Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Good Lord. Some policemen in San Diego are under the impression that the U.S. is a fascist police state.

Here are a couple of stories from Talking Points Memo about an incident that I doubt will ever show up in the big time MSM.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that a fundraiser for Francine Busby, who previously ran for the deeply-Republican Fiftieth District and came close to winning in the 2006 special election and subsequent regular election, was raided by sheriffs after an unnamed neighbor made a noise complaint. Busby now calls it a "phony" noise complaint, and the article says that multiple neighbors said there was no great noise at all.

Here's the twist: The fundraiser was hosted by a lesbian couple, and shortly before the sheriffs came a particular neighbor had shouted anti-gay slurs at the assembled crowd. "It was a quiet home reception, disrupted by a vulgar person shouting obscenities from behind the bushes," Busby says.

As one neighbor told the paper: "We didn't hear anything until the sheriff came, with eight patrol cars and a helicopter."
The sheriff's department claims that somebody kicked an officer. By the time it was over, multiple people were pepper-sprayed, one of the hostesses was arrested, and the whole neighborhood got to see quite a scene.

Eight patrol cars? Pepper spray?!? A HELICOPTER?!?! For a noisy party complaint? This seems it might warrant, at most, a warning for excess noise. And, although my little excerpt doesn’t say this, the gathering was made of up mostly middle age folks, you know, the kind of people who don't play Aerosmith at Extremely High Volumes and who really aren’t looking to get into a physical confrontation with armed police.

What the hell is up with the SDPD? Are the words “Democratic Fundraiser” so much of a warning signal that the police need to send out the riot squad, looking for trouble? And this person “behind the bushes” yelling sexual epithets and who is probably also the person who phoned in the noise compliant, what is his deal? Is he now proud of himself for disrupting a fundraiser for a Democrat, hosted by a lesbian couple? Does he feel he made a valuable contribution to society?

Stalin would have been proud. I now understand perfectly about how a monstrous government like the Soviet Union, along with their terrifying secret police, can come about. It’s because many people believe that they should behave like this. They enjoy causing pain, anguish and grief for people they deem as their enemies. I’ve said it again and again here. I have no idea how these people even live with themselves. They obviously have no idea of what democracy really means. None whatsoever. I hope several people lose their jobs over this one.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Audacity of Dopes.

From the NYTimes:

“I disagree with the idea that this shows problems for the modern Republican Party,” said Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform, a group that applauded Mr. Sanford’s attempt to refuse some federal stimulus funds earlier this year. In reference to the fiscally conservative philosophies of Mr. Ensign and Mr. Sanford, he joked, “I think instead it shows that sexual attractiveness of limited-government conservatism.”

Ah, I see! Conservatism is really, really sexy, so that is why all these Republicans keep getting caught with their pants around their ankles! Women just can’t help themselves when they get around one of those masculine, virile, limited-government he-men. Governor Sanford had no choice in the matter of his infidelity and his unexplained disappearance off the face of the Earth for six days, with his staff saying that he was “hiking the Appalachian Trail” when he wasn’t even in the same hemisphere. Sure. That’s a perfectly reasonable explanation. Well, not really. But it certainly is to Grover Norquist, he of the “government, meet bathtub” theory of governance, if you ask him about it (and even if you don’t).

Yes, yes… Images of Kathryn Jean Lopez fondling her George Bush In A Jumpsuit action figure come flooding, unbidden, into my mind. I may have to take some Alka Seltzer and go lay down for a while. “Sexual attractiveness” certainly contains subjective elements, like personal taste, state of mind and, in the case of K-Lo, being a complete and utter imbecile. But when Democrats get caught with THEIR pants down (and they do), that’s because Democrats have neither values nor ethics, are scumbags, cannot be trusted with anything and should resign from their positions immediately. Otherwise, Republicans must impeach them (ref: Clinton, William Jefferson). But REPUBLICANS, well, that’s a different kettle of fish altogether. Women (and possibly other men, if Larry Craig is any example) can’t help themselves and prostate themselves at the feet of limited-government conservatives, literally begging to be sexually ravaged. (This explanation seems to leave a little something out, such as why said conservatives (especially those of the married variety) can’t seem to refuse those offers of ravagement, in spite of continual claims that they, and they alone, are the protectors of all that is moral in America. It also kind of seems to be missing something in regard to David Vitter and his fondness for prostitutes. They threw themselves at his feet, begging for sex, for which he felt compelled to give them large quantities of money? But these things are apparently trivialities that can easily be dispensed with when necessary.)

