The Watering Hole; Thursday March 31 2016; Different Worlds

“To see a world in a grain of sand
And a Heaven in a wild flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand,
And Eternity in an hour.”
(William Blake, from Auguries of Innocence)

I’m tired of politics, tired of the world in which it lives, tired of its occupants. Thankfully, that’s not the only choice available to those of us who flame out when surrounded by nuts, screwballs, and all the crazy ideas those wackos regularly come up with and spread around as if they have meaning. There’s that other world, the one ‘out there’ where humans don’t typically hang out. It’s the world of color, of peace, harmony, tolerance, and survival, the world inhabited by millions of critters but NO POLITICIANS! There is no stupidity out there, no vitriol, no irrational hatred, and best of all, NO RELIGION! It’s pretty close to the ideal world, truth be known.

Below is a demo of contrast, the ‘sound’ of critters from the political world intermingled with close-up views of critters in that other world, the better one. The contrast is, in a word, STUNNING!

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Larry Pratt: Liberals Have ‘Plans To Enslave An Entire Nation’

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May 16 2015 Beckwith turtle 1227

▲Turtle + Log ➤ Naptime▲

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Rafael Cruz: ‘One More Liberal Justice’ Could Allow A Dictator To Turn Guns On Americans

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Aug 5 2014 Happy Bug 301

▲Bug + Wildflower ➤ Life!▲

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Oklahoma GOPer Wants To Classify Abortion As First-Degree Murder

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Sep 7 2015 Bug on wildflower 1830

▲Bug + Sunflower ➤ Happiness!▲

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Robert Spencer: We Must Consider ‘Very Seriously’ That Obama Is Betraying America On Behalf Of Islamists

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Dec 1 2015 Snow bunny 2114

▲Bunny + Snow ➤ Peaceful Silence▲

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Trump Promises To Punish Women After He Outlaws Abortions

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Feb 9 2015 Goose water ice 852

▲Goose + Icy Water ➤ Geese?▲

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Right-Wing Author: ‘Insane’ Gay Rights And Liberalism Driving People To Suicide And Addiction

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May 3 2015 - Goose family 1126

▲Mom + Dad ➤ Triplets▲

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▼Sunset Over The Front Range — View From MY Window!▼

Nov 9 2015 Sunset 698

▲Critters + Land + Sky + Clouds + Sun + Peace –➤ MY World!▲

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Gohmert: Supreme Court Tried To Play God In Gay Marriage Ruling

Gouie Lohmert

▲Ick!! + Ewwwwwww!! –➤ THEIR World▲

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Lord, to account who dares thee call,
Or e’er dispute thy pleasure?
Else why, within so thick a wall,
Enclose so poor a treasure?
(Robert Burns)

Amen, Amen.

OPEN THREAD

TWH. 3/30/16 another wall?

The Zoo Exclusive!

The Zoo recently learned that Canada’s Prime Minister Trudeau has been secretly planning to build a wall between Canada and the U.S.

According to our sources, the influx of Americans fleeing the U.S. should Trump get elected will exceed Canada’s capacity to welcome all foreigners with welcome arms, Maple leafs and hockey pucks.

The proposed wall will be situated along the border between Washington State and Canada, to keep western liberals from migrating northward. Trudeau’s advisors feel the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River will provide enough of a deterrent to east coast liberals.

Trudeau expects Trump to pay for the wall. “That will be easy” one advisor said, “We’ll just tell Trump that Canada is like Mexico North, and the country on the south side of the wall has to pay for the wall.”

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The Watering Hole, Tuesday March 29, 2016 – Environmental News and Food Politics

THE BIG U.S.OIL BUST

“Back in 2010, the price of a barrel of Brent crude (the international oil price benchmark) topped $80. That made it profitable to extract oil from tight shale formations, which is especially costly. A drilling frenzy ensued, domestic oil production skyrocketed, oil companies raked in profits and oil patch communities prospered.

But all that new oil on the market, plus China’s slowing economic growth, began to dampen oil prices in the summer of 2014. Instead of curtailing production to keep prices afloat, OPEC’s leaders launched a thinly veiled price war, clearly aimed at putting U.S. producers out of business. Here are some indicators that OPEC won the war.”

Oil bust – A red state phenomenon. Will this affect 2016 elections?

The Watering Hole, Saturday, March 26, 2016: God Doesn’t Want To See You Pray In Public

No matter what the Evangelicals tell you, God does not want you to pray in public. God doesn’t need to hear them out loud, because God knows what you do in secret. God knows when you secretly give to the poor with your right hand without letting your left hand know what’s happening. And God doesn’t want you to gather out in the streets and in the public square and pray to him so everyone can hear you. Instead, God wants you to go into a private place in your own home, a closet even, and pray silently to God. Bryan J. Fischer told me that the admonition against praying in public was about the reason for doing it, to be seen doing it. [I’ll update it if he answers me. I’m surprised he did at all, considering how rude I’ve been to him before. And it wasn’t just because I’m from New York, he had it coming.]

Conservative Christians are so afraid of (among many, many other things) religious persecution against them, as opposed to from them, which they have no problem doing. This is despite the fact that we’ve had 43 different men occupy the highest political office in the country, and every single one of them practiced some version of Christianity. How it could be considered the “one true religion,” as all deity-based religions do, baffles me. It would seem unnecessary to have more than one. If there’s only one God, then why are there different ways to do what He wants? FTR, I believe there is no such things as gods at all, at least not in the sense that most humans think of them. I suppose it’s possible there are more highly-evolved creatures than us capable of doing things we’d think only a god could do, but then you’re straying so far from the image of God as portrayed in the monotheistic religions that it becomes clear we’re taking about two different things. OTOH, even the religions that do believe in gods claim there is more than one. If you’re Judeo-Christian, the First Commandment says not to put any of those other gods (you know, the ones that created all the people God didn’t, such as Cain and Abel’s wives) ahead of Jehovah because he is a jealous god. I can say his name, you can’t, because I don’t have anything to fear from him. Which brings up something else. For those who believe in God being perfect and humans being sinners, if envy is a sin, why is a “perfect being” like God allowed to have it? If God is perfect, and if he’s capable of being envious, then why should being envious be a mortal sin? What’s wrong with envy if it’s a trait of the most perfect being in the universe?

Still ducking the question:

The reason Religion is so rife with con men is because it’s easy to go around telling everyone, “Listen to me, Folks. I just had a chat with God and he has some things he wants me to say,” and have people believe you. Why? Because the truth is there’s a lot of stupid people out there who either don’t like to think, on account of it hurts too much, or they can’t, on account of they’re stupid. They don’t ask for proof that the person talking really did talk to God, they actually think it’s neat and wish it was they to whom God spoke. And they believe every thing this con man says, even when it makes no sense at all to those who are capable of critical thought. At some point you have to acknowledge that the instructions we’re being given by these men, who supposedly know what God wants us to do, are self-contradictory. Why do we persist in believing them when what they say can’t possibly be the truth? And why do we believe what they’re saying to be the Word of God, who is supposed to be perfect, when what they’re saying is so clearly and obviously imperfect? Faith alone isn’t going to change the fact that sometimes the Bible says one thing and sometimes it says something in complete contradiction to it. In Logic, which I know you’re not supposed to use where the Bible is concerned, if you start with a premise and show that the premise leads to a contradiction, then you’ve proven the premise false, and any argument derived from it must find another premise. If your premise is that the Bible (the word means a collection if little books, which were assembled, translated, and chosen for inclusion by flawed human men working for King James) is the inerrant Word of God (even if you believe Him to be the only God, which contradicts his First Commandment), and you find it contains a contradiction, then it cannot be “inerrant,” since a contradiction is an error. It is not a test of one’s faith, it’s a mistake. Which means the premise that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God must be False. That’s how Logic works.

