Moral Turpitude

19 06 2018

The news media in this country has been wringing their hands lately about the latest crisis-du-jour– the mind-bogglingly large numbers of people growing addicted to (and not-infrequently dying from) misuse of opium-based analgesics. While this technically includes opium, heroin, and morphine, these are not the primary pharmaceuticals singled out for that special ‘hushed-voice’ description. The media is usually speaking of percocet, oxcontin, and oxycodone- different flavors of codeine-based chemicals mixed with different levels of acetominophen to improve the level of pain relief.

Lots of media personalities with furrowed brow have opined on this or that aspect of the “opiod epidemic”, with most of the blame falling on several dozen so-called “pill mills”, which exist solely to feed the raging black-market demand for these pharmaceuticals by issuing prescriptions for absurd amounts of the drugs for just about any complain. When the local cops and Federal agencies shut these pill mills down, they re-form with “new management” a few miles away (often in a different county) to start the process all over again.

One would think this sort of problem would be an auspicious use of Federal and State law-enforcement funding and training, and one would hope such organized crime were the subject of intensive effort by every level of law enforcement. Sadly, this is NOT the focus of Federal and State law enforcement. Apparently, going after organized gangs who dispense dangerous drugs as if they were a new form of candy is just too hard. So the focus is on Your Doctor.

Your doctor, my doctor, and most of the other physicians practicing in the US are not involved in organized crime, they keep diligent records, have a regular practice in a hospital and/or office, and rarely have high-priced mob attorneys on speed-dial. They’re also not even vaguely the biggest source of misused opiods, but they are easy to get at. So the Feds and State law enforcement troopies have been making their lives Hell.

And then the Puritan shitweasels get involved.

If the “opiod crisis” was merely some people getting too many pain-killers, it would be just a law-enforcement issue. It can’t be just a law-enforcement issue for Puritan Shitweasels- it also has to be evidence of moral failure. If the opiod epidemic was caused by moral failures, then Puritans could feel ever-so-smug and righteous and holier-than-thou about the people falling victim to these drugs. If opiod addiction is proof of a lack of morals, then the Puritan Shitweasels can wash their hands of any responsibility for providing treatment or assistance.

And that is how the issue has been re-imaged here in the US. Everyone who uses pain-killing drugs has something morally wrong with them.

Here in the Shallow South, for example, your doctor can no longer prescribe a wide variety of analgesics. All such prescriptions must be controlled by state-approved “pain management” programs.

Let us say you were a 80% disabled veteran living in the Shallow South. The disabling condition which got you your medical discharge has left you in constant pain for fifteen years. During those fifteen years, you have been diligently avoiding prescriptions of codeine-based drugs because they lend themselves so easily to addiction and further depress your mental acuity to ‘drooling moron’ for far longer than the pan-killing effect. You and your doctor have settled on a drug which is far more expensive, is hard to grow addicted to , and doesn’t have the severe mental depressant effects of most codeine-based drugs. You’ve been taking this drug and have remained largely a productive citizen for more than a decade as a result.

But then, your doctor informs you he cannot prescribe this drug anymore because of the “opiod crisis”, and you will have to see a pain-management center in order to get your pain-killer. You may be of the opinion this was dumb, and you probably have a lot of company in that opinion, but you get yourself duly assigned to yet another doctor who knows NOTHING about your medical history. And then the stupidityness starts in earnest.

– All prescriptions for pain medicines MUST be issued by the pain management doctor, or you risk getting thrown out of the pain-management program. Even if you get hit by a truck and the ER doc gives you some painkillers, you cannot fill that prescription. You MUST take it to the pain-management doc who will then decided if you get it or not.

– Your prescriptions must all be filled only at one pharmacy of your choice. If that pharmacy (say, Rite-Aid) can’t fill the prescription, but another Rite-Aid a few miles away can do so, you risk getting thrown out of the program for “pharmacy shopping”.

– You must see the pain-management doc every 90 days, without fail, regardless of holidays, national emergencies, your pain-management doc quitting the practice, or any time you may spend in the hospital. Failure to comply gets you thrown out of the program.

– You must bring your pain meds with you to every appointment so they can be counted by hand to determine if you’re misusing the drugs. You also have to give a urine sample at every appointment to make sure you don’t have anything else in your system.

