Sunday, April 26, 2009

From Our Irony Desk

Governor (p)Rick Perry of Texas has no need for the Federal government.

He has said so, expressing solidarity with the small percentage of Texans (which must include about 48% of those Texas Republicans polled) who think it might be a good idea if Texas seceded from the United States. In that regard he has stated, along with other Texas politicians and certain brainless dupes, that as a 'sovereign' state, Texas doesn't need Federal stimulus help or anything else from the Feds unless it asks for it.

Wherein lies the problem for (p)Rick Perry.

The new strain of influenza that has come north from Mexico has infected several people in New York, Kansas and Texas. It is a new strain, one that has the potential to become a pandemic.

So now (p)Rick Perry and the rest of the Texas secessionists suddenly discover that they need the United States now.

And that's the latest from Our Irony Desk.

Dangerously Cute

Monday, April 20, 2009

Going to Extremes

Several right-wing bastards have managed to rile up the usually somnolent American Legion and other veteran's groups over the recent report by the Department of Homeland Security. DHS is even the target of a lawsuit which alleges that DHS is unfairly attacking veterans.

To cast the cold light of reality on this tripe, the DHS report says that there's a possibility that right-wing extremist groups, hate groups and neo-Nazis will target returning veterans as likely recruiting prospects. These groups find veterans desirable because of their military skills with weapons and tactics - skills that could be highly useful.

The wingers, though, seem to have very short memories.

Timothy McVeigh, the man who blew up the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995, was a veteran of the United States Army and had earned the Bronze Star in the first Gulf War. After he got out of the Army, he drifted into the Extremist Right.

168 dead Americans.

And just this morning I learned of a Marine corporal who got arrested at Logan Airport in Boston in possession of a firearm and various bomb-making materials.

Makes one wonder what he planned on doing with these items, huh?

Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?

This is Latin, by the way, and it's a a very old epigram: "Who watches the watchers?" In simpler terms, it begs the question of who is watching over those we set to watch over us.

In regard to the CIA's torture policy, aided, abetted and endorsed by the legal lights of the Bush Administration, the epigram is heart-sickeningly appropriate.

We used "the water torture" on rebellious Filipinos after we took over that island nation after the Spanish-American War. We hanged Japanese soldiers and even general officers for waterboarding our soldiers in the Second World War.

While we may not prosecute the actual agents of this horrific policy (although I know that we have tortured and probably did torture throughout the so-called Total War Against Terror, I am still disturbed that we would so completely puke up our values), we can certainly pursue unto death those who helped justify the policy - Yoo, Addington and Bybee, as well as Gonzales and Cheney (who HAD to have had a hand in it).

And we must - although it makes the job harder - make sure that those we set to watch over us do not overstep their bounds.

It's the American thing to do.

Newt Gingrich's Memory

For all his supposed acumen as a historian, Newt Gingrich (R-Adultery) seems to have a number of blind spots in his education. In his latest sin against accuracy he was heard to opine on the Sunday chat shows (which, incidentally, give this monumental loser way too much air time) to the effect that President Obama's handshake with Venezuelan President Chavez was something no Republican President would do.

Apparently, Gingrich and others of the chattering classes say, Republican Presidents don't sit down and be chummy with repressive anti-Americans.

Well, here's Richard Nixon in 1972, getting chummy with Leonid Brezhnev, hardline Communist and well-known for inveighing against Those Darn American Imperialists:

And here's Gingrich's One True God, the Great And Sainted Ronald Reagan, - gasp! - shaking hands with Mikhail Gorbachev, another one of those naughty Soviet fellows.

There are other pictures, of course, of Republican leaders, good Americans all ("So are they all, all honorable men") shaking hands and getting chummy with all sorts of repressive types who took our money and got the photo op and then went on to call us all kinds of nasty names.

Who can forget the immortal picture of Donald Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam Hussein back in 1983? Of course, Saddam was our boy back then, consecrated by the Sunni Gulf States with the task of keeping back the purported Shiite radical tide - which he did by using chemical weapons supplied to him by the United States.

Newt also had unkind words to say about the book that Chavez gave Obama, which describes the exploitation of the Americas by the Western powers over the centuries. Newt's short memory seems to get even shorter here.

Can he deny that the Spanish and Portuguese extracted gold and silver from the Americas by using forced labor in conditions little better than slavery?

Can he deny that many in Washington over the years considered the Monroe Doctrine a carte blanche to impose our will upon the Americas?