I tried a different tack with Fischer, since he doesn’t want to answer the question I’m asking him. Fischer thinks we should vote for Ted Cruz. But Teddy Panderbear likes to make a big show of praying in public. We’ve all seen the pictures.

BTW, notice how he tries to paint a Nazi-esque picture of Liberals with the “Uberleftwing”? Of course, if one thinks about it for a moment, why wouldn’t Right Wing Watch be as far left as possible when the entire reason they exist is right at the top of their webpage: “A project of People For the American Way dedicated to monitoring and exposing the activities of the right-wing movement”? If they aren’t very far left, then they’re too far right to be counted on to do what they tell us they do. But conservatives don’t really like to think about things for a moment. And why would they feel they need to? Conservatives often do not see hypocrisy as negating their argument. They’ve also been known to project a lot, and Fischer probably thinks that since he would use such a website to advance his own secret agenda, Norman Lear must be doing that, too. Frog-Human Hybrid The Least Reverend Jimmy Faye Bakker must think like that, too. He thinks that American Christians are being persecuted in America (as opposed to the real phenomenon of American Christians being captured and killed by murderous scumbag assholes who wrongly use religion as a cover for their evil elsewhere in the world), and that if we continue down whatever path it is he imagines we’re traveling, in the end people who pray in public will be gunned down by machine guns. If you watch the following clip carefully, you can see Bakker catch and eat a fly with his 24″-long tongue.

Okay, that must have been a different clip. But he’s totally wrong, of course. Not only about the eventual outcome being people like him who pray in public will be machine gunned down, but about whether or not people should be praying in public in the first place. Jesus thought that people who made a show of praying in public so that others would see them, including inside houses of worship, were hypocrites, and that if all they wanted was for others to see them praying, they got their reward. He said that God would prefer that you not pray where everybody can see you but in the privacy of your own own. Specifically, your closet, where I’m sure many, many Conservative Christians can be found. He said praying in public was unnecessary because God knows what you’re going to ask him before you ask it (which makes me wonder why praying is necessary at all), and so you should do it where no other people can see you doing it. God hears your secret prayers which, again, makes me wonder why it’s necessary to vocalize them at all. In fact, if He can hear you when you’re “praying” quietly to yourself, there shouldn’t be any formal procedure necessary. You should just be able to keep walking along and say to yourself, in your own mind, “God, could you please make that asshole Wayne burst into flames and be gone for good?” and it will happen. But since it didn’t happen, and because I know at least a few of you asked for it to happen, we must logically conclude that prayer doesn’t work. Which makes the premise of God answering prayers a false one. Yeah, sometimes the answer is, “No.” I know. But that would mean He can’t really be an all-loving God, since that would take away from the premise of him being a perfect being. Why would a perfect being hate anyone? Why would he make someone he would hate? Why would He make me, and let me sit here denouncing his very existence after so many of you asked Him a few moments ago to make me burst into flames? I know, I was there. I heard you. And yet I’m still here. Which makes the premise of him being some kind of “perfect being” a false one. Which I’ve been trying to tell you for years.

Open thread. Go for it.

The Watering Hole; Friday March 25 2016; Infuriation

Conservatives are not necessarily stupid,
but most stupid people are conservatives.
(John Stuart Mill)

Some things make me mad. Anger. And some things enrage –infuriate — me. Infuriation. In my world, anger pops up maybe one or twice a year; it’s rare. Infuriation, on the other hand, is really rare. Once every what, two or three decades? At the most? At least that’s the way it used to be. And then came Ronald Reagan and all the conservative-teabagger-nutcases that have popped up in his aftermath as a consequence.

Each of the following links points toward a different path, but each is driven solely by the ONLY two currents which drive the entire of this country’s political right: HATE and FEAR which is, sadly, the sum total of the political right’s contribution to civilization both today and over the centuries.

See for yourself:

New Bill Would Eliminate Law Enforcement On Public Lands, Despite Risks Of Violent Extremism

Introduced in Congress by Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) because it’s County Sheriffs, after all, that have final authority, not the feds. It’s in the Constitution. Somewhere.

The GOP ‘Baby Parts’ Committee Is On A Witch Hunt Against Medical Researchers

Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) leads the latest charge after the bogus ‘baby parts’ non-issue because, well, Joe McCarthy, Salem Witchcraft Trials — make God happy and save Amurkkka. You know.

Ted Cruz responds to Brussels attack by calling for special patrols of Muslim neighborhoods

We must assume all Muslims are terrorists, otherwise . . . umm . . . we’ll all die? Something like that. Oh, and to hell with the Constitution.

Ted Cruz Adviser: Joseph McCarthy Was ‘Spot-On!’

Commies, Islamists, they all hate us. And they’re sneakin’ around in the gubmint! Damn Obama.

What Would It Look Like If Ted Cruz Put His Pal Mike Lee on the Supreme Court?

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), good friend of Ted, is highly qualified, plus he KNOWS that Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Child Labor Laws, Food Safety, Minimum Wage Laws, Disaster Relief, Food Stamps, the Violence Against Women Act, and (of course) the Affordable Care Act are all unconstitutional. It says so in the Constitution. Somewhere.

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Stupidity either makes me laugh or makes me mad. But when the reach stretches far beyond the merely stupid and gets into the DEMAND for hate and fear of EVERYTHING that might somehow benefit the balance of society, of civilization . . . well, then it’s time to introduce HATE and FEAR to the . . . ummm . . . stupid(?) among us. Cuz they’ll vote for ME!! (that’s a thought quote, attrib. Drumpf and Cruz, at least).

And finally there’s this, the consummate definition of STUPID! courtesy of (the brilliant?) Wayne LaPierre.

Wayne LaPierre: ‘We Gun Owners Are A Heck Of A Lot Smarter Than You’ll Ever Be’

“Never have there been smarter, freer American citizens than America’s one hundred million gun owners. Let me say that again. In all of the world, some of the smartest citizens are American gun owners.”

I give up. Infuriation. Commenced.

Liberalism is trust of the people, tempered by prudence;
conservatism, distrust of people, tempered by fear.
(William Gladstone)

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OPEN THREAD

 

The Watering Hole; Thursday March 24 2016; Solomon, Sun, and Drumpf

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be;
and that which is done is that which shall be done:
and there is no new thing under the sun.
(Solomon, in Ecclesiastes, KJV, the Bible)

Solomon was right. There’s nothing new under the sun. Here’s the proof — a handful of ‘old’ quotes that perfectly describe Donald Trump Drumpf, each and all of which were spoken by folks (fortunate and blessed) who had never heard of him. And still they knew. Him. Trump. Drumpf.

