October 31, 2010

Sunday Funnies

October 29, 2010

Move along folks… nothing to see here

First there was the righteous uproar over Midland, AK school board vice-chair Clint McCance and his wholly inappropriate, more-ignorant-than-ignorant Facebook page in which he practically urged gay teen to commit suicide.  At the very least he demonstrated casual insensitivity, and joined pastor Terry Jones in displaying, on the international stage, everything that is wrong with good old U.S. Christian hate and bigotry song and dance.

American exceptionalism, my ass.

The guy is an idiot. Anyone with any sense can understand that there are lots and lots of ignorant idiots in America (and everywhere, for that matter). The Democrats relied on this kind of person to keep them in  office up until LBJ signed the voting right bill in 1965, and the Republicans have relied on them since.

Trouble is, when this kind of news hits the international stage... everyone, everywhere else in the world thinks we are all like that. Thank you CNN, BBC, FOX, et al.

Stalin called this kind of person useful idiots. They are the marginally intelligent folks you meet and fraternize with every day, who think they know the problems and the solutions. They base their beliefs on a limited worldview, have grown comfortable with those belief and they are activist enough to force them into the public face in order to attempt social change. They are the kind of people who have helped get the fear and hate candidates elected and re-elected in this country for as long as I have been politically aware, and probably long before then.

Can you say “tea party?” 

So there is nothing new here. We need to recognize the type, try to marginalize them, and move on. We need to cease being reactionary; strive to overcome the polarization that has mired us in this pendulum-swinging sociopolitical quagmire... and move on.

We've managed that here. McCance has been marginalized. He’s had his 15 minutes of fame and has crawled back under his rock. Maybe his children will learn something from this and be better people than he. If his assertions are correct that his family has been threatened, then there are new idiots on the scene… and they are us. If we are going to object to that kind of ignorant behavior we can’t react to in it with similarly ignorant behavior. His children are learning from us as well.

The guy recanted, expressed regret, and resigned his position on the school board. The show is over folks. Leave him and his family alone. Lets move on to better things.


October 27, 2010

Vote Teabagger - - Support thuggery

By now you've all heard of the thuggery by Rand Paul supporters claiming to be protecting their candidate from the threat of violence by a petit 23-year-old woman, or you've seen the videos... but just in case... here is the video.

The man seen stomping on MoveOn activist Lauren Valle's head in none other than Tim Profitt, the Rand Paul campaign manager for Bourbon County, KY. Profitt says he is sorry if the actions taken by him and his mob of thugs seemed a bit forceful, but he was only protecting candidate Paul.

The Paul campaign has reacted decisively, removing Profitt from his position and banning him from future rallies. The police in Lexington have also moved decisively... delivering a summons for thug #1 to appear before a judge and argue why he should not face assault charges.

Paul is supposed to represent the Libertarian segment of society - where the authority of government is minimal and personal rights are supreme. These folks champion our Constitution and Bill of Rights. But that is not what we see here. What this incident tells us is that a vote for a teabag candidate represents a vote for freedom of expression... but only as long as what you say agrees with what they want to hear.


October 24, 2010

The reactionary right never seems to tire of scaring itself

The chronic condition known as Bowels in an Uproar.

There is no better diagnosis for the astoundingly hair-raising chain emails perpetually circulating the reactionary right wing world. On the slimmest of evidence, it seems, the boogieman tales are swallowed... hook, line and sinker... and then faithfully forwarded on by the thousands.

Since my work regularly brings me in contact with military and public safety types, and since I own firearms and motorcycles, enjoy the shooting sports and riding, my circle of friends includes more than a few individuals from that side of the political spectrum – including some who take seriously the inevitable exhortation that they should “forward this to everyone you know,”

I find these scary messages in my inbox pretty regularly. 

Today I got a modern revision of an old, really tired, already debunked admonitory that first started its journey around the cybersphere almost four years ago. The reference was to a bill introduced in the 110th Congress by Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL), titled “Blair Holt's Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act of 2007.”

An early version of this particular scare missive was sent to me  by a biker/shooter friend/neighbor about the time the 2007 bill was introduced. This wasn’t the first time my buddy had done such, and asking this fellow to not fill my inbox with drivel does little good… when he gets excited he looses all perspective. At the time I scolded my excitable buddy to not take the mass mail garbage so seriously, and to PLEASE not inflict it on me.

Obviously that did little good, as today’s missive comes from the same excitable boy.

This is yet another of the urban myths that will not die. The original 2007 email was superseded in 2009 when Rep. Rush reintroduced the bill (I blogged about that at the time). None of the scary threats to our Second Amendment rights have materialized, yet to this very day the message continues to find its way into the inboxes of excitable wingers, who, like my little buddy, dutifully forward it on as if it were the newest and greatest socialist assault in the history of gun control.

I’ve come to the conclusion that the right wing is an easily frightened lot… is the same true for the left? If so, why do I not get those emails?

Anyway, in an effort to calm my little buddy we spent some time taking a look at this bill in particular, and similar bills in general. I'd hoped I could perhaps add some rational perspective to the legislative process and get him to understand that just because someone is shouting that the sky is falling, it does not obligate a knee-jerk reaction from him.

To some of the wingnuts, Rep. Rush’s bill is but the iceberg tip of gun control legislation yet to come, and that goose-stepping liberals will soon be waiting just outside our doors for the go-ahead to kick them down, confiscate all of our weapons and send our kids to FEMA reeducation camps.

Some other, more rational individuals, recognize the bill for what it is… a formerly DOA proposal dredged back up from the grave for another stab at success, yet still doomed to the same fate as in 2007. This kind of garbage legislation didn’t work in the 110th Congress... and it won't in the 111th.

There is just no stomach left in Congress for gun control, and for that reason the bill has failed to attract co-sponsors and faired no better this session than in 2007. At that time it died in committee without ever receiving a vote, and it faces the exact same fate today. 

This particular bill, while hailed by the right wing as evidence of leftist, faggot-loving, pinko-commie socialists determined to take our guns, but is really just another of the thousands of pieces of legislation offered up in every Congress, most of which never see the light of day. Some 94% of all introduced bills die in committee. Of the handful that pass, most are inconsequential. Only a comparative few of the bills passed into law are even mildly noteworthy.

So what is the moral of this story? Just because it is introduced does not mean that any given bill has  even the chance of a fart in a windstorm of becoming law. The right has no reason to continue the email fear-mongering... other than to perpetuate the fear they seem to require to ensure their base remains sufficiently motivated. For that reason alone, I'd bet it won't stop.

Donnie Shaw wrote an interesting piece just a few days ago, posted on the Open Congress blog, in which he addresses the scare-mail mania. The Blair Holt firearms bill is featured in the article.

Sunday Funnies

[Shamelessly stolen from BB's FB]