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Journal Archives

Fox News to Use Fewer Talking Points.

In an effort to uncomplicate issues for their viewers, Fox News has decided to cut the number of usable talking points in half. “There has been some confusion as to what this change actually means,” said Fox News Chairman, Roger Ailes. “We’re not making the talking points themselves less complicated; that would be impossible. We’re just going to use fewer of them so people will be able to keep them straight.”

“We’ve studied this problem at length,” Rupert Murdoch added in a heavy Australian accent. “When we have every money-hungry talking head out there trying to make a name for themselves - it gets a little confusing to some…Too much to remember. So, we’ve asked Sean Hannity to give a class to all the part-time talkers. You know, kindda whittle down the works, if you will.”

“If I may, Rupert,” Sean Hannity said in a low voice waiting for assent from Murdoch. When Sean got his nod, he faced the reporters from Murdoch’s many tabloids. “You see, we’re broadcasting at a third grade level here at Fox, but many of our viewers have a second grade intellect. They get confused and start mixing up the talking points at the water cooler. ‘Rape babies and trade is socialism.’ ‘Unions cause tax cuts.’ ‘Gay marriage is a threat to all death taxes.’” Sean paused for a moment, shaking his head. “Without meaning to, they’ve weakened their own arguments.”

“If I may,” Steve Doocy said, holding up four fingers and wearing a big grin. “We’ll only use five talking points in any given week! ‘Tax cuts create jobs…and I can’t remember the other two….”

“That’s okay, Steve,” Sean Hannity said, breaking a short silence. “You’ll have a prompter. The other four are ‘Unions out-lived their usefulness,’ ‘We’re a Christian nation,’ ‘Obama is a socialist,’ and ‘Global warming is a hoax.’”

“Now you folks know why we have Sean runnin’ the class,” said Murdoch with a smile. “He may not understand the issues, but he can recite talking points with the best of ‘em.”

“Don’t forget,” added Ailes. “’The War on Christmas’ always takes precedence in December. You can’t very well call yourself a news organization without spending a month or so making people irate about the correct way to wish others, ‘greetings.’ It’s that type of hard hitting journalism that keeps us number one!”

They Are Relentless. (And Kind of Hard to Stomach.)

Every time one starts to feel generous and forgiving towards the
other side, the depraved and cruel people in the world do something
to stir up the anger and the cycle continues. At least that’s the
way it feels. In 2008 many people felt optimistic about the future
because we elected the ‘anti-Bush’ and it looked as though we were
going to move in a smarter and more compassionate direction as a
country. That was followed immediately by the people who supported
the illegal war, deregulation and deficit exploding tax cuts that
put the country on the road to depression, yelling and screaming,
throwing things at the ill and blaming everyone but themselves for
the problems they created. Now the country has moved in a more
progressive direction once again, followed immediately by the worst
of us, let’s call them Teabaggers for the time being, defending the
indefensible. Papa John’s pizza, owned by the obscenely rich, greedy
and ostentatious John Schnatter who has a turntable for his
limousines, a castle-like mansion, his own golf course and a moat-
like structure surrounding his castle. According to a Forbes study,
Schnatter could supply health care to his employees by adding a
nickel to the cost of his pizzas and not have to cut back at all on
his King Herod life style. He refuses. He’s not alone by any means.
The CEO of Wal-Mart, Michael Duke, makes more in an hour than many of
his employees make in a year. Those employees are paid such low
wages that taxpayers are forced to help feed them and pay for their
health care. The list goes on and on. This should be a cause for
outrage as it is not only morally reprehensible, but moronically
self-destructive. Yet these Teabaggers defend the practice with the
zeal and self-righteousness usually reserved for religious fanatics.