It’s just another fine example of IOKIYAR (It’s O.K. if you are a Republican). What hypocrites. Just say anything; it doesn’t really matter what, to excuse yourself and your colleagues from any sort of blame whatsoever. It doesn’t even matter if it makes sense. Even if that really was a “joke”, as the story says, it was a poor one whose only possible purpose could be to deflect the issue by ridicule and make it into “no big deal.” Donald “Gosh, Who Knew That Iraq Had So Many Vases?” Rumsfeld perfected this tactic. Just say anything that comes to mind, and then you can claim victory and go back to bashing Democrats, liberals, gays, Mexicans, Hollywood, whoever, claiming that they destroying this country.

“I think instead it shows that sexual attractiveness of limited-government conservatism.” Ho-ll-ee cow. I am just in awe of that statement. Delusion, rationalization, deflection of blame, minimization of the real issue, pulling something/anything out of one’s ass… It’s all there, wrapped up in one nicely wrapped package, for all to behold in all its glory, not unlike Pigs in a Blanket at IHOP. One can only marvel at the audacity of anyone attempting an argument like that (hence, the title of this post).

UPDATE: More dope audacity. Rush Limbaugh blames Obama and the federal stimulus for Sanford's behavior. Unbelievable.

UPDATE II: And Michael Savage gets into the act, and actually goes even further than Rushbo. This is actually just one small part of Obama's grand plan to rid himself of his enemies. Obama somehow planted this "dear, dear friend" of Sanford's over eight years ago, so that Sanford would self-immolate NOW, just in time to jerk the rug out from underneath his presidential aspirations? My goodness, these people are either totally delusion or grasping at the very molecules that make up straw.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

“Gov. Sanford Admits Affair with Argentinean Woman”

That’s the headline today at Talking Points Memo. TPM also outlines the history of this weird episode, from his gone “missing”, to his “hiking the Appalachian Trail”, to his being incommunicado with his staff and family DURING Father’s Day weekend and not telling his Lt. Governor about his absence, to his really being in Argentina after his staff had been saying that, oh sure, he’s just gone hiking, no worries there, to the admission that he has been having an affair…

This is, of course, very close on the heels of Senator Ensign’s admission of HIS affair with a staffer, which included bits of accused blackmail, putting the 19 year old son of his lover on the Republican Party payroll, etc. etc.

These guys are the ultimate “holier than thou” types. Ensign was all over Bill Clinton over his affair with Monica Lewinski, stating that Clinton should resign over it.

And this is just THIS year. Who could forget Tom Foley and his constant pursuit of young male teenage staffers? Or the “wide stance” airport restroom encounter of Senator Larry Craig and his subsequent arrest?

Does the Republican Party not realize they look like complete hypocrites, as well as raving lunatics? Why does ANYONE talk the Republican Party seriously these days? They gave us George Bush and Dick Cheney, and everything that entails. Their nomination for the presidency last year was a guy with reputedly a very terrible temper and a very short fuse (which is a bad combination for a President) and who sang “Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran” at a fundraiser, and whose VP nominee is a complete and utter ditz and who made her unwed, pregnant daughter into a showpiece for her campaign. I haven’t even mentioned Michael Steele.

It’s no wonder like more sane Republicans have either quit the party, left politics or have tried as much as they can to distance themselves from the lunatics that have taken control of the party. I have great respect for Republicans like Olympia Snowe, Chuck Hagel and Richard Lugar, even though I disagree with many of their political positions on real issues. I would profess some admiration for Colin Powell as well, except he squandered whatever admirable qualities he may possess for his role in the Iraq War, and for not saying anything about it publicly when he possibly could have made a difference. He let himself be used, and it is his eternal shame that he was a tool for someone who he knew was a liar and not acting with the best interests of this country in mind.

