Monday, November 29, 2010

Boiling the Tea kettle

"The Government's power to censor the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the Government. The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of government and inform the people. Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government."

-US Supreme Court Justices Hugo Black and William Douglas-

Anyone in the US with more political awareness than a telephone pole knows that there's a whole lot of loosely related and sometimes contradictory stuff hidden under the camouflage blanket of "we're for smaller, less intrusive government," including the somewhat contrary and certainly not Libertarian opinion that that government may, at its own discretion, hide its actions, its statements and defend its deceptions and coverups, making the exercise of protected rights a crime. That so many who feel concern about paternalistic government can none the less defend it passionately and thus sanctify subterfuge is puzzling. That members of that government can ask that we treat the media and its sources as traitors and terrorists with all the extra-legal powers it possesses, is hardly puzzling at all. That the need to cover its ass supersedes any respect for the Constitution it pretends to worship: that government can be in terror of being exposed, hardly makes the case, in my opinion, for Terrorism. Perhaps the test of being a true and loyal Republican is not to think of Richard Nixon at this point.

So how do we feel about Wikileaks release of leaked State Department documents yesterday? Well at least one Republican congressman recommends that we move that organization under another one of those capacious and convenient camo blankets: the one we call terrorism, or 'terrism' in the dialect spoken by a great number of self-styled conservatives. So, by the gerrymandering of ill-defined symbols, we manage to expose -- or at least the horrifically hyperbolic Rep. Peter King (R-NY) hopes to expose Wikileaks and perhaps anyone revealing that which slithers through the wires to and from Washington, to the dire and drastic treatment we afford "foreign terrorist organizations." To expose embarrassing diplomatic cables showing many world leaders at their scurrilous antics, is "worse than a military attack" he said last night.

King, says CBS News, New York, has written to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Attorney General Eric Holder asking that Julian Assange of Wikileaks be prosecuted as a spy for publishing 'sensitive' information given him by a whistleblowing soldier, even though that's what the mainstream media does, is supposed to do and the Court has affirmed their constitutional right to do.

It will be interesting to see the Tea Party reaction to this -- if there is one. They'll be torn between maintaining support for the First Amendment and the role of a free press and the treasured myth of its untrustworthy liberal bias. I'd like to think that it might increase pressure to actually define what they mean by a smaller, less intrusive and more limited government, but as they say - a watched teapot never boils.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving turkey

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar and sometimes it's just what it looks like. Sometimes, when the fat man sucks on it, all hell is smiling.
"The true story of Thanksgiving is how socialism failed."
Said Rush to a caller and President Obama is hiding that fact behind an honest account of history. No, that's not just a cigar and of course we didn't get tobacco from the Indians - what are you anyway, a Communist?

Rush Limbaugh has long since run out of relevance, run out of ways to prove that president Obama is a Kenyan, anti-colonial (would he rather have him be a pro-colonial?) Muslim Christian extremist who hates white people and is an avowed communist, atheist, trotskyite, racist antiChrist ultraLiberal Fascist. He's exhausted every epithet of every stripe -- and it seems he's now reduced to the even more pathetic state of turning the most mundane acts of traditional presidential sentiments and statements into fuel for his bonfires. Lapel pins, terrorist fist bumps; leave that to the girl scouts. Rush Limbaugh is the Big League.

What would have been, to anyone else and by anyone else, a tepid, ritual recognition of the long standing American myth that the Plymouth colony was helped in adapting to the harsh climate and unfamiliar environment of 17th century Wampanoag territory by some of the native people living there has been taught to school children for at least a century and of course it's filled with inaccuracies and covered with a sloppy whitewash, but only in the cigar sucking mind of Mr. Limbaugh does that 3rd grade pageant constitute a damnation of Mr. Obama.

In the White House thanksgiving proclamation, the president says
" A beloved American tradition, Thanksgiving Day offers us the opportunity to focus our thoughts on the grace that has been extended to our people and our country. This spirit brought together the newly arrived Pilgrims and the Wampanoag tribe -- who had been living and thriving around Plymouth, Massachusetts for thousands of years -- in an autumn harvest feast centuries ago. This Thanksgiving Day, we reflect on the compassion and contributions of Native Americans, whose skill in agriculture helped the early colonists survive, and whose rich culture continues to add to our Nation's heritage. We also pause our normal pursuits on this day and join in a spirit of fellowship and gratitude for the year's bounties and blessings."

Jesus Christ. No, really -- Jesus Christ. this could be a Sunday Sermon preached somewhere in Middle America to a pastel congregation painted by Norman Rockwell. To The Palm Beach tycoon however, it's occasion for a racist sneer about casinos and
"So, we were the invaders, we were incompetent idiots. We didn't know how to feed ourselves so they came along and showed us how and that's what Thanksgiving is all about."

Tell that to every school kid who had to make Pilgrim and Indian costumes complete with anachronistic flintlock blunderbusses and buckled shoes -- the America hating little bastards.