Teabaggers, or more accurately their ideological forebears, have
always been with us. And they have always been an anchor on society.
Freeing the slaves was followed quickly by the formation of the KKK
and Jim Crow laws. (Yes, the degrees are different, but the thought
processes behind the deeds are the same.) The Renaissance kicked the
already in progress Inquisition into high gear. Martin Luther King
preached peace and fairness and was killed for his efforts. There
have always been people willing to champion sadistic and ludicrous
causes, the monikers assigned to these people may change with the
times, but the desire to punish others, even if it means making
things worse for themselves, remains a constant. And while it may be
true that many of these people may not be technically stupid in the
conventional sense of the word, their actions and words are identical
to those with less brain power and the same ideals. It’s possible that some of the people suppressing the vote in the latest election were not bigots, but outside of their immediate circle of family and friends, who cares? Same results, no matter what their motives. The same goes for those now espousing policies that keep millions of working Americans in poverty. Are they stupid or evil ideologues? Again, who cares? The burden of proof should not be, and really cannot be, on the observer to ferret out what’s in the heart or head of a stranger. Whether one advocates destructive policies because of not understanding what is truly at issue, or because one’s beliefs and ideology prevent that understanding, is irrelevant. Practically, the results are the same.

Right now the four hundred richest people in the US control as much
wealth as the bottom one hundred and fifty million. On average, each
person in that top group has as much wealth as one hundred million, five
hundred thousand people in the bottom 50% of the country’s economy.
In 1960 the average CEO made as much as forty people in his employ.
Now, depending on the source used, the average CEO makes up to four
hundred times those in his or her employ. Add to that 92% of the wealth
from our current recovery has gone to 1% of the population. As the
richest have taken more and more of the country’s wealth, the middle
class is continuing to shrink. Forty years ago one blue collar job
could support a family of five, have two cars, health care, a yearly
vacation and a pension that allowed for a retirement at sixty-five.
That is now hard to accomplish with two incomes. The trend is
obvious and it doesn’t bode well for the country. No one looks at a
third-world country with a handful of obscenely wealthy people and
millions of poor with no middle class and says, “Wow, they are doing
great. Our county should emulate their success.” Millions of people
within our borders defending and supporting policies that push our
country toward a third-world country life-style, is far more
dangerous than a few score fanatics thousands of miles away.

One Teabagger on a Facebook thread about Michael Duke’s salary said, “So what. Nothing wrong with that. They should get better jobs…Go Occupy something.” One on the Papa John’s page suggested posting pictures of those fired ‘so we could laugh at them.’ The issue isn’t with one or two maggots, it’s about millions who feel helping fellow Americans, even an iota, is now somehow un-American. They have taken the ‘us versus them’ to an extreme and it needs to stop.

All over the US Teabaggers are backing billionaires over workers, no
matter how outrageous the take is for the billionaires or how
insignificant the dent is to their incomes, when even the smallest
concession would mean the difference between living in a small
apartment or living in a vehicle. They aren’t just being bad human
beings with no compassion, they are also being bad citizens of a
country they give constant lip service to loving - every chance they get.

Where Are You Going, Teabag Nation?

What’s your vision of the future? Is it to destroy the middle class? Is that what you really want? You claim to be patriots, but every solution that you endorse, to every problem, whether that problem is real, imaged or magnified beyond recognition – makes things worse. From the Iraq War, to drug testing welfare recipients, to cutting social programs and fighting investments in infrastructure and education, to the demonization of teachers, to denying the science regarding evolution and climate change, you consistently do your part to weaken the middle class and drag our nation backward.

