Sunday, December 21, 2014

Torture- It Really Protects Us- No, I Mean Really

Did it ever occur to the people who say this sort of thing that what would really protect us is being the kind of people that no one hated?

Thursday, December 18, 2014

My Contrarian Views About the Interview

Well, it seems that everyone is just hopping mad that Sony has at least temporarily withdrawn their movie "The Interview," a supposed comedy revolving around the murder of Kim Jong Un.

Anyone who reads this blog knows that I have nothing but contempt for Kim Jong Un, but it doesn't extend to my approving of the Sony Pictures Corporation* making money from ridiculing and pretend assassinating this pathetic jerk.

Well, here is what I haven't heard from all of the people weighing in on this subject today:  Sony is a Japanese company.  The US and North Korea certainly haven't had the most cordial relationship the last few decades, but the history of conflict between Japan and Korea goes back hundreds of years, and includes episodes of barbarism on the part of the Japanese, most notably in the period before and during World War II, for many of which (e.g. the comfort women) the Japanese still refuse to accept responsibility.  This film simply adds insult to some very grave injuries on the part of the Japanese, and (to me anyway) makes North Korea's touchiness on this subject much more understandable.

In any event, the stupidity of basing a comedy on the assassination of a very real foreign leader is pretty monumental.  North Korea responded in an essentially nonviolent way, and to tell the truth, I have no sympathy for Sony in this case.



*Disclaimer:  I feel called upon to reveal that I spent 8 months working on a Sony TV show last fall and winter.  I have also worked on a Judd Apatow movie.  I don't think that has anything to do with the opinions I have about this film, but maybe I'm wrong.  I certainly never felt mistreated on either project, and would be happy to work for them in the future.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Cuba

Whatever you may think of the weakness that Obama has shown over the years at standing up to the rich and their subsidiary, the Republican party,  he finally did something really brave in starting the process of ending our malicious and cruel embargo of Cuba for having the unmitigated gall to pick a government we didn't like.  This action is decades overdue, and shows a level of courage that none of the six or so previous Presidents could muster.

We know he is now going to be attacked by right wing liars for decades to come because of this, but he did the right thing.  Thank you, Barack, and may we see a few more things like this before you leave office.

Wingnut Wrapup

Today's Wingnut Wrapup respectfully dedicated to Missouri State Representative Rick Brattin:

"...brain dead deadbolt extraordinaire Missouri State Rep. Rick Brattin has a nice idea. women who want or need an abortion must get a mans approval."

Rick, maybe you'd like to consider relocating your political career to Saudi Arabia or Pakistan, where they are far more on board with your line of thinking.

Cal Thomas, Town Hall:  "Why Release a Report on the CIA in Wartime?"

And of course, since we all know that we are now in a perpetual war against "terror" until the end of time, the American people don't have the right to hear the truth about anything.


Cal continues with the usual Republican cant:

"There is a dispute among politicians and intelligence experts as to whether these tactics resulted in any information that was helpful in defending the U.S. from another terrorist attack."

No, there is a "dispute" between those who accept the truth and Conservatives, who also "dispute" global warming, the existence of racism in this country, the age of the earth, evolution, Obama's citizenship, Keynesian economics and a thousand other facts- a dispute between the honest and the stupid, corrupt, hate-filled greedy people who call themselves Republicans.

Daniel Doherty, Town Hall:  "Cruz: "Our Friends No Longer Trust Us and Our Enemies No Longer Fear Us"

Ted, did you ever think about whether that might be the result of certain Americans electing corrupt, nonsense spouting demagogues like you?

Matt Vespa, Town Hall:  "Botched Rape Claims Won't Get You Fired At Rolling Stone, But Bad Music Reviews Could?"

You bet.  Rolling Stone is a music magazine, remember?  That's why they call it Rolling Stone and not Rolling Bone.



Rich Galen, Town Hall:  "Is it the Torture or the Telling...The closest I have ever come to being involved with torture was during my stint in Baghdad when I made occasional visits to the infamous prison: Abu Ghraib."

Hey, readers, I wonder if any of you made "occasional visits" to Abu Ghraib prison.  You know what?  I don't want to hear jack from someone who was close enough to the Bush administration that they could make "occasional visits" to their torture chambers.  Really, I mean, enough's enough.

