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Paging Judith Miller

When my wife would ask me if it was in the realm of possibility that we would drop a fat man or ten on North Korea, I’d always confidently say that even Donald Trump has enough brain cells not to irradiate the peninsula. She still doesn’t believe shit that I say, because I blew the election call like everybody did(with the notable exception of Michael Moore). Anyway, she’s now an adherent to Murphy’s Law when it comes to politics. I can’t really blame her, given the fuckery we have witnessed over these last ten dreadful months.

I’m still saying that the odds are against us nuking the hermit kingdom, but there have been some subtle indications that potentially point to an attack in the future.

Twitler and Kim-Jong-Un have been very busy trading threats and japes since the inception of fucking moron’s tenure. It’s like listening to two lobotomy patients doing The Dozens. I blew it off because it didn’t take me long to figure out that Donald Trump was all hat and no cattle, a man unable to get the simplest things done because of his big fat made-for-KFC facehole.

In August, everyone had a laugh over President Humperdoo’s claim that he ordered the nuclear arsenal to be modernized. That modernization was begun under Barack Obama, but like a typical white supremacist Trump stole the black guy’s accomplishment. He tweeted that it was “far stronger and more powerful than ever”, an idiotic brag aimed at Un that was met with eyerolls from our arsenal’s keepers. So I shrugged, once again. Trump found a shiny, and like a child he would drop it when he found another thing that he could put in his mouth to explore the world with.

Lately, however, dribs and drabs  in the press are giving me pause. Trump ordered bombers to 24-hour ready status, a move denied by the Air Force but officials left the barn door open on the possibility of it happening in the future. Then, as quick as you please, Chump signed an EO allowing the recall of retired pilots. Once again, the air force ambiguously claimed that it was not going to do that…right now.

But the strangest indication of all to me came out yesterday. I am a regular reader of The Raw Story. It’s a reliable liberal news catcher. And yesterday, they splashed a report that North Korea has biological weapons and has the knowhow to weaponize them.

I don’t need to tell you how this story goes if you were conscious for 9/11/2001. Or 3/20/2003.

But I said to myself that Raw Story wouldn’t peddle naked agitprop for war. But that’s exactly what they did.

They lifted the story directly from the International Business Times, a popular and powerful online news outlet that swallowed up Newsweek. Their story touted a Harvard study that concluded in a 46-page report that Un had bio-WMD.

Here’s where it gets weird. The IBT is affiliated with a kooky South Korean Christian group known as “The Community”. There are familial and scholarly ties to a David Jang, who like many Christians, would like to immanentize the eschaton. Nuking North Korea is considered by many to be an act that would bring about a third world war, which checks all the boxes as an end of the world scenario.

So what I guess I’m getting at is that this seems to be a plant to get people softened up to the idea that the problem of North Korea must be solved with a hammer, and quickly. It is quite surprising that Raw Story would publish the piece verbatim without critical discussion. But I guess it’s still the age-old problem concerning the mix of press and money; if it gets clicks and eyeballs, let it fly-even if it means doing the bidding of the gods of war.

Looking at you, Gray Lady.

 

 

Special Counsel

I have just moved…hopefully for the last time for at least the next 10-20 years. It was a nightmare, worst fucking move I’ve ever had and I have had more than a few. I’m going to smear my movers up and down the Internet if they don’t pay for all the shit they broke.

The control center is taking shape. Just have to unpack my music, hang a few things, and I will have an office and little practice studio for to make bad noises from.

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This has been a mentally and physically challenging experience, but as you can see, I’m bold as love. Just ask the Axis. He knows everything.

Now. Let’s talk a little about judging. But first, some background.

Even the most ignorant among us knows the name Joel Osteen. And if you have been on the Internet for five minutes in the last few days, you know it rained thunder and hell on Joel for locking its doors when Hurricane Harvey rained thunder and hell on Houston.

An onslaught of angry people went online to condemn Osteen for not living the Word and refusing to help people in need with his space, space that had room for 16,000 behinds. I happily passed that shit around, because I’m not a fan of religious hypocrites. Now you may ask, why did I have to specify that I don’t like religious hypocrites? Why not all hypocrites? Well, the reality is that we all have our moments of hypocrisy, owing to our human nature and monkey ancestry.