Can he deny that the CIA toppled the Allende regime in Chile in 1972, installing the vicious thug Augusto Pinochet to begin a reign of terror in that country?

Can he deny that the CIA fomented a coup d'etat in Guatemala in 1954 to help the United Fruit Company maintain its hold over its plantations in that country?

Can he deny that we invaded and occupied Haiti in the 1920s?

Can he deny that we concocted a rebellion in Panama to wrest it from Colombia in order to build an Isthmian Canal without interference?

And this is just what I know, off the top of my head.

Pity Newt's memory is apparently starting to fade on him.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Excuse Me ... But WTF!?

The United States Army is out looking for a few thieves.

Yes, you heard me.


These people, using forged paperwork, managed to steal 10 million gallons of jet and diesel fuel from the Army's Camp Liberty in Iraq in 2007 and 2008. That amounts to about $40 million in fuel.

This is yet another yummy slice of fecal matter to be added to the already-full-to-bursting sack of flaming poo to be deposited at the doorstep of George W. Bush. I want a piece of this dry-drunk wastrel just for the $9 Billion - in cash - that simply disappeared from Iraq after it was loaded, in pallets of $100 bills, and shipped out in transport aircraft.

So, excuse me if I say, simply and forthrightly.

What. The. Fuck?!

In Re Texas Secession

From the mouth of one of the founding fathers of Texas:

“To secede from the Union and set up another government would cause war. If you go to war with the United States, you will never conquer her, as she has the money and the men. If she does not whip you by guns, powder, and steel, she will starve you to death. “

--Sam Houston

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Texas Gov. Perry Wants to Secede?

Here we have the Governor of Texas, Rick Perry, playing to the extreme base of his party (Republican, by the way) as part of his upcoming primary battle with Kaye Bailey Hutchinson:

So, Governor Perry thinks that Washington's hand is oppressive and Texas won't stand for it any longer.

Sounds quite a bit like a call for Texas to secede to me. It would gladden the hearts of Chuck Norris and Glenn Beck, of course.

Fine and dandy.

Then Governor Perry won't mind it if the Federal Government cuts off all aid to the state.

No more law enforcement grants.

No more Border Patrol.

No more grants for schools or Medicare.

No more FEMA grants.

No more defense contract money.

No more jobs affiliated with military bases like Lackland AFB, Fort Ord and Fort Sam Houston.

No more federal jobs.

No more farm subsidies.

You see, Texas (like many of the other so-called Red States) takes in more Federal aid than it pays into the public coffers in taxes. This is sometimes called Red State Welfare. States in the north, northeast and west (the so-called Blue States) take in less in public aid than they pay in taxes.

So if Texas wants to secede, I say cut them off without a penny. Governor Perry will be driven howling into the street within a year.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Sending Messages

Disclaimer: It's very early in the morning, and I'm a bit tired, so prepare yourselves for a load of snark.

A few days ago, if you hadn't noticed, pirates operating off the eastern Africa littoral seized a US-registered Maersk Line container ship carrying food aid for Kenya, Uganda and - yep - Somalia, where the pirates mainly operate from.

Somalia, by the way, is a perfect spot for pirates to operate. Barely any government, collapsed economy and a shitload of guns and other weapons. The country's location near the Gulf of Aden and the main commercial shipping lanes is also a plus.

So some of the more unrestrained entrepreneurs there have decided that there's more money to be made selling that food aid than letting relief organizations give it away. Hence their seizure of the ship.

(To be fair, other pirates have seized other cargoes, and currently hold about 270 hostages for ransom - ransom's also profitable. What, are you going to stand in the way of free-market, unregulated capitalism?)

The captain of the Maersk Line vessel gave himself up as a hostage when the crew rebelled, and the pirates took flight in one of the lifeboats. A minor standoff developed when the USS Bainbridge showed up, along with other Navy ships.

Some of the Stupid People (notably Fox News) started bleating that this was a referendum on the Obama Administration, expatiating upon him being liberal and not wanting to use force.

Well, that argument's shot down - along with three of the pirates. The Captain was freed after Navy SEAL snipers killed three of the pirates while the fourth was aboard the Bainbridge negotiating.

The order to use deadly force came directly from President Obama, who has proved to my satisfaction, at least, that he can give that kind of order without a lot of hemming and hawing.

So, we get a citizen back, and sent a message to the pirates that we won't fuck around.

The pirates have a message as well - they may not be so nice with the next ship they happen to intercept.

Nice to see that at least we're communicating.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

"We are a Christian nation."

I've heard this statement a lot over the past ten years, from otherwise rational people who I can only assume are products of the American public school system.