I hope that the next time one of these “family values” types tries to criticize Obama or Democrats again, that the entire country laughs in their face. “Hypocrite” doesn’t even begin to describe them.

I think the late, great George Carlin said it best. “Traditional American values: genocide, aggression, conformity, emotional repression, hypocrisy, and the worship of comfort and consumer goods.”

UPDATE: And, right on cue, Fox "News" labels Mark Sanford as a Democrat. This cannot be accidental. This is at least the third time they have done this. This time, I think at least twice during the Mark Foley story and I believe once when Larry Craig got caught in the MSP airport. Jeez. Do they really think that no one knows that these people are Republicans? Or is Fox required to do everything they can to piss off Democrats? That's my theory.

Do you get the sense that Republicans will howl in outrage about Obama’s actions, no matter what he does or does not do?

It’s the outrage that counts. It all about being able to be on television, casting as much criticism at President Obama as they can. That's all that matters.

John McCain criticizes Obama for not taking a stronger stand on the Iranian protests and in support of those demonstrators. The only problem is this is the guy who was singing “Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran” last year during the presidential campaign. McCain didn’t seem overly concerned about the Iranian people then. I guess it’s fine when WE kill innocent civilians of another country indiscriminately by dropping bombs on them, but we can’t let their own government abuse them! What an offense for not supporting them by… doing something! Dropping bombs on them, perhaps. Making as much noise as possible about how evil the Iranian government is, which would give said government all the ammunition it needs to make this into a U.S. vs. Iran confrontation.

To carry that point a little further, during the Iran/Iraq war, which side did the U.S. support? Why, Iraq, of course! That same country we pulverized into tiny little pieces just 10 years later! But who does the Iranian government blame for that war? The United States, of course! And who has been meddling in the politics of Iran since 1953? The U.S., when the CIA helped overthrow a democratically elected government whose actions we didn’t really care for! Does the Iranian government remember that? You get they do! And yet, John McCain, and a whole host of other nutjobs like Lindsey Graham, Charles Krauthammer, etc., are agitating and demanding that Obama “do more!”

These people are not even making sense anymore. They just seize on whatever they can in order to bash the President. There is no consideration about how stupid they are going to look. You really have zero credibility when you desire to drop bombs on a country on month and then are hugely concerned about that same country’s civilians the next.

But, of course, if Obama had taken a different approach on this issue than he has and come out really swinging, going all Macho Cowboy, doing his best impression of George Bush and threatening the Iranian regime with death and destruction, do you suppose these same Republicans would be supportive? No, not for one second to I believe that. They would be out there again, full of outrage that President Obama was meddling and making the situation worse.

There is "outrage" out there that a reporter from Huffington Post asked Obama a question at his press conference. How dare Obama plant a question! That's over the line! Of course, everyone has completely forgotten how Bush used to plant softball questions at his press conference. Has everyone forgotten Jeff Gannon?

You know, I knew when Obama was elected, the Right was going to go nuts. I actually looked forward to it. I thought watching their impotent rage would be rather amusing. And it was, for about a week. Now, these lunatics are just tiresome. Tiresome and ridiculous. To have any credibility at all, you cannot protest every single thing the President does, and be totally outraged every time. It looks like an act. No one takes you seriously, except for the extreme base of the Republican party who will swallow anything and everything, so long as it is critical of Obama and Democrats in general.

This is an old story now, but did you read about the “Christian” who was praying for God to kill Obama?

From Pandagon:

Imprecatory prayer is agreeing with God, and if people don’t like that, they need to talk to God,” Drake told syndicated talk-show host Alan Colmes. “God said it, I didn’t. I was just agreeing with God.”

Asked if there are others for whom Drake is praying “imprecatory prayer,” Drake hesitated before answering that there are several. ”The usurper that is in the White House is one, B. Hussein Obama,“ he said.

Later in the interview, Colmes returned to Drake’s answer to make sure he heard him right.

“Are you praying for his death?” Colmes asked.

“Yes,” Drake replied.

”So you’re praying for the death of the president of the United States?”


..."You would like for the president of the United States to die?” Colmes asked once more.

