Thursday, October 31, 2013

Candy Corn

Halloween as a holiday has always perplexed me.

Not the actual festivities of Halloween, I’m not confused by that.

Goblins and witches, ghosts and ghouls, skeletons and pumpkins and candy corn. I get that. Ok, maybe not candy corn, but then again I don’t understand why people eat sushi or tofu either, so there’s that.

But I don’t get Halloween itself as an American holiday.

Halloween is generally believed to have begun as various pagan harvest festivals that got more or less “Christianized” when the Catholic Church showed up in the Celtic lands during the 5th and 6th centuries and decided everybody was having way too much fun.

Naturally the Church wasn’t going to allow a bunch of Celts to go around unjesusified, and so a whole bunch of pagan rituals and Christian dogma got mashed together and by the 12th Century it was was more or less known has All Saint’s Day (also variously All Hallows’ Day, Hallowmas, Hallowtide). In other words: what had been a fun pagan weekend of booze and orgies and general merriment became your standard issue grim Christian day of vigils and prayers and sermons and obligation (Now you know why so many Christian missionaries to Scotland and Ireland ended up being burned at the stake).

By Shakespeare's time it was generally believed that the souls of the departed who weren’t either immediately lofted directly to Heaven or condemned directly to Hell, were trapped for a time in Catholic Purgatory.  All Hallows’ Day give those souls one final chance to select their ultimate destination.

In some places, like France, these beliefs were expanded into the idea that once a year dead souls would rise from the graveyard for a night of revelry in the danse macabre. And really, leave it to the French to have the departed dancing and carousing about like a Grateful Dead concert instead of being engaged in the grim nasty business of haunting and bodily possessions. Far be it from me to judge, but it would appear that being dead in France beats the heck out being dead anywhere else – just in case you’re the type who likes to plan ahead.

The practice of baking little treats, soul cakes, arose during this period, along with lighting candles in the windows of homes to help the lost souls find their way variously home, to heaven, or back to the graveyard (the dead have notoriously bad night vision).

The poor began going door to door where they were given sweets, soul cakes, or other small treats, supposedly as a way to help the souls get to heaven (how exactly giving poor people cake helps the dead cross over escapes me, but then again it doesn’t seem any weirder than most other religious beliefs to me, so I’m willing to roll with it). Some folks wore costumes and disguises to confuse the spirits, others dressed up as their patron Saints in order to honor God and the departed. Some folks began putting their candles into carved gourds or elaborate lanterns. There were hundreds of variations, additions and elaborations, to the rituals of All Saint’s Day across Europe, depending on the influence and inclination of the local Catholic Church and it’s difficult to pin down precisely how the whole mess evolved over the centuries.

However it happened, people being people, eventually the night before the solemn joyless business of honoring the Saints and the process of urging lost souls to go be lost somewhere else evolved into a party and people started having a little fun once again.

Naturally that didn’t sit well with the more religious types, fun being sort of the antithesis of fundamentalism and all.

Over in what had been the Celtic lands, where all of this business started, there were the Protestants, a dour and unsmiling lot who regarded the fun of All Hallows’ Eve as your basic deviltry.

The Protestants looked upon the various rituals surrounding Halloween as “popery” and the trappings of the Catholic church and/or paganism – which they, of course, were.  The Protestants weren’t having any of that nonsense and so when they set off to settle the New World, they left it all behind along with the Catholics.

The first few centuries in the New World were mostly free of such things, if you disregard the occasional witch hunt. 

But then the Potato Blight struck Europe, in particular those self-same Celtic lands, and a whole bunch of folks decided to immigrate to America rather than starve to death. 

And they brought with them All Hallows’ Eve.

At first it was confined to ethnic neighborhoods of Irish and Scottish immigrants, but it wasn’t long before the rest of America was wondering why they shouldn’t be dressing up in funny outfits and getting themselves some tasty treats too.

By the early 20th Century, Halloween was a going concern, and naturally it got combined with the various American fall harvest festivals which added in pumpkin carving and bobbing for apples and hay rides and haunted houses and the Charlie Brown Halloween Special.

It being America, it didn’t take long for capitalism to override any lingering protestant disdain once Wall Street figured out that they could commercialize the whole thing and turn a tidy profit.

And so, here we are.

As a kid back in Michigan, I loved Halloween.  We’d roam the neighborhood dressed up as ghosts and witches and comic-book characters. From previous experience and word on the street, we’d know at which houses the good treats could be found and where we’d end up with a lame old popcorn ball or a homemade cookie (which Halloween law decreed you must immediately throw away upon returning home because they would, of course, be filled with rat poison and razor blades) – or worse, the neighborhood dentist’s house where they’d hand out toothbrushes and coupons for office visits.  That first night we’d eat candy until we turned green with nausea, and then we’d hoard the rest like Smaug the Dragon sleeping on top of his pile of Dwarvish gold.  Over the next month the stash would diminish piece by piece, from best to worst, until there would be only an individual sized pack of sugar-free Chiclets (stupid dentist) or a lose fuzzy handful of stale candy corn in the bottom of your sock drawer.

Halloween really hits its stride in college. There’s nothing like a college Halloween kegger, is there?  Or a drunken Halloween office party. And when you're a parent of small children, certainly Halloween is pretty enjoyable.

But when you’re my age? Meh. There’s nothing in it for me.

The mishmash of strange religious rituals, goofy clothing, free handouts, and fun

I dunno, maybe it’s just me, but it sure seems like this is the one night each year where conservatives get to act like liberals do all of the time.

I don’t expect I’ll see much in the way of Trick or Treaters tonight.  I live in rural Alaska, in all the time I’ve lived here I think we’ve only had one kid come to the door – one of the advantages of living on a dark, sparsely settled street and at the end of a long cold drive.  Usually I pick up a couple bags of candy just in case, but since it’s likely that I’ll end up eating it all myself, I get the expensive kind I like, no candy corn or Sweet Tarts and nothing “fun sized.”

Update: I went out today to buy a bag of candy.  Unfortunately, the place I went only had the giant-sized wholesale bags. So I bought one. Figuring, hey, if nobody shows up, I’ll have candy for a month.  Then my wife came home, being her and knowing me, she figured she better stop on the way home and pick up some candy, just in case. And, of course, it being the 31st, it was all on sale. My wife not being one to pass up a sale, we now have enough candy to equip a good sized college frat party.

Hmmm, maybe I better look up the number of the neighborhood dentist.


How about you folks?

What do you do for Halloween? Stay in? Go out? Dress up and get drunk on candy corn?

Friday, October 18, 2013

World War GOP


This morning, deep in the rank catacombs beneath a heavily fortified New York mansion, lolling in an oversized gold-plated hot tub taken directly from Saddam’s Palace and filled with buttery yellow fat rendered from the still warm corpses of homeless orphans, rested the bloated and wrinkled slug-like Barons Harkonnen brothers Koch.

Naked and emaciated servants scurry about the dank chamber with their chains clanking softly, trying to look invisible as the malignant siblings rage and play angry incestuous footsie with each other among the greasy fart bubbles. 

“He has defied us! Defied us!” screeches David, his withered hand rises claw-like from the oil and a long yellowed nail stabs at a control panel, across the dark vaulted space a random servant shrieks in sudden electric agony, clutches at his chest and drops dead in a twisted rictus. Bright crimson gushes from the tortured mouth and pools like an offering upon the cold stained flagstones at the booted bronze feet of a larger than life statue of John Morrison Birch.

“The arrogant whelp must pay, pay, for his impertinence, yes, yes!” hisses Charles in a hideously wet reptilian cackle that echoes back from the dark reaches of the chamber in the whispering cries of ten thousand damned souls. His slit yellow eyes glow in the dimness like twin lanterns lit from within by the fires of perdition.  “You there!” He thunders at the ranks of cowering toadies, “Bring us the head of Ted Cruz!”

The minions, ever fearful and obedient, leap to carry out their masters’ bidding…



Okay, fine, fine.

Maybe I did just make up that part about the hot tub’s former owner, but the rest is at least as accurate as anything put out by the Koch Brothers’ pet media pals. 

And really, have you seen what’s going on out there?

Conservatives have started eating each other. It’s like that zombie movie, World War Z.

Tea Party groups today led by former Senator Jim DeMint, founder of the Senate Conservatives Fund and head of the Koch Brothers funded Heritage Foundation, are attacking Mitch McConnell (R-KY) after McConnell signed off on the bipartisan deal to avert default and reopen the government.

The shambling undead Tea Party is angry at McConnell for what they’ve labeled “The Kentucky Kickback,” an earmark that increases funding for the Olmstead Lock, a federal Army Corps of Engineers project on the border between Kentucky and Illinois. The bill signed Tuesday by President Obama increases funding for the Lock from $775 million to nearly $3 billion.

The Koch controlled Senate Conservatives Fund was outraged:

"In exchange for funding Obamacare and raising the debt limit, Mitch McConnell has secured a $2 billion earmark. This is an insult to all the Kentucky families who don't want to pay for Obamacare and don't want to shoulder any more debt."

Tea Party sponsored ads are running across Kentucky even as I type this and the Heritage Foundation is threatening McConnell with primary challenges.

The funny part?

The really, really funny part?

McConnell is innocent. Mostly.

Yep. It wasn’t him.

As the Washington Post reported Wednesday night, the funding request for the Olmstead Locks was made by President Obama.

Yes, that’s right. Barack Obama quietly inserted a massive pork plus-up into the bill for a project in McConnell’s red state

And then one of Obama’s most fervent and intractable right-wing political enemies took the bait and voted for it. 

And now, today, McConnell finds himself unexpectedly standing in the middle of the street surrounded by ravenous flesh eaters.

If McConnell rejects the earmark he loses the support of all those angry Kentuckians who would benefit in jobs and business, but if he supports the funding increase he incurs the wrath of the shambling Tea Party undead – a monster he personally helped to unleash upon the rest of us.