Michelle Malkin, Town Hall:  "Welcome to TotCare: Obama's Preschool Takeover"

Oh God!  Now he's taking over the preschools!    And here's the outrage, according to this pathetic person:

"On Wednesday, the White House Summit on Early Education will unveil nearly $1 billion in new "investments" to "expand access to high-quality early childhood education to every child in America"

Investment in education! What a horrid crime!  And while we're on the subject:

Burke & Sheffield, National Review Online:  "Preschool Isn’t the Answer...Instead of pricy pre-K, promote job growth."

Right! Send those four year olds into the mines.  That'll fill up their free time, and give them a good head start on learning what to expect out of life in the new corporate America.

Bridget Mulvaney, PJ Media:  "Cheney: Report ‘Full of Crap’

Takes one to know one.

Washington Examiner:  "Issa: 'I'm the bane of Boehner's existence'"

No you're not, Darryl.  You are an egomaniacal liar who is an embarrassment to everyone who voted for you, and to the entire country.  But "bane?"  Don't put on airs.

World Net Daily:  "World's top atheist sounds a lot like Jesus"

Well, I'll tell you something:  I'll bet you that the world's top atheist sounds a lot more like Jesus than any right wing Evangelical Christian you are likely to run across.

World Net Daily:  "Dawkins becomes a creationist!"

Surprise! This article is not about famous evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, as you might expect, nor even about Darryl Dawkins, late of the Philadelphia 76ers.  It's about some ex-veterinarian homeschooler named Karen Dawkins.  Talk about truth in advertising.

World Net Daily:  "Terrorists kill more than 5,000 in single month"

Still, a long way to go from the 37,000 in the United States alone that tobacco companies kill every month.  How about a war against them?

Carol Brown, American Thinker:  "Attacks against Darren Wilson continue"

None of them having resulted in putting eight bullets in him, I'd like to point out.

Craig Anderson, Tea Party Report:  "Ferguson – Full of Crap-Flinging Monkeys"

No, we're not racists at all, no sir!

Mack Davis, Town Hall:  " Senate "Torture" Report Takes Its Place on the Ash Heap of Shame...It is a pack of lies and misrepresentations. It is dishonest to the core and makes little effort to seem otherwise."

Which Mack knows because he was there, right?  He doesn't need any multi-year studies to know the truth.

Michael Schaus, Town Hall:  "Who Would Have Guessed that Santa was a Republican?...I have given it many hours of thought (no I have nothing better to do with my time), and I am convinced that Kris Kringle is (undoubtedly) a member of the Republican Party."

Republican?  Are you fucking crazy?  He gives stuff to poor kids.

Repair Man Jack, Red State:  "You Don’t Have To Tolerate Anti-Southern Bigots"

No, just treat them the standard Southern way:



Roger Simon, PJ Media:  "Who would join the CIA now, knowing your own government doesn’t have your back?"

Who would join the CIA knowing that it is a pack of vicious, lying torturers?  Oh right, Conservatives would.  Sorry- please forget that I asked such a stupid question.

Michael Walsh, PJ Media:  "Ted Cruz for President?  Unfortunately, the GOP "leadership" will do everything it can behind the scenes to make sure Cruz gets nowhere near the top of the ticket."

But not the Democratic leadership, Michael.  It would be a dream come true for them.

Guy Benson, Town Hall:  "Hmm: 'Team Marco 2016' to Huddle With Major GOP Donors Next Month"

Man, that is exciting.

Lee Duigon, News with Views:  "“It was pittie/ One so wittie/ Malcontent,Leaving reason/ Should to treason/ So be bent.But his gifts/ Were but shifts/ Void of grace:And his braverie/ Was but knaverie,Vile and base.” 

The poem with the funny spelling was written in 1584 to memorialize the execution of a traitor. But to me it seems to describe the current occupier of the White House."

Right, Lee.  Think your quoting sixteenth century poetry hides the fact that you are an ignorant racist?

Bad History Lesson of the Day:

"Greg Corombos, World Net Daily:  "Seventy years ago this month, American heroes successfully held the small crossroads town of Bastogne, repelling Nazi Germany’s last chance at a settled peace and making total victory in Europe all but guaranteed. 

Acclaimed author and reporter Dr. Jerome Corsi...carefully explores the question of whether divine intervention is responsible for the Allies prevailing against seemingly insurmountable odds and in horrific conditions."

Divine intervention, right.  I guess God must have been the copilot on an awful lot of those 5,000 bombing sorties that it took to destroy the oilfields at Ploesti, Rumania, Hitler's last source of fuel, because the allies wiped out the Germans at the Battle of the Bulge when all of the German tanks ran out of gas.