“If he does not turn to God and does not turn his life around, I am asking God to enforce imprecatory prayers that are throughout the Scripture that would cause him death, that’s correct.”

This guy is totally innocent of anything, of course, because he is only “agreeing with God” via “imprecatory prayer.” There’s no problem with that at all, of course.

And these are the people who think they should be in charge of this country. You do anything they don’t like, God should kill you.

I really was not aware of how many lunatics were in this country who really don’t care about how insane they sound.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

This country has lost part of its soul.

(Because blogging is international, I would like to make plain that the country I am referring to in the title is the United States of America. You can make your own judgments about your own country.)

I have no idea what our kids are really being taught in school these days. I do remember what I was taught when I was growing up. The U.S. was founded on very well defined principles, such as freedom, equality and justice. The system we had might not be perfect, but the ideals we tried to strive for were.

As with almost everything in life, what I was taught turned out not to be all that black and white. A lot of what we were taught about freedom, equality and justice was true, just as a lot of it was a combination of wishful thinking, self-delusion and propaganda. We really weren’t given the whole impact of having a large part of the nation’s economy based on slavery. We weren’t really told about the systematic extermination of Native Americans. Nor were we told about the interment of American citizens during WWII who had the misfortune of being of Japanese ancestry. The working class was treated as little more than trash during the Gilded Age. Intolerance and racism was not on the curriculum. Those things were kind of left out. There is, and always has been, a lot that is good about America. And there has always been a dark side that most of us would rather pretend didn’t exist.

Yet, given all that, it seems to me that our ideals still held true. Even after all those dark episodes, our better nature would ultimately rise back to the surface. Maybe I am just being naive. Maybe I have been so immersed in our idealized view of our country, I swallowed it, just like everyone else. I really believed that the U.S. was rather exceptional. Possibly, I was suckered.

Even given that uncertainty, it seems like to me the U.S. has changed. The principles we hold dear are worthy of slogans and sound bites, but are not things to be taken literally. Or perhaps the meaning of these words has morphed into something not included in their original definitions.

I would have never thought that our society would seriously be debating whether or not we should be torturing people, or that holding people indefinitely without being charged with a crime and not allowing them access to the legal system would not only be something we would ever consider, but would be held as a moral and patriotic imperative by some. There are some people in this country who would seriously try to make a case that Jesus would torture people, under the right circumstances.

Greed and the pursuit of more and more money override basic tenets of civilized behavior. I wrote the other day about insurance companies, to whom people have paid hefty premiums all their lives, that will drop coverage to people who are in desperate need of healthcare for the flimsiest of reasons. The whole Enron debacle showed us just how out of control people can be when groupthink sets in.

New behavior and attitudes that were once unthinkable have become normalized. Yelling and screaming at people who disagree with you is now commonplace. Attempting to steal elections is now just “part of the game” and the only sin is if you get caught. Blatant self-interest rules. The poor, the aged and the sick can just fend for themselves. It’s survival of the fittest (read: the wealthy and the powerful) taken to absurd extremes, to the detriment of everyone else. As a society, we aren’t even trying anymore to pretend to aspire to ideals. Our ideals have become nothing more than slogans to bash our opponents over the head with.

Like I said, maybe our country really was like this all the time and I was just taken in by very nice sounding propaganda. It’s always easy to believe the best about yourself. Maybe the symptoms just seem worse now because of the 24/7 wall-to-wall coverage of outrage.

Still, I can’t help believe that some fundamental change has occurred in this country. Torturing people is a good thing? How could that possibly be?

What I don’t know, nor does anyone, is whether or not the current attitudes in our country represent just a dip in the road, or is the start of a long, probably very painful, decline of our country as a power for good in this world. All civilizations, small, large, powerful and ineffectual, eventually come to their end.

Let’s hope we, as a society, can once again become what we like to believe about ourselves.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

So you think our health care system is O.K. as it is?

This is from the Washington Monthly.

Executives of three of the nation's largest health insurers told federal lawmakers in Washington on Tuesday that they would continue canceling medical coverage for some sick policyholders, despite withering criticism from Republican and Democratic members of Congress who decried the practice as unfair and abusive. [...]

