No. YOU Move!

29 08 2010

A little bit of America died today. Not something physical, like a person, but one of the intangible American virtues was burned to death in Tennessee. It seems a bunch of “real Americans” managed to stop having sex with their sisters long enough to set fire to construction equipment being used to build a mosque.

Some might call this mere vandalism. Those people would be implicitly denying the fact that this act was designed to send a message of hate to those who dared to worship a non-christian god. That makes it terrorism. Here’s the UN definition for terrorism:

Criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the general public, a group of persons or particular persons for political purposes are in any circumstance unjustifiable, whatever the considerations of a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or any other nature that may be invoked to justify them.

Let’s see, we have a crime (vandalism) intended to provoke fear in a group of people because of their religious beliefs. That makes this terrorism, and the people responsible are just as evil and small-minded as the Taliban or Al-Qaeda. The fact that these people claim to be Americans makes me physically ill.

It doesn’t matter what the press says. It doesn’t matter what the politicians or the mobs say. It doesn’t matter if the whole country says something wrong is something right. When the press or the mob or the whole world tells you to move, it is your duty- as a patriot- to plant yourself like a tree next to a river of truth and tell the whole world, “No. You move.”

Various pundits are fond of saying that seventy percent of Americans are opposed to building mosques in this country. Too fucking bad. If the property owners are not breaking any laws, it’s nobody’s fucking business what the property will be used for. If a bunch of weak-minded christian pinheads are upset that there will be a muslim center of worship in their town, they’ll just have to suck it up.

There ain’t no churches in Mecca!” is a frequent complaint by these xenophobic ass-hats. So what? We are supposed to be better than everyone else. We set ourselves up on a high pedestal and proclaim that America is the greatest country on Earth, but that claim requires that we occasionally live up to it. Something basic- like following our own  rules.

There is no fucking excuse for this sort of shit- not in my country. The people who committed this crime have lost the right to be called Americans. They have violated the law and the unwritten rules by which any complex society operates. These cowards are no better than the men who used to wear white hoods and lynch black people in that same area.

The people who committed this act of terrorism- and the people who knew about it but have not come forward to name names- are my enemies, and the enemies-general of all Americans. These people have been taking advantage of the freedoms guaranteed for all in this country, but they have decided that those same freedoms to apply to non-christians.

I am not a christian. I defy you to try and take away my liberty. Bring it, you cowardly xenophobes.

Current status: Furious

Current music: Come Out and Play by The Offspring

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Discontinuity of Meaning

26 08 2010

Okay, the derp is getting out of hand.

It seems a politician in Louisiana gave a speech to a group of constituents and said:

We are either going to go down the socialist road and become like western Europe and create, I guess really a godless society, an atheist society. Or we’re going to continue down the other pathway where we believe in freedom of speech, individual liberties and that we remain a Christian nation. So we’re going to have to win that battle, we’re going to have to solve that argument before we can once again reach across and work together on things.”

Do I read that correctly? This creature refuses to work with anyone who disagrees with him until they stop disagreeing? Is he really saying that individual liberties do not include freedom of religion- including freedom from religion? A sitting US congressthing- who swore an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States when he took office- is saying this in public? This can’t be real, can it? It has to be an elaborate prank, right? Right?

I mean, just look at the words of the Founders of this country:

Letter from President Washington to Sir Edward Newenham, June 22, 1792-Religious controversies are always productive of more acrimony and irreconcilable hatreds than those which spring from any other cause. I had hoped that liberal and enlightened thought would have reconciled the Christians so that their religious fights would not endanger the peace of Society.”

Thomas Jefferson-The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God.”

In every country and in every age the priest has been hostile to liberty; he is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own.”

Thomas Paine-Of all the systems of religion that ever were invented, there is none more derogatory to the Almighty, more unedifying to man, more repugnant to reason, and more contradictory in itself than this thing called Christianity. Too absurd for belief, too impossible to convince, and too inconsistent for practice, it renders the heart torpid or produces only atheists or fanatics. As an engine of power, it serves the purpose of despotism, and as a means of wealth, the avarice of priests, but so far as respects the good of man in general it leads to nothing here or hereafter.”

Jefferson again-Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear.”

Letter from President Jefferson to Thomas Whittemore, June 5, 1822-Christian creeds and doctrines, the clergy’s own fatal inventions, through all the ages has made of Christendom a slaughterhouse, and divided it into sects of inextinguishable hatred for one another.

Speech by James Madison to the General Assembly of Virginia, 1785-During almost fifteen centuries, the legal establishment of Christianity has been on trial. What have been the fruits of this trial? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; and in both, clergy and laity, superstition, bigotry and persecution.”

The men who pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to ensure that we could live free took great pains to make sure we, the People, remained free of religious tyranny as well. After all of that, this monumental ass-hat is couching his campaign rhetoric in religious terms. This speech would be right at home in Arabic or Farsi, and its sentiments are those of the Inquisition and the Crusades.