– You are prohibited from consuming alcohol in any form while you are in the program.

Let us further imagine you- the 80% disabled veteran above- are scheduled for some surgery in a last-ditch attempt at removing or reducing the pain. Prior to surgery, you duly let your pain management doc know the surgery is coming up and you will require post-operative pain treatment. Your pain management doc will issue a prescription for what HE thinks you will need, not the doctor doing the surgery. Let us assume you spend two days in post-op while the hospital tries to get a handle on your pain (on a logarithmic scale, where 1 is a paper-cut, and ten is you begging the doctors to remove your limb), and the surgeon prescribes an additional pain med to use in conjunction with the opiods already prescribed. Well, now, you’re right proper fucked.

Trying to follow the byzantine set of rules for pain management, you call the pain management folks to tell them you have a new prescription in addition to the original one. You get transferred to the ‘prescription line’ which has been set up for re-fills only, and has no provisions for a new prescription. You get told they’ll get back to you in five business days. You make multiple calls to pain management, trying to break through to someone with a functioning brain. Finally, in despair, you grab your hospital discharge paperwork and the prescription from your surgeon and have your wife drive you down to the pain-management clinic just two days after discharge in order to explain in baby-talk to the clinic staff that you can’t really wait for five fucking days.

Finally, you’re back home in bed, with your wife at the local pharmacy getting your newly-approved meds, and the phone rings. It’s the pain-management clinic telling you they’ve decided NOT to approve your surgeon’s prescription.

Current status: Vexed

Current music: The System of Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether by Alan Parsons Project

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We Are The Baddies

27 05 2018

For those of you unfamiliar with the source of that headline, I refer you to a hilarious sketch from “That Mitchell and Webb Look“.

For those of you unfamiliar with why I posted this, I refer you to several news articles published today and yesterday noting that Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) automatically separates children from their parents who cross the border illegally, and has “lost” 1475 of them.

To further infuriate everyone and his/her mother, the imbecile in charge of social media at ICE posted an ad for people to develop/use new technology to help prevent children from going missing. That isn’t even tone-deaf- that’s deliberately poking a bear with a stick.

To keep things simple, I’ll repeat the above information in bullet-point format:

  • The US government (ICE) routinely separates children from their parents when those parents are suspected of crossing the border illegally
  • These children are required by law and multiple court orders to be provided with health care, decent housing, and access to schools
  • The US government has seized a bit over SIX THOUSAND children in this manner
  • When another branch of the US government tried to locate these children, 1,475 could not be found

One Arizona newspaper reported some of these missing children had been delivered to “sponsors” who were known for human sex trafficking.

Here’s the thing- when a government entity takes control of something, such as by seizing that thing from the original possessor, the government is from that point on responsible for the seized thing. From cars to firearms to personal property, once the government takes control of it, the government is responsible for what it has taken. In this case, the US government (in the form of ICE) has seized more than 6,000 children from their parents and is failing in its responsibility to to provide minimal care for those children, to the point where the government cannot account for almost 1,500 children.

The government is us. We all agreed to follow a set of rules wherein we (the People) would elect representatives to work for us to build and maintain a stable society. Over the past 200+ years, we’ve built up a set of rules and laws, and developed government organizations and agencies to support and enforce those laws and rules. And now, one of those organizations we established is responsible for LOSING 1,500 CHILDREN.

This is OUR FAULT. Yes, you, me, and everyone else in this country. WE allowed this to happen. This government agency acting in our names and on our behalf has managed to lose 1,475 children. Why are you not outraged? One out of every four children ICE has taken from their parents has … disappeared.

THIS. IS. NOT. ACCEPTABLE.

What are you going to do about the criminal activity being done in YOUR name? Have you contacted your elected representatives? Why not?

If YOU do not actively and loudly denounce this villainous stupidity conducted by YOUR government, then you are complicit in the activity. The children aren’t old enough to have committed a crime, but a crime has been done to them by YOUR government.

Do something about it. Write and/or call your congresscritter. Register to vote (if you haven’t already) and actually show up to fucking VOTE in every fucking election- including for county dog-catcher. If YOU don’t stand up to protest the criminal activity undertaken in your name, it’s your fault.

Silence gives assent. Don’t be silent. Be LOUD.

