The Watering Hole, Monday, November 28th, 2016: Warning Signs of a Dictatorship

From November 23rd in Foreign Policy Magazine, “10 Ways to Tell if Your President is a Dictator”, by Stephen M. Walt, here’s a brief [believe it or not] summary. (You’ll need to register in order to be able to read the entire article. Registration is free, and allows you access to five articles per month.)

An excerpt from the opening:

“…if you live in the United States, what you should really worry about is the threat that Trump may pose to America’s constitutional order. His lengthy business career suggests he is a vindictive man who will go to extreme lengths to punish his opponents and will break a promise in a heartbeat and without remorse. The 2016 campaign confirmed that he has little respect for existing norms and rules — he refused to release his tax returns, lied repeatedly, claimed the electoral and political systems were “rigged” against him, threatened to jail his opponent if he won, among other such violations — and revealed his deep contempt for both his opponents and supporters. Nor does he regret any of the revolting things he did or said during the campaign, because, as he told the Wall Street Journal afterward, “I won.”[**] For Trump, it seems, the ends really do justify the means.

[**Tweet from WSJ: “When asked if he thought his rhetoric had gone too far in the campaign, Donald Trump told WSJ: “No. I won.”]

“Given what is at stake, one of the most important things we can all do is remain alert for evidence that Trump and those around him are moving in an authoritarian direction. For those who love America and its Constitution more than they love any particular political party or any particular politician, I offer as a public service my top 10 warning signs that American democracy is at risk.”

1) Systematic efforts to intimidate the media.

A free, energetic, vigilant, and adversarial press has long been understood to be an essential guarantee of democratic freedoms, because without it, the people in whose name leaders serve will be denied the information they need to assess what the politicians are doing.

If the Trump administration begins to enact policies designed to restrict freedom of the press, or just intimidate media organizations from offering critical coverage, it will be a huge (or if you prefer, yuge) warning sign.

Trump has already proposed “opening up” libel laws so that public figures can sue the press more easily. This step would force publishers and editors to worry about costly and damaging lawsuits even if they eventually win them, and it would be bound to have a chilling effect on their coverage.

His administration could deny access to entire news organizations like the New York Times if they were too critical of Trump’s policies or just too accurate in documenting his failures. Just because the First Amendment guarantees free speech doesn’t mean some parts of the media can’t be stampeded into pulling punches or once again indulging in “false equivalence.”

2) Building an official pro-Trump media network.

“…While trying to suppress critical media outlets, Trump could also use the presidency to bolster media that offer him consistent support. Or he could even try to create an official government news agency that would disseminate a steady diet of pro-Trump coverage.

In Trump’s ideal world, Americans would get their news from some combination of Breitbart, Fox News, and the president’s own Twitter feed…”

3) Politicizing the civil service, military, National Guard, or the domestic security agencies.

“One of the obstacles to a democratic breakdown is the government bureaucracy, whose permanent members are insulated from political pressure by existing civil service protections that make it hard to fire senior officials without cause. But one can imagine the Trump administration asking Congress to weaken those protections, portraying this step as a blow against “big government” and a way to improve government efficiency.

But if the president or his lieutenants can gut government agencies more or less at will, the fear of being fired will lead many experienced public servants to keep their heads down and kowtow to whatever the president wants, no matter how ill-advised or illegal it might be.

And don’t assume the military, FBI, National Guard, or the intelligence agencies would be immune to this sort of interference. Other presidents (or their appointees) have fired generals who questioned their policy objectives, as Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld did during George W. Bush’s first administration when he removed Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki, who had the temerity to tell a congressional committee that the occupation of Iraq was going to need a lot more people than Rumsfeld had claimed. Other generals and admirals got the message and stayed out of Rumsfeld’s way for the rest of his disastrous tenure as defense secretary. There have also been fights in the past over control of the National Guard, but a move to assert greater federal authority over the guard would give Trump a powerful tool to use against open expressions of dissent.”

4) Using government surveillance against domestic political opponents.

“This step wouldn’t be entirely new either, insofar as Nixon once used the CIA to infiltrate anti-war organizations during the Vietnam War. But the government’s capacity to monitor the phones, emails, hard drives, and online activities of all Americans has expanded enormously since the 1960s.

As far as we know, however, no one has yet tried to use these new powers of surveillance to monitor, intimidate, embarrass, deter, or destroy political opponents.

…an ambitious and unscrupulous president could use the ability to monitor political opponents to great advantage. He would need the cooperation of top officials and possibly many underlings as well, but this only requires loyal confederates at the top and compliant people below. The White House had sufficient authority, under George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, to convince U.S. government employees to torture other human beings.”

5) Using state power to reward corporate backers and punish opponents.

“A hallmark of corrupt quasi-democracies is the executive’s willingness to use the power of the state to reward business leaders who are loyal and to punish anyone who gets in the way. That’s how Putin controls the “oligarchs” in Russia, and it is partly how Erdogan kept amassing power and undermining opponents in Turkey…

…I know, I know: Corruption of this sort is already a problem here in the Land of the Free —whether in the form of congressional pork or the sweet deals former government officials arrange to become lobbyists once they leave office — so why single out Trump? The problem is that Trump’s record suggests he thinks this is the right way to do business: You reward your friends, and you stick it to your enemies every chance you get.”

6) Stacking the Supreme Court.

“Trump will likely get the opportunity to appoint several Supreme Court justices, and the choices he makes will be revealing. Does he pick people who are personally loyal and beholden to him or opt for jurors with independent standing and stellar qualifications? Does he pick people whose views on hot-button issues such as abortion, gay marriage, and campaign financing comport with his party’s, or does he go for people who have an established view on the expansiveness of executive power and are more likely to look the other way if he takes some of the other steps I’ve already mentioned? And if it’s the latter, would the Senate find the spine to say no?”

7) Enforcing the law for only one side.

“…given the nature of Trump’s campaign and the deep divisions within the United States at present, a key litmus test for the president-elect is whether he will direct U.S. officials to enforce similar standards of conduct on both his supporters and his opponents.

If anti-Trump protesters are beaten up by a band of Trump’s fans, will the latter face prosecution as readily as if the roles were reversed? Will local and federal justice agencies be as vigilant in patrolling right-wing hate speech and threats of violence as they are with similar actions that might emanate from the other side?…If Trump is quick to call out his critics but gives racists, bigots, and homophobes a free pass because they happen to like him, it would be another sign he is trying to tilt the scales of justice in his favor.”

8) Really rigging the system.

“…given the promises he has made and the demography of the electorate, Trump and the GOP have every incentive to use the next four years to try to stack the electoral deck in their favor. Look for more attempts to gerrymander safe seats for House Republicans and more efforts to prevent likely Democratic voters from getting to the polls in 2018 and 2020.”

9) Fearmongering.