At this point, Mitch McConnell is probably going to have to chew off his own foot to get away alive.


I’ll just pause for a moment so you can savor the sweet, sweet irony of that.


Meanwhile last Tuesday, while Ted Cruz’s threats of default were still in full filibluster (yes, I said “filibluster,” i.e. a fake filibuster that’s all smoke and mirrors and self aggrandizement. Remember, Kids, like “conservikaze" you heard it here first), CNN’s Anderson Cooper tracked down GOP Strategist and Zombie-Whisperer, Alex Castellanos, on the White House lawn to demand an explanation for the Texas Republican’s shenanigans.

Castellanos’ explanation?

He’s is having bunny sex.

Bunny sex. 

Bunny. Sex.

Castellanos told Cooper that Ted Cruz was having bunny sex.

No, wait, don’t start laughing yet, it gets better.

Castellanos said, “A friend explained to me today, finally, what Ted Cruz is doing. And I finally understand, he’s having bunny sex.”

“This is the late-night edition of 360,” Cooper said dryly.

“In nature, there are boom and bust cycles,” Castellanos explained. “The snowshoe hare, every ten years, multiplies sixfold.”

“Are you high?” a perplexed Cooper asked. 

“I’m high?” Castellanos replied. “I wish I was. The snowshoe hare, I thought it’s a marvelous explanation, every ten years, multiplies sixfold. Bunnies like sex apparently. But the boom produces a bust. They press their food supply, they invite predators. Right now, Ted Cruz, what he’s doing, feels good. He’s growing his supporters. It’s leading the Republican Party, I think, into a bust."

"I think you’re digging a ditch, Alex," Cooper cautioned, and then disgustedly cut to commercial.

Bunny sex.

Ted Cruz is having bunny sex.


I’ll pause for a moment so that you can visualize Ted Cruz engaged in bunny sex.


Hmmm, Ted Cruz, bunny sex. Humpa humpa!

No, no, you’re welcome. Really.

Yesterday @TheCSPANcaller, a Twitter feed that publishes some of the more interesting call to CSPAN, tweeted the message of a hysterical woman who shouted into the phone, “Once Obamacare is fully implemented they will send the sick and elderly to FEMA camps which are funded under Obamacare!”

The sick and elderly will be sent to FEMA camps … where they will be what? Forced to fill sandbags and scrub out Port-O-potties in preparation for the next big hurricane in a red state?

Hell, if we’re going to send people off to FEMA camps we should maybe send the hale and healthy, we’d get more use out of them. I mean, honestly, how many pallets of MREs do you think grandma can pack before her pacemaker gives out? Then what are we going to do with her? Eat her? You know how tough and chewy old people are? Yuck. And the sick? You can’t eat them, that’s just asking for trouble, that’s where zombies come from. True story.

Then again, look at it this way, at least in an Obamacare FEMA camp, the sick and elderly will finally be able to get some fucking healthcare.

But I digress.

Grover Norquist apparently only approves of uncompromising conservative intransigence when it’s orchestrated by him and him alone.

The Americans for Tax Reform president declared that “The Defunders” have a lot of apologies to make:

“It’d be a good idea if they stopped referring to other Republicans as Hitler appeasers because they opposed the strategy they put forward which failed. I think if you make a mistake as big as what they did, you owe your fellow senators and congressmen a big apology. And your constituents, as well, because nothing they did advanced the cause of repealing or dismantling Obamacare.”

That’s good advice, Grover, maybe you should take it.

“They hurt the conservative movement, they hurt people’s health care, they hurt the country’s economic situation and they hurt the Republican party,” he says. “And a lot of congressmen and senators are not going to win because we spent three months chasing our own tail — or at least, parts of the conservative movement spent three months chasing their own tail.”

You know, it’s ironic, damned ironic indeed, when Grover Norquist of all people starts complaining about Tea Party obstructionism. 

Seriously, get a load of the onions on this little twerp, the sheer staggering hypocrisy boggles the imagination.

Right before the House vote to reopen the Government, Erik Erickson of the Red State blog and a regular Fox News contributor, tweeted:

House Republicans should object to unanimous consent to move the Senate plan forward. FIGHT.

Now honestly, I’m not sure if Erickson was objecting to passage of the bill itself, or just to a unanimous passage of the bill.

It’s okay to restart the government and keep America from defaulting on her debts, just so long as, you know, it looks like all the Tea Party types object.  In other words, they know that they are wrong, they know that their policies are wrong, but they’ll keep advocating for them just as long as they know there are enough sane people around to outvote them and keep things tottering along.

Maybe Erickson and his shambling undead buddies should spend a little time scrubbing shitters in a FEMA camp.

Last Sunday, a bunch of Veterans rallied on the Washington D.C. Mall to talk revolution and to trample the sacred oath they once swore into the mud of hysteria fueled sedition under the twin banners of the Gadsden Flag and the Stars & Bars.

Oh, it wasn’t supposed to be that way, sure.


Wink wink.

Organizers say that The Million Veteran March was supposed to be a some kind of peaceful protest to demand a reopening of the war memorials and an end to the government shutdown and its impact on active duty troops and veterans alike.

In reality, of course, it was your standard issue lynch mob of right-wing gun-waving conspiracy nuts and born-again government haters complete with powdered wigs and Halloween costume Ben Franklin frock coats.  They stormed the World War II memorial and tore down the fences, then they marched over to the White House gleefully waving their confederate battle flag and listened while conspiracy nut extraordinaire, Larry Klayman, preached sedition and explained how America is "ruled by a president who bows down to Allah."

"I call upon all of you to wage a second American nonviolent revolution, to use civil disobedience, and to demand that this president leave town, to get up, to put the Quran down, to get up off his knees, and to figuratively come up with his hands out,"

Then they posed for pictures in front of the White House, next to the Confederate flag, and then when Obama disappointingly didn’t actually surrender, they just sort of wandered off, dejected at the failure of their little revolution.

I wrote about Klayman and his calls for a Second American Revolution last week, imagine my utter disgust when I realized that men and women I served with, friends of mine, people I once admired and respected, fellow veterans, were out there gaily marching alongside the likes of Larry Klayman and the traitorous scumbags of the Oath Keepers, waving a confederate flag and cheering on sedition.

Afterward, of course, certain shamefaced vets tried to distance themselves from the event, criticizing tea party activists for taking over the demonstration.

On Monday organizers posted on the Million Veteran March’s Facebook page:

"The political agenda put forth by a local organizer in Washington DC yesterday was not in alignment with our message. We feel disheartened that some would seek to hijack the narrative for political gain. The core principle was and remains about all Americans honoring Veterans in a peaceful and apolitical manner. Our love for and our dedication to remains with Veterans, regardless of party affiliation or political leanings."


Riiiiight.  Apolitical.

Just out of curiosity, I’d love to see a poll of how many of these veterans were not card carrying conservatives. But I digress.

Disheartened. They were disheartened. Oh, well, then, disheartened.

You’ll note however, none of these veterans actually stood up to Klayman and the Tea Party when it actually mattered

They took to Facebook after it was over, but not while the TV cameras were rolling.

None of them, not one, shouted down the seditious calls for revolution or the disgusting attacks on the president’s religion and integrity. None of them tore down that goddamned Confederate flag. 

Instead they cheered. And posed proudly for the cameras.

None of them, not one, stood firm between the mob and their Commander in Chief.

Apolitical my hairy white ass.

Meanwhile, over in New Jersey this ad was playing:

My name is Steve Lonegan, I'm the Republican nominee for US Senate here in New Jersey. And we're going to shock the world on Wednesday. That's why I need your help. Our latest internal polls have us within just 3 points of winning this New Jersey Senate seat!

Internal polls.

Seriously, will Republicans never learn?

I mean, come on. You’ve got to be kidding, right? After the last presidential election you’d think Republicans would be damned careful, damned careful indeed, to employ a non-partisan third party data collection outfit. But no, instead they continue to hire pollsters to blow smoke up their collective asses until their colons turn into beef jerky.

Internal polls. It’s creation science math yet again, folks. 

Lonegan shocked New Jersey on Wednesday all right, he lost to Democrat Cory Booker by a staggering 11 points.

Still in denial, Republicans attempted to spin Booker’s win into some sort of victory for conservatives.

Lonegan lost, but his principled campaign showed the strength of conservative activists in a state that hasn’t voted Republican for president in a quarter-century. Since the campaign culminated with the government shutdown in Washington, it can’t be said that voters rose up to protest Republicans as Obama and Booker urged. In defeat, Lonegan won a higher percentage of the vote for U.S. Senate than any Republican in the Garden State has gotten in a dozen years.

I, wait, what?

Why am I picturing wild-eyed Charlie Sheen jumping up and down on a couch shouting “Winning! Winning!”

Or maybe a better mental image would be Daffy Duck gleefully shouting woohoo! woohoo! and leaping about madly with Elmer Fudd chasing after blasting his shotgun randomly in all directions.

But then there’s Ultra Conservative stalwart, Pat Buchanan (Talk about the shambling undead) who actually does believe public opinion has turned against Republicans – he just doesn’t care.  Monday, in a column on World Net Daily (where else, right?) Buchanan said that if Republicans were going to be blamed for the consequences of their own actions anyway, then they should just go ahead and wreck the entire country:

“Republicans should refuse to raise the white flag and insist on an honorable avenue of retreat. And if Harry Reid’s Senate demands the GOP end the sequester on federal spending, or be blamed for a debt default, the party should, Samson-like, bring down the roof of the temple on everybody’s head.”

That’s right (or The Right, if you want to get technical about it), the guy who preaches “personal responsibility” ad nauseum tells the party of personal responsibility that if they’re actually held to personal responsibility then they should bring down the roof on the rest of the nation rather than admit personal responsibility. 

This twisted nonsense sums up Ted Cruz and the Tea Party perfectly.

