Saturday, March 10, 2007

Oddly, KSFO flap continued without my attention

Spocko's Brain: Melanie Morgan of ABC Disney Radio Uses Parent's Grief to Sell Mattresses

Yesterday Melanie Morgan and ABC Disney Radio station cynically used the anger and grief of a dead soldier's parent to sell more Sleep Train mattresses, mortgages, carpet from Home Depot, cars from Mercedes Benz, pick-ups from Dodge, and fast food from Burger King and McDonald's (all current KSFO advertisers).
Picking it up just to add to their embarrassment, keyword-wise. Y'all read the original.

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Vanity surfing can make you blush..

Well, maybe I jiggled it a little...
Blogging vs. Mainstream Media | Too Real: "The blog has also rocked the mainstream media. When only major media companies controlled the press, they monopolized the message. Now, with personal blogs, the mainstream media is no longer monolithic. Blogs create a mechanism to publicly criticize the media within this new medium. Sites like Fark and Graphictruth are full of examples media criticism."
It's moments like this that allow me to forget how much I'm not getting paid.

The Reasons For Treason

I keep finding more evidence of treason, fairly obvious and widespread, and it keeps getting uglier and uglier. Yesterday, in chasing down the threads of this, I ran into the Sibel Edmunds story, which I'd be completely unaware of, as was evidently The Whole Idea. But Lukery of Wot is it Good 4 has started a blog specific to the case.

Let Sibel Edmonds Speak
Sibel Edmonds is the most gagged person in US history. The government has repeatedly invoked the State Secrets Privilege in her case - not for reasons of 'national security' but to hide ongoing criminal activity. Please call Waxman and Conyers' offices this week and demand public open hearings into Edmonds' case and the State Secrets Privilege. Links to the petition, action items and phone numbers will remain in the post on top.
Elsewhere there:

Thom Hartmann on Air America Radio did an angry ten minute segment on the illegal, FISA-abusing, spying on "high-profile U.S. public officials" as exposed by Sibel and the NSWBC on March 5th.

Hartmann thinks that the Democrats should "raise some hell." I agree.

Download here (MP3)

This post gives both background and current info on the issues.

It has been almost five years now since former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds first contacted the Senate Judiciary Committee to reveal the shocking tale of Turkish bribery of high-level U.S. officials. In that time span, Edmonds has been misled by members of Congress on several occasions: Numerous promises have been made to the whistleblower by the Senate Judiciary Committee that her allegations would be exposed in public hearings. Those promises have rung hollow.

Now, with the Democratic victory in Congressional elections, coupled with revelations that many of the tapes she translated were probably obtained illegally through FISA warrants , the Turkish translator's case has gained new relevance.
Unlike the numerous Iraq War investigations that Waxman and other Democrats in Congress are planning, the issues brought up by Sibel Edmonds may tarnish the images not just of the Bush Administration, but also of certain elements of the Clinton Administration. Further complicating matters is that members of both political parties in Congress were also allegedly the recipient of Turkish gratuities: When a country like Turkey decides to engage in illegal espionage and lobbying, it spreads its funds generously. And though Edmonds' case involves the nuclear black market, not even the potential of a nuke reaching American soil is guaranteed to motivate our public servants, especially when they fear some of the muck might splatter on their own Party.
I have long wondered why leading Democrats have behaved as the have done - for instance, Harry Reid's inexplicable failure to support Jack Carter's run in Nevada against John Ensign - a man who is no more than a rubber stamp for the White House and his treasured Focus on the Family allies. The statement by Nancy Pelosi that "Impeachment was of the table" when already there was enough information to make hearings fairly much a formality.

And then there is Lieberman. Oy.

The specter that three or more leading Democrats are compromised either through corruption, blackmail or both is not a shade anyone should be comfortable with, but it certainly does explain a great deal about many things - such as the passage of the Patriot Act and the rubber stamping of the AUMF that seem, in a way, more plausible than what I've always thought to be rather weak excuses.

The thought of blackmail has crossed my mind before, but the "what" of it eluded me. This could be yet another smoking gun, and one more data-point suggesting that my gut feeling that it would be unwise to support Hillary is worth mentioning aloud LONG before I'm really ready. But at this point, I'm not willing to support her until she's cleared of involvement in - whatever it is that we do not yet know, and any lack of enthusiasm on her part in pursuing all these issues should be taken as confirmation that she's unfit for office.

That, of course, applies to all serving members of the House and Senate, of either party.

Now here's stuff from other sources relating to Plamegate.

Why Cheney Lashed Out at Wilson

Vice President Dick Cheney can be forgiven for feeling provoked. The Times, having been led by Cheney and others down a garden path littered with weapons of mass destruction that were not really there, did some retaliation of its own with the snide title it gave Wilson's op-ed: "What I Did Not Find in Africa."

