About greg

Just another bozo on the bus.

supersaturated stupidity

I thought we might have reached the saturation point in the Bundy Ranch Fuss. You know — the maximum capacity of stupid. A point at which the situation was so deeply and profoundly stupid that it couldn’t hold even one more drop of stupidity.

I thought we’d reached that point. I hadn’t counted on two things. First, the surface tension of stupidity — that quality that allows stupidity to resist external forces, in much the same way an amount of water can slightly exceed the capacity of the glass containing it. Surface tension means you can usually add a little more stupid to an existing container of stupid. Second, I hadn’t taken into account the supersaturation capabilities of Congressman Steve Stockman (Republican, of course — from Texas, of course). Stockman’s highly concentrated stupidity (which has been measured at .92 Gohmerts) allows him to exceed normal stupidity levels. Introducing Stockman into an already stupid situation can dramatically increase the overall volume of stupidity.

Congressman Steve Stockman (R-TX, natch) voicing his considered opinions.

Congressman Steve Stockman (R-TX, natch) voicing his considered opinions.

After the Sandy Hook massacre, you may remember, Stockman called President Obama’s proposed changes to gun safety “an existential threat to this nation” that he would “seek to thwart…by any means necessary.” And he did that before Obama even made those proposals. And it was Stockman who invited draft-dodging pedophile Ted Nugent — who Stockman considers to be “a patriot” — to the State of the Union speech. Stockman has claimed that the siege at Waco in 1993 was orchestrated by President Clinton in “to prove the need for a ban on so-called assault weapons.”

The list of Stockman’s assault on intelligent behavior is long and colorful — too long to include here (but wait, just one more: Stockman once tweeted ‘If babies had guns, they wouldn’t be aborted’ and no, I’m not making that up). Because he’s such a dunderhead, I suppose it’s not such a surprise that he inserted himself into the Bundy Ranch Fuss. What did he do?

He wrote a letter to President Obama, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, and BLM Director Neil Kornze saying:

Because of this standoff, I have looked into BLM’s authority to conduct such paramilitary raids against American citizens, and it appears that BLM is acting in a lawless manner in Nevada…. [T]he federal government must not only stand down, but remove all federal personnel from anywhere near the Bundy ranch…. [BLM has no] right to assume preemptory police powers, that role being reserved to the States.

Stockman (and this may be the only time I’ve ever uttered these words) is absolutely correct. The BLM doesn’t have authority to conduct paramilitary raids against American citizens. However, they do have authority to protect the public lands under BLM management and to enforce the law on BLM property. Which is exactly what they did.

Peaceful Bundy supporters peaceably demonstrating their peaceful disagreement with BLM.

Peaceful Bundy supporters peaceably demonstrating their peaceful disagreement with BLM.

Stockman’s understanding of the situation, of course, is an echo of the stupid shit we’re hearing from the so-called ‘patriots’ of the militia movement. Sadly, when it’s repeated by a sitting Member of Congress — even a nitwit like Stockman — it reinforces the idiocy. For example:

[T]he BLM had no business being armed up like the military in the first place nor did they have any business making an incursion into the State of Nevada. The whole thing was unbelievable. And they wonder why the militia showed up. I said there was a reason why you were not seeing the FBI and the US Marshals.

The fact (and yeah, I realize how useless it is to point out facts to these folks) is that BLM maintains an Office of Law Enforcement & Security specifically to deal with criminal behavior on Federal lands under BLM management (as opposed to US Parks, which has their own security officers). The reason the FBI and the US Marshal Service didn’t show up is because they don’t have jurisdiction. It’s not a conspiracy.

STEVE STOCKMAN KNOWS that Obama is an illegal alien terrorist. He’s been working closely with Arpaio/Zullo on Obama Fraud Investigation.

Well. Yeah. Facts and logic are pretty useless against somebody who claims (and may actually believe) the President of These United States is an illegal alien terrorist.

The Rancher needs to Sue the BLM for violating his Constitutional rights and abuse of authority under the color of law and so should anyone there that was moved, tasked or ordered to do anything by them!

Lawdy. This shouldn’t need to be pointed out, but dude there is NO Constitutional right to graze your cattle on public land. You are making the common conservative error of confusing Things I Do Not Like with Things That Are Unconstitutional.

