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, June 15, 2015: Where Do They Get These Dicks?

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), we learned this weekend of several dicks for which Society, frankly, has no good use. These are people who, despite any position of prominence they may have previously held, hold viewpoints your normal person with an IQ in the three-digit range (such as you, Dear Readers) would call “dickish.” Let me elaborate a little.

Rick “Dick” Perry
The former Governor of Texas, best known for being an idiot of the highest magnitude despite the brainiac birth control glasses he’s taken to wearing lately, is claiming that President Obama lacks executive experience to properly deal with ISIS/ISIL/IS/Assholes. And Rick Perry does? These aren’t children fleeing oppressive regimes in Central America, Dick. These are well-armed maniacs willing to die for a myth not that far removed from the one you believe. You both claim to worship the same God, although by different names. You just show that love differently, especially in whom you choose to execute and how. Absent from your cogent analysis, besides analysis, is the fact that the problem of ISIS was created by people who think just like you. It takes a big Dick to complain that Obama doesn’t have a solution to a problem your predecessor and think-alike created. If President Bush/Cheney couldn’t prevent it from happening, what makes you think President Obama should be able to?

Richard “Dick” Land
You might remember this Dick from his days as head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s political arm, until he claimed the Obama Administration had no interest in Justice for Trayvon Martin but just wanted to “gin up the black vote.” They have since found themselves someone else to perform his duties, so it’s a wonder to people like me who can think critically why anyone would consider his viewpoint worth hearing. Uncritical Thinker Sandy Rios In The Morning wanted to know, so she invited Dick on her program. Dick is really afraid of Teh Gays.

Land blamed such trends on “a broad cultural assault on biblical values through the media, through entertainment [and] through MTV,” specifically calling out the “gay and lesbian, bisexual community” for its “sustained campaign” to “propagandize” Americans.

Evangelizing is also propagandizing, but that’s beside the point right now. If you’re going to bash the LGBT community because the Bible tells you so, then why are you not also calling out all adulterers and fornicators that the same Chapter of the Bible tells you to equally bash? Why is it only the LGBT folks you fear? And it is fear. Why them and not the others? You never mention businesses being allowed to not do business with adulterers, or young people having sex out of wedlock. These things don’t seem to instill the fear in you that gay people do. I have a personal theory about people like you, who worry so much about what gay people are allowed to do. Although there is ample anecdotal evidence that people such as yourself are secretly gay, my theory is different. I think that you’re worried not about being anally penetrated by a man, but that you won’t find the experience as unpleasant as you’d expect. And this would force you to rethink your worldview. And you’re afraid of what the results might be, so you don’t ever want that to be a possibility. And you think that can’t happen if gay people were just made to go away and never show themselves to you. Well, that ain’t gonna happen, Dick. And neither are you going to be anally penetrated by a man. Unless you want one to. We won’t stop you.

Rick “Dick” Wiles
People like this Dick scare me a little. It’s not just that they seem to earnestly believe the nonsense they spew about the End of the Word coming, but that they’re not the only ones, and they have followers who believe the same insane nonsense. That the Bible predicts how the world will end, and that we are approaching those End Times. What fascinates me about this silliness, is that there is a sharp disagreement over the Logistics of how this Rapture thing will unfold, to the point where Dick got his Program chopped off by the station owners who went with the Competing Theory.

On Wednesday, fanatical End Times radio host Rick Wiles kicked off his radio program with a long attack on what he claims is the false doctrine of a pre-tribulation rapture, which is the idea that Christians will be taken up to Heaven before the world descends into war, famine, and chaos prior to the return of Christ.

Wiles was outraged that this view is widely held among conservative Christians today, but the real target of his wrath was the board of directors of Christian radio station KATB in Alaska, which voted to stop broadcasting Wiles’ radio show just three days after it began airing on the station because he preached against this doctrine.

But it is Wiles who will have the last laugh, he declared, when Russia invades Alaska as God’s judgment upon America for homosexuality.

“All I can say to the KATB board of directors is you guys will be the first people to see the Russian soldiers moving across the Bering Strait to invade the continental U.S.A. and bring judgment to this country for becoming a land of sodomites,” Wiles said. “Don’t worry. You will be raptured before World War III begins, right?”

