The Watering Hole, Monday, November 9, 2015: This Week In Crazy – Christian Persecution, God’s Punishment, and Transgenders and Bathrooms, Again

When you want to hear truly crazy, off-the-hook nonsense, it’s hard to beat the right wing. Those lovable misanthropes never fail to deliver when it comes to conspiracy theories so crazy even Alex Jones says, “Whoa, are you nuts?” Courtesy of the good people at Right Wing Watch (A project of People For the American Way dedicated to monitoring and exposing the activities of the right-wing movement), here are some of the things that have gotten the right wing in a lather. We’ll begin and end with Pat Robertson.

Poor Pat Robertson. No matter how much he condemns them, he just can’t stop thinking about gay men and the things they do when they’re alone together. And now he’s so worried about it that he thinks God is going to collapse our financial markets.

Actually, Pat, I’d be more concerned about what Republicans are going to do to our financial markets. They’re the ones borrowing money at an unsustainable rate while refusing to raise taxes to pay for it. They talk about cutting spending, but not in the areas where they are borrowing the most money – the wars and the prescription drug plan, put together by a corrupt Louisiana Congressman (redundant, I know) who then resigned from Congress to head up Big Pharma. If Republicans were really worried about spending, why not make cuts in those areas? Why not raise taxes back to the pre-Reagan days, when all this income inequality started taking off and getting worse? It’s a popular Conservative myth that tax cuts pay for themselves. They do nothing of the sort. All they do is starve the government of the funds needed to help people who are down on their luck. But they don’t care as long as they keep getting re-elected to their phony-baloney jobs with the help of the very people helping to ruin the lives of millions. But this is nothing new to you, Dear Readers.

Over at Fox News’ “Outnumbered” they’re worried about illegal immigrants bringing disease to America. Specifically, they targeted tuberculosis (TB) as the problem, mainly because they misread and misinterpreted recent reports from the World Health Organization that say TB rivals HIV/AIDS as the leading infectious disease killer. Of course, as is typical with low-effort thinking conservatives, they didn’t explain why that is so. One reason is that spending on HIV has increased so much that fewer people are dying of it. Another is that just like reports of rape increased when women were encouraged to report it (not that the rate actually increased, just our awareness of its pervasiveness), health organizations are better able to track and report TB which leads to an increase in the numbers of people reported it have it. Relax. The death rate from TB is about half of what it was 25 years ago, with much of that improvement taking place in this millennium.

Congressman Randy Forbes (who apparently is also a preacher in his spare time, and who is also part of a constitutionally suspect group called the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation) thinks that there is a vast conspiracy of many organizations trying to destroy faith in America.

Speaking for myself only, I would be happy if this were true. I do not oppose all religion, just the ones that claim to worship a deity or deities. Those are the most dangerous because there is always somebody running them who claims to speak for God(s), and who always says you will be punished if you don’t do what God wants you to do. They often take it upon themselves to punish you in God’s name because apparently God is unable to punish you personally by Himself. There’s a very valid explanation for why that is. God doesn’t exist. That’s why He hasn’t punished us yet (or destroyed our financial markets yet.) And, of course, they’ll claim that you aren’t righteous enough to have heard this from God yourself, which to them is all the proof they need to punish you. It’s a game you can never win when believers in God take control of your government. The only thing you can do is attack these people all at once. As Ben Carson observed, they can’t get you all.

Bryan Fischer, who never met a Christian persecution myth he didn’t like, thinks that President Obama is going to imprison all conservative Christians, “if he had his way.”

Naturally, in true conspiracy nut fashion, Fischer is taking one story about prisons being cleared of some 6,000 non-violent drug offenders, chosen by the US Sentencing Commission for release because future sentencing guidelines are being made less harsh and applied retroactively, and assuming it’s for a purpose they fear – being locked up for disagreeing with the president. Here’s the problem with that theory, besides that it’s completely false – if President Obama were really the tyrant these RWNJs have been saying he is for the past seven years, he would have locked them all up a long time ago. He hasn’t because he isn’t.

Finally, back to good ol’ Pat. After previously expressing support for transgender folk, Pat took a turn in the opposite direction and claimed to not understand it at all. After reporting on a story of an Illinois school district cited for violating the civil rights of a transgender student, Pat then explained his problem, proving he doesn’t get it.

“This transgender stuff, I mean, this was a boy and this boy, we don’t know what surgery was performed on him, if any, we don’t know what his parts are, and yet he wants to go into the girls’ locker room and see all these disrobed little girls running around.”

