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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Unreasonable People

A version of this essay first appeared on Stonekettle Station several years ago.  In response to recent events, a number of readers asked for it to be reposted.  Here you go, I’ve made some edits and updates. //Jim


 

A while back, I made a smart Alec comment on Facebook.

This is not unusual, I make a lot of smart Alec comments on Facebook.

But in this case I was commenting about the Texas School Board’s decision to remove discussion of any religion other than Christianity from US history books and to actively foist their warped, verifiably wrong, and willfully incomplete view of history on America’s school children.  Specifically, I said, “I’d like to personally thank Texas for rolling the US educational system back to the 14th Century.” Way to go, douchebags and so on. With a link to Phil Plait’s Bad Astronomy Blog at the Discover Magazine and a discussion of the same topic from the view of an actual no-foolin scientist who spends an admirable amount of time slapping around stupid people.

It didn’t take long for a creationist to show up, and not just a creationist but a global climate change denying, Big Bang denying anti-evolutionist who doesn’t understand the difference between the origin of life and the origin of a species. Here’s his comment:

Evolution has about the same evidence as global warming. No transitional forms and no missing link. Look it up. Even the Big Bang doesn't make sense without a creator or cause. Darwin’s book Origin of the species never addresses the Origin of the Species.

People seemed think I was going to debate this chucklehead.

Heh heh, no. 

See, while I found their comments amusing, there was no way I was going to do anything other than point and engage in ridicule.

It’s not that he wouldn’t have been easy to rip apart, and in fact I count over a dozen things in his ridiculous comment that are verifiably wrong, provably so, definitively so, obviously so, beginning with the fact that my post had nothing whatsoever to do with either global climate change or evolution. My original comment was about the Texas state school board’s decision to edit out an enormous historical contribution to human history, science, culture, and language because they don’t like Muslims and don’t want them portrayed in a favorable light in any way whatsoever. Period.

This pisses me off.  It pisses me off because when Texas does something dumb with their school books, it affects the rest of the country.

I don’t give a flying fig what kind of ignorance they wish to indulge in down there in the land of pointy-toed boots, giant hats, and horny toads, but when their nonsense impacts my child’s education and makes my country the laughing stock of the of civilized world, then they are making it my business.

I would feel the same way about it if they’d decided to edit Jesus out of the history books – if Jesus had actually invented optics, developed algebra, preserved large chunks of human knowledge throughout the Dark Ages when Europe had fallen into illiterate feudal savagery while the Christian church was busy spreading the Black Death and burning people at the stake for heresy instead of doing something useful, if he had carried science and civilization to a third of the known world in his caravans, or explored more of the planet than the fifty miles of desert surrounding the place where he was supposedly born.

It is true that I and most of you could have easily debunked that creationist nonsense – the difference being that I would probably have used more four-letter words than you.  Hell, I could have done it when I was ten.  Scientists like Plait and Michael Shermer of the Skeptical Inquirer make a career out of refuting this kind of bullshit, and I admire them for it.

But it doesn’t make any difference.

Not to the crazies anyway.

You cannot reason with unreasonable people.

And it is my policy not to engage in debate with willfully unreasonable people. 

There’s a difference between stupid and deliberately stupid.

In such cases, mostly I just point and laugh.

Now look, I’m not saying that debunking the cranks isn’t an honorable and worthwhile endeavor and a crappy job that has to be done. But people like the commenter mentioned above simply don’t operate within a fact based, reality oriented framework. Through design or defect, they are functionally incapable of processing input in a rational manner. Instead they see the world through some kind of warped goggles the way a mental patient views his world and no amount of debunking will ever change their delusional outlook. Period.

In other words, it doesn’t matter how debugged the program is if defective processor circuitry adds two and two and gets the square root of negative one, and in fact always returns (i) no matter what numbers you put in. You can keep plugging in the proper values, checking and refining your input, but the machine relentlessly spits out (i) and only (i). That’s exactly what it’s like to debate a creationist, or scientologist, or a moon landing denier, or an anti-vaxxer.

And it is neither my job nor my duty to debunk the idiots or pamper the mental patients.

In America, the Constitution may give these people the right to speak their bilge in public, but it doesn’t require that I have to respect it.

And I do not.

I cannot, and will not, suffer fools gladly. And I really can’t understand people who do.

Arguing with these people, attempting to reason with them, is a lost cause – because they are not reasonable people.

You cannot reason with unreasonable people. You can not.

 

The only proper response to this nonsense is this: Shut Up.

 

Let me give you an example.

Remember Marshall Applewhite?

Marshall was a fun guy. He got fired from his job for “emotional issues” (HR speak for “basket case”).

In fact, Marty had a whole host of mental issues, which included hearing voices in his head and the belief that he was storing the preserved mind of Christ in his noggin. I don’t suppose it will come as a surprise to you that he was a big believer in UFOs and alien visitors. 

Marshall, who preferred to be addressed by his secret space alien name “Do,” also went to Mexico and had himself surgically castrated, because, and dig this, the Jesus voice told him to cut his testicles off.

Applewhite founded an outfit named Heaven’s Gate.  Maybe you’ve heard of it – the whole bunch of them committed mass suicide back in 1997 so they could go meet an alien spacecraft hiding in the glowing tail of comet Hale-Bopp.

Marshall was obviously nuts, right? (or rather no-nuts, if you want to get technical about it).

Here’s the thing, he didn’t get that way overnight. He didn’t just wake up one day and decide to cut his balls off. He got there a piece at a time, little by little, over years and years, because people indulged his crazy religious bullshit rather than telling him point blank that he was an idiot. People kept talking to him like his gibberish was reasonable. It’s not, it wasn’t.  He was a loon who spoke loony crap and should have been told to shut the fuck up as often as it took.

I know, I know, I see you over there waving your arms. You going all 1st Amendment in the face and shit. Hang on.

Hear me out.

You’re sitting on a bench, reading a book, enjoying the sun, whatever it is that you do in the half hour when you’re not pestering me here.

This creepy old dude with a funny walk and bleached hair comes mooching up. He asks if he can sit down. He seems harmless enough, so you nod to the empty half of the bench, and raise your eyebrow so he knows not to start anything.  He sits down in sort of a weird space alien sort of way, and after a minute he says: “Say listen, after work a bunch of us are going down to Mexico for margaritas and to have our funberries hacked off by a drug lord’s plastic surgeon, then we’re going to dress up in purple capes and white sneakers and drink the strychnine Kool-Aid and put plastic bags over our faces. We’re doing this because Zombie-Jesus-who-lives-in-my-head says the Earth is about to be destroyed by aliens but we’re going to abandon our bodies and go live on the comet with the comet people.”

You nod as if this is a reasonable statement. Oh, yes, how fascinating.

Then Marty asks, “We’ve got an extra seat, you interested?”

To which you reply, (a) “Whoa Doggies, count me in!” or (b) “Piss off you creepy little eunuch or I will snatch you up by the top of your pointy bald grape and jam my Thick Tip Sharpie into your eye so deep that I’ll be able to write Fuck You on the inside of your skull in four inch high indelible ink.”

The correct answer seems obvious doesn’t it? (it also explains why I always carry a Sharpie, just in case you were wondering. You might want to give that some thought before you sit down next to me. Just saying)

But, see, here’s the thing: thirty nine people chose option (a).

It wasn’t a secret. They told people. They put out movies. They had a website – they still have a website. And nobody said to them, listen here, you stupid silly bastards…

Everybody just sort of said, well, you know, they’re a little odd.

They weren’t odd, well, OK, they were – but it’s not that they were odd, Marshal Applewhite and Heaven's Gate were bugshit crazy, and everything they said was crazy, and everything they believed was crazy. They were crazy. Nuts. Stark staring bonkers. The whole lot of them.  And it was obvious that they were crazy.

And it happens all of the time. Jonestown. The Branch Davidians. That bunch in France what burned themselves up along with their kids. Those obnoxious goofs who like to wave their bibles in your face while you’re waiting for the light to change. Creationists. Tom Cruise. The subject of yesterday’s essay, William J. Murray. These people are nuts.

And people shake their heads and say, how could this happen?

How could it happen?

It happens because nobody told these deluded idiots to shut up and stop acting like idiots.

It happens because in America, it’s okay to be crazy – so long as you invoke Jesus.

If you tell people you hear voices in your head commanding you to kill the President because Jodie Foster will dig it and want to have your babies, we lock your silly ass up and make fun of you on TV. 

But if you tell people you hear a voice in your head and he’s telling you the President of the United States is Muslim Kenyan Socialist Hitler-clone bent to the destruction of America because he’s really a space alien reptile in a rubber human suit, you can get yourself elected to Congress  – as long as you say the voice in your head sounds like Jesus.

Look, I’m not talking about restricting the freedom of speech or freedom to worship – what I’m talking about is intervention.

I’m saying it’s about time we cranked the public bullshit filter up to 11.

If somebody tells you that that the magical power of Jesus gives them the ability to fly, are you denying them their 1st Amendment rights when you prevent them from stepping off the roof?

Is it our duty to keep these people from killing themselves?

Perhaps not – but what about the people on the sidewalk below? Don’t we have a moral obligation to keep those poor bastards from getting crushed by falling idiots?