 

Current status: Homicidally infuriated

Current music: Free Will by Rush





Another Bloody Anniversary

4 04 2018

Fifty years ago, humanity continued in its endless quest to purge its ranks of anyone who tries to make the world a better place. A man was murdered in cold blood by another person for the crime of wanting everyone to be nice to everyone else. This was no crime of passion. The killer laid in wait for his target, and shot him from a distance. Coldly. Without remorse. Without shame or regret.

The victim was Dr. Martin Luther King. He was murdered for the sin of insisting on equality for everyone. A white person was so offended at the prospect of treating humans equally- regardless of skin color or religion or political inclination or wealth- that he murdered a man who was publicly shaming the country for not doing so.

Let that sink in. Someone in this country decided to kill because the he did not like what the victim had to say.

If that doesn’t make you simultaneously furious, frightened, and sad, you need to immediately apply for a clue chit. It is the twenty-first fucking century. Humans have been supposedly “civilized” for roughly ten thousand years by now, yet we’re still resorting to violence to silence those we disagree with.

For those not paying attention, here’s a short primer on the use of deadly force. Ready?

Deadly force must only be used to defend yourself or another person from violence.

Pretty simple, isn’t it? No complicated rules of engagement here. It’s very fucking simple. Violence is a shitty way to solve problems, not least because violence almost always creates more problems whenever it is used. If you or another person are not faced with violence in the immediate near-term, violence is wrong. Kill only when it is the only way to protect yourself or another person from violence.

Dr. King was not offering violence- even rhetorically. He and those who followed him allowed their opposition to beat and imprison them without resorting to violence, even though resorting to violence would have been justified (in my opinion, using the rule promulgated here). Turning the other cheek to those who are literally baying for your life’s blood takes a level of self-confidence and courage which beggars belief. I am certain I do not have the guts to remain non-violent when confronted by violence, yet Dr. King and those who followed him did just that.

Those who opposed Dr. King and his message offered violence in response to the idea everyone should be treated equally. They were willing to kill to prevent Dr. King from publicly calling for equal treatment under the law.

In case you haven’t figured it out, here’s a little bit of information for you: liberty and equality are not diminished by being shared. Like love, sharing equality, tolerance, and liberty creates more. Treating other people equally does not take equality away from you, any more than loving someone reduces the amount of love in the world.

Equality is not a zero-sum game.

How hard is it to treat everyone equally? Apparently a lot of people in this country think it’s just too difficult, and they’re willing to kill anyone who thinks different.

That last word up there is the major factor in the opposition to liberty and equality. “Different”. Someone who isn’t exactly like you and your family is “different”, and therefore scary. This pathological terror of “different” is fucking stupid on just about every level, and invariably results in violence against the “other”- however “other” is defined.

Worship a different god? Wear different clothes? Worship the same god but on a different day? Speak a different language? Worship the same god on the same day but while wearing different clothing? What about worshiping the same god on the same day in the same way wearing the same clothes but using a different language? OHMYGOD, you’re different! Eeeeeeeek! Flee! Flee for your lives!

Let us examine these scary differences, shall we? Genetically, every single human on the planet is almost indistinguishable from every other human. To illustrate this idea, I call your attention to the fact humans are genetically 97% identical to chimpanzees. Any given Kalahari Bushman and the Great Green Dipshit of the KKK are 99.97% identical.

Yet the supposedly “civilized” leader of the KKK is willing to kill over a minute .03% genetic difference between his DNA and the man from Africa.

Why? What is so fucking special about those protein combinations in that random .03% genetic variation? There is no innate superiority built into those tiny fractions of differences, despite what many supposedly “superior” people like to tell themselves.

chin

If your personal sense of self-worth is based solely on feeling superior to other people, you’re the one with problems- not the “other” people. And let’s not forget they’re people, shall we?

So, a white person was so upset a black person was asking for his fellow Americans to treat everyone equally, this white person felt he just had to shut the black person up. With a gun.

John Lewis

With that bullet, the white man did more than murder an innocent man in cold blood. He also shot a hole through all pretensions of equality and civilization in America.

It has been fifty fucking years. I’m having a hard time believing we’ve made any progress at all. Hatred of “other” is out there in the open for all to see. Millions of Americans are happy to fuck over their fellow Americans based on ephemera such as skin color or religion or politics. Millions of Americans are perfectly fine with other Americans being beaten, imprisoned, or killed based on similar minuscule differences.