Pat, I don’t claim to be an expert on transgender issues, and I’m not going to pretend I am. But I’m pretty sure that a boy who identifies as a female is not going to want to go into female locker rooms so he can look at the naked girls. May you do, but not him.

That’s it for this week’s look into the crazy minds of the right wing. I hope I didn’t frighten you too much.

This is our daily open thread. Enjoy.

The Watering Hole, Monday, May 18, 2015: Bryan Fischer Threatens Violence

There are some male opponents of same-sex marriage who desperately need for it to remain illegal lest they leave their wives and follow their hearts to find the man of their dreams and settle down to a life of happiness. I’m beginning to wonder if Bryan Fischer is one of them. The very idea that the Supreme Court might actually strike down all bans on marriage equality and declare it a constitutional right (thanks, in part, to Justice Antonin Scalia’s own opinions, in which he suggested the strategy to use for marriage equality proponents to win) has Fischer scared. Very scared. But what does he have to fear if his own marriage is solid and loving? In what way would the right of people (who have no interest in him) to marry each other affect him? Is he afraid that the last thing to stop him from leaving his wife to shack up with another man is a law making that relationship with that man illegal? What else makes sense? Unless he means the violence.

Fischer is pretending that what he fears is the civil unrest that a ruling in support of marriage equality would make inevitable.

“The Supreme Court can be slapped down through a deliberative and representative process,” he said, “rather than through chaos and civil unrest which I and a lot of other pro-family leaders fear is the alternative. If the Supreme Court continues to overreach and they aren’t checked, we are headed towards civil unrest, I don’t think there is any other way around it. If it’s not stopped and reversed, the tyrannical overreach of the Supreme Court, we are to have social dislocation and I believe we are going to have violence as a result. And that is simply because freedom is too deeply ingrained in the DNA of the American people to permit tyranny to continue unchecked forever. The solution: state legislatures rediscovering their constitutional authority under the Ninth and 10th Amendments. “

Tell us something, Bryan. Who would be committing these acts of chaos, these acts of civil unrest, these acts of violence? Would it be the people who support marriage equality? Or would it be the people like you and the other “pro-family leaders” who will be taking to the streets to spread chaos, be civilly unrestful, and commit acts of violence? I think we who support marriage equality are the ones who have something to fear from the people who oppose it, not the other way around. When we start hearing we might lose, we start taking action to elect Democratic Senators and Presidents who will make sure these socially deficient rulings are reversed. When your side starts hearing it might lose, you talk about taking to the streets and committing violence. Who are the real domestic terrorists in this scenario, the ones who want a peaceful remedy to our disagreements, or the ones who talk casually about violence?

Lastly, I think you States Rights’ advocates don’t seem to have gotten the memo yet. The Constitution is not the Articles of Confederation. You keep talking about how the States have the power to enact these same-sex marriage bans because the Constitution doesn’t give the federal government the right to regulate marriage. You frequently refer to the Tenth Amendment and how it means the States have the power over things the federal government doesn’t. But that’s only partly correct. First, you’re deliberately misinterpreting the Ninth Amendment as having something to do with States’ Rights. A plain reading of it proves it doesn’t. Here it is.

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

You have to read the Tenth Amendment in conjunction with the Ninth to understand why the People have rights even the states can’t take away.

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

In all your States’ Rights talk, you leave out the rights reserved to the people, the ones who have specifically have rights not mentioned in the Constitution. And one of those rights reserved to the people is the right to marry the person of your choice. Not people, not pets, not some perversion I don’t wish to name, but person. One person. So stop the polygamy and polyandry claims, stop the bestiality claims, stop the perversion claims. Nobody has ever seriously argued that marriage should be between anything other than two, and only two, people. (Some nutjobs might have, but they are few in number and can safely be regarded as totally without public influence. In fact, if you never brought them up, we’d never hear about them.)