In order for problems to be addressed and solved, they first have to be acknowledged. And that needs to be done regardless of whether or not the reality involving said problem is uncomfortable. We should demand of every adult in the country that they react to difficult truths with at least as much dignity as we expect from the country’s eight year olds when they are told the truth about Santa Claus. This applies to all rejections of reality, but it is especially glaring regarding the environment and global warming. Your party’s platform on Protecting the Environment is the essence of irony. First there is the tacit admission that regulations have worked: “Efforts to reduce pollution, encourage recycling, educate the public, and avoid ecological degradation have been a success.” Then an insistence that we move in a more corporate friendly direction, away from what worked in the past, “…however, we need a dramatic change in the attitude of officials in Washington, a shift from a job-killing punitive mentality…” Yes, as if bringing back the polluted air and water of the sixties and seventies will have no detrimental effects. No health related illnesses, no effects on agriculture and tourism, no effects on industry that survives because of pristine areas; and of course, doing the right thing by future generations and other less tangible results are irrelevant and rarely brought up by your side. We constantly hear the figures pulled out of the considerable ass of Rush Limbaugh and others like him that regulating carbon would kill jobs and cost billions. Because as Rep. Fred Upton has said, the EPA has “…its foot firmly on the throat of our economic recovery.” To call that sentiment manure would do a grave injustice to fertilizer. Fertilizer does some good. Those who don’t believe in global warming, don’t understand global warming. Because if you did understand it, you would accept its existence. It boils down to this, in very simple terms. No one is disputing that CO2 is a greenhouse gas. This has been established science for over one hundred and fifty years when John Tyndall discovered its properties. Add that to another fact that no one disputes: That we are emitting billions of metric tons of this greenhouse gas into the air annually. When millions of years of accumulated and sequestered carbon is thrown back into the atmosphere, it will have an effect. Period. Stop whining that you may be slightly inconvenienced and read some actual science on global warming. Then start talking about what we should do. In other words, act like an adult.

Chris Hayes made an obvious yet brilliant observation about the fact that we can no longer tax the rich in this country. We have reached a stage that mimics third world and developing countries that don’t have the power to tax the rich and powerful. This goes to the heart of our investments in the future. If we don’t put enough of a value on our future generations or our infrastructure to pay for them, we will certainly lose them. We’re losing them already. Europe is decades ahead of us in infrastructure and our education system falls behind a little more every year. It’s not a lack of money that is the problem; it’s a skewed priority list.

In the last few years, teabags and those that lead them have been scapegoating teachers and union members for bringing down the economy. Like drug testing welfare recipients – which doesn’t save the government money, it costs. Florida had a net loss of $45,780.00 when it tested 4,086 applicants - this has a lot to do with punishing someone else and nothing to do with helping the economy. Forty years ago the private sector jobs had benefits and pensions. Those were taken away from most and the middle class is the weaker for it. Now you see people in the public sector that have benefits and instead of demanding yours back, you demand the public sector loses theirs. Digging one step lower and the middle class takes another big hit. Will you only be satisfied when there is no more middle class? Because that is the direction we are going, and you teabags seem to be insisting on it.

To address the Iraq War. Brilliant! So glad that your side has taken moral and financial responsibility for that disaster. The people who saw clearly what was to come have been celebrated for their efforts and something like that will never happen again.


Your movement has combined the close-mindedness and judgmentalism of social conservatism, with the sociopathic corporatism of Ayn Rand. The libertarians are half right. Who consenting adults sleep with is neither their neighbors’ nor the government’s concern. (As long as it’s consenting adults, obviously.) Same with what an adult puts in his or her own body, as long as no one else gets hurt. Where all sane people agree, including the libertarians, is on the fact that one person’s freedom ends where it infringes on another’s. If one’s idea of fun is armed robbery, society has every right to stop that person from engaging in that activity. That is not victimless. Where libertarians are wrong, is in extending the freedom of the individual to corporations. By their own logic, crimes with victims should not be allowed. Well, corporate crimes are not victimless. Financial crimes can injure the entire world economy and pollution harms millions, both in their health and their pocketbook. So the teabags have managed to be self-righteous enough to stick their noses into people’s private lives, and remove themselves from their duty as citizens to rein in corporate malfeasance.

One can rightly put most of the culpability in the laps of the propagandists, that twisted symbiotic cabal consisting of the sociopaths in the media such as Limbaugh, Elders, all of Fox News, et al, the perfidious politicians like Ryan, Cantor and Inhofe, and the greedy, narcissistic, world class bescumbers that buy and sell talking heads and politicians like the average person buys clothes. But the propaganda gobblers, the teabaggers, are adults and cannot be let off the hook just because they’re slow thinkers.

The slow dismantling of the middle class, by taking away benefits and livable wages can only end up with a weak, small middle class, a very small ultra-wealthy and very powerful upper class and a large powerless lower class. You may have heard a lot of this before, but what you may not have heard is the name applied to those who fail to learn the obvious. Mumpsimus. (Look it up.) It fits.

