The Watering Hole, Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015: Watery Tart, Eh?

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Hmm…do some of these lines from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” seem familiar?

Woman: Oh. How do you do?

King Arthur:  How do you do, good lady? I am Arthur, King of the Britons. Whose castle is that?

Woman:  King of the who?

King Arthur:  King of the Britons.

Woman: Who are the Britons?

King Arthur:  Well, we all are. We are all Britons. And I am your king.

Woman:  I didn’t know we had a king. I thought we were an autonomous collective.

Dennis:  You’re foolin’ yourself! We’re living in a dictatorship. A self-perpetuating autocracy in which the working class…

Woman:  Oh, there you go bringing class into it again.

Dennis:  Well, that’s what it’s all about! If only people would…

King Arthur:  Please, please, good people, I am in haste. Who lives in that castle?

Woman:  No one lives there.

King Arthur:  Then who is your lord?

Woman:  We don’t have a lord.

Dennis:   I told you, we’re an anarcho-syndicalist commune. We take it in turns to be a sort of executive officer for the week...

King Arthur:  Yes…

Dennis:   …but all the decisions of that officer have to be ratified at a special bi-weekly meeting…

King Arthur:  Yes I see…

Dennis: …by a simple majority in the case of purely internal affairs…

King Arthur:  Be quiet!

Dennis: …but by a two thirds majority in the case of…

King Arthur:   Be quiet! I order you to be quiet!

Woman:  Order, eh? Who does he think he is?

King Arthur:  I am your king.

Woman:  Well, I didn’t vote for you.

King Arthur:  You don’t vote for kings.

Woman:  Well how’d you become king then?

[Angelic music plays… ]

King Arthur:  The Lady of the Lake, her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water, signifying by divine providence that I, Arthur, was to carry Excalibur. THAT is why I am your king.

Dennis:  [interruptingListen, strange women lyin’ in ponds distributin’ swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony…Oh, but you can’t expect to wield supreme executive power just because some watery tart threw a sword at you.  [emphasis mine]

I dunno – right now in these “United” States, it seems as good a system as our own.  So…

watery tart

This is our daily Open Thread – go ahead, sound off!

The Watering Hole, Tuesday September 1, 2015

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Away from food politics and environment for a moment, here is an essay on the presence of guns in the US with respect to other countries and the comparative murder and suicide rates. Surprised to actually find this at a CNN site.

Amerikans love their guns to death.

Papa bear, momma bear, and baby bear.

The Watering Hole, August 31, 2015: Chris Christie vs. Technology

In order for Governor Chris Christie’s plan to round up people who overstay their visas to work, he would have to invent time travel technology. And even though it’s impossible to know if time travel really has been invented if you’re not the one using it (if history has changed, so have all your memories), looking at his poll numbers it would appear he hasn’t yet. After all, if you started out doing poorly in your effort to become President, and you had the ability to travel back in time, wouldn’t you go back in time and change things so that you had the humongous lead in Republican polls and not some billionaire with an oversize ego and even worse ideas than yours? Actually I shouldn’t say Trump’s ideas are worse since he hasn’t explained how any of them could work except to say “Management.” But I digress. Anyway, without time travel, Christie’s plan to call in FedEx Chairman and CEO Fred Smith to help teach the government how to track people who have overstayed their visas can’t work. At least, not if your plan involves finding any of the estimated eleven million people who are here illegally. Well, listen to him try to explain his plan this past Saturday. [Video via Think Progress.]

Christie’s campaign spokesperson (or “spox” as they’ve come to be called these days) is none other than FedEx CEO Fred Smith’s daughter, Samantha. It’s possible that’s a coincidence, and not at all related to Christie mentioning FedEx as part of his plan. It’s also possible that Ebola-infected monkeys will come flying out of Christie’s butt and nest in Donald Trump’s hair. One can dream, but one should probably seek professional counseling or be more diligent about taking one’s meds. But I digress. Christie said that “at any moment, FedEx can tell you where that package is. It’s on the truck. It’s at the station. It’s on the airplane.” But they can’t actually tell you where that package is “at any moment”. In order to do that, each package would have to have something like an RFID tag, which transmits a low-level signal that can be tracked by satellite, and FedEx doesn’t do that for every package they deliver. What they can tell you is where the package was when the bar code label on it was last scanned. And they don’t get scanned all the time. FedEx drivers pick up and deliver hundreds and hundreds of packages each day, so scanning every single package at every stop would be impractical. You can find out when your package got put on the plane, but until it lands and the label is scanned again, all you can find out is that it is in transit. So it is not true that FedEx can tell you where a package is “at any moment.” Christie tried to explain to Chris Wallace that of course he knows people aren’t packages. [Video via Raw Story]