You also leave out the Fourteenth Amendment, one of the most important constitutional amendments in human history. Without the 14th, your 1st Amendment rights mean nothing. If you read the Bill of Rights carefully, it says nothing about the States not being allowed to infringe upon your right to freedom of religion, or free speech, or a free press, or free assembly, or the freedom to petition the government. The 14th Amendment does. It says:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

That means the rights you have as a federal citizen are now the rights you have as a citizen of your state. So your state can’t block your right to freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly or petitioning. What never ceases to amaze me, Bryan, is how you States’ Rights advocates get all up in arms about freedoms you claim the federal government is taking away from its citizens, but you are perfectly happy with your own state taking away those same freedoms. So why are you so opposed to the federal government saying the states can’t deny citizens within its borders their right to marry? What is it you’re so afraid will happen. Bryan? That you’ll run out into the streets to commit acts of violence against your fellow citizens, or that you’ll leave your wife for another man? I’ll support you 100% on the latter, but not on the former.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to make fun of Bryan Fischer’s paranoia, how my interpretations of the Constitution are off the mark, or anything else you wish to discuss.

The Watering Hole, Monday, March 9th, 2015: Monday Morning Morons

I know that we do a lot of Right-Wing-Nut-Job (RWNJ) bashing here, much of it about the more Rabid Religious amongst them (RRRWNJ) but…well, both (often overlapping) groups just come up with so many things that invite ridicule, they’re their own worst enemy. Just look at last week alone (in case you missed some of these):

Being gay is worse than Murder and Genocide. Yes, now, according to “Pastor” Scott Lively, homosexuality is the Number One sin against God. An excerpt from Right Wing Watch’s article:

“Last month, rabidly anti-gay activist Scott Lively warned that if the Supreme Court strikes down state bans on same-sex marriage, it could lead to the rise of the Antichrist by the end of the year.”

In an interview with Bryan Fischer on Friday, “Lively told Fischer that America is about to cross “a line with God that hasn’t occurred in the entire history of the world since Noah’s flood” – which Lively claims was caused by god because god apparently hates gays. Back in January of 2013, Lively had stated:

“We need to remember that in the time leading up to the Flood what the rabbis teach about the last straw for God before He brought the Flood was when they started writing wedding songs to homosexual marriage and Jesus said that you’ll know the End Times because it will be like the days of Noah. There’s never been a time in the history of the world since before the Flood when homosexual marriage has been open and celebrated, and that’s another sign that I believe that we’re close to the end.”

(Snip)

“I think this is the issue of the End Times, homosexuality. It’s present, if you do a careful investigation of all the scriptures dealing with this from the beginning and all the way to the end, God is painting a very clear picture that this represents the outer extent of rebellion against Him in a society and the last thing that happens before wrath comes.”

Okay…first, I thought that President Barack “Hussein” Obama was the AntiChrist in RWNJ eyes. So there’s another one? Second, I don’t know what religious sect/cult Lively is the “Pastor” of, but if it’s based on Christianity in any way, then I must have been dozing throughout my 13 years of Catholic schools.

Anyhoo…today, “Pastor” Lively is urging his followers and other groups to, according to his “Open Letter to America”

“…band together in the spirit of 2 Chronicles 7:14 to promote and conduct a continual prayer vigil and stand-out for marriage at SCOTUS (or any Federal Courthouse for those who can’t get there) from now until the ruling comes out, probably in June…”
“This is a general call to all believers to go to SCOTUS alone or in groups to pray and hold signs. Churches and other organizations can choose dates or times to rally their own troops if they like and/or hold press conferences etc., but let’s all just put out the word to whatever circle of influence we have and let the Holy Spirit stir hearts.

I am asking every Christian and pro-family radio talk host to promote this vigil, and perhaps do a broadcast from the site. Large organizations could provide logistical support…”

(snip)

“Only God can save us from the calamity and disgrace of defiling His institution of marriage in our official national policy.

Let us take the authority we have in Him, and the freedom we have as Americans, to join together to surround the federal judges with such a hedge of prayer that they will be forced to bow their knee to the one who created marriage as the foundation of all human civilization — one man and one woman.”

Hmm, “god created marriage as the foundation of all civilization”? I don’t remember any wedding performed by god himself–you’d think that the bible would have mentioned that, huh? And now Scott Lively thinks that the entire Supreme Court of the United States should get on their knees for something other than sucking Koch and refer all decisions to Lively’s god? I realize that one or two of the Justices would be happy to do so, but all nine? Rather unconstitutional, don’tcha think?

Back to Lively’s call for a prayer vigil: from BibleGateway, the 1599 Geneva Bible version, here’s 2 Chronicles 7:14:

14 If my people, among whom my Name is called upon, do humble themselves, and pray and seek my presence, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear in heaven and be merciful to their sin, and will heal their land”
Footnotes: 2 Chronicles 7:14 I will cause the pestilence to cease and destroy the beasts that hurt the fruits of the earth, and send rain in due season.