And may I remind you that the two things that Jerome Corsi is "acclaimed" for reporting are the Swift Boat lies against John Kerry and Obama's fake birth certificate.

Ben Carson, Town Hall:  "The recent release of a Senate report commissioned by Democrats regarding torture of terrorism suspects in order to obtain vital information was a waste of $40 million of taxpayer money."

Well, this time you are right, Ben.  Not that stupid Americans don't need to have this thing rammed down their throats, but first of all, we knew all of it already, and second, the gutless "leaders" in Washington aren't going to do a damned thing about it.

Brent Bozell, Town Hall:  "Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Elizabeth Warren are polar opposites, a Tea Party conservative and an Occupy Wall Street socialist."

This is the right's latest approach to the threat that is Elizabeth Warren- call her the Ted Cruz of the left.  Never mind the fact that Cruz is a mentally disturbed person who was brought up by his delusional father to believe that God has chosen him to run the country, while Elizabeth Warren is a highly respected former Harvard economics professor.  Actually, the comparison does serve a purpose, however- to highlight the difference in what it takes to rise to prominence in our two political parties.

Jonah Goldberg, Town Hall:  "Jonathan Gruber Should've Been Time's Person of the Year"

Actually, by those standards, Jonah Goldberg should have been Time's person of the year, because Gruber said one stupid thing this year, while Jonah has said a thousand.

Ben Shapiro, Town Hall:  "The Suicidal Hashtags of the West"

If you really think that article would be worth reading, you are hopeless.

John Warren, Town Hall:  "Why Benghazi Still Matters"

It's all they've got.

Toby Westerman, Renew America  "Jesus is with us, whether the left likes it or not"

He just loves hatred and greed.

Shahriar Kia, American Thinker:  "U.S. Cannot Remain Indifferent on Human Rights Violations in Iran"

It can, however, remain indifferent to human rights violations in Ferguson Mo, Cleveland and New York.

And with that, enough for one day.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Rallies or Clown Shows?

As I mentioned, Conservatives just took two more occasions to utterly, catastrophically fail at bringing out their allegedly massive ranks.  We are at a point now, when I think it might be useful to look at the right wing "marches" on Washington and elsewhere over the last year and a half, just to get a real sense of their miserable performance.  So, here is a list, along with links to my posts about them, where you can find much more photographic evidence; however, before I do, I'd like to provide a picture of a left leaning demonstration this weekend in New York, protesting police misconduct;
This essentially spontaneous event is a real demonstration, reminiscent of those from the Vietnam era, and provides a helpful contrast to the utter nonsense cataloged below:

December 10, 2014:

Sheriffs' "massive gathering" in Washington to protest Obama' immigration action:   Turnout?  20

NumbersUSA Immigration Rally in Washington:  Turnout?  Under 10


Late October, 2014:

Impeach Obama Week 2:  Numerous "rallies" around the country, almost none of which drew more than 10 people.


August, 2014:

Impeach Obama Week 1:  Numerous "rallies" around the country, almost none of which drew more than 10 people, just like Impeach Obama Week 2.


June 21, 2014:

National Organization for Marriage March for Straight Marriage:  Maybe 600, a massive crowd by right wing standards.


May 16, 2014:

Operation American Spring, which Conservatives predicted would bring between 10 and 30 million people to Washington:  120?  150?  maybe.


Mid-March, 2014:

"White Men's Marches" scheduled around the country:  Maximum turnout in any one place- 9.


November 19, 2013:

Larry Klayman's massive (and massively promoted) "Independence Day" march on Washington to drive Obama out of the White House: Attendance under 100.


October 13, 2013

Veterans' "Million Man March" on Washington:  15? 20?  Most of the people in this photo are clearly tourists.

October 11, 2013:

Truckers' drive in to bring Washington to a halt- Thousands of truckers predicted to participate:  Actual attendance, about 30.


September 11, 2013:

March on Washington to express fury over Benghazi:  attendance maybe 100 if they were lucky.


Bikers' Ride In on Washington:  Predicted attendance: 2 million.  Actual attendance: about 600.

September 9, 2013:

Massive march on Washington to demand Obama leave office:  Attendance? apparently zero.


Well, there you go.  And let me add that I didn't leave any successful ones out.  This is it, as far as I know.  I think this list makes it pretty clear how ludicrously the press is acting to treat these people as some sort of real political force in our country.



