In Alaska, Lisa Murkowski Concedes to Teabagger – End of the 30-Year Murkowski Family Reign

The numbers started to go Sen. Murkowski’s way this morning. Alaska election officials were counting absentee and questioned ballots from last week’s GOP primary for her U.S. Senate seat. Trailing Tea Bag Express favorite, Joe Miller by less than 2,000 votes, she didn’t close the gap enough by late afternoon today to make the numbers add up. Late in the afternoon Murkowski conceded.

Though polls were released over the weekend showing Murkowski might handily win a three-way contest as a Libertarian Party candidate, Sunday that party’s governing board in Alaska voted 5-0 to not offer her a rent-a-party slot (something that has been done in Alaska before, resulting in the election of Wally Hickel in 1990).

Sen. Lisa Murkowski replaced her father, Frank, in the U.S. Senate by being appointed to a vacancy by the governor. Frank Murkowski had had to leave his senate seat to become that governor, creating the vacancy necessitating the appointment.

One of the candidates interviewed for the vacancy had been newly out-of-work Wasilla mayor, Sarah Palin. Since Frank’s appointment of his daughter to the seat over the less qualified Palin, the latter has been chafing for revenge. The first episode was her defeat of Frank in the 2006 gubernatorial primary. Gov. Murkowski had been terribly inept. Today was the final episode.

I predicted the strong possibility of Joe Miller’s victory over Murkowski in this primary back in July. So I wasn’t "stunned," as were many.

Actually, I had hoped for it. Joe Miller is not Alaska. He wouldn’t have beaten Lisa Murkowski without a huge infusion of campaign cash from the Koch Brothers and a ballot proposition designed to bring out fundamentalists and evangelicals to the polls.

The Alaska and national Democratic Party apparatchiks have yet to digest what a gift Miller presents them. As Howie Klein, one of the most savvy progressive analysts of politics in the country observed Sunday:

McAdams isn’t a conservative corporate shill and isn’t interested in enriching himself at the public’s expense. The DSCC doesn’t know how to deal with that kind of candidate.

Grassroots Alaskans do.

Our most dependable correspondent in Alaska, Phil Munger, has been raving to me about McAdams for months. And this week I finally spoke with Scott on the phone. He seemed committed to a kind of economic populism that results in winning campaigns in the West. In other words, Scott McAdams is more interested in solving real problems real American families face than in staking out ideological positions.

If the Alaska and national Democratic party organization can energize McAdams’ campaign, he will beat this teabagger who looks and thinks a lot more like the unibomber than he resembles any of our constitutional founding fathers he is do fond of ripping off.

Scott McAdams will be this coming Saturday’s Blue America guest at Crooks & Liars. 11:00 a.m. Pacific time Saturday.Howie will host Scott for two hours of questions. Who knows, maybe even Teabagger Joe Miller will show up to ask a question or two. Whatever, check Scott out then.

Inarticulate Speech of The Teatard

Jesu Christo.

It is almost like the terrorists unleashed an unstoppable stupidity toxin into American airspace on 9/11. Yes, I know people like this have always existed. but in the good old days they at least had the decency to stay indoors gorging on Slim Jims and 84oz buckets of Mr. Pibb while watching Raymond reruns.

Someone once said:

If the terrorists are smart, they will give up on trying to attack us and just sit back and wait, because eventually our entire country is going to be so stupid that people will start sticking their tongues in wall sockets just to see what electricity tastes like.

We are way past that now.

I give up. We’re fucked. The terrorists won.

Vets on the Tit: Simpson’s Found a New Target

It’s not only old women who are living too long and expecting too much from the federal government in their Social Security check every month. According to Obama’s Catfood Commission Chair Alan Simpson, veterans who expect their country to stand by them after poisoning them in-country during The American Troubles in Indochine are "not helping us to save the country in this fiscal mess."

Digby’s got the AP story and has this to say about Alan Simpson’s new target, American veterans:

All those Iraq war vets had better shape up or ship out too. We can’t afford to keep supporting people with brain injuries and lost limbs forever. Get a job or be a man and relieve us of the burden of your care. (Oh right, there are no jobs. Well then I guess the decision’s been made, hasn’t it?)

Seriously, if poor, old, and sick people across the board would just do the right thing and die, we could reform the hell out all the "entitlements." Their selfishness is really brings down the country.

Joan McCarter at DailyKos also has the AP story, replete with lovely Simpson quotes about how we need more common sense in Washington about our obligations to Americans who served our country in uniform. She summarizes his superb comments about ‘irony’ this way:

Just like the irony of millions of Americans paying into Social Security on the promise that they would receive benefits back, while the rich get off the hook for repaying the fund they "borrowed" from for their tax cuts and wars. Disabled vets are just like seniors–those "lesser people" of Simpson’s, the ones who fought our wars. Those disabled vets that our own military poisoned while they were serving, can just shove it.

