The Watering Hole; Thursday Februaury 11 2016; Nut after Nut after Nut . . .

Featured

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be;
and that which is done is that which shall be done: and
there is no new thing under the sun.
(Solomon in Ecclesiastes, King James version)

No new thing under the sun indeed. Below, five Nuts ‘speak their mind’ as absolute proof of Solomon’s ancient premise, and as proof of yet another (presumed?) Biblical premise, duly highlighted.

Sandy Rios: Beyoncé Ushering In The Antichrist With Her ‘Black Racism’ And ‘Lawlessness’

“It’s just in-your-face black racism. And also cop hatred.”

“Of course, if we undermine the law and order of our country, we will, and probably are, descending into lawlessness, and those of us that understand scripture know that that is a sign of the Last Days. The Man of Lawlessness will reign. Lawlessness, the breakdown in respect and honor. And so Beyoncé, who could be such an example to women everywhere, and I don’t care black or white, conducting herself with dignity with all that God has given her, her beauty and her natural talents, instead twisting it into something that is very ugly and very profane.”

Alex Jones: Liberals Love It When ‘Jihadis’ Rape And Murder Women

“The left teaches in schools self-loathing, self-hating, where your identity is hating yourself, so when someone rapes or stabs a woman, it is a beautiful thing because it is a German or it’s a French woman being stabbed, she deserves this.”

Liberals “smile” at the crimes committed by “jihadis,” he said, because they have a “mental illness” and “hate Jesus.”

Pat Robertson: Obama Destroying America As We Near The End Times

“He is dangerous, he is really dangerous,” Robertson said of Obama. “But whether or not he can destroy this country in the next few months that he’s got ahead of him — his people will saddle us with so many regulations. We’re looking at a serious, serious economic collapse with no driver, no country strong enough to take on the burdens of the world unless the United States mans up and does it.

“God Almighty is on the throne. His purposes will stand, regardless of the Iranians, regardless of the Sunnis and the Shias, regardless of the Soviets, regardless of who wants to hurt who, God is going to have His way and it will come to pass as the Bible says it will.”

Michele Bachmann Says Progressive Taxation Causes People To Violate The Ten Commandments

Bachmann warned that a progressive income tax is unbliblical because it encourages the government to tax the rich to benefit the poor, which makes people covet their neighbor’s possessions in violation of the Tenth Commandment.

“Just look at any campaign commercial on TV,” Bachmann said. “It’s appealing to the lower interests of man and it appeals to the American people to violate the Tenth Commandment. We are told, don’t covet; in other words, don’t be jealous and don’t want what your neighbor has. Your neighbor had to work for what he has and don’t be jealous of your neighbor, get out and work yourself. Instead, politicians say, ‘Oh no, no, your neighbor is rich because he stole it from you.’ That’s not true, it’s a lie, and so does anyone benefit from that thinking? Absolutely not. The Bible is exactly right.

And for good measure, one more that should top things off:

Heidi Cruz: Ted Running To ‘Show This Country The Face Of The God That We Serve’

[According to Heidi Cruz] “this Christian God that we serve is the foundation of our country” and people need to be reminded that “Christians are loving people, are nonjudgmental people, but there is right and wrong, we have a country of law and order, there are consequences to actions and we must all live peaceably in our own faiths under the Constitution.

“When I thought about doing it for our country, it became very clear to me that our family must be in this race. And it also became clear to me that we are at a cultural crossroads in our country and if we can be in this race to show this country the face of the God that we serve — this Christian God that we serve is the foundation of our country, our country was built on Judeo-Christian values, we are a nation of freedom of religion, but the God of Christianity is the God of freedom, of individual liberty, of choice and of consequence.

“And I think that’s something that this country really needs to be reminded of, is that Christians are loving people, are nonjudgmental people, but there is right and wrong, we have a country of law and order, there are consequences to actions and we must all live peaceably in our own faiths under the Constitution. And Ted is uniquely able to deliver on that combination of the law and religion.”

Whew. There. That should be enough to set the world on fire. No worries, though, because Michele Bachmann absolutely nailed it when she pointed out that The Bible is exactly right,  esp. when it shouts out universal truths for all to hear, such as

“And Jesus, when he had found a young ass, sat thereon;
as it is written”
(John 12:14)

Oops. Errr, sheesh. How the hell did THAT happen! So sorry! Here, THIS is the one I meant to use — to highlight the concept of Bachmann’s Biblical inerrancy thesis:

“. . . the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice
forbad the madness of the prophet.”
(II Peter 2:16)

There, that’s better. A quotable line from ‘Two Peter.’ The perfect summation of Wingnuttistanian . . . ummm . . . Principles?? OK. Sure. Why not. Good word.  Also solid proof that

The Bible is exactly right.

Sigh.