Yes. Damn it.

We do.

But you can’t do that by debate.

Debating the loons only rewards their bad behavior and reinforces their delusion.

You cannot reason with unreasonable people.

Debating them only encourages them more. Having a real scientist engage them in live debate automatically elevates their nonsense to legitimacy. Again, don’t get me wrong here, those scientists are professionals and I have nothing but respect for people like Michael Shermer and Phil Plait – but they should come with the same warning as those Mythbuster Guys, i.e. don’t try this at home. Ever.

And it wouldn’t be necessary if more people would tell these idiots to fuck off.

The proper response to crazy is: Shut. Up. Just shut the fuck up. I’m not going to debate you, because I simply don’t respect your stupid bullshit enough to bother. Nobody does. Fuck off or I’m getting out my Magic Marker.

You cannot reason with unreasonable people.

So don’t try.

 

Oh, and pick yourselves up a couple of Sharpies.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Also Nazis, Part 2

 

There’s this little taco stand that I like down by the port.

It’s nothing fancy, just your basic workingman kind of place. It’s literally a shack, a little lunch counter that serves mostly Americanized Mexican food.  Four fifty gets you a drink and great breakfast burrito made fresh to order with the best homemade hot sauce in town.

Once or twice a week I stop in on my way to work.

The guy who runs the place is a damned nice fellow, and I enjoy talking to him while he grills the ham slices and spoons scrambled eggs and sharp cheese and hot sauce into a tortilla wrap.

Typically it takes no more than a minute or so to get what I want and be on my way.

This morning there was a guy ordering for his entire work crew, a dozen burritos of different kinds.

And there were four or five working stiffs behind him, all waiting for their orders.

Which meant at least a ten minute wait.

I’m not big on waiting and I hate lines. I almost left without ordering but I was hungry, and I really like those burritos, so I got in the queue.

Which meant that I had the privilege of listening to the loudmouthed blowhards talking politics in front of me. 

I arrived just as the conversation turned to immigrants and how they’re lazy parasites who’re just here for free entitlements. I’m fairly sure that neither of them saw the irony of having that particular conversation in a Mexican food stand run by a hardworking Mexican immigrant and his sons. 

The TV behind us was showing clips from the President’s recent address before the United Nations. One of those morning show type announcers was giddily bloviating about Iran, nuclear weapons, and the pending war with Israel.

“Yeah, did you watch that?” Asked the first guy, who we’ll call Red on account of his … hair. “Jesus, what an embarrassment that idiot is.”

“No, I can’t watch him,” replied the second guy, who I’ll designate Stupid for his striking resemblance to Rick Santorum. “He’s like one of them old timey cartoons, all eyes and teeth and those Dumbo ears sticking out.  It makes me sick seeing him up there in front of the UN apologizing for America all the time. Idiot. He gets reelected, they might as well just give the country to the fuckin’ Muslims.”

“Well that’s what he’s doing with Israel,” said Red, his voice authoritative with the kind of conviction you get from listening to talk radio. “He sold them right down the river, basically just said Iran could have a nuclear bomb and we weren’t going to stop them. We’ve got to get this guy out of office before it’s too late. Hopefully Iran will hold off until after the election.”

I opened my mouth…and then closed it firmly.  Just get breakfast, Jim, I told myself, get breakfast and get the hell out. Get breakfast. Get out.

“Yeah, I really worry about this country,” said Stupid, shaking his head sadly. “Get this, I heard Obama is going to resume aboveground atomic testing out west.”

You may, if you like, visualize me in full boggle at that moment. Wait, what? Did this guy just say… nah, couldn’t be.

“No shit?” asked Red. “What about the radiation? The EPA will go apeshit. They’ll never let him to do that. Those pricks run the country.”

“No, it’s their idea. That’s what the guy said, that’s the whole point. Just like when they were doing that testing back in the 60’s, the fallout will settle all over the West, right? Not enough to kill anybody, but everybody will get scared of the cancer and they’ll have to have Obamacare and then the EPA can use it as an excuse to stop drilling. Kick everybody off their land. No more fracking, right? So even after he’s out office they still won’t be able to drill out there and we’ll have to buy our oil from the friggin’ Arabs.”

Breakfast, Jim, I said to myself, just get breakfast and get out. And stop boggling, they’re going to notice. 

“I swear this guy is more like Hitler every day. But the stupid Liberals are going to reelect him anyway. We’re going to be living in Germany if we don’t get him out of office.”

“We already are, Bro, we already are…”

By this point, I was literally biting my tongue.

Nazis. I hadn’t even had my goddamned breakfast yet and already there were Nazis. 

It’s not bad enough that it was raining and cold. Now there were Nazis too.

Just once, really, I’d like to get through my day without Nazis.

Now granted, neither Red nor Stupid specifically mentioned Nazis per se, but they did say Hitler and you have to figure Nazis just sort of naturally follow.

Like the man said, Nazis, I really hate those guys.

So, to recap, Obama is going to nuke the West in order to make people use Obamacare and to stop fracking so we have to buy our oil from the Arabs, he’s doing this because he’s Hitler and he hates Israel and America. Also, Nazis.

Well, sure, when you put it like that, it is a frighteningly probable scenario.

Sure.

These were grown men. Adults. With jobs. Probably they had kids and wives and maybe pet dogs.  From their dress and the fact that they were in the port area at six in the morning, they obviously had some kind of job, a trade, some kind of skill, something that required at least a modicum of rational thought – I mean, you would think, right?  They walked upright and were capable of rudimentary communication. They could order burritos and operate machinery.

And yet…

And yet, there it was, naked insanity. Raving paranoia masquerading as rational discussion. Unfettered lunacy running free in the streets.  Random chaos in the life support system.

Nazis. At six in the morning. Goddamned Nazis.

Well, said I to myself, if nothing else, Jim, you’ve gotten it out of the way early today. You got breakfast and you managed to get away without hurting people, well done, Sir. And now it’s over.  Unless you run into Sarah Palin riding an actual velociraptor through the streets of Anchorage chasing the homeless into the freezing waters of the port, there’s nothing else you’ll witness today that will be as silly. You may now coast through the day and embark upon the weekend free of worry. Yay.

 

Oh how very wrong I was.

So very, very wrong.

 

Everything would have been OK, but then I came across William J. Murray.

They say that the acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree.

That may be true of acorns, but nuts on the other hand can apparently roll for miles.

Murray is the founder and head of the Religious Freedom Coalition, a Washington D.C. lobbying group focused on hating pretty much anybody who is not Murray’s version of a Christian. 

Murray is another one of those ultra religious types who spend more time thinking about homosexuality than actual gay people do.

In 2009, Murray announced that gayness causes train crashes.  Yep.

Last week, Murray declared that the recent outbreak of Middle Eastern violence is, in fact, caused by “elitist homosexual diplomats.”

Yes, you read that right.  Gay people caused the riots in Libya and Egypt and elsewhere. Gay people. But then if gay people can use their gayness to wreck speeding trains, inciting a riot and terrorism is certainly within their sparkly gay powers.  Gayness, is there nothing it can’t do? And do fabulously?

Murray said:

Look at Christopher Stevens, the ambassador that was killed, he was probably a homosexual. Many of the diplomats, the State Department diplomats that I meet with in the Middle East when I go are homosexuals. When I went to the Jordanian embassy a few years ago the ambassador took the group of us that were there on a fact-finding mission and he wanted a picture of us with him in front of a rainbow colored flag, not the US flag. We send people there and they deal with people on an elite level that aren’t really truly Muslims, we send nutcases over there who are dealing with apostate Muslims and then they report back that this is Islam. This is not Islam. What Islam teaches is what is being dealt in the streets.

As I said, the nuts tend to roll. See, William J. Murray is also the son of famous (or as he says, infamous) atheist, Madalyn Murray O’Hair – how’s that for some irony, eh?

If there is a God, he’s obviously got a seriously twisted sense of humor.

William Murray is also the founder of the awkwardly named God Is Not Government PAC or GingPAC for short.

Last week GingPAC ran the following full page ad in papers across the country, particularly in the swing states:

 

Again, even though they weren’t specifically mentioned, I think we can safely assume that there are Nazis in there somewhere.

Honestly, who would believe this stuff?

Who?

Bonnie Plott does. When one of the papers that printed the above ad, The Sarasota Patch, later printed a retraction and an apology, Bonnie left the following comment:

I DONOT SEE ANY THING WRONG!!!!!! IF HE IS ELECTED,
THIS WILL HAPPEN, "NO FREE SPEECH, OR ANYTHING ELSE"
WAKE UP AMERICA, BEFORE WE ARE SLAVES TO MUSLIMS

She wasn’t alone. And over on World News Daily, they’ve started eating each other in the comments section.

I’ve said it before, you simply cannot reason with unreasonable people – and anybody who actually believes the silly shit in that ad is not a reasonable person.

These people, they don’t hate Barack Obama.

I don’t know who they actually hate, but it isn’t Barack Obama.  It’s some bizarre boogeyman that lives only in the closet of their imagination.

I mean look at what they’re afraid of. It’s bizarre.

