Recent ‘Toon Gnuz from Paul Jamiol

Our good friend and honorary Critter Paul Jamiol has been busy lately: illustrating a children’s book; working on a new collection of his excellent editorial cartoons to come out in early 2020; plus, most days, putting out new, grimly accurate observations on these terrible times.  (All images are copyrighted by Paul Jamiol.)

jamiol banger the sausage dog book cover

pauls new book

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jamoil detention

jamiol racist rant

That’s just a sampling.  For more, and to see how talented Paul’s wife, Lin, is with her green thumb [and who knew that Paul is an amazing photographer!], visit Jamiol’s World.

Paul has been chronicling political/current events since September 2000.  His encouragement and kindness to us Critters when we left ThinkProgress to start TheZoo, as well as our longstanding friendship, will always be appreciated – hell, I still LOVE our personalized header ‘toon.  I know that we here at TheZoo became pretty burnt out trying to do our part – it’s so damned hard to keep covering this shitshow, when day after day, even hour after hour, horrors upon horrors unfold.  Thank you, Paul, for your dedication to illustrating  what could well become America’s downfall.  It’s a grim task, and I don’t envy you.  Please carry on for as long as you can stand it, and we’ll try to keep up.

 

Open Thread – Come and get it!

Daily-ish Gnuz

Back to Work Monday, and here’s the Gnuz…

Capital Gazette: ‘We Won’t Forget Being Called An Enemy Of The People’
H/T TPM
Trump and his minions own this, lock stock and smoking gun.
It’s just like 1932 Germany, instead of Jews, it’s Journalists.
Donald Trump just issued a direct threat to the free and independent media

Trump’s War on Journalism

And on, and on…
Shameful.

And,
Trump stands firm on trade, even as foreign tariffs begin kicking in
H/T WaPo
Here’s where Trump’s ego gets him in deep horsepuckey. Can’t admit he made a mistake

Finally,
Mexican populist López Obrador triumphs in presidential race
H/T Politico
This isn’t just Trump Backlash, this is a clear statement by the people of Mexico that they aren’t thugs and rapists. FU Trump, in a nutshell.

Open Thread, demand justice and walk with dignity!!

RUCerious @TPZoo

Daily Gnuz

For Thurzdaze, Junish the twenty furzt

And Here’z the Gnudez

Tensions Run High For Republicans As House Heads To Doomed Immigration Votes
A do-nothing Congress is about to do what it does best: nothing.

H/T Huff Po
Complete kabuki theater. Foregone conclusion that none of the idiot Republican plans will pass. They might has well arm themselves heavily with squirt guns, do a right face and fire away at the idiot in front of them.

And,
Trump falsely claimed for days that he couldn’t end family separations
The president is now reversing himself after facing fierce backlash for forcibly removing thousands of children from their parents.

H/T Politico
But, But, Butt, “Only I can Fix IT”, er, “Only Congress can fix it.” OK, I can sign something or other, but probably can’t spell seppereettllly write.

Finally,
‘He has a gold toilet’: Ex-Obama advisor nails Donald Trump as a member of ‘the elites he decries’
H/T Raw Story
His dumas supporters don’t care that he’s the biggest hypocrite in the arena, they want to be just like Him!

Open Thread, pick it up and wipe your nose with it!

RUCerious @TPZoo

Daily Gnuz

For Tuezday, June 19ther

Here with is the Gnuz!

Judge Strikes Down Kobach’s Voter Law— And Orders He Take Legal Ed Classes
H/T TPM
Classic slap down of the fascist SecState of Kansas. Learn the law goober. Yes, you have to be schooled.

And,
Now It’s Up to Voters to Stop Gerrymandering
The Supreme Court declined to act to stop partisan gerrymandering, so we must act instead.

H/T The Nation
Absolutely correct. The Blue Tsunami needs to clean the Republican clocks in November, take back the House at a minimum, as well as state houses across the country.
The SCROTUS failed to draw the line defining what is the test for gerrymandering, Clarence declaring that none of the plaintiffs had been harmed. Lemmee see. I live in an area where my vote is meaningless because the district lines are designed to screw me over. No harm? You’ve gone senile Clarence, go away.

Finally,
Senate candidate Richard Painter pledges to put out Trump’s ‘dumpster fire’ in eye-popping campaign ad
H/T Raw Story
Now HERE’S a guy I could vote for.
If I lived in the land of 10 zillion lakes…

Open Thread, pick it up and warp some fish with it!

RUCerious @TPZoo

Daily Gnuz

Monday edition May 14th 2018-ish

Pompeo: US and North Korea “in complete agreement” on goals of Trump-Kim summit
A US-North Korea nuclear deal might be coming together.
H/T Vox
Or, now that the NK nuclear testing mountain collapsed, and Kim no longer has the capability to test, he can keep his stash of nukes squirreled away and dupe Trump into a deal to lift sanctions and sing Kumbayah.

And,
‘This is going to come out’: Malcolm Nance says dossier was right about Trump committing ‘high crime’ of bribery
H/T Raw Story
Hmm. Ties to China’s tech company may be a conflict of interest?? Film at 11:00, 11:30, 11:45 and pretty much all freaking day and night long.

Finally,
Trump Supporters ‘Tricked by the Devil’ are Now Facing Financial Ruin: ‘I Feel So Stupid’
Eddie Devine voted for Trump, but worries he may go out of business. Here’s why.
H/T Alternet
Buyer’s remorse. The war on brown people leaves many small businesses with no seasonal labor force. Whod’a thunk it?

Open Thread, Summerize it!

RUCerious @TPZoo

Daily Gnuz

Ground Fresh on Wednesaze!

And heeeeeeeeeeerres the Gnuz!

Liberals just won a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court by a huge margin
H/T Vox
Winning! R’s – not so much…

And,
Mueller told Trump’s attorneys the president remains under investigation but is not currently a criminal target
H/T Wa Po
Read the fine print. Especially the words ‘At this time’. Tax Returns, Russian Mobster ‘investments’ in the Panama Hotel, lots more questions. Perhaps the Interview would be just GRAND if a JURY were sitting in on it?

Finally,
Trump Says U.S. Will Use Military To Protect Border With Mexico
H/T HuffPo
Just a few details…Governors have to request the National Guard be called out. For a reason. Posse Comitatus prohibits US Soldiers from doing police work in the US.
Good luck with that. However, we could arrange to have all the ‘well regulated militias’ come on down to the border with their arms and stand shoulder to shoulder at attention for the entire summer.

Open Thread, chew on it!

RUCerious @TPZoo

Daily Gnuz

The Daily Gnuz for Wednezday is upon us!

GOP escalates law enforcement probes as Russia inquiry heats up
H/T Politico
Desperately attempting to disparage and cast aspersions on the credibility of the DOJ and FBI before Trump gets pilloried by Mueller and all his lying bullshit buries him.

And,
No, Mexico Is Not Paying For Trump’s Wall — You Are
H/T Huffpo
But, But, Rapists, boogeymen of every brown sort! They’re coming to have their way with your women! White Men of Amerikkka, freak out!

Finally,
Award-winning science fiction writer Ursula K. Le Guin dead at 88
H/T Raw Story
One of my mostest favorite SciFi writers, RIP Ursula, in a galaxy far, far away…

Open Thread, pick it up and run with it!

RUCerious @TPZoo

Daily Gnuz

X Rated Gnuz for Wednezday!!!
(Disclaimer, not really X rated, but our ratings are down lately)

White House transcript from immigration meeting omits Trump agreeing with Sen. Feinstein on a clean DACA bill
H/T Raw Story
It would appear that the prezidunce, in an overly played effort to appear normal, agreed with each and every statement made by each and every person in the room. Including Nance Pelosi asking for a clean DACA continuance. Sad. Feeble. Artificial.

And,
Judge blocks Trump plan to end DACA
H/T The Hill
Oh, and Mr. Prezidunce, about that eggzekkitive order? Up Yours.