Adding insult to injury, Wilson chose to tell Washington Post reporters, also on July 6, in language that rarely escapes an ambassador's lips, the bogus report regarding Iraq obtaining uranium from Niger "begs the question regarding what else they are lying about."

That threw down the gauntlet, and Cheney had to worry that others who knew about the lies might feel it safe to go to the press and spill the beans. Retaliation had to be swift and as unambiguous as possible.

Ray McGovern was a CIA analyst for 27 years and is on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). His e-mail is

But in retaliating swiftly and unambiguously, Cheney blew a real "NOC" operative, an entire deep cover intelligence network and critically damaged our capability to monitor and deal with nuclear proliferation in the middle east and elsewhere, possibly contributing, along with other, equally brainless White House policies, to North Korea developing an offensive nuclear capability.

Nobody in our intelligence community - or any other - was unaware of the consequences of Cheney's act, as this 2003 article clearly shows.

NOC, NOC. Who's There? A Special Kind of Agent

Security agencies all over the world are now quietly running Plame's name through their data banks, immigration records and computer hard drives as the White House leak scandal continues to percolate. Officials with two foreign governments told TIME that their spy catchers are quietly checking on whether Plame had worked on their soil and, if so, what she had done there. Which means if one theme of the Administration leak scandal concerns political vengeance — did the White House reveal Plame's identity in order to punish Wilson for his public criticism of the case for war with Iraq?--another theme is about damage. What has been lost, and who has been compromised because of the leak of one spy's name? And who, if anyone, will pay for that disclosure?

There is no polite euphemism for this. It was, and it remains a conscious act of treason, in furtherance of a treasonous effort to subvert our nation and transform it into the servant of his own ambitions.

As for George Bush, who promised that he'd fire anyone who was responsible for the leak; well, he either knew who was responsible at the time or became aware soon afterward. Either way, that rises to the level of conspiracy to commit treason, or conspiracy after the fact. To say that either is an impeachable offense is the most British of understatements.

UPDATE+Bump More evidence of treason from a completely different perspective.
Wot is it Good 4 has the idea that blowing an intelligence network may have been the actual goal.

This is probably the most significant post related to this issue:
"My question then, given that the egadmin spent 2 months planning the leak of her name, is it more likely that they did it to:
a) discredit Wilson (which failed spectacularly, and could never have succeeded), or b) shine the light on BrewsterJennings (which succeeded spectacularly, and could never have failed)?


Surely the maladministration knew the implications, exactly - they'd been thinking obsessing about it for months, and they went out of their way to cover their tracks. Not only did they know that it was illegal to do what they were doing, they surely also knew that BrewsterJennings would be exposed - surely we need to consider that the purpose of the outing was to out BJ, rather than some silly attempt to undermine Joe Wilson. In fact, given the extent to which they devised elaborate cover stories, surely we should at least consider the possibility that the 'get wilson' story is really just another level of cover..."
the rest of the post tries to rescue just about everyone from the apparently universal idiocy that Plame was outed to get at Wilson, and more specifically, that the long-set-in-stone idea that the Plame leak was "Clearly... meant purely and simply for revenge" - as reported in the 'blockbuster' Sep29 front-pager in the WaPo.
The question, of course is "why." But on the other hand, aside from aiding in the process of rounding up all the treasonous bastards - it doesn't matter. Because there are no excuses.

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Friday, March 09, 2007

Catwoman to Replace Penguin as Leader of the Axis of Villany

The Next President Visits Nevada: Breaking News - Condoleezza Rice to Become the First Woman Vice President of the United States - Vice President Cheney to Resign For Health Reasons

According to our sources in the Republican party, the recent news of Vice President Dick Cheney's health problems is cover for him to resign gracefully and to be replaced in that job by the current Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice. Dick Cheney has become a "lightning rod" for the President. President Bush is worried about his legacy. We think Condi Rice is a good choice for him as the new vice president, he seems comfortable working with her, and she has not nearly the baggage Cheney has.
News Flash, George; it's a little LATE to be worried about your legacy. But it's nice that you are considering someone who may possibly somewhat less of a Dick.

Not Even Jesus's General could have done it better

By the scams they fall for, ye shall know them.
It's amazing the things you can sell to Christians - or rather, let us say, the sort of people likely to grab you by the lapels to demand to know if you have been saved.

Holy Drinking Water

Don't miss the "Warning To Sinners" printed on every bottle of this precious and purified fluid!

By the way, don't click the "buy online" link unless you find identity theft an amusing diversion. There is no valid encryption certificate.