"He says nothing about the Constitution in his Thanksgiving Day proclamation because he's got a problem with it,"

Limbaugh continues to rant and in the absence of any supporting information for it, fails also to tell us how a document written nearly 170 years afterward would be have any relevance to the Thanksgiving holiday other than one only obvious to a malicious, neurotic saboteur grasping for any wrench he can toss into the works of truth, honesty and human decency.

But of course thanking a long ago vanished tribe, acknowledging the cultural tributaries of our nation and being grateful to whatever name one attaches to providence that our country ever came to be, is no more a qualification for venomous condemnation than saying good morning or asking what time it is. Failing to mention the Constitution of 1789 means no more than failing to mention the Emancipation Proclamation and it says nothing about Obama or the United States of America founded so many years later and mostly by other people. The only uniting element in this or any Limbaughean argument is the desperate attempt to make Obama an "America hating" alien in order to make sure we continue making the same arrogant, ignorant mistakes we pridefully ignore. If the President came out against slavery and wife beating we can be sure Rush would show us just how this was the one-way door to communism and the terrifying notion that Rush may have to earn an honest living. But Rush reveals so much with every word.
"Somebody is toying with me. Somebody is seeing if they can get one past me. Somebody is trying to take advantage of me being not as focused on the day before Thanksgiving and falling for this prank."

That's right, it's not about an alliance of convenience between the Wampanoag and a ragged group of Englishmen who had suffered serious losses in the previous winter, it's about Rush. The President isn't following tradition, isn't being aware of history, isn't telling the truth, isn't being a general good guy in that love thy neighbor and let's work together, and can't we all get along mold. He's trying to trick Rush, take advantage of Rush and interfere with Rush's millions, with the profits of his betrayal of my country, the malignant, hyperbolic, fabrications intended to sabotage everything good and decent and true.

No, it's true Rush. You're right. The long, slow and erratic movement toward freedom and responsibility and justice you're trying to retard is only something designed to get around you and your mission. There's nothing else behind it but an attempt to "get around" you and Obama's not the only one. We're all trying to trick you and in fact history is trying to trick you, the truth is trying to trick you and come to think of it, Satan himself is trying to trick you into thinking that's just a cigar.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Don't touch my junk

I remember once, long ago, arriving at O'Hare airport well after midnight with a pair of hungry, thirsty, overtired and near hysterical pre-schoolers following a full day of airport delays and stormy air travel that began in Jamaica. The agony of enduring hours of waiting and seemingly microscopic baggage inspection is impossible to forget as was the large Orwellian banner demanding "PATIENCE - A DRUG FREE AMERICA COMES FIRST." From my point of view, it sure as hell didn't justify the trauma and I don't have to add that it wasn't and still isn't 'drug-free;' but those were the good old days. They didn't strip search my 5 year old.

Yes, sure, a majority of Americans are willing to put up with the ritual humiliations that now accompany air travel; those same people that don't worry much about driving their luxury trucks at 100 while talking on the phone -- at night -- in the rain. Odds are they haven't had to experience more than being asked to remove a belt or their shoes or having been chastised by someone in a too-tight polyester uniform and rubber gloves about which size Zip-Loc they put their shampoo and toothpaste in or even having 'terrorist tool' nail clippers confiscated. Of course many of us still haven't been through the full-body cameras and the rude, abrupt, "up against the wall" attitudes of TSA tyrants. Many have been and many are now fed up with what's being mocked as Security Theater. Fed up is a euphemism here of course but in this week of peak air travel, some of us will undergo an attitude adjustment and begin to use more direct words.

Some will elect to deprive some unseen gnome of viewing their nakedness, or that of their spouses and children and choose a "manual" search. It may be more 'manual' then they expected. ABC News producer Carolyn Durand claims that
"The woman who checked me reached her hands inside my underwear and felt her way around. It was basically worse than going to the gynecologist."
Raw Story reports that women have had to remove prosthetic breasts for Link"inspection." One man had a urostomy bag ruptured by TSA's claws and had to board an airplane while soaked with public humiliation and urine. Keep in mind, that no probable cause is involved here since profiling would be insulting. Keep in mind that you probably can't get there by Amtrak and driving to grandma's house may be more dangerous than flying.

Of course, to me, the Government's power to stick their fingers in your hooha is far more offensive than its power to prevent the bus company from making some of my friends sit in the back seats and expel them from the Woolworths lunch counter, but then I'm not a Tea Party 'Patriot,' I don't support Rand Paul's discomfort with anything infringing on absolute property rights and I'm not an oil company either. Neither am I like the troll who used Raw Story's comment section to rave about supporting the "Terrorist State of Israel." I'm just sick of arguable ends being used to sanctify extreme and offensive methods. I'm tired of losing my freedom to other people's fear and my country to the neurotic and fearful mob.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Glenn Beck, the mean spirit of America

I think I've come to some sort of decision this morning: this isn't a country for good men and good people don't embrace men who make millions by being ugly, lying hate mongers. This is a country where the real men, corporate men thrive on the destruction of other men, institutions and ideas and amongst the things they destroy are truth, justice and what I used to call the American Way.

