The Watering Hole, Wednesday, July 29th, 2015: Must-Squeee!

When you need a break from the lunatic asylum from which the Republican – gulp – Presidential hopefuls have escaped, here’s some peace and love amongst various species to ease your minds and soothe your souls.

From “Adorable Animal Friendships: Unlikely Pairings Will Melt Your Heart”, by Michele Berger and Edecio Martinez, courtesy of TheWeatherChannel, a gallery of 81 awwws, eeks, and squeees.  Just one to start:

tiger cub and piglets~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’ll just bow out quietly and let you enjoy the calm…

Open Thread – take a deep breath and, um, let go?

The Watering Hole, Monday, July 20th, 2015: Iran Nuclear Deal Fallout

Last week, it was announced that the long-awaited Iran Nuclear Deal was finally agreed to by the negotiating parties. The EU High Representative and the Iran Foreign Minister issued a joint statement, which included the following:

“With courage, political will, mutual respect, and leadership, we delivered on what the world was hoping for: a shared commitment to peace and to join hands in order to make our world safer.’

Apparently conservatives don’t understand most of the words and phrases in that statement. As we have seen throughout the Obama presidency, their idea of “negotiation” means “you give us everything we want, or else.” FoxNews gives a rundown on the ‘highlights'(?):

Jeb Bush: “This isn’t diplomacy – it is appeasement.”

Ted Cruz: This is a “fundamental betrayal of the security of the United States.”

Ben Carson: “A historic mistake with potentially deadly consequences.”

Scott Walker: “Will be remembered as one of America’s worst diplomatic failures.”
[According to Raw Story, Walker also stated that:

“He would terminate it as soon as possible and persuade U.S. allies to join Washington in imposing more crippling economic sanctions on Tehran…

He would dramatically increase U.S. military spending after budget cuts that military officials have complained about…

“The United States needs a foreign policy that puts steel in the face of our enemies,” Walker says.”]

Marco Rubio: The President made “concession after concession to a regime that has American blood on its hands.”

Now, the above presidential wannabes mainly focused their criticism on the ‘evil’ Iran, with a minor mention of our bestest friend ever in the whole wide world, Israel. Huckabee, on the other hand, is pretty much all Israel, with barely even a mention of OUR country, the United States.

Mike Huckabee: “Shame on the Obama administration…

“Shame on the Obama administration for agreeing to a deal that empowers an evil Iranian regime to carry out its threat to ‘wipe Israel off the map’ and bring ‘death to America.’
John Kerry should have long ago gotten up on his crutches, walked out of the sham talks, and went straight to Jerusalem to stand next to Benjamin Netanyahu and declared that America will stand with Israel and the other sane governments of the Middle East instead of with the terrorist government of Iran.

As president, I will stand with Israel and keep all options on the table, including military force, to topple the terrorist Iranian regime and defeat the evil forces of radical Islam.”
[emphasis mine]

Mike, why don’t you just move to Israel and run for president there?   ‘Cause there will be no “As president” for you here.  You do realize that this agreement is about limiting Iran’s ability to acquire a nuclear weapon, not the unHoly war you’re salivating over.

Donald Trump: “Iran gets everything and loses nothing.”

[The Donald was also quoted by FoxBusiness as saying, without elaboration, “I think the deal is absolutely horrible for us, but it’s really, really bad for Israel”]

Rick Perry: If elected, I will “fully rescind this accord.”

“President Obama’s decision to sign a nuclear deal with Iran is one of the most destructive foreign policy decisions in my lifetime. For decades to come, the world will have to deal with the repercussions of this…”

Seriously, Rick? You think that signing a deal that means peace, that signals a willingness to negotiate instead of starting WWIII, is more destructive than deliberately and cavalierly lying our country into a wasteful quagmire of an unnecessary war?

Perry also stated: “As President, one of my first official acts will be to fully rescind this accord.”

There’s more, including comments from the lower-tier lineup of Carly Fiorina, Rand Paul, Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum, and…wait, is that it? Oh, yeah, and Elmer Pataki. But there’s no need to continue wallowing in the their ignorance, I think you get the idea.

