Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Welcome to Glennbeckistan, Land of the Tea-hadis

Just remember to check your brain at the border.

Chip Ward over at asks (and answers) this rhetorical question:

What if the Tea Party ruled? Imagine a land, let’s call it Glennbeckistan, where white, patriarchal, religiously zealous, Tea Party-type patriots hold a super-majority in both houses of the legislature, sit in the governor’s mansion, and control most local governments. It’s a place so out of sync with the rest of the nation that states’ rights and even secession are always on the agenda. It’s a place where gun-ownership trumps all other rights, climate change is considered an insidious socialist conspiracy, and a miscarriage can be investigated as a potential crime. Welcome to Utah.
It's well worth reading the whole thing (page down and find the headline Welcome to Glennbeckistan -- Where the Tea Party Rules and Tea-hadis Roam). While it's fairly long, it's an incisive examination of our first American Taliban state, which despite the bizarre religious beliefs held by most members of the Mormon Church, is striving hard to be included in the top drawer of the American politically über-conservative religious ethos.

BTW, that list of bizarre religious practices? That's only the top ten and doesn't include, for example, the Mormon holy underwear or the baptism of the dead(!) rituals.

Chip Ward has the distinction of actually being a resident of Utah, so he knows what he's talking about. Why he lives there is another question. It must be the scenery...

And BTW, not nearly enough has been made of Glenn Beck's zeal-of-the-convert adherence to the Moron Mormon religion. See, for example, here and here.

And for a look at how his fellow Mormons feel about his rant against those communist-fascist "social justice" churches, see here and here.

The short answer is that Beck is insane. Which is a scary proposition, since so many people believe that he is not insane and are willing to listen to him blindly (a bit of a mixed metaphor, but you know what I mean), and worse, are willing to follow him blindly.

As regular readers know, I've been on the rant wagon about the Moron Mormon Church a lot over the course of the five years I've done this blog. Enough, I'm sure, to get me on that infamous-if-still-secret "Mormon Blacklist". This is just one more.

For some reason the whole thing reminds me of that old "Chinese curse": May you live in interesting times...

Another Dealy Plaza Shooting

It's all there: A vintage Lincoln, the pergola, the Dal-Tex Building, the Grassy Knoll, the perch on which Abraham Zapruder stood to shoot the famous 8-mm film, even the Texas School Book Depository from which Lee Harvey Oswald did not fire the shots that killed JFK.

It's probably THE most-photographed urban area in America, if not the world, but there's something ... different ... about this video.

Maybe it's the fact that it's a video shoot that features musical performer Erykah Badu walking down the sidewalks of Dealy Plaza slowly shedding her clothing until she is finally completely nude at the foot of the Grassy Knoll.

At which point something surprising -- but ultimately not unexpected -- happens.

You'll just have to watch the video.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Christian White Trash Militia

Here are the arrested members of the Chrsitianist Militia group the Hutaree:

See why I call 'em the White Trash Militia?

Okay, all right already. I really do know that the term "White Trash" is offensive, that is usually applied to Southern Rednecks, etc etc etc. But give me a break.

I hate to do that old "judge a book by its cover" thing, but come on, these guys are just asking for it. I wonder who's gonna be lookin' after their trailers while they are in prison. Billy Joe? Mary Jane? Lee-Roy and Little Sissy?

Fortunately for whoever their intended victims were (police officers? Really?) they are also just plain stupid. They look stupid and they act stupider.

But, aside from the fact that they are all pretty funny-looking and apparently couldn't pour piss out of boot with the instructions written on the heel, there's really nothing funny about their toxic belief systems or their willingness to put those beliefs into action.

Once again we ignore these kinds of people at our peril. It was a case of the gang that couldn't shoot straight this time. We might not be so lucky next time.

And remember when the wingnuttery went apeshit over that government report that warned about homegrown terrorists?

News, guys: Denial is not a river in Egypt.

An Obama Disappointment

Okay, given that headline, I don't want anyone to take up the idea that I in any way regret my vote in 2008. Obama would have to do something egregiously evil, like stomping puppies on live television, before I would say that I shoulda voted for Grampaw McDrooly and Sister Lipstick Pitbull...

That said, his whole handling of the Faith Based Initiative process started by his Magic Christian predecessor has stuck in my craw for over a year now.

As Rev Barry Lynn, the executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State (full disclosure: I am a member of AU and chapter leader, and I sit on the National Advisory Council), wrote on the Huffington Post today:

When Obama was a candidate in the summer of 2008, he announced his vision for a dramatically revised "faith-based" initiative. And before Obama took office, Americans United and numerous other organizations presented his transition team with a concrete set of changes that could have solved all of the problems Bush had created.
Instead of moving on those changes, Obama created his Advisory Council, a body made up mostly of religious leaders. He tasked this entity with, among other things, looking at an array of legal and policy questions. In the meantime, the President did not change a single rule from the previous administration. This Bush-era regimen has since governed the distribution of billions in social service funding. In effect, the creation of the Council has had the effect, intended or otherwise, of perpetuating a deeply harmful status quo.
Read the whole thing. It's an eye-opening look into some of the workings of the Obama Administration and its approach to many of things that those of us out here in The Real World are truly concerned about.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Bracket of Evil Final Four

The March Mayhem continues with the next round of voting. Go to Credo's Bracket of Evil to cast your votes.

This round is between Fox News and the Teabaggers on the media side and Blackwater and Mitch McConnell on the capitalist pig corporate side.

Learn to Speak Teabag!

Here's Mark Fiori's cartoon on how easy it is to learn another language:

Teabag: Because other languages are just too hard.

The Teabagger Anti-Socialist Pledge

One of the sadly-ironic humorous things about the whole teabagger movement is this: Watching the coverage of the disruptive behavior at their protests I am struck with the fact that so many of these people are fucking old!

I mean they are my age and beyond. And I'd be willing to bet that close to 100% of them are on Social Security and Medicare.