Take Glenn Beck's assault on George Soros, veterans and -- oh hell, he grows rich assaulting damn near everything worthwhile including history itself. Listen to how he turns Veteran's day into an Orwellian hate session using his pantheon of bogeymen:

And in all this huge nation is there no one left to stand up to this evil other than Rachel Maddow? You, with your flags and patriotism - what about you?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Gagging the Web

What's a COICA? Not an anatomical term, but yet another government sponsored acronym for the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act. According to some, it's needed to protect intellectual property, a term which often provokes cynicism regarding the intellectual properties of some intellectual property, but I'll save that for another post.

According to others, like Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, quoted in Raw Story this morning as saying it's
"almost like using a bunker-busting cluster bomb, when what you need is a precision-guided missile."
As I read it, if any state AG finds something you wrote last year was insufficiently attributed or a thought or picture that belonged to someone else -- you're off the air along with everything else you've written. Is it just me, or does that sound as if it had been designed for misuse? Will any website critical of government or government officials or members of the same party as a State Attorney General be sifted for some infraction that can justify it's obliteration or postpone publication indefinitely? Is this bill far too broad to be safe? Were we all born yesterday?

The Senate Judiciary Committee passed this bit of poorly digested legislation yesterday. (there's a metaphor here, look for it) It was passed unanimously and yet it won't be hanging over the heads of bloggers like some bloody sword just yet and we owe it to Wyden who used his Senatorial option to place holds on pending legislation to force proponents to re-introduce the bill in the next session. I hope that by then the opposition will have made its case and shed enough light on the potential for politically based government censorship.

Don Wyden is a Democrat, but Democrats should perhaps avoid crowing about being the defenders of freedom of the press since the bill was co-sponsored by Vermont Democrat Patrick Leahy, who described it as a bipartisan effort to protect property rights. Obviously there's no lack of support for putting such things above freedom of speech by Democratic Senators.

A group calling itself Demand Progress is circulating a petition they hope will make a difference, and now that we have a brief reprieve, perhaps it will. Perhaps you will agree.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Saving our way to penury

many years ago, I worked for a 120 year old company producing industrial boilers. At it's apogee, it had over an 80% market share and a reputation for quality products.

Then came the accountants.

During the storm of leveraged buyouts in the late 1970's the profitable old company was bought by an accounting firm along with several related businesses by leveraging its assets. Within a very few years, it had a rapidly declining market share of 2% and a mountain of debt. In another few, it was gone and sold for scrap. Yes, I'm going to make a comparison between the fate of the boiler company and the fate of our nation.

Having been stripped of its reserves, the first of the fatal cost cutting practices so dear to the hearts of conservative accountants was maintenance of the aging production equipment. Soon, quality began to suffer. Advertising was curtailed: "we have to cut costs." The quality control department became overburdened with fixing problems caused by shabby construction caused by failing equipment. "We can't afford them. We need to be a 'leaner' company."

Bad welds, a dangerous thing, began to show up as welding inspectors, which for a short time I was, were eliminated. "we can't afford them." The problem of declining quality and the rising cost of redoing bad construction was blamed on the union although they were willing to bend over backwards to fix the problem and even volunteered for a wage freeze. Necessary design changes that had formerly been made in the quality control department in secret, were deemed "too expensive" although the dedicated guys in QC had been doing them by hand with parts bought at the hardware store and hand tools with their own money.

The quality control department was eliminated. "We can't afford them." We began shipping products that would not work. Field warranty repair costs skyrocketed. Our reputation nosedived.

People just short of retirement were fired to save on insurance and pension expenses "we couldn't afford." Management held the hard line on pricing. "People will spend more for our product because of the quality." Middle management was warned they'd be fired for showing that lower pricing would increase revenue.

Professional cost cutters and business school graduates with no knowledge of the equipment, its manufacture, its uses or the nature of the market were hired to fill the shoes of people who had led the company to its former heights. We had continuing optimistic reports from the new owners predicting that the cost cutting would soon turn things around.

Then came the bankruptcy, the sale, the quick demise, the economic collapse of the town surrounding the plant.

When I watch the antics of the far right, insisting, for instance, that we can't afford to stand up for equal pay for women, I can't help remembering. When we're given endless arguments about cost cutting and austerity being the way to prosperity, I remember. When we can't afford oversight, maintenance, pensions and health care and we deliberately neglect to do anything to improve revenue because it costs money, I remember.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

We lie, you decide

Keep saying it until it's true - that's Fox's other motto, the one you'll only hear in the board room, but you'll see it in action every day. President Obama is a far left socialist, repeats Roger Ailes to the Daily Beast. That's why his trade mission to the far East was an abject failure -- he's just too socialist for China.
"He just has a different belief system than most Americans”
said Ailes to Howard Kurtz. He's different, he's extreme, he's foreign. That's why he was elected by a majority of Americans, I guess. That's why his ratings are higher than Reagan's at the same point. He's the same, he's a conservative corporatist influenced by big business, he's no different. That's what so many liberal and non-liberal Americans are saying about him. Sorry Roger, you can lie report all you want, but we've decided.