[W]ho is really calling the shots here??? Who gave the order for the BLM to go in as they did is still not clear. I’d like to know ‘who’ ordered it.

Bonus points for having three (3!) question marks to show how sincerely confused you are. Who really gave the order? That would be any number of Federal judges over the last twenty years, all of whom have consistently ruled that Bundy was illegally grazing his cattle on public land. The most recent order, by Judge Lloyd George was issued on 9 July, 2013. The order states:

Bundy shall remove his livestock from the New Trespass Lands within 45 days of the date hereof, and that the United States is entitled to seize and remove to impound any of Bundy’s cattle that remain in trespass after 45 days of the date hereof.

So after giving Bundy two decades to stop trespassing on public land, and giving him a further 45 days to comply, the BLM gave him eight more months before finally moving in the enforce the order first given 20 years ago. You know, even a flatworm is capable of learning more efficiently than Bundy.

A quick background as to why the BLM should not be harassing Cliven Bundy. This issue goes all the way back to the Confederation Papers, prior to the writing of our US Constitution.

Jeebus on a tortilla, seriously? Did you stop to think the Articles of Confederation no longer apply? (Here’s a hint: they don’t.) Did you ever consider that the US Constitution replaced the Articles of Confederation? (Here’s a hint: they did.)

Why are not Senators and US Representative asking for the immediate resignation of the Reids (Harry and his son from the BLM). With the resignation denial of pension and lifetime medical care. make the criminals pay. I know I may be deluded, but the US Congress critters need to stand up once and for all.

Yes, you are deluded. Neither Senator Harry Reid nor his son can resign from BLM because neither of them are employed by BLM. There is a flaw in your reasoning.

bundy no trespassing

There’s some minimal comfort in the knowledge that Steve Stockman will no longer be a Member of Congress as of January 2015 (though I’m sure Republicans in Texas are actively seeking somebody equally stupid to replace him). There’s not much comfort, though, in knowing that neither Bundy nor his supporters have any respect for public lands or any understanding of the law governing those lands.

It’s really pretty simple. Does Bundy own the land on which his cattle are grazing? No. Has he ever owned that land? No. Can he use that land to graze his cattle if he pays the allotment fee? Yes. Has he ever paid the allotment fees? Yes, in the past. Has he paid his allotment fee? No, not for twenty years. Is he trespassing on public land? Yes. Is he aware he’s trespassing? Yes. Is Cliven Bundy leeching of the American people? Yes. Yes, absolutely yes.

Is this stupidity over? Sadly, no.

i call bullshit

Right wing extremists were celebrating yesterday. A lot of them are interpreting the decision by the Bureau of Land Management to de-escalate the tensions over the Bundy Cattle Fuss as a victory in the first battle of a new civil war.

We have big escalating issues here with an out of control government. Otherwise this entire government continues down the road to Russian style tyranny and control.

Civil war better now than later!

It will be Western US/State water/ag rights, that drive a new civil war. This battle, will be once again, motivated by Federal vs State. Water rights will be the up-front issue, used to fog the actual take over, by the Feds- of total control of State rights.

From Bunker Hill to Bunkerville…

I confess, I have mixed feelings about this. I think it was probably wise for the BLM to pull its personnel out of the area. It was a volatile situation, with a lot of protesters almost eager for a confrontation. It could easily have turned to gunfire — and it would be completely stupid for anybody to die over something this ridiculous.

Bundy supporters

Bundy supporters (with the flag of the nation Bundy doesn’t believe in)

On the other hand, it sends a bad message. On the surface, it lends some credence to Bundy’s arguments that he’s a victim of government overreach — which is bullshit. The truth is that Cliven Bundy is like one of those asshats who steal another person’s cable or internet service — only instead of stealing corporate services, he’s stealing taxpayer money.