They are nothing but a bunch of sore losers.

They’re exactly like badly behaved little children who when they lose the game fair and square, start screaming in uncontrolled rage and then kick over the board scattering the pieces in all directions while shouting No Fair! NO FAIR! NO FAIR!

Wednesday, as Mitch McConnell was speaking on the House floor, announcing the details of the deal he’d brokered with Harry Reid to end the shutdown and avoid a default, Ted Cruz left the Senate chambers and attempted to hold his own press conference in direct conflict with his own party’s spokesman.

CNN’s Dana Bash told him that the news networks were airing McConnell’s speech live.

“Do you want to wait until the leaders are done?” Bash asked Cruz.

Instead Cruz launched into a tirade attacking his own party:

“Unfortunately, once again, it appears the Washington establishment is refusing to listen to the American people. The United States Senate has stayed with the traditional approach of the Washington establishment of maintaining the status quo.”

No fair! No fair!

You have to wonder what alternate reality Cruz is operating in. 

If Cruz himself had been listening to the American people, what he would have heard was a resounding call to stop his childish tantrums and return to the traditional approach of an actual functioning government.

When Bash pointed out that Cruz had gotten nothing for the immeasurable damage he’d visited upon his own party, Cruz responded petulantly, “I disagree with the premise!” No fair! NO FAIR!

He then said the Shutdown was “a remarkable victory.”

A remarkable victory.

A remarkable victory?

Bunny Sex.

FEMA death camps.

Come out with your hands up.

I’ve said it before, I’ll likely have to say it again: America deserves a far better conservative party than this mewling insanity.

As we stand here in the cold light of dawn, amongst the rubble, watching the cannibal zombie horde gnaw madly at its own innards, it is apparent to me that the Grand Old Party cannot long survive.  The pervasive bunker mentality that madly declares failure after failure as some kind of victory despite all evidence to the contrary is the sound of the life-support system flat-lining.

Unless Republicans shed themselves, and soon, of the uncompromising fanatics and the raging extremists and the yellow-eyed religious zealots and the seditious confederates and the tri-corner hat wearing conspiracy nuts, they will drive both themselves and the rest of us to ruin.

Abraham Lincoln would weep with disgust over what has become of his party.

What the GOP needs now is not Abraham Lincoln, but Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. They need to start lopping off heads. And they need to do it soon, starting with Ted Cruz.

They need to do it before the infection spreads any further.

“He will not be mocked! This is not one nation under God. It never was. The greatest deception here is this is not one nation under God! It never was. Had it been, it would not have been! The Constitution would not have been written by Freemasons! You cannot serve two masters! You cannot serve two masters! Praise be to God, Lord Jesus Christ."
Dianne Reidy, US House of Representatives stenographer
           10/18/2013, Shouting at the assembled legislators right
           before being tackled by security. Crazy is contagious.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Upon The Dark And The Rolling Sea

Oh you set your course for the furthest shores
And you never once looked back
And the flag you flew was a pirate cross
On a field of velvet black
And those landsmen who you but lately knew
Were left stranded on the lea
Don't call on them when the storm clouds rise
On the dark and the rolling sea

My teenaged son pondered the extremists who have taken America hostage.

He asked, “How can they not see how crazy they are? How?”

How indeed?

I mean, they must know, right?

Surely, if a seventeen year old high school student can see it, they must be able to see the bizarre folly of their ways, yes?

We’re months into the crippling effects of sequestration. The government has been shuttered for two weeks now. Americans become ever more restive, the financial markets grow ever more fearful, the nation grows ever more afraid. All for the vainglory of an uncompromising few.

And now?

Now they attempt to extort us with default, with a near certain return to recession and an economic disaster that threatens not just our own nation but the economic stability of the entire world.

They must see how insane they have become.

How could they not?

How can they not see how crazy they are?

The answer is this: it’s all part of a set piece.

Consider the following argument from Christian Apologetics:

Either God exists or he doesn’t.

It’s like flipping a coin: heads, God exists and he’s up there like Ceiling Cat watching you right now; or tails, it’s all just a cosmic accident.

God is the ultimate Schrodinger's Cat, his existence is a quantum state. There is no proof either way.  Science can neither prove that God exists nor prove that he doesn’t. For that matter, neither can religion.

According to the rules of the thought problem, there can be no agnostics, you have to call it, heads or tails. 

Before you decide, consider the possible outcomes: 
a) If you call heads, i.e. God exists, and you live your life according to Christian requirements and it turns out that you’re right, you win it all: salvation, eternal life, so on and so forth. 
b) If you call heads and live your life accordingly, but it turns out that God doesn’t exist, you lose basically nothing. In the end you’re worm food, but you lived a virtuous Christian life so you still win.
c) If you call tails and you’re wrong, well, then you’re screwed. No matter how you’ve lived your life, it’s brimstone and eternal damnation for you. You lose, big time.
d) And, finally, if you call tails and you’re correct and there is no God, you get to live your godless purposeless life however you want and then you die and the worms eat you.

Your stake in the game is finite, but the pot may be infinite.

The risk of gain and the risk of loss are equal; in other words, you calls the toss, you flips the coin, and you takes your chances.

Therefore: Given the stated conditions and possible outcomes it would appear that even though you can’t possibly know one way or the other until you die, you should choose to live your life as if God does exist – because there’s everything to gain and nothing to lose when weighed against eternity.

In other words: Given the basic precepts of Evangelical Christianity, when you die you’ll either end up with infinite reward or a finite loss.  Those are the only two options.  Therefore a rational person (“rational” as defined by Christian Apologetics) would, of course, live as though God does indeed exist. And even if you don’t actually believe that God exists you should pretend to believe in him anyway and live a Godly Christian life.

In the end, if it turns out that God doesn’t exist, you lose nothing other than a few paltry earthly pleasures.

But if it turns out that God does exist, you win it all.

This thought problem, one of the first formal uses of Decision Theory (or more specifically, Game Theory), is commonly referred to as Pascal’s Wager after its author, the 17th Century French mathematician, philosopher, and Christian Apologist, Blaise Pascal.

When examined in detail, the wager is a complex logic puzzle in probability that can easily lead the analyst down the rabbit holes of existentialism and other even more esoteric philosophies of human existence and purpose. 

However, as game theory, there are some significant problems with the wager as Pascal formulated it. 

And there are even more problems with how perversion of this thought problem shapes certain modern worldviews.

Hopefully you, being the smart and savvy readers that you are, have already spotted the more obvious flaws.

First and foremost, the Wager is unabashedly biased in favor of the Christian deity, and in point of fact assumes that the God of Christian fundamentalism is the one true God and that there can be no others – the given outcomes of the problem make no sense otherwise.

Pascal limits your choices.  You must call it, heads or tails.  The Wager rigidly confines you to black or white and disallows the many infinite shades of grey in between.

The wager specifies only four outcomes – or more correctly, only two. In Pascal’s original formulation as detailed in Section 233 of his posthumously published Pensées (“Thoughts” or his working notes), the wager specifies only the first two options: a) you chose to believe in God and he does exist, or b) you choose to believe in God and he doesn’t exist. By its very nature, the wager doesn’t allow a “rational” person to choose non-belief. The additional two outcomes, c) you choose not to believe and God does exist, or d) you choose not to believe and God doesn’t exist, are inferred from the context.  In reality, of course, there are many, many other variations of these four basic outcomes, in fact infinite many, unless you specifically limit the problem to the existence of only the Christian God – which is why the wager was biased in this fashion in the first place.

In the problem, statistically, the risk of gain and loss may be equal, but the value of the pot is strictly subjective, i.e. the possibility of life everlasting in Christian heaven may be the ultimate reward for a believer while a life unconstrained by religion may be far more attractive to a person of lesser or differing faith (or none at all) or those with radically different views of how the universe works.

Also, there’s that bit about faking it. 

Unfortunately, for many Apologists the infinite complex details of Pascal’s Wager, and its glaring flaws, are often lost, and the entire argument is often simply summed up in a single declarative statement as such:

It’s better to believe than not to believe, even if you have to fake it.

Essentially: the appearance of faith is more important than actual faith … and apparently God can’t tell the difference.

Ultimately Pascal’s Wager is often misused by Evangelical Christianity to justify belief, rather than as an exercise in examining why you believe in the first place. 

Pascal postulated his wager as an exercise in reason.  However, far too often Pascal’s Wager is used today to avoid thinking.

The problem with ignoring the complexities of Pascal’s Wager, the problem with disregarding the flaws and limitations, the problem of reducing decision theory to a single stock argument, is that it stops being an exercise in thought and becomes nothing more than mindless religious dogma.

It is human nature to question our existence, but the answers – when there are any – are often complex and ambiguous. 

There are many, infinite, human responses to the uncertainty of our existence.

Some people, like me for example, revel in that complexity, in the unanswerable uncertainty of our existence, and we cheerfully charge off ass backward into the unknown grinning like maniacs. For us, it’s the journey that matters, not the destination.

Some, the pragmatists, simply don’t care, life is what happens. If something comes after, they’ll know sooner or later, and that’s good enough for them.

And some people, such as Blaise Pascal, regard that uncertainty as a challenge, as a complicated puzzle to be taken apart and reassembled and solved through science and/or religion (In Pascal’s time, there was little difference. Both science and religion are attempts to explain how the universe works).  

But for many people that uncertainty is terrifying.

They don’t want to live in a world of complex infinite uncertainty. They don’t regard existence as either a playground or as a challenge. They want answers, simple, direct, explicit answers. They don’t want to have to think about it.  They want the rules spelled out and they want everybody to adhere to them. 

That’s the purpose of Apologetics, to spell out the rules, to define the dogma.

For these people, they don’t need to know why, they only need to check the proper boxes, they only need to follow the recipe. They only need to obey.  They aren’t interested in or equipped to examine the infinite details of Pascal’s Wager, they just want it summed up into a single simple statement.