In fact, my favorite sign at one of these gathering of senile two-year-olds read "No Socialized Medicine and Keep Your Hands Off My Medicare".

Okay, fair enough. If you don't like socialism, then don't take part in it. Towards that end, I suggest that the next time you run up against one of these fuckers, get them to sign this pledge:

I, ________________________, do solemnly swear to uphold the principles of a socialism-free society and heretofore pledge my word that I shall strictly adhere to the following:
I will complain about the destruction of 1st Amendment Rights in this country, while I am duly being allowed to exercise my 1st Amendment Rights.
I will complain about the destruction of my 2nd Amendment Rights in this country, while I am duly being allowed to exercise my 2nd Amendment rights by legally but brazenly brandishing unconcealed firearms in public.
I will foreswear the time-honored principles of fairness, decency, and respect by screaming unintelligible platitudes regarding tyranny, Nazi-ism, and socialism at public town halls. Also.
I pledge to eliminate all government intervention in my life. I will abstain from the use of and participation in any socialist goods and services including but not limited to the following:
· Social Security
· Medicare/Medicaid
· State Children’s Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP)
· Police, Fire, and Emergency Services
· US Postal Service
· Roads and Highways
· Air Travel (regulated by the socialist FAA)
· The US Railway System
· Public Subways and Metro Systems
· Public Bus and Lightrail Systems
· Rest Areas on Highways
· Sidewalks
· All Government-Funded Local/State Projects (e.g., see Iowa 2009 federal senate appropriations)
· Public Water and Sewer Services (goodbye socialist toilet, shower, dishwasher, kitchen sink, outdoor hose!)
· Public and State Universities and Colleges
· Public Primary and Secondary Schools
· Sesame Street
· Publicly Funded Anti-Drug Use Education for Children
· Public Museums
· Libraries
· Public Parks and Beaches
· State and National Parks
· Public Zoos
· Unemployment Insurance
· Municipal Garbage and Recycling Services
· Treatment at Any Hospital or Clinic That Ever Received Funding From Local, State or Federal Government (pretty much all of them)
· Medical Services and Medications That Were Created or Derived From Any Government Grant or Research Funding (again, pretty much all of them)
· Socialist Byproducts of Government Investment Such as Duct Tape and Velcro (Nazi-NASA Inventions)
· Use of the Internets, email, and networked computers, as the DoD's ARPANET was the basis for subsequent computer networking
· Foodstuffs, Meats, Produce and Crops That Were Grown With, Fed With, Raised With or That Contain Inputs From Crops Grown With Government Subsidies
· Clothing Made from Crops (e.g. cotton) That Were Grown With or That Contain Inputs From Government Subsidies
If a veteran of the government-run socialist US military, I will forego my VA benefits and insist on paying for my own medical care
I will not tour socialist government buildings like the Capitol in Washington, D.C.
I pledge to never take myself, my family, or my children on a tour of the following types of socialist locations, including but not limited to:
· Smithsonian Museums such as the Air and Space Museum or Museum of American History
· The socialist Washington, Lincoln, and Jefferson Monuments
· The government-operated Statue of Liberty
· The Grand Canyon
· The socialist World War II and Vietnam Veterans Memorials
· The government-run socialist-propaganda location known as Arlington National Cemetery
· All other public-funded socialist sites, whether it be in my state or in Washington, DC
I will urge my Member of Congress and Senators to forego their government salary and government-provided healthcare.
I will oppose and condemn the government-funded and therefore socialist military of the United States of America.
I will boycott the products of socialist defense contractors such as GE, Lockheed-Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, Raytheon, Humana, FedEx, General Motors, Honeywell, and hundreds of others that are paid by our socialist government to produce goods for our socialist army.
I will protest socialist security departments such as the Pentagon, FBI, CIA, Department of Homeland Security, TSA, Department of Justice and their socialist employees.
Upon reaching eligible retirement age, I will tear up my socialist Social Security checks.
Upon reaching age 65, I will forego Medicare and pay for my own private health insurance until I die.
Printed Name/Town and State
[HT to The Political Carnival for the plain-text version of the original .pdf form appearing on The Daily Kos site.]

Sunday, March 28, 2010

In the Year of Our Lord

I guess, it being Sunday and all, that it's my day to post on Religion Issues...

So I get a new post on my "Spitting on Nancy Pelosi" post from way back in August of 2009:

Anonymous said...
I read the constitution, and it ends with this statement: "Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven..."
Lord? Didn't you say there was not a single mention of God? Sounds like a mention to me.
Yeah, anonymous asshole, it sure might sound like it to you, but it isn't. Not really.Here's my response to that post:
You gotta be fuckin' KIDDING me...
That's the way EVERY SINGLE official document was dated back in the day.
That was the accepted method of dating stuff. See, for example, this as well as this and this.
That does not indicate a belief in god and I'm surprised that you people can even bring that up as "proof" that the FFs believed in god.
Give me a fucking break, already.
My favorite prayer is this: Jesus, save me from your followers...

Followers who are too fucking stupid to even know what "A.D." means when it comes to dating stuff.

A.D., morons, is a shorthand acronym for the Latin "Anno Domine", which translates into "The Year of Our Lord"... It was an accepted and handy way of dating stuff for centuries, and its use no more indicates a belief in the Magical Guy in the Sky than does something like the expletive "god damn it".

You people really think that when someone swears a hearty and explosively emotional "god damn it!" when something goes wrong they are actually calling on the Xian god to literally damn something?

Actually, now that I think about it, when Baby Doc Bush called the US Constitution "just a goddamn piece of paper", he was serious about that curse... After all, he did his best to figuratively, if not literally, shred it. To damn it, as it were.

And don't let's forget, he was a guy who talked to god every day. Who wouldn't listen to advice from his own father about invading Iraq because he was answering to a "higher father".