Do any of those responses reflect “courage, political will, mutual respect [or respect of any kind], and leadership”? I think it’s abundantly clear that the (R) presidential field has none of those qualities.

This is our daily Open Thread – have at it!

Marriage, Biblical Style

In the beginning, there was but one man, and he was lonely. So God took a rib out of his side and made a woman. So the first woman was a clone of the first man, but with different pieces-parts.

Then the woman talked to a snake, ate an apple, and realized she wasn’t wearing any clothes. She talked the man into biting the apple so he would realize he wasn’t wearing any clothes either.

The Bible doesn’t say whether the first man and the first woman ever bothered to get married. But they must have, otherwise the entire human race was conceived out of wedlock. A short while later, they had a son, then another son. These sons later took themselves wives. That mean the first man and first woman had daughters.

So, the original Biblical marriage means marrying your sister.

Later on. men could take as many wives, and have as many mistresses he wanted. This, too, is Biblical marriage.

If Republicans are so supportive of Biblical marriage, they should repeal laws against incest and polygamy.

The Watering Hole, Saturday, June 27th, 2015: Il Papa, Don’t Preach

Recently, “Il Papa”, Pope Francis, has pissed off several (often overlapping) factions of conservative “Christian” politicians, pundits, and what I’ve decided to call “pulpiteers”, aka Evangelicals. Apparently the Pope is only “infallible” when his flock agrees with his pronouncements or actions. I find it deliciously ironic that the first Pope in, well, “god” knows how long, to actually emulate the teachings and actions of Jesus Christ according to their own bible makes all of these faux christians so suspicious, dismissive, and ultimately hypocritical. I can just imagine one of the conversations:

Derp 1: “Washing the feet of poor people and criminals? Who the hell does that?”
Derp 2: “Well, according to the Bible, Jesus Christ did. Oh, and Christ fed the poor, too – you heard that Frankie wants all of us Christians to do that, too, right?”
Derp 1: “I know, is he crazy?! C’mon, that do-goody stuff isn’t supposed to be taken literally!”
Derp 2: “No, of course not, not those “New Testament” Jesus-y parts, anyway; just the parts about dominating the earth and all its resources, and the parts about stoning homos and wimmen and your kids if they sass you.”
Derp 1: “Exactly, that’s my point, we have to put the fear of god into these $chmuck$, er, potential voters!”

After already dissing unbridled capitalism and corporate greed, among other things, in his 2013 missive “Evangelii Gaudium: Apostolic Exhortation on the Proclamation of the Gospel in Today’s World”, last week Pope Francis issued his now-infamous encyclical focusing on man-made climate change, and his idea of the correct Christian, and, as he noted, human course of action necessary to combat it for the good of Planet Earth and all of her children.

While some Catholic and other Christian groups agreed with Pope Francis and are willing to preach his ‘gospel’ to their flocks, other self-proclaimed “Christians” pretty much think that either Pope Francis is wrong, or that he should mind his own goddam beeswax. In particular, the many Catholics (or whatever “Christian” flavor) among the numerous Republican 2016 Presidential hopefuls would prefer that the Pope stay quiet. From the ThinkProgress article:

“At a town hall event in New Hampshire…[Jeb] Bush said that religion “ought to be about making us better as people and less about things that end up getting into the political realm.”

 

“I hope I’m not going to get castigated for saying this by my priest back home,” Bush said, “but I don’t get my economic policy from my bishops or my cardinals or my pope.”

No, Jeb, you certainly don’t get your economic policy from your pope, otherwise you’d actually have to DO something to help the poor. And it doesn’t seem to be working out when it comes to “making [you] better as people”, unless somehow by “better” you mean “more hateful.”

However, you and your ilk seem perfectly happy to get your SOCIAL policy, in particular regarding women’s rights, abortion, and LGBT rights, from your pope and your bible.  And you definitely LOVE it when your flavor of religion ends up crafting legal policy for the entire country, you fuckwad.