Obama will force Christian organizations to pay for abortions.  Uh no. We’ve settled this. How many times do we have to go over it?  These people have abortion on the brain.

I think we need a new law:  You have to personally help one hundred actual living breathing babies who have been actually born, you have to provide food, healthcare, shelter, love, compassion, education and so on for one hundred actual babies before you’re allowed to even mutter the word “abortion” under your breath. One hundred, here, abroad, I don’t care, but you have to help each baby personally by your own hand. Period. No exceptions. Only then may you complain about abortion. Otherwise, the rest of us get to shove a rabid honey badger up your ass so you can experience the same degree of irritation your endless abortion bullshit causes us. Sound fair?

Obama will force Christian schools to hire non-Christian teachers. Again, no. That’s just plain asinine.

But you know, it seems to me that this isn’t a bad idea. After all, Christians like William J. Murray want to teach their version of biology in public schools. They say that they only want equal time.  Equal. I’m hip. Let’s require that all religious schools – including home schools – have to hire a certified evolutionary biologist, preferably an atheist, to provide equal counterbalance to the creationism. And while they’re at it they can emphasize that the Bible and Christianity are one theory among many – a theory without any scientific support whatsoever in any fashion.  In order to pass this mandatory class, children must actually answer the test questions and get them right in accordance with current evolutionary theory. If kids can put down “Jesus did it” on a public school biology test, then they should be have to write in “science did it” on religious school tests. That seems fair to me.

What’s that?

Oh, Right. Maybe we better have those religious schools hire some actual mathematicians too, so the kids can learn what the word “equal” means.

Obama will force all states to permit same-sex “marriages.”  And not only that, he’ll make military chaplains perform gay marriages too.  Yeah, once again, these people spend a lot of time thinking about gay stuff. I’m just saying.

Speaking of which, Obama will apparently force doctors to assist homosexuals in buying surrogate babies.

Um…

Let’s try that again and see if it sounds any less stupid.

Obama will force doctors to assist homosexuals in buying surrogate babies. 

Obama will force doctors to assist homosexuals in buying surrogate babies.

Obama. Will. Force. Doctors. To. Assist. Homosexuals. In. Buying. Surrogate. Babies.

Obama will…

Oh for fuck’s sake.

Really?

Just … fuck, really?

You know, I’m pretty sure if that if the folks over at Guinness have a world record category for Dumbest Goddamned Thing Ever Uttered In The History Of Man, EVER, “Obama will force doctors to assist homosexuals in buying surrogate babies” would win the all time record hands down.  I mean, honestly here, what possible competition could that have?

Somebody help me out here, is this something conservatives are actually afraid of?

Are conservatives actually afraid that the President of the United States is going to somehow force doctors to help gay people buy surrogate babies?

Because if you’re actually afraid of that then you are certifiably nuts.

Seriously, if you fear this, then you belong in an institution. You should be locked up and pumped full of happy juice and strapped to a gurney before you choke on your own feces. You’re an idiot, no, strike that, you’d have to take classes and study diligently for years to rise to the level of simple idiot.

Obama will force doctors to assist homosexuals in buying surrogate babies.

I can’t count the number of things wrong with that one sentence.  It’s not even funny as a joke. If this is what Murray’s religion does to you, it should be classified as a dangerous disease in the same category as Ebola and the Mad Cow, one that ought to be approached only with sterilizing fire and abject caution. 

The rest of the list is pretty damned stupid and every stupid-assed item there has been thoroughly debunked, but gay surrogate babies, that takes the big crazy Republican cake.

And not to digress or anything, but isn’t it mothers who are surrogates? If the baby is a surrogate, what’s it a surrogate for?

The statement at the end of the ad is mind boggling:

This is the true agenda of Barack Hussein Obama, the only President in history who has deliberately removed the words “endowed by their Creator” when referring to our Declaration of Independence, not once, but several times. Barack Hussein Obama believes human rights come from government, not from God, and that he as President can take those rights away for the “social good.”

Except, of course, none of the things listed are rights as defined by either the Constitution or the Christian deity.

And as to that bit about being the “only President in history” who deliberately left out “endowed by their creator” when referring to America’s founding principles, well that’s wrong too.  Other presidents have quoted the phrase “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” without mentioning a creator – Ronald Reagan chief among them.  And Obama has routinely used the phrase in its entirety, including the part about the creator. 

But hey, why spoil lies and raving paranoia with facts, right?

What the hell is wrong with these people?

 

Frankly, at this point, I’m staring to think aboveground nuclear testing might not be such a bad idea after all.

Radiation kills cancer, right?

I wonder how it works on Nazis?

 


 

Part 1 of Also, Nazis is here.

And least you think it just me: Here’s a different perspective on this same subject.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Catbox

I get mail.

Lately I’ve been getting a lot more nice fan mail than usual.

I’ve gotten quite a bit of email lately from folks who say they’ve just discovered Stonekettle Station, usually through a link from some form of social networking, and that they enjoyed something I wrote.  A couple of my recent essays got spread far and wide, in particular Also, Nazis! and Mitt Romney: A Simple Test of Character, and that seems to be the cause behind a sudden spike in my inbox volume.

Thanks for that.

Especially the nice lady on Facebook who offered to have my children. I appreciate the thought, but I’ve got it covered.  However, if I was a Republican I’d be all over that like a conservative Cahleeforniah governor on his housekeeper. 

Oh what? The guy is a member of the pious holier than thou party, he knocked up the maid, and then kept her and the resulting child in his own house with his wife – and he was surprised when the wife figured it out.  It’s never too soon for that joke. Never.

Anyway thanks to those of you who took the time to be thoughtful and well spoken. I try to reply to as many of you as I can, even if it’s only a quick one-liner.  But sometimes I just can’t find the time to get to each and every one. Life, you know, tends to interfere. Even if I didn’t respond to your email, I am grateful to all of those who take the time to write.

I also get email from people who are, shall we say, somewhat less appreciative of my viewpoint and essays.

Typically I just delete angry mail after reading the first line, if that, unless the crazy seems to be of the extra special crunchy variety.  I’ve got to be honest, sometimes I enjoy those even more than the fan mail.

And occasionally I get one of those that addresses issues I’m already thinking about and essentially summarizes the loony crap et al resident in the rest of the hate mail.

I like to answer those gems publicly:

Somebody posted your blog stone kettle kitchen about Mitt Romneies character on facebook…

Stone Kettle Kitchen.

I see a number of daily search hits for that phrase.  Usually from Yahoo!, which seems to be the wingnut search engine of choice.

Also, some folks need to be a little more discriminating with the Facebook friending thing, I’m just saying.

... I guess you think your pretty cool with your ugly squint face and that stupid hat. What are you thinking some kind of clint libwood? 

Ugly. Stupid. Clint Libwood. Honestly, you couldn’t work in “retard” and a racial slur or maybe a comment about my sex life? No swiftboating?  Frankly I don’t think you’re really trying here.

However, that said, I do want to thank you for so clearly delineating your level of mental maturity right up front.

That way I don’t have to feel bad about what comes next.

I tryied to comment but my blog keeps disappearing. I guess you would rather listen to your "echo chamber" even thou I wasn't a "d#ck."

Pet peeve: if you’re going to live in the 21st Century with the rest of us, learn the goddamned terminology. 

I blog. You comment.

If you’ve got a blog that keeps disappearing, you need to talk to your platform host. Writing me about it gets you nothing except public ridicule.

OK, two pet peeves: People who bleep out the bad words.  I was in the navy, welcome to Liberty Hall, you can spit on the mat and call the cat a bastard. Hell, you can call the cat a fucking asshole for all of me. She might rip your head off, but it’s not like you’re actually using it for anything anyway, right?

The rules of my site are clearly posted. Here’s the rest of it, articles more than three days old are automatically moderated by software. This significantly reduces the amount of effort required on my part to deal with comment spam, trolls, drive by assholes, and other unsavory characters such as yourself.  When you attempt to post a comment on a moderated post, the blog clearly tells you that your rambling illiterate gibberish is awaiting moderation. That means my software dumps the obvious spam and queues the rest for me to look at before it’s allowed to post. Since I usually have the internet with me wherever I am, I typically review your comment immediately – unless I’m engaged in wild jungle monkey sex at that very moment, and sometimes even then because I’m nothing if not there for you. 

I get a lot of comment spam, and to be honest sometimes I just can’t tell the gibberish from black market Viagra spam posted in Lithuanian.  It all looks pretty much the same to me and to be blunt I just don’t care enough to put forth any extra effort.  It seems to me the extra effort is something that ought to be on your end.

So anyway, if your comment adds to the conversation I allow it to post, otherwise I dump it in the trash along with the aforementioned spam, troll droppings, empty pudding cups, and your mom.

Every once in a while, I miss a valid comment in moderation or the software makes a mistake.  I’ll fish it out eventually. Be patient.