The Constitution of the United States makes the case quite plain - this nation derives its sovereignty from the People who live in it, from its citizenry. The Founders wanted it that way, drawing upon philosophers such as Locke, Montesquieu and others who believed in natural law.

This constant mindless yammering about bringing religion into the political sphere is odious to any real American. If you yoke religion and government together you create the same conditions that exist in such sterling democracies as Iran.

Yes, Iran.

The theocrats in the United States want to create a Christian Iran, right here in America.

And we can't have that.

What? . . . What?


If Fox News and their creative staff were going to try and create a "populist reaction to the Obama economic plan," don't you think they could have come up with a better term? You know, one without sexual (if not homosexual) overtones?

And here's another thing that has me scratching my head from time to time:

These "teabagging parties" are the poor protesting higher taxes ... on the rich.

One of the hallmarks of conservative psychology is a need for authority - to have someone to follow or obey. It's a hierarchical meme. But the poor protesting taxes on the rich? It's a level of submissive behavior that strikes me as unsavory, servile, and un-American.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Regarding the Pundits

(This is adapted from a comment I posted over on Blondesense relating to the cop-killer in Pittsburgh.)

Regarding the pundits ...

There's two types of propaganda, according the anarchists - Propaganda of the Word, which includes agitprop and the airing of hate speech (which we've seen a lot of), and Propaganda of the Deed.

The latter is looked upon as the spark to trigger the great revolution in aid of whatever ideology you care to name. Manson wanted the Tate-LaBianca murders to be Propaganda of the Deed, in order to start the racial civil war (or revolution) he knew was coming. If only the Beatles had held off releasing the White Album until after CD technology came into use - could've saved a lot of trouble ...

The pundits can try to flee from their Propaganda of the Word, try to dissociate themselves from the fact that their writings littered the home of the Unitarian Church shooter in Tennessee and helped feed the paranoia of the cop-killer in Pittsburgh.

They can't.

They are morally and ethically tied to these people, joined (as it were) at the hip, and all it would take is a decent state attorney to agree that the Glenn Becks and Stormfronts of the world are guilty of culpable negligence for their inflammatory rhetoric.

And don't give me that First Amendment defense. Yes, speech is free and no one is trying to take away your right to speak. A pundit has the same right I do to run his or her gaping piehole.

But with that right comes a responsibility. Like it or not, Glenn Beck, there are people who hang upon your every word as if those words were raining down from On High. Like it or not, Bill O'Reilly, there are people who actually believe every word you say. And like it or not, Michelle Malkin, there are people all too willing to follow your screeds against minorities (while conveniently overlooking your own ethnicity).

So when people actually take you up on your advice - to start a revolution and defend yourself against whatever - be an adult and admit at barest minimum the possibility that your words might have had something to do with it.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Let's Review ...

Here we have a guy from Pennsylvania who tried to join the military and got thrown out after he threw a tray at a drill sergeant (and if the military rejects you because you're too violent, hoo boy are YOU fucked up).

This same guy - working, I suppose, and for a decent wage - is spending his money and spare time buying guns and ammunition, and reading such uplifting and inspiring things as and Glenn Beck.

So far, so good. Stay with me now.

He starts saying things about Obama wanting to impose martial law and confiscate guns (something that doesn't appear to have any truth to it, and I haven't seen any legislative push for gun control - the economy, Iraq, Afghanistan, North Korea, nukes, etc. are all somewhat more important, I guess) and inveighing against the Zionists running the government and the Jews running everything else.

Then he starts getting all paranoid, thinking and saying that "They" are coming to get his guns, so he decides, apparently, to take matters into his own hands. So he calls a friend and basically tells him that he plans on dying today, picks a fight with his mother over the dog to draw the police up to his house, then ...

Tragedy ensues.

Dressed in body armor he shot two of the officers as they entered the house, and a third when he tried to save his brother officers. Then he was wounded, and shot himself.

So, let's review.

Here we have a disgruntled, violent, racist, cranky loser with authority issues, body armor and a home arsenal, who reads and listens to a constant spew of paranoiac hatred directed at government and various ethnic groups and was convinced that the Big and Evil Gummint was about to take away his guns.

How many more of these walking bombs are there?

And how many of them are next door to you, right now?

The real terrorist threat facing America today is not people named Achmed or Mohammed. The real threat is people named Bob, Gary and Tim.

And is there anyone who still feels as if they should dispute my assertion that the National Rifle Association should be considered a terrorist organization?