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Sanity Reigns in the Captain's Quarters

The Captain and his signatories has earned my undying respect for this act of genuine political courage. They will be mercilessly attacked as traitors to the Bushite cause. But then "Bushite" != "Conservative."
Captain's Quarters : An Open Letter To The ACU And CPAC Sponsors

Note: This letter will appear simultaneously on a number of conservative blogs this morning. It has been scheduled in advance for that purpose. My personal remarks will appear below.

Conservatism treats humans as they are, as moral creatures possessing rational minds and capable of discerning right from wrong. There comes a time when we must speak out in the defense of the conservative movement, and make a stand for political civility. This is one of those times.

Ann Coulter used to serve the movement well. She was telegenic, intelligent, and witty. She was also fearless: saying provocative things to inspire deeper thought and cutting through the haze of competing information has its uses. But Coulter's fearlessness has become an addiction to shock value. She draws attention to herself, rather than placing the spotlight on conservative ideas.

Um. Well, the Current administration - and Coulter's handlers - ain't all that fond of Conservative ideas; balanced budgets, strong and effective defense or even the most fundamental concept of prudence.

The legendary conservative thinker Richard Weaver wrote a book entitled Ideas Have Consequences. Rush Limbaugh has said again and again that "words mean things." Both phrases apply to Coulter's awful remarks.

Coulter's vicious word choice tells the world she care little about the feelings of a large group that often feels marginalized and despised. Her word choice forces conservatives to waste time defending themselves against charges of homophobia rather than advancing conservative ideas.

I'm all for advancing conservative ideas and ideals; I share a great many of them. Indeed, a resurgence of responsible, factual, informative and - not to put too fine a point on it, sane - conservative commentary is sadly very rare. Of late, it seems to be a struggle to apply lipstick to the latest act of piggery.

I learned to think, in part, sitting (alas, only metaphorically) beneath the nostrils of William F. Buckley. If one comes to a divergent, supportable opinion in Buckley's presence, one has worked for it.

Demonizing liberalism in order to ignore all arguments because they ARE liberal or made by critics who therefore are "liberals by definition" is evidence of a mental and moral flaccidity that would give Barry Goldwater an apoplectic fit.

One of the points of CPAC is the opportunity it gives college students to meet other young conservatives and learn from our leaders. Unlike on their campuses—where they often feel alone—at CPAC they know they are part of a vibrant political movement. What example is set when one highlight of the conference is finding out what shocking phrase will emerge from Ann Coulter's mouth? How can we teach young conservatives to fight for their principles with civility and respect when Ann Coulter is allowed to address the conference? Coulter's invective is a sign of weak thinking and unprincipled politicking. [Emphasis Mine]
WILD applause, Sir! WILD applause!

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Even MORE Pokez in the eye - and insight as to why.

The Pokez incident that I first mentioned a week or so ago refuses to go away, and this story gives an idea as to why.
San Diego CityBEAT: "“This is coming from all over the world,” said William Cary, a former board member of the San Diego Autism Society. “Some people are calling for a boycott, but there are others of us who would like to go with our children, and see how they’re going to respond, or reevaluate how they treat people.”

The Centers for Disease Control estimates that about 4 million children are born with autism every year, and one in 152 8-year-olds are autistic. Cary believes the Pokez incident tapped a deep reservoir of frustration in the autistic community.

“Everyone has a horror story,” Cary said. “I once had a supermarket clerk ask if my son needed an exorcism.”

Glass filed a police report and has been in contact with the City Attorney’s office. At the moment, he doesn’t plan to sue, but that could change.

“What I really want out of this is an apology for David,” he said. “He needs to know he didn’t do anything wrong.”"
Both autistics themselves AND the parents of autistics need to know they haven't done anything wrong when some disturbed individual decides to target the day's frustration upon us or ours just because we are a visible target.

I'm Autistic, what's your excuse?
Frankly, this has more to do with the concepts of Civility, Civilization and Civil Rights than it does with Autism or the alleged lack of it by the experts in neurobiology at Pokez.

David did nothing wrong, Pokez has done nothing right; compounding a waitress's "mental moment" with a callus disregard for the family and the good opinion of civilized people.

I believe it's time - both specifically and generally - to insist on being treated with the same courtesy given whatever home-boys the easily amused hang with, whether they be grungy rock fans, as in this case, schoolyard bullies or fans of quack cures for visible differences.

It is all of a piece, symptomatic of deep dysfunctions in our society, depravities that we must no longer tolerate in the name of "trying to understand both sides." This is one of those cases where there IS only one side; where even the most biased retelling of the facts cannot conceal the malicious and casual indifference to the difficulties and pain of others that has permeated our society. To remain silent, or to patiently endure it is to permit evil to flourish.

From Manifest Destiny to Manifest Stupidity

Ann Coulter; Not a straight shooter.I've been around the block a few times, advocating for ethical outcomes and reality-based approaches to the world and it's problems for years and years now.