OPEN THREAD

Sunday Roast: Feel the SNL Bern

Bernie Sanders, one of the Democratic Presidential candidates for 2016, made his debut on Saturday Night Live last night.  He appeared in a Titanic skit with his twin separated at birth, Larry David.  Naturally, Bernie always gets his message across!

Sanders shouted, “I’m so upset with the one percent getting this preferential treatment,” before making a suggestion: “Enough is enough. We need to unite and work together if we’re going to get through this.”

“Sounds like Socialism to me,” David said, dismissing him.

“Democratic socialism!” Sanders countered.

“What’s the difference?” David asked.

Mimicking Donald Trump, Sanders replied, “Yuuuuge difference.”

Pretty damn good timing, Bernie!!

This is our daily open thread — What makes you laugh?

The Watering Hole, Saturday, February 6, 2016: Stumbling Bloc

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The ThinkProgress excerpt continues:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~ and ~

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

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

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

This is our daily Open Thread–have at it!

The Watering Hole; Friday February 5 2016; Wage Peace, Not War!

“The evil that men do lives after them;
the good is oft interred with their bones.”
(William Shakespeare)

Way back in the late sixties I happened across an article that caught my eye: “Wage Peace, Not War!” the title read. The article itself was in a science or engineering monthly (can’t remember which  one), so the title seemed a bit out of place — but the concept implicit grabbed me (I was, at the time, about as anti-Vietnam as anyone could be) and hasn’t let go since. Then just this week up pops this on Think Progress:

Veteran Confronts Chris Christie About The Military Industrial Complex

Feb 3, 2016

(U.S. Navy veteran Will) Thomas, a New Hampshire native and voter in next week’s critical primary election, has been trying to nail down the candidates visiting his state on how they would pursue peace, not war, if elected to the White House. (emphasis mine)

Thomas asked Christie a rather simple — but direct — question:

“As president, how would you respond to this issue: we have a nuclear non-proliferation treaty, but we’re not living by it,” said Thomas, adding that he was deeply concerned that President Obama has proposed spending hundreds of billions of dollars upgrading and modernizing the nation’s arsenal of nuclear weapons. Thomas told Christie he thinks that money should be spent instead on domestic needs like fixing aging roads and bridges, and asked if the presidential hopeful would resolve international crises through diplomacy or warfare.

Suffice to say, Christie blew it by advocating massive increases in armed forces personnel, the conventional weapons stockpile, and priority upgrading of submarines, all costly in the extreme. He made no mention of diplomacy.

Thomas reacted to the idea of yet more military bravado this way:

“I don’t think we should be spending that much money on weapons we can’t afford and that we can never use. We should be using that money for affordable housing and healthcare and education and job training. We shouldn’t be putting it in the back pockets of Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman, and Boeing.” (highlight mine)

I couldn’t agree more. I’ve argued all of my adult life that military spending should be SLASHED to the point where there could be NO MORE military adventures such as Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Kuwait, Bosnia, Iraq — to name the few I can remember offhand. I have to wonder how many trillions of dollars were WASTED simply to make a president look fearless, or maybe to reward his favorite corner of the M.I.C.? Also, how many trillions have been WASTED on our nuclear arsenal, itself easily large enough to destroy every shred of life on this planet?

Suppose for a moment that, say, 80%? of the money burned by the M.I.C. had been employed to stop wars, to improve lives both here at home as well as ‘over there’ — could either ourselves or the world in general be any worse off than the collective ‘we’ are today? How many millions of people would not have needlessly died? How much physical destruction could have been avoided? How much healthier would people be the world over ? The environment? And how much lower would our own national debt be?

As Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler duly noted way back in 1933, “I wouldn’t go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket . . . . Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses.”

Yes. And as Will Thomas said of Christie following their exchange, “There is a military industrial complex, and he’s part of it.” My guess is the same could be said of each and all of the current presidential candidates, both Democrat and Republican — with the probable exception of Bernie Sanders.

As for myself, I guess I’ve wondered ever since I was old enough to wonder — why is it that the people on this planet can’t get their heads screwed on properly, and with a collective SHOUT loud enough to be heard on the moon, demand of ALL their leaders:

WAGE PEACE, NOT WAR!!

******

“Time’s glory is to calm contending kings,
to unmask falsehood, and bring truth to light.”
(William Shakespeare in The Rape of Lucrece)

******

OPEN THREAD

 

The Watering Hole; Thursday February 4 2016; Religion, War, Politics, Past, Present

“Were such things here as we do speak about?
Or have we eaten on the insane root
that takes the reason prisoner?”
(William Shakespeare, in Macbeth)

By the time this year’s presidential election is held, twelve full years will have passed since I wrote an essay critique of what were, to my eyes, current and troubling political issues implicit in the November 2004 re-election of George W. Bush. I find it curious that today, fresh manifestations of those same troubling issues remain on the front burner and include, in particular, the Republican cry for more war in the M.E. (this time against ISIL, itself a most likely consequence of Bush’s illicit war in Iraq that was well underway on election day ’04), along with their demands that abortion/stem cell research/LGBT marriage be disallowed and that their version of “religious freedom” be never limited.

