach is one of those Obama is firing. Fehrenbach is an F-15E aviator in the Air Force and, guess what? Turns out this decorated war hero and seasoned combat veteran who has served with honor for 18 years has apparently been unfit to serve all this time!

Ain't that a kicker?

Lt. Col. Fehrenbach is about to lose his whole career on account of being "heterosexually challenged." It's almost as though not being straight is some kind of disability as far as the military is concerned. But if it were discovered that he lasted so long and achieved so much with an actual disability just now discovered, he would likely be the focus of much praise and appreciation. Maybe even given a tenth medal to add to all those others he earned. Certainly, they would not force him out under a cloud with only two years to go before he can collect the full retirement package the has worked for over these 18 years of service.

The following video is lifted from the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. If any of this makes sense to you and seems at all fair, don't bother going to their site and learning more about the issue and what you can do to help end it. Like President Obama, who has so many other things on his plate right now, you probably don't feel it's a big enough issue to give any time to right now. Not your problem, right? Not right now.

Did I hear the Repugnicans right?

This morning I am hearing the news about Chris Dodd's Credit Card Reform Legislation which was passed in the Senate yesterday. Under this bill certain predatory practices would be outlawed. In particular, those skyrocketing rates that the Credit Card companies spring on consumers after luring them into their trap with irresistibly low introductory rates will no longer be allowed.

Of course the Repugnicans are against it.

The reporter may have been paraphrasing the official Repugnican talking points on this. She said that their opposition is based in the expectation that such legal limitations would be ineffective since the Credit Card companies will obviously "have to make up the difference somewhere."

The idea is to stop the outrageous rip-off practices of Credit Card companies.

But Repugnicans insist that ripping people off is not only a right of the free market - for Credit Card companies it IS their business. If you try to regulate them by outlawing those surprise spikes in interest rates they will have to make up the difference somewhere...

They'll surely find some other way to rip us off!

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Cost of War

"Sometimes great presidents make mistakes" - Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass

By a vote of 368-60, the US House of Representatives passed a $96.7 billion bill for military spending and foreign aid efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Nearly the entire Republican delegation supported the measure.

The bill is modeled on President Obama's request for $85 billion in continued support for the Iraq occupation and the war against Taliban forces and Al Queda in Afghanistan. The final House proposal, which now must be reconciled with a Senate version, contains almost $12 billion more than Obama asked for in his budget proposal.

The Senate is expected to approve spending up to $91.3 billion in a bill just voted out of Committee which more in line with Obama's request. It includes $50 million for the Pentagon to begin closing down the US detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The House calls for no such spending on Gitmo but does come with a resolution that detainees from the prison should not be released on U.S. soil. It does, however, allow for some of the 241 Guantanamo detainees to be moved to the United States to stand trial or serve their sentences.

As both bills were being developed, President Obama made a last minute request that an additional $108 billion be added to his request, earmarked for the International Monetary Fund. This would constitute a US contribution to the expanded $500 billion IMF loan fund designed to assist poor countries struggling through the global economic downturn. As an outcome of last month's summit meeting of the "Group of 20" nations in London, the IMF will issue interest-bearing assets, bringing the immediate taxpayer cost of this loan to about $5 billion for this contribution.

This request was immediately incorporated into the Senate version by Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye of Hawaii.

House Republicans oppose adding the IMF funds to the war-funding measure. But they would include $2.2 billion in other foreign aid to the amount Obama requested. However, the bulk of the $12 billion they would add to Obama's budget would go mostly for new weapons and military equipment such as cargo planes, mine-resistant vehicles, Bradley Fighting Vehicles and Stryker armored vehicles.

Even as the US war budget inflates, a growing number of Democrats are expressing skepticism about the increase in spending for military operations in Afghanistan.

Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., Chair of the House Appropriations Committee that produced the legislation, called it "a bill that I have very little confidence in." Still, he said, "I think we have a responsibility to give a new president — who did not get us into this mess — the best possible opportunity to get out of it."

Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., is one of 51 Democrats opposed the expansion of war funds. He remains unimpressed with Obama's plans for Afghanistan. "Sometimes great presidents make mistakes, and sometimes great presidents make even great mistakes. I hope that doesn't happen here," McGovern said.

"As the mission has grown bigger, the policy has grown even more vague."

The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday voted unanimously in favor of its version of the spending bill. Most of that money, about $73 billion, would go to the Defense Department to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, part of which will pay for the extra 21,000 troops being sent to Afghanistan.

Despite the panel's unanimous endorsement, several Republicans said they will try to amend the bill to strip out the $50 million to be spent on closing Gitmo.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Wanda Sykes on How People in Straight Marriages can be as Happy as Their Gay Married Friends

May 10, 2009: Wanda Sykes cracked them up at the White House Press Corps Luncheon yesterday, as the opening act for Barack (Yo Mama) Obama's stand up act.

