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,
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:

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

Sunday Roast: Adele…again


Yeah, I know!  I just did an Adele post a couple weeks ago!  But it’s different now, because her new album, 25, is out.  This means the whole world is a different place now, which calls for another Adele post.

Too over the top…?  Whatever, dude!  At least I didn’t pull a cringe-worthy Wasilla Grifter stunt.  Ugh.

This is our daily open thread — I missed music night, so post your tunes!

The Watering Hole; Friday November 20 2015; American Darkness

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me . . .

The Paris terrorist attacks of a week ago — Friday, November 13, 2015 — have served to again expose one of this country’s most deep-seated and extremely dark undercurrents: her penchant to accept hate and fear rather than intelligent analysis and action. As Obama has just recently pointed out, “We are not well served when, in response to a terrorist attack, we descend into fear and panic. We don’t make good decisions if its based on hysteria or an exaggeration of risks.” 

Here are just a small handful of current examples of that ‘descent into fear and panic‘ which has suddenly (?) come to drive the opinions of so many:

A Complete Guide To How The GOP Candidates Reacted To Syrian Refugees After The Paris Attacks

Tony Perkins: Refugee Resettlement Shows Obama & Liberals ‘Hate America’

Congress takes up Syrian refugee fight, starts slide toward shutdown

“There is not one voice of sanity among Republicans as they try to one-up each other in the xenophobia game.”

Paris Terror: Why ISIS Needs The ‘Useful Idiots’ Who Demonize Muslims

“Sadly the Republican candidates for president, and too many in their party, will seek to use this crisis as a partisan weapon against President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the leading Democratic presidential contender. They will charge the Obama administration with “weakness” even as American warplanes fly thousands of sorties against ISIS positions in Iraq and Syria. Such political attacks sound ridiculous to anyone familiar with the recent history of the Mideast. As a product of Al Qaeda in Iraq, ISIS rose directly from the ill-conceived invasion and occupation of that unfortunate country – and the fact that Clinton mistakenly voted to give George W. Bush the conditional authority to wage that war in no way makes her (or Obama) responsible for its botched execution.

“The social chaos, religious strife, and massive bloodshed resulting from the US invasion created fertile ground for a new terrorist movement. And as Washington Post reporter Joby Warrick explains in Black Flags, his authoritative new history of the rise of ISIS, the Bush administration elevated its founder, a minor Jordanian gangster named Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, into an international terrorist celebrity with its bogus claim that he represented a link between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.”

And last but by no means least — and speaking of “Useful Idiots”

Trump crosses the Nazi line: Maybe Muslims should wear special ID badges

Gee, Herr Donald. What could possibly go wrong?

Star of David

It obviously doesn’t take a lot to bring America’s Dark Side to the forefront. I wonder why that is? Are we as a nation so uniformly burdened that irrational fear and hate are the only available option? Or maybe the burden is limited to just one segment of vociferous folks? A relatively low percentage? I recently saw somewhere — can’t name the source, unfortunately — the results of a current poll which asked, concerning the fate of Syrian refugees, whether the idea of allowing them entrance to the United States as refugees is supportable or not. I don’t remember the  precise result, but somewhere in the neighborhood of 55% said NO, no Syrian refugees, period. The percentage that said YES, do it, was somewhere above thirty but less than forty percent. The poll also noted that those who identified themselves as ‘Republican’ were far more likely to say NO! than were all others.

And with that view in mind, here are the results from another similar poll on a similar issue, a poll that was taken almost 76 years ago, in January of 1939:

Note that only slightly more said NO back then than now. I’m guessing those two surveys may well support what seems to be the obvious conclusion that in America, the percentage of people who are driven/defined by fear, hate, and greed doesn’t change much from century to century. Makes me think that perhaps the concept of “darkness” more clearly defines we the people than does the oft-quoted “gleaming city on the hill” meme (or however it goes).

So. With apologies to Emma Lazarus, I’m forced by the circumstances detailed above to slightly modify the last line in her famous and epic poem, ‘The New Colossus,’ to make it a bit more accurate:

 I lift douse my lamp beside the golden door

American Darkness thus defined.



The Watering Hole; Thursday November 19 2015; A Thru Z of the G.O.P.

O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
It wad frae monie a blunder free us,
an’ foolish notion
What airs in dress an’ gait wad lea’e us,
an’ ev’n devotion!
(Robert Burns from ‘To a Louse’)

Sounds like a request from the RNC, doesn’t it? I mean, the G.O.P. really does need it, after all — the means To see oursels as ithers see us! — especially in view of their collective reactions to the recent Paris mass murders for which they have so far blamed everyone BUT the underlying cuplrit, best described as the subterranean politic that’s most ably portrayed, this day, by those images they each see every morning in their respective mirrors.

So here’s my contribution, the A thru Z of the way that at least one “ither” (moi) sees them all, the entire of the G.O.P., its presidential Clown Car occupants in particular:

America’s Bullish Contentiousness Demands
Expressions of Fear, Greed, Hatred, and
Irrationality, each Justified via
Knowledge” of Luciferian and Messianic Nonsense,
Organized and Politicized
Quixotically by Republican Sociopathologists, via 
Tendentious Undercurrents of Vicarious and
Wistful Xenophobia.