Simple question: Why? Why does such nonsense continue day after day, month after month, year after year, election after election? “Have we eaten on the insane root
that takes the reason prisoner?” Seems a fairly safe bet, actually. See below.

******

November 06, 2004

I know and well understand that this topic is one which is quick to wear out its welcome, but nevertheless I think it’s critical that no one should stick their head in sand in the hope that it’ll go away, because it won’t, it’s here to stay. Unfortunately.

As I’ve said many times before, I really and truly do not care what others believe, which church they attend (or don’t attend), or anything else that has anything to do with religion — it is, absolutely, a personal matter and should forever stay as such.

But I must confess that I become very troubled when what should be private religious matters are placed front and center upon the public stage, and when such matters are blatantly used to not only influence an election along dogmatic lines but also to shove a particular brand of said dogma down *everyone’s* throat via any legal means possible — ranging from local law to Constitutional amendment — my hackles quickly raise, as does my blood pressure.

There seems to be a differential that’s developed which I don’t think I quite understand: why the apparent urge to either legislate or constitutionally enshrine someone’s particular version of morality? I can easily understand that not all men wish to marry other men, but I wonder why that’s simply not left to personal choice? I made the heterosexual choice without difficulty, actually, but I cannot for the life of me understand why it’s important that anyone be told any given choice is right or wrong. My advice is that if you’re a man and don’t want to marry a man, then don’t; likewise, if you’re a woman who doesn’t want to marry a woman, then don’t. And if you’re a man who doesn’t want to marry a woman, don’t, and v.v. How hard can it be to grasp?

Likewise abortion — if a woman doesn’t want an abortion, she surely shouldn’t have one forced on her; nor, if she deems it appropriate, should she be denied. As with marriage, no one is forcing anyone to do anything, it’s a matter of personal choice, of personal responsibility. Isn’t that enough? Do we really need a Constitutional amendment to help keep things straight?

As with embryonic stem cell research — if it offends, don’t get involved. And if it offends, then even those offended, should they come down with a disease made curable via embryonic stem cells, have every right to refuse the cure.

A long time ago someone wrote about what many seem to believe to be the eternal gravity of the moral arguments, the gravitas, if you will. “Gravitas,” they wrote, is “the heavy tread of moral earnestness [which] becomes a bore if it is not accompanied by the light step of intelligence.”

Those must have been the good old days when ‘moral earnestness’ only qualified as being a ‘bore’ and not a threat to the First amendment!

But the bottom line, really, is that it’s precisely these completely illogical arguments which apparently swung attentions away from the *real* issues of the environment, the economy and the impact of deficits and tax cuts thereupon, the war in Iraq with its demonstrably false original premises plus the incredible mismanagement thereof virtually since day one, the domestic health care crisis, ad ad ad ad ad infinitum/nauseam. In other words, the apparent “swing” votes, i.e. the votes upon which the election turned, were offered based on what the pundits have called “moral values.” In other words, it’s not immoral to preemptively invade a country, destroy its cities, allow its museums and ammo dumps to be looted, and in the process kill or force the deaths of an estimated 100,000 people — but to allow two people who love each other the privilege of a legal union, NEVER! To insist that science research the potential benefits of embryonic stem cell derivatives, NEVER! To “pray” for the return of those more sane times when abortions were carried out in back alleys rather than hospitals or clinics, YEEHAW!

I freely admit that I see the Bible as being an authority on nothing at all, but once again it’s surely not my decision as to how someone else might feel about that same book.

On the other hand, sometimes I do wonder how the moralists among us might feel were the pendulum to swing to its opposite margin, and there soon appeared proposals afoot and legislation pending that would disallow any and all public displays and utterances of Biblical concepts, that churches would be taxed exactly the same as any other business or corporation, depending on size and income etc., that the only legal place to pray would be — staying with Biblical principle — in one’s own closet.

That’s not likely to ever occur, of course, but it is something to ponder in the sense that were any ‘assault’ on religion ever to be proposed, even indirect in the forms of public prohibitions or taxation, it would immediately bring forward cries of Constitutional violation, and more. Yet, here we are in a situation where religious leaders and their respective flocks not only demand the imposition of religion-based laws, but also maintain that their “religious liberty” allows them the privilege of imposing their beliefs on everyone else. It’s also well and proper to rewrite  public school science textbooks as a means to substitute Biblical creationism for legitimate and well-researched scientific theory.