Finally,
Breitbart Cans Bannon
H/T TPM
Entire Article…
Sometimes when a mob boss kills someone who betrayed him he’ll leave the body out in the town square for hours or days, a mix of final humiliation and example to others. Also, Breitbart just fired Steve Bannon
(oh, but there is a link there, on the words ‘just fired’…Good riddance to bad garbage. Rumplestiltskin gets skinned.

Open Thread, Enjoy thy MidWeek Gnuz!

RUCerious @TPZoo

The Daily Gnuz

It’s Monday.

Yes, I know, that’s not gnuz, that’s just depressing.

However, here are a few tidbits to chew on…

NSA Chief Mike Rogers ‘May have his own bomb to drop’ Wednesday   –ht/ C&L

Which brings up the question, would the orange jumpsuit go better with gold or chrome bracelets?

 

And

Filed under ‘do as I say, not as I doo(sic)

 After Calls To ‘Get Down’ To Business, Trump Goes On 23rd Trip To Golf Course –h/t TPM

23 Golf Excursions in 19 weeks of feebly Preziduncing. Some kind of record.

 

Finally,

 Trump: I am calling it a ‘TRAVEL BAN!’ –h/t The Hill

Almost tragicomical that this Prezidunce doesn’t get it. Yes, Mr. Prezidunce, it is a travel ban…applied only to predominantly Muslim nations. Nations whose citizens have no record of committing terrorist acts here in the USA. Your intent is abundantly clear, dumbkoff.

 

Open Thread (300 count), Have At It.

RUCerious @ TPZoo

The Watering Hole, Monday, February 20th, 2017: ICYMI

A few articles from the past week:

I noticed something in one of Raw Story’s articles on Stephen Miller, and had to look into it:

“Though he denies it, Miller is believed to have written a significant portion of the travel ban, with some help from Steve Bannon and congressional aides sworn to contractual secrecy.[emphasis mine]

The Daily Mail article linked to in the above excerpt had more:

“Senior House Judiciary Committee staffers helped produce President Donald Trump’s controversial immigration ban, even as top lawmakers and cabinet heads were left in the dark.
The aides were required to sign nondisclosure agreements as they labored in secret to help draft the ban, Politico reported.

Trump’s transition brought in the Hill aides during the transition, while it was still rushing to staff the administration.”

And the Politico story had even more:

“The work of the committee aides began during the transition period after the election and before Donald Trump was sworn in. The staffers signed nondisclosure agreements, according to two sources familiar with the matter. Trump’s transition operation forced its staff to sign these agreements, but it would be unusual to extend that requirement to congressional employees.”

Now, wait a minute – since when do the president-elect’s staffers and congressional aides sign non-disclosure-agreements?  Aren’t any of them subjected to any vetting process, any background check, in order to work for the president-elect, or for congresspersons and congressional committees?  These are all government public servants, not trump’s TV employees!

I honestly don’t know anything about the legalities of this.  Both the Daily Mail and Politico articles are from the end of January, but I don’t remember hearing about this then. Considering that the articles also state that the congressional aides’ ‘bosses’, such as both the House and the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairmen, were not consulted, I’m a little surprised by that.  Am I just a suspicious cynical alarmist, or is this secretive ‘reacharound’ to bypass normal procedural channels just one more example of trump’s delusional version of presidential power, one that just slipped by amidst the hundreds of other trump delusions?

(sigh)  However…

Maybe there’s hope that there may be a REAL investigation into the trump-Russia cabal. From the Raw Story article:

[T]he Senate Intelligence Committee has ordered more than a dozen individuals and agencies to preserve records related to Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections.

According to the Associated Press, a congressional aide confirmed that the committee had sent formal requests that all materials related to Russian meddling be preserved.

The AP notes that the letters were a bi-partisan affair with both the panel’s chairmen, Richard Burr (R-N.C.), and vice chairman Mark Warner (D-Va.) signing on.

The Friday letters come on the heels of a closed door meeting with FBI Director James Comey who spent nearly three hours answering questions Friday afternoon in a secure room in the Senate basement used for classified briefings.”

Finally, some humor amidst the destruction of our world as we know it: if you didn’t catch John Oliver last night, here’s Raw Story’s thread covering it. Enjoy.

This is our Open Thread – say anything.

The Watering Hole, Monday, October 3rd, 2016: One of These “Christians” is Not Like The Other

Okay, this is going to be a little long, so go ahead and get your favorite beverage/sustenance. Are you sitting comfortably?

I received the following email the other day from Michael Sherrard of Faithful America:

A new group calling itself the “American Evangelical Association”[**] is generating headlines with a letter attacking Faithful America.

Signed by dozens of Donald Trump’s biggest supporters on the religious right, it makes a wild series of accusations against Christian social-justice leaders and organizations.

The letter names Faithful America alongside Sojourners’ Jim Wallis and evangelical creation-care advocate Rich Cizik, and claims that our activism has contributed to “a growth industry trafficking in human baby organs,” “violent inner-city lawlessness,” and “increasing drugs, disease, crime, gangs, and terrorism.”

The charges are bizarre, but the letter’s signers – several of whom have been named by the Trump campaign as official advisors and endorsers – have a clear mission: Delegitimizing Christians who dare to challenge Trump’s politics of fear and hatred.

With barely a month left before Election Day, polls show that Trump continues to hold a double-digit lead among white Christians, and too many Christian leaders have been intimidated into silence.

With no buildings, denominations, or charitable tax status to protect, Faithful America is free to take on the Christians who are baptizing Trump’s heinous agenda. But we need your support to do it.  Donate to Faithful America

The full letter is almost eight pages long, but here’s an abridged version and some of the most significant signers:

“An Open Letter to Christian pastors, leaders and believers who assist the anti-Christian Progressive political movement in America”
After years of earnest but less public attempts, it is now with heavy hearts, and a hope for justice and restoration, that we Christian leaders urge ‘progressive’ evangelicals and Catholics to repent of their work that often advances a destructive liberal political agenda. We write as true friends knowing that most believers mean well. We desire the best for you and for the world God loves.

As recent leaked documents confirm, and as Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners eventually admitted, wealthy, anti-Christian foundations, following the lead of billionaire George Soros’s Open Society Foundation, fund and “rent” Christian ministers as “mascots” serving as surprising validators for their causes. The consequent realities include injury to countless people, the Church, the family, nation and the global Church including many martyrs.

We must reclaim the Church’s witness in the world. Biblical truth and wisdom are the highest love for human beings. While God loves justice and mercy for all, many “social justice” campaigns are politically crafted and not the true Gospel. Only the truth of our sin, both personal and systemic, and Jesus’ atoning sacrifice for our salvation and rebirth, is true hope for persons and nations. The gospel charges all things with hope.

Consider some of the consequences of Progressive political activism over the past eight years:

1. A growth industry trafficking in human baby organs and body parts – funded and defended by the Democratic Party.

2. The abandonment of a biblical view of marriage that protected and liberated children and adults from centuries of pagan slavery, poverty, polygamy and non-life-giving sexuality.

3. The Transgender agenda imposed by Obama-government edict, including gender re-education to be forced on our citizens, businesses, schools, military and churches.

4. Doubling of our national debt, economic stagnation and increased welfare dependency.

5. Increased minority unemployment, poverty and violent inner city lawlessness, with an accompanying loss of opportunity, self-determination and family stability.

6. Heightened racial division and tension, and the growing phenomenon of paid demonstrators being recruited and dispatched to instigate protests that often become riots.

7. Open borders and ‘sanctuary’ cities increasing drugs, disease, crime, gangs and terrorism.

8. Forced refugee resettlement in hundreds of American cities without citizen consent, mandated by the federal government in collusion with the United Nations. “Refugees” are primarily non-assimilating Muslims, while authorities reject persecuted Christians.

9. Hostility towards Judeo-Christian religious liberty in our courts, media and universities including the suppression of conservative speakers, free thought and moral education.

10. The widespread, political use of the IRS to intimidate conservative, patriotic and Christian groups that disagree with the current political establishment.