The more I go 'round and round the issues, the more I realize that for whatever form of understanding or tolerance I advocate - be it autistic persons, be it multiple personalities, be it survivors of sexual and/or religious abuse, the same sort of people, probably a lot OF the same people, are the ones screaming and gibbering that it's lies, all lies! And It's an Evil Plot to Seduce our Children and Pollute our Precious Bodily Fluids to boot. Any delusions of being different - multiple personality, homosexuality, persistent, corrosive expressions of individuality and social justice such as feminism, liberalism or ecological consciousness will All Go Away when you take a Magic Jesus Pill and submit to the Correction of Proper Authorities.

Really. Just ask Ted Haggard and Oral Roberts! (Both are more than willing to sell you the Magic Jesus Pills they didn't personally need in their Miraculous Recoveries from Sin.)

Not to put too fine a point on it, the people who are out there on the other side, against all forms of choice, all forms of individual expressions that don't involve praising a plastic glow-in-the-dark god onna stick idol, that don't involve white, heteronormative authoritarian submission to Duly Constituted Authority are some of the most willfully ignorant, morally bankrupt and hypocritical mouth-breathing morons I have ever had the pleasure to cluebyfour.

I have passed many, many pleasant hours fighting in my way for individual liberties, freedom of expression, personal dignity and the mutual respect, tolerance and common decency required of any free and civilized society.

In doing so, I've tried to grit my teeth and be respectful of views and beliefs that cannot thrive in the presence of critical thought or evidence, but I can no longer muster any tolerance for the increasingly obvious fear and hatred this roughly 30% of the electorate represents.

As FDR said, "we have nothing to fear but fear itself." He was right - fear is the handmaiden of fascism and theocracy.

The unreasoning xenophobia and the very real possibility of violence from the right toward everyone who's views or indeed, existence contradicts their hateful, thoughtless ideologies and demented dogmas has caused many - including myself - to be over-cautious about calling them on their shit.

No more. The marketers of fear, these panderers of panic must be forced to partake of the poison they have peddled. They are either willfully evil, or so blind to the evil of their cheerleaders and exploiters that there can be no useful distinction. Either way, we must no longer harbor them within the "big tents" of our political and social compacts - we must reclaim our school boards, our state houses and our congress from those stupid enough to think either that "The Bible Says It, I believe it, That Settles It" or "I'm right because I'm Right."

It's not a conflict between respectable and debatable political viewpoints - it's really and genuinely now a matter of informed concience and reason in opposition to willful stupidity and the evil that festers in it's presence.

We have reaped the whirlwind by respecting the mindless idolotry of the unforgiving Strict Father ideal as a legitimate, defensable viewpoint compatable with our Constitution and the unabashedly Liberal values of our forebears. The mainstream churches have been complicit in their unwillingness to condemn it for the evil that it is, whether or not it claims the privilege of faith, though knowing well for themselves of permitting any church any degree of temporal power.

Anyone who thinks it's a good idea to trigger Armageddon just so they can meet Jesus while enjoying and mocking the suffering of the "unsaved" from a safe vantage-point needs to be gently restrained from any weapons of destruction available to them - and if this is intuitively true of a ranting street preacher waving a bent butter knife, it's even more true of someone with access to nuclear release codes.

If your religion calls for you to destroy the world, or even to rule it in the name of "cleansing it for Christ's Return", I'm unwilling to sacrifice my own selfish survival in the name of tolerating your "diversity."

Neither Civilization nor the Constitution are a suicide pact. As much as I believe in diversity, no ethical system or social compact that permits the extinction of it's supporters in wholesale lots is very useful. (cc: Moderate Islam - you got some shit to deal with too. And yes, I do consider all Radical religious movements to be as literally and figuratively as unclean as a dog deep-fried in pork-fat with a sauce of caramelized camel feces.)

As it happens, I am Christian in essentials of my faith, but I've long since abandoned it as a religion, because in it's myriad manifestations it has long since proven to be more of a disease than a cure. Far from being empowering of individual conscience, it has become the enemy of progress and justice, at times straying from callus indifference and abuse into outright lunacy.

My nature is to be concerned about justice, to look toward the facts, apply critical reasoning skills and then form an opinion, and I hold my faith and beliefs to the same tests. If a person I respect and who I know to have a well-informed opinion suggests a direction, I'm willing enough to explore it - but even so, I ask myself, Quo Bono? (Who Benefits - that I should believe this?) And, while I'm tolerant enough to let a tree grow and manifest it's fruit, if the fruit is bitter - that tree is firewood.

Speaking of faggots and firewood, It was Ann Coulter who brought this into focus for me. (Via Media Matters.)

