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

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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 Gnuz

Evangelical Christians’ reactions/non-reactions to Charlottesville, via The Christian Post:

First, there are actually a couple of articles where pastors, etal, are finally allowing their collective conscience to break through. Here’s one, and here’s another

Of course, those voices are few, and they’ve got competition, i.e.:

Here’s an opinion piece from “guest contributor” Brad Huddleston, the title of which I thought promising, until I actually read it: “Charlottesville: Jesus Commands Us to ‘Tell The Truth’, So Why Aren’t We?” A few excerpts:

“I was in Charlottesville, Virginia, during the riots and what I observed and what I saw in the media’s coverage are, for the most part, two very different narratives.

Although the atmosphere was volatile everywhere I walked, I have to believe that it was Sovereignty that kept me away from the physical confrontations. I did, however, observe verbal ones. I saw various white supremacist groups filled with hate and evil intentions. They were armed with weapons and ready for a fight. I also watched members of Black Lives Matter as well as Communists/Marxists, carrying their hammer and sickle flags. They were also filled with hate and evil intentions.”

Sounds to me as though it wasn’t “Sovereignty” that kept him away from the physical confrontations, it was his own cowardice. So all he did was “observe” certain things, verbal interactions, certain flags, and interpret them in the light of his own prejudices [“during the RIOTS”.]  How dare he automatically credit BLM with “evil intentions”, when they were protesting against NAZIS and WHITE SUPREMACISTS! And if BLM were involved in extremely heated arguments defending their right to exist as equals in the face of horrifying insults, threats, violence, etc., who would blame them for hating everything that these armed, sometimes uniformed, Confederate-and-Nazi-flag-waving un-American RACISTS do, say, and stand for. The hammer-and-sickle flag-waving “Communists/Marxists”? The author ‘identifies’ them in a later section as the Antifa. I call bullshit. Apparently the author was so terrified he couldn’t even verify what these people were marching for/against.

“The media was slamming the various white supremacist groups (and they should). But I immediately noticed something very perplexing. Very little if any coverage was being given to the various Communist and Marxist groups and violent Black Lives Matter and Antifa activists. It was as if the white supremacists were the only ones who were filled with hate. I kept waiting and waiting for someone to show images of the reality that we, who were actually there, observed.”

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

“Let’s never forget that the Communists and Marxists have killed far more people than Hitler. Nevertheless, they are all equal in their evil, and all should be equally condemned. If they are participating in the same riot, they should share the same headline. Because white supremacists’ numbers are small, we should be far more concerned about their Marxist and their Socialist cousins. Our American universities have been cranking them out for years, and we’re now seeing the results.

Both extremes were represented in Charlottesville on that scary day. To give the extreme left a pass, and even affirm them, would make Hitler proud.”

I can’t even comment, I’m so gobsmacked by this. But I would like to ask Mr. Huddleston if any of the BLM or Antifa drove a car at speed into a crowd of human beings, killing one and injuring more than a dozen others; and how many BLM or Antifa were “ARMED WITH WEAPONS and ready to fight” as the Nazi/KKK and white supremacist pseudomilitary actually were?

And then we have conservative black pastors and others defending trump’s abhorrent remarks in “Black Christian Leaders Detest Claim That Trump Is the ‘Driver’ of Racial Division in America.” Here’s just one little slice of this twisted, surreal pie:

“Corrogan Vaughn, a political activist who ran against Democrat Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland in the 2016 election, argued that those in the media who blame Trump for the racial tension in the United States are trying to turn Trump into a “villain.”

“Don’t make our commander in chief a villain when in actuality it is more the villainess of the media in terms of making something where nothing is,” Vaughn stated.

Oh, joy, keep screaming that the “media” is to blame, and this imaginary ‘alt-left’, ffs – like who’re you gonna believe, trump and the evangelicals, or your lying eyes?

For more, here’s the Christian Post’s Political page. Have fun.

This is our Open Thread – enjoy!

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:

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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:

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Watering Hole, Tuesday November 17, 2015.

I can’t bring myself to post about the environment or food politics.

The events in France just overwhelm. Can’t think of one fundamentalist religion that has ever done the world one bit of good, ever. It’s the 21st Century. You would think people would be beyond this now. It has been quite evident for some time that people can act morally and humanistic-ally without religion. I just don’t see the draw.

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.

The Watering Hole, Saturday, July 11th, 2015: The Planet Killers

Over the last few days, several related and intertwined articles are pulling together more and more evidence that Exxon-Mobil, BP, Chevron, other fossil-fuel giants, and the Koch Brothers, along with their front groups, have deliberately and willfully been funding a disinformation campaign denying global climate change reports that they have known about since the early 1980s.

From yesterday’s ThinkProgress thread written by Joe Romm, “Oil Company Exxon Knew About The Scientific Reality of Climate Change in 1981”:

“…despite a growing understanding of the scientific reality of climate change in the 1980s and 1990s, Exxon became one of the biggest funders of scientists and think tanks and others who do little but deny and cast doubt on the scientific understanding of human-caused global warming.
Over the years, fossil fuel company executives have funneled tens of millions of dollars into this disinformation campaign. The top funder was ExxonMobil for a long time. But the company was overtaken years ago by Koch Industries, run by billionaires Charles and David Koch, who spent more than $48.5 million from 1997 to 2010 to fund disinformation. From 2005 to 2008, the Kochs outspent Exxon-Mobil well over 2-to-1 in funding the climate denial machine.”

From Huffington Post’s July 8th article, “Internal Documents Show Fossil Fuel Industry Has Been Aware of Climate Change for Decades”, written by Elliott Negin:

“Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse created a stir recently when he speculated that fossil fuel companies may be violating federal racketeering law by colluding to defraud the public about the threat posed by carbon pollution.”

~~~

“Exxon Recognized Carbon Emissions Problem 34 Years Ago
The collected documents reveal the fossil fuel industry campaign has relied on a variety of deceptive practices, including creating phony grassroots groups, secretly funding purportedly independent scientists, and even forging letters from nonprofit advocacy groups to lobby members of Congress.

ExxonMobil’s duplicity is perhaps the most remarkable. Internal documents and public statements stretching back decades show that ExxonMobil’s corporate forerunners Exxon and Mobil, which merged in 1999, acknowledged the threat posed by global warming as far back as the early 1980s.”

~~~

In November 1988…Mobil President Richard F. Tucker cited the “greenhouse effect” in a list of serious environmental challenges during a speech at an American Institute of Chemical Engineers national conference.

“Our strategy must be to reduce pollution before it is ever generated — to prevent problems at the source,” he said. “That will involve working at the edge of scientific knowledge and developing new technology at every scale on the engineering spectrum. …Prevention on a global scale may even require a dramatic reduction in our dependence on fossil fuels — and a shift toward solar, hydrogen, and safe nuclear power. It may be possible — just possible — that the energy industry will transform itself so completely that observers will declare it a new industry.”

Fossil Fuel Companies Disregard Their Own Scientists

Tucker’s warning went unheeded even by his own company. A year later, in 1989, 50 U.S. corporations and trade groups created the Global Climate Coalition (GCC) to discredit climate science. Its founding members included API, British Petroleum (now BP), Chevron, Exxon, Shell, Texaco and … Mobil.

Until it disbanded in 2002, GCC conducted a multimillion-dollar lobbying and public relations campaign to undermine national and international efforts to address global warming. One of its fact sheets for legislators and journalists, for example, claimed “the role of greenhouse gases in climate change is not well understood” and emphasized that “scientists differ” on the issue.”

From a report by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), titled “The Climate Deception Dossiers: Internal Fossil Fuel Industry Memos Reveal Decades of Corporate Disinformation” (also linked to within the HuffPost article):

“Containing 85 internal memos totaling more than 330 pages, the seven dossiers reveal a range of deceptive tactics deployed by the fossil fuel industry. These include forged letters to Congress, secret funding of a supposedly independent scientist, the creation of fake grassroots organizations, multiple efforts to deliberately manufacture uncertainty about climate science, and more.
The documents clearly show that:
– Fossil fuel companies have intentionally spread climate disinformation for decades.
– Fossil fuel company leaders knew that their products were harmful to people and the planet but still chose to actively deceive the public and deny this harm.
– The campaign of deception continues today.