I’ve addressed the “echo chamber” comment elsewhere, but here’s the thumbnail version: I don’t like you. I don’t like how you behave. You irritate me. You irritate my cat and since my cat is an unerring judge of character, and she thinks you’re an asshole, I bow to her opinion. You can’t spell. You can’t form a coherent sentence. You’re an abrasive idiot. You demonstrate a cognitive malfunction and an intellectual misfire every single time you open your mouth. You think that quoting Rush Limbaugh and/or your particular Holy Joe is a valid substitute for having an actual functioning brain of your own.  Here’s the bottom line: You just don’t meet the minimum standards for membership in the conversation.  You can’t even get the name of my website correct despite the fact that it’s clearly printed in giant black letters on the top of every page.  So why in the hell would I inflict you on the other patrons? 

Now, upon occasion I do allow a trollish comment to post and remain on the blog.  I do this for two reasons, 1) it amuses my rather odd cat, and/or 2) because it underscores the point or points I was trying to make in the post.  For example: I write a post about homophobes, homophobes show up and claim they’re not homophobes and then proceed to make homophobic comments.  QED. Win on two counts, the cat’s happy and I’m happy.

That said, despite the fact that I cannot and will not suffer fools gladly, I am not a socialist liberal communist Nazi hater of America. I am, in point of fact, a free market capitalist.  And to prove it I will allow your deleted comments to post – for a fee. Yes, that’s correct, the liberals I’ll let post for free, you on the other hand are going to have to pay.  I think you and I can agree that it doesn’t get any more Republican than that. The price is $1000 per comment, cash, in small bills, payable in advance.

Very well Mister Wright, you right very good and you have lot's of adhoring fans but the devil also speaks with a silver tongue and has lot's of fans just like your "messiah" Oblammer.

Look, here’s the thing, your screwy Iron Age religious beliefs are your problem, you’re not going to make them mine. This is nonnegotiable.

And really, The Devil? That’s your argument?

C’mon, seriously? You’re kidding, right?

Horned goat demon snake man hiding down in the fiery  bowels of the earth. Where are you from? The 14th Century?

I don’t need the threat of some medieval holy man’s vision of eternal damnation to scare me into behaving like a decent human being.  The simple truth of the matter is this: If you need that threat, and the promise of some eternal paradise after death, in order for you to not be a dick in this life, well, you sort of are a dick anyway, aren’t you? Also, on the face of things and given history, that threat works about as well as the one parents use to keep in the kiddies in line around Christmas time.  The difference being that a lump of coal is real, Hell isn’t. Just saying.

Look here, I didn’t sell my soul to Satan in return for facility with words, instead I work at my craft. I write well because I’ve spent a lifetime learning how to acquire, analyze, and present information. I realize you think that’s unfair but look at it this way: if your version of reality is true, you suck so bad at the basic mechanics of putting words down on paper that even the devil himself apparently can’t help you. That’s hardly my fault, that’s all on you, Buddy.

…The signs are lcear we are entering the End Times. You have to be a clusless fool to turn your eyes from that.  If you call yourself a Christian you know that even the blacks are leaving the demoRATS because they don’t want to vote for evil Hussien Oblammer who believes in gay marriage and abortion…

Even “the blacks” are leaving… 

Ah, I see the problem. You’re mixing medications. All by itself undiluted Rush Limbaugh leads to irreversible brain damage and a marked shriveling of the frontal lobes.  But mixing Rush with distilled Anne Coulter in a Talk Radio Speedball is just plain toxic. You risk permanent blindness, copious drooling, and an overpowering urge to snort cocaine out of Karl Rove’s ass crack.

I’ve got to hand it to you though, for a guy who’s obviously operating with severely reduced lobage and in a limited cognitive framework, you managed insult my hat, call me ugly, and work Satan, abortion, and sparkly gay marriage all into the first paragraph.

No wonder my cat thinks you’re an asshole.

…if Mohammid Hussein Oblammer is elected again by you liberal idiots there will be revolution!

Like Dance, Dance, Revolution?

Oblammer knows it because why else would the facists homeland security have been building up their supply of ammo by over 500%? Mitt Romney is right we need to get this lieing muslin out of office before he makes any more treason on the constitution which he keeps changing with one “executive order” after another and new admendments. . Oblammer can’t fix what’s wrong with this country when he says ok half of so-called takers to free loading from the makers America can only be saved by putting God back into the schools and governmetn, because…

OK, stop right there.

For crying out loud, just stop.

Hell and sunfire, I think I need a drink. Or five. 

The cat has stopped calling you an asshole and is now sitting in her litter box using words that make even a retired Chief Warrant Officer blush.

You’re making my head hurt, and it’s not because you’re so sophisticated you’re hard to understand. Honestly, you think like a monkey with a head injury – and that’s probably an insult to brain damaged monkeys everywhere.

Makers. Takers.  Excuse me a minute while I go make water and take a piss on my copy of Atlas Shrugged.  Enough with the Ayn Rand already. It’s a science fiction book. A really crappy science fiction book. Why don’t you just go get your brain scrubbed down at the local Scientology mother-ship and have done with it. Shut the hell up about Ayn Rand.

Frankly, at this point I’m starting to suspect that you don’t actually know anything about your government at all. And by at all, I mean like at all.

In fact, I’m starting to think you learned everything you think you know about the United States from watching reruns of the Back To The Future trilogy, only you thought Biff Tannen was the hero. Because unless you really are a monkey with a head injury, I simply can’t fathom how you could be so astoundingly ignorant. 

Citizens are the heart of a democracy, which sounds like a great idea until one realizes that by definition half the population is below average in the brains department.  Some are way below average

And it’s not like average is all that great of benchmark to begin with.

You would make George Washington despair for the future of any republic and weep in frustration at the utter futility of it all.

Look here, you can’t “make treason on the constitution.” However, that “revolution” you promised? See, that would be treason.

And you can’t amend the Constitution through executive orders.  Executive Orders only apply to, wait for it, the Executive Branch of government.

The president can’t give you an executive order unless you actually work for him, he can’t give Congress an executive order, he can’t give the Supreme court an executive order, he can’t give state governments an executive order. Because, and stick with me here, that would make America a dictatorship by original design – and really, don’t you think the Framers would have noticed that when they penned the Constitution in the first place?  

One thing I’d point out, the Second Amendment you so like? Not the part about guns, the other part, the bit about militias?  Used to be the president couldn’t give the state militias executive orders either, but then a conservative congress gave a republican president that exact authority with the willing complicity of the state governors – including Mitt Romney.  That wasn’t Obama, Biff.   Obama just inherited that authority from his predecessor. 

You ever wonder why the National Guard is fighting so much of the current war? Under command of the federal government? There you go.  Be sure to thank Mr. Small Government States’ Rights Mitt Romney for that, won’t you? But really, I’m sure you can trust everything else he says. Sure. Nothing to worry about.

Speaking of Mitt, he was right? Half the country is made up of freeloaders?

I assume you’re referring to Romney’s 47% comment.

Sigh.

Looks like Rick Santorum was more right than he knew.

I’ve addressed the 47% thing elsewhere, so has every fact checker in the world.  It doesn’t hold water. Period. But you know what? As I said previously, there is a germ of truth to Romney’s comment. That’s right. Some people and institutions that should be paying taxes, aren’t. They get the benefit of living in America, they get protection and infrastructure and subsidies and they rake in huge profits. 

They don’t make jack shit, but they take in plenty.

Yes, there’s a big group of folks who make a lot of money and don’t pay taxes. The only thing they make is bank.

Like Jesus.

You want to talk about freeloaders?

Jesus is the ultimate freeloader.

You want people to start paying their fair share?  No problem, let’s start with the churches. 

You get the TV Evangelicals and the Pope to start coughing up at the corporate rate, you get every church in America to start paying for all the tax free entitlements they receive here in this country, and then you can get back to me.

As to putting God back into government, here’s the thing: God did run the government once.

That’s right.

Christians. Muslims. Jews. Deists. Polytheists. Animists. Hindus. Holy rollers with pointy hats. Each one has had their turn at bat. There was a time when the priests and preachers, the shamans and the witch doctors, the imans and the ayatollahs, and all the other Holy Joes ran their chunk of the civilized world – and there are places where they still do. 

And what did they do with it?

Did they advance the human condition?

Did they make giant strides in science and knowledge and medicine and art and social structures?

Was peace and brotherhood the law of the land?

No.

Instead, without exception, those societies lived in technological and social stagnation and passed the time by burning people at the fucking stake.  And when they got tired of that, they invaded their neighbors. That’s what happens when god runs the government.

So no thank you. God can stay the hell out of my government. And that too is nonnegotiable.

…Gods law is absolute.

Yeah, that’s what bothers me. Laws shouldn’t be absolute. 

Absolute and inflexible laws remove any need for thought, for freewill, or allowances for the various permutations of everyday human existence.

Absolute laws remove equally the option of compassion or ultimate punishment.

Absolute laws lead, always, to tyranny.

And which laws are we talking about anyway? And which God? It makes a difference, you know (OK, not really).

But just for the sake of argument let’s say you’re talking about the Christian God, here’s something funny, those Ten Commandments? One of them is a prohibition against covetousness.  Thou shall not covert thy neighbor’s ass or wife or BMW – or especially your neighbor’s wife’s ass in her BMW.  Since coveting stuff is really the whole entire basis of capitalism (seriously, capitalism doesn’t work unless everybody covets everybody else’s stuff. Everything else pretty much follows that, just FYI) I’m pretty sure God just outlawed free market economics. 