This is not right, or just, or even American. Equality is the promise of America, but too many supposed Americans don’t want to live up to that promise.

Time to start acting like Americans are supposed to act. Hell, time to start acting like fucking adults. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We cannot tolerate those who hate and act on that hatred. If for no other reason than sheer self-interest, we must put this antiquated ideas back in the garbage can where they belong.

Remember- if you get to cause harm to other people for their differences, then you will find yourself on the receiving end of this same attitude when someone decides YOU are “different”.

 

Current status: Disillusioned

Current music: Mrs. Robinson by Simon and Garfunkel





Countdown

27 03 2018

I doubt there are many still watching these pages. I’ve been away for a couple of years. Not physically- I’m still comfortably ensconced in the Shallow South, amusing myself by lambasting the herds of morons and Jethros surrounding me. But I stopped posting here after the last election.

Those who know me probably get it, but those whose only exposure to me comes through these electronic missives might not understand. After all, the election of the Tangerine Twatwaffle should have provided me with ample fuel for rants. This is, of course, true. But I’ve been unable to properly express my horror and loathing at what is happening to my country.

Actually, scratch that. I could very easily express my feelings on the subject, but who wants to read several thousand swear words joined by just barely enough non-invective to make complete sentences?

In lieu of posting here, I’ve been schmoozing with my Feline Overlords, spending time at the shooting range, writing a few short stories and working on two novels, editing a weekly newsletter for a fictional investment company, trying to lose weight, and managing to keep a legitimate income stream coming in to keep a roof over head and the bill collectors at bay.

And trying very, very hard to control my visceral reaction to the madness engulfing us- both here in the States and all over the world.

In the words of a famous mariner and philosopher, “I’s had all I can stands, and I can’t stands no more!”

The US has gotten by for a bit over two centuries by adhering to loads of unstated and un-legislated rules of behavior. The Founders of this country fucked up very badly by believing the People would never allow themselves to fall under the sway of a shrieking shitgibbon with delusions of competence. They also never dreamed Congress would be controlled by creatures who refuse to rein in the orange-colored manbaby at the head of the government because they’re busy trying to score short-term political and economic gains at the expense of rationality, long-term catastrophes, and even the continued viability of the country as constituted.

Political parties are a convenient means of semi-controlling the chaos made manifest which is the true state of politics in any vaguely democratic government. Like all conveniences, there are some deleterious side effects as a consequence of that convenience. George Washington even warned us in his farewell address to the nation:

The Founders never imagined their descendants would intellectually and morally devolve so far  as to place their party’s interests above the country. To be fair, and to prevent accusations suggesting I am deifying the Founders, they also (with a few notable exceptions) could never have imagined a black man being elected President, women having the right to vote, or the staggering complexity of the modern world. They were not gods- merely men. Men who were products of their time and possessed of beliefs and behaviors which would be considered outright barbarism today.

But they assumed those who would follow in their footsteps would be at least moderately interested in doing what is right for the United States of America. The Founders assumed (wrongly, as we now know) the Americans who succeeded them would better their own conditions by working to better the conditions of all their fellow Americans.

This may never have been true, although it is one of the core unstated beliefs of the American Experiment, but at least the faded trappings of this ideal has largely been adhered since the Constitution was ratified and adopted.

No more. Those currently in power seem to be concerned only with looting the country for the benefit of themselves and their wealthy friends. The Congress which should act as a check on the power of the Executive is instead cooperating with the excesses of the Presidency- even in the face of strong evidence of “high crimes and misdemeanors”- because the current occupant of the White House happens to have the right capital letter after his name. In the interest of short-term political expediency, those who are running the country are insulting and antagonizing our allies and friends. They are willfully destroying the elaborate network of trade agreements and alliances which are to a great extent responsible for America’s current prosperity. They actively encourage anti-intellectualism and happily sow internal discord among the populace in order to obfuscate their pillaging of America’s resources for their private gain.

And a significant number of Americans are cheering them on.

The United States of America is wealthy and prosperous because of hard work, an appreciation of the value of education, a welcoming attitude towards immigrants, long-term funding of scientific research, careful cultivation of trading partners and allies, access to vast resources within its borders, and not a small amount of good fortune. Those currently in power and their benighted followers are cheerfully trying to get rid of all of those assets and rely on luck.

