Thursday, April 22, 2010

TEABONICS: Caint No Bodee Speek Teh Englis Langague Aroun Hear?

Memo to Virginia Governor Bob McConnell: You might want to rethink your literacy test for voting by extending it to the entire voting public of your state. It's only fair, Governor. No, wait! You'll end up disenfranchising your Virginia Teabagger and militia constituency. Oops.

Happy Earth Day! With Beautiful Time Lapse Photography of Terra by Tom Lowe

Shoutout to Telemann for this. There's plenty more gorgeous videos at Tom Lowe's site.

Death is the Road to Awe

Learning to Fly

5D Mark II Test Shoot at Beach

Day to Night at Joshua Tree

Best Anti-Teabagger Sign: “Can’t We All Just Agree That It’s Because He’s Black?”

Messing with the Teabaggers’ ID: “In Freudian theory, the division of the psyche that is totally unconscious and serves as the source of instinctual impulses and demands for immediate satisfaction of primitive needs.”

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Teabaggers: In Their Own Words

This jaw-dropper needs no commentary. None.

Kudos to New Left Media for an illuminating report.

Hey Doc, How Many Chickens Will it Take to Pay for My Open Heart Surgery?

This is simply unbelievable. Apparently the frontrunner for the Republican Senate nomination in Nevada, Sue Lowden, has proposed a barter system to pay for healthcare: Chickens, paint the doctor’s house?!? Hey Sue, have you gotten your ASS OUT OF THE 19TH CENTURY YET? Hello, this IS THE 21TH CENTURY!

Whatever Nevadans may feel about Harry Reid, folks, to place this woman ahead of Harry in the polls is to have your collective heads up your arses!

GEICO Fires Voiceover Man for Insulting Freedomworks, Teabaggers

Lance Baxter, a.k.a. D.C. Douglas, was fired by GEICO for insulting Astrotruf Teabagger group Freedomworks in a voicemail (why am I always reminded of the Nazi concentration slogan Work Makes Freedom when Dick Armey's group comes up? Hmm . . .). Douglas asked, “What percentage of people that are mentally retarded who are working for FreedomWorks and who are following it.” He also questioned how the Teabaggers will “spin it when one of your members does actually kill somebody, wondering if you've got a PR spinning routine planned for that or are you just gonna take it when it happens.”
Douglas recognized his impulsiveness with the first comment and expressed his regrets:
“. . . Yeah, I know -- STUPID! And certainly not constructive. But venting calmly with a twist of humor soothes my liberal soul. Plus, homophobia and racism are my Achilles heal. Unfortunately, in my haste, I used the phrase “mentally retarded” which, ultimately, drags me down to their level.

My first question was an unfortunate choice of words and I regret it. But my second question was the more pertinent one.”
He is right about the second statement. It was made in response to the homophobic and racial slurs hurled at Reps. Barney Frank and John Lewis, and the numerous threats made to any member of Congress who voted for healthcare reform. Douglas continued: “Now, my calling them, my choice of words, and leaving my number were all mistakes, and I accept responsibility for them. But what happened next was way beyond an appropriate response. It was downright sleazy, unethical and most likely illegal.

After discovering his association with GEICO, Freedomworks President and CEO Matt Kibbe posted Douglas’ cell (home) number in the right wing blog instructing readers to “Feel free to contact Lance. He was so kind to provide his number in the voicemail. Call his employer too… Let them know that you, in fact, are not a mentally retarded killer, but that you are now in the market for car insurance.” The result was a flood of phone calls with GEICO making a “quick corporate decision to drop” Douglas ten hours after Kibbe’s blog post appeared. Douglas said, “I did not post my views in a large public forum. I did not publicly campaign against them. I left a calm (albeit impulsive) phone message ONCE. FreedomWorks responded with napalm.”

And so, D.C. Douglas prepared “A Dedication: Matt Kibbe Can Kiss My Pimply Ass” for Matt Kibbe and Freedomworks Chairman Dick Armey --
“To celebrate my LOVE of ALL ethnicities, sexualities, genders; my belief in a woman’s right to choose, a gay/lesbian/transgender couple’s right to marry, an Atheists right to seek office; an impetuous actor/voice over guy’s right to leave a voicemail message – I give you my Tea Bagger Boogie Video, constructed from FreedomWorks followers who left me voice mails (though I will not identify anyone nor list their phone numbers – that would be kinda sleazy and illegal):”

And here's Dick Armey reacting to a woman, Joan Walsh, who has the audacity to talk back at him:

Arizona Is One Step Closer to Becoming a Police State. Literally.