The article goes on to say that:

“Bush’s views on climate change and religion have, at times, been contradictory. In May, the presidential candidate and brother of George W. Bush said that the science surrounding climate change was “convoluted.”

“For the people to say the science is decided on this is really arrogant, to be honest with you,” he said. “It’s this intellectual arrogance that now you can’t have a conversation about it, even.”

Once again, NO, Jeb, it’s NOT “intellectual arrogance” when the vast majority of scientists who have studied all of the data have come to the inevitable conclusion that global climate change is real, it’s mostly man-made, and it’s going to make the lives of your – and everybody else’s – grandchildren and greatgrandchildren a miserable hell.

And, of course, Rick Santorum had to get his twisted views out there:

““The Church has gotten it wrong a few times on science,” Santorum told radio host Dom Giordano. “We probably are better off leaving science to the scientists, and focusing on what we’re really good at, which is theology and morality.”

WHAT the huh? Morality? Wait, he’s got more:

“I’m saying, what should the pope use his moral authority for?” Santorum asked. “I think there are more pressing problems confronting the earth than climate change.”

Are you fucking kidding, Rantorum? Oh, hold on for the finish:

“When we get involved with controversial and scientific theories, I think the Church is not as forceful and not as credible,” Santorum continued. “I’ve said this to the Catholic bishops many times — when they get involved in agriculture policy, or things like that, that are really outside of the scope of what the Church’s main message is, that we’re better off sticking to the things that are really the core teachings of the Church as opposed to getting involved in every other kind of issue that happens to be popular at the time.”

Okay, for Jeb and Sick Rantorum and every other Catholic and self-proclaimed Christian: If you are true to your supposed faith, then every official utterance of Pope Francis or any other Pope is, according to YOUR dogma, the infallible transmission of the Word of your God. It doesn’t matter what the topic is, the Pope is supposed to be the unquestionable representative of your Trinity. And if you and your science-denying conservative cohorts DON’T think that global climate change is the MOST pressing problem confronting the Earth, then you don’t deserve to even be aspiring to the Presidency of these United States. Just sit down and shut up.

Anyhoo…NOW Pope Francis has done something to ruffle the feathers, to say the least, of Israel and her supporters: According to Foreign Policy Magazine:

“On Friday [June 26], the Vatican signed a comprehensive treaty with Palestinian authorities, formalizing a basic agreement between the Catholic Church and the PLO back in 2000. In essence, it is a formal declaration of the Holy See’s support for the creation of a Palestinian state and the peace process with Israel. “[I]t is my hope that the present agreement may, in some way, be a stimulus to bringing a definitive end to the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which continues to cause suffering for both Parties,” wrote Vatican foreign minister Archbishop Paul Gallagher.”

 

“The news is not going over well in Tel Aviv. “This hasty step damages the prospects for advancing a peace agreement, and harms the international effort to convince the Palestinian Authority to return to direct negotiations with Israel,” said Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon.”

 

“[G]iven its sordid history of anti-Semitism, book-burnings, forced conversions and Inquisitions, the Catholic Church should think a hundred times over before daring to step on Israel’s toes,” wrote Michael Freund, former deputy communications director to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in the Jerusalem Post on May 18. “If anything, the pope should be down on his knees pleading for forgiveness from the Jewish people and atonement from the Creator for what the Vatican has wrought over the centuries.”

I’m really starting to enjoy this new Pope Francis reality show (especially as a former Catholic) – it beats the hell out of Donald Trump’s “The Apprentice Asshole” or “19 and Groping.”  Heh.

This is our daily Open Thread–go ahead and talk about things!

The Watering Hole; Thursday June 25 2015; Saul Alinsky

Recently — very recently — I happened across yet one more wingnut mean-spirited reference to Saul Alinsky (I forgot to mark the place, which I have since also forgotten — one of the “benefits” of aging). In any case, the remark was (predictably) both vitriolic and deleterious, with all dirt spouted in the direction/context of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and today’s “Democrat” Party.