Luck, for those not paying attention, comes in three flavors- blind, dumb, and bad. You don’t get to chose which variety shows up. You’re stuck with whichever one it happens to be. I prefer to make my own luck, or at least manage my resources sufficiently to stave off the most disastrous consequences of ill fortune. The current situation is not something over which I have any actual control- but WE do.

We (the People) can do something about the ongoing evisceration of American influence and prosperity. We can add our voices to the voices of others speaking out against a government seemingly determined to auction the country and its people off to the highest bidders. We can litigate against the policies and iniquities of those who see themselves as our rulers instead of our servants, support those who initiate litigation, and serve on juries as a result of government impropriety. We can vote against those who are more interested in personal profit and aggrandizement than in doing the jobs we hired them to do. We can run for office ourselves, or support those who do run for office in opposition to the reprehensible and obnoxious creatures currently infesting governments across the country.

But that all means you can no longer sit back and remain passive. You have to step out of your comfortable little bubble and pay fucking attention. The clock is ticking,and every minute the odious scavengers rooting at the trough of the public treasury destroy another small bit of what makes America what it is. They villains in this scenario are calculating they’ll finish extracting every last centavo of value from the country and bug out with the loot before the average American wakes up to the fact he or she is literally being robbed. Tick, tick, tick.

The only way they can get away with it is if WE let them.

 

Current music: The System of Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether by Alan Parsons Project





Resting On Our Laurels

20 07 2016

Forty-seven years ago, a small spacecraft from Earth set down on the surface of the moon. There were two humans onboard, with a third remaining in orbit. Everyone on Earth- or at least those who had access to global information- looked up into the sky at that moment in awe. For a brief moment in time, everyone on Earth connected to international news looked skyward and said, “D-a-a-a-a-amn!”

Since that day, almost a half-century ago, ten more humans travelled from Earth to visit our nearest neighbor in space. They conducted some scientific tests and collected a lot of samples.Then, they all came back home. By any standards, the Apollo program was an amazing technical achievement. Never mind the fact that it would never have happened if not for political and military posturing by earth’s two most powerful nations, it was a truly amazing feat of engineering and science.

Since December in 1972, when Apollo-17 departed, no one has gone back.Think on that for a moment: the high-water mark of manned spaceflight ended forty-four years ago.What happened? Why did we stop?

The late Carl Sagan also wondered about this. He wrote an article in 1989 saying, among other things, “The Moon is no longer unattainable. A dozen humans, all Americans, made those odd skipping motions they called ‘moonwalks’ on the crunchy, cratered, ancient gray lava- beginning on that July day in 1969. But since 1972, no one from any nation has ventured there. Indeed, none of us has gone anywhere since the glory days of Apollo except into low Earth orbit- like a toddler who takes a few tentative steps outward and then, breathless, retreats to the safety of his mother’s skirts.

Once upon a time, we soared into the solar system. For a few years. Then we hurried back. Why? What happened?

For one shining moment, humanity looked out at the vastness of space and knew that the stars were in our future. Then we turned our backs on the stars and went home. Despite the fact that semi-literate children in countries without regular electrical service now walk around with pocket radios with more computing power than any of the Apollo spacecraft, we’ve never gone farther than low-Earth orbit.

Apollo cost the US about $25 Billion at the time. Adjusting for inflation, that runs to a bit over $100 Billion today. One hundred billion dollars today is only about 16% of the US Defense budget (roughly $600 Billion), or a hair under 3% of the entire US budget ($3.54 Trillion).

By the way, do you know how much of the current US budget goes to NASA? $18.5 Billion. Basically one half of one percent (0.52%) of the US budget is used to fund NASA. That’s for everything at NASA- toilet paper, administrator salaries, office supplies, and space.

To put all the data into words: NASA has been achieving amazing science and developing mind-blowing technology, putting robot spacecraft into orbit around planets, moons, asteroids, and comets and dropping robot scouts onto the surface of Mars on a budget consisting of the spare change Uncle Sam found under the couch cushions.