Below is a clip from an earlier performance by Sykes - before she came out as a lesbian last year - where she told it like it is about gay marriage.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Empathy Schmempathy!

RNC chair denigrates Obama desire for empathy
By Beth Fouhy –

NEW YORK (AP) — Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele has a message for President Barack Obama and his stated goal of replacing Justice David Souter with a judge who brings empathy to the Supreme Court bench: "Empathize right on your behind!"

Sitting in for host Bill Bennett on the "Morning in America" radio show Friday, Steele, a lawyer, said Obama should be searching for a judge who understands the U.S. Constitution and the rule of law.

"Crazy nonsense empathetic! I'll give you empathy. Empathize right on your behind. Craziness!" Steele told a radio audience.

Speaking to reporters last week to announce Souter's retirement, Obama said he would seek a replacement who combines an impeccable legal background with "empathy and understanding" for how the law is applied. -- Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Of course, as Media Matters pointed out about such stupidity spewing from the mouths of many TV & radio neo-cons:

"Blinded by the rest of Obama's statement, they ignored the simple fact that immediately after stating that he saw the "quality of empathy" as "an essential ingredient for arriving at just decisions and outcomes," Obama stated that he would "seek somebody who is dedicated to the rule of law, who honors our constitutional traditions, who respects the integrity of the judicial process and the appropriate limits of the judicial role."

When confronted with the President's actual words, those neo-cons put their fingers in their ears, closed their eyes tight and responded:
"Nah nah nah nah na I can't hear you I can't hear you I can't hear you nah nah nah nah na I can't hear you I can't hear you I can't hear you nah nah nah na I can't hear you I can't hear you I can't hear you..."

So what's all this fuss over the word "empathy" about?

Let's get a definition from
em⋅pa⋅thy [em-puh-thee]
1. the intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.

2. the imaginative ascribing to an object, as a natural object or work of art, feelings or attitudes present in oneself: By means of empathy, a great painting becomes a mirror of the self.

Right there in definition #1 we see the problem. There is something "intellectual" about the word, which automatically places it beyond the realm of a Republican's ability to understand. Intellectualism itself is something that the brainless lot fears and despises.

I don't think that definition #2 is what Obama had in mind -- but the goombah fascists in the GOP are very familiar -- by practice -- with "imaginative ascribing to [someone], feelings or attitudes present in oneself."

It makes sense, right? So if the Republicans are against empathy then they must be in favor of its opposite, right? For those unfamiliar with a dictionary (i.e. Republicans) opposite meanings are known as "antonyms." In the case of "empathy," its antonyms are, "apathy, misunderstanding and unfeelingness."

Yeah. That sounds about right for what the Republicans look for in nominees when they have a position to fill on the Supreme Court.

As always, Jon Stewart and the Daily Show has the best take on it all. At the tail end of his report on the announcement of Justice Souter's retirement comes the best expose of the GOP's anti-empathetic bent anywhere. Take it, Jon...
The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Justice Is Bland
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic CrisisPolitical Humor

Saturday, May 2, 2009

A Dying Breed? Suicidal Elephants!

Dying Elephant Sculpture

The future of the Republican Party USA just looks brighter and brighter.

Yes indeed.

That is, for those of us who really want them to fail (sorry, they brought it on themselves!), prospects that the GOP will soon succumb to political suicide have never been better.

Just today we get this bit of giddy news from

A conservative faction of the Republican National Committee is urging the GOP to take a harder line against both Democrats and wayward Republicans, drafting a resolution to rename the opposition the “Democrat Socialist Party” and moving to rebuke the three Republican senators who supported the stimulus package.

In an e-mail sent Wednesday to the 168 voting members of the committee, RNC member James Bopp, Jr. accused President Obama of wanting “to restructure American society along socialist ideals.

Yeah, Republicans! All together, now. Join hands with your undisputed leader, Mr. Limbaugh, and take the plunge! Right off that cliff and into oblivian!

J U M P ! ! ! !

Isn't that what you want to say? Aren't we all getting sick and tired of their pathetic whiney death wish? Just do it already!

If you think the GOP does not have a death wish then what the hell are they doing?

Their appeal to average unsuspecting Americans has long been based entirely on manipulating our emotions (fear, mostly) rather than on ideas or actions that might benefit anyone but the super-rich. If they had a will to live you would think that whoever is in charge over there might try to capitalize on the positive feelings that most Americans now say they have about the direction our country is moving in.

How long do they think they can survive by making fools of voters, trying to frighten them out of their contentment with certifiably insane delusions such as the cynical urban legend that the US is being taken over by a gang of socialists?

After 100+ days as Commander-in-Chief, doesn't anyone realize that Obama could have done it by now? If he had a mind to stage such a coup, why would he drag it out?