Now let us address the ridiculous notion that America is a “Christian nation”. Bullshit. In the first place, the First Amendment to the Constitution says- in part- “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”

In the event a mere Amendment is insufficient to sway the theocratic pinheads who believe this creature’s tripe, let us re-visit another legal roadblock to establishing a christian dominion in the US: the Treaty of Tripoli.

the Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion…

For those of you who didn’t do well in History or Civics classes (which might explain the inexplicable rise to power of such fungi as Representative Fleming),  allow me to explain a key point, here. Once the Senate has ratified a Treaty and it is signed by the President, it becomes law. Article Six of the Constitution makes this fairly clear- even to mouth breathing retards who use superstition to catapult themselves to political power.

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

That seems pretty straightforward. Only a complete and utter fuckwit would ever attempt to violate Constitutional Law in the blind pursuit of political power, right?

Oh, wait. That seems to be what we’re dealing with, here. Hmmm. At least such a pandering imbecile could never get elected by an intelligent populace …

Houston, we have a problem.

Current status: Cheesed off

Current music: In A Lifetime by Clannad





Risk Management

23 08 2010

There’s no such thing as a risk-free life. Everything you do has some amount of risk involved. Most people handle these risks without a great deal of conscious input, and that’s a favorable statement on how stable and safe our day-to-day environment is (speaking only in broad generalities about our civilization as a whole). Since we are unlikely to suffer hardship of any sort in the event we fail to properly manage our daily risk, we have grown inured to the possibility of the worst-case scenario.

But that’s no excuse for stacking the odds against yourself.

Case in point, the picture above. Given the current economic conditions in the world in general and the US in particular, it seems to me to be just a little bit stupid to advertise the number of people in your family, roughly what age and gender they are, and their names (or nicknames). Add that to the other information an observant Bad Guy can glean from your vehicle, and you might as well publish your work/school schedules, alarm codes, and how much loot you have lying around the house.

A lot of cars with these idiotic stickers also have bumper stickers. Bumper stickers which proclaim which school your child attends, whether or not the family attends a church, what the mother/father do for a living (especially for military families), whether or not they’re likely to have guns in the home, and whether or not the family has pets- often including the breed of animal. A casual stroll down any street here in the Shallow South can deliver reams of information about the lives and habits of a surprisingly large number of households- all without leaving the sidewalks or talking to anyone.

When did cars become rolling billboards advertising the minutiae of our lives? I use my car to drive to and from work, and for shopping on the weekends. I have no bumper stickers or ridiculous stick figures in my windows. I drive a Buick medicare sled because it is roomy, comfortable, fuel efficient, and paid for. Since I own a house, my next vehicle will be a small pick-up. This is not out of a sense that the vehicle will make a statement about me, I’ll be getting a pick-up to haul stuff to and from the house. I don’t feel the need to advertise my family status, religious affiliation, work history, or chosen vacation spots on my car. After seeing how much one can learn from the rear bumpers and windows of so many cars, I wouldn’t do so if even I were so inclined.

I live in a pretty nice neighborhood. It’s quiet, full of older families who all know each other, and every third house seems to have a dog. Travel a few blocks in any direction and it’s a different story. There’s a 7-11 about 6 blocks from here that gets knocked over at least once a month. A few blocks in the other direction is ground zero for police sirens every night, with occasional gunfire on the weekends. Off in another direction there’s a run-down industrial park surrounded by a bunch of seedy apartments. Even in a relatively safe neighborhood like mine, there’s bound to be a few ne’erdowells wandering through from time to time. Why let potential criminals know your habits and vulnerabilities?

Never mind. I just figured out the answer: The smug assumption that “it won’t happen to me“, which is so prevalent among the fat, dumb, and happy.

If to be simple, a people must be free from care, then simple they will be. Yet I begrudge it them not.

Sweet eructating Cthulhu! I’m living in the Shire!

Current status: Bemused

Current music: Wounded, Old, and Treacherous by Jethro Tull





Alarums and Procrastinations

19 08 2010

Ahem.

If it seems that I’ve been absent recently, it’s because … well … I have.  The past few weeks, I’ve been either tired, sore, pissed off, or some combination thereof when I got home from work, so this space has been sadly neglected. Not for the first time, either. Life sucks, but some of its puppies are cute.

Anyway, on with the show.

SPEAKING OF SPECTACLES

Here is the sum total of my commentary about Cordoba House. It’s private property. The owners thereof can do what they like with their property within the limits of the law. If no laws are being broken, STFU and MYOB. Period. Full stop.

MISNOMER OF THE WEEK

I rarely agree with the Barefoot Bum when it comes to politics. We’re so far apart in what passes for the political spectrum that we might as well be a different species. I read his blog because he’s smart in streaks and has a writing style I admire. We usually agree on religious matters, so I tend to enjoy his writing on that subject more than others, but I enjoy reading his work regardless of the subject matter.