Which Obama are we talking about?

" I literally never heard an Obama speech that didn’t blame Bush.”
says the Fox chairman. I guess I'm not listening carefully, but that's literally a lie and why isn't Bush to blame for what Bush did and why hasn't Obama come out and said it? Who else pissed away the surplus, spent the trillions shocking and awe-ing third world countries and was at the helm during the largest redistribution of wealth in our history? History blames Bush. The facts blame Bush and facts are what's missing in Ailes' endless accusations.

President Obama
“had to be told by the French and the Germans that his socialism was too far left for them to deal with."
What Socialism? The French and Germans are Socialists and Capitalists and they pay enormously higher taxes than we do. Under the current administration our taxes are at historic lows. Trying to reform health care in a manner far less socialist than any other country? Restoring a tax bracket to less that Reagan gave us? Asking for much less TARP money than George Bush, making it more accountable and lending money to Americans that's being repaid with interest? Being too much in cahoots with Wall Street, beholden to corporate interests, giving us a large middle class tax cut? What Socialism, you lying son of a bitch?

Sorry Roger, you're going to have to say it a lot louder and longer if you want to make it true and if you wanted to be something in the same galaxy as honesty, you'd just come out and use the N word. That would be even more of a boost to your oily profits, wouldn't it?

The Big Lie

Keep saying it until it's true - that's Fox's other motto, the one you'll only hear in the board room, but you'll see it in action every day. President Obama is a far left socialist, repeats Roger Ailes to the Daily Beast. That's why his trade mission to the far East was an abject failure -- he's just too socialist for China.
"He just has a different belief system than most Americans”
said Ailes to Howard Kurtz. He's different, he's extreme, he's foreign. That's why he was elected by a majority of Americans, I guess. That's why his ratings are higher than Reagan's at the same point. He's the same, he's a conservative corporatist influenced by big business, he's no different. That's what so many liberal and non-liberal Americans are saying about him. Sorry Roger, you can lie report all you want, but we've decided.

Which Obama are we talking about?

" I literally never heard an Obama speech that didn’t blame Bush.”
says the Fox chairman. I guess I'm not listening carefully, but that's literally a lie and why isn't Bush to blame for what Bush did and why hasn't Obama come out and said it? Who else pissed away the surplus, spent the trillions shocking and awe-ing third world countries and was at the helm during the largest redistribution of wealth in our history? History blames Bush. The facts blame Bush and facts are what's missing in Ailes' endless accusations.

President Obama
“had to be told by the French and the Germans that his socialism was too far left for them to deal with."
What Socialism? The French and Germans are Socialists and Capitalists and they pay enormously higher taxes than we do. Under the current administration our taxes are at historic lows. Trying to reform health care in a manner far less socialist than any other country? Restoring a tax bracket to less that Reagan gave us? Asking for much less TARP money than George Bush, making it more accountable and lending money to Americans that's being repaid with interest? Being too much in cahoots with Wall Street, beholden to corporate interests, giving us a large middle class tax cut? What Socialism, you lying son of a bitch?

Sorry Roger, you're going to have to say it a lot louder and longer if you want to make it true and if you wanted to be something in the same galaxy as honesty, you'd just come out and use the N word. That would be even more of a boost to your oily profits, wouldn't it?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The narcissism of Small Differences

Another day, another triumph for malignant stupidity. I have a filter on my e-mail program that deletes most anything that mentions the President. Odds are it's more crap about finding proof that Obama is a Muslim, whether it's in goat entrails, the arrangement of the stars, some spliced together video or some total fabrication by one of Fox's Friends.

I may add filters for the words Mosque, Muslim and Islam as well because like the voices in the madman's head, mad America sees Muslims everywhere and hates them: in any curved line -- even in NASA mission patches and most of all in buildings with Domes. You know those round arches found at St. Peters, on many Orthodox basilicas and even that cathedral of Democracy, the US Capitol building. If it curves like the new moon, like the orbit of an electron, the path of a rocket: if it has a dome, it's Muslim and it's evil.

Take The Light of the World multidenominational church outside Phoenix, Arizona. All truth, decency and sanity notwithstanding the mad morons of America want you to think it's a mosque and for no other reason that it's domed. Looks to the Demented Idiots of Arizona like a Mosque - must be a center of America-hating Islamic Jihad.

In response, there's a banner now waving at the construction site:
"If you think we are different you are wrong, we are building a Christian house of prayer."
Isn't that part of the problem? Are Muslims "Different?" What about Jews, Mormons, Secular Humanists, Buddhists, Hindus, Unitarians, Freemasons? DIFFERENT! BE AFRAID!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Thanks but no thanks, and I'll take it, but I didn't.