An investigation by the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations showed that health insurers WellPoint Inc., UnitedHealth Group and Assurant Inc. canceled the coverage of more than 20,000 people, allowing the companies to avoid paying more than $300 million in medical claims over a five-year period.

It also found that policyholders with breast cancer, lymphoma and more than 1,000 other conditions were targeted for rescission and that employees were praised in performance reviews for terminating the policies of customers with expensive illnesses.

The insurance companies are as bad as our financial institutions. They are full of greedy people who have absolutely no other interests other than making money. This is sick. How could a company actually do this? And how can this really be legal? It seems to me that the insurance companies are breaking their contacts with their policy holders. How can they do this?

Here’s more.

The insurance industry -- you know, the one conservative lawmakers and the AMA are so desperate to protect at all costs -- has this unpleasant habit called "rescission." Customers have insurance, and they pay their premiums, but once they get sick and require expensive medical treatment, the companies drop the coverage.

And in testifying before Congress, executives of these insurers not only confirmed the rescission practice, but said they had no plans to change the money-saving tactic.

One executive said rescission is about "stopping fraud and material misrepresentations that contribute to spiraling healthcare costs." So, for example, when a woman in Texas was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer, her insurer dropped her coverage because the company found an instance in which she visited a dermatologist for acne, and didn't tell the insurance company about it. This, the insurer said, was an example of "fraud and material misrepresentation."

Yeah, “stopping fraud and material misrepresentation.” Uh huh. God, what assholes. And they really don't even care what Congress thinks about this. No shame. No sense of wrong doing. Nope. We don't care that people are dying because of our actions. Not our problem. And we will praise our employees for saving us money!

We need a public option for healthcare coverage for every single person in this country. Perhaps when these insurance companies actually have real competition will they stop these tactics. I don’t even have an adjective that fits right now. I don’t believe in the afterlife, but if I did, Hell would be much too nice a place for people like this.

This is some of what I was referring to in my last post. A society that really cared about its populace would never allow things like this to happen. I am really pissed.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Cynical Sunday morning thoughts.

I haven’t written much of substance on this blog for over a year now. I used to write some fairly lengthy posts that took some thought and research to put together. There are some posts that I have written that I am actually quite proud of. Now, I just express an opinion, usually a rather pissed off opinion, about what is going on in this country. I also break it up with some cheap laughs when I find the opportunity.

I just haven’t had the energy or enthusiasm lately, especially since we elected Barack Obama as the first black man to be President of the United States. I was so upset with criminal and unethical doings of the Bush administration, all I could see was getting a Democrat into the office. I held out hopes that things might change.

It is terribly evident that, even though Obama’s election does indicate that some steps are made (and that is no small step, for certain), things in this country are not going to get much better. We can and should continually try, but things are never going to change significantly. Those with money and power are not willing going to give up what they see as their God given right to run this country, either by having one of their representatives in office or by manipulation behind the scenes. We are never going to get rid of people who cannot get past their ignorance, fear, petty jealousies and hatred of anyone and anything that is different from them. We are never going to do anything about the preventable deaths by nuts with guns. We are never going to have a system, including healthcare, that works toward the benefit of all people, not just the rich. It seems that we, as a country and a species, are never going to get past the limitations of our reptilian brains. Yes, there are individuals, groups and companies that are striving to become what we really could be. But as a whole, the human species is too damn stupid to become something else.

We haven’t advanced any since the time of the Romans. We just have better technology, better medicine, “better” weapons… I can imagine some of the people I see spewing forth their hateful rhetoric saying the same exact same things in the 16th century. I can see people today who would think the Inquisition would be a grand thing if only our government would allow it. I see people today who would make great SS storm troopers. I see people today who would arrest Gallileo for pointing out that Earth is not the center of the universe. It’s the Dark Ages with blackberries, cable television and high speed internet access. That’s how I really feel about our society today.

