New Year's Resolution 2012

Happy New Year everyone! It's 2012, the year when Obama the Antichrist is supposed to bring about the end of the world. You Israelis are getting shitloads of US aid, no questions asked, thanks to our loony-right End-Times bigots, so you'd better step up and do your part to fulfill their apocalyptic fantasies. Seriously, you only have until next Winter Solstice, and all you guys have done so far is piss off Turkey? Your friend and tireless booster John Hagee is surely not pleased.

This year I resolve to restart this blog and try and explain exactly how wrong the Republicans have been about everything. And I do mean EVERYTHING, so it will take the whole year. Not just wrong on policy or execution either, but flatly, totally wrong on basic ideology, history, economics, human needs and interests, and grasp of observable reality at the most basic level.

The big problem I've been having these past few years, is that there's so much to say about the issues that are important to me, that I find myself unable to even begin talking about them. Where the Hell do I even start? It's like a thousand people trying to get out of a burning house through one door: everyone charges toward the door, but they end up piled in a tight jam so no one actually gets out. (So yes, I'm arbitrarily starting with a reminder of that Republican fantasy of Obama as the Antichrist, because it quickly sums up the sheer unmitigated insanity that passes for "conservative" "thought" these days. Think the "Antichrist" loons are outliers? Check out the birthers and the Tea Party.)

I'll start today by citing an excellent post by LJ friend virginia_fell, who does a pretty thorough job of debunking the fantasy of Ron Paul that the Republican noise machine have carefully crafted since 1980:

When liberal voices were dominant in public discourse, no one took this hateful old fraud seriously. That's why Ron Paul will always be an obedient right-wing Republican: he desperately needs the reich-wing noise machine just to keep his asinine ideas from being laughed into oblivion. Take him outside that secure bubble-verse, and (like just about every other Republican) he can't even walk unassisted.
  • Current Location: here
  • Current Mood: hopeful hopeful
  • Current Music: Moby, "Extreme Ways"

Earthquake in Mineral, VA

I just got home from EDS/HP headquarters, where the building shook for several seconds but showed no sign of damage. I'm home now, there's no sign of visible damage in my area, and so far, I see no damage in my house other than stuffed hedgehogs and penguins knocked on the floor. USGS now says the quake was about 5.9 in magnitude, and was felt as far south as Georgia and as far north as Boston and even Toronto. I'm now hearing reports of damage to a garage at National Harbor (that's all kinda new, which implies something about recent building standards), and a partial roof collapse at a Best Buy.

Government buildings in DC have been evacuated, the Capitol and monuments are closed, and the roads are now jammed.

If the Christian Reich loons want to make this about "God's judgement" of something or other, just remember the quake was centered in a red area of a state governed by a Christian Reich coalition. If their God actually wanted to punish those evil East Coast atheists, then his aim is just as shitty as it was back in 2005.
  • Current Location: Terra Firma
  • Current Mood: surprised surprised
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Congresspersons with Guns: Another Abdication of Basic Decency

The recent proposal to allow Congresspersons to carry guns is so stupid, so childish, so dishonest, and so wrong, on so many levels, that I honestly have a hard time keeping track of exactly how wrong it is. There -- if this post is less than 100% coherent, you have my excuse up front... Okay, let's just skip the sheer indecency of tabling this idea right after the Tuscon shootings...Collapse )

And finally, here's another problem with this proposal. Suppose an armed Congressperson actually does shoot a local (alleged) criminal, and claim self-defense to justify it. How will our courts handle such a case? Does anyone really think a sitting Congressperson will be held accountable, with his word weighed equally with that of his accuser? Does anyone really think a DC or Federal court could properly try such a case -- i.e., try a Congressperson for murder or manslaughter -- without enormous political pressure casting doubt on the validity of the whole proceeding? Don't make me laugh. Allowing Congresspersons to carry guns will, in effect, allow them to shoot just about anyone they want in DC with a good expectation of near-absolute impunity. And I have no doubt that that is not a bug, it's a feature: it's what the loony right fantasize about. It's a longstanding and well-known fantasy that comes straight from all those hokey Westerns that form their brain-dead ideal of "real America," where the handsome white man in the white hat singlehandedly defeats all the bad guys and makes everything right without having to answer to any wussy crime-coddling city-slickers or bureaucrats.

And that, folks, is what this proposal is all about: an empty fantasy of violent revenge against unspecified phantoms. That's all the Tea Party freshmen have to offer. The people who complained so bitterly when Barack Obama talked about people hiding behind guns, are now proving him right. Again.
  • Current Mood: curious You're kidding, right?
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Brief Ramble on the Tuscon Massacre

On the one hand, it is perfectly obvious by now that the factors that drove Jared Laughner to fire into a crowd at a political event Tuscon, AZ, killing six, were purely psyciatric, and not at all political. If there's a political agenda to be discerned from his words and actions, it is one wholly perverted by the sick workings of a sick mind.