Let’s look at his arguments. He claims the land in question doesn’t belong to the United States, but to the State of Nevada. That’s bullshit. That territory was ceded to the U.S. by Mexico after the Mexican-American War through the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. It remained the property of the U.S. Government when the State of Nevada was created, a fact specifically detailed in the Constitution of Nevada:

[T]he people inhabiting said territory do agree and declare, that they forever disclaim all right and title to the unappropriated public lands lying within said territory, and that the same shall be and remain at the sole and entire disposition of the United States

Bundy also claims that Nevada’s ‘Open Range’ law permits him to trespass on that public land. More bullshit, and he knows it. He’s made that claim in the courts and in each case the courts have ruled against him. This is from the most recent court decision:

Bundy is incorrect in claiming that…Nevada’s ‘Open Range; statute excuses Bundy’s trespass. See e.g., Gardner, 107 F.3d at 1320 (under Supremacy Clause state statute in conflict with federal law requiring permit to graze would be trumped).

Bundy has tried every bullshit legal argument he and his lawyers can think of, and each time he’s been slapped down. And he still refuses to comply.

Cliven Bundy (and the flag of the government he doesn't believe in)

Bullshit artist Cliven Bundy (and the flag of the government he doesn’t believe in)

Imagine a similar scenario. Members of the Occupy movement rent a shelter in a city park for one day. They refuse to leave the public park the following day and refuse to pay another shelter fee. They treat that park as if they own it, building permanent structures on it, killing the wildlife that lived there.

Now imagine that when the authorities show up to remove them from the park, they arm themselves and loudly state they’ll do whatever it takes to continue to use that park.

Police response to Occupy Movement protesters

Police response to Occupy Movement protesters (and the flag Bundy doesn’t believe in)

You think the government would allow them to continue to trespass on that park for twenty years, the way Bundy was allowed to do? Bullshit. Do you think the authorities would hesitate to use force against them? Would those ‘patriots’ in the conservative movement be outraged if the authorities used force against the protesters? Do you think those ‘patriots’ would support the protester’s cause? Bullshit. Do you think those ‘patriots’ would consider an attempt to enforce the law to be ‘government overreach’?

Hell no. There’d be bodies on the ground, and conservative ‘patriots’ would be cheering.

Here’s still more bullshit: Bundy’s supporters were outraged when, during a confrontation in which the protesters attempted to block a road, the police responded by tasering Bundy’s son and pushing Bundy’s sister to the ground. Police brutality! Gestapo tactics! Where was that outrage when force was used against the unarmed Occupy movement?

occupy movement brutality

The fact is Cliven Bundy has spent twenty years using public land for his own personal profit. For two decades he’s been stealing from us, from the people. He’s done that knowingly, well aware that he’s in violation of the law. And yet he’s been treated with astonishing patience by the government — and when the government finally acted, he whined like a baby.

Cliven Bundy is no patriot. He’s certainly not a hero in a new civil war. He’s a cheap-ass crook and he’s hiding behind a flag he doesn’t believe in. I call bullshit on Cliven Bundy.

Addendum: You know how you say to yourself ‘Things can’t possibly get any more stupid than they are right now’ and then hey, bingo — things get more stupid? Yeah, that just happened. A state legislator from neighboring Arizona — Kelly Townsend (do I need to say she’s a Tea Party Republican?) said this about the video of Bundy’s son getting tased:

“Watching that video last night created a visceral reaction in me. It sounds dramatic, but it reminded me of Tiananmen Square. I don’t recognize my country at this point.”

Yes, it does sound dramatic. It also sounds incredibly stupid. We don’t really know how many men and women were killed during the 1989 Democracy Movement in Beijing, but the most reliable estimates are in the 400-800 range. Let’s compare that to one guy getting hit with a taser while trying to assert his father’s right to graze cattle illegally on government property.

Arizona legislator Kelly Townsend (R - OMFG)

Arizona legislator Kelly Townsend (R – OMFG)

I can only assume Kelly Townsend is stupid at the molecular level. So she’s got a great future ahead of her in the Republican Party.

a crank in a cowboy hat

There’s a fuss happening out in Nevada, and it could get ugly.. It’s about — and I’m not making this up — grazing. Oh, the folks involved are claiming it’s about freedom and the Constitution and tyranny and all that, but that’s mostly bullshit. It’s more accurate to say it’s about a sense of privilege based on living in the same place and doing the same thing for a century and a half. But really, down at the bone, it’s about a crank in a cowboy hat.