A couple of things, Dick. As I told the other Dick, there are other things that have been going on since the country’s founding that violate the same Chapter of the Bible you cite as justification for your views, but God’s never done anything about that. Also, invading Alaska would be stupid, as Canada would immediately get involved to defend its borders, and the land invasion would do nothing but get troops killed. And Putin may be crazy but he’s not stupid. I also don’t think he cares enough about marriage equality to invade us to stop it. I’m pretty sure the United Nations isn’t going to let him get away with that. Nor would the people of Alaska. You think these people who openly talk about secession don’t believe they can take care of themselves? You’d be better off skipping Alaska, keeping a blockade above the Pacific Northwest, and invading the State of Washington, where they’re all happily stoned. Lastly, I honestly don’t know how Conservatives can claim to be followers of an obvious Liberal like the character Jesus Christ of Nazareth, as portrayed by the very white American actor, Jeffrey Hunter, who came back (as foretold in Revelations) to command the USS Enterprise.

Michael “Savage” Weiner
In case you didn’t know, professional misanthrope Michael Savage’s real last name is Weiner. I do not know, nor do I care, if he has legally changed his last name to Savage, but that is certainly his DBA name. Michael Savage. Sounds so masculine, so macho, so not-at-all compensation for being beaten up continuously in school for having the last name Weiner. I’m guessing it was immigrants who administered most of the beatings, as The Weiner has a serious grudge against them. He wants them deported, every single one. After expressing his love for Sen Joseph McCarthy, The Weiner said we should work out a deal with Russia to build Siberian internment camps where we could send all these deported people. Except it wouldn’t work, Weiner. Because Russia would just train them all, put them in uniform, and send them in to invade Alaska where, quite frankly, they wouldn’t care what happened to them, because they’d become the problem of the Independent Country of Alaska.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss Dicks or anything else you wish to discuss.

The Watering Hole, Saturday, January 3, 2015: The End Is Not Near

Conservatives who claim to be Christians spent last year proclaiming the end times were nigh upon us though the evidence clearly suggests otherwise. (We’re still here.) It’s both funny and sad. Funny because these folks seriously believe this nonsense, and sad because these folks seriously believe this nonsense. And it IS nonsense because it makes no sense whatsoever. There are at least three different things that prove to these folks that we are approaching the end times, and none of them have anything to do with each other, nor can they be linked in any coherent way. And what are the five things that give true believers an indication the world is coming to an end?

Start with the Obama Presidency. According to US Representative Emeritus Michele Bachmann, both President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are calling for both actual war and economic war with Israel. Of course, no such thing is actually happening, but when have facts ever gotten in the way of a Conservative Christian? (Speaking of which, can anyone out there list for me all of the teachings of Jesus that can even remotely be called Conservative? I strongly believe you can’t be both a Conservative and a Christian at the same time. That’s why Conservative Christians always come off as crazy. They’re walking around trying to believe two diametrically opposed philosophies.) Why she’s complaining baffles me because a war in Israel would bring about exactly what she desires – the end times, which means the Rapture, which means (she thinks) that she’s going to Heaven, despite all the many, many times she’s been known to bear false witness, such as in her claims that Obama dn Kerry want to bring about war in Israel. Or maybe, as televangelist Marion Gordon Robertson (better known as “Pot“, I mean, “Pat”) believes, the end times are upon us because Obama’s a “crypto-Muslim.” (Don’t worry, Pot’s praying for us. Did I say Pot again? I meant Pit, of course.) Or maybe it’s because Matthew Hagee is right and the end times are here as evidenced by Obamacare. Or maybe Franklin Graham is right and the end times are near because Obama isn’t cracking down on gay people enough like Vladimir Putin. (I meant not cracking down enough like Putin, not gay people like Putin. As far as I know, there is no evidence that proves that Putin is not gay.) Although Mark Creech thinks the end times are near because Obama is the Antichrist. Oh, and something about America being akin to the story of the Tower of Babel, which he believes “is a historical narrative of the first recorded form of government gone awry.” Right, because the Bible is such a reliable source of actual human history. (You can’t see them right now, but my eyes are rolling up in my head. Either because I can’t believe people believe the Bible contains reliable historical facts, or I’m having a stroke.) Or maybe Jonathan Wright is correct and Obama is the Antichrist because of the Bible Code. But whatever the reason, you can rest assured that the end of the world is coming because Barack Obama is president. (Isn’t it funny how the last three Republican presidents all gave huge tax breaks to the wealthy, which goes against everything Jesus taught his followers, but Obama is the Antichrist? Lies are a huge problem for real Christians, but not for Conservatives, which is why no Conservative can truly claim to be a Christian.)

