Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Conservative thinking in a nutshell

The Clay Hunt Suicide prevention for American Veterans Act seems like the sort of thing that no one could oppose. A plan to try and help veterans, people we sent into harm's way for little discernible purpose, cope with the trauma that was inflicted on them in our name so that maybe they won't be committing suicide at a rate of TWENTY-TWO PER DAY should be one of those things that passes easily. Unfortunately, this is America 2014, and all it takes is one fuckwad senator to put a hold on a bill and that bill goes nowhere. And apparently, the only senator fuckwadded enough to actually put a hold on a suicide prevention bill for the goddamm troops is Tom "Dr. No" Coburn. Because he thinks it costs too much.

No, really. He thinks that preventing the suicides of troops with PTSD is something that maybe we ought to pinch pennies on. You know, shop around. Try to get a bargain.


But it needn't be pricy!

Now you might think that was the epitome of conservative thought right there, and it probably is, but take a look at this video from Clay Hunt's parents, pleading with Tom Coburn to please allow this bill to come to a vote. (skip ahead to about 1:30)

This is conservative thinking in a nutshell.

If you don't want to bother watching the video, let me summarize. Mr. Selke begins by telling Senator Coburn that he is a conservative Republican from Texas and thanks him - twice- for his "vigilance" on the budget. He agrees with the Senator that there is just too much darn government spending, and adds "but this is an exception."

That's conservative politics in a nutshell. The budget must always be cut, spending must always be reduced. . . until it's something I need, then that's an exception! Granted, this is a very important bill, one that needs to be passed, and there is a special place in Hell for Coburn if he doesn't relent on this. I don't dispute that at all. But when they want to cut, say food stamps, I'm guessing there's nary a peep out of the Selkes. (Certainly not from the wife, who seems to be a mute) Just last week, 10 new senators promised to eliminate food stamps entirely.  (link) No conservatives are going on tv saying "this is an exception."  Because it doesn't affect them personally.

Mr. Selke rightly states that each of these troubled veterans is a "valuable, precious child of God," but so are the kids who will go hungry if SNAP is eliminated. But those are other peoples' kids, so that's not an exception. Cut away!

I'm pretty sure that the people whose homes were destroyed by hurricanes were also precious children of God, but how many conservatives came out publicly to ask for an exception to be made when Tom Coburn wanted to withhold disaster relief from them.

Conservative thought in a nutshell: government spending for me - good. Government spending for anyone else - wasteful pork!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Jeez, can we please get rid of this guy?

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said in an interview Friday that torture isn't

Scalia on torture morality: 'I don't think it's so clear at all'
 By Eric Bradner, CNN updated 4:53 PM EST, Fri December 12, 20

Yes. It is. It's really one of those super-easy ones. You know how a lot of things aren't really black and white? But this one totally is. It's like debating about the morality of child-molesting, or serial-killing.

"I think it is very facile for people to say 'Oh, torture is terrible,'" he said.

Um, I know you mean that sarcastically, but it really is facile. As in easy. Because condemning torture really doesn't take a lot of philosophical pondering. It's like asking what color is an orange? It's obvious.

"I think it is very facile for people to say 'Oh, torture is terrible,'" he said. "You posit the situation where a person that you know for sure knows the location of a nuclear bomb that has been planted in Los Angeles and will kill millions of people.
"You think it's an easy question? You think it's clear that you cannot use extreme measures to get that information out of that person?"

Okay, fine. If you ever find yourself trapped in an episode of 24, then sure. If you actually find yourself in this situation in which no one has ever been or ever will be, then sure go ahead. But since all the torture that was committed in our names, the torture about which we are talking, occurred in the real non-television world, I hardly think your nightmare scenario is all that relevant. It's just a thing people make up when they can't think of any other way to justify committing crimes against humanity.

Scalia also discussed the death penalty, saying he thinks it's "too bad" that a campaign in Switzerland to re-institute capital punishment has been thwarted by the the country's membership in the Council of Europe, which has made the issue a requirement for all participating countries.
Of course. Of course he wants to kill people. Hey, maybe we could execute prisoners after torturing confessions out of them! Just like Jesus would want. Pro Life!

"What are human rights is not written up in the sky, and if it were written up in the sky, it would not be up to judges, lawyers, just because they've gone to law school, to know what human rights ought to be and therefore are," Scalia said.

Okay, no it's not "written in the sky," but we have all come to an agreement on what they are. There is a "Universal Declaration of Human Rights." We are a signatory to it. There's no debate on this.

"And therefore each society's perception of what it believes human rights should be ought to be up to that society"

No, that's Civil Rights. Every country has different civil rights. Some places have freedom of speech, others don't.  In some countries, the accused is entitled to a lawyer, not in others. these are civil rights. Human rights are universal. That's why they are called human rights, not national rights, or local rights, because they apply to all humans.
You really think it's OK for a country like North Korea or Saudi Arabia to decide what human rights means in their countries? I know, they already do, but do we really want to say we're okay with it? Do you really look at, say someone being tortured to death for criticizing the dear leader and say "hey, that's just what they have decided that human rights are for that country?" That's wrong no matter what country you're in. Maybe we can't do anything about it, but we sure as hell don't give it our implicit stamp of approval by pretending that human rights vary from one culture to another.