Looks like God is a communist. Well hell, so now what?

Hey, don’t get pissy with me, this is your goofy belief system complete with numerous inflexible mutually incompatible logical inconsistencies, not mine. You got a beef, Biff, you take it up with that socialist hippy you’re so big on. Tell me what he has to say about it.

But I digress. Again.

 

If you need me, I’ll be busy cleaning out the litter box.

Like my email queue, there’s a couple of stinkers in there that need my attention.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Dodging Bullets

 

That's odd.

I can't seem to find it.

I've looked through all the major news sites this morning, but I can't find it.

Hell, I even visited his website.

You'd think it would be there.

But it’s not.

It was a huge deal, right?

I mean it was going to destroy America. You’d think that the fact that it didn’t would at least rate a footnote somewhere.

It was going to usher in the End Times and socialism – which according to the bible-wavers is apparently the same thing.  It was going to be THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT! Dogs and cats living together! Anarchy! The coming of the Anti-Christ. Zombies! Velociraptors! Robot cannibal armies! Alternate Universe Kirk and his Evil Goatee of Evil! 

And, of course, Nazis.

They’ve had a whole year, you’d think you’d see something by now.

So what happened?

Looks to me like America is still intact. The world is still here.  We’re still lumbering along, same as always. The Internet is full of fat puppies and laughing kittens and conspiracy nuts.  There’s an awesome new iPhone out that’s even more iPhoney than the last iPhone. Babies are being born. You can still buy thirty different flavors of coffee pretty much twenty-four hours a day and get it served in a chocolate waffle cone by a topless runway model if you really want it bad enough.  The terrifying addition of not one, but two babies to the cast of Bones didn’t cause the show to explode in an orgy of suckastic cuteness and diaper jokes. 

The world seems pretty much the same as always to me.

It’s been a year today.

Satan’s had a whole year, and what? He was on sabbatical? Too busy in Afghanistan and Libya and Texas? What? I thought the world was on the brink, the Bilderbergs or the Illuminati or FEMA were all ready to go with the dismantling of America.

I would think we’d at least see some Nazis, but nope, not even one lousy storm trooper.

So what the hell happened?

Nothing, that’s what happened.

Nothing, not a goddamned thing. Nothing. Big whooptidoo.

It’s been a year today since gay people could begin serving openly in the US military.

And what about all those dire warnings? There's been no, repeat no, negative impact to military readiness. None. Zippo. Nada. Nothing. Turns out nobody other than a predictable handful of haters gives a fig. Imagine that.  Turns out morale has improved and costs have come down now that we don’t have to hunt our fellows and watch them drummed out of the service for being who they are.

After all the screaming and shouting, the tears and the rage and the Jesus-flinging, after the protests and the congressional hearings, the testimony, the fact finding, the endless TV special reports, the interviews with Admirals and Generals and the “average” grunt in the trenches, turns out everybody in America forgot all about it as soon as the decision was made.

And what?

Nothing, that’s what.

Looking at the war effort, looking at morale, at recruitment, retention, or any other metric you care to measure, there’s just no impact.  And that includes those “medical” issues the homophobes were so, so very worried about.

The world didn't end.

Pictures of gay military folks kissing upon return from deployment and generally displaying unbridled life, liberty, and whatever happiness they can scrounge up in the middle of a warzone appeared momentarily on the front pages of newspapers around the country. Nobody cared. Not really.

Angry Homo-Hatin’ Jesus staying up there in the heavens and pouted.

The mountains didn’t fall.

The sky didn’t turn into sparkly gay rainbows.

The seas didn't rise – well, no more than predicted by the changing climate anyway, and despite the fact that certain gay people are some major league flaming, you really can’t blame global warming on them.

Hell, even military uniforms are still the same old unimaginative drab utilities they’ve always been, there’s been no fashion revolution and soldiers haven’t become suddenly fabulous.

As a retired military guy and now a military consultant, I spend five days a week on one of America’s largest military installations, I’m surrounded by military folks day in and day out.  Army and Air Force, a handful of Navy and Marines, Coast Guard and all the Alaskan National Guardsmen you can shake an MRE oatmeal bar at. Today I see, what? Business as usual.  Gayness doesn’t seem to keep the jets from flying or the ships from deploying or the tanks from rumbling along same as they ever did.  Military folks in smartly pressed uniforms stride purposefully past my office on their way to war, none swish, none sashay – well, except for one rather odd Major, but he was like that before the repeal.

And despite repeal of that idiotic law, they don’t ask and they don’t tell because they just don’t care

Today it’s been a year since the repeal of DADT.

Nobody is talking about it because whether or not the guy next to them is gay is just about the furthest thing from their minds.

There’s still things to be done, of course, even now a year later.  Gay people still can’t get the same benefits as their straight comrades in uniform, but it’s only a matter of time.  It’s galling, I’m sure, to be told that they still have to wait, that they might die in this lousy goddamned war before they’re accorded full citizenship in America, but still it’s coming and nobody can stop it now.

And out there? Out in the bigger world?

Oh, out there it’s business as usual. 

Plenty of military folks are still dying because they don’t have the tools and support necessary to do their jobs, because they’re given idiotic or impossible orders to do idiotic or impossible things in idiotic and impossible places. 

More are wounded or damaged or fighting for their lives in the dark and dangerous corners of the world.

Many more have come home and are now fighting a different battle against a different enemy. They struggle to get the medical care and benefits they were solemnly promised by a terrified nation a generation ago, back when we declared war on the rest of the world.

And even more are out on the streets of America right now looking for work and a way to feed their families, and they will be out there looking for the foreseeable future –  because yesterday the US Senate deliberately skull-fucked every veteran in America. Every single one. Right in the eye socket.

Senate Republicans filibustered the bipartisan Veterans Jobs Corps bill yesterday, a bill they helped write, but then decided to torpedo in an act of obscene and disgustingly infantile partisanship.  Despite vague protestations that putting vets to work costs too much, an excuse that simply doesn’t hold water in light of the eight trillion dollars they’ve enthusiastically spent waging this idiotic and impossible war on terror, the real reason Republicans sabotaged the bill was that President Obama mentioned it in his DNC speech last week. Senate republicans were outraged, outraged that the Commander in Chief of all US Armed Forces mentioned one of his pet priorities, jobs for veterans, and said that when the bill made it through congress he’d sign it into law. Given their all consuming irrational hatred of Obama and their promise to remove him from office by any means available, not to mention given the pitiful state of their candidate’s imploding campaign, Republicans weren’t about to share credit with the President. And they sure as hell weren’t going to let a filthy liberal appear to be better at supporting the troops than conservatives. They were deathly afraid that Obama might get credit for taking care of veterans as he, and specifically the First Lady, have advocated since he took office.  So they fucked us.

I served in uniform for more than two decades. I served under four republican presidents and two democrats.  Without exception, when republicans talk about “taking care of our veterans” what they really mean is money for defense contractors and new weapon programs.  When democrats talk about “taking care of our veterans” they’re talking about people, about the Veterans Administration and medical coverage and jobs.

Republicans blocked the bill specifically to stick it to Obama at the expense of veterans.

They did it on purpose and with malice aforethought.

They did it because they place allegiance to a political party and a political ideology above their Oath of Office, above the Republic, and above their worthless promise to the veterans they sent into the meat grinder.

They fucked us all against our will, they raped every one of us veterans, and they don’t even have the common decency to be ashamed of themselves today.

So yeah, business as usual.

Exactly as usual.

There are a lot of shitty things happening in the military right now, but nearly every single bit of it can be laid directly at the feet of the selfish rotten sons of bitches on Capitol Hill.

Not one single thing wrong in the military today can be blamed on gay people in uniform. Not one.

To be perfectly blunt about it, or more blunt than I’ve been up to now, I’m one hell of a lot more concerned about getting repeatedly ass raped by this dysfunctional excuse for a Congress than I am about sharing a locker room with a gay guy.

I’ve known a number of gay men and women in uniform, I’d trust them to have my back any day. I have trusted them with my life.  Congress on the other hand?  I’ll keep those miserable rat bastards where I can see them.

So, anyway, it’s been a year.

I figured it would be on the front page.

Nope.

Not the front page. Not even buried under the fold on page three.  So where is it?

No, I’m not talking about acknowledgement of the repeal’s anniversary. That’s there, not on the front page maybe, but mentioned here and there in a kind of, oh yeah, right, gay people in uniform, whatever, no problems, move along, nothing to see here sort of way.

No, I’m looking for something else.

I’m looking for Senator John McCain’s apology.

I’m looking for Senator John McCain to stand on the Senate floor in the same spot he did a year ago when he warned us all, when he warned President Obama, that the nation was making a huge mistake and it would destroy the US military.

I’m looking for McCain to stand up and admit that he was wrong

McCain was not just wrong, he was completely wrong, utterly wrong, wrong in every way that it’s possible to be wrong.  Wrong in a manner that calls into question his judgment regarding anything.  Wrong in a manner that calls into question his mental competence and his fitness to serve in congress in the first place.  Wrong in a manner that indicates he gives more credence to his personal hatred and bigotry and bias than to the evidence of his own damned eyes.