Those robots are doing some outstanding work. For some exploration, they’re actually preferable to humans. But the robots just aren’t as adaptable as a Mark One, Mod Zero educated plains ape. For one example, the Opportunity rover has been on Mars since 2004, and has travelled a bit more than 26 miles in those twelve years. On Earth, humans routinely run that distance in a few hours.

Humans are far more versatile and adaptable than our robots. But they require a lot of very heavy equipment and infrastructure to get them to the exploration site and keep them in working order long enough to get some science done. This is a significant downside to manned spaceflight, but something we can fix. It just takes time and effort-which means money.

We are totally getting our money’s worth out of the Space program using robots, but manned spaceflight could be accomplishing so much more. All it takes is money and the will to use it. We have the money. Hell, trim 5% off the military budget and give it to NASA. That’s roughly $30 Billion dollars more for space exploration, and the military obviously doesn’t need it- the US spends more on our military than the next dozen countries combined. Almost forty percent of all military spending on Earth goes to the US military.

Granted that we need our military to be the best in the world, even by American standards this is overkill. Let us put some of that cash to use out in space, instead. Let us also note that I am not NASA’s friend. Too many scientists and engineers are being sidelined by paper-pushers and politically-connected bozos. But they are the best game in town, so we (the US) has to use NASA, or nothing.

It’s been 44 years since the last humans left the moon. We have been resting on our laurels for far too long. Humans from the United States once walked on the moon. Sooner or later, more humans will be exploring and exploiting the solar system. If we don’t get off our collective asses, we can be fairly certain those people exploring and exploiting the system will not be speaking English.

 

Current status: Pissed off

Current music: The Future Soon by Jonathan Coulton





Wrapped in the Flag and Carrying a Cross.

18 06 2016

That headline is from a quote by Sinclair Lewis which seems more and more to be chillingly prescient. Here’s another quote appropriate to the topic at hand:

Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.”- George Santayana

You may be curious about where I’m going with these quotes. I’m going to post a link to a news article here that will make my meaning crystal clear:

http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/14/politics/newt-gingrich-house-un-american-activities-committee/

Is everyone all through vomiting at the idea? Good. Let us continue.

For those who may have been living in a cave for the past few decades, there is an election approaching. This country has been mired in an election campaign for what seems like six or seven squintillion years. A campaign where the presumed nominee of one of the two major political parties has been openly espousing fascist ideology and overt racism to throngs of cheering supporters. Those same supporters who appear to be just fine with physically attacking anyone who vaguely hints at disagreement with their Leader or anyone with a less than lilly white skin tone. Supporters who have openly warned they would resort to violence if their Leader doesn’t win.

That’s bad enough, but now we have a retired politician from that same major political party saying- on camera- to a news organization that the country needs to return to the halcyon days of yesteryear in the form of the House Un-American Activities Commission. If you aren’t familiar with HUAC, go look it up. I’ll wait.

Here’s a bit of background for those unwilling to learn from history. In the 1950’s, a US Congressman names Joseph McCarthy claimed that he was in possession of a list of communists who had “infiltrated” the US government. He gleefully exploited public fear over the “Red Menace” (OMFG- the eebil rooshians are gonna come pollute our precious bodily fluids!) to establish the House Un-American Activities Commission in order to search out these communist infiltrators, wherever they might be- presumably including under your bed.

And so, the witch hunt was on. American citizens were accused to being communists or communist sympathizers, and the resulting public furor meant most of them lost their jobs and couldn’t get hired anywhere else. People were exhorted to inform on their friends, neighbors, and relatives if there was even a vague hint of “un-American activities”. Fear and prejudice and panic ensued, resulting in the director of the FBI investigating thousands of government employees to determine if they were sufficiently loyal to the United States- essentially based upon whether or not J Edgar Hoover agreed with their politics. Actors, writers, journalists, and publishers joined government workers in the endless search for the evil commies.

Please note that there was no burden of proof involved. Merely being accused was enough to destroy someone’s life and livelihood, and even successfully avoiding getting convicted in court wasn’t enough to undo the damage caused by being denounced.

This is what “the smartest man in the GOP” has publicly called for. On camera.

Never mind that HUAC was a cynically successful ploy by a small number of senior government officials and congressmen to gather more power for themselves. All these few people had to do was continually warn everyone they were in danger from godless communism and should therefore allow the power of the US government to be turned upon US citizens without check or hindrance. And the American people fell for it.