“He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know.” ~Abraham Lincoln

“He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.” ~ William Faulkner

“He is not only dull himself, he is the cause of dullness in others.” ~Samuel Johnson

“He had delusions of adequacy.” ~Walter Kerr

“They never open their mouths without subtracting from the sum of human knowledge.” ~Thomas Brackett Reed

“His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork.” ~Mae West

“Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.” ~Oscar Wilde

“He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends.” ~Oscar Wilde

“A sheep in sheep’s clothing.” ~Winston Churchill

“He occasionally stumbled over the truth, but hastily picked himself up and hurried on as if nothing had happened.” ~Winston Churchill

“…the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet.”
~2nd Peter (‘Two Peter’) 2:16

Not sure I’ve ever seen a more accurate summation of the ‘mental acuity’ of the man who’s become the current ‘sure thing’ Republican nominee for President of the United States. Proof that Solomon was spot-on, that there truly is nothing new under the sun, and never will be. QED.

Proof of thesis doesn’t stop there, however. Below is a 1978 photo I managed to snap of a carved wooden Ki’i (Tiki), one of many that surround and guard the Hale o Keawe at Pu’uhonua o Honaunau, the ancient Hawaiian City of Refuge on the Island of Hawaii’s Kona coast. Last summer as I reviewed all of my photos from Pu’uhonua o Hononaunau, the one thing that caught my eye on this one was the hair on the Ki’i — such a perfect ‘ancient’ rendition of Trump’s Drumpf’s hairdo — the one we see and puzzle over every day that he’s out there on the campaign trail. It was so perfect, in fact, that I decided to use the photo in a Trump Drumpf campaign poster — a poster that would surely draw millions of ‘undecideds’ into the Trump Drumpf camp! Below is my most recent presentation, the one which I do hereby offer free of charge to the Trump Drumpf campaign! Its only flaw is that the size of the Ki’i’s hand(s) is not clearly visible — but then, since there’s nothing new under the sun . . . well, you know. 🙂

DT4Pres-2

So as of today, Trump Drumpf leads Cruz and Kasich, resp., in the primary race to become the Republican candidate for President — even though the response by the so-called Republican “Establishment” has been far less than enthusiastic over that prospect. There is, in fact, a “Stop Trump Drumpf” movement scheduled to be underway — to be formally begun — on April 5 with the Wisconsin Republican Primary. Their ultimate goal is to deny Trump Drumpf the number of primary delegates to confirm his nomination, and then, at the convention, insert an as yet unknown “establishment” candidate in his place. They hope, apparently, that Candidate X can accomplish what they believe to be beyond the reach of Donald Trump Drumpf, i.e. to defeat Clinton or Sanders in the upcoming General Election and thereby ensure the realization of their dream — a totally Republican-controlled government.

Will/can that work? Time will tell, but as of now Doubt rules; remember the Wisdom of Solomon who pointed out that there is no new thing under the sun, and 

He that digeth a pit shall fall into it.
(Solomon, in Ecclesiastes, KJV, the Bible)

OPEN THREAD

TWH, Wednesday, April 23, 2016. Make America Great?

America is a stained glass window, pieced together some 200 years ago by men with hope and a vision for the future. Even then, some of the panes were stained obscurely dark, but the overall picture was bright with promise.
Over the years the brightness faded, to be refurbished every now and then. Lately, it seems, some have taken to throwing stones at the window, shattering a pane here and there.
Will the window ever be rebuilt so that all the panes are bright and light? No. But the dark gives us the contrast by which we appreciate the light.
Maybe it’s not about making America great again – – maybe it’s about making America greater than it ever was.
OPEN THREAD

The Watering Hole, Monday, March 21, 2016: How The Right Gets The Left Wrong

John Hinderaker and Jeffrey Lord, two men who can best be remembered from me mentioning their names at the start of this blog post without the word ‘miscreant’ attached to either of them, are at it again. And by “it” I mean “spreading falsehoods about Liberals”. I was going to use the word “lying,” but then somebody would say it’s not really lying because they honestly believe it’s true. Fine. It isn’t true, it’s false, so I said they were spreading falsehoods. Whether they knew they were falsehoods or not is irrelevant, because they still spread them. But if it makes you feel any better, I think they knew they were falsehoods when they spread them like manure. I say that because I don’t think they’re entirely stupid, and you would have to be entirely stupid to believe the things they said about Liberals and MoveOn.Org recently. [Full disclosure: I am a member of MoveOn.Org. I had my picture used in a commercial they ran several years ago. I wish I could find it.] So I think they know they were spreading foul-smelling crap when they sprinkled it throughout their columns. Because they know their fans just eat that shit up, on account of that’s much easier than having to actually think about it. And Conservatives do not like to put a lot of effort into their thinking, which explains their Conservatism. (Science has been able to document many ways in which Conservative and Liberal minds differ. Read more about them here. Truth be told: the science does not support the idea of Conservatism being a bastion of curious, inquisitive, intellectual discovery. Or even one of just trying to learn the basic truth about things.)

A little over a week ago in Dayton, OH, a man named Tommy DiMassimo attempted to get up on the stage where Donald Trump was speaking but was stopped by the Secret Service. This, and this alone, is probably the only indisputable fact one can glean from Hinderaker’s column. By his third sentence (first if you don’t think the incident itself could accurately be described as “scary”), Hinderaker was already spreading the lies. “His intent was unclear, but there was every reason to assume he intended to injure or kill Trump.” Really, Hinderaker? “Every reason” to believe that? Look, I know you Conservatives are accustomed to seeing danger everywhere, but the only explanation for why you think he meant Trump harm is Projection. You assume he meant Trump harm because in your mind, if you ever rushed a stage, it would be to injure or kill someone. So that must be the reason this guy did it. Hinderaker offers no other explanation for why DiMassimo did what he did, only his personally limited imagination.

Framing is everything in today’s political discourse. With attention spans being so short – SQUIRREL! Sorry, where was I? Oh, yeah. Attention spans are short and time is limited, so the Conservatives want you to spend as little time thinking as possible and just react. And the best way for them to do that is to lay the groundwork for what they’re about to say and force you to accept it, process it, and reply to it within the framework they’ve presented it. From this point on, Hinderaker wants you to view the entire incident as a violent attack. If you reject that framing, nothing else he says or, by extension, what Lord says later, will make any sense. Not only is Hinderaker projecting in this column, he’s shining a bright burning light on his own cognitive dissonance. He has already admitted he has no idea why DiMassimo tried to get up on stage, but that doesn’t mean to him he can’t he know exactly why he did it. DiMassimo boarded the stage for an unclear purpose that must have involved injuring or killing Trump. Lacking the intellectual capacity or imagination to come up with any other reason for DiMassimo’s actions, Hinderaker goes for the violence motive, another trait of Conservatism. (If it were me, and I was able to get to Trump, I would have mussed up his hair in front of everybody, so that he would have had to look ridiculous putting it back together.) So now he hopes that in your mind, we’re talking about a violent person. This is important because he’s about to launch into a rambling, anti-intellectual, anti-tax, anti-union, anti-regulation, and anti-LBGTQ diatribe transferring every lie he can think of about DiMassimo onto every Liberal in America. I’m not a psychologist, nor do I play one on TV, but it’s plain to me that Hinderaker has insecurity issues so severe he has to lash out at anyone he perceives as differing from the image he has in his mind of what it means to be a man. And given his propensity for projection, it’s not hard to imagine why. And as bad as Hinderaker’s column was at reflecting reality, Jeffrey Lord took it to an even lower level.