COULTER: Right, and I suspect everyone listening to your show knows about that. I mean, I know -- well, I guess Pat is out in America now; you're primarily in New York City. I give a lot of speeches out in America, I frequently visit America, and Americans are pretty freaked out about somebody going to rehab for using a word, and that's of course what I was referring to. And I don't think there's anything offensive about any variation of faggy, faggotry, faggot, fag. It's a schoolyard taunt. It means -- it means wussy. It means, you know, Hillary giving a speech in a fake Southern drawl -- that's faggy. A trial lawyer who weeps before juries is faggy. Lifetime-type TV, faggy. Everyone understood I was not literally calling -- well, I was not calling -- well, for one thing, I wasn't calling John Edwards anything. That was the whole point. I couldn't talk about him, his life's work, his appeasement policies, his wimpiness on foreign policy, because that word is out of bounds. So, in point of fact, I called John Edwards nothing. I said I couldn't even discuss him because using any variation of that totally excellent word would send me into rehab.
Bullshit. A fucking unbelievable bit of utter twaddle unworthy of a fourth-grader, much less a veteran public speaker. Her "explanation" might possibly serve as barely plausible deniablity; enough to muddy the waters enough to keep her out of the civil dock, but what she meant to say was quite clear.

In point of fact, the only people who "think" (so to speak) that "faggot" is not a viciously offensive word is those who like using it to offend, but dislike suffering the appropriate consequences for offensive speech.

I've heard the very same excuse many times before - in excusing "coon" jokes, in regards to "physical humor" that involved pain and or humiliation for those judged worthy targets of "schoolyard taunts."

It's emblematic of Coulter that, when called on this, her response is, essentially "Can't you take a joke?"

Not if I don't have to, Ann.

Would Ms. Coulter like me to come up to her in public, grab her crotch and laughingly report my findings? After all, many people suggest she's not really female in an equally juvenile attack on her person.

Hey, if I did that in front of the right audience, LOTS of people would bust their asses laughing. Does that make it a joke, or an act of vicious humiliation? Targeting Ms. Coulter as a transsexual or transgendered person in order to discredit her is as elementally unethical as calling someone "gay" in order to ignore what they have to say about something you don't want other folks to consider. No, let's take it a step further; it's evil; it amounts to "bearing false witness" in order to gain an unfair judgment in the court of public opinion.

Anyway, As a person subject to such attacks from lefties who should know better, she has no excuse. We all know what she meant by "Faggot." She meant either actually gay, or "less than manly" in some other, equally derisive sense, and she did this in order to avoid saying anything accurate or actually funny about Edwards.

Why? Because there isn't anything valid she can say about him that her audience would appreciate hearing. In the Republican mindset, you cannot address actual policy or positions of your opponents even to disagree with them.

This is in part due to the utter incapacity of the average brain-dead Bushite to recognize a valid argument if it had teeth clamped on their most personal parts. But it's more due to the fact that the Republican leadership and providers of Cultural Conservative talking points believe the very same thing about their own rank and file.

"You can't HANDLE the truth."

Of course, that leads directly to the present situation.

You can be well-informed in matters of politics, conscience and current affairs, or you can be a Republican.

You can honor the words of Jesus who told us to feed the poor and clothe the widow and the orphan - or you can be a Conservative Christian.

If this is what Conservatism and Christianity has become, then I'll join with anyone willing to banish both to the snake-handling hinterlands. Even "godless liberals."

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The irony is palpable.

The Raw Story | US refuses to join UN rights council

The United States will not seek a seat on the UN Human Rights Council, senior officials said Tuesday, asserting the body had lost its credibility with repeated attacks on Israel and a failure to confront other rights abusers
...such as...

Karl Rove

Ridicule can be deadly in politics. It's deadly accurate when the target is ridiculous. Karl Rove gets the treatment in this Emnem - styled music video by AndyCobbonUTube.

I found via comments at InTheDark, about this post about the WaPo story about the Libby conviction. I'd intended to talk about this anyway, so two birds, one great hook. Rove is, of course, one of very many "unindigted co-conspiritors" in this case. And as I understand, Libby was not convicted on the basis of a conspiracy to defraud the public into war, but rather lying about part of the effort to discredit Valerie Plame and her husband, who knew better.

Jury : Libby the "Fall Guy" for Cheney

The jury is in and (righties like Howie will never agree) they have found Vice President Dick Cheney and Special Assistant to the President Carl Rove guilty of leaking the name of a covert CIA agent -- Valerie Plame -- to the press.

The jurors who huddled around two pushed-together conference tables for 10 days, meticulously filling 34 pages of facts from the trial on a large flip chart, believed that Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff had been "pilloried" for a CIA leak that other top White House aides had committed along with him, according to one member of the panel.

"We're not saying that we didn't think Mr. Libby was guilty of the things we found him guilty of," said the juror, Denis Collins. "But it seemed like he was . . . the fall guy."