And more chilling, he actually thought god was answering him... And told him to invade Iraq!

It's Almost Easter. Will Jesus Have a Sword Fight?

It all started out with a school permission slip pre-checked to indicate that Australian David Thorne gives his permission for his child Seb to attend a religious presentation:

Note the Easter Bunny preparing to drop an egg-bomb on the head of the guy carrying the cross (aka Jesus).

What ensues is a series of emails between parent David Thorne and one Darryl Robinson, school chaplain (in a public school no less -- it appears the Aussies aren't as far down the path of separation as we are):
Dear Darryl,
I have received your permission slip featuring what I can only assume is a levitating rabbit about to drop an egg on Jesus.
Thank you for pre-ticking the permission box as this has saved me not only from having to make a choice, but also from having to make my own forty five degree downward stroke followed by a twenty percent longer forty five degree upward stroke. Without your guidance, I may have drawn a picture of a cactus wearing a hat by mistake.
As I trust my offspring's ability to separate fact from fantasy, I am happy for him to participate in your indoctrination process on the proviso that all references to 'Jesus' are replaced with the term 'Purportedly Magic Jew.'
Regards, David.
As you can imagine, the content of the emails becomes more hilarious at each exchange, including this deathless one:
If we accept though, that Jesus was the son of an Infinite Being capable of anything, he probably did have a Playstation. Probably a Playstation 7. I know I have to get my offspring all the latest gadgets. God would probably have said to him, "I was going to wait another two thousand years to give you this but seeing as you have been good... just don't tell your mother about Grand Theft Auto."
Also, is it true that Jesus can be stabbed during a sword fight and be ok due to the fact that he can only die if he gets his head chopped off?
Read the entire interchange between Thorne and Robinson. Towards the end Robinson actually seems to get offended by Thorne. Go figure...

Americans Don't Like Church Politicking

I was doing a little web surfing, "news cruising", on one of my favorite topics, the separation of church and state, this morning and I discovered something interesting.

Despite what the new Texas textbooks are going to say, regardless of the so-called Alliance Defense Fund's "pulpit Sunday" movement -- in which they encourage local pastors to flaunt the law and engage in partisan politicking from the pulpit, and the claims by those pastors that "the American people are behind us", several new or relatively new polls and surveys put the lie to that.

The distinguished and reliable Pew Research Center has a report entitled "More Americans Question Religion's Role in Politics" that contains some troubling statistics for the troublemakers over at ADF: By clear majorities the American people think that churches should stay out of politics, and that includes Republicans by 51%!

Plus two-thirds of all respondents say that churches should never endorse one candidate over another!

In the meantime, there's a similar story on the Baptist Press website, "Americans wary of pulpit endorsements", which shows an even greater consensus. In answer to the survey statement "I believe it is appropriate for pastors to publicly endorse candidates for public office during a church service", 13% said that they Somewhat Disagreed, and a whopping 74% said they Strongly Disagreed.

According to my math, that leaves a tiny slice of the populace, just 13%, who think it's okay for this crap to go on.

So why do those fuckers over at ADF want to continue this crap?

It all comes down to they money. Every time they can whip up a media frenzy over their "free speech" rights being trampled, their running-dog lackeys can drum up a new wave of cash so they can help protect this great nation from the pernicious influences of the atheist-socialist-fascist-communist forces of evil that are tying to kick god out of the churches and institute their maliciously infectious "social gospel" into it.

You know, that whole heal-the-sick-minister-to-the-poor-kick-the-moneychangers-out-of-temple crap that their savior thought he stood for.

Turns out he was wrong. Jeez, who knew?


Footnote: It turns out that the ADF receives a substantial portion of its operating money from the Prince foundation, whose VP is Erik Prince (remember him? The Blackwater guy?)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Hidden Racism? Secret Racism?

No, not really. It's right out there in the open.

The Birthers and the Anti-Health Care people? You really think that they are suddenly SOOO FUCKING CONCERNED about the state of the union?

You really think that people can get this wound up over such simple issues? If you do, please send me your name and Visa Card number and I will gladly sign you up for the Farnsworth Family Capital Depreciation Fund, where we guarantee you a 50% return of your money...


Yeah, like you probably, I thought that phrase would be an oxymoron.

But it turns out we were wrong...

Over at The Daily Beast they've got a gallery of Islamic babes that just won't quit:

And many of these "pornographic images" were created by -- gasp -- Islamic women!!!

Try as you might, you just can't oppress the Sisterhood. The Ayatollahs (of every stripe, including Xian) ignore that fact at their peril.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Party of No. Really.

Nothing illustrates the two-year-old-with-a-bad-attitude-and-no-nap mentality of the Rethugs better than their carping over, of all things, the individual mandate in the health care bill that will pour multi-millions of dollars into the coffers of their fatcat bigshot buddies in Big Insurance.

They are, in fact, throwing political temper tantrums over it, to the point where a bunch of Rethug Attorneys General (including, sadly, my own state's) are actually filing suit in Federal Court to try to stop it.

But facts are pesky little things, and lost in the shuffle of course is the inconvenient fact that the GOOPers have a thirty year history of support for exactly this kind of mandate. And this includes Rethug heavy-hitters Plastic-hair Romney and Grampaw McCain.

If the Democrats were to introduce a bill which would give a no-strings-attached tax-free ten thousand dollars to each and every Republican office holder, they'd still shout it down just because it was "the enemy" that proposed it.

My mother used to call this "cutting off your nose to spite your face"...