If this blog had any real readership, I suppose I would be deluged with comments. Since I don’t, I guess this just counts as me screaming at a hurricane. It does just about as much good. I suspect that, as I move more toward the end of my working career and into retirement, I am going to turn into an angry, cynical recluse. I will concentrate more and more on the trivial hobbies and activities that I have going that, essentially, do nothing but focus my attention on something enjoyable to me and to waste time until my eventual death. That sounds really horrible, but that’s how I see it. I really, really dislike society and I am feeling more and more detached from it all the time. Every time I explore the internet and read what is going out there in the blogs, I get a really sick feeling in my stomach.

The human species, in my mind, has so much potential. We have already achieved some astounding results. We understand so much that humans never did before. I am just so in awe of what we now know about the universe. We have robots on Mars and have taken pictures and mapped the surfaces of all the planets in our solar system, with the exception of Pluto and that is coming in a few years, along with numerous moons surrounding those planets. What we now know is light years from what even our civilization knew 100 years ago.

But unfortunately, knowledge does not always translate to intelligence. We are a stupid species that knows a lot. Although I won’t be around when this finally occurs, I wouldn’t really shed many tears at the prospect that our species may become terribly diminished due to global climate change. We are slowly killing ourselves with our stupidity. Oh, I think the Earth will survive, in some form or another. It has been undergoing constant change throughout its lifetime. I expect that to continue. However, what the Earth changes into might not be terribly conducive to the survival of human society in its present form. Who knows? In order to survive, humans may need to revert to our roots as hunter/gatherers in order to survive.

If that happens, it couldn’t happen to a more deserving species.

And now for something completely different, radioactive wasp nests.

From the Seattle Times:

By The Associated Press

RICHLAND — Workers cleaning up the Hanford nuclear reservation are going after radioactive wasp nests.

The Tri-City Herald reports 6 to 12 inches of top soil are being dug up this month from 6 acres near the H Reactor. And, workers will dig up more individual mud dauber wasp nests over about 75 acres of the nuclear reservation in southeast Washington.

The contractor handling the clean-up, Washington Closure, says the nests were all built in 2003 when water was used to dampen dust during demolition of an H Reactor basin. That attracted the wasps that used the mud to make tube-shaped nests for eggs.

Spokesman Todd Nelson says the nests are "fairly highly contaminated."

Well, that’s all we need. I think I read something a couple of years ago about radioactive bats at Hanford. Now, we have a story about radioactive wasp nests. Fortunately, it’s only about the nests right now and not the wasps themselves. I can’t imagine having a giant radioactive dirt dauber settle down in my yard and start burrowing under the crawlspace. I’m telling you, one of these days, Mother Nature is going to come back gunning for us. Global climate change is probably too slow a method, as well as not being terribly reliable, to really get rid of human beings. She might pick a faster method one of these days. Giant radioactive dirt daubers are probably as good a method as any. (No, the AP story didn’t say anything about “giant.” But really, is there any possibility, at all, that there might be a highly radioactive insect that ISN’T a giant monster?)

The poster is of the film, Monster from Green Hell. For a great review of that film, check out the B Movie Graveyard.

It appears the elections in Iran were, shall we say, not quite on the up and up.

Here's a blog entry at Washington Monthly that gives an overview.

Isn't it odd, though, how everyone can really wring their hands about how unfair it is that the ruling party in the government of Iran manipulated election results and thereby subverted the will of its people, but everyone in THIS country seems to be quite happy to turn a blind eye to all the voting irregularities and the possibilities of unscrupulous people being able to change the vote tally in electronic voting machines?

There are a lot of people, all over the world and including in this country, who have absolutely no idea what "democracy" really means. I know one thing it isn't. Democracy isn't, "win an election by any means and then you get to do anything you want for the next four years."

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Another recent example of conservative cognitive dissonance.

A point brought up by Tom Tomorrow in his latest cartoon (see here) is one that I have thought of many times in the past. I find it absolutely astounding that, on one hand, conservatives can stomp about, complaining about how violent video games and rap music can negatively influence young people, but on the other hand, say that the crap that Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and other pond scum like them is “only entertainment” and they should not be held accountable for anyone actually acting upon all the egging on that they continually do.