McCarter has a hope she’d like to share with the White House:

Maybe this attack from Simpson will be enough for President Obama to give Simpson the boot.

Okay, I’ll play: Maybe?

Oliver Willis suggests it’s time for Simpson to go:

Time to get rid of him from the social security panel…. Even if there’s no definitive agent orange connection, the idea that it is veterans who should sacrifice for this is moronic. Simpson may be a vet, but he’s also a former senator who is well off and doesn’t have to worry about such things.

Is there anything Alan Simpson can say that will cost him his job? And how do his fellow commissioners put up with this crap at meetings he chairs? Why haven’t they alerted us to the danger Alan Simpson presents to America’s financial future?

Time to can the whole catfood commission. Sovereign default is too risky to be in this man’s hands — and in the hands of people who’ve listened to this dangerous man all summer without speaking out.

Five Notes On The Iraq Speech

1. Kind of a mishmash. Obama tries to go from the theme of ending one war (slowly, gradually, cautiously) to the broader theme of national and global renewal. It doesn’t really work, in my opinion. First because there’s still over a year’s worth of war, if a twilight and diminishing war, to be waged in Iraq; but more importantly, because he didn’t articulate a vision of how to end the threat from al-Qaeda, or at least diminish it to the point of sustained national vigilance as a law enforcement, intelligence, and diplomatic challenge. It’s that path, out of the World That 9/11 Gave Us, that gets to the sweeping-renewal theme that Obama ends the speech with. Without it, it’s… more war elsewhere, in an uncertain direction.

2. Really hard not to read the Afghanistan section as again trying to signal that the drawdowns in July 2011 will be more substantial than General Petraeus is indicating.

The pace of our troop reductions will be determined by conditions on the ground, and our support for Afghanistan will endure. But make no mistake: This transition will begin — because open-ended war serves neither our interests nor the Afghan people’s.

I recognize that at this point, we’re scouring both men’s statements for the slightest disharmonious notes. And the substantive differences between those guys are rather slim, as I’ve been reporting for weeks now. But as a matter of signaling, Obama is the one drawing the difference at this point. If open-ended war serves neither our interests nor the Afghan people’s, what about open-ended transition? Petraeus is much clearer about the contours of how he’ll structure drawdowns and troop redeployments. With these comments, Obama is setting himself up to have it both ways — we’re kind of starting to end the war but not before we win it, whatever that means; and the greater part of winning it may mean extrication; but not extrication without protecting our interests! — and accordingly getting blame from everyone.

The line “open-ended war serves neither our interests nor the Afghan people’s”? It’s a great, clear statement. But it has to be broader. It has to be an argument about actually ending the threat from al-Qaeda. We’re owed no less.

3. “I’m mindful that the Iraq war has been a contentious issue at home. Here, too, it’s time to turn the page.” Actually, he already has. From 2002 to 2008, the Iraq war was perhaps the most politically contentious issue in American public life. In February 2009, starting with the Camp LeJeune speech — pfft. It’s done. And it’s an unheralded political success. You read the Wolfowitz and Bolton op-eds today? Neither of them can really bite the bullet and say that we should remain in Iraq, waging a war, and so they strain to find an actual critique of Obama’s approach. They’re like the sort of arguments “against” the war that Tom Daschle or Dick Gephardt used to make — signaling they hate the president, fearful of getting on the wrong side of an issue.

If Obama hadn’t embraced Petraeus and Odierno, and let them basically spend 2009 without meaningful troop withdrawals, that might not have happened, and we might have been arguing about Iraq for the past 18 months — which is to say for the past eight uninterrupted years.

4. “Over the last decade, we’ve not done what’s necessary to shore up the foundations of our own prosperity. We spent a trillion dollars at war, often financed by borrowing from overseas. This, in turn, has short-changed investments in our own people, and contributed to record deficits.” Isolationism! I’m just waiting for some Washington wag to fret that a recognition that spending money on a war is less money to spend on domestic priorities is “Come Home, America” redux — from perhaps the most internationalist administration ever. Maybe that canard can finally die, and replaced by the grand strategy-making we deserve, which is first and foremost about prioritizing all national commitments.