“Stoking public fears about safety and well-being is a classic autocratic tactic, designed to convince a frightened population to look to the Leader for protection. Trump played this card brilliantly in the campaign, warning of “Mexican rapists,” foreign governments that “steal our jobs,” “scores of recent migrants inside our borders charged with terrorism,” and so on. He also hinted that his political rivals were somehow in cahoots with these various “enemies.” A frightened population tends to think first about its own safety, and forget about fundamental liberties, and would be more likely to look the other way as a president amassed greater power.

The worst case, of course, would be an Erdogan-like attempt to use a terrorist attack or some other equally dramatic event as an excuse to declare a “state of emergency” and to assume unprecedented executive authority. Bush and Cheney used 9/11 to pass the Patriot Act, and Trump could easily try to use some future incident as a — with apologies for the pun — trumped-up excuse to further encroach on civil liberties, press freedoms, and the other institutions that are central to democracy.”

10) Demonizing the opposition.

“Trying to convince people that your domestic opponents are in league with the nation’s enemies is one of the oldest tactics in politics, and it has been part of Trump’s playbook ever since he stoked the “birther” controversy over Obama’s citizenship. After he becomes president, will he continue to question his opponents’ patriotism, accuse them of supporting America’s opponents, and blame policy setbacks on dark conspiracies among Democrats, liberals, Muslims, the Islamic State, “New York financial elites,” or the other dog whistles so beloved by right-wing media outlets like Breitbart? Will he follow the suggestions of some of his supporters and demand that Americans from certain parts of the world (read: Muslims) be required to “register” with the federal government?

Again, these are the same tactics Erdogan and Putin have used in Turkey and Russia, respectively, to cement their own authority over time by initiating a vicious cycle of social hostility. When groups within a society are already somewhat suspicious of each other, extremists can trigger a spiral of increasing hostility by attacking the perceived internal enemy in the hope of provoking a harsh reaction. If the attacked minority responds defensively, or its own hotheads lash out violently, it will merely reinforce the first group’s fears and bolster a rapid polarization. Extremists on both sides will try to “outbid” their political opponents by portraying themselves as the most ardent and effective defenders of their own group. In extreme cases, such as the Balkan Wars in the 1990s or Iraq after 2003, the result is civil war. Trump would be playing with fire if he tries to stay in power by consistently sowing hatred against the “other,” but he did it in the campaign, and there’s no reason to believe he wouldn’t do it again.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“This list of warning signs will no doubt strike some as overly alarmist. As I said, it is possible — even likely — that Trump won’t try any of these things (or at least not very seriously) and he might face prompt and united opposition if he did. The checks and balances built into America’s democratic system may be sufficiently robust to survive a sustained challenge. Given the deep commitment to liberty that lies at the heart of the American experiment, it is also possible the American people would quickly detect any serious attempt to threaten the present order and take immediate action to stop it.

The bottom line: I am by no means predicting the collapse of democracy in the United States under a President Donald J. Trump. What I am saying is that it is not impossible, and there are some clear warning signs to watch out for. Now, as always, the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. Or to use a more modern formulation: If you see something, say something.”

 

This is our Open Thread – feel free to talk about whatever you want.

The Watering Hole, Saturday, September 24th, 2016: 353 and Counting

So, another day, another mass shooting. This one took place last night at the Macy’s store in the Cascade Mall in Burlington, Washington. According to the info on Raw Story’s coverage of the shooting, four women were killed while shopping in the Macy’s cosmetics department. The shooter, described as a young Hispanic male, is still at large, and no motive or explanation has yet been reported.

But already, the “good guy with a gun”-lovers are out there shooting their mouths off – and I honestly wish that were literally true, so we sane people wouldn’t have to hear their idiocy. One example is from a guy named Michael Parker whom I’ve argued with before on various ThinkProgress threads:

“Michael Parker Had I been at this mall I would have engaged the shooter with my concealed carry weapon. Never mind…Washington State does not honor my Virginia concealed carry permit so I would have run for the hills like the rest of the sheep. Thank God Virginia recognizes Washington State concealed carry permits so if this happened in Virginia a visiting concealed carry Washington resident could have engaged the shooter. Last December, the Virginia Attorney General tried to limit Virginia’s concealed carry reciprocity to just 5 states. The NRA and the Virginia Legislators got involved…yada, yada, yada ….and now Virginia recognizes the concealed carry permits from all 50 states.”

Another commenter sarcastically said:

“Obviously we need more guns and fewer gun regulations. What could go wrong? Just suspend every one of the Bill of Rights except the 2nd Amendment and America will be great again.”

To which another gun-totin’ hero-wannabe replied:

“You are correct. That is PRECISELY what we need. Had there been a concealed carry weapon’s holder at the mall, like there was in Minnesota, the threat would have been neutralized. It’s stories like this PRECISELY why i carry a firearm.”

Apparently women shopping for cosmetics should only do so in states that allow the gun-carrying menfolk to protect the little ladies while they do so. Dog knows that going unarmed into Macy’s is just too fucking dangerous, so ladies, always expect the unexpected while you’re trying a new shade of lipstick–dontcha know, the real reason why there’s so many mirrors in cosmetics departments is so that we can scope out the folks behind us for possible shooters, not so that we can see how some silly makeup looks on us!

So, wait, how does this work with our big bad menfolk totin’ guns (concealed- OR open-carry) into a mall? As Bill Maher discussed last night – and Wayne and I have discussed before this – open-carry, at least, is quite honestly only safe for WHITE MEN to do. In an open-carry state, one probably won’t see too many men of color packing heat – or at least not for long, as SOMEONE will either shoot them ‘just because’, or report them to the police, who will come and shoot the ‘suspicious’ armed black man on sight.

As noted in the ThinkProgress thread, “There have been 353 mass shootings in the United States in 2016, according to the Mass Shootings Tracker.” C’mon, you crazy shooters, there’s still plenty of time left in 2016, let’s see how high you can make that number go before the new year! And you “good guy(s) with a gun”, Christmas shopping is just around the corner, and the malls will be packed, so get your gunz and ammo ready!

This is our daily Open Thread, so talk about gunz or whatever else you want.

The Watering Hole; Friday September 16 2016; FEAR

Whilst digging through a pile of old files buried on an old hard drive, I ran across an old essay of mine, one from just short of a dozen years ago. It was my “response”– not published or posted anywhere — to the world created by the Bush administration in the aftermath of 9-11; a world of war, based on irrational fear.

Look around today, particularly in the shadows of the fear-mongering that’s driving this election season. Think of Trump’s hate-filled and fear-mongering proposals concerning “illegals,” “Muslims,””ISIS” and all else that’s covered under the phobia umbrella including, for a great many, their not-yet-spent irrational fear and hate of soon-to-be-outgoing President Obama. He’s black, after all, and this here’s a white country! Scary scary.