Sometimes a level of hypocrisy is necessary to excuse that which we have no excuse for. Hypocrisy is also great for deflection from your own faults. An easy example- I just had hamburgers for dinner. Animals died in horrific misery to fill my belly. Yet animal abusers make me furious. Hypocrite much, Ron?

Yes. And you’re kidding yourself if you are not part of the misery of animals too. Even vegetarians and vegans who object to slaughter often live in habitats that have been robbed from another animal. So there’s really no end to the finger pointing. It’s a matter of gradation, tolerating hypocrisy. We all have to choose what evil we can live with.

Anyway, so I answer the question thusly: because too often you religious folk try to hold yourselves and eventually everyone else around you to a standard which few can abide by. It’s bad for your mental health and annoying as shit to others. Besides, with God as your co-pilot, you should be hypocrisy-free. But you’re just like the rest of homo sapiens, if you but knew. So please, religious hypocrites, rend your own garments but stay away from me.

So Joel Osteen is a nebula-sized religious hypocrite who deserved to have his name passed around as belonging to a piece of shit, right?

We thought so, until a notorious atheist said hold up. We might be over our skis kicking Osteen around because of information he’d gathered that said the roads to his church were closed and some of his assets were halfway under water.

When one of today’s leading online atheist voices wants you to lay off the religious guy, well, you should probably listen because we usually never miss a chance to make a fool out of a fanatic. At least that was the litmus I used. But evidence kept rolling in, testimonials and pictures that suggested that Osteen was holding out from having to share his space with people who didn’t tithe. Eventually Joel, who makes a living out of appearing unimpeachable, had to throw the doors open to the needy. The last thing any pastor needs is a scandal.

The wife and I run in some online circles together, sharing mutual acquaintances, and we and our friends chewed the fat about Osteen and I brought up Hemant’s piece about cutting Joel some slack. So we digested that, and moved on until one of our mutual acquaintances said we were “Christian-bashing” (there were believers in this conversation) and that it wasn’t for us to “judge” good Pastor Osteen.

That was Jesus’ job, she relayed. The thing for good Christians to do was only to bring people to Christ.

Believer and heathen wasted no time telling her to sod off with that bullshit.

If I learned anything from my days as a Randroid, it’s that you must judge because surely you will be judged. Old Ayn, a huge hypocrite herself, was at least more of a student of the human psyche and certainly more a realist than Saint Paul. If you think about it, judging is one of the fundamental things any living creature does. It’s why we evolved senses, because misjudging what you saw or tasted might get your ass (if you had evolved one) hurt or killed. But we must pass judgment on those of our kind who are no good to anyone. Rapists, most killers, child abusers, Republicans…those are egregious examples which I think we can all agree that it’s a little OK to judge those people. And while the idea of what is ultimately Good is a bit rubbery, we have some basic roadmaps in our genes on how to get along in a functioning society. And it sticks in our craw to see that some people don’t know how to follow the basic rules. And one of those things you just shouldn’t do is take and not give back. That was Joel Osteen’s crime, and we collectively made sure he paid by damaging his reputation as a force for good in the world. This whole episode certainly came as no surprise to those of us already familiar with the prosperity scam he hawks that tells believers to ignore that pesky part in the bible about where Jesus said to build riches.

You gotta size up people.  There’s no getting around it, and no amount of Scripture-twisting is going to stop people from doing it. I’m certainly not going to wait until an unlikely afterlife to wait for unease to come to a bad person. No. You find them, you name them and you shame them, or worse. Those are the rules.

 

 

 

Coda

If I were a fireworks show, you’d probably want your money back. My first salvos were promising, but my launches started fizzling and we had several duds in the arsenal.

There certainly was no grand finale.

Because those fucking God stickers did not come off the Grovetown cop vehicles.

They won. This happened in part because I could not stay to finish playing the game I initiated. I had a few more moves in me, but a game is a game and I had other priorities.