Got another e-mail this morning about how the Supreme Court is "quietly reviewing" those claims that Obama wasn't born in Hawaii. "This may have some discrepancies" but it's "still interesting." says the serial offender who forwarded it to me.

Is it time to leave the country? Because we have no real way of returning America to a body of informed and rational citizens. Still, as a lover of understated humor, I have to enjoy the way a libelous fabrication "may have some discrepancies," including the discrepancy of not having any basis in fact. It does seem to me that the flat Earth some on the right believe in is floating on a huge sea of malicious lies and has an atmosphere of pure hypocrisy.

Take Senator John Ensign, Senator from the Silver State and one of those dedicated public servants who thinks we can change our "reckless spending" by curbing Federal earmarks, which constitute a rather tiny fraction of what the government actually spends or as I see it; whittling at the whiskers and calling it a close shave. But that's just the basic background hypocrisy of the GOP. Ensign has his own to account for, because while railing at "Obamacare" and promising to undo the health care reform bill we elected a president to promote, he's out there actively soliciting - and getting - a million taxpayer dollars from that Affordable Care Act he so despises to spend on health care in his state. Perhaps there's a discrepancy there somewhere too, but it's still interesting.

Is this another "thanks but no thanks" moment for Republicans? I mean one where you take the money and say you didn't and blame the other party while you pose as a cost cutter? Maybe, I can call it the Palin Precedent, maybe it's better to call them liars and greedy little power hungry bastards.

Oh and please spare me an example of where some Democrat did the same thing. That's not the point and it isn't the Democrats trying to assert dogmatic policies that have failed each and every time to bring prosperity and have each and every time produced recessions -- as if we could keep repeating the past until it becomes a better future. The question of whether to leave the country is the point and that question is fast becoming moot because the country is leaving us.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thus spake Shimkus

Now, this atheist has been accused of having it in for Christians, but since I staunchly maintain I've never met one, I must deny it. What makes me the angriest, and it does make me angry, is not some abstract faith in an ineffable power, but the scriptural inerrancy epidemic spreading like a dangerous plague. It's not a Christian thing, it's a dementia thing and as far as Bible as the inerrant word of God cult goes, it's a stupid thing. All religions and much political thought is susceptible to the disease.

There isn't any God but the ones we make up, nor does he do anything we don't do for him, but if our definition includes honesty or coherence or lack of self-contradiction or even a 21st century child's knowledge of cosmology, he didn't write the books of Moses, the Gospels, the various different versions of Isiah found at Qumran or any of the rest of it, culled and selected and edited and redacted by generations of people from a wider library of books. For lack of space I simply can't cover all the territory, but for it to have been written by an all-knowing, it must describe an alternate universe, not this one.

But I digress. My point was that Jews like Representative John Shimkus (R-IL) have been turned into truth eating zombies far more dangerous than B movie producers ever imagined. It's not a Christian thing. He thinks that we shouldn't worry about climate change because God won't allow any dire consequences. It's not that I think we're likely to all be drowned and not about how accurate I think current projections might or might not be, it's that people of this ilk get people killed. Electing Shimkus is like hiring a blind chauffeur who drives by faith. He's like a general who tells his troops the other guys are firing blanks. Don't mind those bullets, our religion will protect you, said Jack Wilson and not one bullet was stopped and how many Indians died? If you're not dumb enough to think that's right, you're too smart to support Shimkus in seeking chairmanship of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

No, Shimkus believes in his version of his selected book and not in any other. If I could ask him why, he'd either have to do his own Ghost Dance or give me evidence for it's power to predict what will or won't happen with the weather, crustal movements, the evolution of microbes the outcome of battles and the flight paths of asteroids - and he can't. There's no test of reality it can pass. There's no way to show it more accurate than the Popol Vuh or the Quir'an or Bullfinch's Mythology, Aesop's Fables or a random number generator. Therefore the choice is his and it's a choice not based on evidence. What he calls God's voice is Shimkus' voice and thus spake Shimkus and Shimkus alone.

I'm always amused by people who call my logic arrogant. As people who tell you what God will or will not do and does or does not like, the title really belongs with believers, not with skeptics since we're not claiming anything special. The burden of proof to show that since there are an infinite number of words from an infinite possibility of gods, it's just your personal celestial ventriloquism at work? I don't have to, I'm not making assertions. The burden is on the believer. They proclaim endlessly about God's will as clearly set forth but when the predictions don't work, or contradict themselves, when life and death are random and there's no order or justice - well then they say we can't understand. Which is it?

It's your choice what to believe and your conclusions are no more divine than mine, although your knowledge may be superior and your reasoning better. It's still only you and me. God hates fags? Well no he doesn't, but I'm speaking of the true god Zog and I should know since I invented him and can invent as many more as I like all equally above question. Zog knows all about physics and mathematics and history and in fact everything I know, he knows -- and that's surely more than yours does. Zog says magic doesn't work, prayers fall on deaf ears, no danger will be averted lest you take measures and I know it's true because I believe and my belief can't be shown to be more or less well founded by any means I know of.