The UCS report includes links to all of the memos, emails, and other documentation. While I haven’t had the chance to delve into it much, a quick glance at the titles of the seven “Deception Dossiers” includes “Deception Dossier #6: Deception by the American Legislative Exchange Council”.

Gee, whodathunk?

As Inspector Kemp [played by Kenneth Mars] said in Mel Brooks’ “Young Frankenstein”, “A riot is an ungly thingk… undt, I tink, that it is chust about time ve had vun!”

This is our daily Open Thread–get your pitchforks and torches ready!

The Watering Hole, Monday, December 15th, 2014: Surreal

While the vast majority of the current political, cultural, and social events have become increasingly surreal, here’s just a few examples of the WTF? society in which we are floundering.

In the wake of the release of the Senate Torture Report (“Senate Select Committee on Intelligence: Committee’s Study on the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program”), the defensive reactions of some are wandering in the realm of surrealism. There was that, pardon the expression, bimbo on Fox screaming that “America is AWESOME!”, there’s Dick Cheney calmly and coldly dragging Dubya under the same bus that HOPEFULLY runs down Cheney.

There’s surreal hypocrisy, as in Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia (spit!) stating that there’s nothing in the Constitution that prohibits torture. From HuffPost:

“Scalia…said that while there are U.S. laws against torture, nothing in the Constitution appears to prohibit harsh treatment of suspected terrorists. “I don’t know what article of the Constitution that would contravene…”

[How did this scumbag get to be a Supreme?]

“In 2008, he used the example of the hidden bomb [ala the fictional Jack Bauer in 24]. “It seems to me you have to say, as unlikely as that is, it would be absurd to say you couldn’t, I don’t know, stick something under the fingernail, smack him in the face. It would be absurd to say you couldn’t do that,” he said.”

On the other hand, regarding a real imminent potential crisis situation:

“In January, Scalia seemed less concerned about the safety of residents of Los Angeles when the court heard arguments about whether anonymous tips could justify a traffic stop. Urging the lawyer for two suspects appealing their conviction to stand firm, Scalia suggested that not even information that a carload of terrorists heading to Los Angeles with an atomic bomb would be enough to justify police stopping the car, if the tip came from an anonymous source. “I want you to say, ‘Let the car go. Bye-bye, LA,'” Scalia said.

Then there’s surreal racism/white privilege in ‘law enforcement’. As this Daily Kos diary points out, why aren’t vicious white criminals called “thugs”? One particular white Texas criminal who brutally murdered a white prosecutor, the prosecutor’s wife, and the assistant prosecutor, was:

“…a felon who had a prior record of burglary and theft. Yet somehow he had amassed a veritable arsenal of weapons as prosecutors during the penalty phase of his trial revealed:

“On Tuesday afternoon, prosecutors assembled the arsenal of weapons found in Williams’ storage unit in the courtroom. The guns were displayed on three wooden racks in the middle of the courtroom, 42 handguns in the middle and 22 long guns flanking each side. In front of the racks were boxes of ammunition — thousands of rounds were recovered — and a crossbow. Bullets were loose in bags, as well as still packaged in boxes.”

Now let’s switch to more palatable surrealism: I ran across this assemblage of ’30 surreal photos’ while I was clearing out/sorting my emails at work–Wayne had sent me the link in a 2012 email, noting that he liked this photo:

"Seemingly Surreal Swallows in a Snowstorm" - photo by Keith Williams

“Seemingly Surreal Swallows in a Snowstorm” – photo by Keith Williams

While I found many of the “surreal” photos to be too contrived – I like the ones where a simple alteration of one’s perspective reveals a glimpse of other-worldliness (see “Towering”, among others) – I agree with Wayne, I love the swallows photo. For more of photographer Keith Williams’ bird photos, I highly recommend checking out his gallery – makes a nice palate-cleanser.

This is our daily open thread – go ahead, speak up!

The Watering Hole, Monday, December 1st, 2014: “Spot The Looney”

While not as funny as Monty Python’s “Spot The Looney” game:

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

NOW, see if you can “Spot The Looney” among these:

“Yes, America is definitely a White country.
The US was created solely by White people. Until just a few decades ago she was 90% White.
The Constitution dedicates America to “ Secure the blessings of Liberty to ourselves and OUR Posterity.”.
That was White people writing those words, so they meant White people`s Posterity, not the non-White global herd of “New Citizens” you anti-Whites have foisted on us.
Anti-racist is a code word for anti-White”

-comment on this Think Progress thread

Ed Rock's somewhat ironic gravatar

Ed Rock’s somewhat ironic gravatar

“ONCE AGAIN…A BLACK WANNA-BE PUNK THUG….PLAYING AROUND in a PUBLIC PARK with a TOY GUN.( that he had removed the RED VISUAL SAFETY TIP)… to MAKE IT LOOK MORE REALISTIC ~.
~ POINTING IT AT ALL PASSER-BYS ~.
~ GOT WHAT HE DESERVED ~ WHY?
~ BECAUSE THE POLICE OFFICER DID EXACTLY WHAT HE IS TRAINED to DO WHEN YOU HAVE an ARMED SUSPECT in a PUBLIC PLACE ~ PROTECT THE PUBLIC…
And PROTECT THEIR OWN LIVES TOO…
WHY DID HE GET SHOT?
BECAUSE BY HIS “DANGEROUS ACTIONS, (( pointing it at people)).
~ and the REMOVAL of the RED SAFETY TIP…
HE NOT ONLY GOT PEOPLE TO THINK IT MIGHT BE REAL… ~
(( REAL ENOUGH TO CALL 9.1.1. ))
HE ALSO GOT the POLICE RESPONDING to THINK IT WAS “”REALISTICALLY”” REAL! *
SORRY ~ NO CHILD SHOULD DIE for a TOY GUN..
But NO COP SHOULD DIE from a REAL ONE!
** NOTE to ALL PARENTS :::
DON’T LET YOUR CHILDREN “”play”” with TOY GUNS!*”

-Ed Rock · Top Commenter · Derry, New Hampshire, on this Think Progress thread

“Actually FOX news is about the only place you can get news that shows both sides of a situation.”

-Thomas Dunlop · Top Commenter · George D. Chamberlain High School, on same TP thread linked immediately above

 “Police are very careful in dealing with people, they’re trained to be careful with minorities, and the abuses of the past are pretty much a thing of the past” – Pat Robertson

“This is clear proof of the real picture of the US as a tundra of human rights, where extreme racial discrimination acts are openly practised,”- Spokesman for Kim Jung Un, on the Ferguson grand jury results

 

Okay, so this game was rigged, they’re all loonies…except the last one, of course.

Oh, well, how about starting a new game: see how many people can be described as “She IS the looney, she’s a television personality” (twisting around one of the great lines from the Monty Python sketch.)

This is our daily open thread – go ahead, speak up!

The Watering Hole, Monday, September 8th, 2014: Huh?

I guess I’m a glutton for punishment, but over the weekend I was looking at the TP thread about Dick Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson’s recent appearance (apparently as a religious/foreign policy expert?) on Sean Hannity’s RWNJ lovefest, er, ‘news program.’ Robertson was asked about the situation with ISIS, or, more correctly, ISIL. (The full transcript, if you can stomach it, is here.) Here’s the pertinent excerpt of Robertson’s response:

“In this case, you either have to convert them which I think would be next to impossible. I’m not giving up on them but I’m just saying either convert them or kill them, one or the other…I think converting them, maybe has that time come and gone… [I’d] much rather have a bible study with all of them and show them the error of their ways and point them to Jesus Christ…however if it’s a gun fight and that’s what they’re looking for, me personally I am prepared for either one.”

