Archive for the 'Straight-up madness' Category

On our skewed political spectrum and how it permits the nuts in the Republican party to rise to power.

Apr 16, 2012 in Crazy Tea Party People, Racism, Straight-up madness

This could serve as everything that needs to be said about the increasingly deranged idiot Allen West, who has apparently smelled the money in being the hero of those rabid conservatives frequenting blog comments sections. That he is a black man willing to echo or top the vilest Tea Party rhetoric makes his popularity guaranteed, as there’s nothing white racists love more than a token black to shield them.

One thing Americans could do is stop electing such stunt politicians. Yet they’ve become a Republican staple. Bachmans and Palins and Wests cranking up the crazy and then acting persecuted to raise money when people slap their foreheads in disgust.

How can the Republicans be considered a responsible governing party with such fools as their heroes?

-hw

Our post-Constitutional era.

Nov 30, 2011 in Abortion, Christian Right, Clueless Conservatives, Constitution, Disappointing Dems, Politics, Religion, Sophistry, Straight-up madness, teh gay, Torture, War on Terra, Where's the outrage?!?!

This is becoming inevitable, as the Republican Party, while ever ready to say the word, “Constitution,” is a complete and udder fraud on the subject, and has categorically dismissed most of the Amendments and the underlying philosophy behind the Constitution’s writing.

Now, I know it is required that I disclose the presence of a certain contingent of chickenshit Democrats who regularly cave whenever Republicans get hot and bothered, but they’re never the driving force, and they’re a minority within the Democrat Party, so there. It’s the wholly unbridled unified army of the Republican Order that drives an agenda that has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the Constitution or the Bill of Rights, except as their protections pertain to white Christian heterosexual males.

1. They’re actively pro-torture, even though they square that by declaring any form of torture they like to not be torture. Simple, right? Not only is the Constitution unambiguously against cruel or unusual punishment, i.e. torture, but the entire history of the country at war has hewn to the same principles. Ronald Reagan was explicit in his condemnation of torture. The Republican Party today is best represented by Rick Santorum telling John McCain that he doesn’t understand torture.

2. They’re consistently against or dismissive of the religious freedom of gays, gay-supporting straights, Wiccans, atheists, Muslims. That the First Amendment ever be read in context with a world of varying beliefs is verboten. It’s about the Christian right to inject Christianity into anything they do, even and especially as a public employee. But when it comes to gays, the Christian right directly posits its beliefs as important enough to cancel out those of gays and to directly affect how gays live their lives by forbidding them marriage. The thought that Jesus might look kindly upon a loving gay couple cannot be entertained.

3. Search and seizure, forget it! Everything is open, up for grabs, ready to be peeped upon by Uncle Sam whenever he wants. The Drug War paved the way, the War on Terror planted the settlement and opened shop. Merely being suspected of having drugs can result in asset forfeiture, meaning your property rights are violated without due process, the police department acting as judge and jury. The burden of proof is often reversed onto suspects in such cases, and property is rarely returned regardless of charges.

Every phone and internet conversation has been opened up, and siphons through the NSA’s data miners.

Binney, for his part, believes that the agency now stores copies of all e-mails transmitted in America, in case the government wants to retrieve the details later. In the past few years, the N.S.A. has built enormous electronic-storage facilities in Texas and Utah. Binney says that an N.S.A. e-mail database can be searched with “dictionary selection,” in the manner of Google. After 9/11, he says, “General Hayden reassured everyone that the N.S.A. didn’t put out dragnets, and that was true. It had no need—it was getting every fish in the sea.”
Binney considers himself a conservative, and, as an opponent of big government, he worries that the N.S.A.’s data-mining program is so extensive that it could help “create an Orwellian state.” Whereas wiretap surveillance requires trained human operators, data mining is automated, meaning that the entire country can be watched. Conceivably, U.S. officials could “monitor the Tea Party, or reporters, whatever group or organization you want to target,” he says. “It’s exactly what the Founding Fathers never wanted.”

Power creeps, as the Founders realized, and always, always had to be balanced.

