It’s the journey, not the destination

Some questions have very obvious answers. This is definitely one of those cases. A Teabagger group is trying to press Sarah Palin to get back into politics, and they lead off with this question…

“Do the words ‘Senator Sarah Palin’ excite you?”

Fuck no. The idea of her actually gaining any real power makes me feel like my heart is trying to escape through my ass while my brain silently weeps as it soaks in kerosine and prepares to immolate itself.

Luckily, it’ll never happen. And the thought of what a hilarious train wreck it would be if she actually tried to run for Senate makes me pretty giddy. Whoever runs against her would trounce her into the dirt as she sputters one fucking incompetent, incoherent religio-blathering catchphrase after another, all the while alienating everyone but the most brain dead theocratic god-humpers from the Republican Party.

I seriously doubt Palin will actually run for Senate, but it would be hilarious if she did. Republicans in Alaska, make this happen! She has absolutely no chance of winning, so a Palin Senate campaign would be nothing but pure entertainment (in the way that watching an abandonned building full of sparklers burn to the ground might be entertaining). Laughing at Palin’s continued failure would provide a bit of levity in an otherwise tedious and irritating election season.

And if, by some horrendously unlikely chance, she ever does make it back into government….Well, if that dark and dreadful day comes we might as well just give up on having a country. Just pack our bags and move to the Moon, salting the earth behind us so that it never sprouts another nation that could allow for such an abomination to occur. Shame and ignominy!

P.S. The fact that there are still delusional god-humpers out there who actually believe–after every goat-fuckingly stupid thing she’s said and done–that she should be given authority over a clown college, much less the whole country, lowers my estimation of humanity even further than I ever thought it could go. How the fuck do these people find the time to form political campaigns given how much of their day must surely be taken up by drooling on themselves and accidentally microwaving the cat because they confused it with a Pop Tart?

Hat tip to Ed Brayton.

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More Rape-ublican Bullshit

Over at Dispatches from the Culture War Ed Brayton is reporting that there is yet another bill mandating a transvaginal ultrasound (otherwise known as the Religious Rape Rod) for women seeking an abortion. The Republicans really just can’t hop off the Rape Train, can they? This time, it’s in Arkansas. Oh, Arkansas! Thank you so much for making the fact that I’m from Oklahoma seem like it’s not so bad. You guys and Texas are the best–and by best I mean worse than us.

So, what exactly does this bill entail?

The new Rapert bill would prohibit an abortion if a heartbeat is detected…

Wait. Wait wait wait. The “Rapert bill”? It’s called the “Rapert bill”? Why in the gallopin’ god-balls is it called the Rapert bill? Are they really just coming out and saying, “We Republicans want to rape women”?

As promised Sen. Jason Rapert and a gang of anti-abortion Republicans i…

The guy’s name is Jason fucking Rapert???

I had to look up “Sen. Jason Rapert” to make sure he was real and this wasn’t some kind of sick joke. Turns out, he’s real. I thought it was only in comic books that villains had such appropriate names. Do they also have state senators named Victor von Doom, Mister Sinister, and Dicky McRapes-A-Lot?

Arkansas State Senator Jason Rapert (visual approximation)

So, how does Senator Rapey Fuck-noggin describe himself?

Jason is the founder and former president of Holy Ghost Ministries, Inc. (HGM), a faith based humanitarian missions organization providing clean water and assistance to the poor and orphans in Ghana West Africa, Uganda and the Philippines.  His vision was to simply help those who cannot help themselves and has based the organization upon the idea of “Serving God by Serving Others”.

Well, God does like rape. We even have footage of him saying so. At least, I think that’s him…

Give me a moment to take a sip of beer before I read another sentence from his self-description.

Today, Jason is a financial advisor and co-owner of Rapert & Pillow Financial.