Saul Alinsky. I remembered the name, but the reason for the recollection was foggy at best. So I dug a bit, hoping to find a memory refurbishment along with explanation of  maybe some of the current vitriol. Conclusion: Google is cool. With a few quick mouse clicks, I found myself reminded of days long past, of days back in the ’60s when I was but an innocent college kid. Back then, Saul Alinsky (1909-1972) was a community organizer in Chicago (sound familiar?), one who had spent much of the 1950’s organizing various Afro-American community efforts on civil rights issues. In the 1960’s he set up organizer institutes to train others, and his reputation began to spread.

In 1969, in fact, a Wellesley College student chose Alinsky’s work as a subject for her pre-grad thesis entitled “There is Only the Fight: An Analysis of the Alinsky Model.” The student, Hillary Rodham (yes, THAT Hillary), interviewed Alinsky a pair of times for the paper in which she included this, her summary of Alinsky’s philosophy:

“Much of what Alinsky professes does not sound ‘radical.’ . . . His are the words used in our schools and churches, by our parents and their friends, by our peers. The difference is Alinsky really believes in them and recognizes the necessity of changing the present structures of our lives in order to realize them.”

Not long thereafter — 1971 — Alinsky published his third book, Rules for Radicals, A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals. In it, he included the following list of thirteen “power tactics” which, in his context, were methods for organizers to use that were based on principles of direct action via nonviolent conflict and with purpose being to empower the oppressed, the poor, in the ‘modern’ American society. His thirteen rules read as follows:

1. “Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have.”

2. “Never go outside the expertise of your people. When an action or tactic is outside the experience of the people, the result is confusion, fear and retreat…. [and] the collapse of communication.

3. “Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy. Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty. (This happens all the time. Watch how many organizations under attack are blind-sided by seemingly irrelevant arguments that they are then forced to address.)

4. “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules. You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity.”

5. “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counteract ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage.”

6. “A good tactic is one your people enjoy.”

7. “A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag. Man can sustain militant interest in any issue for only a limited time….”

8. “Keep the pressure on, with different tactics and actions, and utilize all events of the period for your purpose.”

9. “The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.”

10. “The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition. It is this unceasing pressure that results in the reactions from the opposition that are essential for the success of the campaign.”

11. “If you push a negative hard and deep enough, it will break through into its counterside… every positive has its negative.”

12. “The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.”

13. Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. In conflict tactics there are certain rules that [should be regarded] as universalities. One is that the opposition must be singled out as the target and ‘frozen.’

Diabolical and evil, right? Maybe also subversive? In the same book, Alinsky also noted that . . .

As an organizer I start from where the world is, as it is, not as I would like it to be. That we accept the world as it is does not in any sense weaken our desire to change it into what we believe it should be – it is necessary to begin where the world is if we are going to change it to what we think it should be. That means working in the system.

Alinsky. Diabolical. Anti-American. Obviously.

Shortly before his death in 1972, Alinsky, in an interview in Playboy Magazine, pretty well summarized his worldly views and goals in a mere 65 words:

I’ve never joined any organization — not even the ones I’ve organized myself. I prize my own independence too much. And philosophically, I could never accept any rigid dogma or ideology, whether it’s Christianity or Marxism . . . The greatest crimes in history have been perpetrated by such religious and political and racial fanatics, from the persecutions of the Inquisition on down to Communist purges and Nazi genocide.

In spite of Alinsky’s soft-spoken attitudes and philosophies, in recent years the words ‘Saul Alinsky’ have become the approximate equivalent, in GOP vitriol, of words such as Soros, Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, etc., ad infinitum. The various right wing noise machines have, in fact, spread the anti-Alinsky vitriol via each and every available medium, always in the process linking the “Marxist” Alinsky with prominent Democrats, in particular the former Chicago Community Organizer Barack Obama, and Hillary (Rodham) Clinton, 1969 Wellesley College graduate.