For many years, Soros’s Open Society and other liberal foundations have funded not only most of the disturbing campaigns mentioned above (1-10) but also the Religious Left, using and creating ostensibly evangelical and Catholic organizations to “message and mobilize” Christians into Progressive causes. They use the Marxist-Alinsky tactic of funding “ministers” who cherry-pick faith language to confuse and divide the Church’s morality, mission and vote.

At a time when many Christian ministries are struggling, a few of the Soros network “faith” and “interfaith” grantees are Jim Wallis of Sojourners, Richard Cizik’s New Evangelical Partnership, Telos, J Street to malign Israel, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, Faithful America and Gamaliel. Faith in Public Life to “counter” Christians and the Tea Party in the media and, with PICO, advocates for amnesty, mass Islamic migration, and even sought to influence the visit and priorities of Pope Francis himself. Billions of additional dollars to “Christian VOLAGs” for large scale “refugee” and migrant resettlement often comes from the Obama administration.

We urge you to question the true intentions of persons or organizations that receive money from Soros and other billionaire globalists. We must not give their surrogates four more years.

And so we ask again, why do those who claim to share our faith in Christ continue to advocate for politicians who will pass legislation, and appoint justices and judges who will attack Christian liberty and persecute believers? Turning our nation over to the enemies of biblical faith does not honor Christ, promote love of neighbor, or advance God’s kingdom in the world.

We ask those who have intentionally or unwittingly aided the Progressive agenda in the past to look at the actual consequences of their policies. Please stop inviting fellow believers to assist global profiteers and political activists who are determined to de-Christianize America.

Please repent and turn away from those who attack the Church. Say “no” to blood money. Refuse funds from anyone attempting to put the Church and America in chains.

Selected signers:

Lt. Gen. Wm. “Jerry” Boykin (U.S. Army, retired)
Maj. Gen. Paul E. Vallely (U.S. Army, retired)
Bishop Harry R Jackson, Jr. (High Impact Leadership Coalition)
Dr. Everett Piper (President, Oklahoma Wesleyan University)
Dr. Gerson Moreno-Riano (Executive Vice President, Regent University)
Dr. Wayne Grudem (Phoenix Seminary)
Dr. Jay Richards (The Catholic University of America)
David Barton (author and speaker)
Rep. John Becker (Ohio state representative)
Dr. Jim Garlow (Senior Pastor, Skyline Church, San Diego)
Pastor Steve Riggle (Grace Church, Houston TX)
Pastor Steve Smothermon (Legacy Church, Albuquerque NM)
Fr. Frank Pavone (Priests for Life)
Eric Metaxas (author, talk-show host)
Tim Wildmon (American Family Association)
George Barna (Researcher and author)
Mat Staver (Liberty Counsel)

[**Note: A Google search found nothing about this “American Evangelical Association”]

Next, an insane exhortation to his fellow Evangelicals by Paige Patterson, Op-Ed Contributor to the Christian Post, titled “How Evangelicals Should be Like Hitler’s Army on Election Day” [yes, he said “Hitler’s Army”]:

What do April 30, 1945, and Nov. 8, 2016, have in common?

The first date was the culmination of World War II. On that fateful day, Adolf Hitler apparently shot himself in the mouth as Russian soldiers moved in on his compound. But in the midst of all that tragedy, an interesting saga played itself out in Germany.

Before Hitler realized that he had lost the war, almost all other Germans knew it well. The Russians were closing from the East, and the Americans came from the West.

The dilemma of many German troops was relatively simple: “Shall we surrender to the Russians or shall we head west and surrender to the Americans?”

Apparently no small number made every effort to fall into the hands of the Americans.

No one knew for sure what would happen to them if they opted for the American option. But the German army knew well what would happen if they were overtaken by Russian generals. In the end, it was what they knew, not what they did not know, that forced their choice. Having heard and often experienced the kindness of American soldiers, many decided that this was the best hope for the future.

And what about Nov. 8, 2016 — election day in America?

Apparently, there has never been an election quite like it. The two presidential candidates both sport disapproval ratings among the highest of any candidates in history. What on earth shall Christians do? Some have said that they will stay home that November morning and stoke the fire in the fireplace. Others will write in a preferred name — some have even said that this name will be “Jesus.”

There is another interesting aspect to this dilemma. There are actually three different ways to vote for Hillary Clinton. The first is the one that she prefers. Pull the lever for her to be the next president of the United States. But if you cannot bear to do that, then write in the name of a candidate who has no chance of winning or pour another cup of coffee and watch a vacuous TV show at home. Mrs. Clinton will be pleased, because she is confident that the vast majority of Democrats and other liberals WILL vote for her even if they intensely dislike her and do not trust her.

“The sons of this age are more shrewd in relation to their own kind than the sons of light” (Luke 16:8).

We know what will happen if the win goes to Mrs. Clinton. Judges throughout the judiciary will be appointed from among those who support the execution of preborns under the dubious rhetoric of caring for the health of women (those who managed to be born, that is). These same judges will continue to attack the religious liberty of evangelical Christians, and the preaching of much that the Bible teaches will be interpreted as “hate crimes,” especially if proclaimed in a public setting.

On the other hand, we have no idea what Donald Trump will do. His record is anything but stellar. But we do know what he has promised, and we are already aware of the docket of judges from which he promises to name those charged with the protection of constitutional rights. Should he keep his promises on only half of these issues, Americans will have a chance to save the lives of infants still protected in the wombs of their mothers and the sanctity of religious liberty. The first freedom that alone gives meaning to all of the others will be maintained in a world that desperately needs this witness.

A presidential election is not about whether you like someone. Neither is it about whether you agree with him on everything. When was the last time you voted for a president with whom you agreed at every point?

Like the Germans and their surrender, the question is simple: Do you cast a ballot, in any one of three ways, that you know for sure will be devastating to preborn infants and to religious liberty, or do you cast a vote for a candidate who offers some hope?

We must hear the warning of Christ and see to it that the children of this world will not be wiser than the children of light. Every infant must be the recipient of a voting parent or grandparent who wishes to give that child a chance to live. And our religious liberty must be preserved!

Choose the candidate who offers hope, not the candidate who guarantees disaster. And you will make that decisive choice!

There’s just too much delusion, and too many lies, buzzwords, and dog-whistles here for one person to pick apart. So…

…This is our daily Open Thread – go ahead, everyone, have at it!

The Watering Hole; Friday September 9 2016; Mexico y Amurkkka y . . . ?

I have a great idea concerning the means/way to absolutely SOLVE the entire spectrum of Wingnuttistanian freak-out over the U.S.-Mexico border’s cross-trafficking (bi-directional, I assume) by people in search of a more suitable life. It’s simple, really, because:

1. People from Mexico want to cross the border northward because they’d like to find what they believe to be a “better life,” and

2. People from Amurkkka would like to head south across the border because they’d like to find what they believe to be a “better life.”

Seems so simple, doesn’t it?

My proposed solution is both simple and logical, and it’s based on the FACT that both Mexico and Amurkkka are parcel to the North American continent, the continent discovered by European sailor Christopher Columbus way back in 1492 (and think of it — I was born in 1942!! — is that cool or what!), a continent which has, ever since, become a mixture of virtually every human race and ethnicity known to plants (and mosquitoes) the world over — details which bring up that eternal question: why the never-ending squabbling about borders, about boundaries, about who can go which way, who can or can’t live here, or there, etc.? Ridiculous. Here’s why:

2002-november-arivaca-baboquivari-014s

The above photo, taken in November 2002 from a campsite just east of Arivaca, Arizona, is of a sunset over the Baboquivari Mountains, a landmark range of desert mountains that rises from the desert floor about five miles north of today’s US-Mexico border, and just to the west of the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge. The Baboquivari Mountains also define the eastern border of the Tohono O’odham Nation, the lands of which cover some 2.9 million acres in what we know as southern and western Arizona. Baboquivari peak, the high point (7,730 ft) of the range , is sacred to the Tohono O’odham people who know it to be the home of I’itoli, their Creator, their Elder Brother.

The first Western eyes that gazed upon Baboquivari Peak belonged to Spanish/Christer Captain Juan Mateo Manje who described the peak in his journal, in 1699, as “a high square rock that…looks like a high castle.” He named it Noah’s Ark.