But to use this technology that can find the people who overstayed their visas, you would have to find the people who overstayed their visas and give them some kind of bar code that can be scanned, or a visa with an RFID chip in it. Then you would have to install scanners all over America that can detect these bar codes and RFID tags, and keep their current locations handy so that the microsecond their visas expire, you’ll know exactly where to go pick them up. Assuming that in addition to buying and using all this technology, you also came up with the money to have them picked up, housed while being processed, and transported to a waiting government official in Mexico. Whose taxes are you going to raise to pay for all that? I suggest Donald Trump’s, for starters. Followed by all those millionaires and billionaires who got ginormous tax cuts back in the Reagan days, heralding the beginning of the destruction of the Middle Class in America. The calls for balancing the budget (a completely unnecessary and self-defeating goal) were nothing more than the legalized transfer of wealth to the top 1%, and most of that to the top 0.1%. We were told that the rich people would use their tax cuts to create jobs and the wealth would trickle down to the rest of us. Yes, they actually told us that. And it was complete bullshit and they knew it. Because rich people do not create jobs. Consumer demand creates jobs. A need for a product or service develops, and someone starts up a business to meet the demand for that need. And it isn’t always a rich person doing it. How many times have you heard of the guy who had nothing and started a multi-million dollar business? What rich people often do is give that guy several hundred million for his business and take it over themselves. But no matter how big that business gets, it isn’t the owner that created the jobs, it’s the consumer demand of the Middle Class that created the vast majority of those jobs. Without that demand, there would be no reason for that business owner, either the guy starting out who hasn’t yet made his first million, or that guy with the hilarious Trumpadour hairstyle, to hire people in the first place. But I digress.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss Chris Christie, Donald Trump, roadkill you may have personally worn on your head, or anything else you wish to discuss.

Sunday Roast: Happy Zooniversary!!

Freddie just owns that whole stadium, doesn’t he?  Absolutely fantastic.  :)

Anyhoo, I guess TheZoo has been a thing for a little over eight years — which is kinda nuts, actually — but in a good way!

Our Critters and Zoosters “met” about ten years ago on the ThinkProgress blog, when it was just a wee little thing with barely any comments.  Awwww, it was so cute.  Damn, look at it now!!  As good things tend to go on the interwebs, it eventually became overwhelmed with smelly ol’ trolls and several of us decided to just bug out — hence TheZoo!

We used to be a more serious blog, with lots of political posts, cartoons, and massive snark, which was linked on occasion by Crooks & Liars and ThinkProgress itself.  Srsly, cool, right?

These days we’re a comfy little online neighborhood pub, with daily open threads by the Critters containing wisdom, poetry, essays on politics/religion, photos, videos, the occasional bizarre rant (usually by that Zooey nutter), live-blogging political debatey-type things, and a multitude of insightful/snarky/sarcastic/snide/thoughtful/naughty comments by our loyal and well-loved Zoosters.

Thank you so much for hanging out, all y’all, and Happy Eight Years, everyone!

This is our daily open thread — Party on!

The Watering Hole, Saturday, August 29th, 2015: Let’s Get Away From It All

This ought to take your minds off of the insanity of the Republican “presidential hopefuls”, if only for a little while.

The Weather Channel has posted the finalists for its 2015 “It’s Amazing Out There” photo contest. So enjoy some cool photos and forget about Teh Stupid.

Here’s one of last year’s photo finalists, a cool shot taken by Dwayne Kear:
2014 Its Amazing Out There photo submitted by Dwayne Kear

So go ahead, refresh your sense of wonder at something other than jaw-dropping idiocy.

This is our daily Open Thread – enjoy!

The Watering Hole; Friday August 28 2015; “Can the Dumb Define the Divine?”

. . . I infer from the Odors borne –
Of its Voice — to affirm — when the Wind is within —
Can the Dumb — define the Divine?
The Definition of Melody — is —
That Definition is none —
Emily Dickinson

Interesting question, that one. Republicans everywhere seem to think they can not only DEFINE divinity, but that they can interpret each and every current event through the “eyes” of their particular brand of “the Divine.”. Here’s but one example of what happens when a near maniacal ego grapples with concepts that lie far beyond its ken. Republican presidential candidate hopeful Ted Cruz has said:

“I’m a Christian and Scripture commands Christians to love everybody.”

“What we’re seeing now is this liberal fascism and intolerance where their object is to persecute, to punish, to fine any Bible-following Christian or believer that believes in the biblical definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. And that is profoundly inconsistent with who we are as Americans. . . .”

“There are some activists who, frankly, manifest a hatred and intolerance for Christians, who are persecuting Christians. That is unfortunate. As I said, I think we should love everybody. . . .”

[religious liberty was] “the foundational right upon which this nation was built, and I am proud to stand with these heroes gathered tonight to defend religious liberty.”