At the TP thread, after reading way too many comments (including this gem: “The next attack in U.S. the only people that will Truly stand against them are Christians”)   expressing the idea that ISIL is coming to a neighborhood near you soon – or they’re already here – and we’ll all be beheaded in our beds, so as a good christian nation we should just kill them all, this started:

Dennis Terry ·
“If the liberals had these murderous animals coming into their house, they would do just as Phil suggested, and so would I. We ARE our brother’s keeper, and we should stand in the gap for the innocent and protect them from the murderous bullies that vow to dominate the world. We should get rid of them while the numbers are still on the lower end of the spectrum.”

Me ·
“”If the liberals had these murderous animals coming into their house”

All of you hate-filled “christian” fearmongers keep using this type of argument. Do you believe what some of the R politicians are saying, that ISIL warriors are coming through our southern border disguised as refugee children? Get a grip, and realize that some of the warhawk macho ‘we’ve got the TRUE god so let’s kill all of those fanatics who are killing for THEIR “true god.”

I have no more fear of an ISIL hit squad invading my house than I do of your god striking me dead for not believing in him. I’ll sleep peacefully tonight while you all wet your beds.”

Dennis Terry ·
“Jane E. Schneider First of all, I will not be wetting my bed at night, I am NOT losing sleep over them or liberals, nor am I a “hate filled” Christian. Who the heck died and gave YOU the right to look down your self righteous nose at us when you know nothing about us? I might possibly be the best friend that you ever had. Why are you so angry? I am my brother’s keeper and I want ISIS stopped at any cost to protect the innocent people over there. Is that hating? I think that it is loving the innocent and being forced to destroy evil. I don’t WANT anyone to die, but with these animalistic beings, the only choice we have to stop them is by killing them, just like we did Hitler, or any other murderous personification of evil. If they would live and let live, we could all live together in peace, but these radicals will NOT do that- they have a WELL KNOWN agenda of world domination, so you must know very little about them. Do you NOT think that these people going around cutting people’s heads off and raping the women and cutting off the children’s heads and putting them on poles….do you NOT think that they are acting like cold blooded animals? Do you NOT believe in evil? Do these people NOT fit your definition of evil? Why are you so venomous toward Christians instead of ISIS? Doesn’t that strike you a bit odd? It does me. And YES, if you had a murderer or a rapist come into your house at night, you would either WISH that you had a gun to protect yourself, your children or other loved ones, OR you would call someone with a gun (police), and hope that they made it there in time. If not, you would be a fool…….but wait a minute…..you don’t believe in God, so, according to the Bible, you ARE a fool from the get-go, for a fool hath said in his heart that there is no God. You can sit there and marinade in your hatred for Christians and all other things spiritual instead of directing your anger toward the REAL evil, you have that right., but you are foolish for doing that.

Me ·
Dennis Terry, I went to Catholic school for 13 years, was raised by very devout parents who actually exemplified Christ’s teachings better than the majority of “Christian” leaders and “Christian” pundits on TV. The very idea of killing anyone for their religious beliefs is abhorrent and a complete contradiction to everything Christ said. That was how I was brought up.

Today’s U.S. religious leaders are a whole ‘nother kettle of fish, and nothing that they are preaching these days has anything to do with actual morality and ethical behavior. And just because they no longer do their conquering crusades with swords or torture devices does not mean that they’re any less dangerous than any other religious fanatics. They have lost their own spirituality, their own morals, their own souls, for power and money and domination of others. The only real difference between U.S. religious fanatics and Middle-Eastern religious fanatics is their methods – both of which I reject.

If you and the other “Christian” commenters here think that your religious views are being attacked, too bad, we “godless liberals” have been under deliberate coordinated attack since at least the ’50s, when “In God We Trust” was added to our currency to distinguish the supposedly-god-fearing U.S. nation from those “godless commies.” So we’re pretty sick of it, because we DO have morals, and family values, and we work hard and pay taxes, and we’re patriotic, too.

[Please keep in mind that it’s 2:00am here in NY, so I’m tired and jumping around a bit, since you decided to ask me “20 questions”, not all of which I’m going to bother to respond to as they have nothing to do with the topic of the thread.]

I do believe in evil, but not in the satan/biblical way; I believe that some humans either lack or have a particular DNA section that makes them sociopaths. Obviously, people such as those in ISIL take that to a higher level, and I am not defending them in the least. I’m just sick and tired of the hypocrisy of so-called Christians who use their religion as a shield and a weapon, and cannot see that the more they advocate for violence, the less Christ-like they become. Not to mention the danger that they put the U.S. in, loudly calling for their own version of jihad, which does not go unnoticed around the world. But that aspect never seems to bother the growing number of xenophobic and insular U.S. citizens.

I don’t hate all Christians; like Ghandi said, “I like your Christ, but I don’t like your Christians.” If someone who claims to be Christian acts like the Christ that I learned about, I’m just fine with that, I applaud them. Just because I believe that most organized religions are a menace and hinder human progress, doesn’t mean that the particular set of moral values ascribed to Christ is dangerous, it’s the exact opposite. But these days I guess Christ isn’t described as the “Prince of Peace” anymore, right?

You can sit their with your own shield and weapon of your “Christianity” telling me that I’m the high and mighty one looking down my nose at you, but you’re the one marinating in your own assholier-than-thou [HT Zooey] stew telling me that I’m the fool “from the get-go” for not believing in your god and your holy book. You mind your own soul, and I’ll mind mine, thankyouverymuch. Goodnight.”

~ later, not as a reply ~

Dennis Terry ·
Look, I was minding my own business and from out of nowhere, you started attacking me and my God and Christianity, and making very goofy accusations which you had NO clue about. And THEN, you made the stupid statement of “’we’ve got the TRUE god so let’s kill all of those fanatics who are killing for THEIR “true god.” “ What? Where did that come from? It has NOTHING to do with Who I follow or what god THEY follow- ISIS needs to be stopped, NOT because they are Muslim, but because they are vile, evil , murderous thugs, so why did you say something that bizarre to start with, and why did you attack me instead of them? I haven’t murdered anyone or cut off anyone’s head!

Then you said, “And just because they no longer do their conquering crusades with swords or torture devices does not mean that they’re any less dangerous than any other religious fanatics.” Again, a stupid statement- Protestants never engaged in the Crusades, that was strictly a CATHOLIC doings, and what dangers do Christians have in store? Post the 10 Commandments in our schools to teach them moral values to protect society and to keep them from a life of crime? Or teach abstinence instead of having babies out of wedlock? Or lead some prison inmates to the Lord so that they stop their lives of crime, and become law abiding citizens? Or give Hope to the Hopeless? OMGosh! Call the National Guard! What happened to you to make you so angry about religion, Christianity in particular?

Then you said- “So we’re pretty sick of it (being attacked), because we DO have morals, and family values, and we work hard and pay taxes, and we’re patriotic, too.” But you are an atheist, so why do you have morals? Aren’t you a biological accident from some primordial slime? Aren’t morals God’s values? They aren’t biological in nature. The Bible talks about people like you, having a FORM of Godliness, but denying the Power thereof. This is going to sound mean, but I don’t intend for it to. I am GLAD that you had some wonderful parents that taught you morals, and that you are honoring them for that, but you need to get your priorities straight about what you are going to believe. If you are an atheist, act like an atheist and give up EVERYTHING pertaining to God, including morals and values.

Why are you liberal atheists “under attack”? Because a small, handful of atheists go out of their way to take Prayer and Bible out of school and our sporting events and our graduation ceremonies and are trying to remove ALL aspects of Christianity from society, even though the VAST MAJORITY do NOT want them removed. We KNOW that Christianity teaches those same morals that you are so proud of having, taught to you BY CHRISTIAN parents, and we know that THAT is WHERE your parents got them from to teach to you in the first place! Can’t you see the hypocrisy there? You have morals and values, that YOU ARE PROUD OF, TAUGHT TO YOU BY CHRISTIAN parents, yet you want to prevent other people from being taught those same vales and morals that you seem to hold so dear! The Bible, once again talks about atheists who in the Last Days will call GOOD-EVIL, and will call EVIL-GOOD.