I want to add here a link to this post about the true historical inspiration of these right wing marches, which may surprise some people.


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Hey, It Works!

I am so sickened by the massive defense of our nation's program of systematic torture under the "leadership" of Bush and Cheney, that I cannot even pretend that it deserves a detailed response from decent human beings.  So, I am going to invite a guest commentator to make my point, at least about the despicable argument that torture was okay because it supposedly worked:

"For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"

That's it.  I'm out of here.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Satan, Thy Name is Antonin

Antonin Scalia, the ideological leader of the Conservatives on the Supreme Court, weighs in with his opinion on torture:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is joining the debate over the Senate's torture report by saying it's hard to rule out the use of extreme measures to extract information...Scalia told a Swiss broadcast network that American and European liberals who say such tactics may never be used are being self-righteous."

Justice Scalia, just what is it about the phrase "cruel and unusual punishment" don't you understand?  Did your fine Constitutional education stop with the second amendment?  Or maybe you are reasoning that if we torture lots of prisoners, it won't be "unusual" any more, and so then it will be just fine if it's cruel.

Of course, there are some Conservatives who argue that what we do to people who haven't been charged with a crime is not "punishment," and therefore anything goes.  After all, the Constitution doesn't say a word about cruel and unusual interrogation- that's okay as long as we don't know if they are guilty or not. 

 This could apply to any of us, naturally, but who cares as long as, so far, it's only foreign Muslims that have been the victims, right?  Guys like the great Justice Antonin Scalia would never stand still if, just to pick a far-fetched example, American police started gunning down random people in the street without a concern that they would be expected to justify their actions.

Well, this is how a country becomes an abomination to the world.  And no "responsible" person will state the obvious: a nation which allows a person like this to make its laws is lost.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Oh God, They "Marched" on Washington Again

In keeping with the absolutely shameless promotion and then failure of endless wingnut marches on Washington, there were two related ones today, to protest the Obama administration's failure to treat immigrants like subhuman animals.  The fact that they were abysmal failures will clearly not stop this endless succession of humiliating performances from continuing, as long, I guess, as they can be used to bilk money from the stupid, ignorant people who make up the Republican base.

First up was a meeting of the cracker, ignorant Sheriffs who have fallen in with right wing politics in the last couple of years:

"Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson of Bristol County, Mass., sent a letter to organize a meeting of sheriffs in Washington, D.C., on December 10, two days before the existing government-funding bill expires, to meet with congressmen and encourage them to take action to secure the border. 
Hodgson wrote. “Senator Jeff Sessions, Senator David Vitter and other members of Congress have agreed to join us at the Capitol to demand immediate action to secure our borders as the first step in achieving legitimate immigration reform in the future. Several sheriffs have agreed to work in a spirit of cooperation to assist in recruiting at least 200 sheriffs to travel to Washington, D.C. for this historic meeting and press conference with members of Congress.”

Despite the presence of several right wing luminaries, here is the turnout:
What can you say?

Along with this thunderous protest showing the wrath of the American people, there was another mighty arising of the people:

"Several blocks away and a few hours later, the anti-immigration group NumbersUSA staged what can very loosely be called a rally on Capitol Hill...the rally drew fewer than 10 people, two picket signs, and one American flag."

As illustrated here:
As I have taken the trouble to document, this phenomenon happens over and over again, with exactly the same pathetic result.  And here it is again, with no change.


When you think of the tens of thousands that turned out in truly spontaneous protests over the recent police murders of black kids, it's a wonder that even our pathetic mainstream press can take the far right in this country as some sort of real force.  But I guess if they go down the road toward admitting that the Republican party represents absolutely no one except the Koch brothers and a few hundred other rich sociopaths, and that the supposed Republican "base" is essentially nonexistent, they will be replaced with someone who will report things a little more to the satisfaction of their masters.  As Dan Rather learned, standing up to power and telling the truth once means more than decades of work as a reporter, and you can always be replaced with some toady like Chuck Todd who will report things the way he's paid to do.


Update:  A little late for it, but compare this to what I have described above:

"Thousands of protesters paralyzed parts of New York and Washington on Saturday, stepping up demonstrations across the United States demanding justice for black men killed by white police.
The rallies in the US capital, New York, Boston and in several Californian cities were among the largest in a growing protest movement sparked by the killing of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9."