The G.O.P.’s post-Paris Expressions of Fear, Greed, Hatred, and Irrationality remind me of another era and an event depicted therein — one which well defines what should be sanity’s reaction to what *they* see as *their* subliminally ‘Germanic’ but nonetheless Star Spangled (Conservative) Vaterland,’ including its Tendentious Undercurrents of Vicarious and Wistful Xenophobia:

Vive la France!

For some odd reason, both current and past events also bring to mind yet another Burns’ verse, one in which he perfectly describes today’s G.O.P. reaction to almost anything that happens anywhere on earth or beyond. This from “To a Mouse”:

But, Och! I backward cast my e’e.
On prospects drear!
An’ forward, tho’ I canna see,
I guess an’ fear!”

Amen and Yea Verily.


The Watering Hole, Saturday, November 14th, 2015: Populism That Works

ICYMI, or maybe ICIMI: there’s a petition going around for a great idea that was brought to our attention today in a newsletter from populist Jim Hightower. The Campaign for Postal Banking is pushing for local Post Offices to also provide banking services. As Jim Hightower states:

“Millions of Americans live in areas that now have no alternative to the Wall Street-backed predatory lenders and check-cashing chains that rip them off. We can change this. The Campaign for Postal Banking has started a petition to the US Postmaster General to make postal banking a reality. With postal banking, folks that don’t have access to good banks or credit unions can go to their community post office for non-profit, consumer-driven financial services — getting their basic banking needs met without being gouged by Wall Street profiteers.”

From an article by Ralph Nader at Huffington Post yesterday discusses the topic as well:

“According to Bloomberg, from 2008 to 2013: “Banks have shut 1,826 branches…. and 93 percent of closings were in postal codes where the household income is below the national median.”


“Last year, the office of the USPS inspector general released a report detailing the ways in which postal banking would be beneficial to both the public and the USPS itself, which has been made to endure an unprecedented advanced payment of $103.7 billion by 2016 to cover future health benefits of postal retirees for the next 75 years. No other government or private corporation is required to meet this unreasonable prepayment burden.”

An article at from May of this year has more, including this excerpt:

“For millions of underserved families, the Postal Service is already a part of their financial lives,” the report said, noting that post offices sold $21 billion worth of money orders in 2014. Yet, “in order to get the funds to purchase those money orders, many families likely first went to expensive check cashers to convert their paychecks into currency. What if those consumers could instead cash their paychecks at a post office for a lower fee? What if they also could pay bills, buy low-fee prepaid cards, and maybe even get affordable small-dollar loans, all in one convenient location? This could help consumers save money and time, and it would help the Postal Service fulfill its mission to facilitate commerce and serve citizens.”

An idea that’s a total win-win for poorer Americans; empowers “Main Street”; helps to save the U.S. Postal Service from its deliberate destruction by Congress; that keeps and creates jobs, thereby improving the economy; and helps to break the chokehold of Wall Street and the too-big-to-fail banks that WE THE TAXPAYERS bailed out? Every politician who’s in bed with the Wall Street/big bank cabal will be fighting this with every bit of power they have. This is an idea worth fighting for, and one that should show any non-1%er-American who still has a functioning brain exactly what “populism” means and what Democratic Socialist Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is standing for.

Let’s all say a big, loud “FUCK YOU” to the real “takers” in our country, and make something happen.

This is our daily Open Thread – feel free to talk about this topic or anything else on your mind.

The Watering Hole; November 2015’s Friday the Thirteenth

“Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain.”
(Friedrich Schiller)

Friday the Thirteenth is supposed to mean bad luck, something like that. So I’ve decided to lend a hand and offer huge piles of bad luck to a small handful of really DESERVING candidates. I won’t elaborate; as you will see, there is no need to do so when the candidates have already . . . ummm . . . elaborated?

Without further ado, first there’s Ted Cruz, presidential candidate, who will be doubling down on Saturday at a “Rally For Religious Freedom” in South Carolina. Recall that last weekend, Cruz spoke at a rally in Iowa held by the nutcase preacher who advocates execution of gays; this week, Cruz will speak at the rally where activists preach that gays are really Satanic manifestations. Ted will be accompanied by his daddy, Rafael Cruz, who has already blamed the SCOTUS gay marriage decision on (who else) The Devil!

Conclusion: Ted Cruz is (legitimately) nuts.

Next we learn that Duck Dynasty “stars” are rallying to support the Louisiana gubernatorial candidacy of Diaper Dave Vitter. As Dynasty’s Willie Robertson puts it, “I know he’s made some mistakes, but who hasn’t? The whole story of the Bible is about redemption, and I’m concerned about our state.”

Conclusion: Gays might be the work of the Devil, but US Senators who get caught hanging with hookers while wearing a diaper? No problem. No biggee. No Debbil. . Redeemable. Like a coupon.

Meanwhile, pHuckabee claims he’s innocent, that he had NO IDEA that (Reverend?) Kevin Swanson’s ‘religious freedom’ ideas included the execution of gay people. That — IN SPITE of the fact that the whole thing had been cussed and discussed for most of the week in advance of the event. I mean, even *I* knew about Swanson’s absurd thesis, and we don’t even have cable TV!

Conclusion: pHuckabee just might tell a lie, every now and then.


“You see, if you’re very, very stupid, how can you possibly realize
that you’re very, very stupid? You’d have to be relatively intelligent
to realize how stupid you are.”
(John Cleese; January 2015)