On the other hand, the exact same thing can be said of the vast majority of the rhetoric we've been hearing from the Republican Party since 1992, if not since 1980. The divisive suspicions fueling all the Federal and state tax cuts; the fear of poverty and unemployment that is used to attack every regulation ever enacted or proposed; the primal fear of nameless (but mostly dark-skinned) marauders invoked by the NRA; the fear of dark heathen savages that causes us to give up our most cherished liberties and resort to nearly animal savagery ourselves; the fear of immigrants taking our jobs and polluting our precious bodily fluids; the fear of "drugs" that causes us to callously ignore the inhumanity done by our "war" on them (and also to ignore the total lack of good results from said "war"); the hatred of women that drives our restrictive laws (and, yes, nationwide terrorism) against reproductive choice; the ignorant fear and hatred that meets every religious minority in America, Christian as well as non-Christian; the wild paranoid conspiracy stories about Hillary Clinton, Vince Foster, and Barack Obama's religion and birth certificate; and the more recent ravings about "socialist takeovers," "Second Amendment remedies" and "death panels" determined to kill our grandmothers...these are not political platforms, so much as hot emotional buttons that the Republicans push, and push hard and repeatedly, every time they need to override responsible thought with mindless emotion. And mindless emotion has become the first, standard, predictable Republican response to every criticism and every policy proposal the Democrats have had to offer.

And when a major national party keeps on repeating the same appeals to infantile irrationality, and when our national media spinelessly repeat and reinforce the infantilism, over a period now going on decades, is it any wonder our more unstable fellow Americans end up reacting to the night-terrors that are so insistently shoved in our faces?

The Republicans will say that there is no visible connection between the shooting in Tuscon and any particular bit of right-wing rhetoric; and I agree. But does anyone really believe that a poulation can be systematically subjected to such pervasive infantilizing stimuli, for so long, from so many sources at once, and not see insane responses as a result? When the Republicans repeatedly remind us that this particular shooter is insane, they are expecting us to forget that this is not an isolated incident; it is part of a pattern of anti-government, anti-liberal, anti-nonwhite, and xenophobic threats and violence that have been escalating since 1992. Rep. Giffords herself predicted -- and worried about -- such incidents long before she was actually shot. How did she predict that? Did she know the person sho shot her? No, she knew what was inflaming people like him to irrational action. She saw the connection before she was shot, so the Republicans have no excuse not to see the connection afterwords.

The Republicans have spent millions of dollars, if not billions, to ensure that their dishonest and insane messages are literally inescapable. They have, in fact, made a science of it. Do they now expect us to believe that people susceptible to irrationality would be able to escape the irrationality they foist on us hourly?

President Obama, speaking in Tuscon yesterday, said that we need to heal, and reach out to each other, more than we need to cast blame. I agree with the warm sentiment of this statement, but in reality, we cannot begin to heal from a disease unless, and until, we identify and attack the cause of the disease. We cannot reconcile with those who hurt us unless, and until, they stop hurting us and ask for forgiveness.

Forgiveness is only for those who sincerely admit their wrongdoing and ask for forgiveness. It is meaningless without sincere repentance and apology. Reconciliation is a two-way street. And expecing someone to heal, without addressing the cause of the injury, is nothing but insulting, degrading nonsense.
  • Current Mood: contemplative Just sayin...
  • Current Music: Dixie Chicks, "Not Ready to Make Nice"

The Arizona Bloodbath: Let's Call It What It Is

Only one day after a Congreswoman was critically wounded and six others (including a nine-year-old girl) were murdered in cold blood, our so-called news media are already reverting to their reflexive practice of mindlessly shielding both themselves and their Republican clients from an honest discussion of the causes of this latest mayhem.

Last night, Nine News Now (CBS) ran a piece blaming extremism of "both sides" for the curent political climate of demonization in place of debate. And of course, no specific -- or even general -- examples of extremism from either side were even mentioned. Mentioning examples of extremism of the right would only have angered the right-wingers; and mentioning examples of extremism from the left was even harder -- because there aren't any.

The news item did pay lip service to the obvious fact that the "news" media were partially at fault here -- but that was said with an uncaring smirk (and without specifics) before hastily blaming the Internet and moving on to something else.