You don't say? Wow. What a shock that piece of news is. The fall guy, though, for whom?

During the jury's days of methodical deliberations, "it was said a number of times, 'What are we doing with this guy here?' " Collins told reporters on the steps outside the federal courthouse. "Where's Rove, where's -- you know, where are these other guys?" Collins said, referring to Karl Rove, Bush's top political adviser, and Richard L. Armitage, a former deputy chief of staff who testimony showed had been the first person to leak Plame's name.

Moreover, Collins said, jurors believed that Libby had been carrying out a directive by his immediate boss, Cheney, to "go out and talk to reporters" to tarnish Wilson's reputation. But Collins said jurors stopped short of discussing whether the vice president specifically urged Libby to tell journalists about Plame's CIA job.

In The Dark is the work of Peter K. Fallon, Ph.D. of Chicago, and Assistant Professor of Journalism at Roosevelt University. As 23 year veteran of the television industry, 18 years with NBC News' "Today" program, I think we can stipulate that he knows a news story when he sees one - even if it's one largely untold.

Of course, this "fall guy" should fall. But this must be the start, not the finish.

Let us not forget that in outing Plame, an entire intelligence network dealing directly with the proliferation of atomic weaponry and technology, reputedly with good contacts in Iran, Iraq and Pakistan was blown. The proper outcome for such a willful compromise of vital national security assets is a lifetime making little ones out of big ones at Levenworth. Not to put too fine a point on it, such an act is, quite literally, unambiguously treason; in furtherance of other acts which are in themselves frauds upon the American People, Contempt of Congress, conspiracy to defraud the American people by means of an illegal war and perhaps more. The illegal wire-tapping alone is more than sufficient grounds for George Bush to be removed from office. In defending it publicly, George Bush, in the words of former Watergate celeb, John Dean, became "the first President to publicly admit to an impeachable offense."

Indeed, there are so many reasons why impeachment should be Job One, it's difficult to comprehend why the process is not already underway.

I'm particularly baffled as to why Nancy Pelosi is saying "impeachment is off the table," especially in the light of a flood of individual petitions and now state resolutions. Perhaps it was part of her political calculation to not appear too eager to become interim President - but at this point, it's starting to look more like she is shirking her plain duty.

Impeach! Or be faced with the looming suspicion that powerful Democrats have as much to hide in these matters as powerful Republicans.

And, yes, I'm talking to you, Senator Reid.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Evidence of Malice

This is what happens to Autistics who try to communicate their own individual reality - or at least, when it might cause reasonable people to doubt the advisability of subjecting their children to dangerously unproven therapies. This blog would be more honestly titled "Hating Autistics;" I have rarely had the misfortune of encountering such an outright slimy person.

Amanda Baggs Snows CNN (Hating Autism)

What I just watched on CNN with Amanda Baggs playing the role of a low functioning autistic was a disgrace. Low functioning autistics can't type anything. They can barely pay attention to anything, nevermind keep up a conversation by typing 120 words a minute. Cute little girls don't usually turn into fat ugly monsters either.

Did anyone else notice the little blond girl who turned into this beastly brunette? That little girl's eye contact with the camera looked normal to me. Perhaps her whole face changed when she was smitten with schizophrenia. Maybe she's not even the same girl.

How come Amanda can focus long enough to type without stopping to twiddle her fingers? One who deals with autism every day knows that expecting a low functioning person to pay attention to any task for long is expecting a lot. This overacting is a dead giveaway that Baggs functions much too well to be considered autistic. Why didn't she space out in the middle of answering a question and go finger twiddling for awhile? Bullshit, this imposter can focus long enough to make her point for CNN without having any autistic "moments".

Autism occurs a spectrum and every autistic manifests differently. This is complicated by a number of other "comorbid" conditions that tend to show up with autism, but are not in themselves autism, and which also occur in other contexts. It's a difficult diagnosis even if you are not a quack, because there are overlaps with many other possible conditions - and all of this is generally determined without the input of the person concerned using diagnostic criteria that can only be described as "maddeningly vague."

I should state for the record that there is, factually, NO credible scientific evidence of a link between mercury toxicity and autism. I have to admit that I was somewhat surprised and skeptical, seeing that mercury is by no means health food, and does have cumulative neurotoxic effects. But Autism is not the damage mercury manifests, and there have been enough studies to make what seemed like an attractive quick fix obvious quackery.

Likewise, Applied Behavior Analysis and other such Skinnerian behaviorist approaches cure nothing. What they do is create a set of conditioned reflexes, which may or may not generalize into understanding of why the behavior is desired. Autistic children are trained in the same way the "white stallions" are trained to caper and dance - they learn that disobedience results in a shock prod to the genitals.

This overcomes their reluctance to do nonsensical things they are uninterested in doing.