Pat Robertson: “Sometimes Hurricanes Are Temperature Exchanges Across Hemispheres”

Speaking on the 700 Club Thursday, Pat Robertson decided to educate his audience on climate and the causes of hurricanes.

“Sometimes, as is the case with hurricane Isaac, hurricanes are caused by intense low pressure areas over warm water in the tropics and not as punishment for sodomy" said Robertson. "Water vapor releases the latent heat of condensation, simultaneously cooling the ocean water and building up heat in the atmosphere creating low pressure. The changes in temperature and pressure create wind that spirals ever more strongly until thunderstorms are created over a large area. This cycle continues and the winds evaporate even more water from the ocean, spiraling until an eyewall is generated at the center. If the conditions are right, the storm will move toward the poles and transfer the equatorial heat…Mostly it’s gays though.”

Sharing the stage with Mr. Robertson was faith healer Benny Hinn, who was happy to showcase his vast scientific knowledge.

“You know Pat,” said Mr. Hinn, having minutes earlier made an impassioned plea for money to raise the dead, “The same can be said for earthquakes. Most people don’t realize that the earth’s lithosphere is made up of tectonic plates that are also experiencing heat exchanges, albeit at a much slower rate than at the surface. Subduction carries plates into the mantle which is replaced equally by new oceanic crust along divergent margins. The intensity felt on the surface is a matter of many factors, such as distance from the fault, dept of the plate movement, and it’s all laid out in the properties of kinematics – Other times it’s secular humanists, of course.”

“That makes perfect sense, Benny,” said Robertson.

That Money Could Have Gone To Make Someone Richer!

The saddest thing in the world for me is to see is a poor child receiving a free lunch at school, knowing full well he or she is taking money straight out of the pockets of a billionaire. The next thing on my list of anger and depressing inducing crimes is hearing about someone, anyone, being released from prison. Every time that happens there is potentially an empty bed with no prisoner to warm it. And, if you happen to be an investor in a for-profit prison, like me, that means a smaller dividend check. It’s kind of cruel to let someone out of prison while many of us are counting on that check, don’t you think? As everyone knows, there is an endless list of injustices happening to the wealthiest of us. Senior citizens receiving heat in the winter, food stamps, care for the disabled, wars un-fought, and don’t get me started on health care for those who can’t afford it.

John Stossel, a good and caring man if there ever was one, has shown over and over again how great the poor have it in this country – and what a scam they’re pulling on the rest of us. Did you know the average poor person in the US not only has electricity but also has a refrigerator? Poor my ass. And did you know that panhandlers make $80,000 a year. That’s what John Stossel heard, and I believe him. Now, putting aside the fact that the poor crashed the world economy and it took us months to make that money back, how can we be expected to continue to create jobs for those who want to tax us? It’s hard enough to concentrate on making money when my servants keep coming back from the store with horror stories. “There was this old lady counting out pennies for cat food. It took forever in line.” Just where the hell did she get those pennies? From people like me, that’s where.

Now, luckily it’s become easier to buy our most profitable possessions. Politicians and judges. It does put a lot of fun into one’s life and almost makes up for the poor robbing us blind, but some days it seems like it’s just not worth it to be incredibly rich. There is talk of increasing my taxes by three percent. Three percent! If it wasn’t for the fact there is no one else qualified to take our place and handle all this wealth, well, we would just quit.

Now of course the solution is right out in the open for all to see. Stop taxing corporations and the wealthy, and stop all programs to help the needy. Just how much more of this are we supposed to take?

The Forest People

I tend to think sometimes we in the US – not all obviously, and most not all the time – get sidetracked by the 365 day a year horse race and never ending campaign season. People lose sight of what’s important. Loosing freedoms, as we have been steadily for over a decade is extremely important. But even that is a second tier problem compared to the subject of the video, and can be fixed. It’s takes a lot of hard work, but it is reversible. However, when a species or culture is wiped out, it’s wiped out for good. Greed, overpopulation, pollution and corruption – these things are universal and need solutions.

Just my two cents.