In January 2008 — during the run-up to that year’s November elections — Richard Poe published an article entitled Hillary, Obama And The Cult Of Alinsky in which he notes that “Alinsky viewed revolution as a slow, patient process. The trick was to penetrate existing institutions such as churches, unions and political parties.” Not sure I’ve ever seen a better example of the right wing’s penchant for subtle wordsmithing and meaning alteration than that one, but given that Poe’s co-author on their book which lambasted “George Soros, Hillary Clinton, and Sixties Radicals” was David Horowitz, the surprise is minimal at best.

Meanwhile, the seeds of right wing baloney in re Saul Alinsky and his philosophies continue to sprout and grow. A good example is in this, the text of a January 2014 viral email that made the rounds and undoubtedly raised a bunch of wingnut eyebrows in the process. It is, in effect, a complete and total rewrite of Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” noted above, primarily designed to lambast President Obama by linking him to the falsely vilified Saul Alinsky.

Obama was influenced by the writings and philosophies Saul Alinsky, author of the book, “Rules for Radicals,” and later by Frank Marshall Davis, with similar philosophies.

Barak [sic] Obama followed the philosophies of these ‘role models’ throughout his days as a Community Organizer for ACORN, using tactics that appeared to some as ‘shaking down’ businesses in exchange for not branding them ‘hate groups.’

And apparently Obama is still following those radical rules today.

How to create a social state by Saul Alinsky:

There are 8 levels of control that must be obtained before you are able to create a social state.

The first is the most important.

1) Healthcare — Control healthcare and you control the people

2) Poverty — Increase the Poverty level as high as possible, poor people are easier to control and will not fight back if you are providing everything for them to live.

3) Debt — Increase the debt to an unsustainable level. That way you are able to increase taxes, and this will produce more poverty.

4) Gun Control — Remove the ability to defend themselves from the Government. That way you are able to create a police state.

5) Welfare — Take control of every aspect of their lives (Food, Housing, and Income).

6) Education — Take control of what people read and listen to — take control of what children learn in school.

7) Religion — Remove the belief in the God from the Government and schools.

8) Class Warfare — Divide the people into the wealthy and the poor. This will cause more discontent and it will be easier to take (Tax) the wealthy with the support of the poor.

Now, think …

Does any of this sound like what is happening to the United States?

Notice the “author” of the above attributed his diatribe to Saul Alinsky, author of the book, “Rules for Radicals,” but included nothing written by Saul Alinsky. The entire of the text (attributed to Alinsky by inference only) is bogus, clearly intended as anti-Obama and anti-Democrat-in-general verbal drivel that is typical of propaganda everywhere.

Herr Dr. Goebbels would surely be proud of today’s American right wing propaganda machine, given that it so closely obeys a great many of Goebbels’ precepts. As he himself summed it,

“Propaganda is not a matter for average minds, but rather a matter for practitioners. It is not supposed to be lovely or theoretically correct. I do not care if I give wonderful, aesthetically elegant speeches, or speak so that women cry. . . . We do not want to be a movement of a few straw brains, but rather a movement that can conquer the broad masses. Propaganda should be popular, not intellectually pleasing. It is not the task of propaganda to discover intellectual truths.”

There’s probably no better definition of the GOP’s current noise machine anywhere. Not that we should be surprised, of course. There does remain, however, a diametric difference between the views of Herr Goebbels (read also: America’s right wing, aka GOP) and Saul Alinsky. As Alinsky put it,

“My only fixed truth is a belief in people, a conviction that if people have the opportunity to act freely and the power to control their own destinies, they’ll generally reach the right decisions.”

Amen. Ideal America defined. Thank you, Saul Alinsky.

OPEN THREAD

The Watering Hole, Monday, June 22nd, 2015: That’s Crazy Talk!

Conspiracy theories fall into various categories: some are based on actual disastrous events that have in fact occurred, i.e., the attacks on September 11th, 2001, have spawned many conspiracy theories, some more fact-based than others; and some are based on projection of what the theorists imagine could happen. The website thecommonsenseshow.com caters to the latter.