You’ve seen it in movies; cattle grazing out on the open range in the Old West. Wide, open spaces. A handful of stalwart cowboys in big hats lazily keeping an eye on the herd. It’s all very picturesque, very cinematic, very American.

cattle grazing

When you’re watching the movies, though, you never stop to ask yourself a pretty basic question: Who the hell owns all that grazing land? For a long time, the answer was nobody. Or everybody, which is pretty much the same thing. The land was just there, so folks used it. As the United States expanded westward, the government gradually set about organizing and managing that unowned land. That eventually led to the creation of the Bureau of Land Management.

Today, about an eighth of all the land in the continental United States is considered public land — land owned in common by the people. It doesn’t belong to any individual, though individuals sometimes get to use it. We’re talking about everything from local municipal parks to national parks to open range. And that brings us to Cliven Bundy and the fuss in Nevada.

Cliven Bundy

Cliven Bundy

Bundy’s family has been ranching in Nevada since sometime in the 1880s. They own a chunk of land near the Utah border and some cattle. In the winter they keep the cattle near their ranch. But like most cattle ranches in the American West, they don’t own enough grazing land for their cattle to forage in the spring and summer. So the Bundy family and other area ranchers pay a fee to the U.S. government to graze their cattle on an allotment of public land.

Well, they used to pay the fee. In 1993, the government modified the allotment terms to provide protection for an endangered species — the desert tortoise. Bundy was raising cattle, not tortoises; he didn’t see why he had to abide by the new terms. So he stopped paying the allotment fee. But he didn’t stop grazing his cattle on the public land. For the last two decades, Bundy and his cattle have basically been trespassing.

In 1998, a Federal court ordered Bundy to remove his cattle from the land. He didn’t. After another fifteen years of pissing around, the government finally told Bundy to remove his cattle or they’d seize them. In July of last year they gave Bundy 15 days to remove his cattle. Again, he didn’t. This week, 260 days or so after the deadline, the BLM decided to stop being patient with Cliven Bundy. They started to remove his cattle themselves.

cattle

To some right wing dimwits, this equals tyranny. Bundy argues that his family have used that land since before the creation of the BLM, so his right to use the land preempts the government’s right to regulate it. He says he’ll fight against any attempt to take the cattle. He told the LA Times,

“I’ve got to protect my property. If people come to monkey with what’s mine, I’ll call the county sheriff. If that don’t work, I’ll gather my friends and kids and we’ll try to stop it. I abide by all state laws. But I abide by almost zero federal laws.”

This is why things might turn ugly. Bundy has gathered his friends. To a small number of uneducated, angry, well-armed anti-government types, Bundy is a hero who is fighting against government oppression. Some two or three hundred of them have rallied outside his ranch. The BLM and the US Park Service responded by sending in more law enforcement personnel. The situation keeps escalating as the protesters become more confrontational. Various so-called citizen militias have shown up as well.

“That is what we do, we provide armed response. They have guns. We need guns to protect ourselves from the tyrannical government.”

This would be the same tyrannical government that’s given Bundy twenty years to stop being a dick and pay the allotment fee. That’s some piss poor tyranny.

bundy supporters

It’s about fighting for OUR freedom, the sign says. Whose freedom? Apparently not the other ranchers in the region — the ones who’ve continued to pay their allotment fees. And apparently not the rest of the citizenry, who have a right to expect Bundy to pay a fee to use public land — OUR land — to feed HIS cattle. The only freedom I see at risk is the freedom of Cliven Bundy to be a freeloader.

In the video below you’ll hear one of Bundy’s sons compare the situation in Nevada to the movie Red Dawn. The movie is a conservative gun nut’s wet dream. It’s about a group of plucky American high school kids who fight a guerrilla war against an invading Communist army. I’ve no doubt that’s exactly how a lot of Bundy’s supporters see the Obama presidency — as some sort of foreign occupying power. And I suspect they see themselves as the heroic Wolverines, courageously fighting back against overwhelming odds in an attempt to liberate America from oppression.

In fact, they’re just standing up for some crank who doesn’t want to abide by laws he doesn’t agree with. A crank who says he doesn’t recognize the Federal government but still tries to use the U.S. Constitution as a prop to support his claim that he has the right to treat public lands as if he owns them.