Lord opens with a link to MoveOn.Org‘s site. Despite everything he’s about to make up about them, the first thing you notice on theri website is a request for donations. “Join our nonviolent campaign standing up for love and democracy, and against Trump’s bigotry and incitement, by making a contribution today.” Then Lord immediately calls us “the new Ku Klux Klan. The newest leftist incarnation of that old leftist formula that combines racism with violence to push the progressive agenda.” I have noticed more and more Conservatives using the term “leftist” in their comments, probably because it’s reminiscent of the term “Communist.” I’m guessing this was Frank Luntz’s idea, but who knows? (Luntz is the “pollster born in Hell” to whom I referred in my song parody “Republicans Lie“.) This is another falsehood, of course. Communism involves a level of Authoritarianism many Liberals reject (but which many Conservatives find appealing, oddly enough.) Lord’s lies continue. “The American Left has a horrendous history of flat out racism and bigotry, liberally salted with violence. From the 19th and early 20th century Klan,…”

I’m stopping him right there. Lord has done what I’ve seen many Conservatives do when I’m hanging out on the Twitter: He presumes that because the KKK was founded by Democrats, that it was founded by Liberals. Nothing could be further from the truth. You cannot look at someone’s political affiliation alone, without context or reference to a year, and know what that person’s political leanings were. A Republican of 150 years ago was likely to be a Liberal just as a Democrat of that time was likely to be a Conservative. The KKK was founded by Conservatives who happened to be members of the Democratic Party. They were white supremacists and they were ugly human beings and their actions were in absolutely no way defensible. They were violent, reprehensible troglodytes, and they are nothing like we Liberals in MoveOn. I have never heard of a single MoveOn event where someone was targeted by the organization for violence. Yet that was the entire purpose of the KKK getting together – to direct violence against someone. And whether they think it matters or not, it is a fact that Trump has the support of many of the major groups today who believe in that for which the KKK stands. Even State Senator David Duke (R-LA) supports Trump. David Duke would never join an organization like MoveOn. I cannot conceive of how anyone with an IQ in the three-digit range would equate MoveOn with the KKK, so I have to believe Lord does not have one.

Based on nothing but Hinderaker’s character assassination of DiMassimo, Lord then declares that he is “absolutely typical of the American Left.” He also points out that DiMassimo’s a Bernie Sanders supporter, but if he’s “typical” of the American Left and he supports Sanders, why is Hillary Clinton ahead in the delegate count? But I digress. Lord goes on to give a distorted history which paints all liberal activists as violent (because of the few violent actions of a few extremist liberal groups) before circling back to the Klan as being liberal. Then he tries to paint us as the racist ones by completely mischaracterizing and distorting an article he quoted. When students at the University of Illinois Chicago decided to organize a protest against the appearance of Donald Trump, MoveOn “chipped in money to get signs and a banner printed and blasted out an email to members in the Chicago area encouraging them to join the protest.” The protest was promoted on Facebook and about 1.5 million people saw it. Out of that number, about 1% pledged to show up. The end result of the protesters’ efforts was the last-minute cancellation of the event, out of a misplaced fear for the candidate’s safety. But that’s not the way Lord chose to frame it. “Got all that? MoveOn.org, in the finest traditions of the Klan, organized a mass shutdown that was specifically directed to people because of their race.” If that’s what you got then you didn’t read the same story I did. MoveOn did not organize that protest as the story he quoted clearly said. His proof that this was “directed to people because of their race” is the sentence “Hundreds of young, largely black and brown people poured in from across the city, taking over whole sections of the arena and bracing for trouble.” Note the logical fallacy he employs: Just because hundreds of people of color showed up to protest the event, the call for the protest must have been directed only at people of color. Then there’s the idea that when the KKK organized something directed at people because of their race, it was done for the exact same reason, and with the exact same level of support of those people, as when MoveOn organized an event specifically directed at people of color, even though they did no such thing. MoveOn didn’t organize the event, and they didn’t direct their efforts to people of color. And if MoveOn ever WERE to direct their organizing at people of color, it wouldn’t be for the purpose of killing and lynching them, or setting fire to their homes. But that is how people like Jeffrey Lord and John Hinderaker see us. Because it’s what THEY would do.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss the KKK, Hinderaker, Lord, Trump, or anybody else like them.

The Watering Hole, Saturday, March 19, 2016: Please Don’t Feed The Bible Literalists

There are people going around expounding ridiculous theories on the history of Earth and the Life that has existed on it, and we have to stop encouraging them. I’m not suggesting they be locked up in prisons or mental institutions (the former might be a bit harsh but I do think the latter might do them some good), but I am saying that we have to stop treating these ridiculous ideas as if they have any merit whatsoever just because there are still people around delusional enough to believe them. There are many such ideas, but the one I want to talk about today is the Biblical story of the farmer’s daughter and the traveling salesman Noah’s Ark and the Great Flood. They never happened. There was no flood 4,400 years or so ago that wiped out all humans and other living land-based animals on the planet. There may have been flooding in various parts of the world, but it wasn’t a global phenomenon, and it didn’t rain for nearly six weeks, and then take nearly six months for the waters to recede. For one thing, even if all the ice on all the land melted, the waters would never rise enough to submerge all the mountains or come anywhere close to doing that. And if, as the story goes, the waters rose high enough to cover the mountains all over the world (not just in the know part of it at that time), then to where did the water recede? Did it just evaporate off the planet? Did it go down some giant drain that God temporarily plugged up while it rained? The water that rained down had to have come from somewhere. If it came from the oceans, then they would have been depleted by the amount of water they gave up to become rain. So the water coming back down out of the sky couldn’t possibly have been more than what went up into them. So the waters from the rain couldn’t possibly rise higher than the mountains. It’s just not possible.

But don’t waste your time trying to explain that to Wayne Propst, of Tyler, Texas. [First name Wayne = Red Alert.] Wayne is convinced he found evidence of Noah’s flood in his aunt’s front yard. “How much better can it get?” he asked, unfortunately to a reporter from a local television station as opposed to no one in particular. I guess that would depend on your definition of “better” and in which direction you want this story to go. For example, Wayne wants to claim the fossil he found is proof that Noah’s flood happened. (Why do they call it Noah’s Flood? He was the one good guy on the planet. He didn’t flood the earth. God did.) But if that were true, then when would the flood have happened? About 4,400 years ago? So his fossil couldn’t be older than that. But fossils, by definition, are at least ten thousand years old. If you find a fossil, then you have found something that, by definition, pre-dated the story of Noah and His Technicolor Dream Flood. Therefore it cannot be proof that the flood story ever happened, because it was already there in the ground when the flood supposedly happened above it. In fact, if you’re a Bible literalist, it was in the ground before the Earth was created.