You say that you believe in Evil, but NOT in a Biblical way, but evil “IS” a moral judgment FROM God. From an atheistic, evolutionary point of view, we are animals, and animals do whatever they do, there is NO right or wrong, good or evil- THOSE ARE moral judgments, straight from a Moral God. The atheistic, evolutionary view is, Survival of the fittest, kill or be killed- THESE are natural events and actions WITHOUT God, without Morals. THAT is why atheistic regimes and dictators murder multiple-millions of their people, their subjects, to make examples out of them to keep the rest in line to maintain their death grip on their selfish, atheistic power.

And then you sink to your atheistic true colors by calling me, “assholier-than-thou “ comment. I would NEVER say that to you, and I believe that your atheism is overshadowing your “moral” upbringing.

I don’t understand the double mindedness, and double standards of atheism, or why you work so hard to fight against something that you claim to NOT believe in. There are people who believe in unicorns- I DON’T believe in unicorns or UFO’s so why in the world would I waste my time fighting them for their beliefs? Something to consider- WHAT IF, the Bible “IS” TRUE, and where the Bible says, If God is NOT your Father, then you are of your father, Satan, what if- your hatred toward Christianity and all things pertaining to God is actually a SPIRITUAL matter, and you atheists are pawns, being used by Satan and not realizing it? That’s something to consider.”

Adm Andrew J. Walker ·
“Good arguments my friend. An atheist wouldn’t actually have the time to debate a religious article because they would see it as a waste of time (a total rejection of all forms of theology or anyone who practices them.) It sounds like this guy is looking for justification for deviating from what he was taught growing up by attacking others. The goal is to see if his arguments stand, so that he can feel better about his decision to reject what he or she learned at an early age.

So basically the comments on the message board are his or her way of dealing with repressed feelings of anxiety about the afterlife. Better not to let someone drag you into a circular debate that at its root isn’t actually about religion, or the lack-there-of, at all.

What I am really saying is that there are some mommy/daddy issues here.”

Dennis Terry ·
“Adm Andrew J. Walker I believe that is very perceptive of you. But atheists do this all the time, and the person I was talking to, there is a double mindedness that she is proud of, yet hates and wants to destroy, all at the same time, so something else is brewing underneath the surface it seems. I truly believe that it is spiritual warfare, and these people, as I said, are being used as pawns, and have no idea of what is REALLY going on. She said things about the Catholic church which I wonder is the root of her hatred, and if so, I can understand it, as the CC has ALWAYS had many, multiple conflicts with the Bible, and a history of unBiblical, unhealthy, spiritual issues. Thanks for the comment my friend!”

Becky Marsland-Hill ·
“Wow, that is spot on Dennis……I am sorry someone attacked you. But those are truly words of wisdom you replied back”

Dennis Terry ·
“Becky Marsland-Hill Thanks Becky. I’m not saying that I am perfect or that I am wise in anyway, but I “DO” know God and He wants us to take a stand against evil and to help others in need. God Himself waged wars against evil doers to protect the world, and His people. He also had a lot to say about those who would reject Him and His incredible sacrifice to purchase our Salvation. This person was spewing hatred toward the Christianity for the Crusades, and that was bogus. It was NOT Christianity- it was the leadership of the CATHOLIC church, of which she, herself was raised! The leadership of the CC was NOT acting as agents of Christianity- they were engaged in unGodly activities such as murdering Christians, and burning the Christians and anyone else who DARED to disagree with them at the stake. They went around in the Crusades and other areas DOING EXACTLY OPPOSITE OF WHAT JESUS TAUGHT! They were doing exactly what atheists have always done- silence those who disagree with you, however you have to do it, and isn’t smart enough to see that she is hating Christianity for what the atheists were doing, under the guise OF RELIGION! Anyway, I feel so sorry for people like her and wish her well”

Wow – just wow.  As badmoodman commented on this last week, “Irony facepalms itself, then throws up its hands in unconditional surrender.”  Perfect, bmm.
This is our daily open thread, please talk about anything you want to.  I’ll just be over here banging my head against the wall.

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, April 7th, 2014: Torture

Over the past month or so, there’s been a lot of talk about the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation into the previous administration’s CIA torture program (oh, excuse me, “enhanced interrogation techniques”.) Chair of the Committee Senator Dianne Feinstein has accused the CIA of accessing Congressional computers and deleting memos and other evidence. Last week brought the news that Senator Feinstein is pushing to have the results of the report made public, in order to “ensure that an un-American, brutal program of detention and interrogation will never again be considered or permitted…”

Cue the attacks, specifically on FauxNews: First, former CIA Director Michael Hayden questions Senator Feinstein’s possible “motivation for the report” is “emotional.” An excerpt from the ThinkProgress article:

“Citing specifically Feinstein’s line about not using such techniques again, Hayden told Fox News Sunday host Chis Wallace, “Now that sentence that, motivation for the report, Chris, may show deep emotional feeling on part of the Senator. But I don’t think it leads you to an objective report.”

A surprised Chris Wallace asked,

“…You’re saying you think she was emotional in these conclusions?” Hayden did not respond specifically to Wallace’s question, but rather said simply that only portions of the report had been leaked but it did not tell the whole story.”

Despite whatever Hayden believes the “whole story” to be, the portions that have been leaked seem to be quite detailed and very damning, as discussed in this March 31st article from WaPo.

“Officials said millions of records make clear that the CIA’s ability to obtain the most valuable intelligence against al-Qaeda — including tips that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden in 2011 — had little, if anything, to do with “enhanced interrogation techniques.””

It does not seem possible that Hayden’s “whole story” could in any way mitigate the fact that torture was systematically used, both here and abroad at “black sites”, supposedly in the name of our “security.”

From the Washington Post article on Hayden’s “emotional” characterization:

“Former CIA and National Security Agency director Michael Hayden suggested Sunday that Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) might have compromised the objectivity of a report on CIA interrogation techniques because she personally wants to change them…Hayden suggested Feinstein feels too strongly about the issue on an “emotional” level.”

Feinstein struck back at Hayden’s comments later Sunday by calling her committee’s forthcoming report “objective, based on fact, thoroughly footnoted, and I am certain it will stand on its own merits.”

In a statement, Feinstein noted that the committee’s investigation began in 2009 and the report’s conclusions “came from documents provided by the CIA and the result is a comprehensive history of the CIA program. The only direction I gave staff was to let the facts speak for themselves.”

“I believe last week’s 11-3 vote to declassify the report demonstrates that both sides agree that Americans should see the facts and reach their own conclusions about the program,” she added.

Raw Story tells it slightly differently:

“Yeah,” Hayden replied dismissively, noting that a Washington Post columnist had reported that “Sen. Feinstein wanted a report so scathing that it would ensure that an un-American, brutal program of detention and interrogation would never again be considered or permitted.” [Emphasis mine, in that I have been unable to find to which “Washington Post columnist” Hayden is referring, nor any such reporting that Senator Feinstein had directed how “scathing” the report should be.]

“That motivation for the report may show deep emotional feeling on the part of the senator,” Hayden opined. “But I don’t think it leads you to an objective report.”… ““You’re asking me about a report that I have no idea of its contents,” Hayden admitted.

[The notion that Hayden has “no idea of” the report’s “contents” seems pretty ludicrous; regardless of his professed ignorance, it didn’t stop him from attacking the Senator for one moment.]

Raw Story also provides us with cyborg former Vice-President Cheney’s reaction, which also sparked an invitation from Senator Angus King (I-ME) to have Cheney waterboarded:

“The accusations are not true,” Cheney told college television station ATV last week. “Some people called it torture. It wasn’t torture.”

“If I would have to do it all over again, I would,” he insisted. “The results speak for themselves.”

Sorry, the report’s results do speak for themselves:

“A report that has been completed by the Senate Intelligence Committee, however, has found that the CIA misled the government and misstated the effectiveness of the so-called enhanced interrogation program. The report concluded that the CIA lied when it said it had gotten “otherwise unobtainable intelligence that helped disrupt terrorist plots and save thousands of lives.”

“I was stunned to hear that quote from Vice President Cheney,” Senator King explained. “If he doesn’t think that was torture, I would invite him anywhere in the United States to sit in a waterboard and go through what those people went through, one of them a hundred and plus-odd times.”