Cliven Bundy is no hero. He’s no patriot. He’s no defender of freedom. He’s just a crank in a cowboy hat.

a new human rights abuse

Oh sweet Jeebus in a pickle barrel, have we not suffered enough at the hands of George W. Bush? Wasn’t it torment enough for us to live through the eight long, grim, disgraceful years of his presidency? Must we endure one more disappointing moment of this wretched, graceless, inadequate creature?

The best thing the former president ever did was leave office and disappear from public view. But now he’s back. He’s back and recklessly inflicting his painting on the blameless public. Just fuck me with a chainsaw and be done with it.

Bush portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin. No, wait...that's his dog Barney.

Bush portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin. No, wait…that’s his dog Barney.

It wasn’t enough that W. Bush was the worst president in the history of the United States (which is quite an accomplishment; we’ve had some astonishingly bad presidents). It wasn’t enough that he authorized the pre-emptive invasion of a sovereign nation that was no threat to the U.S. It wasn’t enough that he authorized the illegal detention of more than 1200 people, many of whom were U.S. citizens, following the attacks of 9/11, or that he authorized the repeated torture of people suspected of having information about those attacks. It wasn’t enough that he authorized and signed into law the PATRIOT Act, which permitted indefinite detention of suspects and warrantless wire taps and expanded the power of the State to search through records that had previously required a court order.

No, clearly that wasn’t enough. Now the unprincipled sumbitch has foisted a fresh horror on the world. George W. Bush has become a fucking painter.

Bush portrait of Russian leader Vladimir Putin. No, wait...that's the Dalai Lama.

Bush portrait of Russian leader Vladimir Putin. No, wait…that’s the Dalai Lama.

Bush says he took up painting after reading an essay on Winston Churchill (another unprincipled sumbitch, but one who was at least intelligent and witty). The notion of the least curious human ever to occupy the Oval Office reading an essay on Winston Churchill is only slightly less preposterous than the notion of him painting. If he wanted to emulate Churchill, couldn’t Bush simply have started wearing a Homburg?

But no — the shameless bastard had to pick up a paint brush and perpetrate another outrage against humanity.

Bush portrait of Vladimir Putin. No, wait...that's former South Korean president Lee Myung-bak.

Bush portrait of President Vladimir Putin. No, wait…it’s former South Korean President Lee Myung-bak.

Bush, I’ll admit, is a better painter than he was a president — but that’s not saying much. His painting, in my opinion, is hopelessly amateurish and incompetent. That description also applies to his presidency.

Others disagree — at least in regard to his painting. Art critic Jerry Saltz was quite taken with Bush’s bathroom self-portraits. He said the work was:

‘simple’ and ‘awkward,’ but in wonderful, unself-conscious, intense ways. They show someone doing the best he can with almost no natural gifts — except the desire to do this. The reclusion and seclusiveness of the pictures evoke the quietude (though not the insight, quality, or genius) of certain Chardin still lifes. These are pictures of someone dissembling without knowing it, unprotected and on display, but split between the promptings of his own inner drives and limited by his abilities.

Yeah. Okay. Someone doing the best he can with almost no natural gifts — except the desire to do this. Yeah, that could also describe his presidency.

Bush portrait of Putin in the shower. No, wait...that's Bush his ownself.

Bush portrait of Putin in the shower. No, wait…that’s apparently Bush his ownself.

Painting is hard work, to be sure. It takes a great deal of practice and a certain amount of native talent to be good. Bush, to his credit, is doing the work and practicing (though it’s a shame he wasn’t as diligent at being president). He says it’s changed the way he views the world (again, a shame he didn’t start painting before he became president).

“I see colors differently. I am, I guess, tapping a part of the brain that, you know, certainly never used when I was a teenager.”

Tapping…isn’t that how they get syrup out of the tree? Anyway, insert your own brain joke here.

Bush portrait of...okay, I don't know who the fuck this is supposed to be.

Bush portrait of…okay, I don’t know who the fuck this is supposed to be.

I’ll admit, if I had my way George W. Bush would be painting portraits behind bars. If he’d been the leader of any nation other than the United States, he’d have likely been tried for war crimes.