March Mayhem & The Bracket of Evil Round 2

Here is the next round of voting. In a surprising turn, Cheney was left in the dust in the first round, but Sarah Palin is still hanging in there.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Open Letter to Conservatives

This is a 100% must-read piece from AmericanDad over at TPM. In it he pulls all the stops and rakes today's so-called conservatives (you know, the same people who would shun Barry Goldwater were he to come back from the dead) over the coals:

Dear Conservative Americans,
The years have not been kind to you. I grew up in a profoundly Republican home, so I can remember when you wore a very different face than the one we see now. You've lost me and you've lost most of America. Because I believe having responsible choices is important to democracy, I'd like to give you some advice and an invitation.
First, the invitation: Come back to us.
Now the advice. You're going to have to come up with a platform that isn't built on a foundation of cowardice: fear of people with colors, religions, cultures and sex lives that differ from your own; fear of reform in banking, health care, energy; fantasy fears of America being transformed into an Islamic nation, into social/commun/fasc-ism, into a disarmed populace put in internment camps; and more. But you have work to do even before you take on that task.
Your party -- the GOP -- and the conservative end of the American political spectrum have become irresponsible and irrational. Worse, it's tolerating, promoting and celebrating prejudice and hatred. Let me provide some examples -- by no means an exhaustive list -- of where the Right as gotten itself stuck in a swamp of hypocrisy, hyperbole, historical inaccuracy and hatred.
There's more -- a lot more, including wide-ranging links to proof of every single heinous accusation he levels against the wingnuttery.

Read the whole thing, and especially take a look at the comments section. I especially like the one that says, in effect, they all do it, Republicans and Democrats alike, and then when someone asks him to produce an equally-referenced chilling indictment against the Dems he kind of shrivels up and can't do it.

Typical Rethug bully tactics. Fuck you, motherfucker. If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Another Reason to <Heart> Keith Olbermann

Here's last night's "special comment":

Driving a political Toyota. Indeed.

"Breaking" Obama = Chopping Off Toby's Foot

Senator Jim DeMint (R-Simon Legree) is on record saying he wants to "break" President Obama.

Okay, I'll admit that I have a bit of a personal bias when someone calls for action to "break" something, whether that is a complete person, a horse, or a recalcitrant three-fifths of a person, a/k/a a slave.

As I've mentioned before, I grew up in rural Oklahoma, which was pretty much settled by Southerners moving westward, and which in 1950 was little more than two generations removed from the actuality of human slavery. Three of my great-grandfathers were veterans of the Confederate Army.

When I was growing up we had a number of horses, and when a particular foal came of age he or she was farmed out to a professional "horse breaker" who would spend a lot of time with that horse convincing it to wear a saddle and put up with someone sitting on that saddle and telling the horse what to do, how to act, etc. This was generally done through operant conditioning which mixed punishment with reward to get the animal to do what you wanted it to do.

Operant conditioning was also at work in the plantation system in the Deep South, especially South Carolina, which DeMint represents as a US Senator. In fact the job of "slave breaker" was an honorable and rewarding position for a couple of hundred years before the Civil War.

So when someone like Jim DeMint makes a statement to the effect that he is going to "break" the first African-American president of the United States, it carries with it a certain resonance, a certain weighty amount of racist historical freight.

In short, to put it bluntly, it's code to his redneck knuckledragging "we-hate-uppity-negroes" base, the majority of whom have never accepted their loss of the "War of Yankee Aggression", that he's more than willing to chop off Toby's foot.

It's too bad that the majority of "regular" Americans can't see this -- or refuse to see it. If the SCLM/CPM* were doing its job and acting as the true "Fourth Estate" it's supposed to be, then maybe the Moron-American voting bloc would be able to see these motherfuckers for what they really are.

But, absent that, it's up to us bloggers to speak truth to power...


[* SCLM/CPM = So-Called Liberal Media/Capitalist Pig Media]

Monday, March 22, 2010

As Usual, the Coverup is Worse than the Crime

As an active veteran I tend to get on mailing lists from a bunch of off-the-wall people and groups. Many of them are of the wingnuttery variety, and I guess that they assume I will agree with them just because I am a veteran.

They are of course wrong, but I don't tell them that since I'd rather read what kind of bullshit that gets served up as gospel from the right wing.

Which brings us to one Matthew McCabe, a 24-year-old Navy SEAL who is facing court-martial charges for prisoner abuse. And not only for prisoner abuse which took place hours after the man's capture, but also for the ensuing coverup engaged in by McCabe and his buddies.

As you can imagine, the right wing media is all over this story, demanding that charges be dropped, hailing McCabe as a hero, etc etc. It's been joined in the fray by the nattering nabobs of Republican family values in the congress who can see a lot of political mileage to be gained by championing McCabe.

Okay, I'll stipulate up front that the Rethugs are the masters of the failed coverup, and it's no wonder they see McCabe as one of their own.

However, as usual, facts are slippery little things, but you ignore them at your peril. Here's an excerpt from a Navy Times article on the case:

The Army general who leveled charges at three Navy SEALs related to an alleged assault on a suspected al-Qaida terrorist in their custody defended his actions in a letter to lawmakers who questioned the need for prosecution.
Maj. Gen. Charles Cleveland, commander of Special Operations Command, Central Command, wrote the justification in a Dec. 15 response to Indiana Republican Rep. Dan Burton’s call on behalf a group of 40 lawmakers who want all charges against the SEALs dropped.
“Regrettably, it appears that your perception of the incident is based on incomplete and factually inaccurate press coverage,” Cleveland wrote. “Despite what has been reported, these allegations are not founded solely on the word of the detainee, but rather, were initially raised by other U.S. service members.”
Special Warfare Operator 2nd Class (SEAL) Matthew McCabe is accused of punching alleged terrorist Ahmed Hashim Abed, who allegedly masterminded the 2004 ambush in Fallujah, Iraq, in which four Blackwater security contractors were burned and mutilated.
McCabe is also accused of trying to cover up the alleged assault.
In addition, SO1 (SEAL) Julio Huertas and SO2 (SEAL) Jonathan Keefe also are accused of making false officials statements in the alleged coverup, and all three are accused of dereliction of duty for allowing the attack to happen.
The trio refused to accept non-judicial punishment from Cleveland. As a result, courts-martial are scheduled to begin for Huertas and McCabe in January, while Keefe’s trial has been continued until April.
[. . .]
Cleveland said that media accounts of Abed’s injuries occurring during the capture are inaccurate.
“A medical examination conducted at the time the detainee was turned over to U.S. forces determined that his alleged injuries were inflicted several hours after the operation had ended, and while in the custody and care of the U.S. at Camp Schweidler’s detainee holding facility,” Cleveland wrote.
But he made it clear it’s not the assault he’s really worried about, stating that “while the assault and resulting injury to the detainee were relatively minor, the more disconcerting allegations are those related to the sailors’ attempts to cover up the incident, particularly in what appears to be an effort to influence the testimony of a witness,” he said.
The Clusterfox News fuckers along with Slanthead Hannity and Rusty Limpdick are naturally trying everything they can do to minimize the injuries to Ahmed Hashim Abed, who allegedly masterminded the 2004 ambush in Fallujah, Iraq, in which four Blackwater security contractors were burned and mutilated.