4. While ever ready to claim that rights not spelled out in the Constitution aren’t really rights, directly contradicting the Ninth Amendment, the Republican Party has declared that money equals speech. Why then should I be punished for bribing a police officer or judge? I’m merely talking to the them.

No, anybody knows exactly what money in politics means, it means buying politicians, period. Money buys politicians, it buys media outlets, it pays people to spout theories that testify to the greatness of the wealthy, and it’s all done for the sake of ever more money. As Danny DeVito said in The Heist, “That’s why they call it money.” It’s not the same as speaking your mind, it’s engaging in a transaction. There’s a reason “money talks” is a cliche. With money, speech isn’t so important anymore. It becomes the pretty envelope on a fat wad of cash.

5. Nor does it say anywhere in the Constitution that corporations constitute distinct immortal citizens with full rights. The very construction of a corporation is a legal designation, a product of government legislation. Who ever talks about it in those terms? Certainly not Republicans. Apparently God made corporations?

Ruling in Citizens United that not only could these corporations donate unlimited funds to candidates, but do so anonymously? Does anybody on this planet think the politicians don’t know exactly who donated? It merely creates a gigantic firewall against the public, keeping them out of the process, refusing to tell them who’s bought their supposed representative.

Jesus declared that the rich would not easily find their way into Heaven. He said no such thing about those with lots of opinions. Yet a party built on Judeo-Christian superiority delivers the sentiment, “money equals speech,” to us with deeply sincere faces, even strident faces. Add to that, “a corporation is a person,” whereas one soulless legal entity is equated to a human being, and the conundrum deepens. How do these people maintain such cognitive dissonance? With great strain.

6. Indefinite detention. Like torture, it is the complete and utter opposite of each and every plank, nail, and window in the Constitution’s house. It is the Gulag. It is the dungeon. It is the concentration camp. And now one of the two major parties has not merely let it fly under their radar, but made it their agenda. Take a few Dem politican scalps if you will, but only lefties and a few libertarians (where are you guys when we need you?) are going to bring this fight at all. Lesson from 2010: Letting more Republicans get into office is not a solution.

7. General Welfare: Abolishing the EPA? YHGTBFKM (You have got to be fucking kidding me). The Koch brothers need to dump more poison in our groundwater, Michele, won’t you help them?

The entire concept of the general welfare of the country has completely evacuated the Republican Party. In their eyes, fuck the general welfare. People get what they deserve, and if your life sucks, blame yourself. Of course, if everybody did a lot more looking in the mirror at themselves, we wouldn’t have many Republicans left. Instead, they survey only the oily shell of the individual, and perceive nothing of the complex lattice-work of society that supports their existence.

If you don’t fund schools, you end up living in a world of noisy uneducated people giving you rotten service, and you can only keep moving to new suburbs so long. If you don’t fund police departments, you end up with high crime rates and decreased property values. If you fund prisons while not funding rehab clinics, your Drug War will result in financial incentives that outweigh regular crime prevention. A Drug War waged primarily on minorities will turn jail into a martyrdom ritual, and your children will revere felons as heroes.

President Obama turned the health care system into a universal program, for which he is reviled by the right (not to ignore the political convenience…had there perhaps been a President Romney in 2008, his Massachusetts plan would be considered to be a rightful and just conservative blueprint to accomplish the goals of liberals through free-market means). The rather explicit permission of the Commerce Clause gives the government more than fair leeway to point out that uninsured people merely transfer the cost of their care to others. A mandate is really little more than a distribution of that cost among all citizens. You might not like it, but who’s going to be there for you if you have a stroke in twenty minutes and spend your remaining decades fully paralyzed?

8. Abortion. The government should enter the womb and put up a sign telling the mother to keep providing the nutrients but she’s not in charge anymore? That assertion of domain over the entirety of her body and its natural processes isn’t listed in the Constitution as a specific right, thus it does not exist?