I’d propose ways to stop the phobia train — if I could think of some. Clearly that’s not going to happen, though, so — stated another way — here we go again, back into the pit. How many times must we do this? Every time a Republican gets up onto the national stage, looks like to me. Anyway, I’ll leave comments to others, and simply add here the essay I wrote in November 2004; it’s title was a simple one: FEAR. Continue reading

The Watering Hole, Saturday, July 23, 2016: Ego

The Oxford English Dictionary’s definition of ego:

Noun:

1.      A person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance

1.1    Psychoanalysis The part of the mind that mediates between the conscious and the unconscious and is responsible for reality testing and a sense of personal identity

1.2    Philosophy (In metaphysics) a conscious thinking subject.

Synonyms: self-esteem, self-importance, self-worth, self-respect, self-conceit, self-image, self-confidence;

Now, let’s take a brief look at Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s ego:

1. Trump’s self-esteem? Off the charts–his self-descriptions include being “the greatest” this, the “best” that, the “most” whatever. Anyone who claims otherwise is just “wrong” or “stupid”, or has some imaginary personal beef against Trump, because in no way will Donald Trump admit to any ignorance, mistake, lie, or out-and-out wrongdoing. Which leads to…

1.1 Trump’s ego cannot “mediate” between the conscious and unconscious. Reality testing?! Trump’s conscious and unconscious create their own reality, and it’s a reality that he seems to feel no need to test. His “reality” is part-and-parcel of his personal identity, and it is impenetrable by truth, facts, and even Trump’s own previous words or deeds.

1.2 While Trump may be “conscious” in the literal sense of the word, he is not a “thinking” subject.

With his penchant for superlatives, Trump might possibly think that he has a “superego“, but the OED’s definition of superego leads me to believe that Trump’s ego vanquished his superego a long time ago:

Noun:
Psychoanalysis The part of a person’s mind that acts as a self-critical conscience, reflecting social standards learned from parents and teachers

“Self-critical”?  Rarely and barely.  Hell, Trump told evangelicals that he didn’t feel the need to go to confession, since he doesn’t think that anything he does is wrong.  And I learned things like manners, respect and intellectual curiosity from my parents and teachers, apparently unlike Trump.

Trump has a dysfunctional relationship with the truth. According to Politifact, only 8.4% of Trump’s statements have been factual.  Their review of Trump’s statements shows that a whopping 70% of Trump’s statements are rated “Mostly False”, “False”, or “Pants on Fire.” Here’s one of the “Pants on Fire” stories:

“The day after the 2016 Republican National Convention, Trump said his vanquished Republican rival, Sen. Ted Cruz, had never denied that his father was in a 1963 photo with Lee Harvey Oswald, who went on to assassinate President John F. Kennedy that November.

Trump said: “All I did is point out the fact that on the cover of the National Enquirer there was a picture of him and crazy Lee Harvey Oswald having breakfast. Now, Ted never denied that it was his father. Instead he said, ‘Donald Trump.’ I had nothing to do with it. This was a magazine that frankly, in many respects, should be very respected.”

[The idea that ‘the National Enquirer should be very respected’ should rate a “Pants on Fire” of its own.]

Politifact gave Trump the “2015 Lie of The Year” award to The Donald.  An excerpt:

“…a little hyperbole never hurts,” Trump wrote in his 1987 best-seller The Art of the Deal. “People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular. I call it truthful hyperbole. It’s an innocent form of exaggeration — and a very effective form of promotion.”

[Ah, and that explains “Trump University.”]

Next, here’s a glib, almost superficial, and often sickeningly fawning article from the Washington Post, by AP “reporter” Nancy Benar, titled “For Trump, it’s about America’s ego — and his own.” Some key excerpts:

“Almost every deal I have ever done has been at least partly for my ego,” the billionaire declared in a 1995 New York Times piece titled, “What My Ego Wants, My Ego Gets.”

“The same assets that excite me in the chase often, once they are acquired, leave me bored,” he told an interviewer in 1990, as his boom years were sliding toward bust. “For me, you see, the important thing is the getting, not the having.”

Trump,[sic] stresses his Ivy League education and revels in juvenile jabs, labeling his adversaries “stupid,” ‘’dumb” and “bad.”

“I know words,” he declared at a December campaign rally where he criticized the Obama administration. “I have the best words. But there’s no better word than stupid, right?”

Wrong, Mr. Trump. As a Presidential candidate, now nominee, some of the “best words” that you should memorize the meanings for are:  honesty, integrity, class, civility, respect, humility and responsibility. I know that these terms and ideas are foreign to you, but you should familiarize yourself with them – there might be a quiz between now and November.

This is our daily Open Thread–feel free to talk about this or any other topic.

Brexit – Live

 

In the video above you find a compelling explanation what Brexit is about really. Having watched some of the debates and quite a bit of coverage on BBC, ITV and a couple more news sites, I can fully agree with him. It is about immigration. And nationalism and then some immigration.

I’ll watch some of the BBC voting night coverage and will give you the first couple of developments live as they unfold. Then I will probably collapse, because I am not as young as I used to be when I joined you all for a night of music, booze and cigarettes on Music Night.

Whatever is the result tomorrow morning, I’ll let you know.

Fair warning: If they vote “Leave”, I will be seriously pissed off, because I still haven’t given up on the hope to spend my retirement in the North of England. I would have to go to Scotland instead, because the Scots will then leave the UK and reenter the EU.

Here’s a heat map of how Britons stand on the issue:

cegrab-20160315-113854-216-1-736x414

source: http://news.sky.com/story/1659864/skys-brexit-map-reveals-most-pro-leave-areas

So let’s get started….and hope for the best.

The Watering Hole, Saturday, April 2nd, 2016: A Little Humor

I’ll start with the first of two jokes which one of my co-workers sent me; the second of the two will be at the end. That way we can begin and end with a smile. (Okay, there’ll be humor in the middle, too.)

“A Lexus mechanic was removing a cylinder head from the motor of a LS460 when he spotted a well-known cardiologist in his shop. The cardiologist was there waiting for the service manager to come and take a look at his car when the mechanic shouted across the garage, “Hey Doc, want to take a look at this?” The cardiologist, a bit surprised walked over to where the mechanic was working.

The mechanic straightened up, wiped his hands on a rag and asked, “So Doc, look at this engine. I opened its heart, took the valves out, repaired or replaced anything damaged, and then put everything back in, and when I finished, it worked just like new. So how is it that I make $48,000 a year and you make $1.7M when you and I are doing basically the same work? The cardiologist paused, leaned over, and then whispered to the mechanic. “Try doing it with the engine running.””

Next, a whole bunch of political stuff from a recent Washington Post newsletter called “The Daily Trail”, including but not limited to:

-poll numbers indicating how ‘yugely’ unpopular Donald Trump is among women and other demographics;
-Trump + Reince Priebus = GOP Party Loyalty?
-Ted Cruz pulls out RNC rule book in anti-Kasich move;
-Superpac for Kasich responds with weird Pinocchio-themed anti-Cruz ad (created by the same guy who made what was called the “Demon Sheep” ad.)
-initial Electoral College projections from the University of Virginia show some good news for Democrats;
-will candidates never learn how to eat a slice of New York pizza in a New York pizzeria in the traditional New York manner? (Jon Stewart, I hope you’re not following ANY of this, please, it’s not good for your blood pressure!)
-and more!