But that’ll never happen. So I suppose we should be grateful that it’s Bush who took up painting and not Dick Cheney. Who knows what sort of shit taco that fiend would serve up? Probably paintings of gory hunting scenes. Using the blood of slaughtered animals. Or puppies.

an important first step

For years, rich people were specifically targeted — singled out in a blatant attempt to prevent them from giving massive chunks of cash to politicians and policy makers. Poor and middle class folks, of course, have always been able to spend whatever they can afford to influence government policies. Thanks to the recent decision by the Supreme Court of the United States, that glaring inequity has been ended.

It’s a triumph for free speech. Oppressed rich people will no longer be denied their First Amendment right to pay for the campaigns of candidates who are devoted to making rich people more rich. Now rich people can play by the same rules as the poor and middle class.

Free at last, free at last, thank SCOTUS Almight, free at last.

Free at last, free at last, thank SCOTUS Almighty, free at last.

This decision is cause for celebration, as John Boehner, the tangerine-colored Speaker of the House, pointed out to a group of reporters:

“You all have the freedom to write what you want to write, donors ought to have the freedom to give what they want to give. And I’m all for freedom, congratulations.”

That’s right, there’s no meaningful difference between the news media freely reporting the news and rich people giving cash to politicians. It’s the same thing! Freedom!

Rice Penis Reese Prefab The Chairman of the RNC

Rice Penis Reese Prefab The Chairman of the RNC

That sentiment is echoed by the Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Rinse Prius Prince Rebus Reince Preibus. He called the SCOTUS decision:

“…an important first step toward restoring the voice of candidates and party committees and a vindication for all those who support robust, transparent political discourse….When free speech is allowed to flourish, our democracy is stronger.”

An important first step. Clearly, more steps are required (preferably steps taken in a pair of soft camel-skin shoes by Stefano Bemer). We still have a long way to go before the rich are able to spend their money exercise their free speech without fear of ridicule or disrespect from jealous poor and middle class people.

Our democracy is stronger now that the rich have been liberated from the shackles placed on their money speech. The dark days when the tyranny of the poor and middle class suppressed the free speech of the rich are almost over.

Rich-American Mitt Romney, who hoped one day to transform the US into the sort of nation where he could bank his own money.

Rich-American Mitt Romney, who hoped one day to transform the US into the sort of nation where he’d be proud to bank his own money.

I will remind you of the words spoken by the great civil rights leader, the Reverend Martin Luther King (or the words he would have spoken if he’d been rich):

When we allow freedom to ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, rich and those other people, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual…’Free at last, free at last, thank SCOTUS Almighty, we’re free at last.’

Ah, freedom. It smells like dew-covered freshly minted silver dollars in the Spring.

impermanence

So there’s me, on the first day of Spring, noodling around the Riverwalk just as if I didn’t have anything else to do. And man, it felt like Spring. Bright and sunny, almost warm, fresh breeze. Bicyclists were out, and young mothers with strollers, and over the lunch hour all the employed people abandoned their offices and escaped the skywalk and hit the sidewalks with all the energy of spawning salmon.

So yeah, even though I had work that needed to be done, I was out walking. And here’s a true thing: you cannot walk along the Riverwalk without stopping occasionally and peeking over the balustrade to watch the river flow by. While I was doing that, I saw a milky white film of some sort, splashed out on the river. Who knows what it was — soap scum maybe, or chemical waste, or something organic roiled up by the snow melt rushing over the dam upstream. Whatever it was, my immediate reaction was disappointment and a mild distaste at the sight of it.

But then it sort of drew me in. It was almost hypnotic, the way the motion of the river shaped and reshaped the stuff, the way the color shifted with each tiny wave.

I must have watched this happen for a quarter of an hour. I can’t say it was pretty, but there was something compelling about it — something unexpectedly absorbing. The river, I knew, would shrug this stuff off, whatever it was. Even in the short time I was there, I could see the stuff gradually being disrupted by the current — broken up, disorganized, reorganized, and all while being forced inevitably downstream. There wasn’t a single moment when the stuff held a coherent shape.

I realized the only constant in this event was me. I was standing still. I wasn’t moving. I was the only fixed point in an otherwise unfixed occurrence.