Perhaps the end of the world is coming because of Ebola. Hagee thinks it might, and so does his father, John Hagee. But don’t worry, because Jim Bakker wants to sell you ice cream sandwiches to enjoy while everyone else is dead. Glenn Beck thinks Nigerian prison guards working in Texas will bring an airborne version of the deadly virus to the US and that we’ll be humbled (while we eat those sandwiches) and that Ebola was spiraling out of control. Not that facts have ever been known to influence your “thinking”, Glenn, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believe the exact opposite.

But don’t think for a moment Teh Gays are getting away without blame for all of this because, you know, they have too many rights. Whether it’s Matt Barber and Deryl Edwards’ theory that acceptance of gay Christians is to blame, or Linda Harvey’s theory that marriage equality is bringing it about, or Michael Bresciani’s theory that gay rights are responsible for increased terrorism in the world, or Flip Benham’s theory that homosexuality destroys nations, or Rick Wiles’ theory that our lack of support for Vladimir Putin’s anti-gay policies will result in nuclear war, or Dwight McKissic’s theory that Michael Sam’s coming out will do it, or Scott Lively’s theory that a Satanic conspiracy is “homosexualizing the world,” or Mike Huckabee’s theory that gay marriage victories will lead to God’s judgment, or even Sam Rohrer’s theory that same-sex marriage will lead to “tyranny” and the “destruction of our nation”, somehow, some way, Teh Gays will bring about the end of the world.

Seriously, do these guys have anything else to think about? I know it comforts them to believe they will be Raptured, but I think they ought to learn a little bit more about the message of Jesus before they start thinking themselves saved. To be perfectly honest and 100% accurate, I have just as much chance of getting into Heaven as any of them do.

A longer version of this post will appear on Pick Wayne’s Brain later today. I’ll put a link on the blog name when it’s ready. Got some grocery shopping to do for Mom before the snow hits, and the playoffs begin.

UPDATE: The longer version is posted. And I neglected to add something to this post, which I did to the one on my Brain: My most humble thanks to the wonderful folks at Right Wing Watch for their painstaking research and cataloging of what the Right Wing is up to in public. Without them, my ability to report it back to you, Kind Readers, would be much, much harder.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss the end of the world, or anything else that pleases you.

The Watering Hole, Saturday, November 22, 2014: This Week in Paranoia: Facts vs. Freakery on Obama’s Immigration Reforms

President Barack Obama announced earlier in the week that he would later be announcing several reforms to the immigration system, largely because Republicans have been reluctant to pass anything in the House to address the issue. So, as he has said many times before in an ultimately failed effort to spur the House to pass the bill the Senate sent them, the president said that if Congress failed to act, he would. They didn’t, so he did, and now they’re totally freaking out. They’re claiming they now have grounds for impeachment (actually, some of them said this before he made the official announcement, based on nothing more than their own imagination about what the president would actually say) because the president is trying to ignite a civil war, and that citizens must resist “by any means necessary” any attempt to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants, and that it’s all part of a plot to not only guarantee millions of future Democratic voters, but to turn the United States into a Third World country and because now there will be all kinds of voter fraud (you just know it.) None of these fears are reality-based.

The calls for impeachment really crack me up because they were coming before the president’s announcement, and many were citing the president’s proposed amnesty for illegal immigrants as the primary charge against him. Former Florida Congressman (and current “Where Are They Now File” resident) Allen West told Newsmax, “It will be the president saying, ‘You know, I want to violate the Constitution and grant amnesty to people who are here illegally.'” Family Research Council President and Anal Sex Expert Tony Perkins said, in his very roundabout way, “What the president is about to do on amnesty is essentially tell, using his authority as the chief executive, the president, to the executive branch, Homeland Security, immigration, not to enforce the law, which is a violation of his oath to uphold the law.” Eagle Forum founder and former female Phyllis Schlafly thinks that amnesty by executive action constitutes a high crime or misdemeanor.