PalinWatch: Baked Alaska

Somebody's got to do it, distasteful as it may be -- and what's she up to now? Same old thing. Presented with the facts, she said "thanks, but no thanks."

We all remember when the song was that Obama was the most liberal legislator - ever and it's fun to remember it and more fun to listen to people try to reconcile that idiocy with the likelihood that he will imitate Bush in giving the 1% who own it all another tax break like the one instrumental in causing the First Great Depression and the more recent Bush Depression Recession. Obama is as liberal as Corporate America allows him to be, and that's to the right of Reagan.

But wait, there's more. Sarah's now slinging the one where Obama is the most pro-abortion president to occupy the White House and slinging it with the same, soggy, snickering spite and scorn for reality. "Obamacare" of course will fund abortions, said she yesterday at a half-full old Texas Vaudeville house, even though it won't, any more than there are death panels trying to kill your grandmother or that the President's trade mission to the far east is using up half the Navy and will cost billions. Behold the power of rumor over a willing audience.

But bullshit in motion tends to stay in motion despite any friction caused by the truth and maybe it's that strange "dark energy" but these days it seems actually to expand at an increasing rate.

"People do not process information in a neutral way. Their preconceptions affect their reactions. Biased assimilation refers to the fact that people assimilate new information in a biased fashion; those who have accepted false rumors do not easily give up their beliefs, especially when they have a strong emotional commitment to those beliefs. It can be exceedingly hard to dislodge what people think, even by presenting them with the facts."
Cass Sunstein, "On Rumors"

Exceedingly hard? Understated humor is so refreshing these days.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

So when do we start restoring sanity?

OK, so you think my last post was petty, or over the top and just plain silly? You think the country hasn't lost any connection with reality and we haven't turned into gap toothed, tattooed and camouflage clad Chatty Kathy dolls who squawk the same old tinny phrases when anything at all pulls the string? You think that objective, fact based and reasoned perceptions aren't more rare than raisins in some off brand breakfast cereal? is running a story today
about a countrywide Federal crackdown on sex traffic in underage girls. This Federal initiative began in 2003, but according to the kind of people who post comments, child prostitution is Barack Obama's fault. And not just that - Obama likes people to abuse young girls. You see, some of the culprits were from Somalia where most people are Black and nominally Muslim. Obama's father was from Kenya which is on the same continent as Somalia. Therefore Obama is a Muslim and a child molester who wants to protect child molesters.

I realize it's fashionable amongst liberals who aren't scientists to say that IQ means nothing, but it certainly does. If yours is above room temperature, you'll question the presence of "therefore" anywhere in that statement. You won't see it as the fair and balanced "other side" of the story.

The inability to see that this string of pronouncements doesn't even superficially resemble a logical or factual progression seems more than prima facie evidence of congenital and irredeemable idiocy. I'm sorry to sound all Democrat here, but there's something wrong in making it hard for a brain surgeon to get a green card while allowing massive political power to people who only resemble human beings in that they walk on two legs - and rising to power by riding their wave of idiotic anger.

This is absolutely Obama's fault. The Democrats want illegal's in our country, so they can get their votes. We need to unite and close our borders.

And to think.. This is what Obama wanted to protect and even proposed a law suit on Arizona to protect these monsters!.. Remove this man ASAP!

This still wont stop it. We must stop the Obamaism of protecting radical Muslims, Ilegal immigrants etc and remove all illegals from this country ASAP!

Isn't third-world immigration just great for our society? Our culture gets enriched with third-world customs like child prostitution.

These f-gg-ts should be put behind bar for life.

OK, so that's enough. I don't have to tell you ( if you're not a Republican dupe) that illegals don't vote, Obama isn't trying to support sex crimes, especially by arresting the offenders and isn't encouraging immigration by deporting half a million illegals every year. I just put in the last one to show the total disrespect for reality it takes to suppose that male homosexuals really want to rape girls. I left out the one suggesting that all people who have a pension [sic] for young girls should be executed because it's a form of murder even though the victims were rescued alive.

No, all the comments aren't insane, at least not completely, but some of the sane ones claim that the courts don't have mandatory sentencing, which of course is nearly as grotesquely stupid as blaming Obama because there were some Somali pimps involved while ignoring the demonstrable fact that the current administration is deporting half a million immigrants a year, which is far, far more than the Republican administration did. And then there's the fact that the current administration actually rounded up these folks, which makes it hard to wrap one's mind around the assertions that the federal government cannot do anything and should do even less.

No, Obama doesn't want to import and support foreign organized crime, isn't encouraging illegal immigration and in fact it's the Republicans who are protecting companies who hire them. No, child prostitution isn't a previously unknown import, although many of the victims are and if anyone insists that Obama is "protecting radical Muslims" by rounding up, prosecuting and jailing criminals, perhaps it's time to deport such folks or have them committed to mental institutions. But you know, there's a certain party who loves the insane zeal, loves the cognitive disabilities and yes, the insanity and, don't give me any more bullshit about Democrats are just as bad -- they're not -- and you all know damned well people who post comments like these call themselves conservatives.