Today I looked to see if Captain John McCain USN(ret) would do the right thing, if he would live up to his oath, if he would stand before the world and admit to his fellow comrades in arms, his fellow veterans, gay and straight, that his words and actions were wrong and misguided and ill-informed and not in keeping with the Navy core values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment, values that we officers are sworn to uphold with our very lives.  Values that Lieutenant John McCain once demonstrated to the fullest measure, but Senator John McCain seems to have forgotten.

I looked to see if, while he couldn’t give veterans jobs, well, maybe Senator John McCain could at least put aside his religion and his politics long enough do something else for them today, even if it was only to make a gesture. Even if it was just that one small miniscule thing.

When John McCain came home from his war, he was broken and shattered and damaged – but he came home to fame and wealth and privilege and the best healthcare money could buy.  He never had to beg for respect, for the simple acknowledgement of human dignity denied to his comrades in arms because of their sexual orientation.  He never had to crawl on his belly for a job. He never had to wonder how he would feed his children.

Not all of us are so lucky.

Veterans aren’t asking for much – or perhaps we are, but we’re not asking for more than we’ve earned with our blood and the blood of our comrades, we’re not asking for fame and wealth, we’re not asking for privilege.

We only want the things we were promised by Senator John McCain and the hypocritical cowards in congress.

Funny isn’t it? Funny that one of the very few members of government to vote against the war, is the one supporting veterans in the White House today.

Congress stood together when they decided to send us to war, they were able to do it then weren’t they? The lousy sons of bitches.  They could stand together then, couldn’t they?  It’s ironic – no strike that, it’s not irony, it’s a goddamned disgrace, it’s a fucking travesty, it’s damned near treason, that that they can’t stand together now long enough to do what’s right.

Jobs would be a start.

Respect would be better.

But ultimately what it’s going to take is a change. It’s long past time for these people to be sent looking for new jobs themselves.  It’s been a year today. And if there is anything, anything, that tells me we made the right choice four years ago, it’s the fact that today John McCain’s apology is nowhere in evidence. No matter how hard I look.

We made the right choice four years ago.

But that was just a start.

It’s time to finish the job we started.

The election is not won.

Vote. 

Get involved.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Mitt Romney: A Simple Test of Character

Ironic, isn’t it?

Ironic that the very people most outspoken about gun rights are the ones who keep shooting themselves in the foot.

But I digress.

 

Know how to spot a jackass?

Know how to spot a racist? A bigot? A sexist? A hater?

Sure you do.

Sometimes they make it easy.

They glory in their hate.

They wear it proudly like a lovingly polished pair of jackboots pressing down on your throat.

They put on a white hood and burn crosses in other people’s front yards.  They tattoo swastikas on their faces and shave their heads and march down the middle of the street shouting slogans with their fists raised high. They wrap themselves in their religion and their flags and stand on the corners waving their guns and holy books, screaming hatred and intolerance. They’re easy to spot because they’re too stupid and ignorant and filled with seething hatred not to be.

And sometimes they’re not quite so obvious.

At first.

But, they don’t try to hide their bigotry and they don’t understand why they should have to. They know what they are, but they think that they’re righteous in their bias, justified by history and some ancient wrong, by religion, by class and wealth, by rank and position, by birthright.

Often they seem like decent people – they think they are decent people – but the quiet little hate is still plain to see without much effort.

There’s an old saying: a sure test of a man’s character is how he treats the waiter. Over the years I’ve found that to be an excellent measure.  Back when I was in the Navy I used to see it in the wardroom and the passageways of Officer Country. It was easy to tell which officer thought their position a privilege and a sacred trust, and which thought they were born to a commission by right, wealth, education or inheritance.  All you had to do was watch how they treated their juniors and the enlisted men who cooked their meals and washed their clothes and cleaned their toilet and shower. A surer test of character there never was, nor a more certain predictor of their actions in the crucible of battle, crisis, and among the endless stressors of daily life inside a warship. If you want to know what kind of officer you’re dealing with, watch how he or she talks to the Filipino mess cooks.

And sometimes, they try to hide it.

They work to conceal the hate, the bigotry, and the contempt, but it’s still there, right below the surface, hidden behind a firm genial handshake and a warm white friendly smile.

A person can change, they can grow, they can learn not to hate, they can learn to think and see and feel instead of paraphrasing somebody else’s twisted worldview, they can learn empathy and they can learn respect. They can learn not to be selfish, they can learn not to lie to themselves. They can become the actual person their religion, their country, their education, or their conscience tells them to be.

They can do that, change, anybody can.

For many of us, that’s part of the process of growing up.

People can change.

But too many don’t. They won’t.

And they won’t because, down deep where it really matters, they don’t think their little hates are wrong.

They keep that little hate alive. And they hide it because they don’t want you to see it and they’re just too cowardly to admit – especially to themselves – that they need the people they despise.

So they hide who they really are.

But you can still tell.

It’s not how they act in public – and that’s exactly what it is, an act.

It’s not even how they treat the waiter – because they know you’re watching and they’re on their best behavior.

It’s who they are among like-minded friends. That’s the real indicator.

 

The true test of character is how a person acts when they think nobody is watching.

 

These are the people who want you to believe that they’re not racists because they don’t actually call a black man racial slurs to his face. They want you to believe they’re not racists because they talk to an Asian woman waiting on their table in a civil manner. They want you believe that they are not racists because they listen to Feliz Navidad on the radio at Christmas time. But they get racist jokes via email, and they never protest or set the sender straight because, well, you know, the sender isn’t a racist he’s just being funny. Besides, who does it hurt? Nobody here but us white folks. Then they send it on, it’s not racism, it’s just funny. These are the folks who practice a kind of Leave It To Beaver racism, happy smiling 1950’s racism where everybody knows their place and people of color are the help, not the President.

These are the people who want you to believe that they’re not sexists because they don’t actually beat their wives. They want you to believe they are not sexists because they didn’t sell their daughters into slavery or into arranged marriages like they do over there in that heathen country, you know the one. But then they consistently proclaim the inferiority of women and attempt to marginalize them at every turn, from healthcare to pay to law to religion to politics to rape – to the jokes they share with their friends in the locker room where their wives and girlfriends can’t hear.

These are the people who want you to believe that they’re not homophobic because they don’t actually demand that gay people be stoned to death in the public square – well, not out loud anyway. These are the folks who think they’re being tolerant because they suffer a gay man to live, but not to marry. These are the folks who say they believe in Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness – just not for everybody. Every Sunday they sit smug in their pews and they listen to their holy man tell them how God hates homosexuals and they do not protest.

These are the people who want you to believe that they’re not anti-Semites because they want America to kill a million Muslims in support of Israel – meanwhile on the internet they anonymously decry the nefarious Jew who doesn’t love Jesus and secretly schemes to take over America, indeed, the world.

These are the people who come at you with a hand extended and a smile on their faces, who kiss your baby and tell you that they understand. But underneath?

Underneath they regard you with scorn and contempt.

When they’re among their friends and cronies and when they think they’re alone with people just like themselves, when they think nobody can hear, well then you find out exactly what they’re made of, don’t you?

"…There are forty-seven percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are forty-seven percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it – that that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. These are people who pay no income tax. [M]y job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."

The true test of character is how a person acts when they think nobody is watching.

And here, ultimately, is what Mitt Romney thinks of nearly half of his fellow Americans.

It’s been 24 hours since Mother Jones broke the news and published Mitt Romney’s comments before his rich white friends when he thought nobody was looking.

Every pundit and politician and news outlet in the country has torn this statement apart today. I have a few observations to add.

Romney was speaking at a fund raising party in the Boca Raton home of private equity fund manager, Marc Leder. Despite the claims of conspiracy nuts, there is no disputing that it was Romney. There’s no disputing exactly what he said, or exactly how he meant it when he thought it was “just us rich white folk.” Mitt himself admits as much and says that he stands by his comments – even if he could have said it better.

He stands by his words. Well, good for him.  To bad he didn’t show that kind of character before he opened his mouth in Boca Raton.

Welcome to the age of the personal webcam, Mitt.

Welcome to the internet.

It’s not like the old days when you could just deny, and keep denying, you ever said something. You get caught spouting off bigotry to your cronies nowadays and there’s a damned good chance you just exposed yourself to the entire world.

The future King of England will likely survive having his wife’s tits splashed across the internet, but it remains to be seen if GOP presidential aspirations will survive a similar exposure of their boobs.

As I’ve said previously, Mitt Romney acts like the rich jackass upper classman from every single 1980’s John Cusack movie.

But that’s not really what is so galling about Romney’s statement.

And it’s not that it’s accurate, because it’s not - not even close.

It’s that his unguarded words show you just how much contempt these people have for the rest of us. And when I say “the rest of us” I’m not just talking about liberals. I’m not just talking about the forty seven percent that Romney assumes (inaccurately as it turns out) support his opponent.

When Mitt Romney looks down his nose, he’s looking at all of us who don’t happen to live in the big house, Left and Right.

And that means you conservatives too.

Let’s review, shall we?