Also from the Washington Post, an ‘April Fools’ story (okay, I’m a day behind) about two college professors who “gave up the fight to convince Americans that Africa is not, in fact, a country.”

And now the second of the two jokes:

“While the IRS agent was checking the books he turned to the CFO of the hospital and said, “I notice you buy a lot of bandages. What do you do with the end of the roll when there’s too little left to be of any use? “Good question,” noted the CFO. “We save them up and send them back to the bandage company and every now and then they send us a free box of bandages. “Oh,” replied the auditor, somewhat disappointed that his unusual question had a practical answer.

But on he went, in his obnoxious way. “What about all these plaster purchases? What do you do with what’s left over after setting a cast on a patient? “Ah, yes,” replied the CFO, realizing that the inspector was trying to trap him with an unanswerable question. “We save it and send it back to the manufacturer, and every now and then they send us a free package of plaster.

“I see,” replied the auditor, thinking hard about how he could fluster the know-it-all CFO. “Well,” he went on, “What do you do with all the leftover foreskins from the circumcisions you perform?” Here, too, we do not waste,” answered the CFO. “What we do is save all the little foreskins and send them to the IRS Office, and about once a year they send us a complete dick.” [rim shot]

This is our daily Open Thread – enjoy yourselves!

The Watering Hole, Tuesday March 1, 2016 – Super Tuesday

We interrupt our regular programs to bring you up to the minute commentary by posters of this blog on the Super Tuesday primary event. As a way of introduction and background, here is a snippet from Raw Story:

Democrat Hillary Clinton aims to build an impregnable lead on “Super Tuesday,” the most consequential day of the presidential nominations calendar, while Republicans struggle to derail their insurgent and controversial front-runner Donald Trump.

With barely 24 hours before the big day, Clinton and Trump are well positioned to secure the lion’s share of the delegate bonanza in the 11 states voting in each party’s primaries.

Trump and Hillary? Let the voters decide.

Follow the money (per NBC News):

 

 

 

Sunday Roast: Another year gone; what have we learned?

I know I’ve posted this video a few times over the years, in one form or another, but I’m posting it again.

Why?  That’s a good question.  I’m glad you asked.

I don’t know if it’s because I’m feeling especially pessimistic or cynical these days, but I’m thinking that we haven’t learned anything over the past year.  Maybe it’s just that the United States is absolutely fucking bonkers right now, and I’m having trouble seeing the good in the world; or maybe we’re at a critical turning point, and, much like correcting a naughty child, the behavior gets much worse before it starts getting better.

I hope it’s both, and I hope the “getting better” part starts happening soon.

This is the last Sunday Roast of the year — What do you think?

The Watering Hole; Thursday December 10 2015; Kristallnacht?

Courtesy of The History Place:

Kristallnacht

A massive, coordinated attack on Jews throughout the German Reich on the night of November 9, 1938, into the next day, has come to be known as Kristallnacht or The Night of Broken Glass.

The attack came after Herschel Grynszpan, a 17 year old Jew living in Paris, shot and killed a member of the German Embassy staff there in retaliation for the poor treatment his father and his family suffered at the hands of the Nazis in Germany. . . .

For Adolf Hitler and Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, the shooting in Paris provided an opportunity to incite Germans to “rise in bloody vengeance against the Jews.” [highlights mine]

Maybe it’s just me, but when I read those few lines, a whole lot of today’s Republican candidate “mantra” quickly brings back some rather foul recollections of events from days long past. The candidates’ current passions — religious “liberty” (for Christians only),  their anti LGBT, their anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim hatred and fear — seem to me to be legitimate reason to ask that eternally obvious question: where does it end?

The History Place essay on Kristallnacht continues:

On November 9, mob violence broke out as the regular German police stood by and crowds of spectators watched. Nazi storm troopers along with members of the SS and Hitler Youth beat and murdered Jews, broke into and wrecked Jewish homes, and brutalized Jewish women and children.

All over Germany, Austria and other Nazi controlled areas, Jewish shops and department stores had their windows smashed and contents destroyed. Synagogues were especially targeted for vandalism, including desecration of sacred Torah scrolls. Hundreds of synagogues were systematically burned while local fire departments stood by or simply prevented the fire from spreading to surrounding buildings.

About 25,000 Jewish men were rounded up and later sent to concentration camps where they were often brutalized by SS guards and in some cases randomly chosen to be beaten to death.

Is that where we’re headed?

Here are but two — out of what surely are dozens of undoubtedly familiar posts — that “hint” at what several of the Republican candidates have to say on the various matters:

Republican Presidential Candidates Want You To Know They Are Against LGBT Rights

Is Trump Using Hitler As A Populist Role Model?

Rubio, Cruz, Carson, Huckabee, and Trump (at least) have proven themselves to be  completely willing to essentially shout out their religious “liberty”,  their anti LGBT, their anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim hatred and fear attitudes. Perhaps it’s a bit ironic, but the fact is, the bulk of their biases as spouted in the aftermath of the shooting in Paris — the one that’s apparently provided an opportunity to incite Republican Presidential candidates to advocate a rise in bloody vengeance against all of those they proclaim worthy of their (irrational) hate and fear — has become, today, widely sprawled across the entire of our mass media.

Should one of these candidates somehow reach the pinnacle of power in this country, might it portend another brutal and equally deadly Kristallnacht??

The following pic was presented in one of the comments to the ‘Is Trump Using Hitler . . .” post noted above. Might it prove to be an adequate, though obviously abbreviated, portrayal of what might lie ahead?

Trumpler

Are we — the citizens of this country — actually watching/witnessing the rise of the world’s next deadly Fascist movement?

OPEN THREAD

 

 

The Watering Hole, Tuesday September 1, 2015

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.

Sunday Roast: Death, Mayhem & Gun Violence

Blood_Spatter_2

Moscow, Idaho — May, 2007New York Times

The police said Mr. Hamilton had been drinking at a bar with another man until about 10 p.m. Saturday. Then, they believe, he went home and fatally shot his wife in the head before setting off for the courthouse carrying two semiautomatic rifles. Around 11:30 p.m., he opened fire at the building, eventually firing some 125 shots at the courthouse and at the people who responded to the scene.

Mr. Hamilton killed one responder, Officer Lee C. Newbill of the Moscow police. Officer Bill Shields was hit in the leg by bullet fragments as he went to Officer Newbill’s aid. A sheriff’s deputy, Sgt. Brannon Jordan, was shot several times but was not seriously wounded and was expected to leave the hospital on Monday.

Peter Husmann, a 20-year-old mechanical engineering major at the University of Idaho, in Moscow, heard the shootings and rode his bicycle to the scene armed with a .45-caliber pistol, said his father, Sam Husmann. Peter Husmann was shot in the back, fell to the ground, and was then shot in the calf, neck and shoulder, his father said. He was in stable condition on Monday.