And a large number of Americans are being led down the same path to Hell today by their Leader.

Ooga booga! The evil moose limbs are coming to kill your children. Only we can protect you from this existential threat, but you gotta let us throw out that pesky Constitution in order to keep you safe. We pinky swear these powers will only be used against “them“. Them. The “others“. The people who don’t worship your god the same way you do. The people possessed of insufficiently white skin pigmentation. People who speak other languages. People who disagree with you politically. “Them“.

Shockingly, this message of xenophobia and bigotry is finding eager listeners among people who aren’t willing to use their brains much. Thinking is hard, and so is remembering lessons learned from long ago. Sure, it turns out that locking up tens of thousands of Americans who happened to be descended from Nipponese immigrants was stupid, expensive, wrong, and totally ineffective. Never mind that. This time is different, because … uh … because reasons.

Actually, there is a reason why dumb white people are buying into this line of thinking. There’s a reason why they have so much trouble articulating the source of their ignorant fear, and that reason is demographics. It turns out that white people will soon be less than half of the population. Oh, the horror! Rather than learning to treat other people equally, these dim-as-five-feet-up-a-pig’s-ass yokels are willing to destroy the very thing that made this country great: our non-homogenous society.

Every group of immigrants has made America richer. They bring in new ideas, new foods and drink, new attitudes, new beliefs, and America gets better and stronger from adopting the globe-spanning range of new stuff brought here by immigrants. And every single one of those immigrant groups is treated like shit by the descendants of previous immigrants. In the 18th and 19th centuries, it was the Irish being vilified by descendants of English and Dutch immigrants.When Italians began arriving on our shores, the descendants of those Irish immigrants who been the subject of bigotry treated the Italians the same way. Asians, Africans, and Jews have been perennial victims of American xenophobia, along with anyone from any cultural background who doesn’t belong to the right religious group. They’re different, and therefore suspicious- if not outright evil.

Here’s a clue chit for the small-minded bigots among us: Different does not equal evil. Stranger does not mean enemy. Those “foreigners” you’re wetting your panties about aren’t foreigners anymore- they’re Americans. What are you imbeciles afraid of?

I want you

WITCH HUNT by Rush

The night is black
Without a moon
The air is thick and still
The vigilantes gather on
The lonely torch lit hill

Features distorted in the flickering light
The faces are twisted and grotesque
Silent and stern in the sweltering night
The mob moves like demons possessed
Quiet in conscience, calm in their right
Confident their ways are best

The righteous rise
With burning eyes
Of hatred and ill-will
Madmen fed on fear and lies
To beat and burn and kill

They say there are strangers who threaten us
In our immigrants and infidels
They say there is strangeness too dangerous
In our theaters and bookstore shelves
That those who know what’s best for us
Must rise and save us from ourselves

Quick to judge
Quick to anger
Slow to understand
Ignorance and prejudice
And fear walk hand in hand…

Current status: Appalled

Current music: We Belong by Pat Benatar





Definition and Examples

17 03 2016

Let us all take a look at the accepted definition of Terrorism:

The U.S. Code of Federal Regulations defines terrorism as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives”

With minor variations in wording, this definition is generally the agreed definition for most of the world. Anyone using unlawful force and violence to further their political aims is a terrorist.

Now let us examine the public utterances and actions of a small sub-set of the population:

  • We have a political candidate threatening riots in the event the candidate doesn’t get his way.

http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2016-03-16/trump-warns-of-riots-if-he-loses-nomination-with-most-delegates?utm_source=fark&utm_medium=website&utm_content=link

  • We have a campaign manager for that same candidate saying that riots might be a good thing.

http://mashable.com/2016/03/16/louise-mashable-slack/?utm_source=fark&utm_medium=website&utm_content=link#5mxo2zfWogqF

  • We have a prominent media supporter of that same candidate calling for increased violence in support of that candidate.

http://national.suntimes.com/national-world-news/7/72/2751936/ann-coulter-calls-more-violence-donald-trump/?utm_source=fark&utm_medium=website&utm_content=link

  • We have a different campaign manager for that same candidate explaining away the violence of the candidate’s followers by claiming the followers are merely expressing their passion.

http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2016/03/11/3759154/trump-campaign-manager-violence-passion/?utm_source=fark&utm_medium=website&utm_content=link