That said, he has written an outstanding post with the title, Liberal Christians. Anyone who appreciates rational discourse should read this article. My only quibble with it is the title. I would have used rational in lieu of liberal. They’re still living in a fantasy world, but they can at least see reality from where they are- a lot more than can be said about fundamentalists of any flavor.

On the other hand, he’s a much better writer than I am, so my quibble doesn’t mean much.

THERE’S A HOLE IN THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA

The Gummint says that 75% of all the oil that came out of the Deepwater Horizon debacle has been removed from the ocean. Scientists who’ve been monitoring the situation are saying that 75% of the oil is unaccounted for, and they’re calling the Gummint’s statement so much horse manure. Published reports suggest most of the unaccounted-for oil is on the sea floor and in enormous plumes drifting with the currents.

In other words, we’re going into extra innings with this one. The environmental costs of BP’s short-sighted shortcuts with just about every standard operating procedure will be decades coming in, and we- the People- will be footing the bill in the form of taxes. For generations to come.

PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN!

Ah, the US media. So blind. So naive. So willfully ignorant. So complicit in manipulating public perceptions.

While what passes for media outlets here in the US have been willfully distracting the public with the nontroversy about Cordoba House, a disaster of biblical proportions has been playing out on the other side of the world. While televisions and headlines here in the States have been focusing on the rantings of xenophobic retards, twenty million people are trying desperately to stay alive despite catastrophic flooding in Pakistan. Allow me to repeat that number: TWENTY. MILLION. PEOPLE.

Unlike the ridiculous pinheads protesting Cordoba House, those affected by the flooding in Pakistan are actual human beings. The biggest humanitarian nightmare in human history is happening right now, and the so-called “news” organizations in this country are mostly ignoring it. Our Gummint is willing to spend billions of dollars to bail out GM, but people in Pakistan are dying of preventable diseases and starvation for want of a measly $425 Million dollars in promised aid- only a portion of which was promised by the US.

How about we sell an aircraft carrier and give the proceeds to one of the international charities operating in Pakistan for disaster relief? I trust the Red Cross/Crescent to do a better job helping out the survivors than any government. Don’t forget to donate to one of the charities providing help for the victims yourself. Americans are the biggest source of charitable donations on the planet, and now is the time to live up to that. Don’t wait for the government to do the right thing- you’ll die of old age before that happens.

A VOTE! A VOTE! MY KINGDOM FOR A VOTE!

Ninety years ago, the US finally granted women the right to vote. This was yet another long-overdue step away from the notion that only white christian male land-owners should have any say in how the country was run. It was also a profound poke in the eye of fundamentalist ass-hats who believe that women are somehow inferior. That particular breed of vermin is still polluting our national discourse, but they’re growing fewer and less influential with each passing year. To those people, I have only this to say: Change is inevitable. Cope.

I HAVE A DERP!

Rabble-rouser and renowned television weeping wonderboy Glenn Beck will be holding a rally on the same date and at the same place as Dr. Martin Luther King’s epic, “I Have a Dream” speech. Cognitive dissonance will flow like water, metaphors, logic, and syntax will be abused, and I plan on doing something more interesting … like watching my lawn grow.

Mr. Beck certainly has the right to hold a rally, but his histrionic brand of stupidity is just so godawful that I can’t bear thinking about it for long. Unfortunately for me, my beloved wife has the bad taste to watch his ridiculous rantings every night. I then have to spend an hour or so every evening explaining to her that the funny little man on the TV is a pinhead of the first water, and he’s almost entirely wrong on almost every topic. If Glenn Beck said that the sun rose in the east, I would check for myself to make sure.

THINGS TO DO IN DENVER

Apparently, the list has been narrowed down to getting abused by the thugs-in-uniform who make up that city’s police department. Oddly enough, the city recently replaced the civilian in charge of overseeing police investigations … because he decided that the police were at fault too often. The new guy apparently thinks police brutality is a standard procedure.  The latest victim was roughed up on camera for telling a driver being cited by the Largest Street Gang in America that he’d be happy to testify on the driver’s behalf. I’m pretty sure “Dissing a Cop” is  not a valid criminal offense.

I understand that the FBI has taken an interest. perhaps they could also look into the several thousand similar cases scattered across the country while they’re at it.

ONE STEP FORWARD …

A federal judge eviscerated California’s Proposition 8. Yet another move away from from limiting human rights to white christian male landowners. It seems like the xenophobes in this country are running out of enemies to demonize.

Damn the horrible luck.

THAT’S ALL, FOLKS

That’s all I have for now. Fresh outrages and snark coming soon. Don’t touch that dial.

Current status: Drugged up enough to post

Current music: Pepper by Butthole Surfers