Sorry for the metaphor abuse. I’m simply trying to paper over the fact that I did not, could not do more to go at this issue with gusto. Because I was in the right. The mayor made an idle threat, and I’m madder than hell he got away with it. Lots of you following this saga said I should have continued to um…dialogue with the mayor right then and there because I was well within my rights to do so. It became a two-pronged issue for me when he threatened me with a warrant for my arrest simply because I was having a battle of wits with an unarmed person. This was about abuse of power and separation. And to my mind, the stickers took a back seat to the idea that some podunk Boss Hogg  could send a squad car to my house because of an argument we were having in his public email box.

I’m gonna say sorry again, because I failed to advance the larger conversation. I could have made several scenes if it was just me out there, but as I have said it is not just me out there.

I’m going to keep fighting for my rights. I simply have to pick my battles. Those of you who are rational know that we live to fight another day if we withdraw a little, and find a better position where victory can actually be had.

My deepest thanks to everyone who sent me quasi-viral, and thanks to NBC in Atlanta and WRDW in Aiken for publicizing the sticker issue. It’s a trying time in the land of Trump, where bigots feel emboldened to steamroll over the Constitution if it gets in their way of retaining their supremacy.

The people will win in the end if we keep our heads high. That may be an article of faith, for the struggle for rights is not a vector that is always pointed forward. It gets dark sometimes before things brighten again. But knowing that the brightness will inevitably follow buoys me and helps me get up every day and it should you as well.

I’ll close here as Kurt Vonnegut often did in the introductions to his books.

Peace.

Hamming It Up

Ken Ham, the bible brandishing, excitable, man-sized rodent is twittering nervously about shit he doesn’t understand again. Much like Donald Trump, he can’t stand to be alone with his thoughts for long because they make him sad-so he takes to the digital dump and blurts out his righteous, albeit defensive, ruminations.

I get it, Ken. Your non-seaworthy conceit is a flop. I suppose if I wasted 18 million dollars of Kentucky tax money I’d be a little on edge myself. I’d have taken to drinking or worse by now. But not you, Ken. You’re getting out in front of this and preaching the truth! How can I not be convicted when you tweet things like

Evolution is a supposed process involving death, death & more death–death is a necessary part–death for everyone–it’s a religion of death

Wowsers, Ken. I never thought of it that way. I bet no one has-who’d want to? But let me focus you a bit. You’ve got evolution confused with life itself. Evolution is a process of change, not death. Life, necessarily, involves death death death and so forth. It’s rather self evident. Don’t be afraid! That’s not religion. It’s real. What do we do with death? We punch it in its stupid death face. We say what Nietzsche said:“Was that life? Well then, once more!”Now, what else have you got for us?

Atheism is a blind faith that doesn’t explain the evidence and is not confirmed by observational science-it’s the religion of naturalism

Scattering like buckshot tonight, eh, Ken? No problem. I want to call your pronouncements strawmen but let’s keep it real simple since you do. Look, brother, I love you, but crawl up your own ass and die with this “atheism is a faith” garbage. I. Don’t. Have. Any. Belief. In. God. Period. I pretty much lack the faith gene-lord knows I tried to believe for a decade or so. Faith and belief require activity, Ken, a type of activity which I do not pursue. As for the evidence, I’ve seen what passes for evidence from you-you’ve raised scripture-twisting to an art, pulling out bullshit from between every holy word.

Ken, you’ve got me stymied on whether or not I am a “naturalist”. Good thing I am here on a blog where I can take a minute to prepare myself for an accusation. I think I may have read a book or two of its genre. Google:

a philosophical viewpoint according to which everything arises from natural properties and causes, and supernatural or spiritual explanations are excluded or discounted.

Guilty. That’s all I have to go on; that’s about all I know so far. But it begs the question: so fucking what? Once again, am I to be convicted because of my ignorance? Not by you or your kind. Never. People who are certain scare me.

But by now we should all be bedazzled by your logic, and therefore you deliver your coup de grace:

Christianity is a faith that explains the evidence and is confirmed by observational science–it’s the true faith.

And it is here that we find the source of Ken’s loneliness, because there aren’t even very many believers who think that is true. Most Christians are very comfy with compartmentalizing faith and science. Rare is the bird who thinks that bastardized cut and paste book contains all the secrets of the universe. I’ve read it a few times. It really isn’t that good as books go. Shit, Dianetics makes more sense than Christianity if I’m completely honest.