Romney’s assertion relies on stereotypes and assumptions about one demographic: the forty-seven percent of Americans who supposedly don’t pay income taxes. That number is accurate as far as it goes.

According to the non-partisan Tax Policy Center, during tax year 2011 46.4% of taxpayers did not, in fact, pay federal income tax. (I note that Romney, a guy supposedly good with money, rounded up when the rules of basic math indicate he should have rounded down. But I guess 47 percent sounds more impressive than 46. It does make you wonder about those budget numbers he keeps throwing around though, doesn’t it? But, again, here I am digressing).

That’s where Romney should have stopped. Right there.

Or rather, if he was going to use that number, he should have explained how it was derived – after all he’s talking to investment brokers and fund managers, they should have had no trouble understanding the math (er, well, OK, point taken). But, really, neither Romney nor his rich friends are interested in that, they want to hear how half of America is made up of socialist parasites. It feeds right into their self-image, their idea that they are exceptional and special and better than the riff-raff.

Politicians complain when some damned dumb inflammatory statement they said is taken out of context. No problem, let’s look at Romney’s assertion in the context of his statement. 

About forty-seven percent of Americans don’t pay Federal Income Taxes.

The population of the United States is around three hundred million.

Therefore basic math indicates roughly one hundred and forty million people, a little less than half of the American population, do not pay income taxes.

And that’s correct, more or less, but taken as a number without further qualification, as Mitt Romney specifically did, it is grossly misleading.

Demonstratively so. 

Taken in context, Romney’s statement directly says one and forty million Americans are automatic Obama voters who are a) dependent on the government, b) think they are entitled to government support without earning it, and c) whiners.

Folks, if Obama could depend on one hundred and forty million votes, we wouldn’t be having this conversation, would we?

So, what about those one hundred and forty million Americans?

Why don’t they have to pay Federal Income Taxes?

Well, for starters, because a lot of them are kids.  Uh huh, kids.  Technically, I guess Mitt is right, they are parasites, and who would know that better than a Mormon, right? Big families, lots of kids. Kids feel like they’re entitled to stuff. Yep, I concede the point.  We were all in this category once upon a time, kids I mean, not necessarily Mormons. I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t expected to kick in as a four year old.

Speaking of kids, some of that one hundred and forty million are teenagers, they work minimum wage jobs and they just don’t make enough to pay federal income tax. I was one of these people too once, longer ago than I care to remember.

A significant number don’t pay taxes because they are homeless, or poor, or handicapped in one fashion or the other. Some are bankrupt, some by their own hand, some by the bad business decisions of others, some by circumstances beyond their control. And some, well, some were left ruined by Mitt Romney and the very people he was talking to. Some of us have also been in this category at one time or another, including me.

Some of them don’t pay taxes because they are wearing a uniform of the United States, and they’re in the warzone right now. I’ve been in this category as well. Several times. You send us to war, you get to pay not only for the war itself and pay us for serving there, you also lose the income we would have paid into federal and state coffers. Didn’t think about that, did you? Generally military people serving in warzones are exempt from Federal Income Tax. For the last ten years, for every Soldier and Sailor and Marine and Airman and Guardsman you sent into the warzone, you removed a taxpayer from the rolls.  And when we come home, well some of us are too broken to return to being productive taxpaying citizens, and you get to pay for that too.  War costs. A lot. In many more ways than one.  We bought this war on credit and now the bill is due, with interest. Still want to invade Iran?

Some of them – a very small amount - don’t pay taxes because they are rich and they are taking advantage of legal loopholes in the tax code available only to the wealthy. I’ve never been in this category, but to be honest, I suspect that it is very likely that I would take advantage of the loopholes too, given the opportunity.

And many of them are old. A good many. Hopefully all of us will be in this category ourselves one day. As they say, it sure beats the alternative.

In point of fact, there are a number of very good reasons why about half of Americans don’t pay federal income tax.

Sure, there is a germ of truth in Mitt Romney’s assertion, but only a germ. 

It’s only a smaller percentage of folks, really, who are parasites on the system.

And there’s a big difference between  the total number of Americans and the total number of Americans who are required to file federal income taxes. Mitt Romney’s statement implies the former, but really means the later.

Note that those reasons do not mean that the folks who currently don’t pay federal income taxes have never paid federal income taxes, or that they never will pay federal income taxes. 

Most of those kids will grow up to pay taxes which in turn will support their kids when the time comes. Most of those old people paid taxes at one time or the other, most paid taxes their whole lives.  So did most of those military folks. And all of those people pay other taxes, payroll taxes, gas tax and sales tax and state taxes and city taxes. People who don’t have to pay federal income tax often have to pay Social Security and Medicare withholdings – and that was Mitt’s beef, they get entitlements without paying federal income tax. But in reality for most of that one hundred and forty million, the entitlements they’re getting they did indeed pay for – or their parents did.

Deliberately implying that one hundred and forty million Americans are freeloading parasites who will automatically vote Democrat because they like handouts is misleading at best and an out and out bald faced pandering lie at worst. I’ll leave it to you to decide which Mitt is engaged in. Personally, despite Rick Santorum’s remark about conservatives being stupid, I think Mitt Romney is plenty smart enough to know exactly what he’s saying.  Maybe Mitt ought to have a chat with his righteously moral God about that.

Romney dismissed the conservative bluehairs who make up the knobby spine of the Tea Party and conservative laborers and members of the military serving in the warzone right along with the tofu-eating Prius-driving sissy-liberals and the welfare queens.

But that’s just how Mitt Romney and his rich friends see us. All of us. Left and Right.

Don’t believe me?

That’s certainly your right, but what makes you think that a man who would strap a member of his family to the roof of a car is likely to treat you any better?

Perhaps in the final measure, the truest test of character is how a man treats his dog.

Especially when nobody is watching.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Also, Nazis!

Thank you, Rick.

Just … thank you.

You magnificent bastard, you’ve made my day.

I got up on a grayly cold and rainy Saturday morning with a shitty migraine (wait, that’s redundant, isn’t it?) complete with nausea.  Then I had to take my cat to the vet for shots.  

Oh yes, that’s just about as good as it gets right there.

Headache.

Sick.

Dizzy.

Angry cat in a box.

The only thing that could have made my morning better would have been Wookie Jesus in the passenger seat playing a Nickelback cover on the bagpipes.

Frankly, I didn’t really expect today to improve in any marked fashion.

I thought about coming home, putting Betadine on the scratches, downing a handful of black-market Excedrin, and crawling back into bed.

Then you, Mr. Santorum, you spoke.

Rick Santorum spoke and the sky did open wide to the sound of a heavenly trumpet, the ugly bleak battleship colored clouds parted and a host of winged angels swirled down through the blazing firmament and began to sing.

And it sounded just like mocking laughter.

And I couldn’t help but join in.

The laughter makes my poor bruised brain bounce around inside my battered skull and Goddamn if that doesn’t hurt. But you, Sir, you make it all worthwhile.

“We will never have the media on our side, ever, in this country. We will never have the elite, smart people on our side.”

Smart people will never be on our side.

 

I’ll pause for a moment so you can savor the delicious irony that is Rick Santorum.

 

Smart people will never be on our side.

Smart people.

They will never be on our side.

Please, stop, Rick, you’re killing me.

Santorum was speaking this morning before the Value Voters Summit. 

And seriously here, “Value Voters?” 

It’s just me, right?

Come on Down to Election Bob’s Crazy Bargain Barn! Low Low Low Prices and Discount Votes! Bring your checkbooks, Folks, go home with a candidate today! Crazy Bob can’t keep prices this low forever! He’s Craaaaaaaaaazy! 

But I digress.

We will never have the elite smart people on our side.

Jeez, you think, Rick? er, sorry, I guess by definition, actually no, you and  the people you’re talking to don’t, in point of fact, think.

You’ve really got to admire a guy who can call his supporters stupid right to their pinched little faces, and they cheer him. But then, well, they’re none too bright, are they? I guess that’s sort of the point Rick was making in the first place. 

You’re morons, Value Voters, morons. Thanks for coming and remember, first pants, then shoes. OK?

 

image

 

Indeed, it’s been quite the week for Not Too Bright On The Right, hasn’t it?

Instead of Value Voters at Crazy Bob’s Discount GOP, Santorum could have been addressing Ohio.

Because apparently there’s no excess of smart folks in Ohio either. 

Turns out fifteen percent of Republicans in the Buckeye State think Mitt Romney is “more responsible” for the raid that killed Osama bin Laden than President Barack Obama. Forty seven percent are “not sure” if Romney deserves more credit than Obama.  Six percent of Republicans gave Romney sole credit for taking down bin Laden. 

There’s a two percent margin of error because a number of Republicans refused to answer the phone just in case The NSA attempted to beam sparkly Negro Rays through the wires in a secret attempt to turn conservatives all gay (Or more gay, as the case may be). 

We will never have the elite smart people on our side.

Not in Ohio you won’t, Rick, that’s for Goddamned sure.

But, would you really want them anyway?

Smart people are a whole lot more work, I’m just saying.