So I left.

Literally!

You guys, did you know you were paralyzed? Literally paralyzed. Oh, and scared too. Why are you paralyzed (literally) and scared? I’ll tell you. It’s totally on account of the Socialist President of Islamic Ameriqa, Baraq Hussein Obama. Also, gay folks.

Paralyzed while pointing!

Rush Limbaugh — paralyzed while pointing!

Seriously. I wouldn’t make that up. I literally would NOT make that up. I have proof. It’s what Rush Limbaugh said, his ownself. Literally.

The fact that we are living in the historic era with the first African-American president has everybody paralyzed and everybody scared. Political leadership in Washington is literally paralyzed.  Political consultant leadership in Washington literally paralyzed. The Republican Party is literally paralyzed.  Many American citizens are literally paralyzed, frightened to death to say anything to anybody about what they really think.

Frightened to death, you guys. And literally paralyzed. Nobody — not the political leadership, not the political consultants, not the Republican Party (oh, and also many citizens) — absolutely nobody is willing to say what they really think. Because if people were to say what they really think, other people might really think they’re literally hateful bigots and asshats (and of course, they’d be wrong — but those other folks, who are probably literally gay, would totally say what they think about hateful bigoted asshattery because they’ve apparently got some sort of gay anti-paralysis gene, or something).

Rod Dreher -- paralyzed after stealing Harry Potter's spectacles! Stupefy!

Rod Dreher — paralyzed after stealing Harry Potter’s spectacles! Stupefy!

How bad is it? It’s so bad that Christians are terrified (probably literally) to voice their belief that same-sex marriage is going to totally destroy America and make Jeebus have grand mal seizures. Serious Conservative Thinker Rod Dreher weeps (figuratively) for the oppressed and silenced Christians:

Christians and other traditionalists were wrong to have demonized gay people in the past, and forced them to live in the closet for fear of their careers. Gay rights activists did a lot of good work to end this climate of fear, and to wake the rest of us up to the humanity of our gay brothers and sisters, and to increase tolerance for them. But it is to their great discredit that they have created a climate of intolerance and, yes, hatred, that sends traditionalist Christians into professional closets of their own.

C’mon gay folks! See? Christians admit they may have made some mistakes! You know, in the past. Sure, there are still a few Christians who may have politely suggested y’all shouldn’t be getting married to each other (and okay, maybe y’all should be literally stoned to death), but is that any reason to make them feel bad about their opinions? Gay folks, you are literally oppressing Christians by making them feel they can’t voice their opinion that y’all don’t deserve to get married and be happy (and, you know, that whole stoning to death business). Is it their fault y’all are possessed by demons? Is it!!??

Too paralyzed by fear to speak -- must hold up sign!

Too paralyzed by fear to speak — must hold up sign!

Okay, okay, maybe some of the things Christians have been saying (literally for centuries) about gay folks might have led to some youthful high spirits and occasional harmless hazing (and yeah, okay, maybe some taunting and beatings, and yeah, okay, terrorizing some gay kids until they literally committed suicide), but surely that should have taught y’all some compassion. Y’all know how it feels to be ostracized — so c’mon, gay folks, practice a little tolerance. You know…toward Christians.

A paralyzed crowd of Christians, too terrified to speak!

A paralyzed crowd of literal Christians, too terrified to speak!

This is America, gay folks! Literally America! Where everybody has to right to free speech (unless, you know, it offends Jeebus). It’s America, and the Constitution of These United States specifically says Christians shouldn’t have to bake cakes for gay weddings (it’s in one of those Article things, or maybe an amendment or something).

So loosen up, gay folks! Don’t take it personally when Christians refuse to bake your wedding cakes. Don’t be so sensitive when they point out that demon-possession thing! It’s not Rush Limbaugh’s fault that Jeebus and the Constitution won’t let Christians do any gay cake-baking (not a euphemism for anything). It’s hurtful to Rush when y’all suggest he’s a bigot. Hurtful, you guys! In fact, I have it on high authority that Rush took the Zimbio Celebrity Boyfriend quiz…and nailed George Clooney (he makes Rush feel like the only girl in the world while it lasts).