After the shootings at the courthouse, Mr. Hamilton entered the First Presbyterian Church, directly across the street. He had worked there as a custodian for American Building Maintenance, which had a contract with the church, and he knew the church’s sexton, Paul Bauer, Chief Duke said.

Moscow, Idaho — August, 2011, ktvb.com

July 14, 2011: UI requested Moscow Police participate in a threat assessment concerning the threatening behavior of Ernesto Bustamante. University investigators met with Benoit to review Bustamante’s response and notify her that they would be interviewing him on July 19. She was asked to stay somewhere other than her apartment. The Moscow Police tried to call Benoit several times, leaving messages. Benoit did not return the phone calls. Police told the university that she wasn’t calling back. The university indicated that Benoit had been referred to Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse and a safety plan had been discussed. The Moscow Police informed the UI that Benoit did not want police involved.

July 22, 2011: University called Benoit to ask her where she would be staying until the start of school. She said she would be in Moscow. They encouraged her to take safety precautions and contact Moscow Police Department if she felt the need.

August 19. She was warned to be vigilant and call police if she had any safety concerns.

August 22, 2011: Katy was shot outside her home at 8:40 p.m.

August 23, 2011: Moscow Police find Ernesto Bustamante dead in a hotel room at the University Inn-Best Western.

Moscow, Idaho — January 10, 2015, ktvb.com

Police say they first responded to a call of a shooting at around 2:30 p.m. at the Northwest Mutual on E. Third Street. Police say the two victims at the first reported shooting were 76-year-old David Trail and 39-year-old Michael Chin of Seattle. Trail, a Moscow businessman, was taken to Pullman Regional Hospital where he was declared dead. Chin was taken to Gritman Medical Center and is currently in critical condition.

Minutes after the first incident, police say a second shooting was reported at an Arby’s restaurant on Peterson Drive. Police say Lee entered the restaurant and asked for the manager. When the manager, 47-year-old Belinda Niebuhr, came forward Lee reportedly opened fire. Niebuhr was declared dead at Gritman Medical Center.

About a mile and a half away from the Arby’s, police say a fourth victim was found dead at a residence in the 400 block of Veatch Street. The fourth victim, 61-year-old Terri Grzebielski, is reportedly the suspect’s adoptive mother. Police say Grzebielski was a physician’s assistant at Moscow Family Medicine.

You may be asking yourself what is the significance of posting these three items about gun violence in one small town in America, so I’ll tell you:  These are stories of suicidal rage, mental illness, murder, blood, obsession, fear, and a gun sickness in this country, the “cure” for which seems to be more and more guns — and, consequently, more and more gun violence.

The significance to me is the fact that, in each of the above stories, I knew one of the dead:

Crystal Hamilton died a bloody death by gun violence by the hand of her husband.  She was the head custodian at the Latah County Courthouse, and was a lovely young woman.  She always had a smile for everyone.

Ernesto Bustamante died a bloody death by gun violence by his own hand, after having become a murderer.  He was my psych research professor — my favorite professor — and he was gorgeous, with his long, shiny black hair, devastating smile, and ironic sense of humor.  He was an occasional chatting partner in my peer advising office in the psych department, and he murdered a promising young grad student, Katy Benoit.

Yesterday, Terri Grzebielski died a bloody death by gun violence by the hand of her adopted son.  She was a physician’s assistant in the University of Idaho Student Health Department, and was my PA for the four years I attended the U of I.  She was an amazing woman:  Very tall, very thin, full of energy, ready smile, and she truly cared about her patients.

In addition to these people, a childhood friend’s sister was killed with a gun, and her murder was never solved; my former mother-in-law’s boss was murdered by his crazed daughter-in-law; and the husband of a dear friend died as a result of a gun accident.

This is fucking excessive, people!  Does everyone know this many people who’ve died by gun violence?

I don’t know the solution to the gun sickness in this country, other than collecting all the guns and melting them into plowshares, but we all know that will never happen.  One feasible solution is strict regulations placed on guns and gun owners, but that would take political integrity and honor, and that exists in very small amounts in this country.

I’m sick to death of gun violence in this country, and I’m SO fucking done with “gun rights” being more important than human lives.

This is our daily open thread — Fuck you, trolls.

The Watering Hole; Thursday September 18 2014; MORE WAR MORE WAR MORE WAR YAY YAY YAY!!

OH NOES!! WE’LL ALL BE DEAD!!!

Senator Lindsay Graham: ‘We All Get Killed Back Here At Home’ If Obama Doesn’t Send Combat Troops Back Into Iraq

Fortunately, there’s a solution (if only that worthless Obama dude would get off his duff and DO SOMETHING!):

Bill O’Reilly Wants President Obama And Congress To Declare War Against Islamic Terrorists

So, here we go. Everybody’s after us. First there’re all those illegal children from Central America, and don’t forget those Dream Act bums along with the other ten million or more illegals that are here on welfare and Medicaid and Social Security, milking the Amurkan Cow instead of working for a living. And now we got Muslims sneaking across the Texican Border leaving behind their Qurans and prayer rugs, on their way to git us all!

Texas Sheriff Claims ‘Quran Books’ Found At Mexican Border May Mean ISIS Infiltration

LOOK! UP IN THE SKY! IT’S A BIRD! IT’S A PLANE! NO, IT’S AN ISIS!!

I’ve been trying to remember when it was that I first heard about those new kids on the block — ISIS, ISIL, however those goofy letters them Muslims use is translated into Amurkan. When was it? Was it last month? Last week, maybe? And all of a sudden we’re gonna “all get killed back here at home” by those Muslim terroristas that’re sneakin’ across the border (probably into that new Organ Mountains National Monument that Obama set up jes’ fer them terrist bums to hide their A-bomb in!) all-the-while all our gummint libtards do is sit around shriekin’ about some dead kid in Missouri!

And so it goes. Dreams of more war; DEMANDS for more war. Why?? Cuz there’s money in it! Need an enemy? We got ’em. EVERYWHERE!! So let’s Declare WAR!!

What could go wrong?

Actually (and pardon the interrupt, but) I have a better idea. If there’s to be a war, why not engage our REAL enemy? It’s not like it’s one that popped up ‘over there’ last week or month. Nope, it’s one that’s been around for a good long time now, one that’s gotten ever more refined as the decades have passed.

Wait. Decades? Really?

Yep. On April 9, 1944, at the height of the war against the Axis powers of Germany and Japan, U.S. Vice President Henry Wallace described America’s domestic enemies in an article published in the New York Times on April 9, 1944. In Wallace’s own words,

“They claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection.”