For them it is indeed better to believe than not to believe, even if they have to fake it.

And that, right there, is the answer to the question posed by my son.

Oh I have no need of a chart or creed
You told your waiting crew
For the winds of chance, they will bear us straight
And you spoke as though you knew
So you paid no mind to the warning signs
As you gave your words so free
Don't change your tack when the timbers crack
On the dark and the rolling sea

Dogma makes you inflexible, robotically responding to the world according to an unwavering punch-card program from which you cannot deviate no matter the overwhelming evidence that you’re embarked on a foolhardy and untenable course.

When you reduce the complexity of human existence to simple dogmatic belief it cripples your ability to reason.

This is the ultimate problem with fundamentalism in any form.

This is the problem with fanatics.

This is the problem with young earth creationism, for example. When you dogmatically believe that the earth is but 6,000 years old you are forced to ignore nearly every provable facet of reality in order to maintain that belief. Once you start believing in magic fairy dust it affects all of your thinking, all of it, it affects your reasoning ability (if that phrase has any meaning here), your ability to compromise, your empathy, your ability to admit error, your ability to rise to a challenge, and your ability to see the world with new eyes. It warps your existence.  Once you start thinking that way, it becomes easy to buy into any form of faulty reasoning from birtherism to various and myriad flavors of denialism to the idea that crashing the government and defaulting on the national debt is somehow a good idea.

Dogma doesn’t answer the questions, it only allows you to ignore them with smug self-righteousness.

The insanity that has taken our government hostage should come as no surprise, given that the most dogmatic of the congressional obstructionists are self-declared Evangelical Christian Apologists who are determined to stay their foolish and disastrous course no matter all evidence that they are profoundly wrong.

Public office is an amplifier, when you elect extremists no matter how small, you get extremism. Every single time.

As the public opinion of the GOP plunges to levels never seen before, as their own personal popularity and support evaporates, as the government grinds into deadlocked rigor mortis, as the economy teeters on the edge of collapse and world markets tumble, these same dogmatic fanatics ignore the myriad warnings all around them and say, “I don’t believe the experts, I don’t believe the scientists, I don’t believe Wall Street, I don’t believe the stock markets, I don’t believe public opinion, I don’t believe the press, I don’t believe the polls, I don’t believe the opposition or even the moderate and reasonable and experienced members of my own political party, I don’t believe the lessons of history, I don’t believe the evidence of my own eyes, I don’t believe that it will be all that bad.”

To quote their own dogma, there are none so blind as those who. will. not. see.

Despite the obvious self-destructive folly of their current tack, the extremists within the GOP refuse to change course.

These are the same kind of deluded fanatics who honestly believe that they can pray away a child’s diabetes or a ruptured appendix. 

When the fever of smaller government struck them, instead of seeking the preventative medicine of real budget reform and actual negotiation, they held to their uncompromising dogma and literally raised up prayers to heaven – and the treatable fever flared into the malignancy of sequestration.  Like a man with a slowly growing cancer, they got used to the malaise and the hobbling weakness and grimly announced that their prayers were being answered. But despite their faith-healing claims, out of sight the sickness was growing day by day, sapping the strength of the nation, using up scarce reserves, driving us ever closer to crisis. When nothing horrible immediately happened, they ignored the ever increasing warning signs and gleefully shut down the government like a gravely ill patient rejecting actual medicine for a Mason jar of snake oil.

And now? Now they threaten us with default.

GOP strategists once hoped to take the Senate in 2014 and the White House in 2016, suddenly they’re saying that it would be worth losing both of those dreams along with losing the House – if it will allow them to get their way now.

These are not the actions of sane and reasonable people, this is the dogmatic insanity of glassy-eyed religious extremists.

These are the kind of fanatics who seized upon Pascal’s flawed wager and reduced it to little more than rigid inflexible dogma.

For them, it is indeed better to believe than not to believe – even if they have to fake it into destruction.

Now the thunder rails in the great mainsails
And the stars desert the skies
And the rigging strains as the hands of rain
Reach down to wash your eyes
And your oarsmen stands with his knife in hand
And his eyes spell mutiny
Don't call my name when your ship goes down
On the dark and the rolling sea…

      - Al Stewart, The Dark and the Rolling Sea

Monday, October 7, 2013

Wright Answers The Mail, Accidentally Unleashes Toothy Reptiles

Some of you asked about my hate mail.

Specifically the stuff in response to the previous post.

That post, Deadlock, hit big.

It’s still hitting big.

I don’t know that it’s viral per se, but it’s big. Like more than 200,000 page views in the last 36 hours big. Like shared 20,000 times or more on Facebook. Like the size of Newt Gingrich’s ego big. Like the size of Michele Bachmann’s insanity big. Okay, maybe not quite that big, but big. That’s what I’m saying here.

So, of course, there’s going to be hate mail.  Because there’s always hate mail when I write something that goes viral. Hell, there’d be hate mail if I wrote about cotton candy and bacon (and how Obama is trying to outlaw both! Socialism! Nazis! They’ll take my bacon when they pry it from my hot sticky hand! Ur, um, but I digress).

So anyway, hate mail.

A lot of hate mail.

Now, you know me, I recycle. I’m not just going to throw the hate away after it’s done warmed my flinty black heart, it’s still good for lining the catbox or for compost. And I know how much you love my hate mail. And because I love you, each in your own special way, I was going to do my usual thing and pull out selected bits and snark on each one individually for your entertainment. Because I know that makes you smile and dream happy dreams of peace and bacon flavored brotherhood and Canadian style universal healthcare.

Because, as I said, there’s a lot of hate mail.

But the problem is that there’s really not much variety this time around.

I’ve got quantity but not much quality.

Frankly, I look at the volume of messages clogging my inbox like so many undigested jelly donuts in Rush Limbaugh’s large intestine, and I think the least the nuts could do is maybe put a bit more effort and creativity into their insanity, that’s what I’m saying.

After the first couple dozen or so messages, the frothy yellow bilious hate becomes a bit redundant and it all just sort of runs together.

Listen, about the two hundredth time you get damned straight to bible hell, you just sort of nod and say to yourself, well, you know it’s got to be better than this bilge. At least Lucifer knows how to spell and, and yeah, he may be the evil dark lord of the underworld and all but, you know, he can structure a sentence in a grammatically correct fashion. Jesus should have spent a little less time on parables and maybe a bit more time teaching English 101, because seriously, Folks, crack open a copy of Strunk & White. Please.

So anyway, like I said, it all just starts to run together. Hell. Socialism. Jesus. Hate America. Rapture. God. Communists. States Rights. End Times. Ben Franklin. Obamacare. Federalist Papers. Gun Rights. Antichrist. Small Government. Thomas Jefferson. Bleat bleat, blurt blurt, ook ook.  Honestly, how many damned times can you read the word “Nazi” before you start thinking about rounding up all of these hysterical Tea Party chowderheads and herding them into FEMA death camps? No, really, hand over the tinfoil hat, Ben Franklin, and get in the sack, get in it right now.

And then I thought, hey, you know how when Hollywood is turning a big complicated story with lots of people in it into a movie?  Sometimes they take several similar bland secondary characters from the book and for brevity’s sake and budgetary reasons they just kind of mash them all together into a more interesting “composite” character?

Just so.

If you took all of the tediously similar hate mail that I’ve gotten from that last post on Stonekettle Station, and you pulled out the prevailing common themes, mushed all the commenters together into a sort of noxious hybrid of red-faced spittle-flecked yellow-eyed beer-bellied powdered-wig-wearing booger-eating flag-buggery, this is what you’d end up with:

(We shall henceforth refer to this composite character as “Corn,” as in Corndogus Walkuserectus. You may now conjure up the appropriate mental image, don’t forget the powdered wig).

Me: Welcome to Stonekettle Station, how may I help you?

Corn: I’m very upset. I want to lodge a complaint.

Me: Spiffy. Put on this official complaint suit and stand in the square labeled “DANGER! Keep Clear!”

Corn: Why does the complaint suit smell like ham loaf?

Me: No reason. One of our customer service representatives will be along momentarily.  You’ll recognize him by his toothy grin.

Corn: I read your stupid blog. It makes me, like, crazy angry. There’s a lot of stuff in there that I don’t like.

Me: What about the part with the Velociraptors?

Corn: I didn’t actually read it. It’s too long, and there are really big words.

Me: Like “velociraptor?”

Corn: Dinosaurs are a lie told by Satan to make Jesus soggy and hard to light.

Me: Fun fact, scientists have discovered that velociraptors love ham. Tasty delicious ham.

Corn: I will now tell you why you’re wrong.

Me: About the velociraptors?

Corn: About everything.

Me: You didn’t read the essay. Did you maybe read any of the three hundred comments?  Likely your criticisms have already been addressed.

Corn: I’m busy saving the country for Jesus, I don’t have the time to read that stuff!

Me: But you don’t mind wasting my time, is that about it?

Corn: My penetrating observations are totally new and different and all my own and not like the other ten dozen nuts who’ve already posted the same exact things word for word. I get my information directly from Alex Jones, not third hand like those other guys.

Me: Let me get a fresh beer.  And remember: Velociraptors are more scared of you than you are of them.  Back in a sec.


[… sometime later …]


Corn: Hello?

Me: Good Gravy! You’re still here? All in one piece too. Darn it. 

Corn: I will now refute your little essay by regurgitating a big hairball of Glenn Beck like a cat yakking up noxious orange goo onto your brown leather beanbag chair.

Me: I admire your ability to choke down both Little Friskies and conservative talk radio. I can understand the urge to vomit. However, I don’t, in point of fact, own a burnt orange leather couch, you’re thinking of John Boehner. 

Corn: Leathery … what?

Me: It’s your argument.

Corn: What about it?

Me: You’re drooling on yourself. There, just wipe, right at the corner … uh, never mind.  You were saying?