Baboquivari represents, in “modern” topography, the approximate point where three (human) cultures merge: the aboriginal Tohono O’odham, the Spanish/Aboriginal derivative aka Mexico, the European/Aboriginal/Asian/African/Muslim/Irish(?) culture aka Amurkkka; and intermingled amidst those three, the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge which lies in the valley just to the north of Mexico and between the Baboquivari Mountains/Tohono O’odham Nation and the rest of eastern Arizona/Amurkkka.

Today there’s a wall that runs along the Arizona-Mexico border (and the Tohono O’odham southern border with Sonora, Mexico) and defines the point where Amurkkka ends, abruptly, where the Tohono O’odham Nation ends, abruptly, and where Mexico ends, abruptly.

Why is that? Who thought that whole mess up? Why is it that the only life forms that give a damn about silly stuff like border walls are politicians and the occasional militaristic nutcase? I mean, birds don’t care. Rabbits don’t care. Lizards and snakes don’t care. Cougars and wolves probably care, but only because they can’t get over. under, around or through the damn wall. The stars at night surely don’t care anymore than the sun cares during the day, that much I know for sure, and right here’s proof:

2002-november-arivaca-sunburst-005s

That’s a November mid-afternoon sun. The mountains in the foreground still go by their Spanish name, the San Luis Mountains, and they straddle the open space between northern Sonora, Mexico, and the tiny town of Arivaca, Arizona. Arivaca is roughly 10-12 miles north of the Mexican border and maybe 15 miles east of Baboquivari Peak — the Tohono O’odham boundary; the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge fills most of the vacant space in those fifteen miles. The sun, meanwhile, shines down from around 93 million miles up in the sky and in the process, illuminates all of Mexico, all of Amurkkka including the Tohono O’odham Nation and the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge. Some say it even illuminates the rest of the hemisphere and, at the same time, several other planets in the solar system. And it does all of that — illumination! — with no worries about ethnicity, or borders, or boundaries, or even walls.

If the sun doesn’t care, why do “we”? Speaking for myself, I (two of us, actually) spent,  back in November of ’02, several days and nights camped on the desert near Arivaca during which time our only contact with other life forms involved some birds, a few bugs, a couple of cows, thousands of desert plants, and nothing/no one else — save for the universe above, of course. Oh, and then there was the quiet stillness, the same peacefulness that was there millennia before any human critter arrived to lay out borders and build walls, etc. We did enjoy, however, one memorable instance – the one where we spotted and photographed a vicious looking alien intruder in our campsite:

2002-november-arivaca-grasshopper-006s

Couldn’t tell whether it was an illegal immigrant or a patriotic(?) militiaman or simply a Buenos Aires Wildlife wanderer, so I didn’t say “Papers Please!” I actually did nothing other than say hello; the critter didn’t respond, didn’t stay long either. Never did learn its nationality. I suppose I should have called the border patrol, but . . . well, you know, no cell phone signal down that way back then, so I had to back off and put up with the intrusion.

Anyway, out of allathat lookin’, watchin’, and thinkin’ came my brilliant and final conclusion(s), my plan to fix all that’s wrong with “us”:

Borders and Boundaries suck; they serve none but the horribly small-minded (i.e. humans, also Republicans);

There ain’t no need for Amurkkka, no need for Mexico — N. America is the domain of Tohono O’odham, Hopi, Cherokee, Lakota, et al. et al., along with wolves, bears, grasshoppers, et al. et al., along with European, African, Asian, and all other global ethnic immigrants;

Conclusion: NO MORE BORDERS! The time to negotiate and create the UNITED STATES OF NORTH AMERICA has arrived. Freedom! — for immigrants and all their descendants to come, to go, to stay, to move on; Freedom! — for aboriginal cultures to exist, to reclaim and practice their ancient beliefs in a nation where EVERY person has the right to live as s/he wishes, providing there is no interference with others who choose to do the same. TOLERANCE!

After we pull this off — next up, CANADA!! Come join the Union of Civil People and their critter friends!

Seriously, why can’t we ALL just get along? Uh . . . oh. Yeah. Sometimes I forget. We ain’t quite there yet. Still have to find the means to raise the IQ of the Orange whatchacallit  to the level of the more cerebral critter. Tricky.

the-donny-llama-e

▲The Donny-Llama▲ 

Guess which one likes border walls and which one could care less?

OPEN THREAD

The Watering Hole; Thursday September 1 2016; Immigration, and the ‘Trumped Up Fear’ and Hate Implicit

“The United States is not a territory that is up for grabs, and that belongs to
whoever manages—legally or illegally—to get here. It was founded by Europeans,
who gave it its culture and institutions, and America’s European core has every
right to resist dispossession.”
(American Renaissance)

Really? Hmmm.

Plymouth Rock wall

******

Immigration is a hot topic these days, and in fact it has been such for several decades (at least). What saddens me most about the topic is the erosion of the concept from the days when it was a pride-inducing fact that America was ‘a nation of immigrants’ to today’s version, the one that effectively reverses the concept and instead defines (non-European non-WHITE) immigrants as dangerous, or worse. “Rapists” anyone? Drug runners? (They’re the ones with “cantaloupe calves”). “Radical Islamic Terrorists”? Go ahead, ask most any Republican. They know all about immigration. Just stop askin’ before you get to any of that Humanitarian nonsense because about that, they know nothing at all (and are proud of it).

Following is my (captured, 2005) transcription of a two-way online discussion between myself (Frugalchariot, F.C.), and one whose ‘stage name’ was SmirkySmirk, or S.S. The original topic was an April 2005 web post by Christian Ramirez entitled Minuteman Project: A grotesque caricature of patriotism (the link is not to the original post, but instead is to a ‘snipped’ version still available on Democratic Underground), and is Ramirez’ 2005 anti-extremist rant about then-recent anti-immigrant ‘projects’ in Arizona. The post’s main topic concerned the arrival of the armed (so-called) “Minuteman” militia in Arizona, ostensibly there to guard the Mexican border and to help the Border Patrol  deny entrance to the USA of all those “illegals.” Ramirez aptly summed up his overall conclusion on the matter in his last sentence on the cited link: 

When society has generated such a hostile climate that it allows extremist
organizations to be perceived as genuine and legitimate, that’s when we have
to stop and wonder if the path this country is taking is not leading us to an abyss.

I couldn’t have said it better myself — back then or, for that matter, today.

So now here we are, eleven years and five months ‘down the road’ from that point, and it’s still safe to say that Amurkkka’s overall position on what we continue to call “illegal” immigration/immigrants has not changed. It may, in fact, have gotten worse thanks to the hate, fear, and greed-based philosophy of our resident Republican Party and their 2016 presidential nominee, Donald Trump, who endlessly spouts faux-bogus plans of mass deportation along with his ridiculous “BORDER WALL” notion. I suppose it’s not really ‘weird’ that Trump’s “wall’ has been so voraciously accepted by our resident population of fear-mongering, hate-filled, racially bigoted xenophobes — those who loudly express hatred of all the “tired,” the “poor,” those “Huddled masses yearning to breathe free” who hope and pray that America might one day offer them and their families a chance at a better life. But (sadly) that seems to have become “our” (using the word loosely) new norm.

What so many Americans (sadly) seem unable to grasp is that the immigrant “problem” cannot and will not ever be solved by (a) a border wall or (b) mass deportations. A twenty-foot tall border wall will only accomplish one thing: it’ll create an instant market for twenty-one foot-tall ladders. And mass deportations will fatten nothing other than the wallets of coyotes, i.e. that ever-prosperous north-for-money contingent of people-smugglers. None of this says, of course, that our southern border “problem” is unsolvable, it simply points to the FACT that fear, hate, and greed will never combine to fix things (well, maybe if they added concentration camps, gas chambers, and crematoria, but I don’t want to go there).

It forever remains a solvable issue, of course, and all that’s really required is sympathy, caring, and sympathetic action — concepts generally unacceptable to modern day Amurkkka. Still, maybe it’s worth a try? Sometimes there are notable exceptions. Sometimes intelligent conversation can impact what at first glance may seem to be polar opposite viewpoints; dialogue is required, of course, but if it works, then walls and deportations might actually be seen as excessive. Maybe?