All that is required for this to happen is the governor’s signature. She has roughly four days to affix her “John Hancock” (shoutout to the Teabaggers) to a law criminalizing all Latinos who live, or traverse, in the state of Arizona and anyone who looks Latino, which means, as Joan Walsh pointed out, she might get pulled over for driving while having a tan. The bill that cleared the Republican-controlled Arizona Senate and awaits the governor’s signature would expand police authority to arrest individuals who may “look” or “sound” like an “illegal” (however that is defined) and cannot provide ample proof of citizenship or legal residence. In one more display of ‘suck it up and follow the wave’ Arizona Senator John McCain, instead of providing leadership on behalf of Latinos, blamed federal government inaction for this bill and said illegal aliens are driving people off the road on Arizona’s highways!

Such draconian measures are what police states, totalitarian/authoritarian governments, and fascist regimes do, not democracies. Republican state Senator Russell Pearce, who authored the bill, said “We're going to take the handcuffs off of law enforcement, we're going to put them on the bad guy. Illegal is not a race, it's a crime.” Estimates are that between 400,000 and 500,000 undocumented workers are currently in Arizona. Does Mr. Pearce intend to arrest all of them? That is, after they strip the roughly 1.3 million Arizona citizens and legal residents of Hispanic origin of their due process rights under the U.S. Constitution –- an 88% growth since the 2000 Census. As it is, the laws already on the books aren’t being enforced by companies that employ undocumented workers, the lettuce and fruit pickers, because it would devastate their economies. These economies, by the way, that are the vestiges and heirs of the slavery-based economy of the United States, in the South, West and territories, before it was outlawed. But not eradicated.

To listen to the Caucasian callers to hate radio as Noam Chomsky has, in his disturbing assessment that our country is going the way of the pre-Nazi Weimar Republic -- “I don’t want to hear Rush Limbaugh. I want to hear the people calling in. They are like [suicide pilot] Joe Stack. What is happening to me? I have done all the right things. I am a God-fearing Christian. I work hard for my family. I have a gun. I believe in the values of the country and my life is collapsing” -– is to get a flavor for the pervasive anger waiting for release, for lashing out, that these right wing white people who gravitate to militias and the Tea Party feel. It runs much deeper than illegal immigration. They look at Latinos –- whom they call “spicks” and “wetbacks” –- and they feel threatened and angry.

Said Chomsky:
“What are people supposed to think if someone says ‘I have got an answer, we have an enemy’? There it was the Jews. Here it will be the illegal immigrants and the blacks. We will be told that white males are a persecuted minority. We will be told we have to defend ourselves and the honor of the nation. Military force will be exalted. People will be beaten up. This could become an overwhelming force. And if it happens it will be more dangerous than Germany. The United States is the world power. Germany was powerful but had more powerful antagonists. I don’t think all this is very far away. If the polls are accurate it is not the Republicans but the right-wing Republicans, the crazed Republicans, who will sweep the next election.”
With demographic change comes uncertainty for whites who feel squeezed and threatened. With economic collapse comes despair and anger. With anger comes violence. Chomsky’s vision may be more lucid, but many commentators have said that the climate today is eerily similar to that preceding the domestic terrorist bombing of the Murrah Building at Oklahoma City. This nation may be at a crossroads. The time has come to push back. This means first, that Latino groups, not only in Arizona but throughout the country, must mobilize and unite to oppose Arizona’s assault on our basic freedoms and civil liberties. They must be joined by a nationwide coalition of progressive groups to speak with one voice against the institutional scapegoating of one class and race of people. At the same time, vigilanteism and violence-prone militia activity should be called out and discouraged. Mobilizing for a strong turnout in November is a must.