Corn: OK, I shall now mock your manhood by swiftboating your military service.

Me: Meh, it’s been done. And yet my manhood remains massively intact. See?

Corn: Well, your fans are all sycophants!

Me: Not all of them. Some of them are toadies, a few are henchmen, there are some hangers-on, and there’s one fop but he’s more of an admirer and not really what you could call a fan.

[edit: I somehow forgot to mention the Minions, Cronies, various and assorted Stormtroopers, Fangirls, Fanboys, Groupies, Lurkers, Skulkers, Berserkers, and some guy named Steve.  My most abject apologies, loyal followers]

Corn: Seriously?

Me: It’s a union thing.

Corn: What if I just call you a communist and claim you’re trampling my Freedom of Speech?

Me: Are you guys all reading off the same crib notes?

Corn: Read?

Me: Did you have an actual complaint?

Corn: You said that America is a democracy. Ha ha ha. You’re a big dummy.

Me: Ah, I see. 

Corn:  Dummy!

Me: I don’t suppose you’d buy that in common vernacular, one of the several accepted definitions of democracy is America’s form of republican governance? Kind of like “America” is a commonly accepted term for the United States, even though the US isn’t the only country in America.


Me: Could you maybe act more like a cured meat product? Perhaps honey maple flavored? 

Corn: We’re a Republic!

Me: Okay. We’re a republic. Here, try wearing these pineapple rings.

Corn: Hah! It was a trick question! We’re a democratic republic!

Me: Demonic Publication. Got it. Look could you maybe wiggle around a bit? Velociraptors are attracted to motion.

Corn: You’re such an idiot. America is really a constitutional republic!

Me: Okay, we’re a constipated public. Maybe if you tried whistling… Here boy! Dinner time!

Corn: What a moron! We’re really a representative democracy!

Me: Damn it, I think those scientists are full of it. Try acting like a stegosaurus.

Corn: Obamacare is all tricks! Tricks and lies! Everybody hates it!

Me: That’s it! Big, dumb, and cold blooded! Keep doing that. 

Corn: Obama is an alien reptile in a rubber human suit! He stole the elections with his Magic Negro Ray of Chocolate Mojo! He’s totally a fake president! Obama hates America! He’s a Muslim!  Liberals eat babies! He wasn’t even born in America! False Flag! False Flag!

Me: Damn it, now you scared him off. That’s some powerful crazy, you’ve got going on there. Do they even have a name for what’s wrong with you? Seriously? I bet you could get that treated … under Obamacare.

Corn: Do they have a name for what’s wrong with you? Yes they do, Nazis!

Me: Hey, I’m not the one acting like a shrieking soon to be extinct dinosaur. Dude. Just saying.

Corn: Obmacare! Obamacare! Socialism! Abortion! Gay Marriage! Doom! Doom!

Me: Say, could you excuse me for a minute?

Corn:  Ah Hah! I win! I win! Wait, where are you going?

Me: It’s the beer. I need to see a man about a large carnivorous reptile.



Honestly, if I see one more email about how Obama “stole” the election via some “cult of personality” or how the ACA was passed because of some secret magic Negro Mojo so therefore it’s okay to implode the government, I will feed myself to the velociraptors just to make it stop.

Select all. Delete.

And the mailbox is clear for a brief moment.

Saturday, October 5, 2013


"L'enfer est plein de bonnes volontés et désirs"
    - Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

Commonly translated as: The road to Hell is paved with good intentions


The President cannot give in.

He. Can. Not.

And you don’t want him to.

No really, you do not want him to.

There can be no compromise on the government shutdown.

No matter what happens, the House must not win this fight.

Notice that I didn’t say the House cannot win, I said the House must not win.

Any you don’t want them to.

You, whether you are a liberal or a conservative, whether you are for or against the Affordable Healthcare Act, whether or not you hate Barack Obama’s stinking guts with every fiber of your being, if you believe in the America of your forefathers you do not want the House to win.

Because if they win, if this precedent is allowed to stand, then America as you know it, as you have known it, is over.


Yes. I know.


I’m the last guy who should be doing the “We’re doomed! Doomed!” routine.

I’ve certainly mocked others enough for claiming the same.

This time it’s different.

We not talking about the Mayan Apocalypse or the Rapture or the re-election of Ted Nugent’s worst nightmare. This is something entirely different.

Bear with me.

There is a common response among conservative apologists when discussing the current impasse that has deadlocked our government. It goes something along the lines of: “Well, see, I don’t agree with the shutdown, but our government is based on checks and balances and this is exactly how it’s supposed to work.”

As I was writing this, a commenter calling himself “Venture” left the following on the previous post, Don’t Cry For Me, John Boehner:

This country isn't a democracy. It's a democratic republic. Majority rule, by design, is necessary but not sufficient for government. The Constitution by design has many places where the minority can assert itself. The Senate can stop the House, the House can stop the Senate, the President can stop them both, unless they gang up in which case they can stop him and the Supreme Court can stop everyone. Effective leadership means taking the minority position into account. Obama didn't do that with the ACA; he used some dodgy procedural tricks to get it passed over Republican objections. As a hacker I commend him and his allies for their ingenuity but as it turns out leading a country can't be done by hacking the rules. It requires actual leadership. You have to win the argument, not just the vote. The result is our current situation. The system is working exactly as it's supposed to.

First, I appreciate the hell out of Venture’s well written comment, and I mean that sincerely. I appreciate that he (I assume Venture is a male for the sake of simplicity) was polite, didn’t engage in the usual personal attacks and swiftboating, and was able to express his opinion succinctly without being an ass.  It’s a refreshing change from the usual counterpoints I get here and I sincerely appreciate it. If more folks were like this, I could safely turn off comment moderation.

That said, he’s wrong.

I appreciate Venture summing up his position so well. Venture’s comment is a good example of what I was talking about.

Let’s go through it line by line.

This country isn't a democracy. It's a democratic republic…


This is correct. The United States is a representative democracy, i.e. a republic. 

“Democracy is not freedom. Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to eat for lunch,” that statement or one of its many variations is commonly misattributed to Benjamin Franklin. There’s no evidence that Franklin ever said it, but it’s likely he would have agreed with the sentiment. A pure democracy is emphatically not liberty for all. Democracy is almost always without fail a tyranny of the majority and tends to devolve into a free-for-all grab for public opinion in fairly short order. The Founders had no desire to swap one tyranny for another, so as the model for the United States they split the difference and chose a republic administrated by democratically elected representatives.

Good so far, right? 

The problem with pointing this out in the manner that Venture did is that this fact is typically only acknowledged when one is in the minority opinion. 

As long as the polls show that your side is in the majority, we live in a democracy.

But if the polls show that your side is in the minority, well, whoa, slow down there, Buddy, we live in a republic and don’t you forget it. 

Again, both sides of the political divide in this country engage in this form of rationalization to support their various entrenched positions, it’s human nature.

While the Founders clearly had no desire to create a tyranny of the majority, they also clearly and repeatedly declared that the government of the United States exists only with the consent of a majority of the governed – later summarized by Abraham Lincoln as “government of the people, by the people, and for the people.” 

But no matter the size of your majority, you simply can’t please all of the people all of the time. There will always, always, be dissenting voices. 

And while the will of the majority must be acknowledged, the rights of the various minority opinions must be protected. Venture agrees: Majority rule, by design, is necessary but not sufficient for government. The Constitution by design has many places where the minority can assert itself. The Senate can stop the House, the House can stop the Senate, the President can stop them both, unless they gang up in which case they can stop him and the Supreme Court can stop everyone.

Venture is stating the very essence of our system of constitutional checks and balances, and is again correct.

Effective leadership means taking the minority position into account.

As somebody who has spent a significant fraction of my life in military leadership positions, often under difficult and fractious circumstances, I agree. 

However, good leadership also means not being held hostage to a minority opinion. 

While the counsel of the minority should be taken into account and used to temper the overall decision and to perhaps influence the final outcome, there is always one guy who just has to play Devil’s Advocate. There’s always that one guy who disagrees just to disagree, or is unreasonable for the sake of unreason, or who for some reason is pathologically unable to compromise because that’s just how he’s built. 

In the end a decision must be made and often the majority position carries the day.

True democracy is tyranny of the majority, but tyranny of the minority is equally destructive to liberty.

There’s no point in saying we live in a democratic republic unless you’re going to acknowledge both the “republic” and the “democratic” parts of your statement.

Obama didn't do that with the ACA; he used some dodgy procedural tricks to get it passed over Republican objections.

And this is where Venture goes off the rails.

Obama used a “trick” to pass the ACA into law. This is a common meme among those opposed to the Affordable Care Act and/or President Obama. It’s less noxious than declaring the law invalid because Obama is a Muslim socialist from Kenya, but nevertheless it is simply not true.

During the debate over the ACA, the constitutional process in both the House and the Senate specifically acknowledged the concerns of the conservative minority.  There are more than one hundred and ninety-two republican amendments to the Affordable Care Act specifically addressing the minority’s concerns.  The president himself, over the strenuous objection of his own supporters and a significant fraction of the voting public, compromised with the minority by dropping his election year promise of a public single-payer option.

Again, the objections of the minority were acknowledged and did, very much, temper the outcome.

Exactly as the Founders intended.

And while there was public discussion among certain Democrats regarding the possible use of obscure procedural tactics during the Reconciliation process between House and Senate versions of the bill, in the end Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, was able to pull together a majority consensus by, in part, getting President Obama to reaffirm The Hyde Act via Executive Order in direct acknowledgement of minority concerns, and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was passed by normal House vote 219 to 212 on March 23, 2010.

This, in point of fact, is how our government is supposed to work.

You have to win the argument, not just the vote.

I understand what Venture is saying, and I even maybe agree in principle, but again, incorrect.

This is not how a republic works.