5. My pal Eli Lake doesn’t buy that we’re going to be 100 percent out of Iraq by December 31, 2011. As I wrote before, it’s easy to envision some minor caveats to the withdrawal, but not a substantial American military commitment in Iraq. One message to the Iraqis from the speech is: Don’t bother asking, we’re not going back in. The speech may have been a mishmash, but Steve Clemons is right to observe that Obama wants to turn the page on Iraq as an issue for the military. Maybe Eli will be right, but the trajectory is down and out. I guess I could see a JSOC task force for al-Qaeda in Iraq and then marginal numbers of non-combat personnel — in fact, see Pentagon Mideast policy chief Colin Kahl for what that might look like — but we’re really on the periphery here.  It would take a new president to re-ignite the Iraq war, and I suspect the country (including the military) wouldn’t stand for it.

Who is Buju Banton and why should LGBT people be concerned about him?

Mug Shot of Buju Banton (Public domain, it's work of United States Marshals Service)

Mug Shot of Buju Banton (Public domain, it’s work of United States Marshals Service)

 

Mark Myrie, aka “Buju Banton,” is an extremely homophobic reggae dancehall artiste from Jamaica. He is one of a number of very homophobic Jamaican reggae dancehall artistes.

He is best known for the song “Boom Bye Bye,” which was written and recorded in 1988, when he was 15. The song was later rerecorded and released in the U.S. in 1992. It was immediately controversial. You can get some idea of the controversy by watching this YouTube video boom bye bye buju banton interview

“Boom Bye Bye” calls for gay men to be shot in the head, shot with an Uzi, have acid splashed on them and then to be burned like an old tire (necklaced).

If you are familiar with reggae, this isn’t reggae. This is another genre of music called dancehall. Dancehall music is a cousin of Hip Hop. Like Hip Hop, dancehall can be strongly homophobic, misogynist, violent and graphically sexual. We call these performers “reggae dancehall” artistes because they all also want to be considered reggae performers. Buju would like to be considered to be on a par with Bob Marley.

Buju is the youngest of 15 children who were raised in a violent and crushingly poor Kingston, Jamaica slum known as Salt Lane. (Buju has 13 older sisters). Buju’s parents were very poor. http://bit.ly/jVv4Dz

Jamaica is an extremely religious country. It is said to have the most churches per square mile of any country in the world. Buju grew up among strict, conservative Christian Bible-believin’ churches.

Jamaica is also an amazingly homophobic country. Sex between consenting adult males in Jamaica is illegal under their “Buggery Law.” There is a penalty for conviction of up to 10 years at hard labour. A 2001 poll in Jamaica showed that 96% of Jamaicans Oppose Legalizing Male-to-Male Homosexuality

Jamaica is also an amazingly violent place. The Jamaican homicide rate usually places it among the top 10 nations listed by homicide rate. In a 2012 UN Report, Jamaica had the third highest homicide rate in the world, behind El Salvador and Honduras. See Criminal Violence in The Caribbean

Buju became a Rastafarian, but it turns out that the Rastafarians are strongly homophobic, too. They take the Old Testament of the King James Version of the Bible literally. They do not eat shrimp or pork, as directed by Leviticus and other chapters of the Bible. They take Leviticus 20:13 literally. “Boom Bye Bye” is a statement of Leviticus 20:13.

Pressure from GLAAD and Gay Men of African Descent got “Boom Bye Bye” off the airwaves in 1992. Buju’s television appearances were also canceled. After Buju was dropped from Peter Gabriel’s WOMAD Winter Festival in Brighton, England in December, 1992, Buju issued an apology. He almost immediately retracted that apology. He continued singing “Boom Bye Bye” until 2004. He only stopped singing “Boom Bye Bye” in 2004 under prodding from Amnesty International who wrote to him: “Amnesty International is concerned that, by continuing to perform Boom Bye Bye,  Buju Banton continues to advocate the killing of homosexuals . . .”  http://bit.ly/bnLWFQ

Though he stopped singing “Boom Bye Bye” publicly in 2004, he developed another anti gay routine. This routine is famous for the line “there is no end to the war between me and faggots.” You can see a version of this anti LGBT routine here: http://bit.ly/infCRs

Mark Myrie (“Buju Banton”) makes homophobic comments from the stage and goes into anti gay rants. He’ll sing a line from “Boom Bye Bye.”  Hum it. Or have the audience sing it. This way he can claim that he doesn’t perform “Boom Bye Bye” anymore.

All the evidence shows that he is still as homophobic now as he was in 1988. To his credit, Buju did not perform anti gay material during his 2009 U.S. tour. But in 2007, he signed a Reggae Compassionate Act form, promising not to promote hatred and violence. He almost immediately denied signing the RCA form. You can see his signed form online at  http://tinyurl.com/ybwrq3c He has violated the agreement many times since signing. It is not acceptable for Buju Banton or other dancehall performers to comply with their RCA agreements in the U.S., but then violate them in other countries.