Sound at all familiar? Here’s a more detailed description, one that was written by political scientist Dr. Lawrence W. Britt and published in the July 2004 Free Inquiry magazine, Volume 23, Number 2, available online here. Britt details the traits of that which is steadily proving itself to be Constitutional America’s most dangerous and determined enemy, listed here in brief summary:

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism
2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights
3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause
4. Supremacy of the Military
5. Rampant Sexism
6. Controlled Mass Media
7. Obsession with National Security
8. Religion and Government are Intertwined
9. Corporate Power is Protected
10. Labor Power is Suppressed
11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts
12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment
13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption
14. Fraudulent Elections

ISIS / ISIL??

Nah. It’s much closer to home. We seem to know “it” as the G.O.P and/or its Tea Party offshoot, together defining what I’ve come to call the American Fascist Movement, the AFM.

Curiously enough, I finally (and for the first time ever, far as I can recall) can say that I find myself in at least partial agreement with both Lindsay Graham AND Bill O’Reilly. The danger to our Republic truly IS here Here At Home, and it’s high time that We the People find the means to Declare War Against our enemy — before we are, each and all, forced to kneel before our would-be corporate and religious masters. And we all know who they are.

OPEN THREAD

The Watering Hole, Monday, August 18th, 2014: Sick Day

I am so sick of everything that I’m just going to throw up a few thoughts and see who’s coming down with the same thing.

I can’t even find the words to describe how sick I am of “Christians” (who, if Christ were real, would have been disowned by him) who are doing their damnedest to take over this country, whining about ‘religious persecution.’ The same zealous whackjobs go crazy fearmongering about ‘teh gay agenda’, when their own ‘Christian-nation/one-nation-under-their god’ agenda is infinitely more far-reaching. An excerpt from Right Wing Watch:

“Christian-nation activist David Lane is engaged in a multi-year, multi-state project to get conservative evangelical pastors more involved in electing right-wing candidates, and he is intent on making sure that the GOP nominates a 2016 presidential candidate to the Religious Right’s liking.”

When pastors of any religious stripe start getting “involved in electing right-wing candidates”, their church’s tax-exempt status should be revoked, period. They’ve been on thin ice for years, let them operate on just tithing and other donations from their parishioners.

I’ve been sick forever, it seems, of the sheer stupidity of the vast majority of Americans, but the last few years the ignorance has reached new heights? depths? From the now-common mundane ignorance of people who cannot speak or write proper English, to the simplistic denials of the worldwide disaster of global climate change, too many Americans are smugly proud of their lack of knowledge. When ‘leaders’ in government happily announce “I’m no scientist” when talking about human female biology/birth control, or climate change, or evolution, the premise of the movie “Idiocracy” doesn’t seem quite so far-fetched anymore. Just add some holy-rollers/snake oil salesmen to Idiocracy so it’s a tad more realistic.

I’m sick of the police and other law enforcement entities playing into the teabagger/libertarians’ narrative with the militarization of police forces across the country. There are groups out there who are insanely itching to get into a firefight with the “gummint” and consider ANY law enforcement to be the “gummint.” Cops, you are NOT helping when you treat civilians as an enemy – I’m looking at YOU, FERGUSON.

And I am sick to death of the blatant outright racism that has been revived by the election of President Barack Obama. But not just the racism itself, it’s the acceptance, even embracing, of racism that makes me so sick. I don’t know if President Obama anticipated just how much racist backlash would result from his election – I know I certainly didn’t. Just take one or two examples regarding the insanity that is happening in Ferguson, Missouri:

Ever-clueless Representative Steven King:

“”This idea of no racial profiling,” King said, “I’ve seen the video. It looks to me like you don’t need to bother with that particular factor because they all appear to be of a single origin, I should say, a continental origin might be the way to phrase that.”

“I just reject race-based politics, identity politics” King concluded. “I think we’re all God’s children. We all should be held to the same standards and the same level of behavior.”

and,

Tea-Partier radio-show host Jesse Lee Peterson:

““I’ve said from day one that Michael Brown is a thug,” Peterson explained before asserting that he must be a criminal by nothing[sic] “the fact that he was running from the cops, period, because good folks do not run from police officers, they follow their instructions.”

He added, “I just think that it’s a shame that, in America today, that criminals are given the benefit of the doubt – especially black criminals because white criminals are not – but black criminals are given the benefit of the doubt and the police officers are the suspects. I don’t know what has happened to my country.”

According to Wikipedia, “On September 21, 2005, Peterson penned a column for WorldNetDaily, in which he suggested the majority of the African-American people stranded in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina were “welfare-pampered”, “lazy” and “immoral” and “Peterson has also thanked “God and white people” for slavery—adding that if it weren’t for the slave trade, blacks might have never made it to the United States—and described traveling on slave ships as akin to “being on a crowded airplane” That is one ‘brother’ who really hates his own race. How can he possibly think that way?

I can’t help but think that, had Hillary Clinton won the Democratic Primary and the Presidency in 2008, we would not be seeing all of this out-in-the-open, ‘can-you-top-this’ undisguised racism. I blame President Obama for a lot of things, but I can’t honestly blame him for being elected and thereby opening the floodgates of racial prejudice.

This is our daily open thread–what’s on your mind today?

The Watering Hole, Monday, August 11th, 2014: Caption Contests!

When I saw the first photo on TP last week, I thought “That just begs for a caption contest.” The photo is of Mississippi State Senator Chris McDaniel, and is credited to McDaniel for Senate. McDaniel allegedly hired a pastor to hold a press conference and state that he (the pastor) had been paid by Thad Cochran’s campaign to get black Democrats to vote in their Republican Senate primary:

MS State Senator Chris McDaniel

MS State Senator Chris McDaniel

Next, from an article by Neil Cavuto on Fox Business, in which Cavuto surprisingly says:

“…cross them once, go off-script with them once, pose one different question or surprise confrontation just once – and they go nuts, and I mean really nuts. It’s actually disturbing.”

Chris Christie and Rand Paul have a lot going for themselves. They’re political originals in almost all respects, save their uncanny lack of self-awareness. It just seems odd for gentlemen who demand respect, they have a devil of a time “showing” respect. Their rage is as consuming as it risks being self-immolating. No slight is too small, no diss too dizzy, no criticism too silly, that each doesn’t get silly, and childish, and boorish in kind. Not kind. Not right. Not big. Not…presidential.”

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie


Rand Paul with wings and sword

Rand Paul with wings and sword

And another two-fer, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul:

Ted Cruz and Rand Paul

Ted Cruz and Rand Paul

Here’s a fun shot of ‘Russian Strongman’ Vladimir Putin:

Vladimir Putin and unknown woman

Vladimir Putin and unknown woman

What is Tucker Carlson dreaming about when he fell asleep on Fox & Fiends Friends?:

Tucker Carlson goes nappy-byes.

Tucker Carlson goes nappy-byes.

Last, here’s a shot of Lindsey Graham (fundraising at a place called River Rat Brewery.) Lindsey, on Fox News yesterday, sounded the alarm about terrorists attacking the U.S. He then swooned, clutching his pearls, saying “Someone fetch me mah smelling salts!”