*SPPUUURRTTT*

Less surprising is his issues page.  As one might expect, he takes the evil/stupid position on pretty much every issue imaginable. I hope this name thing starts a new trend. It’ll be easier to spot the woman-hating, poor-bashing, homophobic, racist, superstitious right wing fuck-nuggets in government if the rest of them all made it this obvious that they’re evil. It might catch at least a few people’s attention if they’re asked to vote for Ralph Baby-Smasher or Jenny No-Health-Care-for-You or Money-bags McFuckThePoor. Sadly, though, I’m pretty sure they’d still get elected. There are a lot of dumb people out there, and dumb people loves them some evil.

Dumb people also love their leaders to be as dumb as they are, and vote accordingly. This case is no exception. As you might imagine, Senator Goatfucker doesn’t have a very good grasp on the facts.

“I’m asking you to stand up for life, and I believe when there is a heartbeat, based upon even the standard the Supreme Court has utilized, you cannot have a viable child without a heartbeat,” Sen. Jason Rapert, the bill’s sponsor, told lawmakers before they approved the legislation.

You can’t have a viable child with just a heartbeat either, nimrod. You obviously have no familiarity with the standard the Supreme Court has “utilized” (you can always spot a finance MBA by the fact that they can’t utilize the word “use”). Of course, familiarizing oneself with such matters would require reading, and other elitist bullshit like thinking.

And yes, the legislation passed. The Arkansas state senate voted “yes” on a bill for raping pregnant women proposed by a guy named Rapert who thinks that a heartbeat is all you need to have a child (FSM only knows how he treats his own children). Be afraid, rational people in Arkansas. Be very afraid.

Maybe the problem is you…

I saw over at Ed Brayton’s blog this story about a restaurant owner named Ed McGovern in North Carolina who handed a proselytizing letter to a gay couple who ate at his restaurant (after they paid for their meal, of course). Apparently he objected to their brazen act of simultaneously 1) being gay and 2) breathing the same air as himself, so he felt the need to let them know that he hates them Jeebus loves them. In the body of the news article they reproduce the letter, but in an obviously cleaned up, grammatical version.  They also have a photo of the actual handwritten letter, and here is my word-for-word, letter-for-letter transcription of it. Everything below is [sic]:

LESBIAN-NOTE-1-jpg

God said in the Last days that man and women, would be Lover of self, morethen the Lover of God.

That man and women would have unnataurl effection for one another. Then the comnig of the son of man who is Jesus. So please Look at your life see how it hurt every one around your. and aske the Lord to open your eye. before it to late.

The Love of Christ

P.S. my dauaghte also was gay

it destroy her life

and my grandson.

I object to the fact that the original news report didn’t reproduce the letter exactly as written. Show these illiterate dumbfucks for who they really are.

But the real point I want to make is why I object to correcting the letter. It’s more than just “make the other side look stupid.” Of course this guy is stupid. There are 4th graders out there who can write more grammatically, more clearly and more eloquently than this. This is a very disordered, confused mind responding to an unfamiliar stimulus with something akin to “hurble burble nobble gobble Jesus says fags will ruin Christmas!” But this goes beyond just portraying him as stupid. This matters. No, fucking seriously, it does.

I’ve long thought that disorganized speech and writing reflect disorganized thinking. Someone who cannot string together a sentence or paragraph with proper grammar and spelling is someone who does not have the cognitive power to process complex or unfamiliar sensory input. Thinking about something that’s complicated or different from what one is used to requires one have the ability to organize one’s thoughts, contextualize incoming information, and follow premises to their logical conclusion. It also requires a bit of metacognitive awareness–at the very least, the ability to critique one’s own written or spoken words.

If someone’s thinking is disorganized, then they likely won’t be able to go much beyond familiar and comfortable cognitive shortcuts when confronting a situation. It’s not so much that they’re unwilling to think about how gays feel or how homosexuality fits into the grand scheme of things. It’s more that they simply lack the tools to do this. Try explaining why social mores opposed to homosexuality are arbitrary and antiquated in language that the author of the above letter would be able to comprehend. I’m not sure if it could be done, and this is why I disagree with Ed Brayton’s proposed response:

Here’s what I think should be done here. Every gay couple in the area should go there at the same time, sit down and order something really small, like an order of french fries. Then when they leave they should each give him a letter telling him that he should go to college and get an education, which might free him from the bigoted views of his false religion.