As I mentioned, this is in direct violation of the Ninth Amendment, which explicitly states that the enumeration of certain rights is not meant to disparage the others. The Constitution is not a finite list of rights, and it says so clearly! And it certainly grants the government no power over a woman’s reproductive process. Anti-abortion sentiments were rare at the time of the writing of the Constitution, unfit for a special extension of government powers. And yet as the subject has become a crusade for religious fundamentalists, attempts to justify its Constitutionality have naturally occurred. Their crowing is as predictable as a rooster.

______

Republicans have in many cases not merely gone passive about certain rights, they’ve turned outright aggressive against them. Such a republic facing this prospect would rightly be deemed to be in or near its death throes, about to face a civil war. No matter how casually Republicans treat the Constitution, they’re emphatic about it, often moreso than Democrats. And that should just never be the case, because the only people I see left standing up for the Constitution anymore are left. And if libertarians were to be believed for half the things they say about liberty, there wouldn’t be Republican majorities anywhere.

-hw

Humans are broken.

Aug 19, 2011 in Booze & or Drugs, Drugs, Straight-up madness, Where's the outrage?!?!

Because this article, like the hundreds before and after, will change nothing. In this case of Drug War madness, having an amount of marijuana that wouldn’t even merit criminal charges will get your kids taken away. But then there’s the real kicker:

Over all, the rate of marijuana use among whites is twice as high as among blacks and Hispanics in the city, the data show, but defense lawyers said these cases were rarely if ever filed against white parents.

The law is one thing, but the unequal enforcement creates one law for whites and another for non-whites. It’s a Jim Crow Drug War, my friends, and if you can’t address that when you discuss drug policy, you aren’t even talking about drug policy.

-hw

Sounds like Dilbert’s tax scam got busted.

Feb 18, 2010 in Straight-up madness, Stupidity, WTF?

When I read this part of Joseph Stack’s rambling farewell letter the alarm bells went off:

Some friends introduced me to a group of people who were having ‘tax code’ readings and discussions. In particular, zeroed in on a section relating to the wonderful “exemptions” that make institutions like the vulgar, corrupt Catholic Church so incredibly wealthy. We carefully studied the law (with the help of some of the “best”, high-paid, experienced tax lawyers in the business), and then began to do exactly what the “big boys” were doing (except that we weren’t steeling from our congregation or lying to the government about our massive profits in the name of God). We took a great deal of care to make it all visible, following all of the rules, exactly the way the law said it was to be done.

I’ve had my share of dodgy friends in the past so I’ve heard dozens of stories that start out with some sort of variation of “all I was trying to do was…” in defense of something that turned out to be at best unscrupulous behavior. At worst it was a recounting of an unhappy run-in with the law. Maybe I’m cynical but the above passage has the right amount of opacity and derision to indicate that there’s more to the story than just Stack getting hosed by the IRS for having innocent ambitions.

Old school.

Aug 20, 2009 in Music, Straight-up madness, We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

Son of Bazerk and Bomb Squad created a rap symphony in three and a half minutes.

[youtube ZmDdUUVhnfk]

Hell, they don’t even make videos like that anymore. I wonder if Spike Jonze saw that back in the day and gleamed some inspiration.

-jb

Water is wet, sky is blue…

Aug 18, 2009 in Politics, Straight-up madness

These are things you know to be true.

Ernest Hancock, the online radio host who staged an interview with an assault rifle-wielding cohort at the Obama event in Arizona yesterday — and was himself armed with a 9 millimeter pistol — was a vocal supporter and friend of right-wing anti-government militia members who were convicted of conspiracy and weapons charges in the 90s.

Details on that:

The federal government initially accused the Arizona Viper Militia of plotting to blow up federal buildings, which the twelve-member group cased on videotape.

In July 1996, after a grand jury indicted the suspects, federal agents “seized about 90 high-powered rifles and hundreds of pounds of a bomb-making compound from the shabby bungalow of a man whom officials identified as the ordnance specialist of a local paramilitary group,” the New York Times reported at the time.

It’s okay, these are the good terrorists, because they’re white.

Can you imagine a dozen armed Muslims standing near the scene of a Bush rally? Or anywhere, for that matter?

-jb

Militia groups on the rise: Here we go again.