Speaking of Osama bin Laden, after much contemplation, and apparently some recreation chemicals mixed with homemade liquor, Rush Limbaugh has put forward a new theory that Al Qaeda “gave Osama up” to the US Navy SEALs in an effort to give the guy who’s been bombing them from the sky another four years in the White House. 

Limbaugh admits that he’s “just thinking off the top of my head” (frankly, I would have guessed that he pulled that opinion out of somewhere a bit lower on his anatomy – but upon reflection I realized, given the location of Rush’s head, that it’s basically the same thing).

Why would the world’s biggest America hating terrorist organization betray their founder and chief financier to the US?

Let me put it to you this way.  Do you think that militant Islamists will be as hopeful of getting rid of Israel with a Republican president or with a Democrat president?”

I guess that would depend on whether or not Republicans could turn a profit on it.  Sorry, Jesus, it’s just business, you’re a Jew, you understand, right? (What? It’s been two thousand years, still too soon? Sheesh, sorry).

In recent weeks Rush has also suggested that Chicago teachers walked out on strike in some kind of subversive socialist scheme to help the President.

I know what you’re thinking, WTF, Jim? How does the Chicago teacher’s strike help Obama?

OK, first you’re overthinking it.

Try to approach this like you just sat through a Glenn Beck all day marathon:

See, on one side you’ve got the filthy liberal Communist America-hating Homo-loving Teachers’ Union. If there’s anything conservatives hate more than unions, it’s teachers. Teacher are smart. Unions are Commies or Nazis or unAmerican or gay or something. Teachers + Unions = Satan.  And on the other side, well, it’s, Dear God! Rahm Emanuel.  Run for your lives, Everybody!

No matter which sides wins, Obama wins.

And when Obama wins, Satan wins.

Goddamnit!  See? Only smart people like teachers could have come up with such a nefarious plan!

Just last week Rush told his listeners that Barack Obama isn’t “authentically” black, because “he doesn’t have slave blood.” 

Rush was upset that Michelle Obama gave such a stirring and inspired speech at the Democratic National Convention. You can see where he was coming from, really, the nerve of that uppity Negro.

“Obama did not grow up in poverty. His grandmother, the typical white woman, worked in a bank. Don’t give me this ‘down with the struggle’ business. He wasn’t down. In 2008, the Democrats were wringing their hands because he wasn’t authentically black… He wasn’t down with the struggle. He doesn’t have slave blood.”

Too bad the first lady couldn’t come up with a heartwarming story about how she and Barack had to cash in their investments just to afford Filet Mignon for their dog.

Limbaugh likes to call Obama a “Halfrican.” Isn’t that clever? 

I guess that if Obama isn’t “authentically” black, Rush isn’t “authentically” a big fat racist douche. 

Turns out that Obama actually is descended from American slaves, the very first African recorded as enslaved in America as a matter of fact, and even the Neo-Conservative Weekly Standard admits that the Obamas were pretty damned poor starting out.  But hey, why confuse dimwits with facts, right?

Rush is also the guy who recently said that Batman: The Dark Knight Rises was an attack on Mitt Romney. 

 

I’ll pause for a minute so you can take that in.

 

Batman was an attack on Mitt Romney.

See in the movie, the bad guy is named Bane.

Get it?

No?

What, are you people idiots?

Look, it’s simple: Bane = bad guy. And Bane sounds like Bain. Bain. See? Bain Capital, Mitt Romney’s company. Ah HA! So therefore obviously Obama is a communist Kenyan who eats little aborted white babies while scheming to turn America into a Liberal socialist vegetarian gay bath-house under Sharia Law.

Also, there might be Nazis.

I’m a little hazy on the part where billionaire industrialist Bruce Wayne, head of Wayne Enterprises, is a filthy liberal socialist.  It’s probably because Batman likes cats (and women) and doesn’t pack a gun. But I digress.

Meanwhile, just two days after appearing on stage with Mitt Romney, God’s favorite Christian, Pat Robertson, told a man to move to Saudi Arabia so he could beat his wife legally.

 

I’ll pause, while you take that in.

 

Responding to a letter from a man who claimed he’d lost confidence (I think we all know what that means), because his wife insulted him, Robertson suggested that the man become a Muslim so he could beat his wife.

No, I am not, in point of fact, actually shitting you.

Anybody else would have advised the guy to pick up some discount Viagra off Amazon. Seriously Pat probably gets it in by the truckload direct from Mexico.  Instead, Robertson advised the guy to become a Muslim and move to the Middle East so he can legally beat his wife. Man, I missed that part of the bible – oh wait, no…

Robertson’s startled female co-host looked somewhat nonplused at this, so Pat helpfully elaborated:

“I think this man’s got to stand up to her. He can’t let her get away with this stuff. And, uh, you know, I don’t know… I don’t think we condone wife beating these days, but something’s got to be done to make her… She is just totally, well, she’s rebellious, chances are she was rebellious with her father and mother, she’s a rebellious child and she doesn’t want to submit to any authority. And she probably had temper tantrums when she was a kid, you know, the little girl, ‘I hate you, I hate you,’ and she wants to slap her father. Well, that’s the same kinda thing. She’s transferred the father now. I hate to say everything’s gotta be some kind of psychological counseling, but that’s the problem. She does not understand authority. When she was growing up, nobody made her behave, and now you’ve got a 13-year-old in a 30-year-old woman’s body. Now, what do you do with that? Well, you can’t divorce her according to scripture. So I say, move to Saudi Arabia.”

Really, who better to seek marital advice from, than a guy who’s “not entirely sure” if we still allow wife beating in America.

And really, who better to speak for the party of Jesus and family values than a guy who advises men to move to Saudi Arabia so’s they can beat rebellious women.

Wonder how he feels about stoning?

And then there was an editorial on Investors.com posted last week that was utterly terrified by President Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention – in fact the article was entitled “The Terrifying Line in Obama’s Speech That Everybody Missed.”  Now, don’t get me wrong, I think it’s wonderful that the mentally ill are able to find work in media, but frankly it seems to me that a clinical paranoid should maybe have a keeper.  Conservatives are still firmly convinced that word “Hope” means “Socialism” and “Change” means “Giant Negros are coming to eat our white babies!”  Also, well, you know.

Anyway, moving on…

What?

Oh. What was the terrifying line in Obama’s speech that everybody missed?

Apparently Obama promised to pursue the kind of “bold, persistent experimentation that Franklin Roosevelt pursued during the only crisis worse that this one.”

Oh no, anything but that. Wouldn’t want that!

But wait a minute, conservatives also don’t want Obama to keep doing what he’s been doing.

Don’t do what you’re doing, but don’t do anything different.

 

Sure, I’ll pause for a moment.  You maybe want some black market Excedrin?

 

Ready to go on?

Michael Goodman over on Fox News is convinced that Obama and the Democrats “want to conquer America, not unite it.”

Um, excuse me, but isn’t conquest what Republicans do? Hello, is this thing on?

More than anything, Mike is upset that Obama is just so charismatic and charming, such a good speaker, just so darn likable. It’s just not fair, man! 

You should bookmark the Goodman article, because if you ever need an excellent example of the Strawman Fallacy, that’s a really nice one.

In the last month we’ve seen a US Congressman who thinks women can prevent pregnancy resulting from rape by using some kind of secret feminine mojo. These are the same folks who believe that abortion causes breast cancer.  Apparently Female Sex Magic can only kill rape sperm cells not your actual cancer cells.  That seems to be a major design flaw, has anybody spoken to God about this?

Do I need to pause again, or … no? OK.  Just raise your hand if you need a break.

Christian students down in Louisiana are being taught that the Loch Ness Monster is not only real but disproves pretty much all of science.

In Kentucky, Ken Ham and his Creation Museum have fleeced enough loot from the drooling idiots to build themselves an Ark.  Does it make me a bad person because I hope for a really, really big flood on opening day?

Meanwhile, conservative creationist writer Russ Gigg recently advised Stephen Hawking, Stephen Fucking Hawking, to find “real” answers in the Epistles of John – because apparently a guy that is only one of seventeen people to ever hold the Cambridge University Lucasian Professorship of Mathematics doesn’t understand science.  Stephen Fucking Hawking doesn’t understand science.

Yes, I see you waving your hand.  Here, breathe into this paper bag.  You’ll be OK.

Tennessee State Republican Senator Stacy Campfield announced last week that it was “virtually impossible” for heterosexuals to get AIDS. Virtually impossible. Not entirely impossible, but virtually impossible.  Campfield, if you recall, is the same guy who came up with the “Don’t Say Gay!” bill last year. 

Is it just me? Or does Campfield spend a lot of time thinking about gay stuff?

What? I’m just saying is all.

A lot of time.

A lot.

Of course, you can hardly blame the poor guy for his goofy views. Campfield belongs to a political party who, according to Rick Santorum, isn’t all that bright.

Campfield also believes that being gay is a lifestyle choice.

Funny isn’t it?

Gay is a choice.

But people like Stacy Campfield are apparently just born stupid.

 

Smart people will never be on our side.

I didn’t expect to get up today and find myself agreeing with Rick Santorum of all damned people, but there you have it.

You’d have to be an idiot to belong to the same outfit as these people.

An idiot.

Literally.

Even they think so.