I don’t think this would have any effect. Even if he read these letters, what makes you think he’d understand them? This is a guy who thinks merely saying “Jesus says” to someone should be enough to change their sexual orientation. Clearly he has little comprehension of how humans other than himself think. And his inability to grasp how others think probably stems from his inattention to his own thinking. If gay couples did take Ed’s advice, my guess is that each couple that did it would receive in response another letter from him much like the one reproduced above. It would be like trying to have a conversation with the machine at the entrance to the parking garage. No matter what you say, it’s just gonna spit out another parking voucher, because that’s all it knows how to do.

This is just not a situation where a conversation can take place. This guy’s lost. The best bet would be to boycott his restaurant and hope he goes out of business, or publicly shame him to the point where he stops handing out such letters out of self-preservation. But patronizing his business to give him pro-gay letters will only give him more money and more opportunities to write anti-gay letters. And the fact that giving him pro-gay letters won’t work is pretty obvious when you see what he wrote. He simply wouldn’t understand them.

This is illustrated most poignantly in the postscript to McGovern’s dumbass letter. When you see just how badly written the letter is, and thereby just how minimal his understanding of the nature of the problem is, it becomes pretty obvious that it wasn’t homosexuality that destroyed his daughter’s life. More likely it was his reaction to her homosexuality that destroyed her life, as the letter shows that this is clearly not a guy who reacts to homosexuality in anything like a mature or rational manner. If this is a guy who can’t distinguish between the results of homosexuality and the results of his own reaction to homosexuality, then there is little hope of convincing him to behave otherwise with letters extolling the virtues of education. He needed that education years ago.  That ship set sail long ago. By this point, he’s a lost cause. Fuck ‘im.

I say all this because I object to correcting the letter not just because I want the restaurant owner to look like the stupid bigot that he surely is. I also want people to see the juxtaposition between ignorant views and the lack of cognitive ability that is often (but not necessarily always) associated with them. Let people see what the real problem is here: A man who cannot even write 4th grade level English is harassing gays for existing in his vicinity. Ed McGovern doesn’t realize it, but his real complaint is that the existence of lesbians makes the world too complicated for him to process. Unable to blame his own stupidity for this dilemma, he decides it must be the fault of other people who don’t fit into his tiny, comfortable worldview. His inability to comprehend becomes the lesbians’ problem, and the only way his tiny reptile brain can express this is by babbling about Jesus for a little bit.

What I hope people would see is not just that bigots are stupid. It’s also important to be able to recognize the importance of linguistic proficiency, and how failing to educate someone in how to express themselves clearly and coherently increases the likelihood that they will hold bigoted opinions. I’m not saying that there has never been an eloquent bigot, but they certainly aren’t common. It’s this causal connection that’s important–it’s why some kinds of ignorance are associated with some kinds of attitudes towards others. Organizing one’s thought is important, and a news story like this could be a good object lesson. This is what disorganized thought looks like. And the result of a mind untrained to organize itself is often bigotry: people thinking that their own inability to comprehend others is actually harm being done to them by others.

You can’t really get through to these people, because they can’t comprehend language well enough to understand what you’re saying. It’s this whole attitude of “I’m too dumb to understand it, so it’s evil,” that we need to be combating. If they’re too old for there to be any hope of actually teaching them how to communicate clearly, then often the only way to counteract their actions is to mock them. I’m more than willing to have a civil conversation with someone who at least shows that they can communicate in grammatical English. But if someone shows they can’t even do that, attempts at communication are pointless. Just point at them and laugh til they shut the fuck up.

Freedom for me, but not for thee

I saw Ed Brayton’s brief commentary on this article and had to throw in my two cents. The article is in WorldNutDaily, so you already know it’s gonna be goatballs crazy. But even by WND standards, it’s a whopper. The author, Erik Rush, calls his column “The Other Rush”, which one would think means that he’s happy being second fiddle to America’s most notoriously bloviating gas bag. But it seems rather that he’s trying to one-up Limbaugh in terms of just what a hateful right wing authoritarian he can be.