Of Stereotypes and Labels (Teabag Edition)

As a tolerant guy with a natural aversion to labels and stereotyping, I am nonetheless very prone to realism and reality – no matter how uncomfortable that reality is. So what to do when these two personality traits conflict? What do you say to yourself when a stereotype is obviously true, but you pride yourself on being as unbiased as possible? Well, in this case I’m going to come down easily on the side of reality and damn the consequences.

I’m talking of course about your average teabagger having less than stellar cognitive abilities. ‘It’s not nice to discount another’s viewpoint.’ We’re told. ‘You can’t just lump them all together as idiots, some of them are very educated.’ Then you hear them speak. How many arguments does one have to get into, online and in person before one admits the truth? It can be difficult for the naturally polite to stereotype, but in this case, it’s necessary. ‘Obama’s a Muslim, communist, socialist that is taxing us to death!’ ‘He wasn’t born in this country!’ ‘The illegals is what’s ruining the economy!’ ‘Enhanced interrogation isn’t torture!’ ‘FDR made the Great Depression last seven years longer than it should have!’ And on and on. The evidence is overwhelming.

“Global warming is a hoax by the scientists to get more money!” Gee, sorry I thought you were stupid. A quick trip through modern Tea Bag Nation (and there has been a decrease in media coverage and rally sizes since their heyday a couple of years ago) and one can see a disconnect from reality and a self-destructive embrace of the inane. Richard Mourdock who just recently defeated Senator Lugar in the Indiana Republican primary is a Tea Party candidate. He is just one person, but he illustrates nicely where these people stand. He wants to end the Departments of Energy, Commerce, Education, HUD, and the IRS. He thinks Ryan’s budget, which is a monument to greed and mean-spirited politics, doesn’t go far enough. He wants to be mentored by Senator Lee of Utah who thinks we need to end FEMA, child labor laws, food stamps and thinks Social Security and Medicare are unconstitutional. The House which has sixty-six members in the Tea Party Caucus and many more hangers-on, voted last week to cut money from the child care budget, food stamps, Medicaid and Meals on Wheels. For personal responsibility? Do they expect the children and elderly to get off their lazy asses and get a job? It’s like they moved into the role of cartoon villains.

There is an un-named phenomenon that gives rise to the dumbest person in a meeting of strangers, also being the loudest and most talkative. Is that what happened on a national level with the Tea Party? Maybe partially, but that is certainly not the main reason. As any casual observer of history can tell you, government power is upset by those who challenge the status quo. The difference between the way the Fox News led Tea Party rallies were greeted by the police and the way that Occupy Wall Street was greeted, will tell you all you need to know about who was threatening the status quo. And that is with the teabaggers threatening violence on a regular basis. “We came unarmed – this time!” was a common sign at their rallies. They are fighting to dismantle the public safety net, and deregulate business. The power behind the power must have been shaking in their boots. From laughter, I suppose. No, the teabaggers were not a threat to the status quo, they were pawns used by those in power to fight for the status quo, hence their rise to prominence.

What’s at stake here is the future of the nation. We cannot build a future that we would want to live in if we don’t invest in that future. Education should be free through college, not more expensive. Banks should not be allowed to gamble with the money of others, especially with limited or no oversight. Derivatives need to be heavily regulated, not ignored. We should be spending more on primary education and give the poor as well as the rich a fair shot at success. We should be investing more in our infrastructure and alternative energy, not less. We should be making our food supply, water supply and work environments safer. We should make our corporations pay their fair share of taxes, and have the energy companies pay fairly for the resources they take from publicly owned land. The Tea Party fights all these ideas that would help the country’s future. Cutting NPR and taking rights away from women just won’t build the past they are trying to recreate.

So, we have a stereotype which is obviously true. And although not every person in the Tea Party is in the conventional sense an idiot, many of the ‘smart ones’ are blinded by ideology. The end result is the same. What does it matter if the reason one can’t accept facts is because of not being capable of understanding them or because one refuses to understand them? (Don’t answer that, there is a difference, but for this discussion it’s rhetorical.) Liberals are often derided for looking down on the right for being slow. Sometimes, that label is deserved.