There are at least three things obviously wrong with these allegations. First, at the time each of these people made these remarks, the president had not actually announced his plan, and when he did, it didn’t include amnesty. The right wing is really afraid of that word – “amnesty.” They talk about it all the time as if granting it to millions of people whose only crime was in the way they entered the country would bring about the end of the United States of America. They talk about it it as if it’s the worst abuse of power a president could commit (including, apparently, lying us into a costly, unnecessary war). They talk about it as if it’s the most un-American thing a president could do. So their fears about amnesty are unfounded because the president wasn’t proposing any. Second, it is actually totally within the president’s constitutional authority to grant amnesty to millions of people who entered the country illegally. The president can grant amnesty to anyone he or she desires. The president can also selectively enforce the law and decide which laws won’t be as aggressively prosecuted as others, since there isn’t enough funding to enforce all the laws anyway. It doesn’t mean a succeeding president can’t prosecute if the statute of limitations hasn’t expired, so it isn’t the same as amnesty, which would deny prosecution later. By the way, the president’s oath says he will faithfully execute the office of president, not “uphold the law.” Executing the duties of the president sometimes involves deciding when to prosecute someone and when not to. Former President George Herbert Walker Bush granted amnesty to former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger for his criminal role in the previous administration’s plan to sell arms to terrorists in exchange for hostages. (A plan which, for the record, Bush later wrote in his memoirs that he was the only one who knew everything that was going on with the arms-for-hostages deal to raise money to illegally give to rebel fighters in Central America.) And third (speaking of Reagan), former President Ronald Reagan granted amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants. Care to comment on that example of un-American activity by a president, Right Wing? If you like some facts to chew on, check out this great post at PoliticusUsa.

That’s just the crazy people talking about impeaching the president for executing a constitutional authority he actually has but didn’t actually use. Check out the link to see who thinks we’re headed for civil war, how the vote is getting rigged while simultaneously increasing voter fraud. And the good people at Think Progress (with whom I’ve had many exchanges over the years) have found other people going similarly crazy over Obama’s use of executive authority (which he is constitutionally required to do.) There’s a lot of sadly misinformed people out there, and some of them are members of the Legislative Branch in our Federal Government. I think you should be very concerned about that. You can start by looking at your own state legislatures, where many of these people got their start. To undo Republican gerrymandering, we have to take back the state legislatures by 2020, so we can control the drawing of Congressional District maps, which is the only way we’ll ever take back the House of Representatives. And we have to get rid of electronic voting, which can easily be rigged and manipulated, and very likely has in some key races in recent years. It is not secure, and it can easily change election results to anyone in power who wants to stay there. Paper ballots are the best way. They don’t take that long to count, and the results can easily be verified and re-counted as needed. Only then can we restore Democracy to America.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss crazy paranoid right wingers serving in our government, or any other topic you wish to discuss.

The Watering Hole, Saturday, October 25, 2014: Five Republicans I Fear Might Win

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 five Republicans I fear might win on Election Day (which is just one week from this coming Tuesday.) What’s even more frightening than the mere fact that they won their party’s nomination is that they may end up being members of a Republican-controlled House and Senate. And that would be horrific for anybody in this country who isn’t a white, male billionaire which, last time I checked, was just about all of us.

The five names you don’t want to hear announced as winners on Election Night (or however many days it takes to count up every vote against them) are Joni Ernst, Thom Tillis, Jody Hice, Glenn Grothman, and Zach Dasher. The first two wish to become US Senators (in our government!) and the other three wish to become US Representatives (representing the interests of the very, very rich in the People’s House.) Ernst wants to replace retiring Iowa Senator Tom Harkin and Tillis wants to unseat first term North Carolina Senator Kay Hagen. Over in the House, Hice wants to replace the out-going non-believer in Science (and member of the House Science Committee) Dr. Paul Broun (who once called Evolution and the Big Bang Theory “lies straight from the pit of Hell“); Grothman wants to replace retiring Wisconsin Rep Tom Petri (who won’t endorse Grothman because, as he told a reporter, “Why would I endorse a person who has said that if in two years people said he was ‘just like Petri’ he would be insulted?”); and Dasher wants to bank on his family name (which isn’t his; he’s related to the Robertsons of Duck Dynasty fame) to replace the freshman Republican Vince McAllister.

I encourage you to read about each of these five candidates at the link above. Believe me, if you have any sense of decency as a human being, if you have any concern whatsoever about the extremist Tea Party people taking over our government so they can do the bidding of their wealthy benefactors, or if you have an IQ in the three-digit range, you will not want any of these five people to win a week from Tuesday. If they have the right view on anything, I can promise you it’s probably for the wrong reasons. And talk about extremism. Among them, in various combinations, they support: nullification of federal laws they don’t like, personhood amendments, Christian nationalism, anti-abortion laws, and the arming of school teachers. And I just picked one thing out of each of their platforms. They support many, many more extremist positions. I will be very unhappy if any one of them wins, and I will be downright depressed if any of them win and the Republicans take control of all of Congress because any of them might become the head of a Congressional committee. You should be, too.

This is our daily open thread. feel free to discuss Republican extremism or anything else you wish to discuss.