I gotta go, Ken. My religious, naturalistic, death loving life calls. Fuck yourself hard, would you?

An Asshole Returns

Ben Carson, my erstwhile Oreo cookie whipping boy of this year’s pack of shitsacks otherwise known as Republican “candidates” has belched some more moral sewage into the political arena by suggesting that it’s wrong to judge Donald Trump regarding his lascivious treatment of the women surrounding him, because Christian:

Dr. Ben Carson argued on Sunday that Christians should not “judge” GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump based on his treatment of women.

Carson argued that Trump had “elevated a lot of women in his organization.”

“So as a Christian, what I do do is not judge everybody,” he said. “And that seems to be something that a lot of people have got into. ‘I’m better than you are.’ Give me a break. Let’s just stop for a moment.”

So, using Uncle Ben’s logic, even a rapist or a killer is not worthy of judgement. I’ve run into this bullshit before; Christians judge all the livelong day, but then of course when the tables have turned on them and someone judges them, they say that “only God is fit to judge”.

Whatever. It is hardwired into us to judge. Without the ability to judge, I might walk into heavy traffic because my brain is incapable of spotting danger. It applies to politics; you’re damn right I judge because I don’t want your crazy ass or your friend of the week anywhere near high office. Judging, it turns out, is how you gain your sense of self. Denying this evolutionary advantage is absurd, but that is the Christian way-to deny our basic instincts.

Donald Trump is right. This election is gonna be great, the best.

 

Forgive And Forget, But Damn…

I think years of prison really go to work on a person. That goes double for the soul crushing experience of solitary confinement, which I consider to be cruel and unusual. If you did your long penance and renounced your wicked ways, that should be the end of it. You have been punished by losing your time. That’s the real bitch being in the pen.

But some people…some people should be locked up for a good while. When you sodomize a 13 year old child with a razor at her neck, you need to think about that shit for a long time. So I think this guy I’m about to introduce to you belongs behind bars because he’s a child sodomizer, but instead he becomes part of a church outreach.

I get it. I really do. I agree with the pastor that:

” … if you steal a piece of candy from a store because you were young and stupid and make stupid mistakes, alright, you’re still a thief even though now you’re 40-years-old?”

Unfortunately, Pastor Dingaling, shoplifting is a victimless crime and not comparable to raping a teenager at razorpoint. Each should be punished, but they’re not even in the same ballpark.

The pastor in question is nuts, by the way. Why? Listen to this:

“This is a situation if that girls chooses…it takes two to tango, okay? So if that girl chooses to sleep with him, she’s just as guilty as he is,” the pastor said.

So, to paraphrase to good pastor, if she’s being raped and threatened with a weapon, she helped with the rape.

Some of you Christians make me fucking sick. How can you vilify women and cover for a violent rapist? Is that really how you want to play this?

It Never Ends

I’ve liked Steve Benen for years. I thought the Carpetbagger Report. was smart, informative and funny. Now he has a bitchin’ gig producing Rachel Maddow.

I should just give up. Everybody who was anybody in what used to be the “blogosphere” has gotten paying gigs writing internet journalism. I wrote a little for Roger Ailes, who now sadly posts maybe once a month. I got Jeff Goldstein to chew me out once. And I got Mark Steyn’s attention once because he used to post the negative commentary he endgendered.

So there are my purple hearts for this thing that I’ve been doing for well nigh over 15 years ago. I’m nobody. I try to do my bloggy best. I say fuck a lot, which will banish me from polite commentary and usually post things that really upset me. My targets are invariably about the aggravating grip Christians think they have on this melting pot, or about dangerous and laughable politicians. Sometimes those two things intersect, and I am doubly blessed.

Anyway, what was I saying about Steve Benen? Yes. He writes a little for the Maddow blog, and one of my favorite things he does is accumulate stories involving religious crazies. He calls this collection of observances “This Week In God”. I have a good laugh, and steal his material and put it here so you can enjoy it too.

Tom Cotton is a fucking maniac delusional cocksucker. His crimes can be found here; there are too many stupid things he has said to list here. So what’s going on with Senator Cotton these days?