And finally Cheney’s spawn, Liz, reliably shouts “Benghazi!” Again from Raw Story:

“Fox News contributor Liz Cheney on Sunday argued that a United States Senate report on Bush-era torture was “political” and that lawmakers should spend more time investigating President Barack Obama’s role in failing to prevent terrorist attacks in Benghazi.

“If you’re going to say that we should not have conducted the enhanced interrogation program, if you’re going to say that we shouldn’t have waterboarded three terrorists, then you’ve got to say that you’re willing to accept the consequences of that,” the former vice president’s daughter said on a Sunday morning Fox News panel. “You’ve got to be willing to say how many American lives would you have been willing to put at risk because you didn’t want to waterboard Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.”

“Fox News political analyst Juan Williams quipped that Liz Cheney was the “good daughter,” but the American people had a right to know what the CIA was doing in their name, and if the techniques were effective.

“I want to start by agreeing with Juan,” Liz Cheney shot back. “That we need more congressional oversight… of Benghazi, for example.”

She added that the Senate did not produce a “fair report” because it was “written entirely by Democratic staffers.”

“The Republicans wouldn’t participate!” Williams replied. “People not only wouldn’t cooperate, [the CIA] tried to spy on the U.S. Senate.”

Liz Cheney concluded by saying that she had “missed Juan” during her absence from Fox News for a failed Senate run in Wyoming.

[Yeah, how’d that work out for ya, Lizzie? Finally found out that no one in your home state likes you?]

A couple of the commentors on that Daily Kos thread could have helped Juan Williams bitch-slap that she-devil:

JW: I got a better idea Liz, why don’t we focus on the 22 embassy attacks that happened under your daddy’s watch.

bplewis24:

[Quoting Liz Cheney] “If you’re going to say that we should not have conducted the enhanced interrogation program, if you’re going to say that we shouldn’t have waterboarded three terrorists, then you’ve got to say that you’re willing to accept the consequences of that,”…Yes. I am fully willing to accept the consequences of that. Reports tend to tell us there are no real consequences of it, but even if there were, that’s the “sacrifice” I’m willing to make in order to live in a civilized world.

I think that I would just go with what Sheppard Smith once blurted out “emotionally”: “THIS IS AMERICA AND WE DON’T FUCKING TORTURE!”

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

The Watering Hole, Monday, September 30th, 2013: “UBUNTU”

I know that Wayne posted this on yesterday’s Sunday Roast, but it bears another look – especially in light of the myriad inhumane arguments, diatribes, and lies rising to a cacophonic crescendo over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare.” Just look at so many of the self-serving and ignorant comments on Think Progress’s various threads about the ACA. It’s getting to the point where I think I’d rather live in a more simple society where greed and selfishness are not idealized.
ubuntu

These children put the childish “adults” running/ruining our country to shame. It seems that those who supposedly revere our founding fathers have forgotten one of the earliest ideals of this once-great country, as depicted in the Great Seal of the United States:
Great Seal of the United States

“E Pluribus Unum”: “Out of many, one.”

“Ubuntu”: “I am because we are.” Even those children understand the basic concept of what a workable society should be, and are living it. Why the fuck can’t we?

This is our daily open thread. I’m totally disgusted – how about you?

The Watering Hole, Monday, April 8th, 2013: Close GTMO Now!

Until Chris Hayes spoke so strongly and eloquently about the ongoing hunger strike at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, I was completely unaware that it was happening.

“…of the 166 detainees left at Guantanamo over half of them have already been cleared for release, meaning that the government does not have a case against them and does not think they pose a threat to the United States. And yet they languish at the prison at Guantanamo…The dozens of men who have been cleared by the United States government for release should be released immediately, should be paid restitution, and offered legal residence in the United States.

If that sounds radical or outside the boundaries of political feasibility, I would say that shoving tubes up the noses of men a few times a day to force them to stay alive in our prisons, even though we readily admit we have to no reason to continue to keep them, is pretty damn radical, too.

According to a Miami Herald article from March 3rd,

“Under that procedure[force-feeding], military medical staff strap a captive into a feeding chair and pump a can of Ensure nutritional supplement into each man’s stomach through his nose twice a day.

President Obama issued an executive order to close the Guantanamo detention facility back in 2009, and has stated:

“It is a rallying cry for our enemies. It sets back the willingness of our allies to work with us in fighting an enemy that operates in scores of countries. By any measure, the costs of keeping it open far exceed the complications involved in closing it. I want to be very clear that our goal is to construct a legitimate legal framework for the remaining Guantanamo detainees that cannot be transferred.”

It is abundantly clear that the political grandstanding and fear-mongering are blocking such a goal. However, since 2009, President Obama seems to have put the detainee issue on the back burner. And despite the undeniable fact that 86 of the 166 remaining detainees have been cleared for release, and the majority of the other detainees have not even been officially charged with anything, there are plenty of idiots (mostly Republican) who still believe that these prisoners are the “worst of the worst” terrorists. These idiots also seem to suffer under the delusion that if Guantanamo is closed down, the prisoners will be let loose into the streets of America, even though there have been offers from States with empty prisons to take in any or all of them if necessary. However, continued incarceration of most or all of the prisoners is unthinkable to any sane and humane person.

The detainee hunger strike has been going on since about February 6th. RT news has a timeline from that date through April 6th (in reverse chronological order.)

Groups such as Human Rights Watch, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, are all calling for the detention center to be shut down. From John Knefel at Rolling Stone, Pillay says:

“The continuing indefinite incarceration of many of the detainees amounts to arbitrary detention.” “The United States is in clear breach not just of its own commitments but also of international laws and standards that it is obliged to uphold.”

In the meantime, according to the Huffington Post, the press is being blocked from access to the prison base; worse, due to the sequester cuts, even some of the detainees’ lawyers are unable to see their clients, with military flights to Guantanamo being cut back in frequency. Yet, prior to the sequester, the DoD had requested approximate $250,000,000 in funding to upgrade the facility and additional building – why?

The United States of America gave up its moral high ground when we went to war in Iraq based on a lie. We cannot continue this treatment of, if it weren’t for the thrice-damned PATRIOT Act, “prisoners of war.” The detainees who have been cleared for release MUST be released, and the others either charged and tried in civilian courts or released as well. This blackest stain on our country must be cleansed.

If/when the hunger strikes start to gain real national attention, perhaps that simmering pot on the back burner will start to boil over.

This is an Open Thread. What’s on your mind today?

The Watering Hole, Monday, February 11th, 2013: Fugitive From and/or For Justice?

On Sunday, February 3rd, Monica Quan and Keith Lawrence were found shot to death in a parking garage in Irvine, California. Thus began the now nationally-covered, still-ongoing saga of former LAPD officer Christopher Jordan Dorner vs the LAPD. The Los Angeles Times provides a timeline of this saga through last night, February 10th.

Christoper Jordan Dorner with Chief William Bratton (formerly NYC Police Chief)

Christoper Jordan Dorner with Chief William Bratton (formerly NYC Police Chief)


In the course of the LAPD’s “manhunt”, they have now shot or injured two white women and one white man, purportedly because they drove vehicles which “matched the description of” Dorner’s pickup truck. From the LA Times on the two women:

“As the vehicle approached the house [“of a high-ranking Los Angeles police official, which was being guarded by a group of LAPD officers”], officers opened fire, unloading a barrage of bullets into the back of the truck. When the shooting stopped, they quickly realized their mistake. The truck was not a Nissan Titan, but a Toyota Tacoma. The color wasn’t gray, but aqua blue. And it wasn’t Dorner inside the truck, but a woman and her mother delivering copies of the Los Angeles Times.”

Regarding the man who was “mistakenly” injured, the LAT says:

“David Perdue was on his way to sneak in some surfing before work Thursday morning when police flagged him down. They asked who he was and where he was headed, then sent him on his way. Seconds later, Perdue’s attorney said, a Torrance police cruiser slammed into his pickup and officers opened fire; none of the bullets struck Perdue.

His pickup, police later explained, matched the description of the one belonging to Christopher Jordan Dorner — the ex-cop who has evaded authorities after allegedly killing three and wounding two more. But the pickups were different makes and colors. And Perdue looks nothing like Dorner: He’s several inches shorter and about a hundred pounds lighter. And Perdue is white; Dorner is black.”