There is just no comparison between the actual size and potential power of the left and the right.  I repeat what I have demonstrated so many times now:  the supposed right- the teabaggers, the anti-immigration fanatics, the haters of rights for minorities- they are close to being nothing but a gigantic mirage, supported by tens of millions of dollars of subsidies from rich psychopaths, and promoted endlessly by the corporate media.  Yesterday's marches against police repression are a sign of what a real popular movement can do, without rich people's money and without synthetic promotion by the press.  The more people realize where the power really lies, the less the Koch brothers and their ilk will be able to get away with screwing us all.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

But What About Guantanamo, Guys?

I know this is completely irrelevant, but I would like to remind people that the treaty which we forced on Cuba to let us take extended possession of the Guantanamo area specifically laid out what it could be used for, and a prison or concentration camp was most decidedly not on the list.

Yeah, yeah, what do this country's word and its reputation around the world, and the Constitutional mandate requiring that we uphold treaties, mean when some right wingers decide they are so angry that they'd like to torture people?  What is more important, our right to torture or our honor?  I mean, it's pretty obvious who comes down on which side of that argument.

Wingnut Wrapup


Well, I waited a few days until the sick crowing that we all knew was coming from the wingnuts over their having murdered another black guy and gotten away with it had had some chance to die down- not that it will ever go away completely, of course- right wing lies never die- but I guess it's time to get back to work.

Let's start with this:  From the nethermost depths of the right wing psyche, this forgery:



Elvis, right.  And what, exactly, would it prove if one long dead rural Southern cracker hated Jews?  After Ted Nugent and the Duck Dynasty guys, will right wingers bow in adoration before any ignorant fool that spouts the words they want to hear?  Not, by the way, that this is Elvis.  I never was a big Elvis fan myself, but people who are seem to universally agree that it is a poor imitation.  Well, anyway, on to those who spout their ignorance with a computer keyboard instead of a guitar:

Leah Barkoukis, Town Hall:  “While your Executive Order pad is out, can you write one to bring my son and the tens of thousands (actually over 100,000) killed by illegal aliens back to life and to bring our destroyed families back together?” Don Rosenberg, whose son, Drew, was run over by an illegal immigrant in 2010, wrote in a letter to President Obama just days before he announced his executive amnesty."

100,000.  And, if you will pardon my language, I wonder what asshole Leah plucked that number from.  She sure didn't provide any source in her article.  According to Leah they are making a quilt like the AIDS quilt to commemorate this cause.  Listen, guys, give me a call when it gets big enough to cover my Corgi, and maybe I'll give you a few bucks for it.  Winter's coming, and I don't want him to get cold at night.

Derek Hunter, Town Hall:  "Outside of perhaps a drum circle or Phish concert, there are few things progressives enjoy more than dead people."

Right you are, Derek.  That's why we all supported George Bush's mass murder in Iraq, while you high minded right wingers opposed it.  Oh, wait a minute...I think I got something a little backwards there.  Never mind.

Doug Giles, Town Hall:  "Last week, as I was watched the Ferguson fiasco go down, I kept bouncing back and forth between CNN and MSLSD to see how the Left was pitching this massive destruction of personal and private property...As I watched... “men of God” cheerlead this mess, I started thinking to myself, “Self … what Bible do they read? … ‘The Race-Baiters Grievance Edition?’ “; because no one who’s ever traipsed through an unadulterated New Testament would think that such mayhem, for such a flimsy -- no … farcical -- reason is remotely justifiable."

Of course, Jesus engaged in "destruction of personal and private property" because of usurious charges by money lenders at the Temple.  But  "destruction of personal and private property" just because police murdered a black kid?  No, that is way out of bounds.  By the way, just let Jesus come back and try that trick again, and see how he likes a little mace in the face.

Bruce Bialosky, Town Hall:  "Savings Blacks from Liberal Leaders"

Well, saving their votes, of course.  The actual "blacks" themselves?  Who cares?

Matt Vespa, Town Hall:  "These Two States Cut Medicaid…And Saved Money... According to state data, 173,469 Medicaid cases have been cancelled between February and September."

Amazing proof that Conservatism works!  Take medical care from a couple hundred thousand people, and your costs go down!  Who would ever have thought of that?  And those 173,469 people?  What happened to them?  Who Cares?  Because COSTS WENT DOWN!!!  And what about this horrid abuse:

"...the Illinois audit found that more than 8,000 dead people were still on the state’s Medicaid rolls."

Disgusting!  I bet those 8,000 former people were really using a lot of medical services too.