Lindsey Graham drinking and fundraising

Lindsey Graham drinking and fundraising

And just for fun (if you aren’t having any yet), here’s a gif that I ran across while choosing a photo for Lindsey Graham:

What's Lindsey Graham thinking about now?

What’s Lindsey Graham thinking about now?

Enjoy!

This is our daily open thread–what’s on your mind today?

The Watering Hole; Friday June 20 2014; AmurKKKa

I ran across the following video the other day on a C&L page which began with the words, “A BBC crew filming a gathering of Ku Klux Klansmen recorded one of the group’s leaders discussing a plan to use returning military veterans to train KKK members in combat techniques.” This kind of crap frankly sickens me, and, were I not so angry I might be able to at least chuckle at the collective stupidity that has come to define such a significant portion of this country’s dregs. 

In any case, the nine minute video is enough to sicken the spirit of anyone who cares for each and all of those previous, present, and future victims of irrational racial hatred, hatred which sadly persists and lives and probably even thrives, at least amongst the decidedly ignorant, the stupid. Sadly, these same nine minutes would likely serve to fuel the hatred of those who have no means of knowing anything other than the irrationalities embedded within their evil and shriveled souls.

One more time it’s the same old vitriolic mentality. I thought it was over, but still it goes on. And on, and on, and on.

OPEN THREAD

The Watering Hole, Monday, June 16th, 2014: Local Fearmongering

A few days ago, I received the below email from our local State Senator Greg Ball:

Subject: Assault On Our 2nd Amendment Rights

Friend:

After recent anti Second Amendment efforts in the Assembly, the Senate Democrats are now pushing efforts to move legislation sponsored by Senator Peralta (S68A) that would mandate microstamping in New York State. Microstamping involves the expensive and invasive use of laser technology to engrave a microscopic marking onto the tip of the firing pin and onto the breech face of a firearm, so that spent cartridges give information about the firearm.

This is an extreme attempt to turn law abiding citizens into criminals, rather than tackling the real criminals. We must unite in both the Senate and throughout the state, to kill this extreme and costly effort, as we have done in the past.

There is not a shred of credible evidence that proves the technology actually works. This is a back door gun grab by liberal legislators engaged in social engineering, and we will stand our ground to defeat this recent effort.

I will keep fighting up in Albany to stop legislation that would infringe on our Second Amendment rights, but please stay vigilant and talk with your friends in other parts of the state to contact their elected officials.

Yours truly,

Senator Ball’s giant signature follows, but I won’t include it here, honestly, it’s huge.

Anyhoo, this is the gist of my reply to Senator Ball:

“This is an extreme attempt to turn law abiding citizens into criminals” In what way, Senator Ball? If a gun that is used in a crime shows the ID, wouldn’t it assist law enforcement in their efforts to apprehend a criminal? Most of the penalties outlined in the proposed legislation apply to gun manufacturers and gun dealers. If the ‘law-abiding-citizen’ gun owner does not deface his gun, microstamped or otherwise, then he will not be a criminal under this legislation. See Section 6. (A):

“6. (A) Any person who wilfully defaces any machine-gun, large capacity ammunition feeding device or firearm, INCLUDING DEFACING A MICROSTAMPING COMPONENT OR MECHANISM OF A SEMIAUTOMATIC PISTOL, is guilty of a class D felony.”

“…rather than tackling the real criminals.” Can you define who the real criminals are? Do you or your Republican colleagues have any proposals describing how you would “tackle” these “real criminals”?

“We must unite in both the Senate and throughout the state, to kill this extreme and costly effort, as we have done in the past.” The proposed legislation requires that the process cost no more than $12. (See S.7 below)

“There is not a shred of credible evidence that proves the technology actually works.” Um, not according to the text of the legislation’s Section S.6, so you might want to look into this further:

S.6 “…firearm microstamping is a revolutionary forensic technology that produces an identifiable alpha-numeric and geometric code onto the rear of the
cartridge casing each time a semiautomatic pistol is fired; that the alpha-numeric and geometric code on an expended cartridge casing will provide
an initial lead for law enforcement by enabling law enforcement to match the cartridge casing found at a crime to the original owner of the firearm;
that information from completed crime gun tracing is an important element utilized by COMPSTAT and other crime analysis systems to target illegal
firearms trafficking; that microstamping technology continues to produce identifiable markings onto expended cartridge casings even
after thousands of rounds of testing; that this additional tool will help law enforcement investigate illegal gun trafficking, close firearm-related
criminal cases and protect the public; and that legislative action is necessary to require all new semiautomatic pistols sold after January 1, 2016 to be
microstamp-ready.”

“This is a back door gun grab by liberal legislators engaged in social engineering” Now this is just pure fear-mongering strawman tactics, Senator, intended to rile up an already-riled-up base. Contrary to every NRA/Second Amendment worshippers’ rumor-mongering (which started BEFORE President Obama was even elected), that the big bad government was going to be “coming for your guns!”, the proposed S68A legislation mentions nothing about confiscation of guns whatsoever. In fact, the law itself, if passed, would not go into effect until AT LEAST January 1, 2016 OR whenever law-enforcement officials have received notification from microstamp job shops that certain production standards can be readily met; and, in fact, the law would only apply to GUNS MANUFACTURED AFTER JANUARY 1, 2016.

S.7 “This act shall take effect January 1, 2016, or at such time that the superintendent of the state police has received written notice from one or more microstamp job shops that such shop or shops are willing and prepared to produce microstamp structures on two internal surfaces of a semiautomatic pistol as defined in subdivision 26 of section 265.00 of the penal law for a price of twelve dollars or less at a production level of one thousand semiautomatic pistols per batch, whichever occurs later…”

So your guns-above-all-else-type of constituents can stock up to their heart’s content with non-microstamped weaponry.

“…and we will stand our ground to defeat this recent effort.”

This, Senator, offends me even more than your previous incendiary words.

While (S68A) would not have prevented, nor might not prevent, a tragedy such as the Sandy Hook shootings, any and every effort to do so warrants at least discussion. Yet you insist on using the volatile phrase “stand your ground”, which is now synonymous with “you can shoot anyone you want if they look at you the wrong way, or play their music too loud or, well, whatever, AND you can get away with murder! [Women need not apply.]” Your total lack of human tact or empathy is astounding. The people in Newtown/Sandy Hook are our neighbors. Perhaps you’ve forgotten that a teacher in the Pawling School District lost a child at Sandy Hook? You talk about this legislation’s (imagined) effect on law-abiding citizens, what about the effect of ignoring such a horrific slaughter of truly innocent children? Would you publicly label those particular parents of Newtown victims who are now advocating stricter gun laws “gun-grabbers”?

“I will keep fighting up in Albany to stop legislation that would infringe on our Second Amendment rights, but please stay vigilant and talk with your friends in other parts of the state to contact their elected officials. Not for much longer, Senator. [State Senator Ball has announced that he would not be running for public office once his term is up.]