Maybe indeed. Here’s the online conversation from nearly 11.5 years ago that I referred to above, the online ‘chat’ between myself and SmirkySmirk. At the beginning, we were clearly polar opposite in viewpoint, but by the end we had come to at least a level of understanding and respect. Not perfect, but surely better than a wall, better than mass deportations.

*Note: responses are un-edited for grammar, spelling, etc. Sic and Sic, resp. Continue reading

The Watering Hole, Tuesday, August 30th, 2016: “Invest in Beauty”

I was going to tell a dreary tale – about a disturbing conversation I had with a customer who, somewhere in the discussion of her foot problems, managed to bring up Trump and her buzzword-laden approval of him – for today’s post. Instead, thanks to two Zoosters’ comments from yesterday’s thread, here’s some cat stuff.

In yesterday’s comments, pete contributed the following:

“I have often thought that the world would be a better place if evolution had just stopped after cats; large and small. Sure. They are vicious predators with a complete absence of mercy but they are also graceful, intelligent, and have a fantastic sense of humor.”

Not much later, fatherbob posted a link to an article about a lost cat being found next to its “missing cat” poster. The same site had another article about professional photographer Robert Sijka’s photos of “Bearded Cats”, aka Maine Coons; the article includes a brief gallery of glorious creatures, and a link to more. You HAVE to check them out.  As the author of the article says:

“Maine Coons are the largest domesticated felines in the world, able to grow up to four feet in length. The breed is characterised by their gentle nature and their fabulous fur, which can easily be mistaken for a scruffy beard.
Basically, they’re kinda like a lynx, except that they won’t try to kill you.”

Of course, Maine Coons start out all tiny and innocent-looking, like these:
MaineCoonsPictures-1024-768-Origami-MCO-f2203-photos-Ni794815Maine_Coon_cat_licking_its_paw_044972_But they eventually turn into the fiercely beautiful, majestic, dignified, imperial creatures that all cats innately are, regardless of size or fur length.
MaineCoonSilverTabbyMaine-Coon-Cat-6-1024x680There, that’s better than some scary Trump supporter, right?

Last week I ran across a quote on a greeting card that I’m compelled to share:

“If you ignore beauty, you will soon find yourself without it. But if you invest in beauty, it will remain with you all the days of your life.”

~ Frank Lloyd Wright ~

This is our daily Open Thread. You know what to do.

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, February 6, 2016: Stumbling Bloc

When catching up on recent political issues yesterday (after having been focused a bit too much on that goddamned Bundy clan and their terrorist cohorts), I ran across this piece on ThinkProgress about the House “Freedom” Caucus. One of my first thoughts while reading it was “the term  ‘Freedom’ has absolutely no connection with the group’s raison d’etre“; after reading it, I grokked that ‘raison’ – reason – didn’t enter into the equation either. An excerpt:

[House Speaker Paul] Ryan spoke about the divisions in the Republican Party at a policy forum hosted by Heritage Action in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, pointing to groups within the party which demand things that are unachievable and refuse to work across the aisle in any way.
“When voices in the conservative movement demand things that they know we can’t achieve with a Democrat in the White House, all that does is depress our base and in turn help Democrats stay in the White House,” Ryan said. “We can’t do that anymore.”

Just a few hours later, four members of the roughly 40-person House Freedom Caucus, a faction of hardline Republicans, said that they will not work with the president and that realism and compromise will cause Republicans to lose elections.

Freedom Caucus member Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) directly addressed Ryan’s comments, saying that the measures the Speaker thinks are “unachievable” are actually just practical, “small things.”

“On the omnibus, the big spending legislation that happened at the end of last calendar year, our group went to leadership and we asked for a couple small things,” he said. “We said do something on this pro-life issue — after all we have this organization that gets your tax dollars and does all kinds of disgusting things. We said it doesn’t have to be defunded completely, but let’s just do something that’s going to protect the sanctity of life.”

According to a Roll Call piece from September 10th, 2015:

“The House Freedom Caucus has spoken.
On Thursday, the conservative HFC took their seventh official position: They will oppose any spending bill that doesn’t defund Planned Parenthood.

“Given the appalling revelations surrounding Planned Parenthood, we cannot in good moral conscience vote to send taxpayer money to this organization while still fulfilling our duty to represent our constituents. We must therefore oppose any spending measure that contains funding for Planned Parenthood.”

Apparently Rep. Jordan and his group are unaware – or willfully ignorant – of the fact that every investigation into the alleged “disgusting things” Planned Parenthood has been wrongfully accused of have found absolutely no evidence to back up those allegations. FFS, even Texas, after exonerating PP, is now prosecuting the criminals who produced the doctored video “proof” that Planned Parenthood was ‘selling baby parts for fun and profit.’ We all know that Texas HATES Planned Parenthood, so one would think that the turn of events there would give the Caucus pause. But, again, ‘reason’ doesn’t seem to enter into the collective mind of the Freedumb Caucus. But I digress…

The ThinkProgress excerpt continues:

“Another “small thing” Jordan pointed to was a request that legislation to reject Syrian refugees be tucked inside the must-pass omnibus spending measure. The bill would have temporarily halted Obama’s plan to bring roughly 10,000 refugees to the United States because of the persistent threats they face in Syria…
…Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) also implied Wednesday that he is not willing to compromise with others in his party, let alone with Democrats. He said that while he knows he has to be realistic with his expectations, “when you have the will of the people and their voice behind you, it’s amazing what you can accomplish.”

I love the way these (in reality) extreme policy shifts are described as “small things.” And it’s particularly ironic that what the House Freedom Caucus considers to be “small things”, which Speaker Ryan called “unrealistic”, are the same things that the current Republican Presidential candidates are running their campaigns on: overturning Roe v Wade, immigration – along with their favorite hopeless cause, repealing Obamacare. Yes, they’re still wasting time trying to overturn Obamacare, now for the 63rd time. I guess that the Repubican’s motto is “if at first you don’t succeed, keep trying and the hell with real governing.”

Pew Research has an interesting piece from October of 2015 on Congress’s “Freedom Caucus.” Here’s a snippet that I found insightful:

“…the Freedom Caucus does not officially disclose who belongs to it (aside from its nine founding members)[**], though various unofficial lists have circulated. Membership is by invitation only, and meetings are not public.”
What most distinguishes the Freedom Caucus from other House Republicans has been their willingness to defy the wishes of leadership…and to band together with like-minded Republicans who threaten to block any temporary measure to fund the government that didn’t also defund Planned Parenthood.”

**Congressman Matt Salmon (R-AZ) issued a “press release” on January 26th, 2015, announcing the formation of the House Freedom Caucus and its mission statement:

“The House Freedom Caucus gives a voice to countless Americans who feel that Washington does not represent them. We support open, accountable and limited government, the Constitution and the rule of law, and policies that promote the liberty, safety and prosperity of all Americans.
The HFC’s founding members are Rep. Scott Garrett, Rep. Jim Jordan, Rep. John Fleming, Rep. Matt Salmon, Rep. Justin Amash, Rep. Raúl Labrador, Rep. Mick Mulvaney, Rep. Ron DeSantis and Rep. Mark Meadows.”

Along with another 30-odd (very odd!) hard-right Republicans who joined the HFC, after John Boehner decided to give up the position (I suspect mainly so that he could just go home and get drunk,) this small bloc of ultra-conservatives nearly derailed their own party’s contest for the House Speakership by issuing a list of demands questions for Speaker hopefuls. A couple of their “questions” include:

“Would you ensure that the House-passed appropriations bill do not contain funding for Planned Parenthood, unconstitutional amnesty, the Iran deal, and Obamacare?”

~ and ~

“Would you commit to impeach IRS commissioner John Koskisen and pressure the Senate to take it up?”

So they also still believe that the IRS was unfairly targeting conservative groups, despite investigations showing that both religious-right AND non-religious left tax-exempt organizations were audited by the IRS? Paul Ryan is right, they DO need to be “realistic.”

