Cutting Through The Crap

Friday, July 25, 2014


Okay, I can see where some people might take exception to a couple of these, on some sort of principle of other; but for the life of me I can't understand why 95% of Americans don't consider virtually all of it to go without saying.

How, in other words, can anyone but a very wealthy and very selfish and very short-sighted person, one who fails to understand or figures he/she needn't care about the vital importance to a capitalist democracy of a vibrant middle class, vote for today's Republican party? For that matter, how can anyone who calls him- or herself a Christian; unless preventing same sex marriage, based on something Jesus never said, overrides everything else he actually did.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Fire With Fire


There was a time, if memory serves, when I had a certain amount of admiration for John McCain. He fancied himself a straight-shootin' maverick and, before he got beaten by a snot-nosed black guy, he sort of was. I'm sure I couldn't have withstood what he did in Hanoi, even though it clearly left him damaged in more ways than physically.

And so it is that, especially since being beaten by Obama made him feel small, after the desperate need to win led him to choose a running mate, the personal embarrassment from which he'll never admit, the man has had a hard-on for every possible war there could ever be.

Okay, so he has a need to be tough, a belief, maybe, that the best foreign policy is always based on lobbing missiles and putting on the occasional outright invasion. For whatever reason, that's who he is; or has become.

Far as I'm concerned he's made a fool of himself ever since 2008 as he runs to the nearest mike to make the latest outrageous statement about the guy who beat him. But his response to the shoot-down of the airliner is beyond the pale. It's despicable, even for him:
“It’s just been cowardly, it’s a cowardly administration that failed to give the Ukrainians weapons with which to defend themselves,” McCain said.

In John McCain's damaged mind, not responding to every event militarily is cowardice. But it's not just that: he's calling the President of the United States a coward. After the people he seems to revere armed Osama bin Laden back in the day, and the Contras, you'd think it might occur to him that arming one side of a foreign war doesn't always work out. After he palled around in Syria with the terrorists who turned into ISIS, calling them easily identifiable as good, you'd think he might recognize that holding off isn't necessarily cowardice. That it might, in fact, be wisdom. Were it not coming from, well, you know...

Any situation so complicated -- and, despite his and his sock puppet's nonstop claims that foreign policy is easy: all you need to do is arm people or attack people, international crises are always complicated -- will attract all manner of contrasting ideas from all manner of actual or self-appointed experts. But to call a president a coward for not possessing a hair trigger, let alone assuming that somehow, magically, arming the resistance in Ukraine would have prevented the shoot-down, borders on obscenity. From the other side of the dividing line.

I think it's time to call John McCain what he is: a bitter, damaged old man with one and only one arrow left in his quiver. He'll always deserve a measure of respect for surviving his time in Hanoi, and an unreserved pass for breaking down and signing a "confession" there (a big factor, I'd say, in his current psychic turmoil). But it's long past time for people, even the propagandists at Fox "news," to stop considering his opinion on anything worth seeking out and giving air time. He's become a joke. A nasty sick joke.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014


So here's one right-wing religious icon and phony historian who may have decided if he looks stupid to deny climate change, he may as well use it to his advantage:

David Barton appeared on TBN's "Praise The Lord" program last week where he warned that America is going to suffer the wrath of God for not properly supporting Israel because "any time you go after the Jews, God comes after you." ...
... Countries like the United States that are not siding with Israel will suffer the consequences, he warned, as God strikes this nation with extreme weather, droughts, productivity declines, and agricultural disasters...

Gotta love it. I mean, is there a safer proclamation? For yea, ifeth not America doest become not Christian, lo will the lord bring forth upon us in winter crystalized skyfall yet also in spring will vegetation come forth and cover the land. And if it befalls that my words prove false, I'm dyin'.

Well, whatever it takes to get the idiots on board.

Oh. Yeah. It means it's the hand of god, not carbon emissions. My bad. You just can't win with these guys. Any of them.

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Monday, July 14, 2014

I Got Deer. How About You?

What Kind Of Animal Spoor Are You? Take This Quiz To Find Out.

[Yeah, I made this up. But if you're on Facebook much, you'll agree it's not all that far-fetched.]

And The Difference Is...

Friday, July 11, 2014

Never Mind, Say Cleveland Fans

LeBron "talents" James, shunning the spotlight, quietly announces he's returning to Cleveland. For the love of the game, presumably.

In response, Cleveland fans (fans of basketball, not of Cleveland qua Cleveland about which there was a joke contest, when I was in med school there, "first prize: a week in Cleveland; second prize: two weeks*) have said, "who, us?"
* Well, I was there when the Cuyahoga River caught fire. It's better now. Not a very high bar, though.

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Another writing challenge from ReadWave; this one requests a satirical news report. Here's my entry:

It was a mistake, says Boehner. 

