The Watering Hole, Saturday, November 28th, 2015: Planned Parenthood Under Attack


Planned Parenthood is always under some kind of attack, whether by the religious-right forced-birthers protesting outside PP offices, or by the Republican-led legislature’s ginned-up witch hunts about fetal tissue, or by the many states’ impositions of prohibitively strict restrictions on both clinics and patients. This time, however, the attack was physical, violent, and deadly.

"Sneak Preview" of cover of Denver Post for Saturday, 11/28/15 (from Twitter)

“Sneak Preview” of cover of Denver Post for Saturday, 11/28/15 (from Twitter)

It’s nearly 3:30am Eastern Time as I’m typing this, and right now the most up-to-date information seems to be from the Denver Post. They’ve assembled a timeline of the more than five-hour shooting/standoff here. A third Denver Post article paints a more vivid picture of the unfolding situation, including this tidbit that I haven’t seen anywhere else:

“At roughly 12:15, the gunman went inside Planned Parenthood and began firing out the windows at propane tanks placed around the clinic’s parking lot, an officer told dispatch over his radio.”

Now, other articles mentioned that the police were sorting through several items that the suspect had brought with him, including mention of ‘a propane tank.’ Nothing about more than one tank, or that any were “placed around the clinic’s parking lot” – but that could explain why most articles say the shooting started outside the Planned Parenthood offices, in the parking lot. Supposedly [it was reported somewhere, I forget where] the suspect had been shooting at cars passing by, possibly if any of the drivers noticed what he was doing. But I’m just speculating here, which I shouldn’t be doing. That, apparently, is the job of the TV ‘news’ media. We turned on the TV after we initially read about the shooting as it was happening, but turned it off again after hearing some of the inane questions and ‘we-don’t-want-to-speculate-but-we-have-to’ bumbling.

Of course there will be much more information available by the time I wake up later this morning–hell, probably even by the time I finish writing this. So I’m definitely not going to speculate about the shooting suspect’s motive(s), or his religion, or his political persuasion; when the information comes out, I’m sure there will be much ranting to follow. I just need to get this one little rant off my chest before I finally go to bed:

Back in September, Illinois Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger had spoken about the now-debunked videos purportedly showing PP “harvesting” fetal tissue for fun and profit:

“I mean it’s Nazi Germany,” he told Rockford radio station WROK recently. “You think of the doctors in the concentration camps experimenting on their victims. It’s kind of reminiscent of that.”

The fact that the ‘smoking-gun’ videos were proven to be fraudulent didn’t deter Kinzinger from throwing them up again, with amazingly tone-deaf, brain-dead timing. From one of the ThinkProgress articles covering the shooting:

“While the shooter was active inside the Planned Parenthood clinic, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) went on live TV and blasted the organization. “We saw these barbaric videos, and that was something that many of us have a legitimate concern about,” Kinzinger said.”

Yes. He said that while the shooting spree was in progress; while police officers were being shot at; while at least 100 people were huddling in fear, not just in the Planned Parenthood offices, but in nearby shops and buildings; while a shooter terrorized the area. And he said it as if having “a legitimate concern about” Planned Parenthood could somehow be a “legitimate” cause or reason or excuse for shooting and killing innocent people.

This is our daily Open Thread–have at it.

The Watering Hole; Friday November 27 2015; Happy “Holidays”

Far from the madding crowd’s ignoble strife,
Their sober wishes never learn’d to stray;
Along the cool sequester’d vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.
(Thomas Gray, from Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard)

The Holiday Season has officially begun, and here, in all its glory, is the season’s formal (2015) Colorado debut on Thanksgiving Eve — the view (from my front door) of . . .

Nov 25 Sunset 2091

. . . The Sky Over the Front Range’s 13,000 ft. Greenhorn Peak.

It’s sad that humans don’t have the soul of Mother Nature. If we did, maybe we could all avoid the nonsensical ‘Holiday’ blather, including all that (alleged) ‘War on Christmas’ gibberish, and maybe even the ‘shop till you drop!’ and ‘spend spend spend!’ urgings with which the mass media firebombs us for close to forty days and forty nights — each and every year — right about this time.

Still, it only took the other night’s singular event — when the sky literally exploded in full color on the eve before Thanksgiving — to remind me of days long gone, even to suggest it might be worth maybe a moment’s peek at old photo files . . . ?  In years past, you see, we made it an annual point to spend as many days and nights as possible —  especially during the “Holiday Season” — away from the city and every bit as “Far from the madding crowd’s ignoble strife” as we could manage. Following are a handful of ‘sky’ photos from some of those years, each and all of which offer that hoped-for PROOF that Nature can NEVER be as boring as is human’s recurrent ‘celebratory’ world.