Speaking of Noah and Worldwide Synchronous Drowning Event, I hear many people wrongly say that God’s Covenant to Noah was that he would never destroy the world again, and that the rainbow in the sky would be a reminder to Him (God, not just Noah and the other remaining seven people on the planet) of that covenant. Okay. Why would an omnipotent being need some kind of reminder about something? Does that make any sense at all to you? He’s all-knowing, yet there are things he can forget happened. He’s all-powerful, except against memory loss. But that’s not what God promised Noah. He only promised Noah and his family that he would not destroy life on Earth by flood again. Read it for yourself. But why would He have even done so in the first place? He’s an all-powerful entity, isn’t He? Doesn’t he later send out a mysterious ankle-deep fog that killed the first-born male child of every household (according to Cecile B. DeMille)? If He had the ability to do that, why not do the same thing without the first-born male filter? Why the scientifically wrong flood story? But He never said he wouldn’t do the opposite, either. He never said he wouldn’t destroy all life on Earth by drying it up, and letting it catch fire. Or by making the air unbreathable. Or by setting loose a killer virus, unstoppable by modern medicine (which some people think violates his wishes, too.) He created the world in six days, but he needed forty to flood it with extra-terrestrial water and another 150 days to let it dry up? He couldn’t do all of that with the same wave of His Hand he used to create all Life on this planet? Does that make any sense to you at all? Because it sure as shit doesn’t make any sense to me. Why do people believe such nonsense? And why do we treat them like they’re sane when they tell us they do? How can “the Bible” (which is just a collection of little books) be the “literal word of God” when it was translated from stories written in languages unspoken in centuries, by flawed human men who obviously mistook the ancient word for “moon” or “month” as the word for “year” (hence, all these old men living twelve times longer than normal), and it contains such blatant falsehoods? Please, tell me you don’t believe the Bible is literally true. I want to be able to talk to you again.

This is our daily open thread. You know what to do, and what not to do.

The Watering Hole, Friday March 18, 2016 …and now something completely different

We often think that the righties have the corner on the media with Limbaugh, Fox, Hannity, etc… but the left has the corner on the political comedy side of things. Comedy Central, the Daily Show, the Nightly Show, comedians in general come from the left. The right does not know how to laugh. We should be winning over in that department alone. Sarah Silverman for President. Let’s laugh tonight.

 

The Watering Hole; Friday March 18 2016; Zoo Primary: VOTE HERE!

In the spirit of the moment, it occurred to me that we here at The Zoo should most definitely do as does the rest of the nation this year and hold a presidential primary election. In the interest of intellect, however, it seems a bit of a waste to repeat the insanity we’ve already witnessed, esp. in re the Republican race which has featured, as its candidates, mostly humans, practically all of whom have shown themselves to be grossly incompetent, ergo most surely inadequate. Why is it that we the people are expected to stand in line to select from a panoply of critters who offer us nothing but egregious failure in exchange for our vote of support?

Seems to me that some significant changes are in order.

With all of that in mind, I’ve chosen a different ballot presentation for the various candidates. Rather than a written name which basically tells the voter nothing of substance, the ballot below consists solely of PHOTOS! — a far superior setup given that the average voter will instantly recognize the entire agenda of each of the several candidates. I have assigned each candidate a number to further simplify the process. Note: in the interest of simplicity, I’ve placed each candidate’s number above its respective photograph.

So here you go! Select our next Fearless Leader!

▼NUMBER 1▼

C.sculpturatus pos

▼NUMBER 2▼

0722-Pollinating beetle, yellow thistle

▼NUMBER 3▼

Bee in White Rose 367

▼NUMBER 4▼

1018-Cicada-0537a

▼NUMBER 5▼

▼NUMBER 6▼

TRDump

So there you have it! Simply select the number of the candidate you find most suitable, and we’ll take it from there!

BTW and in the interest of openness, my own selection is NUMBER 1!

OPEN THREAD

The Watering Hole; Thursday March 17 2016; Truth

“Let us begin by committing ourselves to the truth – to see it as it is, and
tell it like it is – to find the truth, to speak the truth, and to live the truth.”
(Richard Nixon; nomination acceptance speech, 1968)

Truth. Not a very popular concept in politics these days, especially when Republicans are present. Not sure why that is, given Richard Nixon’s admonition, his commitment to find, speak, and live the Truth. Must have been a lot easier in Nixon’s day than it appears to be today. Still, my guess is that today the problem arises when one defers to the Truth on most any (political) matter. Doing that, after all, can cost a LOT of money and, in the process, make lots and lots of really rich people really mad! And that is most certainly NOT any way to run a political party, much less a country!

In any case and with all of that in mind, I must admit that I’ve yet to hear a Republican — ANY Republican — suggest that s/he has EVER subscribed to any behavior OTHER than that demanded by absolute Truthfulness, no matter the date, no matter the topic.  To emphasize, I offer here the perfect current example via a mere handful of links, each of which emphasizes exactly how determined today’s Republicans are to follow former President Richard M. Nixon’s admonition to find the truth, to speak the truth, and to live the truth:

Michelle Fiore (R-NV) Asserts Bundy Terrorists Were Just ‘Camping At The Malheur Refuge’

GOP Rep: Only Ted Cruz Can Save Us From Single Moms Having ‘Anchor Babies’

Donald Trump: If I Don’t Get The Nomination, There Will Be Riots

Fox Pundit Jeffrey Lord: Liberals Have ‘The DNA Of Violence’

Todd Starnes Blames Obama For The Violence At Donald Trump Rallies

Alex Jones: Hillary’s ‘Seen More Tail Than A Toilet Seat’

There. I know that is just a tiny example of inevitable truthfulness on the part of Republican politicians and pundits everywhere, but it should suffice to make and PROVE the point that Nixon’s absolute political integrity still thrives in today’s GOP every bit as much as it did during Nixon’s presidency! So I say that NOW is the time for ALL of us, regardless of politic, to swear to uphold Nixon’s admonition! TRUTH! Because the benefits are so obvious!

We can begin our quest with the following quote:

It is time for a revolutionary act. It is time to tell everyone you know the truth.
What is left of our democracy hangs in the balance.
(Anthony Wade; August 15, 2006)

Yes! Anthony Wade made a tremendous point there! It is with great respect that I do hereby add yet one more TRUTH in the spirit to which Wade has referred:

EVER SINCE NIXON, THE GOP HAS DEVOLVED TO BECOME A DISHONORABLE CULT OF GREEDY AND PERPETUALLY LYING FASCIST DUNDERHEADS!!

WOW! That felt GOOD!

OPEN THREAD

TWH 03/16/16 New Obama Conspiracy Revealed!

Mole

Guaca, The Zoo’s underground reporter digs up a new exclusive.