These stories alone make one wonder about LAPD’s “finest.” But, Christopher Jordan Dorner’s story tells a lot more.

On February 7th, Dorner published a lengthy “manifesto”, recounting several incidents where he, as an LAPD Officer, tried to report unethical behavior by other LAPD officers. In it, Dorner named names, cited BOR (Board of Review) results in which the named officers were officially “cleared”, and provided additional information regarding LAPD personnel, lawyers, etc., who he believes are involved in the cover-up and whose actions eventually led to Dorner’s termination.

Amidst Dorner’s accusations and subsequent threats against the lives of the named officers and their families, Dorner describes himself, his career, and his own personal ethics. And while the murderous tactics which he is now employing to bring attention to the corruption within the LAPD are deplorable and inexcusable, his words depict a formerly ethical patriot who, at the end of his rope, believes he has been forced to take these tactics. Here are a few excerpts:

“I’m not an aspiring rapper, I’m not a gang member, I’m not a dope dealer, I don’t have multiple babies momma’s. I am an American by choice, I am a son, I am a brother, I am a military service member, I am a man who has lost complete faith in the system, when the system betrayed, slandered, and libeled me. I lived a good life and though not a religious man I always stuck to my own personal code of ethics, ethos and always stuck to my shoreline and true North. I didn’t need the US Navy to instill Honor, Courage, and Commitment in me but I thank them for re-enforcing it. It’s in my DNA.”

“From 2/05 to 1/09 I saw some of the most vile things humans can inflict on others as a police officer in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, it wasn’t in the streets of LA. It was in the confounds of LAPD police stations and shops (cruisers). The enemy combatants in LA are not the citizens and suspects, it’s the police officers.”

“People who live in glass houses should not throw stones. How ironic that you utilize a fixed glass structure as your command HQ. You use as a luminous building to symbolize that you are transparent, have nothing to hide, or suppress when in essence, concealing, omitting, and obscuring is your forte.”

LAPD Headquarters

LAPD Headquarters

Chief Beck, this is when you need to have that come to Jesus talk with Sgt. Teresa Evans and everyone else who was involved in the conspiracy to have me terminated for doing the right thing. you also need to speak with her attorney, Rico, and his conversation with the BOR members and her confession of guilt in kicking Mr. Gettler. I’ll be waiting for a PUBLIC response at a press conference. When the truth comes out, the killing stops.

At one point, Dorner admits to severe depression, but describes it as a means for future scientific study:

“If possible, I want my brain preserved for science/research to study the effects of severe depression on an individual’s brain. Since 6/26/08 when I was relieved of duty and 1/2/09 when I was terminated I have been afflicted with severe depression. I’ve had two CT scans during my lifetime that are in my medical record at Kaiser Permanente. Both are from concussions resulting from playing football…These two CT scans should give a good baseline for my brain activity before severe depression began in late 2008.”

Dorner also has a lot to say about gun control:

“If you had a well regulated AWB [Assault Weapons Ban], this would not happen. The time is now to reinstitute a ban that will save lives. Why does any sportsman need a 30 round magazine for hunting? Why does anyone need a suppressor? Why does anyone need a AR15 rifle? This is the same small arms weapons system utilized in eradicating Al Qaeda, Taliban, and every enemy combatant since the Vietnam war. Don’t give me that crap that its not a select fire or full auto rifle like the DoD uses. That’s bullshit because troops who carry the M-4/M-16 weapon system for combat ops outside the wire rarely utilize the select fire function when in contact with enemy combatants. The use of select fire probably isn’t even 1% in combat. So in essence, the AR-15 semiautomatic rifle is the same as the M-4/M-16.”

“I can buy any firearm I want, but should I be able to purchase these class III weapons (SBR’s, and suppressors) without a background check and just a $10 notary signature on a quicken will maker program? The answer is NO. I’m not even a resident of the state i purchased them in. Lock n Load just wanted money so they allow you to purchase class III weapons with just a notarized trust, military ID. Shame on you, Lock n Load. NFA and ATF need new laws and policies that do not allow loopholes such as this. In the end, I hope that you will realize that the small arms I utilize should not be accessed with the ease that I obtained them. Who in there right mind needs a fucking silencer!!! who needs a freaking SBR AR15? No one. No more Virginia Tech, Columbine HS, Wisconsin temple, Aurora theatre, Portland malls, Tucson rally, Newtown Sandy Hook. Whether by executive order or thru a bi-partisan congress an assault weapons ban needs to be re-instituted. Period!!! Mia Farrow said it best. “Gun control is no longer debatable, it’s not a conversation, its a moral mandate.”

Personally, I cannot disagree with that. In addition, I cannot disagree with most of Dorner’s political likes and dislikes. After berating the LAPD’s lack of respect and outright racism towards President Obama, Dorner states the following (some of which has since been redacted in many media venues):

“Wayne LaPierre, President of the NRA, you’re a vile and inhumane piece of shit. You never even showed 30 seconds of empathy for the children, teachers, and families of Sandy Hook. You deflected any type of blame/responsibility and directed it toward the influence of movies and the media. You are a failure of a human being. May all of your immediate and distant family die horrific deaths in front of you.

Chris Matthews, Joe Scarborough, Pat Harvey, Brian Williams, Soledad Obrien, Wolf Blitzer, Meredith Viera, Tavis Smiley, and Anderson Cooper, keep up the great work and follow Cronkite’s lead. I hold many of you in the same regard as Tom Brokaw and the late Peter Jennings. Cooper, stop nagging and berating your guest, they’re your (guest).”

“Ellen Degeneres, continue your excellent contribution to entertaining America and bringing the human factor to entertainment. You changed the perception of your gay community and how we as Americans view the LGBT community. I congratulate you on your success and opening my eyes as a young adult, and my generation to the fact that you are know different from us other than who you choose to love. Oh, and you Prop 8 supporters, why the fuck do you care who your neighbor marries. Hypocritical pieces of shit.

Westboro Baptist Church, may you all burn slowly in a fire, not from smoke inhalation, but from the flames and only the flames.”

While any civilized person deplores Dorner’s decision to take the law into his own hands and use cold-blooded murder to make his point, I personally believe that he DOES have a point. It would be nice to think that he may surrender to authorities without further bloodshed, but I fear that those authorities would not hesitate to kill him on sight; not to mention that Dorner himself, throughout his “manifesto”, not only promises more killings, but also admits many times that he will likely not live through this ordeal.

One line in particular in Dorner’s writing struck a chord with me, that should reverberate throughout this rotting country:

“Sometimes humans feel a need to prove they are the dominant race of a species and they inadvertently take kindness for weakness from another individual. You chose wrong.”

This is our Open Thread. Your thoughts?

The Death of a Nation (a retrospective on the W. Bush era, Part 10: END PAPERS)

The George W. Bush presidency ended on January 20, 2009 with the inauguration of the 44th American President, Barack H. Obama. Hope sprang eternal that times had finally changed, that the American electorate had finally awakened from the fog of its deep sleep, that a new era had indeed finally dawned. Unfortunately, such was not to prove the case. The Republican Party immediately went on the defensive and vowed, essentially, to use every last shred of their power, their influence, to cause Obama to fail . . . the more miserable the failure, the better. It was an act of national disloyalty, perhaps bordering even on treason, the likes of which no living American had ever seen, much less pondered. And while Obama did manage to implement a few meaningful projects and programs in his first couple of years, the Republicans were, by and large, successful in their opposition.

Then, in 2010, the Supreme Court issued its decision in the Citizens United case and declared, in effect, that corporations were ‘people’ with all attendant rights and privileges. Days later, the final purchase of the government by private funds began in earnest. In November of 2010, the small Democratic majority in the House of Representatives was overturned, and the filibuster-resistant Democratic majority in the Senate was reduced sufficiently to virtually guarantee that no significant legislation could be passed for at least the balance of Obama’s first (and, in the hopeful eyes of the GOP, his ONLY) four year term.