Nov 2001, Weavers Needle from McDowells

— Sunrise over Arizona’s Superstition Mountains; Nov. 2001 —

Nov 2001 Desert Sunrise

— Sonoran Desert Sunrise; Nov. 2002 —


— Four Peaks and the Mazatzals from Phoenix Mtn. Preserve; Nov. 2003 —

Dec 2005 desert sunrise

— Sonoran Desert Sunrise; Dec. 2005 —

Nov 2006 White Tanks sunset

— Sunset, White Tank Mountains, Arizona; Dec. 2006 —


— Gathering storm, Sierra Mojada, Colorado; New Years Day, 2009 —

So that’s how Nature celebrates the Holidays in each of two dramatically different corners of the American West. Might I assume she does much the same everywhere else as well? I’m guessing . . . ummmm . . . yes? :)

There still (sadly) remains, however, that ‘other’ side of the coin, the human side, the ‘Holiday Season’ side that has, over the centuries, evolved to accommodate huge numbers of zealots who (a) give thanks to their (Christian) God for the blessings that result from their (always bountiful?) harvests, and (b) demand celebration of the birth of their (Christian) God’s  (alleged) son. One might think, therefore, that their included ‘Holydays’ would be a time of tolerance, of kindness, of understanding, even a time of love. Instead, what’s come to pass is a month’s worth of commercialism, blended with various levels of accusatory hate- and fear-mongering against ‘outliers’ everywhere. So while some sceptics might find their ‘Holiday Season’ tirades entertaining (see, e.g., ‘Oppression Of America’s Churches’ Reminiscent Of Nazi Germany), I’ve decided to make MY choice be something more like this (once again) view from my front door:


— Greenhorn Peak, December 2008 —

No fear, no hate, no oppression, no Christers, no Nazis, only the Great ‘Out There.’ My OUR world, the one that reminds — always — that

The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow’r,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e’er gave,
Awaits alike th’ inevitable hour:
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.
(Thomas Gray)

Meanwhile, Happy Holidays!


The Watering Hole; Thursday November 26 2015; Thanks (for) Giving

In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln declared the fourth Thursday in November to be a day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.” ‘Thanksgiving’ was first celebrated by the Pilgrims in 1621 after their successful ‘first harvest’ in the New World; the celebration lasted for three days back then. Those concepts have pretty much dissipated over the last several decades, however, to the point where these days Thanksgiving — still the fourth Thursday in November — means a day off, a turkey dinner, and the start of the so-called ‘Holiday Season’  and its ‘shop till you drop’ commercial mentality.

This year, another factor has entered the room and, thanks to its high volume political campaign (Republican, of course) rhetoric, has infected the holiday with an almost surreal contagion of unadulterated and largely irrational fear — a fear of terrorism; of ISIL; of Islam; of Muslims everywhere; and most prominently, the fear of Syrian refugees, especially those trying to obtain sanctuary in America: TERRORISTS!!

So in response, virtually every Republican governor along with one Democratic governor have publicly proclaimed their state as being OFF LIMITS! to all Syrian refugees who are of course most likely NOT innocent people, but are Muslim extremists or radical Islamists who are out to kill Americans! And they’re all part of Obama’s sinister plot to bring on Shariah Law . . . etc.

Fear. Hopefully it can be made to lead to hatred, then to more fear, maybe help a Republican get elected as President next year so we can Save America!!

Thanksgiving.  “Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens” — for protecting us from those evil evil terrorists?

There is another side to that coin, however. Imagine it: NO fear, NO hatred, simply the goal, the desire, to help those who truly need help, to provide those refugee families with a safe and secure — and comfortable — surround; the surround which most Americans consider their birthright. And most impressively, some are offering to help even in spite of their own governor’s completely irrational position. Here, below, the perfect example — a letter from Michael Moore to (Michigan) Governor Snyder: ‘I myself am going to defy your ban’:

Dear Gov. Snyder:

I just wanted to let you know that, contrary to your declaration of denying Syrian refugees a home in our state of Michigan, I myself am going to defy your ban and will offer MY home in Traverse City, Michigan, to those very Syrian refugees you’ve decided to keep out. I will contact the State Department to let them know I am happy to provide a safe haven to any Syrian refugee couple approved by the Obama administration’s vetting procedures in which I have full faith and trust.

Your action is not only disgraceful, it is, as you know, unconstitutional (only the President has the legal right to decide things like this).

What you’ve done is anti-American. This is not who we are supposed to be. We are, for better and for worse, a nation of descendants of three groups: slaves from Africa who were brought here in chains and then forced to provide trillions of dollars of free labor to build this country; native peoples who were mostly exterminated by white Christians through acts of mass genocide; and immigrants from EVERYWHERE around the globe. In Michigan we are fortunate to count amongst us tens of thousands of Arab and Muslim Americans.