Mark Myrie, aka “Buju Banton,” was arrested on December 10th, 2009 at his Miami area home. You can see the charges and some evidence against Mark Myrie here:  Buju Banton Affidavit

Buju’s first trial, Before Judge James S. Moody at U.S. District Court in Tampa, Florida, ended in a mistrial on September 27th, 2010.

At the end of his second trial, also held at U.S. District Court in Tampa, Florida, with Judge James S. Moody presiding, Mark Myrie was convicted on charges of conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense, and using the telephone to facilitate a drug crime.

Mark Myrie, who is known as “Buju Banton,” was sentenced on June 23rd, 2011 to ten years and one month in U.S. federal prison. The firearms charge was thrown out at sentencing.

See Reggae star Banton sentenced to 10 years for drug trafficking

Over the years, Buju’s performances in the U.S., Canada and Europe have often been picketed, protested and canceled. A charge of “censorship” is often aimed at the activists who argue with Buju’s “kill gays” stance. LGBT activists need to remember that we also have freedom of speech. We have a right, even an obligation to speak out against this man who calls for our deaths or calls for us to be physically harmed.

Buju also likes to claim that the activists who protest against him are “racist,” ignoring the fact that people of color have been involved in the protests since the beginning. Also, the LGBT people who are violently attacked and killed in Jamaica are mostly people of color.

Buju, of course, is not the only virulently homophobic Jamaican reggae dancehall performer. See “Summer Murder Music Update” at  http://bit.ly/q4sYAl

For some further reading about dancehall, “fyah burn,” homophobia in Jamaica

Sexual acts in Jamaica between two consenting adult men are illegal under their “buggery” laws. This is also true of the other English-speaking, former British colonies in the Caribbean, except for the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

The penalty for breaking the “buggery” laws in Jamaica is up to 10 years at hard labour.

Sex between two consenting adult females is not illegal in Jamaica, but many Jamaicans think that it is. Lesbians in Jamaica are subject to assaults and discrimination. They are also subject to “corrective rapes.” Unfortunately, there are also “corrective rapes” in the U.S. and other parts of the world.

Jamaica is a deeply religious country and it is about 80% conservative Christian denominations.

Rastafarians are a minority religion in Jamaica, perhaps 5% of the population. They believe in the Old Testament of the Bible. They do not eat pork or shrimp per Old Testament teachings. The dreadlocks and beards are also from the Old Testament. The Rastafarians believe in the anti gay teachings of Leviticus 20:13.

LGBT people are discriminated against or despised in all the segments of Jamaican culture: Government, law enforcement, education, churches and in medical care.

The U.S., Canada and the U.K. grant asylum to LGBT people from Jamaica. Gay people are even set on fire or burned alive in their homes in Jamaica. People with AIDS have been “necklaced” in Jamaica.

Suggested Reading:

“Dancehall Dossier” http://bit.ly/9fKHdV

Time Magazine “The Most Homophobic Place on Earth?”  http://bit.ly/d2Xf20

Amnesty International USA “’Battybwoys affi dead:’ Action against homophobia in Jamaica”  http://bit.ly/bSi1gp

Hour.ca “What happened to ‘One Love’?”  http://bit.ly/cHUwYv

Human Rights Watch “All Jamaicans Are Threatened by a Culture of Homophobia”  http://bit.ly/cmYPES

The Atlantic “How AIDS Became a Caribbean Crisis” http://bit.ly/cOSZTH

UK Independent “Jamaica: A grim place to be gay” http://bit.ly/dhHA8y

“BIGGEST BATTYBWOY KILLING ANTHEMS OF ALL TIME”       http://bit.ly/d11aQ4

(The word “batty” means “butt” in Jamaican Patois. “Batty man” is a
derogatory term for a gay man in Jamaica and the Caribbean. We translate
“batty man” or “batty bwoy” as “faggot.”)

Worthwhile YouTube Videos:

“Thomas Glave – Oslo Freedom Forum 2011?   http://bit.ly/FRpgha

“Batty Boys Need to Stay Far From We” http://bit.ly/cBRGDb

“HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean: A deadly cycle of stigma and secrecy (part 1 of 5)”  http://bit.ly/9gYe6j

 

I didn't watch the President's address tonight, but you can read it here

I had a long hard day at work (you know, the one that keeps a roof over my head) with the prospect of more tomorrow, so I wanted forget about politics this evening, or think about the approaching hurricane, and just went out to dinner with my wife. Now I’m in my jammies and feeling beat. Will give the dogs a snack and hit the sack since I have to get on the hamster wheel again in the AM.