Senator, IF this legislation ever passes, I hope that you will not be out there telling people these irresponsible, incendiary lies. In the meantime, why doesn’t the NY State Senate work toward gun-control legislation that could prevent another Sandy Hook, another Columbine, another Aurora, etc., etc. There have been over 70 shootings since Sandy Hook in public places such as schools, malls, plus killings like the recent one in Florida where a father killed three children and his wife before turning the gun on himself.

But the scariest shooting of all occurred last week when two of Cliven Bundy followers killed, in cold blood, two Las Vegas policemen on their lunch break at a local pizzeria; then the couple adorned each corpse with a Gadsden (“Don’t Tread on Me”) Flag. Shortly thereafter, after killing another innocent civilian, they killed themselves, too cowardly to face responsibility for their despicable act. A libertarian pundit, Adam Kokesh, “argued that because America’s political institutions — including the police — have become “homicidal … against freedom,” it was wrong to see the Millers unprovoked killing spree as acts of murder rather than self-defense. Kokesh argued next that the Millers had, if anything, saved lives by murdering two police. “Think of how many lives might have been saved by this incident,” he urged his audience. “How many people would these cops have killed had they not been killed?” “We can only hope that some of the officers in America are listening — if you care about your own safety”

Seriously, Senator Ball, please remember that words have consequences. The kind of rhetoric you use in your email could be the spark that lights some mentally unstable New Yorker’s fuse. Is that really what you want?”

Sincerely,
blahblahblah

 

Open thread–what’s on your mind today?

The Watering Hole; Friday the Thirteenth; June, 2014; Fear

Without fear there’s no need for hate
Without hate there’s no need for guns
Without guns there’s no need for war
Without war there’s no need for fear
Without fear, what is life??

FEAR . . .

“So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” —Franklin Delano Roosevelt in his first Inaugural Address; March 4th, 1933.

Poor old FDR. He obviously never had to ponder what the potential fate of the United States might become if some future wayward foreign born Muslim Communist “Negro” second-term POTUS were to exchange, without consent of Congress, five Taliban 12-year POWs for one Taliban-held US Army 5-year POW. I mean, imagine the horror: there are now five — count ’em, FIVE!! — more dudes out there that kinda don’t like Amurka, and you can bet your last buck they’ll ATTACK US!! . . . and prolly kill millions in the process, maybe even ME! We’re doomed, DOOMED I say!! And all because of a foreign born Muslim Communist “Negro” second-term POTUS (that none of us TRUE PATRIOTS ever even voted for!!). Life is so unfair, so filled with FEAR!!!

And speaking of Fear . . .

“We had a democracy, yes, but it was torn by elements within. There was, above all, fear. Fear of today, fear of tomorrow, fear of our neighbors, fear of ourselves. Only when you understand that can you understand what Hitler meant to us. Because he said to us: ‘Lift up your heads! Be proud to be German! There are devils among us. Communists, Liberals, Jews, Gypsies! Once the devils will be destroyed, your miseries will be destroyed.’ It was the old, old story of the sacrificial lamb.” –Ernst Janning (Burt Lancaster) in Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)

Sounds a lot like those rants that are far too common as verbal blasts from today’s fear-possessed Republican Party. In point of fact, I noticed just yesterday that Lindsay Graham apparently wet his choners during a hearing in which the administration detailed the scary scary parts of the current Iraq situation. After he changed his shorts, he demanded that the entire of the Obama Administration’s national security team be fired on the spot, all because Iraqi Sunnis were kicking Iraqi Shiite butts, and noting his fear that we here in Amurka are definitely next in line to get whumped by . . . well, by the bad guys over there; you know, those bearded Jihadist dudes who don’t like us. Over here.

It is, indeed, common knowledge amongst “our” fear-possessed Wingnuts that most of today’s really bad guys sport bushy beards — just like the five dudes Obama released from Gitmo in order to secure the release of the American POW held by the Taliban and whose father also has a beard and is, according to Fox News, therefore probably a Muslim Jihadist, making SIX bad guys that are gonna kill us ALL! And lest we forget, of course, there’s also President Obama whose middle name is Hussein, and . . . Uh oh. Scary scary.

So . . . maybe it’s a cosmic rule, one that states FEAR always rules, at least amongst those who are . . . ummm . . . who are not all that well equipped in their gray-mattered penthouse? If that’s really the case, then might it maybe be a worthy goal to somehow reach out to ‘the fearful,’ to enlighten them? I suppose we could reconsider FDR’s 1933 recommendations (spoken 81 years ago!) wherein he emphatically stated that “. . . our distress comes from no failure of substance . . .”

And that

We are stricken by no plague of locusts. Compared with the perils which our forefathers conquered because they believed and were not afraid, we have still much to be thankful for. Nature still offers her bounty and human efforts have multiplied it. Plenty is at our doorstep, but a generous use of it languishes in the very sight of the supply. Primarily this is because the rulers of the exchange of mankind’s goods have failed, through their own stubbornness and their own incompetence, have admitted their failure, and abdicated. Practices of the unscrupulous money changers stand indicted in the court of public opinion, rejected by the hearts and minds of men. [ . . . ]

Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort. The joy and moral stimulation of work no longer must be forgotten in the mad chase of evanescent profits. These dark days will be worth all they cost us if they teach us that our true destiny is not to be ministered unto but to minister to ourselves and to our fellow men.

Recognition of the falsity of material wealth as the standard of success goes hand in hand with the abandonment of the false belief that public office and high political position are to be valued only by the standards of pride of place and personal profit; and there must be an end to a conduct in banking and in business which too often has given to a sacred trust the likeness of callous and selfish wrongdoing. Small wonder that confidence languishes, for it thrives only on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection, on unselfish performance; without them it cannot live.

Restoration calls, however, not for changes in ethics alone. This Nation asks for action, and action now.

“Action, and action now” ?? Well, forget that. Not with THIS Congress, staffed as it clearly is with a majority of pejorative and fear-filled IDIOTS!

I do propose that there may be a solution, however. All those who are afraid of their own shadow, get a clue and do THIS next time you go out — to eat, to go to the store, to get scared, whatever.

Article II a

There. Consummate fearlessness fear wrapped in pretend fearlessness? Whatever. Maybe the final solution is embedded in the concept that when you’re afraid of your own shadow, simply carry a big gun and next time you see your shadow, shoot the damn thing. Rata-tata-tata-tata-tata-tata-tat . . . Yeah, that should work.

Final question: Why are so many so filled with FEAR about what amounts to nothing at all? Wherefrom derives their embedded cowardice? And why the hell are the rest of us required to pay them any attention at all?

Beats me. And while there are huge numbers of “them” in these here parts that I could ask about it, I’ve decided not to. And no, not because of fear, but because I don’t really care to waste the time listening to their nonsensical and fearmongering rants yet one more time.

I’d far more rather converse with brainy critters:

Mystic EyeOPEN THREAD