The Watering Hole, Saturday, October 4, 2014: This Week in Paranoia: The Humbling Gay Ebola Gun Grab Anarchy

Courtesy of the good people at Right Wing Watch, we learn what’s got the right wing’s knickers in a twist. From soldiers being sent to West Africa to deliberately contract Ebola (a US Congressman actually said this) to gays trying to recruit your sons (I don’t hear them expressing any concern about your daughters, just your sons) to Obama coming for your guns (again, and for discredited reasons, again) to anarchy over teaching actual American History (because we don’t want to whitesplain it) to America being humbled because of the devastation Ebola will cause (undoubtedly after all those US Soldiers come back with it), the right wing in this country is becoming more and more unhinged from reality. I’d like to know what they’d say about Ebola if they actually understood how it’s transmitted from person to person. I’d also like to know what they’d say if they understood any of the other things they went haywire over lately. BTW, here’s a simple way to tell if you have Ebola: Have you been in contact with any kind of bodily fluid from a person infected with Ebola and showing symptoms? If the answer is “No,” then you do not have Ebola. It’s just that simple.

Professional Misanthrope Michael “Savage” Weiner (“Savage” is his phony name; his real last name is Weiner) actually believes that President Obama is sending 3,000 troops to West Africa in the hopes that at least one of them will contract Ebola, bring it back to the US, and infect the entire country. I am not making that up. And he must have convinced Rep Louie Gohmert (Orc, Middle Earth) who thinks this is part of the president’s problem with political correctness. I am not making that up, either. And then Ebola will turn everyone gay. Okay, I made that last one up. But I’m not the only one making things up about teh gay.

Paul Cameron, known for making shit up about gay people, was a guest of “Pray In Jesus Name” host Gordon Klingenschmitt (no friend to the either the LGBT or Reality communities), and he made the extraordinary (i.e., totally bullshit false) claim that “Homosexuals, from the get-go, as long as we have recorded history, have used the molestation of boys as a way to recruit to homosexuality.” He then goes on to spew, what I have no doubt are, made-up statistics (his leitmotif, which means, literally, “light more teeth”) to support his pre-conceived bigoted notions about gay people. “So this is a tremendous recruitment tool,” he said. “If a gay can get to your son first, the chances are about 50-50, as near as we can tell, that your son is going to be a practicing homosexual to some degree.” He feels it’s very important that your sons avoid having a “homosexual experience.” Ironically, Cameron was forced to perform oral sex on a man when he was four years old (he says.) Does that mean there’s a 50% chance that Paul Cameron is gay? Some people would say Yes.

Apparently out of any new reasons why Obama wants us all dead, Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy and former (thankfully) Judge Andrew Napolitano resurrected the discredited claim that the United Nations is coming for your guns. Napolitano also tried to vomit out the lie that more guns makes us more safe. Actual studies have proven this wrong. It’s thinking like this that really puts our nation in danger. Obama’s choice to be Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, believes that gun violence is a serious health issue. The NRA disagrees, of course, so his nomination is being held up. So thanks to the same party that thinks our nation is in great peril from Ebola, we have no Surgeon General to guide the nation through this health crisis (which isn’t a crisis yet at all, and likely won’t be.) Oh, and because Obama is taking away our guns, more of us are going to be beheaded. In this country. Because it happened once.

And one can’t help but think beheadings would be on the rise if we were in a state of anarchy, which right-wing darling and presidential I-think-I-wannabe Ben Carson believes is the direction this country is headed. And because of it, he won’t get to run for president because Obama will cancel the 2016 elections. He’s also joining the chorus of ill-minded people denouncing the new Advanced Placement US History curriculum, because it isn’t patriotic enough. Growing up, I wasn’t taught the truth about American history. The times when our nation did not live up to its ideals, when it didn’t seem to know right from wrong, they were glossed over. It wasn’t until I got older that I learned about things like the Tuskegee Airman experiments, the genocidal treatment of the Native Peoples living here before white Europeans showed up and claimed the land for themselves, and the numerous times our government deliberately overthrew democratically elected ones elsewhere in order to prop up a ruthless dictator who would grant US corporations special favors. I already knew Slavery was bad. But the right wing would prefer that our students be taught only the good things about America, not the bad things that eventually made it possible to do some of the good things we did.

Yet Glenn Beck thinks that because of all the bad things we’ve been doing, and continue to do, our country is headed for a “massive humbling.” That we are going to be brought down. And the beginning of that “massive humbling” may already have happened. With one case of Ebola.

This is our daily open thread. Finally. Feel free to discuss Ebola, gay recruitment, anarchy, guns, late posts, or anything else you wish to discuss.