Surface compliance is not a cure, nor is obedience evidence of respect. But I think this person is so insecure in his own masculinity that he takes his' son's autism as being willful disrespect for his authority.

As far as I know, the only real cure for disrespect is to be respectable. Alas, I suspect that cure to be outside of John Best's grasp. He's far too attached to his own dysfunctions and personality disorders to either deserve respect or respect anyone with divergent, more useful viewpoints.

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Great Parenting makes a great difference

While the Refrigerator Mother hypothesis has been discredited as a cause of autism, it was seemingly never addressed as a symptom of a reaction to an autistic child. Bluntly, while "refrigerator parents" do not cause autism, they do cause tremendous disability and damage that persists for a lifetime.

In one critical respect, autistic children are no different than other children; we are keenly aware of our parents and how they feel about us.

For good or ill.

The video here is a record of advocacy from a 9 year old autistic young man who uses a keyboard to do most of his verbal communication. He is identified as "D" here.

He was part of a panel hosted by an autism organization. The audience submitted written questions to all the panel members, some of whom were diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome and some with autistic disorder (Kanner autism, core autism, whatever folks are calling it this week).

D's answers were intriguing, at times puckish and inciting as well as insightful. (Autism Diva is trying to follow in D's charming footsteps and use more erudite and scintillating parlance.) D's answers are recorded here on this video made by D.

We are certainly aware if we are felt to be a cross to bear instead of a treasure and a joy. We are also keenly aware when love is conditional upon behaving as if we were not ourselves, conditional on telling them what they wish to hear rather than what is true and real for us. We especially learn that our perceptions of how others treat us is unwelcome. Wait, perhaps that was just me. But when I came home, crying and bleeding with various injuries - the first thing I was always asked was what I had done to deserve it.

I have no idea what my diagnosis as a child was - my parents were very secretive about that - but I'm sure there were several. Probably one was "childhood schizophrenia," given the era. But I do know that I had my head candled many, many times and the results were always, obviously and clearly, my fault.

This is absurd, of course, and even then I was reasonably well aware that my parents were neither reasonable nor rational on the subject that was me. But the net result was that my parents completely overlooked everything about me that was potentially valuable while focusing intently on all my manifold "flaws," which were always related to being insufficiently like the other children they kept trying to force upon me - at any price.

Meanwhile, they went to great lengths to sabotage my interests and to interrupt my perseverations; communicating to me that if I was interested, it was therefore inherently valueless. Had a "normal" child shown the same abilities and interests as I, they would have been turning handsprings. Moreover, I showed no tendency whatsoever to engage in "normal" adolescent stupidities, such as drinking, compulsive risk-taking or engaging in pointless athletic mating display contests. (That was my perspective at the time. Now I rather regret missing a small portion of my share of the above; I do wish someone had bothered to explain the point to it all.)

While this gave them much less to worry about in a real sense, my mother at least found a great deal to fuss about in the realms of the unreal and untrue, while managing to overlook almost everything she could have usefully addressed, such as abuse - mental and physical - by schoolmates and teachers that has left me with permanent and surely apparent emotional scars.

I was frequently told that what happened to me was my fault for "not fitting in," the delusion compounded by the assumption that I would have been allowed to fit in under any circumstance. Alas, when a child (or adult) is identified as a legitimate target, nothing that person can do to change their status within that social matrix. They must either escape that matrix, or be destroyed by it.

It is not surprising that adolescents with AS spectrum issues suicide at a rate that has been cited as being as high as thirty percent. It has nothing to do with autism, per se; it has to do with abuse, rejection, humiliation and depression resulting from repeated failures to fit in with the antinomy of being told by everything around them that they would be loved, accepted and valued if they did fit in.

The tragedy is that the autistic mind is adapted to function best apart from and outside of a social dominance hierarchy. So much of the "best advice" is 180 degrees incorrect, starting with the presumpton that a lack of a broad social network is the result of, or the cause of, emotional deficits and damage.

In fact, autistics need a small number of intensely dependable and deep relationships; those outside of that circle will tend to be activity-based relationships rather than emotional ones.

It's a profound difference, one that seems very difficult for Neurotypicals to understand - but it is nonetheless true of AS spectrum people to a broad degree, to the point that it seems fall within the range of "autistic-normal."

I've often wondered what I'd be like had I been raised by sane parents, or, frankly, even wolves.

D's example; a nine-year old boy who is valued for what he is, rather than devalued for what he is not tells me that's all the "cure" that we autistics require.

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Monday, March 05, 2007

Corruption, Cronyism and Backroom Deals?