I’m not sure how Lively uses this as an anti-gay call to march/pray, as neither 2 Chronicles 6, nor the remainder of 2 Chronicles 7, makes any reference to homosexuality. But I’m sure that Lively’s twisted interpretation is a masterpiece of pulling it out of his ass, so to speak. Considering how many whoppers he produces, one could probably drive an SUV up his asshole–well, a 4WD SUV, anyway.

Well, let’s leave “Pastor” Lively to his unChristian vigil, and go on to:

OMG, Christians are being persecuted – again! Poor embattled Ken Ham (“Answers In Genesis”, Creation Museum) is whining about being denied $18 million in tax breaks for his planned Noah’s Ark park by the State of Kentucky’s Tourism Board. The Board “cited AIG’s stated intention to discriminate based on religion in its hiring of theme park employees and to use the taxpayer-subsidized park for religious evangelism…” On a RW radio program last week, Ham stated:

“If Christians just keep accommodating and allowing this to happen more and more, we will lose that free exercise of religion.”

“It’s more and more of that trying to eliminate the Christian freedom that we have in this nation,” he said.

Yes, of course…those poor, poor Christians having to cave to the Constitution. I just don’t know how they’ll manage to keep practicing their faith, what with all their churches being shut down and religious leaders arrested, and…oh, wait, that never happens. But, but…tax breaks!

And lastly, in a switch away from the RRRWNJs to the “normal” RWNJs, Fox News’ pet climate change denier, Mark Morano of climatedepot.com, is very upset. According to RawStory, he does NOT like the idea that “Google’s popular web-search engine is being re-engineered to direct users to more “trustworthy” websites, saying “Let the public decide what’s the truth…” The article goes on to say:

“The proposed changes at Google would move websites up in the rankings based upon truth and not popularity.

Morano, who previously worked for Rush Limbaugh and climate change-denying Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), says this would be[sic] put him at a disadvantage.

Well, fucking DUH.

This is our daily Open Thread–what’s on YOUR mind?

The Watering Hole, Saturday, December 13, 2014: Lazy Day

I just got back from the dentist and boy, are my arms tired! But seriously, Jokes. It’s just one of those lazy days for me, my seventh this week. So, rather than go into one of my patented long, rambling rants about Continue reading

The Watering Hole, Saturday, July 27, 2013: The Acerebralists™ Are Still Among Us


I own a great book (thank you, Jane) called “The Superior Person’s Book of Words”, by Peter Bowler (1985). It’s very funny and has definitions (or explanations) of a bunch of great and, almost always, actual words that describe things perfectly. Not quite Ambrose Bierce, but chosen to effect an air of superiority when the occasion calls for it. Words like

CONTRADISTINCTION n. Why say “in contrast with” when you can say “in contradistinction to”?

There’s another great entry for

EREPTION n. Snatching away. Do not confuse with EREPTATION (creeping forth). Snuggling up to your beloved at the drive-in, you say, “I sense an ereption coming on,” and suddenly snatch the M&Ms from her lap. If it transpires that she has put the M&Ms somewhere else, you will be compelled to perform an ereptation.

The whole book is like that. It’s great. On the back cover can be found this:

ACEREBRAL a.Without a brain. A word for which there would at first sight appear to be no use, since no entity to which there would be any point in applying the term could in fact possess this attribute. (There would be no point in speaking of an acerebral windowsill.) However, recent researches into the central nervous system of the wire-haired terrier have conclusively demonstrated the need for such a word.

I then (technically improperly, I think) applied a suffix to indicate a person who practices or is concerned with something (“-ist”), and came up with

ACEREBRALIST n. A person who tries to think without having the capacity to do so. (i.e. A person without a brain who insists on trying to use it.)

You’ll probably derive your own variations on the theme, but it’s one of those words that you either get it and know to whom it applies or you don’t, and probably never will. Remember, you heard it from me first. Don’t go trying to steal it, Colbert!

[The above was part of a post first published more than six years ago on my original blog.]