Red State:  "On Any Black Friday, WalMartStrikers Could Be Replaced—Permanently."

You know, I think the guillotines are just around the corner.  Crow while you can, Red State jerks- it's hard to spread hatred without your head.  Although if anyone can find a way, it will be right wingers.

Dr. Helen Smith, PJ Media:  "Don't buy the hype...Social justice is not a force for good"

Of course not!  Justice is evil!  At least when it costs rich people money.

Steven Kruiser, PJ Media:  "Here We Go Again: Austin Shooter ‘Likely Had Anti-Government Motive’"

Outrageous!  How can liberals possibly conclude that from the mere fact  that he shot a hundred bullets at government buildings?

Elliot Bakker, American Thinker:  "Obama is Failing our Military...At a time when Obama is slashing the defense budget, this increase in the funds sent to Africa can only mean that the U.S. will be less prepared for the threats that actually impact our national security directly"

Because A) We can't spend money on anything without taking it away from the military, and B) Ebola, which just before the election was the greatest threat to our national security since the Nazis, is, now that it might be a good idea to spend some money dealing with it, utterly irrelevant.

World Net Daily:  "100 MISSING BRAINS FOUND IN TEXAS"

Well, that explains a lot.

Michelle Malkin, Town Hall:   "Obama's Scandal-Tainted BCGB (Best Chicago Golfing Buddy)...In his "Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior," George Washington offered this sage advice: "Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company."

Boy if that's the standard, the last President wouldn't have been allowed to talk to his own Vice President.

Pat Buchanan, Town Hall:  "Racist Cops -- or Liberal Slander?"

By the author who brought you "Adolf Hitler- Evil Dictator or Liberal Slander."  The guy has been defending the Nazis for decades- why shouldn't we expect him to approve when police act like the Gestapo?

D.W. Wilber, Town Hall:  "Benghazi Baloney...The real question underlying Benghazi is why Americans serving this country overseas were set up to be killed by a State Department who ignored warnings from security experts that the Benghazi Consulate was ripe for the picking."

Yes, they were "set up to be killed" by the State Department.  Benghazi- the lie that will never die- or at least until after Hillary runs for President.

Jeffrey T. Brown, American Thinker:  "Who is Leading and Financing the Orc Army of the Left?"

Gun crazy right wing rioters at the Bundy Ranch are patriots...Peaceful left wing protesters are an "Orc Army."  Oh, by the way, if you are looking for an answer to Jeffrey's question, you won't find one in his article; just a whole bunch of sleazy implications with no basis in any kind of fact.  That's because unlike Teabaggers, left wing demonstrators are financing themselves, not taking millions from the Koch brothers to create their phony events.

Astute Bloggers:  "ANOTHER MURDER IN THE OBAMA INTIFADATHIS ATTACK MAY MEAN THAT THE RACE WAR - AKA THE OBAMA INTIFADA - WHICH OBAMA AND HOLDER AND JARRETT AND SHARPTON HAVE LONGED FOR AND FOMENTED MAY BE JUST AROUND THE CORNER"

I just want to bring this to your attention because of the use of the term "Obama Intifada," and the suggestion that Obama is deliberately fomenting a race war.  I have seen this term used a couple of times in recent days on right wing websites.  I suspect it's their next meme, so let's see if they run with it.

Derek Hunter, Town Hall:  "Progressivism Claims Another Life"

That would be- believe it or not- Eric Garner, who was killed  by progressive regulations on cigarettes, not by being choked to death by policemen.  That's their story, and they're stickin' to it.

Moe Lane, Red State:  "Democrats still confused as to why the South has given up on them."

No we're not, Moe.  We know exactly why.  So do you.

Kurt Schlichter, Town Hall:  "Will The GOP Lose To Hillary In 2016 By Nominating A Loser Like Jeb?"

Yup.  In case you haven't noticed, the Republicans always nominate the guy the rich people want, and right now that looks to be Jeb.  Of course, all their other choices are losers too, so I guess it doesn't make that much difference.

Kathy Shaidle, PJ Media:   "Palin/Nugent 2016?  Dream Ticket or Nightmare?"

Depends.  Dream ticket for the Democrats, I'll tell you that.


And just in case you need a little help in getting your priorities straight:

James Delipole, Breitbart:  "Girls Don't Need 'Body Confidence' and 'Be The Change' Badges. They Do Need to Know How to Cook, Bake and Sew"

I can't even think of an appropriate comment for that.