Our founding fathers certainly weren't deluded enough to equate liberty with rule of the most manic. Where is the protest? And who is it shouting "elitist" when any shy suggestion is made that, despite the neo-Maoist sentiments of the tea baggers, dumb people say dumb things and make bad leaders and bad voters. And OK, lets be fair and ask who enables and encourages them by being all cute and not voting "in protest" because Obama didn't leave you the present you wanted for Christmas? Yes, you're damned right it's your fault too.

Pickin' on Paul, or Kentucky windage

Face it, it's become traditional for Republicans to declare that a Democratic election winner is a failure before he takes office, and in Obama's case, even before he was elected. Reality is no longer a prerequisite, if indeed, it ever was.

So why shouldn't I take this opportunity to declare that Rand Paul is a failure as the Senator from Kentucky and why not start off with a nasty, childish nickname like Runt Paul, to reflect his father's superior claim, in my opinion, to be respected for his views. Oh, come on, it's an American tradition and I'm not even claiming he was born in Nepal -- nee-Paul, get it? Of course we don't know for sure, do we? He's ignored my request for a birth certificate. By the way, isn't is suspicious that he want to an expensive, elitist Ophthalmology school? Who paid for it and why can't he produce board certification? Where is Orly Taitz when you need a nutjob attorney?

And look, I've even got a plausible story. Remember how cutting earmarks was the important part of reducing the cost of government both in Runt's rhetoric and that of the GOP in general? Well, that was then and now that we've put away the Punch and Judy puppets, he's now just fine with earmarks as long as they are earmarked for Kentucky. But of course he's still not going to let Washington - or reality - change him as he explained to the Wall Street Journal. I mean he still hasn't let the end of segregation change him. He still thinks it's a violation of property rights - kinda like freeing the slaves.

Of course the federal porkbarrel is not all that large when held up against the Supertanker of Federal spending, even though that spending as a percentage of the GNP isn't quite as huge as it appears when spoken of in dollars, but that sort of relativity sounds socialist or at least overly obscure to the public and we don't need to go into it. Besides, and to his credit, Runt accepts that we're going to have to look at the Massive Military Budget too. Good for him! but maybe that's just a Liberal Conservative ploy and if Kentucky is chosen to build some trillion dollar superbomber to win the cold war that ended before he started to wear a hairpiece, things will be different, so let's just assume, in the fine American tradition, that he's already gone back on his word - on all his words, actually. I mean, he might, so he already did. All's fair, right? If Obama raised taxes by lowering them, Rand Paul has already increased military spending - or maybe cut it. It doesn't really matter. It's all really about whose side you are on anyway so let's not get picky.

So did you hear that Rand Paul wants to make our country weak and is soft on Terrorism?

Monday, November 08, 2010

Oklahoma is OK

Says the tautological and largely meaningless slogan on their license plates. No, Oklahoma isn't an Apache word for xenophobia, but it may well become an English metaphor, and it certainly isn't OK with regard to having a clue about the consequences of their actions.

Yes, the strict Constitutionalist Nativists of the Southwest would love to be able to pick and choose what part of that document they feel comfortable with and ignore other parts that suggest that Oklahoma cannot set requirements for US citizenship all by itself nor can neighboring Arizona forbid certain kinds of employment to those with an accent that doesn't suggest Aryan "Abstammung," even though they did.

They're apparently also stupid enough to fear that Oklahoma judges will decide to opt out of Federal, State and local law and enforce Sharia, or Islamic law, since so many of them are Islamic fundamentalists in disguise or likely to spontaneously become one. You know, like some people just burst into flames or get abducted by aliens. You really can't trust any judge not to decide to enforce Liechtenstein law or that of France or Andorra, you know, and so they voted for the Save Our State amendment.

It may just work. It may save Oklahoma's free thinkers, Buddhists, Hindus and adherents to Native religions from being beat over the head with selected Jewish laws in the name of being a Christian nation. Sorry Tea folk, when you ban the courts from referencing "laws of another nation" that didn't apply in the first place, you ban the Ten Commandments as well as the other 603 Biblical laws you're not literate enough to know about. Mount Sinai wasn't just outside Muskogee, you know and Israel remains a foreign country.

Just as Sharia is binding only on Muslims, Jewish Mitzvot are only binding on Jews and if any are enforced in the courts, it's coincidental. Muslims have laws against murder and theft too, you know and some of theirs seem more liberal than ours. Sometimes ignorance opens the door to enlightenment.

Of course these landlocked Okies have forgotten that treaties the US Government enters into with foreign entities do have the force of law ( unless those treaties were made with the various Indian tribes without the slightest intention of good faith ) and so refusing to enforce them is unconstitutional and not good for international business, if there is any in Oklahoma.