The title lets you know exactly what you’re in for:

How to disarm the Mainstream Media
Exclusive: Erik Rush wants ‘treasonous’ reporters prosecuted for misuse of free speech

“Misuse” of free speech isn’t very clearly defined in US law, Holmes’ overrated “fire in a crowded theater” standard notwithstanding. Regardless, if the purpose is to “disarm” the “mainstream media”, then it’s pretty clear that whatever this is about, it’s unconstitutional. The First Amendment explicitly protects the press from being disarmed. Kinda like how all those rednecks keep reminding us the Second Amendment does for American gun owners. Except in this case, the media isn’t actually gonna blow anybody’s head off.

Well, it’s Free Speech Week, an annual celebration of Americans’ right to free speech hosted by the Media Institute. Partnering organizations include media organizations across the political spectrum. What’s ironic is the extent to which Americans’ free speech is under assault at present. While this is more evident among the non-liberal, non-secular folks among us, this oppression is just part of a design that will ultimately stifle all of our speech and liberties to varying extents.

I think we need to start a Self Awareness Week. During Self Awareness Week, people will be encouraged to pay attention not only to what they’re doing but also to the context in which it’s done, and to notice things like the fact that you’re publishing this on the internet without any repercussions whatsoever so obviously no one has taken away your free speech you stupid fuck.

Since it is Free Speech Week, I can’t think of a more perfect time to clarify just what free speech is and, more importantly, what it is not.

Translation: I’m gonna make sure free speech only applies to “non-liberal, non-secular folk”.

I’m going to get ahead of myself here and presuppose a Mitt Romney victory in November. This is the only scenario in which America will be able to get her feet back under her, so to speak, and plot a course out of the bog in which President Obama has situated us. An Obama re-election will essentially mean a national bracing for impact, and all bets may be off with regard to preserving our liberties to any meaningful degree.

What liberties, exactly, has Obama taken from you? At least with Bush people could point to specific legislation, the PATRIOT Act, for example, which expressly curtailed certain freedoms. But what has Obama done that affects anyone’s freedom? Usually the “freedom” people accuse Obama of taking away is the “freedom” to take away other freedoms, such as the “right” to deny birth control coverage to an employee. And, as we’ll see, the “freedom” to take away other people’s freedoms is exactly the kind of “freedom” Rush wants to protect.

Yes, many Americans are now cognizant of the fact that progressives have “progressed” America dangerously close to being a Marxist-socialist nation and that we are collectively responsible for not having checked that progress.

Have you ever read the writings of Marx or any other socialist? America is nothing like the society they envisioned. It’s not even close. America is about as Marxist as Honey Boo Boo is talented.

…there are other widespread, organized threats to America’s ongoing concern as a representative republic with guaranteed personal liberties, free speech foremost among them.

Here, I am speaking of the press

Fucking First Amendment! It violates the First Amendment! Or something…

the conglomeration of national broadcast, digital and print media organizations that has been incrementally packed with ideological liberals and socialists, and so has disqualified itself as the impartial government watchdog it once was.

Okay, a few things here. 1.) If you think the media was ever impartial, I’ve got three words for you: William Randolf Hearst. 2.) Being liberal disqualifies you from being a government watchdog? I see what you did there. 3.) The existence of Fox News contradicts all such “liberal mainstream media” demagoguery. 4.) HOW THE FUCK DOES THIS AFFECT YOUR FREE SPEECH? You can’t have free speech so long as liberals have free speech? You do realize that free speech doesn’t mean freedom from being disagreed with.

Oh, wait, we’re operating on the right wing conception of “freedom”, which means “taking freedom from others.”

During my lifetime, I have seen the press become an advance force for social engineering and global socialism.

During my lifetime I’ve seen the press become an ADHD fever dream of sensationalistic headlines and flashy graphics that convey almost no information and perpetuate the “careers” of people like Paris Hilton far beyond their expiration dates. But, yeah, global socialism and all that.

In the matter of this president, the press largely facilitated the ascension of Barack Obama. The instances wherein they have promoted, shielded and aided him are beyond enumeration.