Aug 12, 2009 in Clueless Conservatives, Straight-up madness

They formed in opposition to Bill Clinton, a Southern bubba who oversaw a period of relative peace and prosperity. No degree of recovery will ever stop these people from going absolutely bonkers while Barack HUSSEINZOMGTEHTERRORISTNAZI Obama is in office.

Militia groups with gripes against the government are regrouping across the country and could grow rapidly, according to an organization that tracks such trends.

The stress of a poor economy and a liberal administration led by a black president are among the causes for the recent rise, the report from the Southern Poverty Law Center says. Conspiracy theories about a secret Mexican plan to reclaim the Southwest are also growing amid the public debate about illegal immigration.

Bart McEntire, a special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, told SPLC researchers that this is the most growth he’s seen in more than a decade.

“All it’s lacking is a spark,” McEntire said in the report.

It’s reminiscent of what was seen in the 1990s – right-wing militias, people ideologically against paying taxes and so-called “sovereign citizens” are popping up in large numbers, according to the report to be released Wednesday. The SPLC is a nonprofit civil rights group that, among other activities, investigates hate groups.

Last October, someone from the Ohio Militia posted a recruiting video on YouTube, billed as a “wake-up call” for America. It’s been viewed more than 60,000 times.

“Things are bad, things are real bad, and it’s going to be a lot worse,” said the man on the video, who did not give his name. “Our country is in peril.”

The man is holding an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle, and he encourages viewers to buy one.

Yep, things are bad, and it’s going to be a lot worse…because of you Ohio militia assholes and others of your kind. The worst thing is that they were quiet during the worst of the Bush administration’s shredding of the Constitution, but now they’re up and pissed at the prospect of the government insuring the poor. There is nothing going on in their brains more complex than simple partisanship. As long as their guy is in office, they’re fine with whatever he wants. But if the country elects somebody else and rejects their world view, they’ll start arming up and fomenting violence in the name of “democracy.”

These are just pissed Republicans, nothing more. All the same, start crossing your fingers. This strain of American madness runs long and deep:

“The America which Europe fears is the America of the Reaganites. The America once of the Scopes trial; the America of prohibition; the America of ignorant isolationism. The America then of ‘‘better dead than red’’; the America of McCarthyism; the America of the last fundamentalists of the 1950s. The America now of the new evangelicals; the America of the Moral Majority; the America of a now ignorant interventionism; the America which can see homosexuals as a conspiracy; feminists as a conspiracy; perhaps even women as a conspiracy.

The America of fear. For it is in fear that the ungoverned and the unfree are doomed to live. And there was this America in control at Detroit. It is time that we reminded ourselves, and said aloud and more often, that it is from these people that nastiness comes. It is time that we pointed out to the neo-conservatives that democracy has never been subverted from the left but always from the right.

No democracy has fallen to communism, without an army; many democracies have fallen to fascism, from within.

A reader of Andrew Sullivan’s contributes to the theme, going back further in our history:

They have always been with us, the people who believed in manifest destiny, who delighted in the slaughter of this land’s original inhabitants, who cheered a nation into a civil war to support an economic system of slavery that didn’t even benefit them. They are the people who bashed the unions and cheered on the anti-sedition laws, who joined the Pinkertons and the No Nothing Party, who beat up Catholic immigrants and occasionally torched the black part of town. They rode through the Southern pine forests at night, they banned non-European immigration, they burned John Rockefeller Jr. in effigy for proposing the Grand Tetons National Park.

These are the folks who drove Teddy Roosevelt out of the Republican Party and called his cousin Franklin a communist, shut their town’s borders to the Okies and played the protectionist card right up til Pearl Harbor, when they suddenly had a new foreign enemy to hate. They are with us, the John Birchers, the anti-flouride and black helicopter nuts, the squirrly commie-hating hysterics who always loved the loyalty oath, the forced confession, the auto-de-fe. Those who await with baited breath the race war, the nuclear holocaust, the cultural jihad, the second coming, they make up much more of America then you would care to think.

So much fantasy and flotsam…it is our cancerous tribalism at work.

My question is, why is it so hard for this tribalism to manifest as a directive to see all members of our country receive proper health care?