And he brushed off questions about whether Supreme Court decisions opening the door for outside groups to spend unlimited sums of money on elections have hurt the country, saying that "the amount of money that is spent on all elections -- state, local and federal -- in the United States, is less than what women spend on cosmetics for a year, OK?"


 Screwing up the curve.

Wow! I could see if you really, actually believed that you were bound by the First Amendment to allow unlimited spending, I could see where you might defend your sickening decision by saying something like "it's unfortunate that this decision has led to an increase in corruption, but until we amend the Constitution, I have no choice. . ." but you're seriously going with the defense of "hey, it's not that much money?" Really? Because, first of all, that's bullshit.
No matter how much women may or may not spend on makeup, the Sheldon Adelsons and Foster Friezes of the world being able to pour unlimited millions into campaigns is absolutely a recipe for corruption. And it's not the point. The point should be that that's what the Constitution mandates. The point is not "well, the results aren't really that bad."  Because you are required to abide by the Constitution, whether the results are positive, negative, or neutral.

 He said the alternative is having Congress impose limits on "who can speak and how much who can speak."

No. Anyone can speak. I'm speaking right now. Speaking doesn't cost money. The fact that I don't have the money to purchase air time and address a national audience  is not an infringement on my freedom of speech. Limiting how much money one person can donate to a candidate puts no limit on speech. Just limits in how large a soapbaox one might be able to purchase.

Scalia said he doesn't agree with the notion that outspending the other side is the key to winning elections. He said if people really believe "the masses are so ignorant that they are swayed by television ads," then "let's have a king. Right? Let's have a king."

What?!?!? How do you make that leap? People are easily swayed by advertising, so we might as well have a monarchy? How do you get from "people are ignorant" to "let's have a king?"

Gawd, I hate this scumbag. The evil just oozes off him!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Surviving Christmas Music

At some point between now and Boxing day, some people with whom you are required to spend time may engage in the practice known as "singing Christmas songs." Naturally, you being a cynical, jaded bastard, will not enjoy this activity. But you may be under a certain amount of pressure to "join in," lest you be labeled a "Scrooge" or "grinch" or some other such nonsense. So here's a couple of tips to make the singing of these songs more bearable.

1. Replace the word "Christmas" with "Swiss Miss." Then they become songs about your love of cocoa which is infinitely less saccharine than the love of an over-commercialized corporatized holiday.

Try it out.

"I'll be home for Swiss Miss"


Damn right I will!

 "I'm dreaming of a white Swiss Miss"

Swiss Miss doesn't make a white chocolate version,
 but you can dream.

"I'll have a Blue Swiss Miss without you"
Still better than no Swiss Miss at all!

2. Replace the name "Santa Claus" to something more fun. Like "Panda Paws."


"Here come panda claws, here come panda claws, right down panda claws lane."

"I saw Mommy kissing panda paws."

Could you blame her? They're so adorable!

Or try other combinations of words.


Candy bras are comin' to town!

3. Remember that there are good Christmas songs:

Thursday, December 11, 2014

You do realize that if people start being "reasonable" you're out of a job, right?

The amount of projection is staggering!

Yes, people believe in absurd things. Like the absurd idea that "sure the climate is changing, but so what? We can deal with it!" Sure, heat might be less of a danger than freezing, but when it becomes impossible to grow enough crops to feed the population, when floods and droughts become the norm,  when Miami is under water, when tropical diseases become common in North America, where are your smug, dismissive little reassurances going to be then, you arrogant little prick?

Also, what's more absurd, believing that 98% of relevant scientists are correct about the scope and consequences of climate change, or believing that they have all, these highly intelligent, well-educated men and women, been conned by, whom, Al Gore? Leonardo DiCaprio?

And maybe you might not want to mock people for believing in things for which there are no proof, like ghosts, when I'm guessing about 99% of your audience believes unconditionally in a God whom they've never seen or heard.

Hell, your audience believes with all their hearts that the President wants to give everyone free slut pills and abortions and also institute Sharia Law!

They firmly believe that the President is a weak-kneed apologizer and also an iron-fisted dictator!

They believe that the rich can only be motivated by giving them more money and the poor can only be motivated by taking money away.

They believe that America is the strongest most dominant military force the world has ever seen and is also on the verge of being completely destroyed by angry goat-herders who will somehow get their hands on nuclear weapons.

They believe that famous actors should stay out of politics and keep their political opinions to themselves and damn, Ronald Reagan was a great president.

And speaking of Reagan, they believe that the man who turned us into the world's largest debtor nation was a paragon of "fiscal responsibility." 

And at least one of the guys on your panel apparently believes that "Land of the Lost" was a documentary!

So good luck with getting people to be "reasonable."

Oh, dear Gawd!

Please, please, pleeeeeease let this be a bad Photoshop!

Because otherwise, yes this pill should not be on store shelves. It should be on the Island of Dr Moreau .

No human torso looks like that!