And I’d point out that Venture leads by saying that we live in a republic and therefore sometimes the majority opinion isn’t a valid way of ensuring liberty, and then works around to saying well, you have to win the argument and thus majority opinion because (implied) this is a democracy.

It should be patently obvious in this post-911 Truther and Birtherism era, that in some cases it is impossible to “win” the argument.

You cannot reason with people who are incapable of reason, whose fanatical positions are based on irrational discredited beliefs such as “death panels.”  It is not possible to reach a rational compromise with these people because they are not rational people.  And in the end, it is perfectly within the legal framework of the Constitution to ignore their minority insanity and move on.

The result is our current situation. The system is working exactly as it's supposed to.

No, in fact it’s not.

Again, a representative democracy is designed to prevent tyranny of the majority, but that doesn’t mean we have to live under the tyranny of minority fanaticism either.

There is an enormous difference between being the loyal opposition and attempting a coup.

House Republicans have shut down the government and are threatening to keep the government shuttered not in order to delay further discussion on a pending bill, but rather in an attempt to rewrite the history of the legislature, to override a Constitutional law that has already been decided and judged constitutional before the Supreme Court.

For better or worse, the ACA is now part of the fabric of our nation and so intertwined within our laws that repealing it without suitable replacement would cause vastly more harm than good.  The majority has spoken, the minority was acknowledged, the end result is precisely how our government is supposed to work.

While the House of Representatives is responsible for “the power of the purse,” that doesn’t mean that they are entitled to the tyranny of minority rule.

The power of the purse is the House’s responsibility, not license to hold the majority hostage.

What House Tea Party Republicans are demanding with this shutdown is nothing less than a line-item veto over the established laws of our nation.

If this tactic is allowed to stand, if it succeeds, if Present Obama capitulates to a small minority of extremists, then we will have given both this legislature and all future ones, the absolute power of tyranny via deadlock.

If allowed to become precedent, our government will permanently cease to function in any effective manner, perhaps not immediately, but eventually and if history is any guide it’ll be sooner rather than later.

Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. And you don’t have to look any further than Congress to see the truth of that platitude.

If we allow this tactic to become precedent, it will be abused. It is inevitable.

Just as changing the Senate rules to allow for secret holds instead of public filibuster is daily abused by a fanatical and cowardly minority on both sides of the aisle.

If we allow extremists to hold us hostage, they will continue to hold us hostage and we open the door to any extremist who disagrees with the majority.

If they are successful, then the very next use of this tactic will be its use to defund any portion of our civilization that the outvoted minority vehemently disagrees with, from abortion to immigration to energy to climate change to gay rights to evolution right on across the political spectrum to oil drilling and nuclear power to gun control to the military to law enforcement.

This doesn’t end.

And that too is human nature.

Once it starts, it'll be used by both sides, both conservatives and liberals will use government shutdown to demand defunding of their pet bugaboos.

And at that point the government of the United States will no longer bear any resemblance to republican democracy and will cease to function in any useful fashion. We will have become hostage to any fanatical minority that comes along.

Yes, I know that some of you hate Barack Obama so much that you’re willing to risk it, but you must look beyond the current crisis. Look to our own history. Look to human nature. When congress handed George W. Bush the power of warrantless wire taps and waterboarding and the ability to terminate Americans overseas via remotely controlled targeted killing, to their horror they only too late realized that they had given that same power to Barack Obama.

Just so, if you give the current legislature the power of deadlock, you’ve automatically given it to all future ones as well, conservative or liberal.

Think about that. Think about what that implies for the future. Think about it with a different arrangement of power. Think about it hard.

Government shutdown and deadlock will become the norm and our government will cease to function in any useful fashion.

Should that happen, the nation will either collapse and dissolve into smaller more homogeneous, more easily managed entities the way the Soviet Union did, or we will suffer revolution into a more efficient form of government – likely some form of autocracy emerging out of emergency powers. That's what happened to the Roman Republic and the Weimar Republic when they became constantly deadlocked by endless infighting. The Romans became an Empire. The Weimar Republic became Nazi Germany. There’s plenty of room along the line between those two points but few include liberty.  The United States of American is simply too big and too complex to allow deadlock to become the norm, something will give, and likely it won’t be pleasant.

The house may have the power of the purse. But the president holds the power of the Executive.

If you give the legislature both the power of the purse and the power of the Executive, then you’ve ipso facto destroyed the very checks and balances that keep our government from tyranny.

No matter that you be liberal or conservative, that you be a Democrat or a Republican, you do not want what follows if the President allows deadlock to become a precedent.

The President cannot give in.

And if you are truly an American, you don’t want him to.




A note about commenting
:  This post is getting much wider than normal play.  As usual when such things happen, Stonekettle Station begins attracting a certain frothy spittle-flecked yellow-eyed element.  

As such, commenting on this post is in full moderation and will remain so.

I will reiterate for the slow people: read the commenting rules before attempting to post. Read them. 

Some additional guidelines: 

- This site is not Yahoo! This site is not The Blaze. This site is not YouTube. Don’t act like it is.  If you can’t help but behave like a nasty fifteen year old with a behavioral disorder, then bugger off back to 4-Chan and stop wasting my time. 

- If you attempt to engage in any form of delusional booger-eating ala Birtherism, 911-Trutherism, Oh No Socialism with or without included Nazis,  if you mention The New World Order, or something you heard from Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Michael Savage, Alex Jones, or any TV Preacher, your comment will not post.  Period.  This is non-negotiable. Likewise if you use the term “Chicago style gangsterism” or any similar show of asshatery.  You’re welcome to believe whatever goofy nonsense you like, but I don’t have to give you a platform for it. Shove off.

- I’m not handing out free mental healthcare here, it’s not my job to fix either your insanity or your stupidity. That’s your problem, I won’t allow you to make it mine.

- Yes, yes, you got me. I’m a terrible, terrible person, what with my penchant for murdering babies,  my horde of tofu eating sycophants, and my callous disregard of your brilliant conversational gambits. Boo hoo.  Your fury warms my flinty black heart.  Write you congressman or take it up with Jesus, but you’re not going to post here.

Hope that clears things up. Regards // Jim

Update 2:

Comments on this post are over 200 and counting. When this happens, the Blogger platform doesn’t show all the comments. if you’re not seeing a particular comment, or If you want to see all the comments, including all of the embedded responses, you have to scroll to the bottom of the page and click on “load more…”  I have no control over this, that’s just how Blogger works.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Don’t Cry For Me, John Boehner

"A second flood, a simple famine, plagues of locusts everywhere, or a cataclysmic earthquake, I'd accept with some despair. But no, You sent us Congress! Good God, Sir, was that fair?"
       - John Adams to God, 1776


It’s not just me, right?

It can’t be.

You feel it too, don’t you?

Sooner or later the extremists are going to start shooting hostages and chucking their bodies out the front door of the Capitol Building.

I expect to turn on the news and see the National Mall covered in police cars, flashing lights, and SWAT teams. With an FBI negotiator shouting through a bullhorn, “Okay, just come out with your hands up and nobody else has to get hurt!” And the Tea Party shouting back, “You’ll never take us alive, Copper!”

And then the shooting starts.*

About the only thing they haven’t done yet is demand a suitcase full of money in small unmarked bills and an airplane fueled and waiting at Reagan National.

Do you want to know just how ridiculous the GOP has become?

You don’t have to look any further than this:


Click on the image for a larger version.

That’s a screen capture from the Google News Aggregator for “Republican Party.”

The top story about the Republican Party out of thousands is, yes, that’s correct, a satire by The Onion. 

And it’s been that way for more than 24 hours now.

The best professional Information services in the world can no longer tell the difference between the actual republican party and a fucking joke.

And frankly, neither can I.

Party of Lincoln, my hairy white ass. 

Abraham Lincoln gave his life to hold the Union together, his drooling incestuous political descendants are hell-bent on ripping it apart.


These people aren’t the party of Lincoln, they’re the party of Jefferson Davis.  


The nuts aren’t running the asylum, folks, nobody is running the asylum. The loons have locked the doctors in the dayroom and they’re capering up and down the hallways covered in their own excrement smashing the windows and lighting the furniture on fire.

Republicans know that their party has gone insane, they just don’t care.

Yesterday, on the National Mall in Washington DC, Texas Tea Party congressman, Randy Neugebauer, in a disgusting display of fake outrage and blatant abuse of congressional power, berated a park ranger in front of TV cameras and made her apologize for the government shutdown that he is personally responsible for.

Neugebauer yelled at the ranger because the Park Service had closed the WWII Monument in accordance with government shutdown requirements. Neugebauer demanded to know how the ranger could turn people away.

"It's difficult," the unidentified park ranger responded.

"Well, it should be difficult," sneered Neugebauer.

"It is difficult," the ranger repeated, and then added, "I'm sorry, sir."

"The Park Service should be ashamed of themselves," said Neugebauer.

"I'm not ashamed," the ranger retorted.

"You should be," snapped Neugebauer.

That’s right, a US Congressman told a federal employee that she should be ashamed for doing the job that he, the congressman, forced her to do

Then, when confronted by the angry crowd, Neugebauer ran away like the simpering coward that he is rather than face his own hypocrisy.

The truly ironic part of this pathetic exchange is that the ranger, in defiance of the shutdown, had actually been letting vets into the memorial even though it was technically illegal for her to do so (the Park Service is allowing folks into the moments under the umbrella of the First Amendment, and good on them. They should be commended, not used as a punching bag by grandstanding politicians).

But, she should be ashamed of herself according to Neugebauer.

If I was her, I’d sue this asshole into the poorhouse for creating a hostile workplace.

Here’s the thing, should the WWII memorial be closed?


Absolutely yes.

And there should be a sign on the locked gate that says, “Screw you, America.”

And the old veterans denied access should have to stand there in the rain and suffer, with the TV cameras broadcasting it all live and in color.

You don’t get to have it both ways.

Either the government is shut down, or it’s not. 

You don’t get to pull an asshole stunt like this and then avoid the consequences. 