"He just got a fat lip, no big deal." That is the defense. Maybe so, but I suspect that his injuries are far more serious than just a fat lip. Remember it was Limpy Limpdick who described the prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib as a "fraternity initiation prank.

But anyway, all that aside, we have it right from the general's mouth that it was the coverup that is more at issue here. In other words, it is a military discipline problem, regardless of who thinks that they might have been justified in beating up on the guy.

What prompted this was an email I received, entitled "The Abuse of Political Correctness", that pulled out all the emotion-grabbing stops, showing McCabe being hugged by the tear-drenched mother of one of the Blackwater victims, and shots of rallies with signs that said, in essence, normal rules of the military don't apply in war [underlines in the originals]:
  • Command what were you thinking? Drop the charges (BTW, stick it Keith Olbermann)
  • They fought for us ... stand up and fight for them
  • Political correctness has absolutely NO place in the US military -- end this insanity!
  • I support new rules of military engagement: Whatever it takes!
Plus more, along with the admonition to send it "around the world to every true American"...

Ironically, and apparently without any recognition of that irony or any reflection of what the phrase actually means, this letter closes with the following aphorism:

"Character is doing the right thing when no one is looking..."(!)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Asses of Evil

As if calling 70-year-old openly-gay US Rep Barney Frank a "f****t" weren't bad enough, the teabaggers assembled at the US Capitol, without any sense of shame or embarrassment, called 70-year-old civil rights warrior and US Rep. John Lewis the N-WORD!

Shouted it. In public no less. Raw Story has the facts:

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) was called a "faggot," causing the surrounding crowd to erupt in laughter. A staffer for Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said a protester spat on Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.). Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), a leader of the civil rights movement, was called a "ni**er."
Although Frank shrugged off the incident, Clyburn was shocked and told reporters that he hadn't experienced such treatment since leading protests in South Carolina in the 1960s.
"It was absolutely shocking to me," Clyburn told the Huffington Post. "Last Monday, this past Monday, I stayed home to meet on the campus of Claflin University where fifty years ago as of last Monday... I led the first demonstrations in South Carolina, the sit ins... And quite frankly I heard some things today I have not heard since that day. I heard people saying things that I have not heard since March 15, 1960 when I was marching to try and get off the back of the bus."
We all knew pretty much the way the teabaggers true colors ran -- it was obvious from the start that if Obama had not been an uppity Negro usurping the ("White") People's House, they probably wouldn't have gotten so vicious right from the get-go.

But now we know, beyond any reasonable shred of doubt. Interesting that so far there has been very little in the way of even mock outrage from Rethug politicians, in or out of congress, over this.

After all, the teabaggers are their base and they have to count on their votes to get reelected. Don't bite the hand, etc... All of which continues to prop up that moronic far right fringe of teabaggers as the new Asses of Eviltm.

Update on It's Not Too Late

After my phone calls and email yesterday, my US Rep, Brian Baird, said this morning he'd vote for the Health Care bill.

Naturally I'm taking all the credit for this...

Saturday, March 20, 2010

It's Not Too Late

Okay, I'm not particularly enthralled with the Health Care "Reform" bill. I really wouldn't be, since I'm a single-payer guy.

But I just emailed Brian Baird, my sit-on-the-fence congressman, and told him I wanted him to vote for it.

I can't imagine why he's still claiming he's "undecided", especially in light of the fact that he's not even running again this year.

So it's not too late for you to contact your representative and make your feelings known. Let's support a bill that is at least a step in the right direction. If this bill doesn't pass, the wingnut teabaggers will claim a "victory". Let's not let that happen.

PS -- Be sure to read Michael Moore's terrific open letter to the person who just happens to be his own congressman: My Congressman, Bart Stupak, Has Neither a Uterus Nor a Brain.

Stewart's Takedown of Beck

Must see TV:

Teabagger Circus

Here's a short video of some cream-of-the-crop teabaggers at their recent rally in DC:

These people are so unbelievably fucked up from watching Faux News that their interview responses are truly hilarious ... in a frightening car-wreck-on-the-freeway kind of way.

To make matters worse, these people are registered voters.

That's like giving a box of strike-anywhere kitchen matches to a five-year-old living in a dynamite factory.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

March Mayhem and the Bracket of Evil

A very good friend of mine just sent me this. It's an interactive voting scheme to narrow down the finalists in the world's worst evils. There's a media branch and a corporate branch and there were some HARD choices.

Such as between Dick Cheney and Fox News (okay, no-brainer, Dick Cheney) or, in the Bat-Shit Crazy division, Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann.

Drop by and cast your vote. Let's all see who is going to be the ultimate winner.

BTW, this whole thing is sponsored by Credo Mobile. I've entertained the idea of switching to them for a while now, but can anyone give us a personal testimonial? My friend Debby (who sent this to me) also wants to switch but she has the same questions that I have, e.g., how's the coverage, how's the customer service, etc etc.