In other words: liberal fascism (itself the oxymoronic equivalent of, say, “gentle cruelty”) is the (presumed) unholy or perhaps Satanic undercurrent that has forced “Christians” to hate, fear, and disrespect LGBT people because it is liberal fascism that has mandated commercial “Christian” florists and cake-makers be disallowed from refusing to make cakes or sell flowers to those who would celebrate or (horror of horrors) participate in, say, a same sex marriage. Because, apparently, gay people are deserving of hatred and intolerance because God put a verse in the bible pointing out that He, too, hates and is intolerant of the whole concept of those aberrant people (whom He created in the first place). Cruz believes, I’m sure, that he CAN, indeed, “define the Divine.”

Weird. On the one hand, according to Cruz, the bible commands Christians to love everybody; on the other hand, he also refers to hatred and intolerance as a product of those liberal fascists who see the world through a different lens. What he fails to notice is that the ‘right’ to practice hatred and intolerance is not only allowed, but sometimes DEMANDED by his concept of religious liberty which he maintains is under assault by (non-existent and oxymoronic) liberal fascism. Divinity not only allows, it also so demands — at least according to definers of Divinity such as Ted Cruz — the practice of hatred and intolerance as a ‘right’ granted by religious liberty.

Confusing.

So. OK. Fine. Yes. We have just been served — by Presidential candidate Ted Cruz — a full helping of what is fast becoming known as REPUBLICAN STUPIDITY!! (See also Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, Scott Walker, Carly Fiorina, Rick Santorum, Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Rand Paul, somebody named Kasich, and whomever else I might have forgotten about already).

Seriously folks. When Emily Dickinson asked “Can the Dumb define the Divine”? I’m betting she was perfectly aware that the answer is clearly NO. And even though she never really said as much, my guess is that to her, it was not all that tricky for anyone with a functioning mind to define the Dumb. And it still is NOT tricky, given that today all one really has to do is look and see if there’s an “R” behind the name. If there is, the answer is a definite Yup. Dumb. Defined.

Anyway, in an effort to assuage my, shall we say, “disappointment” (?) in re the mental qualities of the Republican Clown Car occupants, I spent some time wandering through some of my old photo files on a search for evidential photographs of the mentally superior critters one runs across constantly while visiting “out there.” I found several, each and every one of which portrays exponential levels of intellectual superiority to Republicans everywhere. I only hope I’m not insulting the intellectually superior critters by assigning physical resemblance comparisons to several of the Republican Presidential (ouch!) candidate hopefuls! Nevertheless, let the DIVINE — herein and now — DEFINE the DUMB. At least a handful of them.

Trump

                                                                      Trump?

Carson

                                                                 Carson?

Fiorina? (look closely)

                                                  Fiorina? (look closely)

Jeb!

                                                                          Jeb!

Walker

                                                                        Walker?

Cruz, aka the mummified frog

                       Ted Cruz, aka the mummified frog. Definitely. Q.E.D.

And speaking of mummified frogs, here’s the latest from Ted’s papa, Rafael Cruz:

‘The Devil Overplayed His Hand’ With SCOTUS Gay Marriage Decision

So there it is again. One more attempt by a Wingnut to define the Divine. My answer, therefore, to Ms Dickinson’s burning question “Can the Dumb define the Divine?” is a simple one: OF COURSE NOT!!! Duh!

“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity;
and I’m not sure about the universe.”
Albert Einstein

Q.E.D.

OPEN THREAD

The Watering Hole; Thursday August 27 2015; “Anchor Babies”

“We are here to support American values.
America was built with immigrants.”
Juan Gomez
(Vice president of United Voices for Immigrants,
Teacher of English to immigrant adults,
Peruvian immigrant
April 9, 2006)

Anchor Babies. I find the demeaning attitude implicit in those two words to be infuriating. And ridiculous. And STUPID! No wonder Republicans use them on a daily basis.

Donald Trump initiated the latest round of nonsensical anti-birthright bias when he suggested that if he were to become President, he would deport each and every “illegal” or undocumented immigrant, and that he would then find the means to override the opening words of Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment, the line that grants birthright citizenship WITHOUT EXCEPTION via the words:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.

Since Trump first mentioned his racist and white supremacist ego-maniacal fascistic proposition, most if not all “candidate” occupants of the Republican Clown Car have voiced agreement with his ‘unconstitutional’ thesis. Their responses have ranged from the ridiculous to the bizarre (especially Jeb Bush who aimed his hateful rhetoric at Chinese and Asians rather than the more “popular” Hispanic brand). But the bottom line remains: the GOP has morphed from an all-inclusive and reasonable politic to become little more than a white supremacist, hate and fear motivated classical Fascist movement, one whose intent seems to be the redefinition of this country.