Neugebauer is one of the principal architects of this idiocy, if he wasn’t the puffed up pusillanimous coward that he is, he would have faced that crowd of veterans and owned up to his goddamned responsibilities as a member of the US government.  Sorry fellas, but fuck you, go home and die. My partisan principles are more important than you old geezers getting into the memorial.  

If he thinks a government shutdown is such a fine idea, let him face a crowd of veterans instead of sending the Park Service to do it.

Instead, he ran away like the seditious cowardly son of a bitch that he is.

Insanity I said, and insanity it is. 

These people are stark staring nuts. 

And they know it, they know they’ve gone insane, they just don’t care.

“We’re not going to be disrespected,” declared conservative Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind). “We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is.”

We’re not going to be disrespected.

We don’t know what we want, but Goddamnit, we want something!

Anything. Please, Mr. President, give us anything. Anything at all. Please? Please?


I’ve got news for you Congressman, respect is earned. You get respect by being worthy of respect. Period. There are no shortcuts. You earn respect by every action, every word, every thought and deed.

If you see only disrespect, then you need only take a look in the mirror. There’s your problem, right there and nowhere else.

If you wonder why you’re seeing only disrespect, take a look at your fellow congressman, Randy Neugebauer.

Despite the Tea Party’s herculean efforts to focus blame anywhere but upon themselves, the vast majority of Americans aren’t buying it.

Now, I think we all know what Republicans think about polls, but reliable running polls right now show that 44% of American voters directly fault the Republicans for the shutdown, while 35% fault President Obama. That’s a huge delta. Huge.

One thing to note, even if Obama was taking the blame for this mess full on, which he’s not, he doesn’t have to worry about being voted out of office in 2014 and 2016.  Republicans are busy right now signing their own death warrants. And they know it. They know it, but they refuse to change course. They can’t, because their hatred of Barack Obama, their utter insane hatred of Barack Obama, is so all consuming that it drives them forward beyond all rational bounds.

That said, an overwhelming 72% of Americans right this very moment strongly disapprove of holding the entire budget hostage over the Affordable Care Act and that includes more than 50% of all Republicans surveyed.

There is no way, no goddamned way, that the extremist lunatics currently holding us at gunpoint can claim to represent the will of the American people.

The day before he was caught harassing a Park Ranger for doing her job, Congressman Randy Neugebauer went onThe Chad Hasty Show and declared that he will keep the government shut down for "as long as it takes.” 

He claimed it was the will of the American people.

The man is either lying or he’s deluded, there are no other options. It’s not the will of the American people.  Provably so.

It’s the will of a small band of extremist lunatics who’ve taken America hostage and are blackmailing the Speaker of the House into doing their malevolent bidding.

In the words of their Patron Saint, they’ve gone rogue.


Rogue is literally what you called it when an elephant goes insane. A rogue bull elephant becomes antisocial, vicious, murderous, starts trumpeting wildly and attacking the other members of the herd, biting at its own tail, before rampaging through villages and across the savannah oblivious to the carnage in its wake.

A rogue elephant, could there be a more appropriate metaphor here? 

In 2010 these lunatics took over the House. They read the Constitution out loud before the TV cameras and declared in solemn somber tones that they, they, weren’t going to engage in business as usual. 

Apparently what they meant by that was they weren’t going to allow any business to get done, at all.

Even if they had to destroy the country’s economy to do it.

These people deserve no respect whatsoever, none, they are shrieking loons who need to be strapped to a bed and pumped full of chlorpromazine before they start eating their own feces.

Again, don’t think that they don’t know it either.

In recent days, so many Republicans have acknowledged the cancerous insanity growing malignantly within their own ranks, that the extremists were forced to admit their lunacy or double down on it.  Predictably they did the latter. The Tea Party Express, the hard festering tumor at the center of the diseased Republican Party, sent out a desperate appeal for funds like cancer cells leaking into the bloodstream, declaring of the more moderate members of their party, "With Republicans Like These, Who Needs Democrats?" 


With the government shutdown, the Tea Party cancer has metastasized and unless it is cut out immediately and in total, it will be only a matter of time until these rogue mutant alien cells kill the GOP host. 

And the surgeon elect is the Speaker of the House, John Boehner.

That’s his job.

To cut out the cancer.  To throw himself on the hand grenade for the good of the country. To stand between the village and the charging elephant.

Bringing this to a conclusion is exactly what John Boehner gets paid for, no more, no less. That’s the Speaker’s sworn duty.

Boehner has the votes to override the lunatic fringe within his own party.  By a wide margin.

He knows it. 

They know it.

We all know it.

He’s got more than half of his own party behind him.

He’s got the will of an overwhelming majority of the American people behind him.

The only thing holding him hostage is his own craven cowardice.

It may cost him his job as Speaker, but that’s the goddamned price of doing what’s right, of choosing country over insanity, of choosing duty over self interest, of choosing the actual will of the people over the insanity of a small rogue cadre of suicidal lunatics.

All it takes is for John Boehner to find his tiny withered balls, stand up, turn, face the charging elephant head on, take aim and calmly put the rogue beast down with a single shot right through its malignant heart.

Boehner’s choices are between a small band of extremist Conservikazis and the majority of Americans from both sides of the political aisle.

Where he stands tells you everything you need to know.

Here’s the bottom line, it never ends well for the rogue elephant. Never.

Just as it never ends well for the hostages takers.

If Boehner is unable or unwilling to muster his courage, well then maybe it is time for him to take that flight out of Reagan National.

I hear Argentina is nice this time of year.


* About the time I typed that line, the shooting actually did start in DC.  I’d like to chalk it up to my astounding powers of precognition, but given the number of shootings lately, it’s really not that much of a coincidence, is it?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Welcome To The Revolution


Sinclair Lewis famously said, “when fascism comes to America, it’ll be wrapped in the flag, carrying a cross.”

It’ll be wrapped in the flag all right.

And toting a cross.

And wearing a powdered wig.

And probably waving a misspelled sign to boot, while singing Yankee Doodle Dandy and shooting bottle rockets out of its ass.

You know, every single time I write something like the previous post, Conservikazi, I get comments and messages from angry people telling me that I’m painting with too broad a brush, that I’m wrong, that they’re not really the insane frothy lunatics that I’ve made them out to be.

Typically, they then proceed to act exactly like insane frothy lunatics.

On the Conservikazi post, a commenter calling himself Daniel Belef showed up to tell me I was wrong, that extremists like him are reasonable folks, patriots one and all, with the blood of the Founders surging red, white, and blue in their veins. I let him make a couple of increasingly insane frothy posts before I shut him down. In his final published comment, in less than a paragraph, this “reasonable” self-identified American patriot called me a: dumb fuck, a dumb shit, a coward, a fuckhead, a joke, dipshit, a racist, a slavemaster, an asshole, a dipshit again, and an asswipe. He also, predictably, couldn’t help but engage in the usual conservative tactic of swiftboating my military service – and the best part of that was his concept of how the military actually works, it being pretty obvious that he, like most of these raging libertarian hard-ons, has never himself served a single day in his miserable life. But that’s another essay altogether (in his next comment, which I didn’t publish, he demanded that I join the military so I could learn proper American values. Yep).

The real takeaway, however, and the reason I mention it, was this priceless gem:

Im telling you, that THIS is how America was formed, by SUICIDAL people doing what they thought need to be done you fuckhead. [sic]

America, Folks, it was formed by suicidal people.

You know, that just might explain a few things. In fact, it might explain a lot of things. But I digress.

Okay, Jim, sure, I hear you say in that concerned tone you use when you think I might be attempting to plot a curve from one point. Obnoxious Dan The Frothy Crazy Man is obviously the kind of guy who wears his underpants on the outside and spends a lot of time shouting at passing cars, sure, but he’s just one commenter.

Yeah. I wish.

Here’s a nice bit of conservative wit from another commenter I didn’t allow to post:

2016! coutn your days libtard traiter pussys. 2016. the 2nd AMERICAN REVOLUTION is coming then all communist nigger muzzie lovers are going to HANG! 2016. Kill yourself!

Man, it makes your heart go all pitter patter, doesn’t it? Libtard traitor pussies. Communist nigger muzzie lovers. Why, it’s just like hearing the educated erudite words of Benjamin Franklin himself. Makes you want to stand up and sing God Bless America!

The Second American Revolution, forsooth.  The Second American Revolution.

One wonders if this new America will also be formed by suicidal people?

It also makes you wonder if they couldn’t maybe just put their pistol barrels into their own mouths first, before their little revolution, and save us all a bunch of trouble. But I suppose that would be too much to ask.

So, anyway, where was I? Oh yes, libtard traitor pussies.

Okay, Okay, Jim, settle down, I hear you say in that placating tone you use when you’re afraid that I might just be right but you don’t want to believe it. So, that’s two, or maybe three or four or five given that I just read the rest of the comments under that post. But hey, did you ever think that it’s you? That maybe you attract these daffy nutters? Maybe that’s your magical superpower, you ever think of that?

As a matter of fact, I have.


Meet David Marsters, Republican running for selectman in Sabbatus, Maine.  Dave seems like a nice conservative candidate for office from a nice conservative New England town, on the high end of middle-aged, grey hair, twinkling eyes, winning smile.

Last month he posted a picture of President Obama on his Facebook page with the caption “Shoot the nigger.”

Isn’t that sweet?

Isn’t it great that we live in a country where a guy running for public office in the 21st Century can post something like that without a shred of shame? God bless America.

Needless to say, Marsters made the Bangor Daily News and thus earned himself a visit from the Secret Service. He was outraged, of course, because what God fearing, Jesus loving, all American patriot wouldn’t be, right?