This goes beyond such things as MSNBC’s Chris Matthews and his man crush on Obama – I’m talking about treasonous collusion.

You keep using that word “treason”. I do not think it means what you think it means.

And how exactly is supporting the President “treason”? When people on Fox gushed about Bush, was that treason too?

One particularly scandalous incident occurred during the second presidential debate, when CNN moderator Candy Crowley made an interjection that appeared to have been as spontaneous as Ambassador Chris Stevens’ murder, and which led to a solid point scored for Obama.

Romney said something which was demonstrably false, and she asserted so. I don’t know if it’s flattering or frightening that you see “true” as meaning “a solid point for Obama”.

Most recently, after Mitt Romney brought up Obama’s 2009 “Apology Tour,” the press did their best to support Obama’s claim that this never happened, despite boundless reams of footage that exist chronicling the event.

Well, the footage proves that there was a tour. But it’s the whole “apology tour” thing that the press is denying. And so they should, as the tour had nothing to do with apologies. But when exactly do you plan to get to the part where any of this is treason?

In perhaps the worst recent transgression, on Oct. 21, Phoenix, Ariz., CBS affiliate KPHO ran a lower-third graphic indicating that President Obama had won the Nov. 6 election over Gov. Mitt Romney. A technician’s cute stunt, or subliminal propaganda? In any case, it was technically a prosecutable offense the Federal Election Commission and the Federal Communications Commission should be all over.

What’s that? Some low level techie at a local TV affiliate in Arizona made a dumb mistake? Kill him! Kill him!

You think I’m kidding about the kill him part?

It is improbable that the framers of the Constitution anticipated a situation in which the press were entirely given over to seditious, anti-American policies. If they had, it is likely that their modus operandi would be similar to that for any faction found guilty of high crimes. Trials for treason and the requisite sentences would apply, and I would have no qualms about seeing such sentences executed, no matter how severe.

Still think I’m kidding? Treason is a capital crime, so Rush is in fact saying that people who support liberalism in the media should be killed. No joke.

And as for the “improbable” situation that Rush alludes to, something of this nature, in which people were saying “un-American” things in the press like “Let’s secede from the Union”, did in fact happen to our founders, culminating in the Alien and Sedition Act of 1798. And SOME of them, such as John Adams, did support rounding up dissenters and jailing them. OTHERS, such a Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, opposed the act. The Founders weren’t a homogeneous unit that agreed on everything. They had disagreements just like everybody else. And, in the case of the Alien and Sedition Act, it would surely be ruled unconstitutional today, and it led to numerous problems for the people who supported it. In fact, Jefferson (a Democratic-Republican) pardoned those convicted under the act, and then turned around and used the act against the very Federalists who had originally supported it!

The lesson? As our founders learned, if you support laws to prosecute your enemies for their speech, it won’t be long before that law is turned around and used on you. So don’t support such laws. But learning this lesson requires self awareness and foresight, things which are entirely lacking in today’s right wing.

This is not likely to occur, however. Radio personality and nascent media mogul Glenn Beck…

*Snort* Just a sec. I gotta take a moment to laugh at even the suggestion that Glenn Beck is a “media mogul”. I’m better now, please continue…

…has the intention of putting the establishment press out of business. While I wish him every success, it doesn’t seem likely that he will accomplish this through his organizations alone. In addition to the advent of powerful alternative media sources, I believe it will be necessary to codify – or reaffirm – the nature of crimes against the Constitution and the American people. In this manner, we can thwart the designs not only of the press, but all global socialists operating in America.

Again, what are these crimes, other than the “crimes” of disagreeing with you and (allegedly) supporting a candidate that you don’t support? And who the hell are these global socialists? And what exactly is so threatening about the media?

Let me check up on our Illuminati Lizard People Overlords over at CNN just to see what dastardly plots are unfolding… Oh God. They have a headline on the front page of their website that reads “‘Dancing With The Stars’ Goes Country”. Rush was right! This truly is the end!