-jb

The War Against Drugs Americans.

Aug 21, 2008 in Drugs, Politics, Straight-up madness, Stupidity

We already accept this as ordinary when done against our own citizens. Is there any wonder the Constitution hangs by a thread? Patti Davis, Ronald Reagan’s daughter, takes a look at the consequences of drug raids that target innocent people first and ask questions later.

Imagine being Georgia Porter, one minute cooking dinner, the next handcuffed on the kitchen floor, inches from the bloodied body of a dog who was part of her family. Imagine Cheye Calvo hearing the shots from upstairs, not knowing what was happening, and then finding himself handcuffed, helpless, forced to kneel in his underwear. Imagine Trinity Tomsic dealing with her defiled home–not only did the police slaughter their dogs, they tracked blood all over the house in a search that yielded nothing.

You need to imagine all these things because, in a way, we all live in that house. It’s called our country, and this is what’s starting to happen here.

Prince George’s official country Web site defines itself as “a county of livable communities.” That’s what we all wish for–a livable community, a home where we feel safe. We want to feel that if the bad guys come, we can call the police and they will be the good guys. We want to believe that if we’re innocent, armed men with government badges won’t handcuff us and shoot our pets and wave their weapons in our faces.

But more and more of us don’t believe that.

Politicians have been rendered impotent to advocate rationality in the face of things voters fear. If one stands up, they’re guaranteed an opponent who hammers them for not being “tough.” Under Bill Clinton the Drug War ratcheted up with almost no restraint, and under Bush all bets were off. Interestingly, the Bush administration went after marijuana with a special fervor (the case Davis cites was a marijuana raid). It seems that when a president smokes marijuana in his past, as Bush was recorded admitting, the country gets the lash even harder. Apparently, use of a drug doesn’t inspire empathy in a president, but rather overcompensation. Let’s pray that a President Obama breaks this pattern (abandon all hope if McCain gets in). Voters have grown tired of throwing people in jail and Gestapo-style home invasions destroying the lives of innocent people, especially over a recreational drug like marijuana which is exponentially safer than alcohol or tobacco. Those who take on the responsibility of voting need to responsibly address this issue.

Then again, they need to responsibly address a lot of issues. The human condition is not well.

-jb

Understanding Obama’s switch.

Jun 20, 2008 in Barack Obama, Politics, Straight-up madness, Stupidity

“He said he’d take public financing!” only has significance depending on the moral weight you apply to public financing…or, more accurately, the McCain-Feingold kind of campaign finance “reform” that rightwingers have been railing against for years…and which I’ve agreed with them about.

Let’s be clear here: We do not have publicly financed presidential campaigns. We have some paltry matching funds with spending caps, witch 527’s are immune to. Think “Swiftboat” to get an idea of how important that loophole is. George W. Bush was “publicly financed” according to the current laws, and never has a politician been so subservient to the wealthy.

So what did Barack Obama do? Turn down $84 million of taxpayer money and artificial government constraints and demand that people NOT fund 527’s and send the money to his campaign by way of millions of small contributors like myself ($75, with another $25 planned before November).

Dana Pico dearly wants to get some mileage out of this (do I even need to mention that the vile hack Sharon does?), David Brooks and some other Beltway morons try to laugh off Obama’s small donor campaign (because it threatens their control) but it’s a complete bust. Yes, Obama talked about doing it before, but he was raking in the dollars then also. It was stupid of him to be too emphatic about it, but it would have been even stupider to hold onto the broken politician-devised non-reform than moving forward with a cleaner, more democratic, more ethical system of campaign fundraising.

Once you realize that opting out of “public financing” is doing nothing other than eliminating the government and taxpayer money from the equation, and that this doesn’t mean Obama is going to become beholden to the wealthy and corporate interests, and that it frees him to spend his time actually campaigning instead of hustling the rich for money in exchange for favors, then the air completely deflates from the charges.