Just can't win, can ya? So thanks for standing up for the first amendment, cowboy -- maybe you really are OK.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Cooling down the hotbeds

"Every word is a prejudice,"
said Nietzsche. That's why one man's pillar of probity is another man's "hotbed" of heresy.

"you know these colleges are hotbeds of Liberalism!"
said the man across the table.
"These kids just aren't old enough to be able to tell what they're being taught from the truth. They're not teaching both sides."

He's got an interesting point. High levels of education in our country do seem to be associated with high levels of free thinking and pragmatism and therefore must be caused by it as proved by the cum hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy -- and whereas that's obviously bad and according to the divine doctrine of judging truth by what the less educated are comfortable with, it's therefore quite obvious that opposing viewpoints in other fields this Republican might be ignorant of disagree with are not being given equal or preferred classroom time or assigned reading: the voice of the people isn't being heard at Harvard.

Disciplines like mathematics, physics, biology, engineering and medicine? they only teach one side and that's elitist. Everything has two equal and opposite sides, the right side being, by definition -- right. You know all those things are best left to folksy opinion, anonymous blog commenters and to websites run and funded by Republicans who hold forth from country club and yacht club dinner tables all over America.

In history classes, we can be sure courses are not being taught about the secret liberal cabal ruining the world from its headquarters in Kenya, about the danger of subjecting corporations to the law rather than letting them write it, or that those poor women in Salem really were agents of Satan and why universal suffrage doomed the country to Divine wrath. Why, even Pythagoras and Newton and Einstein are treated as relatively established authorities and one hardly hears of the four elements or phlogiston or the aether or divine creation as acceptable differences of opinion at those hotbeds any more. And what of alternative cosmologies and opposing views in the sciences and history and literary criticism? Well, in fact they are being talked about and constantly tested, but we do have the other conservative doctrines of "if I don't know, nobody knows" and the inapplicability of past experience to the present time -- and that, dear reader, is that. It's a hotbed.

No, what they should be doing at Columbia or The London School of Economics and Political Science and other centers of Liberal propaganda and academic honesty, is reciting the catechism which includes such credos as: tax cuts pay for themselves and never, ever cause recessions; that massive concentrations of wealth and political power in the hands of a tenth of one percent of the population make for opportunity and "freedom" and that like a driverless car, the markets will always stay on the road -- and so government should stay out of business practices and move into the pulpit; as God and the Founding Fathers intended.

Face it; universities, public and private are hotbeds and that's cold comfort. Hell, why don't we do as that great Capitalist prophet, Mao Zedong did and simply close them down? The people know best!

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Mister, we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again.

Yes, those were the days Archie and Edith Bunker sang about and the man who led us from market crash and credit crunch into full blown depression by blaming the workers instead of the actual causes. Somehow we've forgotten that Archie the lovable, small minded bigot and ignoramus was supposed to be a joke.

I admit it, I went and hid my head in Caribbean sand for a week so I wouldn't have to watch the madness, the hysteria and the lies, or endure the Fox News fits and fables -- or most of all, witness the continuing spectacle of my country eating itself alive out of a desperation to keep doing what always produces everything we're trying to fix. Sooner or later however, and Hurricane Tomas argued for sooner, one has to come back and face the discord.

It isn't easy. It isn't easy to accept that Americans will support politicians that truly are nowhere near as smart as a fifth grader and that Americans will elect politicians who don't think the government has any business interfering with our "right" to abuse and exploit and segregate other Americans or to accept that Americans will just childishly stay home and let some 20% of the voters put a plutocrat affiliated with a billion dollar medicare scam in the Florida Governor's mansion out of contempt for "elitism" and because Obaaaaaaama and the 'Librils' haven't restored the Bush bubble, the Bush soaring debt, the Bush job loss, the Bush expansion of Federal size and power, the Bush redistribution of wealth, the Bush disenfranchisement of voters and infringements upon civil rights soon enough to please them. Yes, that's a hell of a long sentence, but how we sank this low is an even longer story and when it comes to telling it, it's not me whose head is buried in the sand.

No, after 8 years of job stagnation, job loss and declining earnings, all we'll be hearing about is about that 9.6% unemployment Obama created without any help from Bush's tax cuts and wars -- and we won't be remembering the 9.5% unemployment in Reagan's first term. ( nor his tax increases nor the effect they produced) We'll hear the gloating and bragging about the president's low popularity although Reagan's was lower at the same point in his career. We'll hear about profligate spending, but not a word about the payback with interest that tells a different story. We'll keep hearing about the debt, but not the policies that produced it and how it can only be solved by a policy that has produced the largest government sponsored redistribution of wealth in our history without creating a single new private sector job -- a policy that must be maintained for fear of Communism. Like Archie, we'll keep longing for that romanticized version of a Hobbesian hell with every white man for himself, minorities in the minority, stragglers will be shot and no prisoners taken. We'll keep ignoring reality and we'll keep repeating the slogans as we count our beads, fabricating facts and citing false history when we pay attention to history at all.

Meanwhile the sand is warm and the hurricane is moving out to sea. . .