This “freedumb” caucus apparently has zero interest in actual freedom, or governing, or anything beyond their own pseudo-christian-induced tunnel vision. And they’re more than happy to not only fuck with their own party, they’re delighted to fuck with the entire country. As many parents have said to erring children, “This is why we can’t have nice things.”

This is our daily Open Thread–have at it!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dear Gov. Snyder:

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

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

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

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

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

Michael Moore

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

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

Thanks for Giving!

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

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

OPEN THREAD

Sunday Roast: Mesmerize me, Fibonacci

I found this on facebook, which found it on The San Francisco Globe.  Never heard of it before, but I haven’t heard of everything yet.  Heh.

I watched this video until my eyeballs went googley, and then I watched it some more the next day.  Here’s the info:

John Edmark is an inventor, designer and artist who teaches design at Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA. One of his latest creations is a series of 3D-printed sculptures designed with proportions corresponding to the Fibonacci Sequence. When Edmark’s sculptures are spun at just the right frequency under a strobe light, a rather magical effect occurs: the sculptures seem to be animated or alive! The rotation speed is set to match the strobe flashes such that every time the sculpture rotates 137.5º, there is one corresponding flash from the strobe light.

These masterful illusions are the result of a marriage between art and mathematics. Fibonacci’s Sequence is defined as a recurrent relationship that can be expressed as  F_n = F_{n-1} + F_{n-2}…  where the first two digits of the sequence can be defined as F_1=1, and F_2=1. What this means is that the sequence starts with two 1’s, and each following digit is determined by adding together the previous two. Therefore, Fibonacci’s Sequence begins: {1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89…} etc.

What does all that mean?  No seriously, I’m asking — what does all that mean?  I dunno, but it creates some pretty cool designs and amazingly mesmerizing video.  Or a dude in Palo Alto has way too much time on his hands — could be that.

This is our daily open thread — Watch the video over and over…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OPEN THREAD

Sunday Roast: Buh bye!

Hey kids, let’s join the Young Turks guys and take the argument to end birthright citizenship to its logical conclusion…oops.  Start packing, y’all.

This is our daily open thread — Rested and tan?  Wha…?

Sunday Roast: Gravity Glue…again

“The Man” in Boulder was trying to mess with Michael Grab aka Gravity Glue guy, because stupid reasons, but the prosecuting attorney told those cops to piss off, which I like in a prosecutor.

If you go to Grab’s video list on YouTube, you’ll find all kinds of awesome balancing going on.

Is it just me, or does anyone else’s hands get super cold watching him convincing those stones to do what he wants them to do?  Brrrrr….

This is our daily open thread — Enjoy it while you can, cuz 2016 is coming…

The Watering Hole; Friday November 28 2014; Immigration

“. . . emotions of xenophobia — hatred of foreigners; nativism; the policy of keeping America ‘pure’ (that is, of preferring old immigrants to new) — continue to thrive.” ~President John F Kennedy

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Fox News Hosts: Immigrants Kids Are Getting School Lunches So ‘Your Kids Are Getting Shafted’

****

Earlier this month, while plowing through some old folders and some old files on an old hard drive in an old computer, I ran across a whole pile of interesting old ‘stuff’ in the form of old essays that I had, 10 to 15 years ago, written and contributed/posted to various internet discussion groups and blogs. What strikes me about many of them this day is the fact that with a simple change of embedded names, dates, etc., the subjects/topics/contexts remain virtually unchanged.

It was just shy of ten years ago, for example, that the following “discussion” on immigration was taking place. As a long time Arizona resident, I wrote a post in response to a blog post whose topic concerned  southern Arizona’s so-called “Minuteman Project” and its gun-toting “heroes” that had, at that time, begun hanging around in southern Arizona in order to save the USA from all those illegal Mexican lazy bums. It was on April 03 2005 that I contributed the following essay — my personal view of and my personal involvement in the (observed) realities of “illegal” immigration and the consequences thereofWhat follows is the verbatim transcript.

****

I’ve lived in Arizona since 1962. During those 43 years I’ve traveled to Mexico uncountable times, both on the border and into the interior; I’ve enjoyed the close friendship of many dozens of people — from both sides of the border — who are today referred to with a sneer as “mexicans” (lower case intentional).

Twenty years ago I was a watermelon grower in the Gila Bend area, and the great majority of my harvesting crews were from Mexico, “illegals” in the current vernacular, and a finer and harder-working, more honest and trustworthy group one could never find anywhere. During harvest, at least once each week the Border Patrol would happen by and gather up most of the crew and return them to Mexico; the next morning (or at worst, on the second morning) they’d be back, a little worse for the wear but nonetheless ready to work. We paid them a fair wage, in cash, always under a two-way ‘gentlemen’s’ agreement: we wouldn’t screw them, and they wouldn’t screw us. They worked hard and were completely reliable; meanwhile, they provided us with an address in Mexico to which we promised to send their earned wages should they be hauled away and not return. On one occasion, only one, we did indeed have to send a man’s earnings to the address he had provided us. And we did. He made it back the following year, made it a point to thank us, then went back to work — this time for a higher wage than the previous year and in a better position.

Those were, in a sense, the remnant of the good-old-days; since then, laws have been passed making employers into criminals if they should hire, knowingly or unknowingly, “mexicans” who are here illegally. More recently, a gathering fever has infected Arizona, a fever I’ve not seen since the racism that infected much of America in the fifties and early sixties. There is an unreasonable and perhaps unconscious sense of fear (that’s the polite word — hatred may be more to the point) rustling through society which has resulted in efforts designed to keep “mexican” laborers out of the US. And those efforts have, in effect, caused a tremendous and probably proportional increase in illegal border crossings. Every year, dozens of innocents — men, women, children — die of exposure as they attempt to cross the desert on foot, unprepared; hundreds, perhaps thousands more, pay human traffickers — coyotes — money to deliver them to the US. Coyotes are, without a doubt, consummate scum who care nothing about humanity, only about profit (they’re probably republicans, in other words). Often, bodies of murdered “mexicans” are found in remote desert areas, shot and killed by coyotes because their payment was not there on demand, or was insufficient. Meanwhile, *legal* (I’ve lately come to hate that word) “mexicans” are also victimized in the same way, usually because they agreed to pay the coyote to bring a family member to the US but then came up short when payment was demanded.

The coyote process works, however; scarcely a month goes by where, in the greater Phoenix area alone, a collection and distribution point (usually what appears to be a private home) is not discovered along with its hundred or more occupants — illegals waiting to be distributed elsewhere. These places are, metaphorically, what wholesale produce warehouses are to a supermarket chain. In a more down-to-earth context, however, they’re parcel to an emerging slave trade.

Meanwhile, the percentage of “brown-skinned” Hispanics continues to grow, and grow, and grow. I can’t recall offhand the specific estimates, but it’s likely not too long (a decade, give or take) before “white” will be a minority in many Southwestern states, and if trends continue unabated, “white” will, one day in the foreseeable future, become a minority “race” in the US. That scares the shit out of a lot of people, and brings forth the worst traits of even otherwise seemingly decent folks: overreaction to trumped-up fear — always the Repug’s motivational tool of choice.

Last November, Red-state Arizona passed a referendum which was couched in an “honorable” protect-America-from-illegal-immigration-$$-expense pretense, but which really grants legal permission to harass by virtue of profiling (let them greaser fuckers know who’s in charge here in Amerikuh).

And, of course, last but by no means least, out come the gun nut vigilantes, the fruitcakes for whom a gun is little more than a pecker-extender, a deadly weapon which helps (in their own dementia) portray them as “Real Men” rather than the cowards they truly are. Sometimes I wonder: if gun ownership could somehow be (gender)-restricted to that small percentage of males who are happy and satisfied with the size of their schlong, would all the gun companies go broke within the year?

Probably not, but the NRA’s membership would fall off to nothing, and in the process a huge portion of the Repugs financial base would fall into the toilet — where it belongs.