Dana and others are, as usual, betting that you’re an idiot, and will resist every single effort to get specific about what “public financing” actually means. I’ve been a diehard public financing fanatic for years, and when we get something resembling it, I’ll let you know. So far, Obama’s is the closest we’ve come in a presidential election in modern history. Yes, he changed positions, but to re-use my analogy, if I tell you I’m going to swim out to rescue you from drowning, but then I throw you a life preserver, accomplishing the same goal but in a safer and smarter way, how much are you going to begrudge me?

There is nothing here, and I welcome the bullshitters to try passing it off here. Especially the ones planning on voting for McCain who actually violated the campaign finance reform laws. Dana, Sharon and co. have absolutely zero principle at work here, and the absolute last thing in the world they care about is campaign finance reform.

-jb

Because you need a good laugh.

Jun 19, 2008 in Clueless Conservatives, Straight-up madness, Stupidity, We'll post whatever we goddamned want to, WTF?

John Cole yukkin’ it up…back story here (okay, maybe read that one first), and make sure you don’t miss this

-jb

UPDATE: More goodies! I love it!!! If you find more, put them in the comment threads…I LOVE IT!!!

UPDATE II: Alright, I know I fucking blow, but I had to:

Photobucket

Goose, Meet Gander

Jun 19, 2008 in Christian Right, Religion, Straight-up madness, things so depressing that categories shun them like wou

Journey with me to the land of let’s-pretend and imagine that this horrible story concerned an Islamic family instead of a Christian one. How loud would the outcry be out there in wingnut-land? How much spittle would fly through Malkin’s teeth as she demanded that the Muslim-hugging liberal press admit, once and for all, that the problem is Islam itself, not some insane dude who never got the memo about not murdering your own children? So-called Christians in the right wing are all about hanging every bad thing done in the name of Allah on Islam itself, but they become suddenly familiar with philosophical nuance when the barbarism begins at home. One gets tired of shouting “Matthew 7:5, you hypocritical scumbags” at the top of one’s lungs, but the work must continue until the message gets through.
-TT

Dark Secrets

Nov 07, 2007 in Foreign Policy, Legal, National Security, Racism, Straight-up madness, War Crimes, War on Terra, Where's the outrage?!?!, WTF?

If a person gets tortured, but no one sees or hears him, did he really get tortured?

Stephen Gray, and independent British journalist has a very intriguing documentary,that will be aired on PBS.   The documentary is called “Extraordinary Rendition”.  He interviews some of the victims of rendition, all carried out by the CIA.

Up until now we have heard that our gov’t has been outsourcing torture. That it’s not really Americans who are doing it, that they hand the victims over to authorities in countries where torture is common. However:

The dark prison was run by the Americans,” a former inmate, Bisher al-Rawi, tells Grey. “It wasn’t Afghani people flying the aircraft, it wasn’t Afghani people who sort of shackled me and did whatever they did to me. It was Americans.”

Although some of the victims of Rendition are genuine suspects of terrorism, there are countless who are not.  The most famous being Maher Arar, the Syrian Canadian programmer, who was deported to Syria and tortured and then released without explanation or any charges against him.
Amy Goodman interviewed him yesterday about this documentary.

This is what he told her after he had interviewed a victim of rendition in Egypt who was also released without explanation or any charges:

And he also leaves behind dozens of people that he says are still in Egyptian jail, and they all wear a white uniform. The uniform says “interrogation” on it. And that means they haven’t been charged with anything. They are still there, held in secret, without access to any lawyers, and they’re held indefinitely. And they’re all people who have been sent there by the CIA in the rendition program.

If you live in an area where PBS does not air, or if they aren’t airing this program it will be available on their website later this week.

I am really interested in seeing how NeoCons defend this. I guess the same way they defend the Patriot Act and other erosion of our civil liberties…

If anyone saw it when it aired, please leave your comments, I’d love to hear about it.  I missed it.

-aa

We’ve heard this before.

Oct 09, 2007 in Straight-up madness

It seems that Graeme Frost is the new Cadillac driving, welfare queen updated for the new centuryand boy are the wingnuts really showing that little librul what they’re made of!  Everybody is linking to everybody else on this issue but I think that Whiskey Fire has the best run-downs on the issue so far.

-mg