An embarrassed John Boehner, Speaker of the House of Representatives, admitted in a hastily-called press conference today that his party had inadvertently repealed gravity. Speaking from the ceiling of the press room, as reporters bobbed against each other angrily, spinning away as they raised their hands to ask questions, Mr Boehner explained it had been their intent simply to vote to repeal The Affordable Care Act for the fifty-first time. Someone, he stated, had added a paragraph to the resolution, denouncing the science of gravity. 
Refusing to name the Congressperson, reportedly a long-serving member of the House Science Committee, the Speaker pointed out that since previous repeals of the so-called "Obamacare" law had accomplished nothing, no one could have anticipated such an outcome. 
As has been the case with the official Republican Party position on climate change, the paragraph in question pointed out that since gravitational pull between two objects has never been fully explained, it cannot be considered "settled science." But there'd been no expectation that as Mr Boehner gaveled the debate closed, the gavel itself, followed by the Speaker and the acting parliamentarian, would float up from the podium. The four congressmen on the floor at the time had appeared bewildered, and left hurriedly through the visitor door in the upper balcony, holding hands for support. 
Pointing to the fact that, as far as could be determined, the loss of gravity was limited to the space inside the House of Representatives, Speaker Boehner asserted that the event was yet another example of President Obama playing politics and bypassing Congress instead of doing his job. Mr Boehner promised a full investigation, announcing plans to form a select committee, just as soon as members could be rounded up and brought down.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Pattern Recognition

So I guess this is how it'll be, henceforth and forever, pending the awakening of slumbering reason in today's conservatives. Elect a Democratic president, impeach him. (And, I suppose, if that doesn't work, armed rebellion. Because freedom. Because democracy.) Then, lest they be seen as motivated by political revenge, looking the other way by Democrats when the following Republican president commits actual impeachable offenses, like war crimes and lying to Congress and the American people about justifications for unnecessary wars. Turning the Department of Justice into a political wing of his party. Stuff like that.

John "I'm-as-much-a-tool-as-I-am-not-a-scientist" Boehner would prefer to sue, make a show of ball-less whiffery. But he's got plenty of leading lights on his side of the Aisle of Separation of Reality From Fiction calling for the real deal: luminaries like Sarah "It's-only-lazy-when-someone-else-quits" Palin and Alan "Go-long-on-aluminum-foil" West.

The same people, along with Rick "Glasses-make-you-smart" Perry and Louis "Even-that-won't-work-on-me" Gohmert, plus every right-wing talker and each of the teabaggers in Congress, see the crisis on our southern border as deliberately engineered by our president for as yet unspecified or incoherent political reasons. Pretending something impossibly complex is trickle-down simple.

Continuous denunciations, conspiracy theories, blockage of progress, ignoring of crises of their own making (can't ever get too much of Charlie); this is what we get from today's Republican party. Unwilling to do the real work that's required of a democracy, interested only in the next election, blindly clinging to economic mythology and justifying it by blaming the poor for the unsustainable wealth gap in our country.

Pretty thorough; gotta give 'em credit for that. I wonder what their grandkids will say, if they survive.

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Phoning It In

I'd heard it more than once; think maybe it's been in the usual right-wing emails forwarded to me, and maybe on Facebook (hard to believe, huh?) making the rounds: The Supreme Court had issued 13 -- thirteen!! -- unanimous (unanimous!!) decisions declaring President Obama's executive orders unconstitutional. Overreach. Neo-dictatorship.

Well, I hadn't given it a lot of thought. These sorts of claims come by like rats at an open garbage pit, and at some point one stops paying attention. Didn't bother to look into it. But, it turns out, others have addressed it, and -- guess what? -- it's bullshit. Whoda thunk?

Steve Benen dissects it well:

... John Fund made an observation in a National Review piece that was accurate: “Did you know the Obama administration’s position has been defeated in at least 13 – thirteen – cases before the Supreme Court since January 2012 that were unanimous decisions?” It’s not altogether interesting – I think we knew that the Obama administration is to the left of the Supreme Court – but it’s nevertheless true. In 13 occasions, the Obama administration urged the court to rule in one way, but the justices ruled in another.  
But then the game of “Telephone” started. Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) told Fox News that the Supreme Court has ruled unanimously on 13 occasions “that the president has exceeded his constitutional authority.” That’s completely wrong. Most of the cases, including the “buffer zone” case, had nothing to do with Obama at all.  
Soon after, former Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) also told a conservative radio show that the Supreme Court issued 13 unanimous decisions that said “the president or the administration exceeded its constitutional authority.” Again, that’s plainly false...

So. Sorta like the outrage that Hillary Clinton defended a child molester when she was a young lawyer. The Justice Department argues some cases in the Supreme Court, and loses. In the former case, it means Ms Clinton is in favor of child molestation. In the latter, it's proof, despite having nothing to do with executive orders, of an out-of-control president. These guys. These lovers of America, wanting their country back except, you know, those pesky parts. Like our system of justice.

The only question, in the case of the thirteen rulings, is whether those who continue to spread the falsehood do so deliberately, knowing it's a lie; or whether they're just another example of the power of Foxolimbeckian brainwashing.