Those whose speech and actions impinge upon the God-given rights set forth in the Declaration of Independence and codified in the Constitution are, by definition, excepted from protection under the First Amendment (as well as the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment).

So God gave you the “liberty” of not having other people vocalize opinions that differ from your own? And how much of a fucking pussy are you if you can’t even handle people in the media saying things you disagree with?

The wingnuts, if we took them seriously, would have us believe that America is simultaneously the strongest country on Earth and so fragile that it could be taken down by puffy faced blabberers like Chris Matthews. And that the only way to protect liberty is to take it away. And that we should make government smaller by expanding its ability to control individual expression. And that our unbridled, exploitative capitalist economy is “Marxist” and should be replaced by unbridled, exploitative capitalism. And that Chuck Norris has interesting things to say.

This is a very important concept to consider, because it is based on these presumptions of protected speech and equal protection for all that progressives and socialists have engaged in their predation upon our liberties.

They think they can effect change through free speech! How un-American! Don’t they know that here in America we effect change by shutting down people who suggest we might need to change something?

If these truths can be acknowledged and widely accepted as such (as opposed to progressives’ Orwellian interpretations), then the political disenfranchisement of liberals, progressives, socialists and Marxists can begin in earnest, and in the open.

The right wing sure is getting bold, isn’t it? My guess is that ten years ago WorldNutDaily would never have published such an unambiguous call for all those who oppose them to be silenced by force. Fascism was indecorous back then. But now, as a lovely infographic over at xkcd illustrates, the far right has pushed itself into the mainstream by taking over a big chunk of Congress (especially the House), and as the mainstream becomes more looney, the looneys see this as an opportunity to push the boundaries of “acceptable” lunacy.

The Overton Window has shifted, and we’re now living in a world where right wing authoritarianism can rear its ugly head unabashed and unafraid. Tell rape victims that God wants them to have that child? Sure. Declare that corporations are people? Why not. Call 47% of Americans freeloaders and unapologetically praise the greed of the wealthiest Americans? Of course! Transvaginal ultrasounds? Disenfranchising black voters? More warmongering with Iran after two failed wars? Second Amendment remedies? Women who use birth control are sluts? Football players should be silenced when they express an opinion? Jail people for being liberal in public on the charge of crimes against the constitution? Hey, the sky’s the limit!

Ed (not Brayton) over at Gin and Tacos gave a rather bleak assessment of our current cultural dialogue. While I’m not as pessimistic as he is, I have to agree that we as liberals have failed at something basic. In our misguided attempts to be “fair and balanced”, we’ve let the meaning of terms shift (including the term “fair and balanced”), and we’ve allowed the looniest of the far right lunatics to control the tenor of the debate and say the most ludicrous things without fear of reprisal or scorn.

Of course, I’m not a lunatic like Rush, and under no circumstances should even lunatics being censored just for disagreeing (I say this even when it comes to “hate speech” laws in Canada and Europe that penalize people for spouting homophobic garbage). But allowing free speech should never mean failing to mock and deride people who says stupid or bigoted things. Just look at Rush’s article for an example of how dangerous it is to play the “respect people’s beliefs” gambit. Rush is so emboldened that he now believes it is a CRIME to disagree with him. He’s grown so accustomed to seeing the media put kid gloves on when dealing with creationists, global warming deniers, market dogmatists, homophobes, and all sorts of goatfucking crazy people that he now perceives the mere presence of liberals to be treasonous.

When somebody says something stupid, there should be a chorus of dissenters pointing out how wrong and stupid the claim is. Of course the stupid person will say that being called stupid is a violation of the First Amendment, but the fact that he or she believes this is part of what makes him or her stupid. The people with truly indefensible ideas can’t withstand scrutiny, so their only recourse is to silence those who would contradict them. Bad ideas need external, non-intellectual support. And as long as we have this mentality of “respecting beliefs” no matter how insane or demonstrably false those beliefs are, we are giving them that support, and opening a window for them to completely alter how our nation discusses important issues.

I say let the wingnuts like Rush have their word. But then I’m gonna have my word. And if the wingnuts don’t like it, they can go fuck themselves.