Case in point, Bill O’Reilly has been vilifying Doctor Tiller, who was recently murdered by someone who looks like he has already confessed to the murder in the media and who has a lengthy record of violent acts and intimidation toward abortion providers. O’Reilly went after Tiller (calling him “Tiller, the baby killer) eleven separate times on his show. He used some pretty vile language and really went out of his way to whip up the already heated emotions of his audience. Then when someone actually does go out and murder the guy, O’Reilly seems surprised that anyone would actually try to hold him accountable for anything! My, my. Liberals should really be ashamed of themselves.

I actually do believe in the first point I made above. Constant exposure to violent video games and rap lyrics ARE probably harmful to young kids and teenagers who are still trying to sort out who they are. I’m sorry, but I think the human species is very easily manipulated. You can get a person to believe most anything, if you try hard enough and start early enough. Having a target who is emotionally confused about their identity and maybe in dire straights themselves just makes manipulation all the easier. So, I find it no surprise that kids constantly exposed to those influences would tend to be more anti-social and willing to resort to violence in order to resolve a conflict or just to get their way.

Another point here is that the advertising people have long known that advertising products actually does change purchasing habits of people. Billions and billions of dollars are at stake here. If advertising didn’t work, they wouldn’t do it.

So, to have O’Reilly argue that what he does is “just entertainment” is just absurd. Video games are just entertainment. Rap music is just entertainment. Violent movies are just entertainment. Yet, conservatives of this country flog Hollywood and video game makers to death anytime they want the country to conform to their view of reality. However, they feel they are free to say anything they want and no one should hold them accountable, in any way, shape or form, if someone actually acts on the hatred they spew out over the airwaves on a daily basis. Sorry, but you can’t have it both ways!!

Michelle Malkin, among others, has a favorite trick she likes to use when someone displeases her. She puts up their names and addresses on a website. Now, exactly what does she expect to happen here? There would be absolutely no point in doing that unless the unspoken agreement with her followers is that they should go harass these people! That is the whole point! And if it isn’t, then why do it? That is completely insane to argue that she was not “directing” her followers. She didn’t need to say it! That agreement was there, on the table! It didn’t need to be said. The only thing that not writing it down gives someone like her is some sort of very implausible deniability. The mindset seems to be “Ha ha! You can’t absolutely PROVE I had anything to do with this so you could convict me in a court of law. Therefore, I am innocent of any of the scurrilous charges you are making!”

I don’t know what kind of psychological buffer this argument gives to these morons. Somehow, this point is central to convincing themselves that they really aren’t guilty of anything. They must be making these arguments solely for themselves and their followers. Have to be. They certainly aren’t convincing anyone else. This seems to be a repeated pattern in today’s conservatives. So long as they can say something, anything that they feel will get them “off the hook”, then they will say it. It doesn’t matter if it conflicts with anything else they have said recently. Just as long as they can say something, that’s all that matters to them. It doesn’t matter if it convinces exactly no one; all that matters is that they have built themselves a little barrier that helps protect the laughable notion in their own minds that they are in the right and everyone else is wrong.

If I remember correctly, Charles Manson was found guilty of murder, even though he did not participate directly in the Tate/LaBianca murders.

UPDATE: After the Jew-Black-Obama hater killed a security guard at the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C., what do you suppose the right wing media would do? Take a step back and look at what they have really been doing to incite their audience into taking action? Or would they call the guy a liberal and try to blame liberals?

If you answered number 2 (specifically Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck), you win the kwepie doll. God, these people are disgusting.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

All you Wiccans out there, you are being targeted by the Republican Party!

From Washington Monthly:

Two leading voices of the Republican Party's evangelical wing visited Rock Church [in Hampton Roads, Virginia] on Friday for a forum aimed at recapturing some of the movement's political momentum.

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee urged Christians to get involved in politics to preserve the presence of religion in American life.

"I think this is one of the most critical moments in American history," Gingrich said. "We are living in a period where we are surrounded by paganism."

“Surrounded by paganism…” My. I suppose that sounds terribly frightening to the 75 to 85% of the people of this country that profess belief in a monotheistic religion. I certainly have seen an uptick of reporting about Druidic rites being practiced in my neighborhood. One of my coworkers told me he believed in Odin and Valhalla. He is from Norway, you know. I was just asked if I would be interested in joining a coven, just last week! And I am almost positive my neighbor is a Wiccan! At least, they have a bunch of goats in their back yard. I am sure that means something.