  • We have a group of these “passionate” supporters of that candidate forming a posse to protect their Leader from evil-doers in the form of anyone who disagrees with the candidate.

http://www.rawstory.com/2016/03/trump-militia-forms-to-forcefully-protect-rally-goers-against-far-left-agitators/?utm_source=fark&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=im&utm_tracker=1737131×84899

Now let us examine the followers of this political “Leader”. Evangelical christian groups are falling all over themselves to support him, despite the candidate’s abysmal record supporting christian causes. One cannot help but wonder at this. The obvious conclusion (which could very well be inaccurate) is that there must be some other attribute of this candidate that appeals to the christian religious fanatics (as opposed to the far larger group of moderate American christians who make up the bulk of the population). Whatever could this attribute be that appeals so much to right-wing fundamentalist christian lunatics? Perhaps it is the candidate’s well-documented misogyny.

Perhaps the candidate’s campaign has rules to keep out certain undesirables. Oddly, lots of white supremacist organizations are also backing this candidate. Perhaps they’re just overwhelmed by his gravitas and personal charisma. Or maybe the candidate has repeatedly promised to violate US law and the civil rights of US citizens who happen to be less than lily white or worship a slightly different version of the most widely-worshipped deity in the US. Maybe they just think he’d look good in a bedsheet.

I suppose we’ll just have to force ourselves to take a look at some of them. Like this person. Or this one. Ooh! Real winners there.

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Let’s re-cap: The leading political candidate for a major political party in the UNITED STATES OF FUCKING AMERICA is threatening that his followers will cause violence if he doesn’t get his way. The same followers who are forming vigilante groups to “protect” their Leader. Many of those followers belong to violent racist organizations and have already used violence against Unbelievers … I mean, non-supporters. Media personalities- both civil and religious- have openly called for violence in support of this candidate.

Nope. Nothing to worry about at all. Never mind that the other remaining candidate in the same political party is actually worse- a christian Dominionist whose father raised to believe was an ordained future christian King  The guy I’ve been writing about here is actually the lesser of two evils in that political party. Think on that and weep. Or gnash your teeth in despair. Why not both?

When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross. – Sinclair Lewis

That quote is obviously not pertinent in any way.

One of the people I’ve mentioned is very likely to be a likely contender for the office of President of the United States- a self-demonstrated fascist and a christian Dominionist. We’ve got the flag and the cross covered from one of the two major political parties.

The good news- such as it is- is that the President doesn’t actually run the country. Even if the political party in question manages to get one of the two fuckwits under discussion into the White House, there are Constitutional limits to the damage they can do. What’s scary- about both men- is what damage their fanatical followers will do once their Leader is in the Big Office.

We have to stop these imbeciles.

For it is the natural tendency of the ignorant to believe what is not true. In order to overcome that tendency it is not sufficient to exhibit the true; it is also necessary to expose and denounce the false. – H.L. Mencken

These people, the candidates they support, and the antediluvian ideals they espouse, must be thoroughly and permanently humbled. The best tool for this task is the balm of sweet reason and the sharp blade of derisive laughter. Call the mouth-breathers out on their bigotry and un-American beliefs. Denounce them publicly- early and often. Vote against them, and encourage others to do so. Take the neanderthal bastards to court when there is legal justification,and support others who file criminal or civil complaints against them. Those of us who are NOT out of our tiny little minds must use these tools to repudiate these people and their Dark-Ages ideology- publicly and resoundingly. If we- the more-or-less rational members of this society- fail to confront, ridicule, and humble the neo-barbarians NOW, they’ll never learn how outnumbered and out-of-touch they are.

Because they all think they’re part of a “silent majority” in this country. Like the so-called “moral majority” of three decades ago, these pinheads are neither silent nor a majority. If we let them continue with this delusion, I’m more than a little afraid of how they’ll react after they find out the horrible truth- say, when their Leader finds his will stymied in some way. We already know most of them have only a tenuous grasp of consensus reality and civilized behavior, and they’ve already demonstrated their propensity for violence. I’ve no desire at all to teach them the facts of life at the cost of ripping the country apart because their Leader’s feelings got hurt.

Current status: Alarmed

Current music: Young Blood by The Naked and Famous