Fast forward six years later and a word with what seemed like limited application then is almost indispensable in describing large segments of our society today. What other word best describes the faithful and believing viewers of Fox News Channel? I’ve written about Fox News in my song parodies (here, here, here, and especially here), and yet despite my efforts people still watch that network to get their news. And the sad part is that the Acerebralists™ in America (their target audience) believe every lie they’re told. Whether it’s about Benghazi or polls based on the lies about Benghazi, misinformation about the recent Supreme Court ruling striking down one section of the Voting Rights Act (not all of it), or denying that racism is still a major problem in this country, Fox News knows their audience lacks the brain power to think for themselves (or do their own internet research). If it weren’t for brainless people, Fox News Channel wouldn’t have enough viewers to stay on the air. (BTW, all of the examples I linked to were just from the past few days on Fox News Channel. The rest of the year is no better.)

But cable TV news is not the only place dependent on Acerebralists™ to make a living. Right-wing talk radio not only counts on them for their audiences, they even employ some Acerebralists™ as on-air hosts. I’m not talking about Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity. Those guys aren’t stupid, they’re just plain evil in all sorts of ways. I’m talking about people like Bryan Fischer, who once regaled his audience with tales of his bravely fighting off demons, who thinks Liz Cheney isn’t anti-gay enough to be a US Senator, and who thinks it’s your patriotic duty (as Americans) to worship God. You can read about soem of the others at Right Wing Watch (A Project of People For the American Way).

And maybe all of that wouldn’t be so bad, wouldn’t be so detrimental to the country, if there weren’t any Acerebralists™ in Congress. Unfortunately for us as a nation, there are. On just the anti-immigration front, there’s Rep Michele Bachmann, who predicted that if any kind of immigration reform legislation passes, the Republicans will lose the House of Representatives because President Obama “will wave his magic wand” and declare that all immigrants have the right to vote (he can’t and won’t); Rep Louie Gohmert, who thinks that not only are black people “embracing” the Republican Party, but that “Hispanic voters will do likewise once they understand that the GOP wants them to learn to speak English and assimilate so that they don’t have to work as ditch diggers.”; and Rep Steve King (IA), who thinks that most of the undocumented immigrants are “130-pound” drug mules with “calves the size of cantaloupes.” [Not to be confused with Rep Peter King (NY), the famous terrorist supporter.] Acerebralists™ can truly feel they have one of their own (or, in this case, at least three) representing them in our Congress.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss the Acerebralists™ in your life, the ones who watch Fox News Channel, or even the ones in Congress, or anything else you wish to discuss. I only ask that you use your brain, which I know you have because you’re here at The Zoo right now.

The Watering Hole, Monday, May 14th, 2012: Teh Crazy, Local to International

For this Monday’s mix, let’s start with local (to me, anyway) weirdness:

A different aspect on ‘robbing the poor’ involves attempted theft from a local drop box. According to the Patch news article, three men allegedly were not only stealing from the drop boxes, they were stealing the drop boxes themselves. The men stated that they worked for a company called “God’s Property”, although my quick search of the googles/bing could only come up with a house-cleaning service by that name.

On the national crazy homefront: The religious right is celebrating what they believe to be President Obama’s downfall in November, now that the President has officially endorsed same-sex marriage. Adding to the craziness in this article from The Daily Beast is the following quote from Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association:

“President Obama just torpedoed his chance to win in November,” Bryan Fischer, the firebrand spokesman for the American Family Association, told The Daily Beast. “This was a move born of desperation, a Hail Mary pass. The results in North Carolina make it abundantly clear that the American people are not with him on gay marriage. This is a golden opportunity for Mitt Romney. If he will send a strong, consistent and unambiguous message in support of natural marriage he will win the election in a landslide.”

Yet this is the same Bryan Fischer who managed to get Mitt Romney’s openly gay foreign policy adviser, Richard Grenell, to resign from Romney’s campaign staff; then accused Romney of weakness for caving to a self-described “yokel.”

“If Mitt Romney can be pushed around, intimidated, coerced, co-opted by a conservative radio talk show host in Middle America, then how is he going to stand up to the Chinese? How is he going to stand up to Putin? How is he going to stand up to North Korea if he can be pushed around by a yokel like me? I don’t think Romney is realizing the doubts that this begins to raise about his leadership.”

So, I’m guessing that Bryan Fischer is going to stay home on Election Day this November?

For the foreign crazy, here’s a pair of articles from Foreign Policy’s website about Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and the possibility of an Israeli strike against Iran. It appears that some former Mossad leaders are speaking out against the idea, while Netanyahu’s recent political moves send mixed signals both for and against an attack on Iran.

Lastly, from Slate, some interesting little stories about various Vice-Presidents, from Aaron Burr to Joe Biden.

This is our daily open thread — feel free to discuss one of the above topics, or whatever’s on your mind!