The Watering Hole, Saturday, September 6, 2014: This Week In Paranoia: Kill Whitey, Big Sodomy, and A Criminal Organization By Any Other Name

Courtesy of our good friends at Right Wing Watch, we learned of several conspiracy theories floating around in the toilets known as the minds of right wing lunatics, some of whom you’ve heard of before. We’ve got the president planning to kill all the white people so he can declare martial law (which would seem silly since he could declare martial law first and save the taxpayers’ money on bullets.) We’ve got citizen border patrols sneaking upon and nearly apprehending scientists studying bats. We’ve got Teh Gays coming for your kids, as always. (Why is it always the kids Teh Gays want? Why aren’t they after your husbands and boyfriends, which is far more likely?) We’ve got the President secretly flying from Hawaii back to Washington to attend Christmas services at a mosque, then back to his family in Hawaii again without anybody noticing. And we’ve got a right wing cacophony of cries of secret messages and support for terrorists because the President chose to use a more accurate acronym for the bad guys. Nothing more than that. He just decided to use an ‘L’ instead of an ‘S’, and now you and I are going to die.

Professional Misanthrope Michael “Savage” Weiner wants you to buy his book (which I highly advise against) so you’ll understand Continue reading

The Watering Hole, Saturday, August 23, 2014: This Week In Crazy – Race Wars, Gay Recruitment, and Ebola

Courtesy of Right Wing Watch we learn that your precious tax dollars are paying the salaries of certifiably insane Congress Critters Hell bent on scaring the crap out of anybody within earshot, that some of those children from Central American countries in turmoil really may have come from Venezuela to be trained as warriors because, you know, the Revolutionary War, and that President Obama is simultaneously starting a race war and turning children gay. Oh, and those Central American kids have Ebola. Must’ve gone to Western Africa before heading back to Venezuela for their warrior training. And that’s just this week.

If it were just people like Tamara Scott, an Iowa state-level Republican official and conservative activist, I’d say it was a cry for attention. Scott thinks among the tens of thousands of migrant children from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador are warrior children, trained in Venezuela by Hezbollah, or Hamas, maybe both, who knows? After all, there were 12-year-olds fighting in our American Revolution. Except, of course, that was before there was such a thing as the modern childhood, an early 20th-century invention. Before that, once kids were old enough (four, five, maybe six years old), they started working for the family. Or they went to live with someone else and learn a trade. But they were put to work, maybe in the fields picking food, maybe on farms feeding livestock. There was no public education system, where kids were sent to learn to read and write and, most importantly though conservatives ignore it, to socialize, to learn to get along with other people. So it should surprise no one that there were 12-year-old children fighting in the Revolutionary War. What does that have to do with today? It’s hard for me to believe that someone who isn’t paranoid would believe this “chain of logic.” She may want attention, but what she needs is help.

If it were just people like Larry Klayman, a misanthrope who thinks the President and Attorney General of the United States are both trying to start a race war and to bring reparations to black people, I’d say someone was off his meds again. Klayman, like many voices we hear on the Conservative fringes of Society, has a problem with facts. His problem seems to be a severe allergy to them, to the point where he just doesn’t use them to make a point. In a WorldNutDaily column (from which I’ll quote but to which I won’t link), he wrote:

First, it has become clear that Obama’s economic policies and eventual legislation, such as the disastrous Obamacare, have been designed to favor blacks over whites, and to in effect have whitey pay reparations to blacks for the insidious years of racial discrimination. Obama’s intention is to melt down the gold in America and redistribute it to his people.

Second, Obama ignores racially motivated crimes against whites, some of which is manifest in the rising anti-Semitism and anti-Christian bigotry here and worldwide. It is an undisputed fact that hate crimes against Jews far exceed those against blacks.

I’m disputing that. I base that on the summaries of the last two annual FBI Hate Crimes Reports. In 2011, racial motivations were behind 46.9% of all hate crimes, while religious bias was behind only 19.8%. Lest you think this might have changed significantly the next year, in 2012 racial motivation accounted for 48.3% while religious bias only 19%. And while these are overall numbers addressing race and religious persuasion in general, it’s hard to believe if you dug down deep within those numbers, that “hate crimes against Jews far exceed those against blacks.” But that would have to mean that virtually all hate crimes of religious bias were against Jews, and only a small proportion of racially motivated hate crimes were against blacks for Klayman’s statement to be remotely true.