But let's be honest here: the Republicans, their ideological bum-boys the Libertarians, and their radical-right supporting interest-groups have been responsible, not only for creating and maintaining a climate of demonization-as-debate; but for blatantly and consistently spreading disinformation and pandering to the most dangerous and irrational elements of the human psyche. This is not about politics; this is about normalizing insanity and getting insane actions as a result.

And no, this recent shooting is not just an isolated act of one loony; it's part of a pattern of escalating harassment and threats against government and elected officials, including historic numbers of death threats against our current (nonwhite liberal) President.

Since the media can't be trusted to describe the source of the problem, I might as well step in and do their job for them. You can thank me later... Questions Asked and AnsweredCollapse )

Who supports the right to own guns on the grounds that personal ownership of guns will allow people to overthrow their government? Republicans and Libertarians. We just saw how that fantasy of "limited government" works in the real world -- and the result is NOT a freer or safer country.

Who first coined the phrase "Second Amendment remedy" -- AFTER a black liberal is elected President and death threats against the President spike to their highest levels ever? I'm pretty sure it wasn't a liberal.

That bit in Sarah Palin's website about "targeting" Giffords is only the tip of a huge, malodorous, disease-ridden iceberg. I'm sure there are plenty of questions I have missed, merely because I want to get this post out in a timely manner, and there's simply too much Republican demagoguery, over too many decades, to sum up in one day. If any of you have anything to add to my Q&A session, I'll be grateful to you for chiming in. It takes a village to stop a pogrom.

UPDATE: New Question added inside the Cut.
  • Current Location: Reality
  • Current Mood: contemplative Not buying the Spin
  • Current Music: Gustav Holst, "Mars"

Happy New Year, Sad Old Right-Wing Hatemongering

Following is a comment I posted elsewhere. Sorry for the hasty post...

I'd be extremely surprised if there were not a demonstrable connection between right-wing Republican (and, yes, libertarian) anti-government and anti-liberal rhetoric and the recent shooting of Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona. (BTW, the last report I heard on NPR was that Giffords was out of surgery and in critical condition, but doctors seemed hopeful; and a previous report that she was dead was acknowledged to be wrong. Unfortunately, some of her aides, and a ten-year-old child, were not so lucky.)

Republicans, some libertarians, and a lot of loonies have been portraying Big Gummint as an evil implacable alien entity that had to be starved and drowned in the bathtub, ever since 1980. Right-wingers have been attacking the very legitimacy of our elected government, and calling liberals "baby killers," for almost as long. Sarah Palin has been raving about "death panels" that want to kill our grandmothers. Add to that the innumerable instances of misdirection, scapegoating, religious fanaticism, and outright bigoted lies we've been hearing from the Republicans (not to mention those orchestrated mob-disruptions of Democratic public appearances that started the Tea Party movement), and you'd be an idiot not to expect incidents like this.

If Sarah Palin recently removed her "targeting" crap from her website (example here), that's pretty much an admission that her camp knows full well there's a connection between this incident and their rhetoric.

More on this on this Dispatches thread.
  • Current Mood: anxious Fucking Appalled
  • Current Music: Gustav Holst, "Mars"

Papal Sleaze Continues

So Pope Palpadict is now in Britain, meeting with the Queen (God(s) save them all!) and continuing his desperate attempts to apologize for his Church's failure to deal appropriately with child-rapists within its own hierarchy, while protecting the all-important authority of the same backward authoritarian Church...

Pope Benedict XVI, beginning a controversial visit to Britain, acknowledged Thursday that the Catholic Church had failed to act decisively or quickly enough to deal with priests who rape and molest children. He said the church's top priority now was to help the victims heal.

The most charitable response I can offer here is "You're kidding, right?" If a convicted rapist stood up in court and said his top priority was to help his victims heal, the public's immediate response would be bitter derisive mockery. Everyone would understand that the only way a rapist could "help his victims heal" would be to serve his sentence and never get within sight of his victims ever again. (Sincere groveling public apology and reparations may help, but are less important.) How is it even possible for anyone to take this Pope's pledge to "help the victims heal" as anything other than a callous joke? (And besides, what does the former Grand Inquisitor know about sex, rape, or healing?) But wait, there's more...Collapse )

The [Humanist Society of Scotland] placed billboards along the route the pope will take between Edinburgh and Glasgow that read: "Two million Scots are good without God."

I couldn't have said it better myself. Hopefully the Pope won't change his route.