 

According to anonymous sources within the Democratic Party, there’s a conspiracy afoot to deny the nomination to both Hillary and Bernie and nominate Obama for a third term. Polling seems to indicate that neither candidate will garner enough delegates to win the nomination outright, which means superdelegates will control the outcome. A conspiracy amongst the superdelagates would guarantee neither gets enough votes on the first round to lock up the nomination, thus throwing the convention into a brokered nomination, out of which Obama will get the nod.

Officials high up in the White House figured out a way around the Constitution’s prohibition against 3rd terms. It seems that in the course of adopting certain amendments, like abolishing slavery and allowing people to vote regardless of the color of their skin, no one bothered to repeal the language that counted black people as 3/5ths of a person.

Since Obama is only 3/5ths of a person (or 60%, for you math wizards out there), by the end of his 8 years in office, he will only really have completed 4.8 years (or 60% of 8 years, for the math wizards). Since Obama hasn’t completed two full terms in office, he would be eligible for a third term.

OPEN THREAD 

The Watering Hole, Tuesday March 15, 2016 – The Ides of March

Today is the Republican Party’s last grate (pun intended) day. Big state primaries with voters in Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, and Ohio casting votes. The strategy is to deny Trump the number of delegates needed by having Rubio and Kasich snag favorite son state’s delegates, thus blocking Trump. The pollsters are indicating otherwise, declaring Trump to be leading in all those states. After today you’ll likely see a coalescing around the presumptive nominee by the neo-fascists.

Hillary is also predicted to win all those states, but three are more like Michigan in their composition and Bernie surged from 20 some points behind there to upset all the pollsters including the rather accurate Nate Silver. So for this Ides of March, are there political assassins lurking in the halls?

Open Thread.

The Watering Hole, Monday, March 14th, 2016: Cuteness Trumps Evil At The End

This weekend I OD’d on Trump. And jelly beans. I’m not sure which made me feel worse.

I refuse to watch any of the myriad videos of Hair Drumpf that have dominated the internets over the past, well, forever it seems. As I have mentioned in comments elsewhere, being a lifelong New Yorker means, in part, that we’ve been exposed to toxic levels of NY’s own version of Agent Orange since long before “Celebrity Apprentice” existed. Having long ago dismissed Drumpf à l’Orange as a loud-mouthed, self-important asshole, it’s frightening to see so many people taken in by this vulgar charlatan. Especially if one looks at his mouth. It appears to have been shaped over a lifetime of angrily hurling bullying insults and orders. How can anyone look at Drumpf “speaking” without being disgusted and horrified?

Here’s a shot from a thread at ThinkProgress:

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump describes how he was ready to punch a person who rushed the stage during an election rally earlier in the day, as he speaks to a crowd in Kansas City, Mo., Saturday. CREDIT: AP Photo/Nati Harnik

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump describes how he was ready to punch a person who rushed the stage during an election rally earlier in the day, as he speaks to a crowd in Kansas City, Mo., Saturday. CREDIT: AP Photo/Nati Harnik

The next few are from various threads at Raw Story:

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Bloomington, Illinois, March 13, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Bloomington, Illinois, March 13, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young

Trump prepares to spit venom at Jake Tapper.

Trump prepares to spit venom at Jake Tapper.

A commenter at Raw Story posted this GIF.

A commenter at Raw Story posted this ‘Trump Snarling’ GIF.

But enough ugliness, even for a Monday. Here’s some cuteness to counteract the face if evil:
cat star

And perhaps a little tranquility for the end of the day:
SKYFIRE4V

This is our daily Open Thread – talk about whatever’s on your mind.

Sunday Roast: Can’t stop watching…

 

I admit it:  I can’t get enough of Drumpf getting the shit startled out of him when a protester made it past the security gates (although not on stage).  I wish I were more of a computer geek, so I could make a loop of the initial panicked grabbing of the podium, through the “I just want to go home” look when the secret service guys let him go back to inciting the crowd.

Drumpf was probably hoping they’d just rush him back onto the Drumpf Aeroplane, so he could he could have a bit of a crying jag — and then have his manservant bring him fresh drawers.  He talks tough, but I think he actually pissed himself in Dayton, OH.

You reap what you sow, you bombastic blibbering baboon.

This is our daily open thread — Watch it again!

 

The Watering Hole, Saturday, March 12, 2016: It’s Those Damn Clocks Again

“Spring Forward, Fall Back.” It seems we learned that one before we learned the Lord’s Prayer. (Some of you may have learned that one faster than the rest of us.) But why do we do it? Wasn’t Daylight Savings Time something Ben Franklin thought up? Wasn’t it supposed to be for the benefit of the farmers, so they would have more daylight to harvest their crops and work their fields? Don’t they have alarm clocks now? Can’t they just let the rest of us sleep?

The answers are: To save energy. Yes. Yes. I’m sure they do. No.

Not going along with it may defeat the point, to save energy. You see, the theory goes that if daylight lasts a little longer, there will be less demand for turning on lights. It is assumed that during the extended hour of darkness the next morning, you’ll have fewer lights turned on.

But, contrary to right wing conspiracy theories that I have no doubt exist, it is not a plot to take away the freedom of the states. It’s not mandatory.

Not everybody goes along with the plan. Arizona sticks with Mountain Standard Time, which turns out to be the same as Pacific Daylight Time. (The Navajo Nation, however, goes along with the summertime switch.) Hawaii and U.S. possessions such as American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are also staying on standard time.

Most European countries don’t switch to summer time until the last weekend in March. That means the usual time difference will be out of sync for two weeks. For example, when it’s noon in New York, it’ll be 4 p.m. in London. But starting March 27, the five-hour difference between the two cities’ clocks will be back in force.

Some countries in the Southern Hemisphere move their clocks back an hour at this time of year. In Brazil, for example, the switch from daylight saving time to standard time took place in February, when they moved their clocks back one hour.

You can see how the world changes its calendars here.

It’s also a good idea to try to get to get back to your normal sleep routine (at the new hour) as soon as you can. Losing sleep for even a few days in a row can weaken your immune system, and you’ll be more susceptible to colds and viruses. Here are some more tips.

That being said, what is the damn point? There is no need to make anything about this mandatory, or even to go along with it at all. If the federal government believes that energy can be saved by everyone starting and ending the working day an hour earlier during the summer months, then just change every federal employee’s shift schedule to begin and end an hour earlier. Let the rest of us do it or not. And that goes for the small business owner, too. If any company does business with the federal government and believes keeping the same time schedule with them makes doing business easier and more cost-effective, then they can change their employee’s shift schedule, too. School districts can make their own determination on what hours to follow. Since the time shift is mostly during the summer months, they can shift the hours of their summer school operations and maintain standard time the rest of the school year. But if there’s no real, tangible, quantifiable benefit to upsetting everyone’s natural biological rhythms, then what’s the point of doing it at all? You know what one of the things I like about summer is? Fireworks. You know what I hate about DST? That I have to wait until 10 PM or later to see those fireworks. If the clocks hadn’t been set ahead an hour, those fireworks would be going off an hour earlier in the night. And the people with kids could be putting them to bed an hour earlier, too.