And finally, a classic bit of lunacy from World Net Daily:

"IS FACE ON MARS REALLY OBAMA?  President's image keeps appearing in most unexpected places"

Yup, that's what the article is about.  And they really seem to think it might be true.  Oh well...

Monday, December 8, 2014

Supreme Court- A Rigged Game

The following information from Reuters, via the Huffington Post:

"A Reuters examination of nine years of cases shows that 66 of the 17,000 lawyers who petitioned the Supreme Court succeeded at getting their clients' appeals heard at a remarkable rate...Although they account for far less than 1 percent of lawyers who filed appeals to the Supreme Court, these attorneys were involved in 43 percent of the cases the high court chose to decide from 2004 through 2012."

Needless to say, the vast majority of these lawyers represent corporations.

"They basically are just a step ahead of us in identifying the cases that we'll take a look at," said Justice Anthony Kennedy. "They are on the front lines and they apply the same standards" as the justices do."

Well, that's comforting.  The Justices on the Supreme Court rely on a group of corporate lawyers to identify the cases they will consider.  It will come as no surprise, I guess, that these guys "apply the same standards as the justices do," at least the five Justices who currently make up the court's conservative majority.  Why, after all, should they decide for themselves what cases are important to the country, when they have corporate lawyers to do the job for them?

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Sovereigns and the Posse Comitatus- a Bit of Shared History

With the recent two incidents involving right wing Christian terrorists in this country*, and the total suppression, as usual, of their political affiliations by the mainstream press, I thought it would be beneficial to take a few minutes to consider briefly the history of these two groups, the Sovereign Citizen movement and the Christian Identity "religion."  This is not a complete story- the Christian Identity movement is an outgrowth of the British Israelite movement, which since the 1870's was based on the absurd claim that Northern Europeans were the real descendants of the Jews in the bible.  Various explanations have been given about where today's Jews came from, some going so far as to claim that Jews (and black people too, of course) are actually not human beings at all, but spawns of an affair which Satan supposedly had with Eve, which is why God ejected Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden.  Well, enough of this idiocy, on with the story.

First, with Christian Identity, of which the violent cult of Phineas Priesthood, which has always openly advocated anti-government violence is a part.  The absurd British Israelite movement had pretty well collapsed by the 1920's or so, and was moribund until recreated by a man named Wesley A. Smith:

"Wesley A. Swift (1913-1970) was a former Methodist minister from Southern California. In the 1940s, Swift started his own church, later known as the Church of Jesus Christ Christian. 

He was active in far right-wing groups, including the Ku Klux Klan, and developed a close friendship with prominent postwar anti-Semite, Gerald L. K. Smith. Because of the activities of Swift and associates such as Bertrand Comparet and San Jacinto Capt, Christian Identity increasingly became linked with extreme right-wing ideologies. Richard Girnt Butler, founder of the Aryan Nations, was a close California disciple of Swift."


Gerald L. K. Smith was a rabid demagogue who was one of the precursors of the right wing radio talk shows which emerged in the 1960's.  Far more important to our narrative, however, is the second figure mentioned here- Richard Butler.  Butler is probably the most known of these people, having spent his wealth establishing the Hayden Lake, Idaho compound that was the center of American White Supremacy, and whose presence continues to tarnish the name of Hayden Lake as a refuge for haters to this day.  Famous alumni of the compound include Randy Weaver of Ruby Ridge fame, Nazi spree killer Buford Furrow; Oklahoma City bomber Timothy was highly influenced by Butler's book, The Turner Diaries, which approvingly describes a fictional bombing almost exactly like the one McVeigh carried out.  Let me continue with more source material.
Richard F. Butler, in all his glory
"The origin of Aryan Nations is in the teachings of Wesley Swift, a significant figure in the early Christian Identity movement...In 1957, the name of his church was changed to the Church of Jesus Christ-Christian, which is used today by Aryan Nations churches...
There are three main Aryan Nations factions. One is led by August Kreis III and Charles John Juba...In 2005, the Holy Order of the Phineas Priesthood, formerly in association with the faction operated by Kreis, seceded and formed Aryan Nations Revival, based in New York..."
A pleasant day in the sun at the Hayden Lake compound.  Note the similarity
of the jerks in the back row to, oh, say, ISIS guys.


Now, before making any comment on this, I would like to move on to the antecedents of the Sovereign Citizen movement.