Let’s recognizing this emerging fruitcake posse for what it really is: the American equivalent of the German Sturmabteilung — the SA, brown shirts, storm troopers — those paramilitaries that Hitler found most useful and used accordingly. In other words, WAKE UP America!

****

Later that same day — April 03 2005 — a response was posted, one that I felt was ‘worthy’ of immediate comment. Here, then, is my response to commenter who called himself “SmirkySmirk. His comments are highlighted in red.

****

SmirkySmirk:
I have been a SoCal resident since 1982 and during that time have witnessed a steady meltdown of the economic, educational and social landscape: formerly pleasant areas of town are now crime-ridden, drug-infested, gang polluted ghettos-this phenomenon is growing and spreading now to other areas; elementary schools are overcrowded to the point of bursting, where housing historically the greatest number of students per classroom-and growing (moreover 2/3 of the 5th grade children in the SF Valley school district B system do not speak English- typical and in some areas of Los Angeles County the incidence of non-English speaking children is much higher); wages have been decimated in parts of SoCal since the 1980s (many laborers are working for well below the state and federal minimum wage- I personally knew dozens in my area working for $4-$6/hr. and there is no reason for me to believe their plight was unique); and finally a subject I rarely hear addressed in debates on illegal immigration but equally relevant- the impact of illegal immigration on the critical housing shortage in Southern California that has led to exorbitant rents in even the seamiest parts of town; furthermore, the delivery of healthcare, particularly in Los Angeles, is in acute crisis with many shelters closing due to shortfalls caused in large part by the burden of low payed illegal immigrants overtaxing the system.

What I object to is people reacting to immigrants with unjustified and implacable hatred for what is the failure of the Federal government to do its job. What I object to is business getting a free pass on a problem they have created by transferring the cost of maintaining their underpaid, undocumented workers onto the shoulders of society.

Oh, and I also object to anyone turning a purely economic issue into a humanitarian one and accusing the opposition of odious racial motivations or inhumanity for objecting to illegal immigration.

The problems of illegal immigration will never be solved via vigilante posses, nor will they be solved via a modern day “Maginot Line” of contiguous military security. There is no necessity, either, of opening the borders for all of Mexico and Central America to move north into the US. But none of that’s to say or suggest that there aren’t solutions amenable to all concerned.

The big problem began in the sixties with the elimination of the Bracero program during the Lyndon Johnson administration. That program allowed Mexican nationals to come to the US and work, to send their money home, and to return home after their work stint was completed. The program was, indeed, plagued by employers who treated the workers effectively as slave labor, but that was a problem addressable by means other than slamming the door.

The solution, of course, will take place naturally if and when the economies of the US and Mexico come into a sort of equilibrium, whether by a declining US standard or an elevating standard in Mexico (illegal immigration along the Canadian border isn’t much of a problem, for perhaps obvious reasons). Equilibrium between Mexico and the US is a long way off, however, at least if the gap is to be closed by Mexico attaining par prosperity — there are way too many political and cultural roadblocks in Mexico for that to happen in the short term. OTOH, the US is in a position to assist AND to reduce its border problems at the same time by resurrecting some form of the old Bracero program, this time in a way which denies practices of exploitation. That is, in fact, the one suggestion Bush himself made during his first four years that I could agree with.

Of course, we could nuke the place I suppose, but both that and an impermeable armed border sound a little rash.

Why am I not surprised that someone who has profited so much as yourself financially from illegal immigration are also an advocate for it. Can’t find US citizens to do the work? Don’t give me that crap! Pay A DECENT WAGE AND BENEFITS and you will have droves of Americans lining up at your door to work for you. But, you’re right, I’m sure Americans probably would not work for the pittance wages you paid illegals to do the work.

I’ll ignore your presumptions of profit and dismiss them as coming from someone who knows nothing about farming. Beyond that, I’ll guarantee you that any decent farmer would happily pay a “living wage” as you call it, to each and all of his employees AND would happily add a full benefits package as well. All he would ask would be that he still be able to market his (perishable!) crop quickly and at a decent profit. I suppose you and yours would joyfully and willingly pay ten or twenty bucks a pound, give-or-take, for fresh produce? Hey, people pay that much for fresh tuna, right? Why not for broccoli? I give up, why not?

Let me ask you a question, did you provide your employees with health care and a living wage?

Nope, but that part wasn’t terribly concerning — for a small operation, margins are also too thin to provide “the bosses” with health care. As for a living wage, what is that, exactly? Is that a salary paid to one who works in an air conditioned and cushy office, a wage that goes up annually without regard to production or accomplishment (yes, I’ve worked in corporate offices too), or is it whatever accrues when one works in his fields for 12-15 hours a day, 7 days a week and hopes the markets will pay enough for him to get his costs back plus make a small profit? My instinct suggests that you’re probably damned fortunate to have a supermarket handy where you can buy your food at a reasonable price, that if you’d have to grow your own you’d be on a diet.

Or did you just expect the taxpayers to pick up the tab with subsidies to YOUR EMPLOYEES?

I look at it this way: if the taxpayers can pick up, among other things, a “defense” tab that totals more each year than the next ten or fifteen countries combined, if taxpayers are willing to reduce the taxes on those who can best afford to pay them to the tune of a hundred billion a year, give-or-take, such income shortfall to be added to an already balooning deficit, then what the hell difference does it make if they subsidize someone who works for a living too? Sorry for the smart-assed answer (not really), but that was a stupid question.

There are some very serious issues on the table surrounding illegal immigration. And dismissing concerns of those opposed to it with calumniating epithets of “racist” and “hatemonger” is a red herring that has no place in the debate over the true merits and demerits of illegal immigration. In fact, if I were Boardnanny, I would delete your post as the kind of dung that were only worthy of flowing from the pen of a troll.

I didn’t use a pen. Meanwhile, you’d be much better off if you’d take some time to investigate realities and then maybe work to delete instead the undercurrents of racism and hate that are parcel to the anti-immigration movements in the Southwest. Whether you choose to see or acknowledge them or not, they’re here and they’re becoming pervasive. And, they accomplish nothing but to further the polarization, to exacerbate the problem.

I agree with you that something must be done. But unless it’s an enlightened approach that takes the CAUSES into effect AND addresses them directly and responsibly, the result will be roughly the same as pissing into the wind.

****

As I said up top, not much has changed in the ensuing decade. Reaction to Obama’s executive actions on immigration (forced, essentially, by Congressional inaction on the matter, by Speaker Boehner’s obtuse refusal to consider ANY legitimate options to address the continuing problem) remain every bit as vitriolic as were SmirkySmirk’s responses to my attempts at rationally addressing the humanitarian aspects of the immigration issue overall. Near as I can tell, the bottom line that has come to define far too much of this country is the embedded attitude of White Superiority along with commensurate fear and hatred of any other race/ethnicity. Those attitudes have persisted since before the US gained independence; my suspicion is they’ll continue to persist well after our independence is sacrificed upon the altar of oligarchic greed.

Katrina Vanden Heuvel: GOP ‘Driven By Know-nothing Nativism’ And Was Never Going To Reform Immigration

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The Watering Hole; Friday August 22 2014; “Superior Inferiority”

About a dozen years back (plus or minus one or two), and after watching the Dubya Bush administration make one mess after the other, I decided to sum up my impressions of the clearly failing human experience via a poem — a Shakespearean-style sonnet, to be exact. It turned out thus:

Paradox of Humankind:
Superior Inferiority

Brash vanity ordains that Mankind be
Superior to all other life on Earth,
And curious source of this Mythology
Derives from Bible’s unintended mirth.
Thus bold is he who advocates the case
Of Genesis errant, where metaphor,
As whimsical devise, cannot replace
Realities which each confirm the Core
Of Life: that every living form appeals
To Duty greater than itself alone.
A single moment’s intellect reveals
One Truth, as if inscribed in tempered stone:
Each bird and beast, each flowered weed, each tree
Expounds on Man’s Inferiority!

My conclusion was obvious: humans are absolutely and positively INFERIOR to every other life form that exists, probably even to such brilliances as light and the empty space it illuminates. In any case, every now and then “the course of human events” causes me to reflect once again, then to explore the thesis of “Superior Inferiority” that inevitably seems to define the human species. 