He took to Facebook again to protest his persecution:

“They [The Secret Service] didn’t see no pictures of Obama with bullet holes in his head. It’s not a threatening statement in my opinion. People take it out of context as a threat. I didn’t say I was going to shoot the president or kill. Shoot the nigger. Shoot the nigger, that’s what I said. I’m pissed off at the system, OK? We’re about to lose our benefits because of this asshole.”

Boy, there’s the guy you want for town selectman, right? Oh, and he’s a Birther too, just in case you couldn’t figure that part out for yourself. (Of course, it being rural Maine, Marsters probably is exactly the guy they want for selectman. I used to live there, rural Maine isn’t exactly a hotbed of diversity).

People took it out of context. Shoot the nigger, that’s what Marsters said, but it’s not a threatening statement.

Which of course makes you wonder in exactly what context “shoot the nigger” isn’t a threatening statement? Cleavon Little’s use of the phrase in Blazing Saddles was the only thing that comes to mind, but in retrospect that was a threat too, so you’ve got me.

Marsters defended his use of the racial slur, by saying he would have called Mitt Romney the same thing:

“I would say, ‘Shoot the nigger’ because white people are niggers, too.”

Marsters said that back in Massachusetts where he comes from, black people call white people “nigger,” so it’s not really a racist thing, more like a universal label to describe all people you fear and hate and despise and want to see shot dead.

That’s right, using a vile racist slur for black people to label white people you don’t like in order to equate them to black people who you see as less than wholly American specifically because of skin color and perceived culture is totally not racist. It’s also totally not ignorant. Or an asshole thing to do. It’s also fairly useless as an insult unless you do, in point of fact, intend the word to be offensive and obnoxious in the extreme. That’s sort of the whole point.

Marsters’ idiotic excuse doesn’t make use of the term less racist, it makes it even more so.

You may, if you like, insert a liberal socialist Nazi facepalm here.

I’m sure after the glorious Second American Revolution, David Marsters will be remembered right up there with Thomas Jefferson and George Washington in the patriotic annals of patriotic American patriotism.

Hopefully future generations won’t quote him out of context like they do Ben Franklin.

And speaking of the revolution, have you met “The People’s Prosecutor” yet?


Well then, you’re in for a libertarian treat:

…the great usurper, Barack Hussein Obama, after having been indicted by an Ocala, Florida citizens’ grand jury, was convicted by a people’s court of defrauding the American people and Floridians by proffering them with a fake birth certificate. See www.citizensgrandjury.com. As readers of this column and www.wnd.com know too well, Obama is not a natural born citizen…

Readers of World Net Daily.

World Net Daily, one of the angry anonymous commenters under the aforementioned Conservikazi post used World Net Daily as a reference. I laughed so hard, I blew beer through my nose. World Net Daily. Talk about a waste of good beer.

I didn’t know this, but apparently in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, you can just get a bunch of your big-bellied white-haired flag-waving libertarian pals together, convene a made-up court complete with pretend judges and fake prosecutors and make-believe “witnesses” and convict anybody you like (I picture this “citizen’s court” as a bunch of overweight senior citizens in a powdered wigs sitting on milk crates behind plastic lawn tables in a garage somewhere, with Lee Greenwood playing in the background).

Oh yes, and when fascism comes to America, it’ll no doubt have a copy of World Net Daily tucked under one flabby white arm.

The above “court” was convened by one Larry Klayman. 

According to his website, Klayman founded Judicial Watch and Freedom Watch (ironic misnomers if ever there was one) and he claims that he once obtained a court ruling proving that Bill Clinton committed a crime (supposedly “the first lawyer ever to have done so against an American president”) . Klayman once ran for the Senate as a Florida republican (because, obviously, right?), he didn’t make it past the primaries.

I suppose it goes without saying that he’s a weekly columnist for World Net Daily.

He also claims to have been the inspiration for the Tea Party Movement.


I’ll just pause for a moment so you can savor the frothy libertarian Tea Party patriot that is Larry Klayman.


Earlier this month, Klayman penned a piece entitled “Obama, come out with your hands up” in which he called for all true Americans to rise up in insurrection against the government and to send Obama to “72 Virgins.”

Klayman says he’s not really calling for violence per se but, on the other hand, it’s important that Obama knows that he and his buddies mean business.  And how exactly Obama is supposed to receive his virginal reward without being killed first, Klayman leaves as an exercise for the reader. Wink, wink.

According to Klayman’s article, he’d already convened his little “people’s court,” and when President Obama did not in fact accept the Tea Party’s gracious offer to “get off his knees and come out with his hands up” and be lynched, Klayman then declared a conviction in absentia.

His proclamation, posted on RenewAmerica (basically a clearing house for all things Obama Derangement Syndrome, supported in part by the likes of Alan Keyes), goes on to say:

The day of reckoning has come. Obama, having failed to plead in response to the indictment that was served upon him, waived his right to a jury trial. […] As a result, the citizens’ judge found him guilty on two counts of falsifying information to federal and state election officials. He was thus sentenced to the maximum prison term for these offenses of 10 years, and ordered to immediately surrender himself into the custody of the citizens of the United States and Florida.

Gather your torches and pitchforks, folks! To the castle!

Because that’s how we do it in America.

Rule of law? We don’t need no stinkin’ laws! People’s court! Mob rule! To the castle! To the castle!

You know, every time I lately hear the phrase “we the people,” I feel like Tonto in that old Lone Ranger joke: what you mean we, White Man? 

Seriously, did I miss the meeting? You know, the one where we, all three hundred million of us the American people, all got together and decided to lynch the president? Because last time I remember polling we the people, well, we reelected President Obama. So, what does Klayman mean when he’s says “we?”. 

How come whenever Tea Partiers say “we the people,” the people they’re referring to are limited to themselves and their angry pinch-faced friends and the rest of us people don’t count? Why is that?

These people keep using the word “Constitution,” frankly, given the evidence, I don’t think the word means what they think it means.

And honestly, did I also miss an election? Who exactly appointed these Tea Party dolts to speak for me?

Of course, Obama will not willingly obey the law of the people.  He will attempt to hide behind the iron fences of the White House, perhaps cowering under his desk for fear that the people will rise up and demand his ouster.

You want to guess what fantasy Klayman dreams about each night? Telling, that line, isn’t it?

Obama won’t willingly obey some bullshit court of delusional old white hairs from Florida? Geez, you think? Rather than cowering under his desk, I suspect Obama will get a good chuckle at the Tea Party’s expense … and then go golfing. I sure hope so, the guy could use a little down time about now.

Then, to bring this libertarian wet dream home, here’s the money shot:

On November 19, 2013, […] I call upon millions of Americans who have been appalled and disgusted by Obama’s criminality – his Muslim, socialist, anti-Semitic, anti-Christian, anti-white, pro-illegal immigrant, pro-radical gay and lesbian agenda – among other outrages, to descend on Washington, D.C., en masse, and demand that he leave town and resign from office if he does not want to face prison time.

And there it is.


They couldn’t win legally in the courts.

They couldn’t win politically at the polls.

They couldn’t win constitutionally in the legislature.

They couldn’t win the hearts and minds of the public despite their claims of “we the people.”

So they’ve decided on overthrow of the government.

I forget, who are the criminals again? Who was it that believes in the Constitution?

Klayman mentions Gandhi, Paine, Reagan, and Kennedy.  He calls for those “singularly severely harmed” by President Obama to rally in Lafayette Park across from the White House and “give testimony” to their misery. He calls Republicans “inert and castrated” for their inability to overthrow the government without his, Klayman’s, personal help. He opines that Russia is the leading world power under an evil “communist KGB leader Vladimir Putin” while the US is a mere shell of it’s former glory.

Our Founding Fathers pledged their sacred honor, fortunes, and lives to form a new nation under God […] the nation has come full circle to the tyranny that has been imposed by a new despot, one far more evil than King George III. King George III may have been a greedy “control freak,” but at least he was a Christian.

But the Tea Party, they’re not bigots, they’re not racists. It’s not about skin color. It’s not about religion.

Isn’t that what they keep telling us?

In the words of one of our great Founding Fathers and an architect of our Constitution, “we must, indeed, all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”


These seditious suicidal lunatics can all hang together or they can all hang separately – or they can go hang themselves – I’m good either way.

I mean they can hardly complain if I convene a people’s court right here on Stonekettle Station and pack it with folks just like me. I’ll convict Klayman and his band of nutters all of treason in absentia when they fail to appear before me.  And then we can hunt them down with a rope in hand.

That’s the world the Tea Party wants to live in, right?

That’s exactly what these frothy lunatics are demanding. Mob rule. No Constitution, well not no Constitution per se, but rather a Constitution that only applies to “real” Americans – with the Tea Party deciding who qualifies. No rule of law, or rather the kind of law where the mob decides. Vigilante justice. No more long drawn out trials, no more pesky proof or forensic evidence, no more innocent until proven guilty.  We’ll have summary executions and public hangings just like in the old libertarian West. But instead of executing people for horse thievery, we’ll hang them for their political beliefs.  So it’ll be more like Bosnia than the Old American West, but hey, whatever. We’ll have stocks in the town square and maybe some public floggings. How about some public slut shaming. Scarlet letters. No more diversity, Christian white people rule and everybody knows their place as God intended, eh?

Get the townsfolk together boys, we’ll have a “fair” trial and a fine hanging! Shoot the nigger!

Forgive me, but at this point I’m having a hard time seeing the difference between Klayman’s Kangaroo court and a mob of fundamentalist Muslims stoning a rape victim to death or a group of Puritan Christians burning suspected witches at the stake – or, for that matter, a mob of Southern rednecks circa 1930 lynching a black man in his own front yard while the crowd cheers them on.

But then again all religious fanatics look pretty much the same to me.

As I sit here today, and watch these same conservative Tea Party fanatics blow up the government and push us ever closer to national suicide, I can’t help but think that if these people really want to convince me that I’m painting with too broad a brush, they’re not doing a very good job of it.

I’ve seen the world these people think they want to live in.

And I want nothing to do with it.