I’m disappointed in you, Governor Snyder, for your heartless and un-Christian actions, and for joining in with at least 25 other governors (all but one a Republican) who’ve decided to block legal Syrian refugees from coming into their states. Fortunately I’m an American and not a Republican.

Governor, count me out of whatever you think it means to be a Michigander. I look forward to welcoming Syrians to my home and I wholeheartedly encourage other Americans to do the same.

Michael Moore

P.S. By the way, my 700-sq. ft. apartment in northern Michigan is a little small, but it’s got cable, wi-fi and a new dishwasher! Also, no haters live on my floor! Stop by any time for a hot chocolate this winter.

Finally. A genuine reason to celebrate Thanksgiving in 2015. I will, however, change the word — slightly — in honor of Michael Moore and all like him.

Thanks for Giving!

Imagine it, if you dare. A world free of fear and hate, a world filled instead with caring and generosity for all people, especially for those less fortunate, those struggling for the simple joy of leading a peaceful life. It can happen, apparently.

Just never ask a Republican to help make it possible because, as Rep. Steve King points out, Muslim immigrants are ‘incompatible’ with Americanism


The Watering Hole, Wednesday, November 25, 2015. WWIII

The attacks in Paris have made one thing abundantly clear: we are in World War III.

It started with a singular incident: the attack on American soil against civilian and military targets. The World Trade Centers represented imperialist capitalism. The Pentagon represented imperialist militarism. Together, they represented the worst of the American Empire.

If the attacks on 9/11 were a false flag attack, as has been committed by governments before, designed to whip the populace into its place through fear and prejudice, it worked. People gladly gave up civil liberties and signed up to go to war. The rule of law was suspended. Torture of the enemy, accepted. Anything – anything for the illusion of safety. Including war. Invading two sovereign countries. Killing hundreds of thousands of civilians. Acceptable. Why? Because – terrorists.

If the attacks of 9/11 were committed by a small group of militant revolutionaries in the Middle East, it worked. The strike against the symbols of moneyed capitalists and war-mongering imperialists generated the expected response: war. A new Crusade. Carnage so abominable as to attract thousands to rally to the side of the revolutionaries.

The megapowers of the world pounded their might against civilian populations. The populace responded the only way possible. Car bombs. Improvised Explosive Devises. Suicide bombers. The fought on their homeland.

Until now. (at least, a ‘now’ that the western media recognizes.) Now, they’ve taken the fight to the enemy. They’ve attacked and killed civilians in the Capital of France. Other attacks are occurring around the globe.

The War on Terror is World War III.

PETER NEUMANN, Director, International Center for the Study of Radicalization, King’s College:

 I think there are three aims here. The first is classical asymmetric warfare — warfare. You’re hitting us. We’re going to take revenge by hitting you where it hurts most, namely at home.

The second intention is really to polarize and to divide European societies, to create that sense of Islam against the West, and to create a lot of mess in the countries that they oppose.

The third intention that often gets forgotten is also internally. I think the Islamic State has been on the defensive in its core territory in Iraq and Syria.


UPDATE – This occurred after this post was drafted:

The Watering Hole, Monday, November 23rd, 2015: NatGeo, Take Me Away!

I can’t deal with “Ugly Americans” [of course, “Ugly Americans” = “Republican Presidential Candidates and their Fans/Supporters”] anymore; we keep thinking, “How can these guys sink so low?”, then, the next hour or day or week, one or two or several of them come out with such outrageous shit that we really need a new word to define what circle of hell lies beyond “outrageous” or “horrific” or “despicable” or “abhorrent” or “inhuman” – sorry, I need more words!

And I’ve had it up to HERE with the holidays being turned into meaningless “shop-’til-you-drop” commercialism [how about if “Black Friday” could be turned into “Black Lives Matter Friday” – hell, make every day of the entire Thanksgiving/Christmas holiday shopping season a day of protests]. So I’m going with some beautiful photos from National Geographic to start the week.

Here’s some pretty birds, from “A Flight of Birds”, a section of NatGeo’s Photo Ark, including a photo capturing the iridescent plumage of the Purple Glossy Starling, such as seen below,
and a more close-up shot of the Javan Rhinoceros Hornbill, like the one seen below:
javan rhinoceros Hornbill

And if you prefer a larger gallery for leisurely viewing, here’s more from NatGeo’s 2015 Photo Contest. The “Week 10” group includes a brooding sunset photo of Godafoss Waterfall in Iceland – here’s a chilly winter shot of the falls, just to start the calming process:

This is our daily Open Thread – enjoy the views or rant away – or you can do both!