Following is the latest exploration. The large photos are my own; the small ones are captures, over the years, from various internet sites and are, far as I know, unattributed. Still, comparison does seem to tell a tale, to support said thesis. Am I wrong? Y’all be the judge.

* * * *

Natural Black Fly on Natural White Flower:

Fly in White Rose 433Unnatural White Whatever on Unnatural Black Void?
Or
Unnatural White Void on Natural Black Whatever?

Bitch BcConnell

Natural Black on Natural Green!!

Shadow 361

Tan Bugger and Black Bugger on a Yellow Background?

Herr Doctor Carson and Dubya

How about a Tan Bug on a Black and Yellow Background?

Bug on Sunflower 353

Next up, the Natural Void: Solar, anyone?

I’ll tell you how the Sun rose / A Ribbon at a time
(Emily Dickinson)

Sunrise 455

Lawmakers, Homeowners Fight Rules Saying Solar Is Too Ugly To Install

Solar 2 ugly 2 install

Rooftop Solar is Ugly?? 

NO WAY!! Rooftops Themselves are Ugly!!

Solar Solar Solar!

Sunrise 473

Maybe it’s Frogs that are Ugly?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Nah. Frogs are NOT Ugly, esp. when compared to their Human Counterpoints, e.g. ex-POTUSes.

PROOF!

Der FingerOK, that’s enough. Hell with it. Humans are clearly superior at being inferior to everything else in the Universe.

The Prosecution Rests.

OPEN THREAD

The Watering Hole; Thursday August 14 2014; Edward Abbey: “Be True To The Earth”

Edward Abbey (1927-1989) was, at least in my experience, the first genuine and outspoken environmentalist I ever had the pleasure of discovering. I was a college student in Arizona in the early sixties when the Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River above the Grand Canyon was under construction. Popular opinion on the matter was pretty much unanimous in the state that the dam was going to be an immense benefit in virtually every imaginable fashion. Edward Abbey, on the other hand, was the near singular voice of opposition. He opposed the project because of the damage it was doing and would continue to do to the terrain and the ecology that had long defined Glen Canyon. He thought the dam and its future impact(s) were nothing other than environmental atrocities of undefinable magnitude. It took several years before I finally came to agree with him — mainly, I suppose, because his grand little masterpiece Desert Solitaire wasn’t published until 1968, and it wasn’t until the early seventies that I finally snagged a copy and read it for the first time (but not the last by any stretch).

Following are a dozen or so Edward Abbey quotes, most of which I snagged and recorded during that first read of Desert Solitaire. Each of them amply demonstrates his passion for the natural world as well as his distaste for humans and what they are (and have long been) doing to it.

Edward Abbey

“Wilderness. The Word itself is music. Wilderness, wilderness . . . We scarcely know what we mean by the term, though the sound of it draws all whose nerves and emotions have not yet been irreparably stunned, deadened, numbed by the caterwauling of commerce, the sweating scramble for profit and domination. . . . [for] the love of wilderness is more than a hunger for what is always beyond reach; it is also an expression of loyalty to the earth, the earth which bore us and sustains us, the only home we shall ever know, the only paradise we ever need — if only we had the eyes to see. Original sin, the true original sin, is the blind destruction for the sake of greed of this natural paradise which lies all around us — if only we were worthy of it.”

“If a man’s imagination were not so weak, so easily tired, if his capacity for wonder not so limited, he would abandon forever such fantasies of the supernal. He would learn to perceive in water, leaves and silence more than sufficient of the absolute and marvelous, more than enough to console him for the loss of the ancient dreams.”

“God? … who the hell is He? . . . Why confuse the issue by dragging in a superfluous entity? Occam’s razor. Beyond atheism, nontheism. I am not an atheist but an eartheist. Be true to the earth.”

“Men come and go, cities rise and fall, whole civilizations appear and disappear — the earth remains, slightly modified. The earth remains, and the heartbreaking beauty where there are no hearts to break. Turning Plato and Hegel on their heads I sometimes choose to think, no doubt perversely, that man is a dream, though an illusion, and only rock is real. Rock and sun.”

“I discovered that I was not opposed to mankind but only to man-centeredness, anthropocentricity, the opinion that the world exists solely for the sake of man; not to science, which means simply knowledge, but to science misapplied, to the worship of technique and technology, and to that perversion of science properly called scientism; and not to civilization but to culture.”

“[W]hen a man must be afraid to drink freely from his country’s rivers and streams that country is no longer fit to live in. Time then, to move on, to find another country or — in the name of Jefferson — to make another country. ‘The tree of liberty is nourished by the blood of tyrants.'”

“The developers . . . the politicians, businessmen, bankers, administrators, engineers … cannot see that growth for the sake of growth is a cancerous madness … They would never understand that an economic system which can only expand or expire must be false to all that is human.” 

“No wonder the Authorities are so anxious to smother the wilderness under asphalt and reservoirs. They know what they’re doing; their lives depend on it, and all their rotten institutions.”

“The rancher strings barbed wire across the range, drills wells and bulldozes stock ponds everywhere, drives off the elk and antelope and bighorn sheep, poisons coyotes and prairie dogs, shoots eagle and bear and cougar on sight, supplants the native bluestem and grama grass with tumbleweed, cow shit, cheat grass, snakeweed, anthills, poverty weed, mud and dust and flies–and then leans back and smiles broadly at the Tee Vee cameras and tells us how much he loves the West.”

“The sheepmen complain that coyotes eat some of their lambs. This is true but do they eat enough? … enough lambs to keep the coyotes sleek, healthy and well fed? That is my concern.”

“They [the animals] do not sweat and whine about their condition, They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins . . . “

Next up, a quick peek at the other side of the Abbey coin, the side upon which is displayed the abject stupidity, the vapid cloak of hatred and fear worn by far too many “sportsmen” these days. The following quotes were included in a recent communication by the Center For Biological Diversity (Tucson AZ) which, in the Center’s words, is “targeted every day by the rabid haters of predator species. It’s hard to even express how poisonous these sentiments are . . .”  Here is their list of “the 10 worst anti-wolf quotes” their organizers have received in recent weeks. 

10.Wolves are wildlife terrorists.” — Ron Gillett of the Central Idaho Anti-Wolf Coalition

9. “Shoot, shovel and shut up!” — Zachery H. via Facebook

8. “They need to send these Mexican wolves back to Mexico!” — Unknown, screamed at our Southwest Conservation Advocate

7. “We think they should be shot on sight.” — Marcia Armstrong, chair of the Siskiyou County, Calif., Board of Supervisors

6. “Whatever liberal idiots did this to us should be tarred and feathered. Dead wolves are good wolves.” — Wiley S. via Facebook

5. “Last week Hondurans, this week wolves.” — Michael A. in response to a story about the expansion of the Mexican gray wolf habitat

4. “I LOVE wolves. I try to smoke a pack a day.” — Jason D. via Facebook

3. “I’d put the tanned hide right on the wall nest [sic] to my bobcat, coyote, skunk, red fox, gray fox, beaver, deer, alligator, prairie dog, brown trout and field mouse.” — Ty B. via email

2. “Your wake-up call just got a donation from me… to the National Rifle Assocation [sic]” — Joe C. via email

1. “The introduction of Canadian wolves into the Northwest was a criminal conspiracy by a bunch of pot-smoking, wine-sucking, vegetarian lawyers to end blood sports and ranching on public land… I want to see these people in prison for the rest of their lives.” — Montana gubernatorial candidate Bob Fanning

And a bonus: “I hope the plane goes down.” — Doug S. responding to a story about orphaned Alaskan wolf pups being adopted by the Minnesota Zoo.

Personally, I find myself in total and complete agreement with Edward Abbey’s 1968 summation of each and all such idiots. He wrote, in Desert Solitaire,

“Whenever I see a photograph of some sportsman grinning over his kill, I am always impressed by the striking moral and aesthetic superiority of the dead animal to the live one.”

Amen and yea verily. 

“Be true to the earth.”

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