Shocking Video Shows Mexican Immigrant Beaten to Death. Something needs to be done.

More at Democracy Now!
A new PBS documentary exposes the tasing and beating death of a Mexican immigrant by U.S. border agents in California and has renewed scrutiny of what critics call a culture of impunity. In May 2010, 32-year-old Anastasio Hernández-Rojas was caught trying to enter the United States from Mexico near San Diego. He had previously lived in the United States for 25 years and was the father of five U.S.-born children. But instead of deportation, Hernández-Rojas’s detention ended in his death. A number of border officers were seen beating him, before one tasered him at least five times. He died shortly afterward. The agents say they confronted Hernández-Rojas because he became hostile and resisted arrest. But previously undisclosed videos recorded by eyewitnesses on their cell phones show a different story. "All eyewitnesses that we spoke to basically tell the same story of a man hogtied and handcuffed behind his back, not resisting, being beaten repeatedly by batons, by kicks, by punches, by the use of a taser, for almost 30 minutes until he died," says reporter John Carlos Frey, whose exposé aired in a national television special last Friday night as part of a joint investigation by the PBS broadcast, "Need to Know," and the Investigative Fund of the Nation Institute. We also speak with Hernández-Rojas’s widow, María Puga. "My husband was tortured. He was severely beaten. And they’ve destroyed an entire family," says Puga, speaking through a Spanish-English translator. "All we want is justice. And we need your help to get that justice."


Law enforcement is out of control on numerous levels in our country. Surveillance, unaccountability, brutality and murder. This should not stand in a 'free' society. Any society, for that matter. (I do admit, this video makes it hard to remain objective. It is sickening.)

On Edit: Don't be afraid to demand action from the Justice Department. Or to circulate the video, for that matter.

Open letter to Bishop Jenky. Re: Obama, Hitler and Stalin remarks.

Bishop Jenky,

I grew up in a Catholic home, went to a Catholic grade school and for a couple of years was an altar boy. Having been forced to attend church in my younger years, I assumed my children would feel relief at staying home on Sundays. I was wrong. My two oldest would beg me to take them to church, actually saying, “You got to go when you were my age!” So, I explained that the Church – and I emphasized the Church, not the lay Catholics – were backward in their thinking. About birth control, women, gays - and that when priests did awful things, they protected the Church at all costs, and made the wrong things they did, much, much worse.

I also explained that the most conservative, most fanatical in the Church hierarchy were responsible for the Crusades, the Inquisition, aiding Hitler during the Holocaust and numerous other atrocities throughout history. I told them that even though most of those things were far in the past, some of the fanatics in the Church still interpreted morality though the eyes of reactionaries that are incapable of compassion and logical thought. I did add that there were many in the Church, priests and nuns that helped the poor and hungry, stood up against immoral wars, etc., and that they were a credit to the Church and humanity as a whole. But we still weren’t going, at least until they all acted Christ-like and not ‘Christian.’

My children are now in their early twenties and I showed them what you said the other day about Obama, Hitler and Stalin. Their reaction – “Wow, it’s worse than I thought it was.” I responded with, “Me too.”

This after years of defending the Church, telling people, “No it’s the evangelicals that are nuts, the Catholics don’t think like that.” After the Vatican blaming ‘60’s liberals for the priest’s pedophilia, after the embarrassing reaction to the phony birth control controversy and now your disgusting remarks, I can no longer defend the Church.

At least I know positively, that I did the right thing leaving it.

False Equivalency

No matter what the issue, talking heads in the media insist that every wrong done by the right has an equal or comparable wrong done by the left. It’s infuriating, insulting, adds to an already pathetically dumbed-down national conversation and most importantly – wrong!

The latest is comparing Limbaugh’s comments about Sandra Fluke to jokes made by left leaning comedians. Besides the fact that Limbaugh’s target was a private citizen and political comedians target public figures, there is this to consider:

Comedians on the left point out hypocrisy and stupidity by using irony. People like Limbaugh and talkers on the right create stupidity and irony by using hypocrisy. There’s a difference.

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