"The Christian Patriot movement is a movement of American political commentators and activists. They promote various interpretations of history and law with the common theme that the federal government has turned against the ideas of liberty and individual rights which were behind the American Revolution, and America's Christian heritage
The movement originally referred to the late 1980s' Posse Comitatus group, a militant far right organization. Posse Comitatus followed an ideology based on the teachings of Posse founder and Christian Identity minister William P. Gale...This ideology holds that state and federal governments are agents of an arcane conspiracy to deprive Americans of their rights as "sovereign citizens." It also holds that this conspiracy can be undermined through various legal pleadings from English common law and other sources, such as a motion protesting the way a defendant's name is typeset in a legal complaint. The ideology persists despite numerous court rulings that have declared its theories frivolous."
A book by William Potter Gale.  I think the cover says it all. 

And lest we forget the connections:

"Developing strong ties to the white supremacist Christian identity movement, they believe themselves to be the true Israelites, chosen by God, and they state that the Jews sought to help Satan to destroy civilization, and undermine white citizens' rights by means of the Federal Reserve and the Internal Revenue Service."

And now, back to Richard Butler for a bit, as he is, in a sense, the man who ties it all together:

"While helping to "expose" communist teachers as a member of the California Committee to Combat Communism, Butler met one of his most important influences — William Potter Gale, a retired Army colonel who had served on the staff of Gen. Douglas MacArthur. 

In 1961, Butler began attending the church of the Anglo-Saxon Christian Congregation in Lancaster, Calif. The pastor there was Wesley Swift, a Gale acolyte who preached that whites are the true Israelites and Jews are descended directly from a mating of Eve and the devil. A former Klan organizer, Swift formed the virulently anti-Semitic Christian Defense League in 1962. He chose Butler to be its national director, a post Butler held until 1965.  

By 1977, Butler had decided to form the Church of Jesus Christ Christian at the farmhouse. The political arm of the church, where Butler preached the racist Christian Identity creed, would be called Aryan Nations, and its ideology included a large dose of Hitler worship."

William Potter Gale and Wesley Swift.  There they are again.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has this to say about Sovereign Citizens:

"The movement is rooted in racism and anti-Semitism, though most sovereigns, many of whom are African American, are unaware of their beliefs' origins. In the early 1980s, the sovereign citizens movement mostly attracted white supremacists and anti-Semites, mainly because sovereign theories originated in groups that saw Jews as working behind the scenes to manipulate financial institutions and control the government. Most early sovereigns, and some of those who are still on the scene, believed that being white was a prerequisite to becoming a sovereign citizen." 

Now for some conclusions.  You can see from the above material that the Sovereign Citizen and the Christian Identity movement have a common origin, and that is with the most extreme race-hating, Aryan supremacist people this nation has ever seen.  They are not independent political or religious groups, free from any place on the political spectrum, as they are so often portrayed in the mainstream press.  They occupy a political space between the out and out jackbooted thugs that call themselves Skinheads and the (by now) mainstream views of the likes of Michelle Bachmann, Louie Gohmert and Ted Cruz. My purpose here is not to present a litany of the abominations they have perpetrated- the Sovereign Citizens alone have been responsible for over a hundred murders in the last couple of decades- but simply to place them clearly on the political spectrum as  the vicious right wing haters they are.  This is why, when we see the stupid claims of the Christian Identity movement, or the pseudo-legal gobbledygook spouted by Sovereign Citizens, we should not allow ourselves to be lulled into thinking they are harmless eccentrics.  They are hate-filled political killers, no different in their attitudes than ISIS or Al Qaida.  The only difference is that ISIS and Al Qaida are 10,000 miles away, while these guys are right here, killing away, only to be ignored by the press.

Now, I must say that there is at least one hopeful sign in all of this.  Far from the spontaneous uprising of angry citizens which these groups claim to be, they actually have a history in which the same names show up again and again, and owe their origins to a concerted effort of an almost laughably small number of Americans.  Still, they have been good at one thing: convincing the press like many of the right wing fringe groups I document here that they actually represent some real groundswell of anger, and so they find themselves the center of far more attention than they deserve.  Oh, and they have guns and they have demonstrated they are willing to use them.  In any real confrontation with the government they would be slaughtered, but I suspect that they have committed the cardinal political mistake of believing their own propaganda, which makes it almost inevitable that this confrontation will come, sooner or later.

*If you want to learn more about these two acts of antigovernment terror, you can look at previous posts of mine, here and here.