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Random Facebook Truths

And They Say Religion Is Under Attack

Well, I'm happy to report it's alive and well around here, anyway.
Seattle police said a nude man, apparently high on LSD, led officers on a chase along Lake Washington this morning after smashing into a home and sermonizing to the family inside. 
The family was asleep inside their home in the 400 block of Lake Washington Boulevard East just before 2 a.m. when they heard someone crash through their front door and begin loudly reciting Scripture, according to police...
Can't decide if the nudity adds or detracts from the turgidity of the message. Probably had to be there...

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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Read This

Charles P. Pierce has discussed the long list of craziness in the platform of the Republican party of Texas, the state which brought us our previous president and which threatens to foist upon us another candidate of even lesser talents.

Read the piece. It's a hell of a list. Then hope to hell the demand in his last paragraph comes true (How likely? Zero likely! Because our media are useless):

John Boehner, and Mitch McConnell, and especially obvious anagram Reince Priebus, who nominally presides over Bedlam, need to be asked every day which parts of the Texas Republican platform they support and which parts they don't. They don't get to use the crazies to get elected and then hide behind fake Washington politesse when the howls from the hinterlands get too loud. We allow ourselves only two major political parties. One of them is completely out of its fcking mind. This is a national problem.
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A Thousand Words

This has been making the rounds on Facebook. It says everything.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Courting Disaster

For about a year, before giving up in frustration, I had a weekly column in our local newspaper. I've sent in a couple of pieces since then, which they've published. Here's one that appeared today (I admit it's a lot like something I recently posted):

By now I think we can all agree that judicial activism is defined as a decision with which one disagrees. Has there ever been a more activist or hypocritical court than today’s? Antonin Scalia has given up even pretending he’s an “originalist,” whatever that means. John Roberts “calls balls and strikes” the way Jim Joyce calls people safe at first base. (At least Mr. Joyce apologized.)

Where does our Constitution tell us that corporations are people? In which Article or Amendment is it said that money is speech? And how, might one ask, does the court justify declaring a 35-foot buffer zone around abortion clinics an unconstitutional impingement on free speech while maintaining a 90 foot one around their own workplace? (Sorta like Georgia legislators’ “guns everywhere but the capitol building” law.)

Now we’ve learned that, in their personhood, the religious beliefs of certain corporations take precedence over the law of the land. (It’s worth noting that the particular type of organization so exempted represents over half of all small businesses in the US.) Far be it from me to mention that the renderers of that bit of wisdom were all male, and mostly Catholic. Not relevant. But consider this: in expelling this effluvium upon us all, the court chose to specify which religious beliefs are worthy of legal protection, and which aren’t. I find that the most amazing and dangerous part of their ruling: a stunning and egregious flouting of our Constitution. If that’s not an affront to all religions and the most basic tenets of keeping government out of it, and a sanctimonious step onto the slipperiest of slopes, I don’t know what is. People of all religious beliefs, even the ones now anointed with special deference by those elders of enlightenment, ought to be alarmed. And fearful. 

This is not a wise court. This is a regressive, self-important, ideological and cynical bunch of judicial activists. Not only that: regarding the science of contraception they’ve unashamedly embraced the denialistic copout championed by every leader of their party, as exemplified by John “I’m no scientist” Boehner.

It goes without saying that about half of our citizens would disagree with every word I’ve written, and most of the commas and periods. I’m not saying that liberal courts have never tried to wrap the law around their preconceptions. They have. But I can’t think of a decision -- no, not even Roe v. Wade -- that so adversely affected so many people; and not just women. People of all faiths. And people who might have to do business with them.

I grew up in the home of a truly impartial judge, with whose decisions he himself wasn’t always happy; yet the law demanded it. Oh how we need such people now on our highest court. Clearly, we all see the world through lenses of our own, and our decisions and views differ accordingly. That every tough case in recent years has been decided 5 – 4, with the participants on each side as predictable as the outcomes, confirms that. “Original intent,” without digging up the corpses and tapping into their skulls (although they left many writings that, particularly when it comes to religion, most conservatives prefer to ignore), is fiction. Which happens to be the very word Justice Alito used to describe the concept of corporate personhood on which the Hobby Lobby decision was substantially based. “Useful fiction,” to be more specific. I’m still pondering that one.

Today’s Republican Party, firmly in the grip of the farthest of the far right and based as it is on denialism and exclusion and discrimination and deference to corporatists in all things, rejoices in the recent rulings of the Supreme Court. But unless they harbor a death wish, they really ought not. Reality, whether regarding the climate, education, crumbling infrastructure, or our changing demographics, is not on their side. Wishing it away, or Foxolimbeckifying it, won’t change things. 

Significantly, the chairman of the Mississippi Federation of College Republicans just resigned and announced his intention to switch to the Democratic Party. His, he said, had become too beholden to the Tea Party, moving too far to the right. It’s way past time for reasonable conservatives – I can name one or two – to stand up and demand better of their party. Because if we get more judges and legislators like those calling the shots today, democracy is as doomed as shoreline property and minority voting rights. Younger people, evidently, are beginning to understand.