The venerated GOP saint Ronald Reagan of B-movie fame wowed America with his wistful "City on a Hill" imagery. George H. w. Bush had his "Thousand Points of Light." Neither of these meant diddly-squat, of course, and were basically just silly metaphors meant to cover up and distract from their true intentions. But at least those seminal neo-cons were not so clueless when faced with one lost race after another to just go insanely bombastic, railing and voting against everything the Democratic Party was up to - particularly those things that a majority of people in every poll say they support.

Have the morons running that party today forgotten that they would need to win a majority of votes to stay alive politically? That after a while most voters with half a brain who happen to respond favorably to just some of the things that the Democrats are doing will eventually catch on and resent what the neo-cons are trying to pull?

At some point no rational voter will be able to deny that Republicans are just a bunch of ineffective empty headed nay-sayers. Sooner or later won't most of the few people left loyal to the GOP have to wise up and realize how they are being insulted by party leaders who ask for their votes while telling them how stupid they are if they do not buy into the GOP's rabid opposition to all things Democrat with no coherent ideas of their own?

I would hate to think this is giving Republican loyalists too much credit in the smarts department.

Illustration Credit: Fox News, of course

Even as acknowledged by the GOP, Arlen Specter's defection marks a milestone on the path of their imminent demise. If my home-town Senator did only abandon the Republican Party for self-serving opportunistic reasons, his changing affiliation at this time can only be taken as a sure sign that the GOP ship is sinking fast: the last of the plague-ridden rats are diving off in a desperate grab for survival. Those staying on board have obviously gone out of their minds.

Specter, long known as the most moderate Congressional member of the party that has run out of tolerance for liberals, leftists, or independent thinkers, will become one of the most conservative members of the Democratic Party in the Northern States (Lieberman doesn't count for anything).

But at 71, Arlen is more of an old-school conservative, coming out of a time when some Republicans still had an active brain cell or two that responded to something other than a sense of entitlement, greed and power-lust. Back in the day even Republicans were sometimes known to engage in something more than negative sensationalistic smears of their opponents even after losing major contests to them.

As junior counsel to the Warren Commission, Specter cut his teeth on his invention of the laughably implausible "single bullet theory." And who could forget how grossly lawyer-esque he was - in the worst conceivable sense - when he savagely grilled Anita Hill during the Clarence Thomas nomination hearings?

But Arlen somehow managed to get that Commission to accept that people would not question the impossibly magical explanation of JFK's assassination which brought the official inquiry to a tidy end. And, to his disgrace, he managed to discredit Anita Hill so thoroughly as to assure a sexual predator's confirmation as the most ineffective Supreme Court Justice ever (see: The Truth About Arlen Specter).

Specter has always known how to achieve the means to an end, no matter how undesirable or premature that end may be.

That even he could not figure out a way to keep the Republican Party from imploding (and taking with it his chance for political survival) is very telling indeed.

One thing the last of the Republicans still know is that Americans, on the whole, do not like extremist political parties. That is exactly why the dwindling GOP is pouring every last ounce of energy into trying to convince their gullible clinging base that Obama and the Democrats are socialists, communists or even fascists. Far from gaining any ground with this last-ditch tactic, however, it is obviously backfiring on them big time.

As the once-dominant party slumps in numbers and influence, a few goofy loud-mouth extremists are left with nothing to offer but more of the same mindless arrogance and gutter-level politics that dragged this country to the brink of collapse under their rule.

Seriously, what little is left of the GOP as a national political party - its bitter dregs - no longer deserves a place at the table.

But if you don't like everything the Democrats are doing, please remember that we have a number of other minority parties besides the moribund GOP to choose from. And we urgently need to realize that some of them actually do offer viable ideas and agendas that may be serious workable alternatives to what the newly dominant party is putting out there. We The People know that, in addition to extremist parties, Americans also very much dislike the prospect of single-party rule. What most of us still have to learn is that Republicans are not just one among a number of alternatives to the Democrats - they are no longer a viable alternative at all.

Mostly what the other (non-Republican) minority parties lack are those deep pockets and a shadowy funding base that allow political parties to gain strength, membership and votes while also leading, invariably it seems, to political corruption. Witness our current reality where neither of our major parties are immune from the corrupting influence of money and power in any sense.

As the sole remaining political superpower, the Democrats now have to be very careful not to try and take undue advantage of the welcome demise of the Republican Party. We The People, on the other hand, have a responsibility to be more vigilant than ever, keeping the Democrats' feet to the fire while they are acting as the instrument to rid the land of this blight known as the GOP.

Ultimately, however, Obama and the Democrats will disappoint us - already have in a number of ways. As we become disillusioned with them as the ruling party, we as Americans have a responsibility to our country and each other to stay alert to - and support - real alternatives in the political arena, rather than just voting against the Democrats by voting for Republicans out of spite (talk about cutting off your nose!).

For an introduction to the array of alternative political parties see: Guide to American Political Parties at Any of the parties listed there are at least as deserving of our support as the Republican Party - which, to me, is on par with the American Nazi Party (regrettably, they too really do exist!).