Last fall, a variety of Republican leaders and presidential candidates suggested a refugee policy in which the United States favored Christians, but not Muslims, fleeing ISIS and Syria’s civil war. ThinkProgress noted this week, however, that one GOP senator has taken the extra step of introducing federal legislation related to the idea.

In an interview with radio host Kevin Miller on Tuesday, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) spoke about his new bill to make it much easier for Christians and other religious minorities fleeing ISIS-related violence to resettle in the United States.

“I think the U.S. has a moral imperative to try and save these Christians and the other small minority groups,” he said. “So I would create a special kind of visa program that wouldn’t take any access away from anyone else in the United States, but would recognize that Christians – like Jews in the Soviet Union – are being singled out for persecution and elimination. That’s in our interest, as it is in combating the Islamic State.”

That’s a sitting member of Congress, who can’t figure out what church and state separation means. Tom is free as a bird to just blah blah God blah blah on the floor if he likes, but we’re not in the business of choosing what kind of religion a person has to have to gain a foothold in America. For all the bleating they do about walking the path to citizenship…and then this guys says Christians can jump to the front of the line is as odious as it is asinine.

Cotton’s bill, introduced this week, does not yet have any co-sponsors

It’s a good thing no one really listens to Tom Cotton. Lord knows he’s provided me a bunch of opportunities to lay out his batshit ideas. Thanks, and fuck you, dude.

Hungry Freaks, Daddy

Here’s another oh-so inclusive activity from a school in Missouri:

...video surfaced of evangelical pastors leading students in prayer in Hollister, Missouri during lunchtime in the school cafeteria.

As it turns out, school officials actually allow this a few times a week, and the Christian group that proselytizes to the students is the only religious group that has been allowed to interact with students on public ground that is supposed to be secular.

Why, Christians? Just why? What makes you so special that makes you think this is OK?

…(the) goal is to indoctrinate kids into Christianity at a young age, because as Branson Junior High Principal Bryan Bronn said in 2014,

“Somebody once told me that if you wanted to reach students and you wanted to be serious about being, as Jesus called us to be, fishers of men, then you need to be serious about where the fish are at. And we all know that fish travel in… schools.”

Wow. You just cherry-pick a shiny thing in your book of fairy tales, and you think it means to teach children how to be little Christians. You’re not cute, and you’re not amusing. You’re a pest, and so are all the rest of you Christians to think it’s OK to infringe upon the rights of a child with a conscience. Because they have them. You may be the majority faith, but you are not the only one and it’s very uncool to assume that everyone is.

Video of the prayer is at the link, as is a takedown of Bristol Palin.

 

 

On Inclusion

My kid’s baseball coach prays with the team after each practice and game. They all get in a huddle and hold hands while Mr.P intones the dumb kind of prayer that causes people to say “Yes, Lord” while he prays for the boys. My kid doesn’t even know to take his batting helmet off while they do their prayers. He just looks at me beyond the fence, and I know he feels ridiculous.

And, if I say something, he will be excluded. Because Mr.P isn’t going to stop his prayer-he’ll let my kid go home and every goddamned kid on that team now knows that Walter is different. I think it sucks and I barely know what to do. It’s county sanctioned ball, so I wonder if this is a freedom from religion case that I can pursue.

Well, that’s all depressing. I found some good news, that a New York planning board has cut the shit with saying the pledge of allegiance before it opens for business, and for all the right reasons:

The officials on the Planning Board in New Paltz, New York decided this week that they would no longer say the Pledge of Allegiance at meetings. It was a 4-3 vote to eliminate it.

This did not sit well with the god crowd:

We either have a country, or we don’t. It’s shocking that an elected official won’t take the 15 seconds required to put their hand over their heart and recite the Pledge of Allegiance,” [Andrew Heaney, a Republican candidate for New York’s 19th Congressional District] said.

Pray tell, how does not saying some bullshit equate to us “losing our country”?

Cooler heads prevailed:

“The reason I voted for us not to begin meetings with it is because a few members on the planning board felt strongly that they did not want to recite the pledge, and they didn’t want to be put in a position where they were sort of branded or singled out at every meeting,” said board member Michael Zierler.

If only my kid’s coach could see how freedom of conscience works.

Running In Circles

I’ll let the pig speak for me today.

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