UPDATE: Once again, Ed Brayton has some good comments on the history this Pope is desperately trying to rewrite. Read the comments too; #21 by Michael Heath is particularly interesting.
  • Current Mood: annoyed annoyed

Forget Park 51 -- Here's the REAL Mosque "at" Ground Zero

If you teatards want to get pissed about a "mosque at Gound Zero," here's the real deal: a mosque that was on the 17th floor of tower 2, before both towers were destroyed. It survived the first WTC attack in 1993 (and heard no controversy about its presence afterword), but not the second in 2001.

The Republicans (and yes, the Tea Partiers ARE Republicans) have made September 11 into National No Other Way To Vindicate The Republican Party Day. It's long past time to reclaim it as the day of sober united rememberance it once was.

PS: Here's a quote from a REAL relative of a REAL victim of the 9/11 attack, talking about the park 51 controversy in her own words:

What did I think about the decision to construct a "mosque" this close to ground zero? I thought it was a no-brainer. Of course it should be built there. I sometimes wonder if those people fighting so passionately against Park51 can fathom the diversity of those who died at ground zero. Do we think no Muslims died in the towers? My husband, Eddie Torres, killed on his second day of work at Cantor Fitzgerald while I was pregnant with our first child, was a dark-skinned Latino, often mistaken for Pakistani, who came here illegally from Colombia. How did "9/11 victim" become sloppy shorthand for "white Christian"?...

But here is what's been lost in this Park51 controversy: We are not experts, we are victims. We deserve to speak up, we need to speak up to acknowledge the pain and suffering, but we were never meant to be leaders in a national debate. Because the only thing we really know intimately is grief. The only thing we really know is what it feels like to lose a loved one in 9/11.

Correction: ARAB Media Are Endangering Our Troops

I just came across a Salon article that may force me to retract, or at least reconsider, a large amount of what I said in my previous post. Short answer: the (state-owned) Saudi media were first to hype up the Koran-roast (just like they pretty much created the Toon Tantrum*); which prompted Gen. Petraeus to make his comment about danger to US troops and mission; which gave our media all the excuse they needed to join the manufactroversy and reinforce the Muslim world's worst images of America. Here's a brief quote:

Critics of the American media's coverage of the Quran-burning saga are loud and plentiful [glad I'm not hte only one], and they have a strong case [damn right we do]. In short, the U.S. media has given a global platform to a fringe pastor with a tiny flock, elevating him to a level of significance that would make most members of Congress jealous (whether or not he actually executes his plan). But those media critics are also missing the point.

To grasp the real story here, one has to understand the context in which Petraeus decided to weigh in: At that time, the Quran burning had already been treated as a major story in the media in the Muslim world for several weeks. In other words, since at least late July, when it started to get attention in some Muslim-majority countries, the story has been doing untold damage to America's reputation.

So there you have it: Muslim media were trotting out this otherwise irrelevant piece of human trash, and using him to incite hatred and shout down more sensible adult voices (like, you know, our President trying to patch things up with the Muslim world), before American media began doing the same thing for the same reason.

* For more on the Toon Tantrum, click here. Go down to "Priorities" at 01/24/06 and start reading from there. WARNING: This is an old blog post, and recently I've noticed Internet Explorer periodically freezing when I bring it up. There may be infestation. Or maybe I just have a lame PC.
  • Current Mood: artistic The plot thickens!

Forget the Loony Pastor -- The Media are Endangering Our Troops

Every country on Earth has its share of mentally ill losers who have nothing better to do -- no better way to express their feelings -- than staging pointless (and sometimes dangerous) stunts just to get people's attention and feel relevant. The overwhelming majority of such people are ignored by the public, first because they are unconnected to any significant events or institutions; second, because consistent coverage of their stunts would simply wear thin and distract our attention from truly significant events like elections, the economy, crime, natural disasters, etc.; and third, because it is generally understood that rewarding irrational (and possibly dangerous) behavior with lots of public attention tends to encourage more such behavior, and reinforce the underlying mental illness, while doing no service to the public. An important part of treating mental or emotional illness, is getting the patient to understand that his/her dysfunctional behaviors will not make him/her more empowered or in any way better off, and will not be rewarded by others.

Giving widespread attention to mentally disturbed people whenever they act out is bad for the mentally disturbed because it gives them the wrong signals about how they should behave; and bad for the public because it serves to inflict their insanity on people who are trying to lead sane, responsible lives. This is why most major news media have tended to exercise sound judgement and refused to give air-time, column-inches, or any other form of attention to people who are clearly not of sound mind.

Until today, that is. Why is THIS loony 'news?'Collapse )

This is not about a discredited right-wing preacher burning the Koran. This is about our national "news" media creating dangerous events out of nothing, without regard for the consequences. This is about our national media's depraved indifference to the interests of the public and the nation they claim to serve.
  • Current Mood: annoyed Bloody Furious
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