Maybe my beef is personal. I still feel like the universe owes me an hour. While stationed at Ramstein AB in West Germany in September 1987, I took leave to visit my then-girlfriend Jane and to take part in a friend’s wedding. Now, keep in mind that in Europe, they moved the clocks back one hour on Sept 27. I was in the United States at the time. Here in the US, we didn’t change the clocks back one hour until October 25. I was back in West Germany when that happened. So I never got to set my clock back an hour and get that extra hour of sleep. I’ve been carrying this persistent feeling for the past 28-1/2 years that the universe owes me an hour. When the United Nations finally implements the One World Order plan we’ve been hearing Pat Robertson and Alex Jones whimper about, I’ll complain to them about it.

BTW, the time change takes effect this Sunday morning, 2 AM EST. At that moment, it changes to 3 AM EDT. Set your clocks ahead one hour before you go to bed Saturday Night.

It’s also a good time of year to change the batteries in your smoke detectors, or to buy smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors if you don’t already have them.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss Daylight Savings Time, Benjamin Franklin, farmers, or anything you else you want to discuss. I’m going back to sleep.

The Watering Hole; Friday March 11 2016; Manifest Destiny (?)

Sometimes, the week’s silliness ascends to a new and ever-higher pinnacle, most especially when Republicans, evangelical nuts, and right-wing radio talk jocks all manage to (inadvertently, mostly) meet up with what appears to be some sort of a prescribed Manifest Destiny (?) — for crazies.

Whew. That took some doing to summarize the biggest pile of crazy I’ve seen in I dunno how long . . . a week at least!

Michael Savage: Media Covering Up Obama’s Murder Of Antonin Scalia

Louie Gohmert: Obama’s ‘Hate Crimes’ Against Christians Invite God’s Judgment

Tony Perkins: Leave Your Church If Your Pastor Likes Obama

Rick Joyner: Donald Trump Acts Just Like Jesus And His Disciples

Rick Joyner Mathematically ‘Proves’ We’re In The End Times

On that last one, it seems to me that Joyner doesn’t quite have the math right. He’s close, of course, but when he says 6000 years, then adds that “There’s one period in Judges that’s a little ambiguous so you have to give-or-take 100 years,” well, he’s wrong on that. So in the spirit of whatever, I thought I’d help him out, help him get the math right for once by referring to the man who definitely got it straight, Bertrand Russell.

“The date of the creation of the world (according to the orthodox view) can be inferred from the genealogies in Genesis, which tell how old each patriarch was when his oldest son was born. Some margin of controversy was permissible, owing to certain ambiguities and to differences between the Septuagint and the Hebrew text; but in the end Protestant Christendom generally accepted the date 4004 B.C., fixed by Archbishop Usher. Dr. Lightfoot, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, who accepted this date for the Creation, thought that a careful study of Genesis made even greater precision possible; the creation of man, according to him, took place at 9.00 A.M. on October 23rd. This, however, has never been an article of faith; you might believe, without risk of heresy, that Adam and Eve came into existence on October 16th or October 30th, provided your reasons were derived from Genesis. The day of the week was, of course, known to have been Friday, since God rested on the Saturday.” ~Bertrand Russell

Personally, I like the October 23rd, 4004 (B.C.) date because that would mean that I was born EXACTLY one day before  the 5946th anniversary of Adam and Eve’s creation! You gotta admit that is one hell of an impressive stat, right? Right!!

Anyway, since now we have to add 73.4 more years to that 5946 number, it means that as of today it’s been 6019.4 years since the creation. We are, clearly, getting really close to the end times, which will surely begin most any day now. But I knew that; it’s a bitch to get old. Just ask mother earth. Or me. 🙄

OPEN THREAD

The Watering Hole; Thursday March 10 2016; “Religious Liberty”(?)

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,
or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . .
Bill of Rights, Article I.

The so-called ‘Establishment Clause’ of the Constitution’s First Amendment seems, to minds unburdened by doctrinaire religion, to disallow the government from either aiding or prohibiting the free exercise of any religion. Period. Religious bias, pro and/or con, is not an option. And while it’s true that the (oft-cited/criticized) ‘Separation of Church and State’ words are not used anywhere in the Constitution, the words make no law are crystal clear in meaning. It does seem, however, that the words free exercise inspire, in some, thoughts and attitudes which, to the rational mind, are in complete conflict with the Constitution’s stated “hands off” premise in re religion.

Recently, for example, (retired) Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin addressed an event sponsored by Liberty Counsel and the Freedom Federation wherein he went to some length to elaborate his views regarding the Constitution’s stated and presumably implicit positions in re his own religious biases. Boykin claims, for example (highlights mine), that the Founders must have understood there to be a major difference between “worship” and “religion” and the “freedom(s)” therein implicit, when he says:

Folks, if you accept the concept of freedom of worship you are going down a dangerous path. They [Founders] didn’t just give us freedom of worship, they gave us freedom of religion. What they said was you can believe what you want to believe, and you can live your faith.

In other words, to Boykin’s mind the difference is clear: freedom of worship imposes limits that freedom of religion does not. Freedom of religion apparently permits believers to do whatever they perceive their religion demands, even when doing so requires discrimination against those who believe differently. Freedom of worship, meanwhile, presumably denies to believers their ‘right’ to impose.

Boykin then continues to make his point:

Today, that constitutional freedom is in the greatest jeopardy of any of our constitutional liberties. It is the freedom of religion and it is based on a radical agenda to tell you that you can believe what you want to believe but you cannot live your faith in the public square. . . .

“If America accepts what Hitler forced the church in Germany to accept, which was freedom to worship, we’re going to wind up being just like Germany. We’re in the same situation today. We’re being told that we can have freedom of worship but we cannot have freedom of religion and we’re going to have to pay a price. . . . We’ve got to stand up to evil.”

Not sure I comprehend Boykin’s point. In his Nazi Germany ‘metaphor,’ is he suggesting that Jews were allowed the freedom of worship but not freedom of religion, i.e. “you can believe what you want to believe but you cannot live your faith in the public square” ergo the gas chambers and crematoria? Is Boykin implying that if he and others who share his religious beliefs are allowed only the freedom of worship and not the freedom of religion — the right to discriminate against others because religion allows — that death camps therefore await?

Seems like quite a reach. Boykin ignores the fact that the word “worship” is nowhere in the Constitution; that the words “freedom of” are found only in the ‘freedom of speech’ context of the first amendment; that the word “religion” is found solely in the Establishment Clause cited above, and that the word “religious” appears in one place only, in Article VI of the main body as “no religious Test shall ever be required . . .”; the words “religious liberty” are never used anywhere.

Speaking of “religious liberty,” Ted Cruz recently suggested that

“We are one liberal justice away from the Supreme Court ruling that government can take our religious liberty away and force every one of us to violate our faith on penalty of prison or fine.”