I could rant for days on the absolute asininity of the GOP’s “positions” on this and on most other matters of national and humanitarian import, but in deference to sanity I’ll hold back. A little, at least. But I will answer Jeb Bush’s idiotic response to the journalist who asked him about his use of the words ‘anchor babies.’ “You give me a better term and I’ll use it,”  Bush replied. Seems to me that’s an easy one. How about, “children”? I should think that would be clear and obvious, esp. to the politic that sees the fertilized egg as a ‘person’ worthy of full constitutional protection. I guess that concept must only apply to white zygotes, though, and surely not to brownies and Chinks and Japs and . . . well, you know.

Funny too how “anchor babies” weren’t an issue when white Christians first came to North America back in the seventeenth century. I mean, it seems crystal clear that each and all of those immigrants were effectively illegal, undocumented, etc. I admit I find it curious that today’s Republicans, when they’re bitching about “anchor babies,” never mention the atrocities those Pilgrim “anchor babies” were at least partially responsible for over ensuing generations. Why is that I wonder?

A recent article in the Washington Post by discusses what he refers to as “Donald Trump’s nativist bandwagon.” In it he notes that

Trump would abolish birthright citizenship: the principle, embedded in the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, that anyone born in the United States is an American, no matter the legal status of his or her parents. Sen. Ted Cruz promptly claimed he’d always opposed birthright citizenship, too, a claim the Houston Chronicle quickly disproved. Bobby Jindal and Ben Carson joined in, as did Scott Walker, though he didn’t seem entirely sure. Jeb Bush stayed admirably aloof from the mob.

(Hiatt apparently wrote the piece before Bush jumped on board and criticized Asian/Chinese “anchor babies” rather than Hispanic “anchor babies”). He goes on to quote Doris Meissner, who ran the U.S. immigration agency under President Clinton and is now a senior fellow at the Migration Policy Institute.

“What’s the belief system, the social cohesion that binds us? . . . A commitment to democracy, participation, equal rights, opportunity, due process, government by the people — people have to be full members of the society for that to be real and flourish.”

Hiatt further notes that the anchor baby “problem” will fix itself eventually. The children of the undocumented will be citizens, and they will grow up — as children of immigrants, legal and illegal, generally have — to better their lot, sometimes to prosper, almost always to contribute.

If, on the other hand, American-born children were denied citizenship, the number of people illegally here would swell. By 2050, according to a study a few years ago by the Migration Policy Institute, nearly 5 million people who had been born here would have no legal claim to remain — or, if having even one undocumented parent was deemed disqualifying, as many as 13 million.

“With all the problems illegal immigration presents, at least it’s a one-generation phenomenon. It self-corrects with the next generation born here,” Meissner told me. “A permanent underclass where disadvantage is transferred generationally is a terrible counter-force.”

Hiatt is, in my very humble opinion, precisely correct in his thesis. The “problem” that has so gripped the imaginations along with the irrational hatreds and fears of the American political far right (aka the GOP) is nothing other than an expression of their own inborn insufficiencies, coupled with their white supremacist and ego-maniacal attitudes. “Anchor babies,” meanwhile, are children who will become — courtesy of the Fourteenth Amendment —  the next generation born here, each and all of whom will be citizens, and they will grow up — as children of immigrants, legal and illegal, generally have — to better their lot, sometimes to prosper, almost always to contribute. 

Meanwhile, it seems the time to put an end to the political insanity as preached, practiced, and imposed by today’s version of the Republican Party has definitely arrived. The insanity of never-ending fear and hatred theses that drive their current politic makes life miserable for far too many real and genuine people even as it appeals to far too many — mainly those with shriveled souls (aka Republicans).

Therefore the obvious question: what sort of future might the 2016 electoral process portend? Current polls that show the ego-maniac Donald Trump leading all other clown car occupants. To Ann Coulter, the notion of a “President Trump” serves as Proof That ‘God Hasn’t Given Up On America Yet’. George Will, on the other hand, has suggested that Trump’s immigration plan could spell doom for the GOP. With any luck at all, Will’s thesis will be proven to be absolutely accurate, given that if this country is to have any semblance at all of a sustainable future for its people, GOP “doom” is mandated. If Trump can pull that off, fine. If another candidate should be chosen from the current crowd, with luck the ego-maniacal ghost of the Trump candidacy will continue to do his candidacy’s dirty work and pave the way to a progressive nation, a true Democracy that addresses the well-being of ALL its people rather than just its (white) oligarchs and power mongers.

And once civility replaces their fascistic hatred, let there be NO MORE TALK OF ANCHOR BABIES!

“Marches will only get you so far. There has to be
an electoral component to get the Republicans out of the majority.”
Armando Navarro
(Coordinator of the National Alliance for Human Rights,
a network of Hispanic activist groups in Southern California
April 9, 2006)

OPEN THREAD