Bush Lied, People Died

I guess that it's become kind of passé now to beat up on Baby Doc Bush any more, and the minions of the BFEE have started making appearances on news shows (and on Faux News as well) in an attempt to rehabilitate him.

No, not that kind of rehab, although he for sure needs it. He's always been a "dry drunk" who never resolved his own alcohol issues (or his parent issues or his personality issues, etc etc)

No, it's his reputation and his "place in history" that is sorely in need of rehabilitation, and people like Dick(less) Cheney and his lame-assed sock-puppet daughter and criminal mastermind Karl "I'm a criminal but I'm not in jail" Rove who are active in the field of perception rehab on behalf of the little fucker and his whole maladminstration.

So it was with great interest that I read David Corn's latest screed on Baby Doc, Can the 'Bush Lied' Deniers Handle the Truth? over at Politics Daily:

Conservative apologists for the George W. Bush crew are swinging hard these days to defend their man -- and themselves -- from the charge that W. and his gang misled the nation into war. They must worry that they are going to end up on the wrong side of history. After all, a 2008 Gallup poll found that 53 percent of Americans believed that the Bush administration "deliberately misled the American public about whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction."
...a classified October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate, a summation of the intelligence community's assessments...stated:
We judge that Iraq has continued its weapons of mass destruction program, in defiance of U.N. resolutions and restrictions. Baghdad has chemical and biological weapons, as well as missiles with ranges in excess of U.N. restrictions. If left unchecked, it probably will have a nuclear weapon during this decade.
This NIE was, of course, wrong. Iraq had no active WMD programs, no stockpiles. But Wehner and others point to it as a holy writ that justifies everything Bush, Dick Cheney and other administration officials said. Which is odd, because the Bush White House admitted after the war began that Bush had not bothered to read the entire 93-page document. Had he done so, he would have seen that the report contained important caveats regarding key aspects of the case -- particularly Bush's claim that Saddam Hussein was actively pursing nuclear weapons and close to possessing them.
But Bush needed to read the intelligence only if he cared about presenting a bound-by-the-facts argument. Instead, he and his aides consistently overstated the iffy intelligence (which itself overstated Saddam's WMD capacities) and they made stuff up. Really. They repeatedly issued provocative assertions that were not backed up by even the flawed intelligence.
This is of course nothing new to those of us out here in Farleftistan, but it still rankles and sticks in the craw of the hardcore Bushies. Witness some of the comments left by the wingnuts to this post:
·Well, if he lied, then he lied. I think most of us are so used to it by now that we figure all Politicians do. How far back do we have to go? As Far back as Washington? I doubt the present President is any more honest then Bush.
·Ahhh. The beautiful desparate squeal of the left as their annointed messiah and his minion rape the constitution and send the democrat party into exile for at least a decade. All the more enjoyable as they fight the "we can't win in Iraq" war as democracy takes hold.
Bush and our military won the war. Bush and our military won the peace. Genocide thwarted. Freedom bestowed. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.
·Bush did not mislead this country any more than Pelosi, Kerry, Kennedy, Reid and all the other Liberal Democrats who voted to go to war in Iraq. All of the errors that Bush may have made in his 8 years in office can't compare to the damage Obama has done to our country in just over one year!
That last one is my personal favorite. Killing over 5000 soldiers was an "error" which has been eclipsed by the damage that Obama has done in just one year!

There's no hope for that part of the population that refuses to see reality and still sees Obama as that "uppity Negro in the White house".

But that aside, I have this inchoate fear that ultimately the people whitewashing Baby Doc will be successful and future textbooks will praise him.

After all, in Texas, history books will no longer even mention Thomas Jefferson.

Remember the quotation from Voltaire that graces the left column of this blog: "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities."

Another Blast from the Past

It's kind of funny how things have a way of coming to the surface, even months after the fact. On August 24th of last year I wrote a post entitled "Spitting on Nancy Pelosi".

Usually with blog posts they end up like yesterday's newspaper. Nobody reads them any more. But this entry seems to have grown some legs, as it were, and there have been over 20 comments, the most recent one today from, naturally, Anonymous:

I always thought liberals were tolerant and welcomed ALL opinions and diversity. I feel a lot of hate, name calling and stereo typing. Farnsworth68, you should be ashamed calling yourself a lefty.
To which I of course replied:
Anon, I'm a wingnut's worst nightmare, a gun-totin' meat-eatin' redneck liberal with a bad attitude. You must be used to dealing with wimpy pussified liberals like those in the US Senate. Not this guy, dude.
I mean, really. What part of "Pissed Off Veteran" didn't he get?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Fighting the Census

Jesus, talk about tilting at windmills. Evey ten years the US Government conducts a census in which they ask a few questions of everybody living here. It's done strictly to compile a demographic snapshot of the nation, which then feeds such things as representational allocations in Congress, appropriate shares of those important federal trickledown dollars to the states, etc.

And it's not like this information isn't already available from a number of other sources. No one is asking anyone to give up "secrets" that aren't already out in the public domain in a database somewhere.

But that doesn't stop the teaparty hangers-on and revolutionary-wanna-bes from fighting it. No, it's an invasion of "privacy" and they don't want "the government" to ask them "personal" questions.

Here's a typical take on this phenomenon, a video sent to me by my brother-in-law. Some old fucker named Jerry Day goes into full-monty rant about the census.

Listening to this guy reminds me of listening to those guys who say that all you have to do to avoid paying income tax is to ask the IRS to show you where in the constitution it allows them to collect it... The federal prisons are loaded with those guys.

This is a losing battle. It comes up every ten years and all those "personal" questions? If history is a guide, traditionally only about 10% of the Census forms ask the additional questions. Nobody comes to your door unless you are being an asshole about it, like this guy refusing to send back his form.