If it was just the Tea Party of Louisiana calling for repeal of Common Core because it turns students gay, I’d say it was bigots and homophobes at work again. Don’t think they believe their claim wasn’t baseless. They had proof. They had a link to “Broken World News“, a parody website whose About page features the warning, “Disclaimer: If you believe any of the shit you read here you are a freaking moron.” Spokesman Bob Reid that he was trying to “bring attention of the Common Core issue to those who maybe aren’t paying attention,” which I guess includes not paying attention to the links he was providing. I suppose I could give the Tea Party of Louisiana the benefit of the doubt and assume that they aren’t bigots and homophobes, just freaking morons.

And if it was just Republicans in Congress, such as Phil Gingrey, Michele Bachmann, and Todd Rokita, claiming that the children fleeing violence in Central America were carrying the Ebola virus with them, I’d chalk it up to simple medical ignorance, even on the part of the one Georgia certified to be a medical doctor. (Hint: His name rhymes with Still Dinghy.) If they bothered to listen to the Centers For Disease Control (whose work they pay for through their taxes), they’d know that the only known location where people contracted Ebola has been Africa. And if they listen to Immigration and Naturalization Service, they’d know that none of these children have tested positive for Ebola. Not one single child. And that’s a problem.

The problem is it isn’t just these people, it’s a whole bunch of low-intellect, low-information people who listen to and believe them. And then those people start complaining their government is trying to start a race war, turns kids gay, and infect the country with Ebola. And then they go out in November and vote for the politicians who tell them all of that is true. Frankly, I’m surprised our Democracy has lasted as long as it has.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss race wars, gay recruitment, Ebola, or anything else that strikes your fancy and gets your conspiratorial nut going.

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, Saturday, January 12, 2013: There’s Truth, and There’s What Some People Believe

We have a serious problem in America. Too many of our fellow countrymen believe things that are just plain demonstrably untrue. I’m not referring to religious beliefs, which presents its own set of misguided believers (did you know that over the past thirty years, Gallup polls have consistently shown that around 45% of Americans believe that God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so?), I’m talking simple facts. It sure surprised me to learn that about one in five Americans believes the Sun revolves around the Earth. I always thought that one was a “no-brainer” and I guess for those one in five, it’s true – they have no brain.

That’s not to say that intelligent people can’t believe something highly unlikely or, in the opinion of some people, highly implausible. A National Geographic poll from last year found that about 80 million Americans (about 36%) believe UFOs exist. Scientists will tell us this is highly implausible. They are certain no intelligent, sufficiently advanced life exists elsewhere in our own solar system, so any extra-terrestrial life forms must come from another star system. But because of the vast distances between stars (our nearest neighbor is roughly 25 trillion miles away), it would require faster-than-light travel to get here, and that, they claim, is scientifically impossible. FTR, I am not of this belief. I believe that vast distances can be traveled, but we just haven’t figured out a practical way to do it yet. And while I am not one of those who believes aliens crashed landed in Roswell, NM, over 65 years ago and our government covered it up, I do believe we are not alone in the universe and that it is entirely possible that we have been visited before by extra-terrestrial life. When I was a kid, my mother and sister came home from shopping saying there were three green lights in the sky that seemed to follow them home. Of course, many people perceive lights in the sky to be following them, especially when those lights are far away. I looked outside and could see them myself. To this day, I have no idea what they were, but since there were three of them, and not one, and they were much bigger than a small dot, I knew they couldn’t be the object most commonly mistaken for a flying saucer.

The good news is that while roughly 36% of Americans believe that UFOs exist, only about a fourth of that number (8%) identify themselves as Tea Party people. This is way down from April 2010 when 24% proudly called themselves Tea Party people. The things they believe make no sense at all, and what’s worse is that they’ll desperately hang onto those false beliefs no matter what we try to tell them. One of their heroes is a charlatan named David Barton. Barton is a self-professed “historian” who looks for ways to distort the historical record in an attempt to convince people that the United States of America is not a secular nation but a Christian one, not simply because three-quarters of our citizens self-identify with some form of Christianity, but because the Founding Fathers were Christians, not Deists, who wanted everybody to practice Christianity. (Which version is never made clear.) His most recent book, “The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You’ve Always Believed About Thomas Jefferson,” was so full of errors that the publisher withdrew the book from publication. (Barton apparently bought back all his books from there original publisher, Thomas Nelson, and then tried to pass them off as coming from Barton’s own publishing company, Wallbuilders.) Barton claims that “much of the disputed material within his book could easily be clarified if not for the editing performed by publisher Thomas Nelson. Much of the removed material, Barton argued, contained supporting information for those facts which have been questioned.” Did that deter Barton or his followers? No. One of his most ardent supporters, one who quoted him all the time and gave him a forum to spew his lies, is Glenn Beck. Beck has decided that his publishing company, Mercury Ink, will publish Barton’s book. Barton said the new edition “will not include any substantive changes, but I will rephrase some things to remove any potential confusion.” I’m pretty sure the only confusion that exists is in your own mind, David, where you believe yourself to be a legitimate historian. It doesn’t help your case that Newt Gingrich, a known distorter of facts and reality, thinks highly of your work as an historian. I also wouldn’t be proud to have Mike Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas and presidential candidate, introduce you with comments like, “I almost wish that there would be something like a simultaneous telecast and all Americans would be forced, forced—at gunpoint, no less—to listen to every David Barton message.” Gee, I should be forced to listen to David Barton at gunpoint? And this from an ordained minister?