I propose that something is very much awry with the situation as it now stands, and the likelihood is virtually a 100% certainty that it will get worse before (if ever) corrective measures are applied.

Meanwhile, there have been calls from leaders of both sides to reconcile our differences, to get on with solving problems instead. But how can that be, when a foundational portion of one side’s program is little more than a direct (and currently irrevocable, or so it seems) slap in the face of the other side(s) of the issue?

I’d like to see this nation get on with business as well as the next man, but am NOT willing to rent out the basement of the hen house to the foxes. Personally, I’d happily settle for the sort of true church-state separation as specified in Article I of the Bill of Rights: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . . , but am not optimistic at all that such will prove the case ever again in my lifetime.

No matter how much times change, the more they remain the same. Or maybe “people” should be substituted for ‘times’?

******

Speaking of eating “on the insane root that takes the reason prisoner” — back to the present. Here are a small handful of links which point to topics and events that highlight tidbits of today’s political and religious silliness. They’re but a tiny part of the overall, of course, and they don’t reveal any more crazy than we’re already well aware of, but still . . . well, you know. :shock:

Duck Dynasty Star Stumps For Ted Cruz: We Must ‘Rid The Earth’ Of Marriage Equality Supporters

“Either it’s the wildest coincidence ever that horrible diseases follow immoral conduct, or, it’s God saying, ‘There’s a penalty for that kind of conduct.’ I’m leaning towards there’s a penalty for it.” (Phil Robertson)

“I am thrilled to have Phil’s support for our campaign. The Robertsons are a strong family of great Christian faith and conservative values.” (Ted Cruz)

‘Here am I Lord, use me’: Ted Cruz’s dad says Holy Ghost authorized White House run

“It was as if there was a presence of the Holy Spirit in the room and we all were at awe, and Ted, all that came out of his mouth, he said, ‘Here am I Lord, use me. Here am I Lord, I surrender to whatever Your will for my life is.’ And it was at that time that he felt a peace about running for president of the United States.” (Rafael Cruz)

As for the oft-shouted desire for complete “RELIGIOUS FREEDOM!” — it quite obviously is not deemed by America’s political far-right movement to apply uniformly to all religions, to all “beliefs” (including non-belief) that citizens of America might consider their own . . .

The (Conservative) Smear Campaign Against The Mosque Obama Visited

[S]ince last Friday, conservative outlets such as Fox News, the Daily Caller, Breitbart News, and the Washington Times have all rushed to deride Obama’s visit, most accusing the Islamic Society of Baltimore of having “historic” or “deep” ties to extremism or “radical Islam.” Herman Cain told Fox News that the visit amounted to Obama “want[ing] to go kissy kissy with the Muslim Brotherhood” . . .

Apparently what seemed to be the obvious conclusion a dozen years ago still applies:

No matter how much times (and people) change, the more they remain the same.

******

“And thereby hangs a tale.”
(Wm. Shakespeare)

OPEN THREAD

 

 

The Watering Hole, Monday, February 1st, 2016: Clouds and Cute Stuff

Let’s start this week with no mention of anyone in the (R) Kandidate Klown Kar, or crazy-assed snackless ‘militias’, or wacky Talibangelists (or Talibanjoists.) I’m going with Mother Nature today.

The Weather Channel has a recent piece about this ‘Hand of God’ cloud that appeared over Madeira, Portugal. To me, it looks more like the ‘Fist of god’, and I wonder at whom it’s being shaken. Is there some satanic evildoer on Madeira who is (using Alan Rickman’s Professor Snape voice) “…UP to something”?

(Photo Credit: Rogerio Pacheco, via TheWeatherChannel)

(Photo Credit: Rogerio Pacheco, via TheWeatherChannel)

Next, Lenticular Clouds ~
lenticular-clouds-andes
I know that we’ve covered lenticular clouds before, but take a look at some spectacular shots from (apparently) dedicated Russian photographer Vladimir Voychuk.

Now for some cuteness: Also from The Weather Channel, penguin chicks cuddling together against the cold.
EmperorPenguinChick

While we’re on the subject of penguins, here’s more wonderful shots of them, this time under the sea. The photos were taken by French photographer/diver Andre Voyer.
Emperor-Penguins-diving

And finally, cuteness that will make you squee.

"Hey, margay kitten, what big eyes for you...TA HAVE!"

“Hey, margay kitten, what big eyes for you…TA HAVE!”

This is our daily Open Thread–go ahead, start talking about something.

Sunday Roast: Rough start

Year 2016 — so far — has sucked BIG TIME.

With the passing of Alan Rickman, David Bowie, Glenn Frey, and especially our own EbbandFlow, I think we can agree that this year really can’t get any worse — and that is not me issuing the universe a friggin’ challenge.

Let’s take it easy on ourselves the rest of the year, eh?

This is our daily open thread — Yeesh…