In short, as I say, "the government" already has, in various forms, pretty much all of this "personal" information already. This resistance to the census is just another byproduct of the typical Glenn Beck follower mindset, and I say good on 'em. The US Government uses the census data to apportion congressional representation, dole out federal revenue sharing dollars, etc., and since I would guess that the majority of the people who refuse to cooperate live in states that typically vote Rethug, they won't get any of that money.

Good. I don't want my tax dollars going to a bunch of knuckle-dragging mouthbreathers who aren't smart enough to shut their pie holes when it's raining.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

No Medal of Honor?

As I've mentioned before, I'm on the mailing lists of a lot of veterans' organizations as well as individual veterans with an axe to grind. Sometimes they have a case...

Consider this latest missive from one of these, an email titled "Something That Didn't Make the News" which consisted of a photograph along with the facts about Marine Captain Brian Chontosh receiving the Navy Cross for outstanding heroism in Iraq.

The facts are not in dispute. Chontosh is an authentic military hero.

What is troubling is the allegation that this is "something that didn't make the news", the underlying allegation being that the SCLM* has been stifling the "good" news about Iraq in exchange for broadcasting the awful news -- you know, the atrocities, the families torn asunder, etc etc ad nauseum.

The intended audience for this is, apparently, that wide spectrum of veterans who have allegedly seen first hand the Liberal Media in play and agree that the same Liberal Media is a bunch of traitors who never look for the good and always broadcast the bad, and who consequently "lost" Vietnam...

Okay, I will stipulate that "the media" is not blameless in any of this, but I would like to point out some basic facts about media coverage any kind of story:

1. The "media" nowadays is pretty clueless as to what is a news story and what is not. After all, since the advent of television news, the decision has consistently been "if it bleeds, it leads"... Shit that requires some kind of thought or reflection really doesn't sell...

2. The Navy Cross, as is well known to veterans, is a Big Deal in the Navy and Marine Corps. Just as big as the Distinguished Service Cross in the Army and Air Force types. Both medals are the second-highest that can be awarded.

3. The Medal of Honor (often referred to, incorrectly, as the Congressional Medal of Honor) is the very highest medal that a grateful nation can bestow on a warrior.

Okay, so here's the scoop: Since the start of the war in Afghanistan and the Illegal Occupation of Iraq there have been a total of only six awards of the Medal of Honor, all of them posthumously.

If you read the citation for Chontosh's award, you will see that in any other war he would most likely have been awarded the Medal of Honor.

This happened under the watch of Bush 43 (aka "Baby Doc" Bush). So the unanswerable question is why did the motherfucker end up being so fucking stingy with the medals?

But back to the question as to why you didn't see this in the media. That's an easy one. As far as the media is concerned (which after all, does reflect public attitude), there's no reason to praise or publicize anyone who is "only" Number Two.

Yeah, no overturned cars, no broken windows, no international coverage of the riots. Think about it: Only the most anal-retentive sports fan can name, off the top of his head, the last five losers in the Super Bowl or the Word Series. Go ahead, try it...

It's actually a shocking (not really) tragedy of the Baby Doc Bush Maladministration that this is happening.

Especially when you understand that the one single US Army engagement that produced the very highest number of Medals of Honor per capita was...

...ready for this?...

...the slaughter of Native Americans at the so-called "battle" of Wounded Knee in 1890.

So gimme a fuckin' break already. Obama, now that you're in the White House, how about a little break for the warriors you were stuck with as a result of your predecessor's wars? How about a review of all the citations for the "second best" medals?

How about giving Chontosh, and his fellow warriors, their due?

* SCLM=So Called Liberal Media

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

The Mother Theresa Stamp Conspiracy

Here's The Daily Show's hilarious sendup of The DaVinci Code, graphically illustrating the vast but secret conspiracy between the Catholic Church and the US Postal Service:

While the segment is, of course, strictly for laughs, it's too bad that Dan Barker, the guy from the Freedom from Religion Foundation lent his presence to it. Despite his not-so-obvious reference to Christopher Hitchens' commentary on Mother Theresa in Newsweek from 2007, Theresa: Light and Dark, allegedly exposing the "dark side" of the future saint, he comes off as one of those comically bent and wild-eyed "conspiracy theorists" that the media loves to ridicule. (Never mind that a lot of them may be right, that's not what the media is all about...but that's a topic for another post.)

It kind of gives a black eye to us non-theists everywhere when this kind of thing happens, but what're you gonna do? It's comedy.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

The Texas Taliban

Down in the West Texas cowtown of Amarillo, there's a hate-group of right-minded "christian" citizens who have simply had enough with any of those new-fangled social(ist) beliefs and practices that are more modern than, say, the heyday of the Spanish Inquisition and are literally taking up arms to fight them.

They call themselves officially "Repent Amarillo" and they have an amateur-looking quasi-military-themed website at "triple-w dot repentamarillo dot com" (I don't want to give them the satisfaction of having a liberal blog link to them). On the front page they blatantly claim "this site is not designed for non-christians, It is designed as a recruitment tool to call certain Christians to spiritual warfare..."

Got that? "Spiritual" warfare.

They've got themselves a handy "warfare map" with virtual pushpins identifying Sexually-Oriented Businesses, Occult Witchcraft, Idol Worship and "Compromised Church's [sic]".

Okay, that alone would be not much more than an interesting boyscout aberration, but when it comes to warfare, these assholes practice what they preach.