David Barton is just one glaring example, but there are others. Sadly, some of them walk the Halls of Congress in between writing and voting on laws that govern the entire nation. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), when asked in an interview with GQ magazine, “How old do you think the Earth is?” ducked the question and gave a lame answer which simply proved he had no idea and couldn’t be bothered to find out:

I’m not a scientist, man. I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that’s a dispute amongst theologians and I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States. I think the age of the universe has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow. I’m not a scientist. I don’t think I’m qualified to answer a question like that. At the end of the day, I think there are multiple theories out there on how the universe was created and I think this is a country where people should have the opportunity to teach them all. I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says. Whether the Earth was created in 7 days, or 7 actual eras, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that. It’s one of the great mysteries.

Rep. Paul Broun, speaking at the 2012 Sportsman’s Banquet, which was held in a church, told the crowd, “God’s word is true. I’ve come to understand that. All that stuff I was taught about evolution, embryology, the big bang theory; all of that is lies straight from the pit of hell.” The article goes on to say, “Broun, a Republican from Oconee County, is a medical doctor and running unopposed in District 10 on the November ballot. He serves on the Congressional science and technology, and homeland security committees.” A medical doctor who thinks that stuff he was taught about embryology was a lie serves on a Science committee.

Worse still is the right wing denial of climate change, which is unquestionably real and caused by human activity, something about 97% of climatologists who took part in an online surveyed confirmed. Let me try to explain this as best I can. Since the Industrial Revolution, humans have been burning a hell of a lot more coal and oil than they did before. When the coal and oil stays in the ground, the carbon within it stays in the ground with it. When you burn it, the carbon dioxide goes up into the atmosphere and eventually comes down into the Earth’s oceans. Carbon dioxide holds heat very well (which is why it’s called a greenhouse gas), and this means the Earth’s oceans are warmer. When storms form out over the ocean, they get energy from warm waters, so as they pass over warmer waters, the storms tends to pick up in intensity. This is what produces those intense summer and winter storms we’ve been seeing in recent years. It’s not that climate change is causing the storms (which is one way right wing climate change deniers distort the facts), it’s that climate change is making the storms we get stronger. Climate change is one reason why Hurricane Sandy was so devastating. But having climate change deniers sit on Congressional committees that deal with Science is a recipe for a nation ill prepared to deal with the effects of climate change, which include rising sea levels that threaten everybody who lives on the coasts. It’s almost as if these people equate having an opinion with having a valid opinion. Science, and reality, don’t work that way.

So what can we do? I don’t know. The challenge we face is that telling people the truth doesn’t seem to work, especially when it comes to political matters (which ought to be based on facts and science). Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt (whose great paper “What Makes People Vote Republican?” I highly recommend) said in a recent interview

Political views aren’t like views about factual matters. If you believe that it’s faster to drive to the airport than take mass transit, and I give you evidence that mass transit is faster, there’s a good chance that I’ll change your mind, because your goal is actually to get to the airport more quickly. With political and moral questions, our goal isn’t “the truth.” That’s why it’s always vital to bear in mind the importance of group membership when trying to understand political differences. Political beliefs act as badges of membership, badges that say who we are and give us a sense of meaning and purpose. They’re badges that we display to show our moral character. So simply refuting someone’s views about global warming or needle-exchange programs or abortion or anything else will have little effect, because people aren’t going to betray their team because you show them evidence that they’re wrong.

The only solution I see is to not vote for Republicans until they start accepting that Reality is not what you decide it is, but what it actually is, no matter how much it contradicts what you would like it to be.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss Reality, climate change, Republican refusal to accept facts, or any other you choose. Just don’t lie to me.