But you all can read what President Obama said (nothing about LGBT service members, naturally) about the close of combat operations in Iraq. It’s below the fold. (more…)

Watercooler – Wall Street To Pay Bonuses Early To Beat Expiration Of Tax Cuts

Here’s the next trick that the big banks plan to pull to avoid paying their fair share:

Wall Street is reportedly one step ahead of the Obama administration’s plan to scrap some of the Bush tax cuts on the nation’s top earners. Banks are considering paying annual bonuses early this year to lessen the impact of the increased tax rates expected in January, when bonuses are traditionally paid out, reports the Wall Street Journal

… In the U.S., Wall Street firms typically wait until after the end of the year to pay out bonuses tied to performance over the previous 12 months. Bonus payments, which are often several times larger than an employee’s annual salary, make up the lion’s share of a bank’s payroll expense.

The hurry-up bonuses can be seen as good leadership that boosts employee morale and protects employees from burdensome tax hikes. But Jena McGregor at the Washington Post’s blog on corporate leadership says that accelerating compensation perpetuates a culture of greed.

I’ve never understood why avoiding the draft to keep from fighting in a war is called unpatriotic, but scheming out of the taxes that pay for wars (and for everything else the government does) is considered smart business practice.

Isn’t it time we called out wealthy tax dodgers as anti-American? What’s on your mind tonight?

NC Sen: Richard Burr Leads Elaine Marshall By Five

Incumbent Republicans Sen. Richard Burr still maintains a small five point lead over Democratic challenger Elaine Marshall in the North Carolina according to Public Policy Polling.

PPP (PDF) (8/27-29)
Richard Burr (R) 43
Elaine Marshall (D) 38
Michael Beitler (L) 6
Undecided 13

Mashall benefits from the fact that voters on net slightly disapprove of Burr’s job performance. While she has net favorable numbers among likely voters (25% favorable – 21% unfavorable) she poorly known in the state. A solid majority of voters know too little about her or are not sure how they view her. This does mean if she can afford to run a strong race there is at least the potential for improvement once she is able to make contact with more voters.

While trailing by five points is not a “good” place to be two months before the election it is within distance against an unpopular incumbent. Marshall is actually polling slightly better than some top tier recruits in open races that have been assumed to be better opportunities for Democrats.

Like all Democrats this year she is suffering because of the general mode of the country and for the mistakes of her party. Among likely voters in North Carolina 54% disapprove of Obama’s job performance while only 43% that approve. His big health care law is very unpopular in the state. Only 40% support it while 55% oppose it.

The voter enthusiasm gap is significantly hurt Marshall. According to Tom Jensen at PPP:

Marshall’s winning 77% of Obama voters and Burr’s winning 76% of McCain voters so if the turnout patterns this year were the same as in 2008 we’d have a tie race. But those planning to vote at this point two months before the election report having voted for John McCain by 9 points in 2008, in contrast to Barack Obama’s actual narrow victory in the state.

Late Night: God Gooses Glenn Beck

Glenn Beck thinks God gave him a flyover at his Beckstalnacht rally Saturday in Washington DC. With a flock of geese. Because Glenn Beck couldn’t get a military flyover. Or someone in uniform to present the flag, thank god/s:

I think it was God’s flyover. It was not supposed to happen. We couldn’t get a flyover. We couldn’t even get anybody dressed in a military uniform to present the flag. We tried for almost a year. We couldn’t get it done. Thank God, we had our flyover.

Beck must be confused about “wasn’t supposed to happen.” Geese fly in flocks and there are resident geese in DC. No doubt, some were a little disrupted by the crowds on Saturday and so they took to the air. That aside, the use of augury and signs from nature to indicate a message from God/s is off limits for Christians and especially Mormons like Beck who would like the rest of us to forget about the golden salamander, golden tablets and magic glasses.

In Roman augury, birds flying from behind you is a bad sign. The birds were flying from behind the audience at Beck. Good for Beck, bad for his followers. But the flock of Canadian geese–the same species that caused the US Airways crash into the Hudson–veered to Beck’s left side. Bad omen.

If Beck was going to go retro-pagan and divine signs from God in the movement of birds, he really should have used the birds made for it. However, some works of augury say the birds that appear should be used to see which god is answering the question. So let’s give that a try:

Geese are sacred to Aphrodite. Aphrodite is Venus in Roman mythology. Venus the planet was ruled by her, and certain Christian sects came to associate the planet with Lucifer.

But let’s modernize our augury. Colloquially, God was goosing Glenn Beck. Glenn Beck is a silly goose. Honk if you think Glenn Beck is nuts….Surely you have some interpretation of this event.