Think Progress has the story:

An evangelical Christian hate group called “Repent Amarillo” is reportedly terrorizing the town of Amarillo, Texas. Repent fashions itself as a sort of militia and targets a wide range of community members they deem offensive to their theology: gays, liberal Christians, Muslims, environmentalists, breast cancer events that do not highlight abortion, Halloween, “spring break events,” and pornography shops.
. . .
Calling Repent an “American Taliban,” blogger Charles Johnson notes that the group’s moniker “Army of God” is a rough translation of “Hezbollah.” Led by a man named David Grisham, a security guard at a nuclear-bomb facility called Pantex, Repent first gained media attention in Texas following a campaign to boycott Houston for electing a gay mayor.
. . .
According to a new exposé by the Texas Observer, Repent set out earlier this year to destroy a discreet club of swingers they discovered in town. On New Years eve, the harassment began, with Repent members, almost exclusively young men, showing up in military fatigues and bullhorns, blaring Christian music at the swingers’ club building. The swingers, made up of “regulars” of middle aged, working class couples, were then stalked at every following visit to the club. Repent not only took video of each member, but obtained the swingers’ license plates and dug through their trash, informing neighbors and coworkers of what was once private.
You can read the full Texas Observer report to see everything that these paramilitary dickwads are up to.

Warfare usually includes guns and violence along with terror tactics. How long will it be before actually and literally heads will roll? And how long before this pernicious paramilitary group spreads to other locations? The Texas Taliban, indeed...

And how comforting is it, really, to learn that the HMFIC of this outfit is a security guard at a nuclear facility??!!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Bunning to Unemployed: "Tough Shit"

Back when I was still wet behind the ears, and still an avid baseball fan, Jim Bunning was one of my favorite pitchers. Back in those days, the late 50s--early 60s, he was sometimes known as "Gentleman Jim". He also threw an extremely rare perfect game against the NY Mets in 1964.

Which is a shame since from now on he'll be known mostly for being the senile old fucker (he's 78) of the Senate who personally held up passage of the bill to extend unemployment insurance for 1.3 million long-term unemployed.

His fellow senator, Jeff Merkley, when he asked Bunning to support the bill, got a "tough shit" for a response. On the floor of the senate. Remember when Dick Cheney said "go fuck yourself" to Senator Pat Leahy on the senate floor?

These are "family values" republicans, folks. You remember, the people that wanted to bring "decency" back to the government.

Anyway, I hate to see it happen. He's gone from Hall of Fame pitcher to being one of those cranky old men yelling "You kids get off my lawn!" to the rest of the country.

Sad, really.

Monday, March 01, 2010

My Mother Was Right: I Am a Genius!

A new study out of the prestigious London School of Economics and Political Science finds a statistical correlation between liberalism and atheism and a high IQ.

Evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa at the the London School of Economics and Political Science correlated data on these behaviors with IQ from a large national U.S. sample and found that, on average, people who identified as liberal and atheist had higher IQs. This applied also to sexual exclusivity in men, but not in women.
It reminds me of the time a few years back when my near-genius grandson, after being hauled week after week to a fundo storefront church by his grandma (my ex-wife) since he was small, told me that he really didn't believe in god.

"Well, Skylar," I said. "Study after study has shown that the smarter you are, the less likely you are to believe in fairy tales." And then I gave him his own copy of The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins.

I was basically pulling the whole "study after study" thing out of my ass, but I intuitively knew it had to be right. Now I have some actual proof.

"Be sure to show that book to your grandmother," I told him. "And tell her it came from me."

"Not on your life!" came the answer from his mother, my daughter, who had apparently been eavesdropping. "You're already in enough trouble for not going to church with her!"

And she probably believes that I had some hand in his anti-conversion. And maybe she is right. I'd like to think so...

More on DU

Okay, I'm back and "I'm feeling much better now"*.

Turns out that I was suffering from a low-grade and nearly asymptomatic sinus infection. Except for the extreme fatigue. Finally I recognized it for what it was, crawled to my doctor to get some horse-pill antibiotics and slept 14 hours on Saturday night-Sunday morning.

In the meantime a guy named Roger Helbig tried to lure me into a debate over my post from nearly four years ago, "Depleted" Uranium and Sick Veterans:

The only criminals are those who lie about DU and mislead America's veterans and their families, hoping to get them to send them money. DU use never was a crime by any standard, international or otherwise. The liars, though, make a very convincing case and political writers like Fisk are easily duped because it looks politically correct.
There's more. Apparently Roger is on a high horse about the "lies" surrounding the dangers of Depleted Uranium. He also wanted my personal email address so we could exchange ideas... I told him no thanks on that since I prefer not to interact with the external world other than through my blog...

However, I did thank him graciously (well, sort of, for me...) and agreed that there is some controversy over the issue.

To which he replied:
You are buying the "new Agent Orange" claim without any facts to support it. Agent Orange is a man-made chemical; no human being has any naturally occuring Agent Orange or dioxin in their body. Every human being on Earth and all other animals as well has naturally occuring Uranium-238 (aka DU)in their body every day of their lives and ingests an infinitessimally tiny amount every day of that life as well.
As if that is supposed to make me feel better about it. But Roger says it's okay and not at all harmless. Yeah, I think I can remember a guy from Dow Chemical actually drinking a glassful to prove it was safe. I wonder whatever happened to him? I'm sure that the company "disappeared" him when he starting coming down with those classic symptoms, and his birth-defective deformed children were all sold to freakshow carnivals in South America...

Roger is also apparently easily confused. First he starts out by accusing me of saying something my first commenter left:
Farnworth - you and your wife have a lot to learn. You both are doing Saddam Hussein's bidding after he has been moldering in his grave.
And he doesn't seem to quite "get" the function of an indented blockquote:
The following does not sound like the AP reporter's writing - is this your personal commentary or what?
"Depleted" uranium is anything but. It still holds 60% of its original radioactivity, and it's used not only in artillery shells but also in tank armor. On impact it explodes into zillions of microscopic fragments and creates a cloud of toxic dust with a half-life of 4.5 BILLION years."
"Zillions" does not sound like it is out of the AP style book - it is a cartoon like word, not particulary descriptive.
So who is this guy? you ask. Well, he seems to be a professional pentagon-flack gadfly on the subject of DU -- here's a sample of Google hits on his name.

Since he appears to be on a mission to provide the officially-sanctioned "truth" about DU, it makes me wonder why he's just now getting around to my post from way back in 2006.

[* Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2]