Today, the processes implicit in the Death of a Nation continue to accelerate without pause as we again stand on the edge of an electoral abyss not at all dissimilar to those of 2000 and 2004. The current Romney-Ryan Republican ticket supports without hesitation or critique virtually each and all of the nonsensical policies of George W. Bush, including unlimited aggressive war, the destruction/elimination of every vestige of the social safety net, the eternal task of improving the financial status of the extremely rich at the expense of everyone else, and state level imposition of whichever manner of voter suppression or voter fraud might be required to guarantee for all time an enduring Fascist-theocracy (aka ‘conservative’ Republican) style of American “governance”, the Constitution be damned.

The bottom line is simple: tomorrow — Tuesday, November 6 2012 — we shall learn, finally and for certain, the precise percentage of mental incompetence which has come to define the American  electorate.

Meanwhile, below are a few closing comments alongside a wealth of quotations on the matter of national death and its consequences. From Gandhi to John Denver with plenty of George W. Bush and Adolf Hitler (among numerous others) in between, a summation lurks.

**********

End Papers
(April, 2005)

The United States of America clearly stands on the precipice, on the very edge of a deep and dark chasm in which lie the ruins of those who have come before us, now forever gone.  On previous pages here, we have (barely) skimmed the essences of America’s current dilemma and made some note of current players, agendas, and the realities their combination have so far imposed. Others, too, have watched these same forces at work and have added their comments.  Perhaps a review of a few – in no particular order – can assist in clarifying the moment by looking at opinions, past and present, which have bearing on what has been and what is now, in order to help predict what might yet come our way.  To some, the list may seem long, but they should rest assured it is exhaustingly abbreviated and is by no means complete – yet its words paint a picture, a frightening picture.  Read on, that which others have said; I shall add a brief comment at the end. Continue reading

Stone cold Paul Ryan

HT:  Huffington Post

Yes indeed, Paul Ryan, rape is one “method of conception,” isn’t it?  Wow. Way to totally dismiss the terror and violence of having one’s body violated by another, you soul-less bastard.  Rape is an event that changes who you are forever.  Just look at his face as he’s speaking; he doesn’t even seem to realize that what he’s saying is so disgusting.

As if the trauma, fear, injuries, and horror at losing personal autonomy during the rape are not enough, then, if the woman becomes pregnant as a result of rape, Paul Ryan and his fellow pro-forced birthers will happily extend the torture for another nine months — at least.

But we shouldn’t really be all that surprised that Paul Ryan could say something so abhorrent.  He’s a lifelong Ayn Rand devotee (when it suits him), so basically, as long as he’s not the one being raped, he doesn’t care.  That’s your problem, honey.  Although I really doubt he gives a flying flip if a woman has an abortion or not, Ryan parts company with Ayn Rand when it comes to pregnancy as a result of that rape, because it suits him to pander to the rabid forced birth crowd.

This is what I find so disturbing about Paul Ryan — he doesn’t care about this country or the people, he cares about what Paul Ryan wants.

Haven’t we had about enough of that kind of political candidate?

The Watering Hole, Monday, August 6th, 2012: You Said It, Sister!

As some of you know, I have been invited to start my own blog on the local ‘Patch’ online newspaper. Before getting set up in my ‘new digs’, I thought I’d take a look around at the other blogs on the Patch site, to see what they looked like, what personal info showed, etc. While doing so, I ran across a blogpost from the Fourth of July, written by M. Doretta Cornell, RDC, of the Sisters of the Divine Compassion, and thought it well worth sharing.

While I do not agree with 100% of the good Sister’s sentiments, she makes excellent points, based on her interpretation of her faith, the Constitution, and in science. A few excerpts:

Our founders were declaring independence from rule by birth, by a class of people whose only claim to that rule was their parentage. No test of ability or morality or vision for the country and its people was necessary, only birth into the “right family.”

Hmm, sounds like a recent Republican President and a current Presidential hopeful we all know.

In our current economic crisis, we have much to reflect on:
– How faithful are we to this basic tenet of our country that all people are created equal and have equal rights to life, justice, ability to make a decent living – even happiness, as our founders claimed?
– How can we reform our laws and policies to create a nation in which all could prosper?
– What are we doing to close the rifts between races that are still deep in our culture, in spite of all the scientific evidence that race is a superficial characteristic?
– What are we doing to close the newer abysses that have been created between people of different religions, particularly since September 11, 2001?

Sister Mary Doretta certainly sounds like quite the liberal – just as so many of us believe Jesus would have been. Personally, I believe that today’s “Christians” would, at least figuratively, crucify him if he showed up now.

“Another aspect of independence that comes to my mind is that, for many people, independence today seems to be synonymous with egocentric individualism: the feeling that no one has contributed to this person’s achievements, and therefore that person has no responsibility for anyone but him—or herself.”

(Psst…Republicans, faux-Christians, and Libertarians, listen up, I think she’s talking to you. C’mon, even the god of the Old Testament got pretty pissed when Cain asked “Am I my brother’s keeper?”)

“…along with Independence, we must also celebrate today our Interdependence! Interdependence—not subservience. Subservience is what our founders were rebelling against in founding this new nation: the belief that some are inferior and others superior by nature, and therefore people have different rights.

Interdependence says that we all have the same “inalienable rights” and that these rights are intertwined, as are all elements of our very existence.

And here’s what I found most impressive and inspiring about Sister Doretta’s piece:

Over the last few decades, we have been learning just how deep our interdependence is, at microscopic levels of ourselves and of the world around us. Astronomy and cosmology teach us that each molecule of our bodies is inherited from one pool of matter, each breath we take is dependent on the exhalations of trees and other plants. Even the tiniest shift in temperature, or chemical makeup of the air, position of the sun, or radiation in the atmosphere would render Earth unable to support human life. We are all interdependent—people, animals, grasses, stars, Earth.

Independence, then, demands that we reflect on and adjust our understanding to the interdependence of all things and all people on each other. It also demands that we learn to act in ways that support that interdependence—ways all our moral and religious educations have taught us. And, as Jesus taught, “the greatest of these is love,” and understanding of the essentialness of each creature to the enterprise we call life.

If more Christians were this enlightened about the role of their faith’s principles and their implicit responsibility to each other and the planet that we call home, this world, or at least this country, would be an infinitely better place.

This is our daily open thread — Got anything you feel like discussing?

The Watering Hole, Monday, July 23rd, 2012: CRAZY

When I eventually go crazy, I anticipate that I will simply curl up into a ball somewhere and just live inside my brain. I do NOT anticipate, when I finally lose it, loading up on weapons and ammo and makeshift bombs; nor do I anticipate, prompted by madness, gearing myself up so that I cannot be somehow harmed while I massacre defenseless people. I do not understand the kind of crazy that can make a person plan and commit such an inhuman act.

And in the aftermath of such insanity, I also do not understand the kind of crazy that says things like:

“@WBCFredJr – Only 500 miles to WBC Aurora picket. #GodCursesUForFagMarriage #WorseAndMoreOnTheWay #WBCToldU #GodisAmericasTerrorist #ObeyToday Too fun!” – Fred Phelps, Jr.