Cruz, supposedly a Constitutional lawyer, seems to presume that somewhere in that document is a guarantee of “religious liberty” that matches his opinion of what that might mean, but yet nowhere is there even a mention of the concept — with the possible exception of  the first amendment’s establishment clause closing phrase: prohibiting the free exercise thereof. But is it legally realistic to interpret those words to mean that believers of a particular religion have Constitutional permission, via the words free exercise . . . of religion in the first amendment’s Establishment Clause, to demand that everyone else submit to their beliefs because they believe that’s what their god instructs? Is the balance of the non-discriminatory and equality language in the Constitution as amended rendered meaningless by the concept of religion, by the free exercise thereof phrase? Do only the practitioners of a particular religion have absolute Constitutional rights?

Apparently not.

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed
to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
Bill of Rights, Article IX.

Seems clear to me, but then I’m not a retired Lt. General, not a constitutional lawyer, not a presidential candidate, not a religious zealot. Thank all gods (sotospeak).

OPEN THREAD

TWH 3/9/16: Not Benghazi

Benghazi was, apparently, not the real scandal regarding the U.S. military intervention in Libya.

Prior to reading the above-linked article I thought Libya was the right way to intervene for ‘regime change’: a civil war breaks out, a faction calls for outside help and recognition, the US helps that faction with air power, limiting the exposure for Americans to lose their lives in the conflict. This was done earlier in Bosnia, where US assisted NATO airstrikes helped put an end to a Christian genocide of Muslims.

What I did not know was that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton actively pushed for war and undermined diplomatic resolutions. That’s the true scandal. But it’s not the one Republicans talk about. Why? Because Republicans by far and large support war. It’s their only jobs program.

Bush broke Afghanistan and Iraq, and, as a byproduct, Syria. Obama broke Libya. I doubt we here in the US can even come close to understanding the unfathomable human suffering going on in those countries on a daily basis.

Drone strikes aren’t the answer. You don’t bomb a populace into submission. If all you’re going to do is bomb them, you have to bomb them into extinction.

Diplomacy is the only path to peace. And by diplomacy I mean reaching out in friendship to rebuild a broken society and bombed infrastructure. It won’t be easy. We’ve given ‘terrorists’ and would-be ‘terrorists’ millions of reasons to hate us, to mistrust us. But if past performances is a predictor of future performance, the prospects for diplomacy under another President Clinton appear dim.

OPEN THREAD

The Watering Hole, Monday, March 7, 2016: Look At The Ideologies, Not The Party Names

As I get into my occasional Twitter fights with conservatives, I find that many still believe the false notion that the Democrats and Republicans of today have the same ideological position on the Left/Right-Liberal/Conservative scale as the parties of the same names did 150 years ago. Nothing could be further from the truth. For these people, political ideological history ends about fifty years ago. The Civil Rights Movement didn’t happen, and the famous Southern conservative, pro-segregationists of the Democratic Party didn’t switch to join the Republican Party (cough, Strom Thurmond.) So now along comes Dinesh D’Souza with a movie trying to make that very same bad argument. It’s idiotic and shallow. It completely ignores the content of Republican policy today and how it compares to 1860 Democratic policy. And worst of all for them, it’s hardly an intellectual argument at all since even I can debunk it, and my only intellectual achievement was to be an inactive member of MENSA for two years.

Yes, the people who founded the KKK were proud registered Democrats. They were also very much conservative in their political ideology. Yes, the Democrats of the 1860s supported Slavery, but that’s because they were conservative and they were white supremacists. (They said so.) The Founders of the KKK and the supporters of Slavery were Conservative White Supremacists who happen to be registered politically as Democrats. At that time, racists and white supremacists had a home in the Democratic Party. They were not as welcome in the Republican Party, which was founded to end Slavery. The people who wanted to form this new party made a famous public appeal to, among others, “Free Democrats” (meaning Democrats who didn’t support Slavery), to join them.

More than a hundred years later, after passage of the Civil Rights Acts and Voting Rights Acts under a Democratic president, the conservative white supremacists felt they were no longer welcome in the Democratic Party, and left to join the Republican Party. Not all of them, but many of them. So it’s extremely wrong and intellectually dishonest to argue that the Republican Party of today would still support the abolition of Slavery and the elimination of groups supporting white supremacy. Not when white supremacists are openly supporting the Republican front runner in the presidential race. And why would one of the most famous victims of the KKK, civil rights icon Representative John Lewis, join the Democratic Party if he felt the KKK was still welcome there? Can any of you people who believe the two parties have always been the same ideologically throughout their histories explain that? As for “re-labeling” this ugliness as “the South” and trying to bury it there, it’s because that’s where it happened.

It’s time this country confronted the simple fact that while all Americans are entitled to their choice of representation in government, their criteria for choosing that representation is not required to be fact-based, or logical, or in the best interests of the country as a whole. And we have a lot of people in this country who hold very, very ugly views about their fellow human beings, in part because they don’t view their fellow human beings as fellow human beings. Do we really believe these people’s views should determine how this “land of the free” should be run? Do we really want a country dedicated to the stupid and baseless concept of racial supremacy? Why do we not confront this ugliness every time it rears its head? Why do we pretend it’s okay to believe some races are better than others, to the point where you write those into your judicial opinions and they become the law of the land? And why do we pretend that the level to which we find this ugliness is not higher in conservatives than it is in liberals? Even conservatives like D’Souza are so embarrassed by this part of themselves that they’re in denial, and projecting it onto their ideological foes, we liberals, saying we’re the real racists, we’re the real intolerant ones because we liberals won’t tolerate intolerant conservatives. If you understand what words mean, then you know that makes no logical sense at all. But that doesn’t matter to them. Because it doesn’t feel right to them to blame their ideology for their racist opinions. Because that would mean they might have been wrong all this time. And that just can’t be right to them. So it must be us Liberals who are to blame for America’s Ugliness. And we continue to pretend Conservatism itself isn’t part of the problem, when it very much is at the root of all that is wrong and ugly about America. Today’s Congressional Republicans happen to be extreme conservatives, but there was a time when they were extreme Liberals. And they did some of their finest work for America back then. It’s a true shame those Liberals would not be welcome in today’s GOP. Lincoln would weep.

Sunday Roast: What the…what??

via RawStory

At a rally in Florida, the GOP front-runner, Donald “Drumpf” Trump, encouraged people to raise their right hands with a promise to  vote for him in the upcoming primary.  Yes, the photo above is real, and people didn’t have a problem, or didn’t understand the horrible historical significance, of a large crowd raising their hands in such a way.

Yeah, I know, Godwin’s Law and all that, but COME ON.  Doesn’t the photo of the Drumpf rally make you all squirmy inside — and not in a good way?

Is Drumpf just trolling these ignorant people, so he can have a laugh later on with the wife and kids?  Or is Drumpf actually that friggin’ stupid?  And do I really want to know either way…?

Here’s what Drumpf said, while wagging his stubby little finger, after he got all the rubes to do their clueless Nazi imitations:

“Don’t forget you all raised your hand,” Trump said at the conclusion of the pledge. “You swore. Bad things happen if you don’t live up to what you just did.”

He’s finished talking to people at a fourth grade level — now he’s down to speaking on a pre-school level — which seems appropriate since toddlers, much like Drumpf, tend to “say what they think,” too.

I weep for this country…

This is our daily open thread — Sorry, not sorry.