Finally, the fact is that today Latinos command substantial financial and political clout in this nation. It’s time to exercise it in creative ways. Year after year we see more and more Latino athletes fill the rosters of Major League Baseball. Where are their voices in all of this? I would rather see less piety by athletes, e.g., from evangelical members of ‘Athletes for Christ’, who stage proselytizing demonstrations for Jesus in front of the cameras, than to see all the Latino members of the Arizona Diamondbacks take the field and stand side-by-side in front of the camera box wearing headbands that say, “REPEAL AZ SB 1070 NOW!”

Noam Chomsky’s dystopian vision need not become reality. It is not too late to turn back the dark forces of right wing reaction and creeping fascism.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Notes From the Fringe

Madness at the Mall. The armed insurrectionist militias or as Fox would call them, 2nd Amendment “enthusiasts” among the Teabaggers (most of them), rallied at the Washington D.C. Mall to demand their “freedoms” and “gun rights” on the 15th Anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing. Which tells me these people have little sense of decorum, history, much less irony, and taste . . . that goes without saying (to quote a Confederate secessionist governor). Here they are, in bizarro pictures, with captions!

The Company You Keep. In his ironically titled Hardball commentary, “Let Me Finish,” Chris Matthews said, “Some of the Tea Party people support loosening up on gun controls, but two-thirds have no problem with store owners telling people they can‘t walk into their stores openly carrying a gun. No, they‘re not crazy.”

Um, Chris. Let me put it this way: Let’s say you belong to a social club that purports to be against high taxation (a LIE, but let it be), in which fully one-third are “crazies,” 2nd Amendment nuts who hold the views of unbridled gun use you’ve described, carry crazy signs, and scream nasty, crazy, racist things. At this point your two-thirds have two options:

(1) PURGE the crazies from your club whose beliefs are anathema to your club’s charter; or

(2) Silently ACCEPT the crazies, or at most give them the option to moderate their expressions –- pretty, pretty pleeease? (See wringing hands!) If you accept such views in your club through intimidation, or perhaps because you don’t find them so objectionable after all, you will become INDISTINGUISHABLE FROM THE CRAZIES.

This reminds me of an exchange from “Judgment at Nuremberg” (for the movie buff, Chris):
Enrst Janning (Burt Lancaster): “I… Judge Haywood... the reason I asked you to come: Those people, those millions of people... I never knew it would come to that. You must believe it, you must believe it!”

Judge Haywood (Spencer Tracy):
“It came to that the first time you sentenced a man to die you knew to be innocent.”
Comrade Teabaggers. Ah, this is SO rich! If this were a Hollywood script it wouldn’t pass muster -- too unbelievable! The Teabaggers’ chief financial backers, secretive billionaires Charles and David Koch, inherited a Koch family fortune made working for Stalin’s Bolsheviks in the 20s and 30s. No wonder Teabaggers in their rallies are high on bad Trotsky (rhymes with Alinsky), but hardly carry any signage of the biggest Soviet Communist monster of all, genocidal murderer of millions, Joseph Stalin. What gives? I know, I know, I’m giving these idiots who don’t know their own history, let alone 20th century world history, too much credit. But it’s not inconceivable that word trickled down from the Koch family that Stalin signs are strictly VERBOTEN! Hitler Sí, Stalin No!

Teabagger Family Values. Not only are the Tebaggers dumb, their choice of candidates for November is not so discriminating. Just fill out a form saying Obama’s a socialist from Kenya who’ll take your guns away and you’re in the money with the Tebagger endorsement. Racism (manageable), but porn and bestiality? Teabaggers, you have a problem. One of many.

Quotable: Bill Clinton on the Lessons From Oklahoma City

“What we learned from Oklahoma City is not that we should gag each other or that we should reduce our passion for the positions we hold -- but that the words we use really do matter, because there's this vast echo chamber, and they go across space and they fall on the serious and the delirious alike. They fall on the connected and the unhinged alike. One of the things that the conservatives have always brought to the table in America is a reminder that no law can replace personal responsibility. And the more power you have and the more influence you have, the more responsibility you have.

But remember, words have consequences as much as actions do, and what we advocate, commensurate with our position and responsibility, we have to take responsibility for. We owe that to Oklahoma City.”
President Bill Clinton - Oklahoma City Bombing 15th Anniversary