Now, I realize that none of us here are fundamentalist religious nuts, but I don’t remember our hatred of the Bush/Cheney administration making any liberals go into full-on end- times/survivalist mode. But that is what appears to have happened to an unguessable number of conservatives due to the fact that President Barack Obama, a half-black man, is living in the “White” House. The “Common Sense Show” and website seem to go for a couple of different conspiracy theories rolled up in an unwieldy package. As one of the commenters at the site says, under one article titled “The UN Is Preparing to Manage Mass Casualty Events Under Jade Helm” (written by the website’s founder, Dave Hodges) “Please consider the following…”

“My worst fears are being realized. The following information is strongly suggestive that the United Nations is poised to seize control of Jade Helm. Further, the nature of UN involvement with Jade Helm is strongly suggestive of the fact that massive numbers of people will be relocated to camps following a chemical/biological attack. Further, this administration has established the protocols for just such a forced relocation of massive amounts of people.

We have seen the Blue Bell Ice Cream trucks, featured later in this article, that are implicated in this scenario for the presumed transport of a massive amounts of dead bodies. However, what is most disturbing is that in the case of a pandemic, the United Nations will assume operational control over quarantines and the transporting of “sick people” to a receiving facility. Walk with me through this process and I am certain you will agree the dots are beginning to connect which points to a hellish scenario in America’s immediate future. Let’s connect some dots.”

Among the weird examples of conspiratorial comments are these gems:

“It is time that people realize that Obama is the long awaited antichrist. Please consider the following….
No photos of a pregnant Michelle Obama exist anywhere. Attorney Orly Taitz can find no US birth records for the the daughters. On occasions an appendage can be seen through her clothing that indicates she has male genitals.

It is common knowledge Obama is gay and that two of his gay friends were murdered just before his nomination in 2007. The Book of Daniel says the Antichrist will be the leader of a powerful and diverse nation, that he will change times and laws, and also that he will have no desire of women.

See the shocking photos of Michelle’s male anatomy and read numerous prophecies from Jesus identifying Obama as the antichrist at http://revelation12.ca”

~~~

“In three more months nothing will matter anyway, I guess. Keep a BraveHeart and strengthen the perimeter. In Vietnam we had a procedure called “Final Protective Fire.” That was used when a firebase was about to be overrun and we threw everything great and small and all things in between down range at the enemy. We are rapidly approaching that point if your prediction of multiple attacks on multiple fronts proves true…and it will. Trouble is we don’t have a perimeter, we have isolated people willing to defend, but that doesn’t do squat to defeat the enemies that are approaching on all fronts. There is just too much heavily armed, heavily supported activity out there for this to be Training As Usual. All of us that are not willing to give up our Bibles, Faith, and Guns need to be making peace with the Man with a Crown of Thorns and Nail Scars in His Hands. We are going to be seeing him up up close and personal in the not too distant future when he stretches forth His right hand, calls us by name and raises us from the dead. Dead is what we are going to be very soon. Mentally/Spiritually toughen yourself folks and prepare for the Judgement Seat. Once He gives us a glorified body it will be ass kicking time and there will be no place to hide for the Globalists. Godspeed!”

~~~

“18 June, 2015, 21:47

Hey CNN just briefly switched their time stamp to military time… 01:00 This happened during Baltimore as well. Is that a signal to us about what is to come as a result of events happening during the switch?

Have you noticed that Obama is in a red hot rush to pass as many anti-American laws and other forms of legislation and regulation as he possibly can? No discussions-just what Obama wants rammed down our throats! No other president has ever done this-even those considered pure evil! Doesn’t Obama remind you of Damien in THE OMEN? Anyone who tried to stop him wound up dead!”

~~~

Now, here, to wash the nut-job taste out of your mouth:

Someone on a recent Raw Story thread commented that the Republicans needed a bigger clown car.  Someone else responded with, “They’re shopping for one,” and this photo:

Republicans shopping for a bigger clown car

Republicans shopping for a bigger clown car

Another commenter added this:

Tardis Clown Car

Tardis Clown Car

This is your daily Open Thread–go ahead, start discussing things.