Man, these conservatives are really going off the deep end. I think he is using the word “surrounded” as it might have applied to George Custer surrounding all those Indians.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

The problem with ignoramuses is that they don’t know they are ignoramuses.

I suppose it is stuff like this that bugs me the most about Republicans and conservatives these days. They think they are brilliant when, in fact, they have about as much on the ball as a bag full of hammers. Michelle Bachmann is a really good example. Last month, she lectured Congress about how carbon dioxide is “natural” and therefore really good for us. It therefore can’t cause global warming.

Here’s someone else that I have never heard of before, but you can be sure he is a Republican, making really stupid statements about global climate change. From Washington Monthly:

"This whole thing strikes me if it weren't so serious as being a comedy, you know. I mean, we just went from winter to spring. In Missouri when we go from winter to spring, that's a good climate change. I don't want to stop that climate change, you know. Who in the world want to put politicians in charge of the weather anyways? What a dumb idea. [...]

"Some of the models said that we're going to have surf at the front steps of the Capitol pretty soon. I was really looking forward to that. [...]

"We've been joined by another doctor, a medical doctor but also a guy who graduated from high school science as well, from Georgia, my good friend, Congressman Gingrey.... So to have actually a guy who's passed high school science is tremendously helpful. And Dr. Fleming from Louisiana."

These people aren’t even smart enough to recognize the fact that they don’t really know anything about the subject. That happens to us all the time. No one can be an expert in everything (except for Dr. Benton Quest, which is probably the subject of a future post), so not knowing something about a specific subject, especially technical or scientific, is nothing to be ashamed of. However, when rational people realize they are in that situation, they usually keep their damn mouths shut so as to not make total jackasses out of themselves. Yet, here are these elected officials making pronouncements delivered as if they were Zeus standing astride Mt. Olympus. And to make this guy look even stupider, he is standing up there, bragging about his friend that passed high school science! THAT makes someone an expert on global climate change!?!

It occurs to me that even a hard-core Republican ideologue should pay attention to a person banging on their front door at night, yelling at them that their house is on fire, even if the person banging on the door is known to be a Democrat. Yeah, you might not trust Democrats. But the situation they are being warned of is pretty dire, so regardless of who might be delivering the message, they better get their butt out of bed to go check out if their house really is on fire. But no. These clowns would prefer to pull the blankets up under their chins and tell their bed partner (whoever that might be, which is also may be the subject of a future post) about what idiots Democrats are. Their house couldn’t POSSIBLY burn down, because God won’t let it burn down! Or because flames are natural so therefore, flames are good for us! Or how burning houses are all a liberal plot to destroy the economy.

Ignoramuses are bad enough, but smug ignoramuses are insufferable.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Ah, remember the good old days, when any criticism of the President was considered to be anti-American, if not downright treasonous?

I remember. It seems like that was pretty much how the Republican Party saw the world in the first eight years of this decade. Man, you said anything critical of even the policy of the Bush administration and it was a pretty good bet the Conservatives of this country were going to demonize you. Dissent was not to be tolerated, period.

Well, now that President Obama has made what many are calling a Very Important Speech in Egypt, the rules of the game are now changed. See what James Inhofe (Crazy Person - Oklahoma) said regarding the current President of the United States, while that President is still abroad. From Washington Monthly:

Sen. Jim Inhofe said today that President Barack Obama's speech in Cairo was "un-American" because he referred to the war in Iraq as "a war of choice" and didn't criticize Iran for developing a nuclear program.

Inhofe, R-Tulsa, also criticized the president for suggesting that torture was conducted at the military prison in Guantanamo, saying, "There has never been a documented case of torture at Guantanamo."

"I just don't know whose side he's on," Inhofe said of the president.

My, how times have changed. I wonder what happened? Oh, yeah. A Democrat is now the President. Funny how the rules change like that, isn’t it?

Actually, no, it isn't funny at all. Expected, yes. Funny, no.