“If a Christian dies early, if a Christian dies young, it seems tragic, but really it is not tragic because they are going to a wonderful place.. on the other hand, if a person doesn’t know Jesus Christ.. if they knowingly rejected Jesus Christ, then, basically, they are going to a terrible place.”Jerry Newcombe, spokesperson for Truth in Action Ministries

“I have to think that all of this, whether it’s the Hollywood movies, whether it’s what we see on the internets, whether it’s liberal bias in the media, whether it’s our politicians changing public policy, I think all of those somehow have fit together—and I have to say also churches who are leaving the authority of Scripture and losing their fear of God—all of those things have seem to have come together to give us these kinds of incidents.” – Fred Jackson, director of the American Family Association

“You simply can’t keep these weapons out of the hands of sick, demented individuals who want to do harm. And when you try to do it, you restrict our freedoms.” and “If a responsible individual had been carrying a weapon, maybe, maybe they could have prevented some of those deaths, some of those injuries.” Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI)

“Why would a responsible person take a gun to the movies? That person would take a gun BECAUSE they are responsible. If you ask me, more people need to be armed. The criminals already have guns or will get them. Until the playing field gets leveled, we will be taken advantage of by predators.” – commenter at Think Progress

“not that this isnt tragic but if you look at it on a per capita basis this kind of thing almost never happens. why not ban cars? they kill more people than guns. the right to own a gun isnt to protect you from people like this per se but more to keep the govt from being the only ones with guns. its no coincidence that hitler banned guns.” – Ron Paul supporter commenting at Think Progress

“Gun Ban Bloomberg’s former head of NYC police Intelligence, Dan Oates, is chief of police for little Aurora Colorado. Chief Oates has a gun ban wet dream of a shooting in HIS town out of all the towns in the country. The shooting happens just before ratification of a UN gun ban treaty. Go figure.” – commenter (screen name “WhiteNationalist”) at The Daily News (NY)

“Perhaps the answer isn’t gun control. Maybe the answer is to publicly teach the Bible and the importance of right and wrong. Watch Kirk Cameron’s “Monumental” film.” – commenter (screen name “ONENATIONUNDERGOD”) at The Daily News (NY)

Had enough? Yet there is so much more of ‘teh crazy’ out there, that curling-up-in-a-ball thing is looking better and better.

All right, here’s a distraction. This is our cat Greygg who thinks he’s a puppy:

Greygg thinks he’s a puppy

Greygg (with Missy’s tail)

Is that better?

This is our daily open thread — what’s on YOUR mind today?

The Watering Hole: Wednesday, June 20, 2012: Does it really Matter?

Ok, so for the next few months, if you’re in a “swing” State, you’ll be inundated with SuperPAC commercials designed to get you to vote against your own best interests. We will also be systematically bombarded with messages from the Mainstream Media designed to influence our thinking.

IT’S ALL A SHOW. IT REALLY DOESN’T MATTER.

If the Powers That Be really want Obama out, all they have to do is raise gas prices to about $5.00/gallon. Instead, gas prices are going down, heading into the summer vacation season. That’s not to say they won’t go up between now and the election – but they are an accurate predictor of where our economy will head. So, pay attention to the pump, not the talking heads.

Ok, that’s my $0.0199 cents. And you?

OPEN THREAD
JUST REMEMBER
EVERYTHING I SAID
DOESN’T REALLY MATTER

 

The Watering Hole, Monday, June 11th, 2012: Which Christ is more “Christian”?

I’d like to expand a little on a comment posted yesterday by Briseadh na Faire:

Many of the basic tenents of liberalism are summed up thusly:

I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. Matthew 25:35-36. But we refuse to give credit to the man who said those things, hence lose the “Christians”.

Give credit where credit is due – own up to following Christ’s teachings, whether or not one proclaims one’s self to be a Christian…

In other words, Liberals, who follow the teachings of Christ, need to take the evangelicals on, on their own ground. It is, after all, who we really are.

After reading this, I could not help but think of the contrast between what the pastor of a local church espouses, and what a particular Catholic organization espouses.

The pastor of the local Patterson, NY, Baptist Church, a Dr. Larry A. Maxwell, is the founder of an organization called Brighter_Future.us. In the “About Us” section on his website, Dr. Maxwell states that, under his ministry, the local Habitat for Humanity for Putnam County was established. Okay, that’s nice. On the other hand,

“Dr. Maxwell is one of the few men ordained to the ministry by the late Dr. Jerry Falwell, Pastor of Thomas Rd. Baptist Church, Lynchburg, VA. Dr. Falwell, was the founder of Liberty University and Moral Majority. Dr. Maxwell graduated from Liberty University in 1975 and was active in Moral Majority, one of the organizations that helped Ronald Reagan become President.”….”The Governor of Kentucky bestowed the title of Colonel upon Dr. Maxwell for his outstanding service.”

Check out what Dr. Maxwell lists as “5 Areas of Influence That Shape Our Society” – why, as a pastor, does Dr. Maxwell list “Government” first and “Religion” fourth? Note that, under #3, “Media“, Dr. Maxwell says: “Media has perhaps the greatest influence on all of us. We Need To: Encourage & Endorse media which presents fair & balanced news and avoid those which do not. Hmmm, I wonder whom he’s talking about? What’s also scary is that, while Dr. Maxwell is the head of the “Living History Guild” and is the official Town Historian for Patterson, NY, under #4, “Religion“, he claims that “Religion once provided a moral compass for our society. The overwhelming majority of our Founding Fathers were men of faith committed to Biblical moral principles.” Also note in #5, “Family“, “We Need To: Recognize marriage consists only as a union between a man & woman who make a lifelong commitment to each other before God & man.”

Dr. Maxwell’s list of “Necessary Qualities for Leaders” contains some pretty scary crap, too:

2. Belief & Dependence on the Divine God

Leaders must recognize the fallen state of man and his imperfections and the necessity of help from the Divine God for man to reach his full potential.

3. Love for Our Country

Leaders need a Commitment to the original intent of Our Founding Fathers & the documents they drafted such as; The Mayflower Compact, The Declaration of Independence, The Constitution and The Bill of Rights. They must believe the best government is Limited Government, answerable to the people at all levels. Leaders must honor our history as it happened, not rewrite or redefine it.

4. Commitment to Family Values

Good leaders must recognize, embrace and encourage traditional family values.

6. Belief in Free Enterprise & Property Rights

Leaders must understand Free Enterprise & Property Rights are two important foundations. Government must encourage, not interfere with, nor over regulate, free enterprise & property rights.

And if any doubt was left that Dr. Maxwell and his group are dyed-in-the-wool conservatives, the list in the “Contacts and Links” section reads as a veritable who’s who of conservative/right-wing organizations, including The Cato Institute, The Heritage Foundation, Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, etc.

By contrast, take a look at the issues with which Catholics United concerns itself:

trying to restore funding, denied by the US Catholics Bishops, to an immigrants’ rights group called Campaneros, which doesn’t discriminate against gays.

speaking out against the U.S. Catholic Bishops and Catholic institutions who continue to fight the contraception coverage requirement under the Affordable Care Act, despite the exemptions therein.

Organizing against Paul Ryan’s budget because it does nothing to help the poor.

– Organizing alternative charitable organizations to counter the stripping of funding by U.S. Catholic Bishops.

It certainly seems to me that it is the people at Catholics United who are following the teachings of Christ (which all of us liberals follow in one way or another), rather than the pastor of the Patterson Baptist church. It makes one wonder if there is a different Christ within each human-authored version of the bible.

This is our daily open thread — comment on anything you want!

Tornadoes – 2011 and 2012

Has anyone noticed that the tornado season has started a bit early and more violently this year? Fundies, of course, will attribute this to an upswing in Solar activity. Somehow, there seems to be a message, here!. Someone is missing the point.

As a Floridian, I can’t wait for June and the start of the hurricane season, or will it be May?

Technology, greed and politics are getting at the point where the Earth is beginning to complain:


  • Weather Patterns have changed – More and earlier disasters have occurred with each passing year.
  • Winter and Summer temps are on the rise.
  • Tornadoes are hitting earlier than usual and 2012 seems to be headed for a banner year
  • Hurricane patterns are moving north.
  • Drought regions are becoming more prevalent in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres.
  • Levels of CO2 are increasing.
  • The amount of methane (CH4) from ‘fracking’ is equal to or greater than that recovered as fuel. CH4 is upscale from CO2 both of which are greenhouse gasses – That,s a double whammy!
  • Plant and animal extinctions, based on regional temperature increases are on the uptick.

The last item (Driven by its predecessors) is a primary marker when species divergences have a check point at either 6000 or a million years ago – the extinctions over the near industrial era have occurred in the past 600 years (woolly mammoth excluded) and there is an increase on extinctions as we get further into the industrial age. When will grain crops cease to exist? Could Canada and Canada become the bread basket of the World?

It’s almost at the point where the Koch clan need not be concerned about passing on their wealth. There will be no heirs. I’d rather that my granddaughter not have to suffer for the pleasures of the rich.

Think about it.