Like the only girl in the world -- literally

Like the only girl in the world — literally

It’s a shame, gay folks, that you have Christians so paralyzed and fearful. It’s a shame Christians don’t feel they can express their truest and deepest feelings with the people they care most about. It’s a shame they’ve been forced to hide who they really are.

It’s just such a shame. Literally.

loathsome creatures

Seriously, this shit surprised me. I mean, I know there are some a lot of Republicans in Congress who are ideological dicks more interested in making political points than in participating in the actual process of governing the fucking nation. But THIS? This is some outrageous shit, is what this is.

I’m talking about Senate Bill 1982. The Comprehensive Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act of 2014. It’s not what you’d call a sexy title, but this bill — had it passed — would have provided US$21 billion of extra coin over the next decade to expand military health benefits (including mental health treatment). It would have increased veteran education benefits. It would have expanded job training programs.

Saxby Chambliss, mewling canker-brained minnow-hearted fuckwit Republican from Georgia voted No

Senator Saxby Chambliss, mewling canker-brained minnow-hearted fuckwit Republican from Georgia voted No

The bill — had it passed — would have done a lot of small things that would make military service somewhat less onerous. If, say, a National Guard member was a licensed electrician and his license expired while he was deployed in Afghanistan, this bill would protect that license and extend the time in which it could be renewed. It would protect troops whose apartment leases expired while they were on deployment. It would forestall home foreclosures until troops could return from deployment and give them some time to get their financial matters straightened out. Little shit like that matters to ordinary folks.

But the bill didn’t pass. It didn’t pass because Senate Republicans blocked it. Seriously. Why did they block it? Bullshit reasons, that’s why. Some objected to the inclusion of ‘reproductive treatment and services’ based on some incomprehensible Jeebus-sparked twaddle. But here’s the thing — if some poor bastard gets his cojones shredded by an IED on a road in Helmand Province, but still wants to have a family, Jeebus ain’t going to plant no baby in his wife’s womb. Medical science will do that.

Senator Bob Corker, pampered leech-nurtured addle-pate Republican from Tennessee voted No

Senator Bob Corker, pampered leech-nurtured addle-pate Republican from Tennessee voted No

Some Republicans were concerned about the cost. Of course, they weren’t terribly concerned about the cost of going to war. And, of course, they’re all supportive of the new Lockheed-Martin F-35 Strike fighter — which, so far, is US$163 billion over budget and seven years behind schedule. But $21 billion stretched out over ten years for veterans? Too fucking expensive.

Even worse (and lawdy, you wouldn’t think there could be anything worse than denying a guy who left his balls in a combat zone the right to have a family), the Republicans tried adding some totally unrelated, politically motivated bullshit amendments to the bill. Like sanctions against Iran and some nonsense dealing with that Most Giant of Political Turds, Benghazi.

Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, fawning pasty-hearted dissembling pig's bladder Republican from Alabama, voted No

Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, fawning pasty-hearted dissembling pig’s bladder Republican from Alabama voted No — and Benghazi!

Even so, 56 Senators voted in favor of the bill. Only 41 voted against it. That’s right, a minority — all Republicans — were able to kill a bill that would help veterans. And this was as bipartisan a bill as is possible in this insane tea-party environment. More than two dozen of the provisions in the bill were Republican ideas.

But they still killed it. Not because it was a bad bill. They killed it for political reasons. For ideological reasons.

Senator Chuck Grassley, spongy po-faced corn-fed fustilarian Republican from Iowa voted No

Senator Chuck Grassley, spongy po-faced corn-fed fustilarian Republican from Iowa voted No

I’m sure, if you asked, all forty-one of those senators would claim to support the troops. I’m sure they all think of themselves as patriots. I’m pretty confident (though I haven’t bothered to check) all of them were (and probably still are) supportive of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

For them to vote against this bill is contemptible. It’s despicable and disgraceful. These people should be ashamed to be photographed in front of the flag. They should be forced to visit VA hospitals and explain their votes to the men and women there. They should be held up for ridicule and scorn by everybody who truly supports the troops. And since these people undoubtedly consider themselves to be Christians, they should suffer the most appalling of Biblical curses.

These are loathsome creatures.