Democracy, it seems, has never fully penetrated into Nevada; there are, of course, great shows of democracy on issues that, after careful demographic and political research - such as various anti-gay, anti-smoking and other such vital issues of public concern - are seen to be a lock. But when it comes down to important political decision making that will affect and outrage every single registered Democrat in Nevada and give Faux News a chance to appear like a legitimate, impartial news source, a decision that obviously would upset and outrage a good 75% of the membership, that decision is made in private, by one unidentified party official and a Fox Network rep. And if there weren't "other valuable considerations" involved - hell, it would hardly be Nevada.

In Nevada, democracy only occurs when it will produce the "right result."

Now, you might well ask, "Where does Harry Ried stand on this matter?" That's a damn good question. Nevada Democratic activist Matt Stoller is one of them

Tom Collins, who is the Chair of the Party, apparently does not think that Fox News's partisan agenda is enough to warrant a reexamination of the debate arrangement, or even a real conversation about how the party handles the Presidential contest. In fact, it's impossible to find out who made the decision to let Fox News host the debate. As Michael Zahara said:
Regrettably, no one is owning up to this mistake and by all appearances,it was FOX that came with their Trojan Horse to those who made this decision. We simply don't know what the truth is at this point, and likely never will.

I'm less concerned with who is responsible and more interested in immediately relieving FOXNEWS of their participation in our partisan event and protecting our candidates and Caucus...

As I said before, none of us on the Executive Board of the NSDP, or the other states were in the loop on this. The outgoing Chair may have felt that he had the authority to act unilaterally, but many of us believe he should have consulted us. Trust that this decision very likely wouldn't have passed a vote of our E-Board, and would not have garnered the support of our State Central Committee here in Nevada.

What is needed right now in Nevada is the kind of leadership shown by Democrats like Michael Zahara. Senator Reid, the most powerful official in Nevada and a key leader in the national Democratic Party, is either part of these decisions or could substantively accommodate our legitimate concerns. At this point, he's simply being silent and evasive, just like the Nevada Democratic Party (this despite Fox News's constant and baseless attacks on his patriotism and character).

Please call Reid's offices and ask him to not legitimize Fox News as a neutral news outlet. If you are not in Nevada, use this number: 202-224-3542 / Fax: 202-224-7327

If you live in Nevada, use this number, which is restricted to 775 and 702 area codes: 1-866-SEN-REID (736-7343)

It's time to let Senator Reid know that we want him to act like a good Democrat and ensure that the candidate forum in August treats the Democratic Party and our Democratic leaders vying for the Presidency with the respect that they deserve. Treating Fox News as a neutral news outlet by letting them solely host this debate does not do that.

Profiles in Indifference

A long-standing policy of neglect and indifference creates a "perfect storm" for the Bush Pentagon.

Washington Post: Sandy Karen was horrified when her 21-year-old son was discharged from the Naval Medical Center in San Diego a few months ago and told to report to the outpatient barracks, only to find the room swarming with fruit flies, trash overflowing and a syringe on the table. "The staff sergeant says, 'Here are your linens' to my son, who can't even stand up," said Karen, of Brookeville, Md. "This kid has an open wound, and I'm going to put him in a room with fruit flies?" She took her son to a hotel instead.

"My concern is for the others, who don't have a parent or someone to fight for them," Karen said. "These are just kids. Who would have ever looked in on my son?"
When the first congressional hearing about the care of wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center opens this morning in a campus auditorium, many eyes will turn to Lt. Gen. Kevin C. Kiley, who has served as the Army's top doctor since he gave up command of the hospital in 2004. The hearing will allow Kiley to explain why bureaucratic tangles and horrid conditions made life so difficult for outpatients at the Army's premier hospital, while also likely putting him in a position of defending his job.

Though members of Congress have called for Kiley to step down and take responsibility for the problems at Walter Reed, he has been spared so far.
Other leaders have not been so fortunate: Maj. Gen. George W. Weightman, the hospital's commander the past six months, was fired on Thursday, and Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey was forced to resign on Friday, in part because he appointed Kiley to temporarily take over Weightman's job.
The Army Times has extensive coverage as well - and often so tightly written, it's impossible to pull out a key graph without losing critical context. I offer a selection handle them with lead graph and link and the rest in the yellow link box below the cut.

Walter Reed woes bring turmoil at the top

The more than 1 million soldiers of the Army, deeply involved on two war fronts, suddenly find themselves serving under leadership tainted by scandal and in critical transition. Army Secretary Francis Harvey is out, pushed out the door by his boss, Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Walter Reed chief fired; critics say more must go

When the Army’s top medical officer, Lt. Gen. Kevin Kiley, fired Maj. Gen. George Weightman on March 1 in response to problems with housing and medical evaluations of outpatients at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, it triggered one of Washington’s favorite sports — the blame game.

Walter Reed topic of five hearings next week

The Walter Reed Army Medical Center scandal involving the living conditions, medical treatment and retirement process of wounded combat veterans will be the subject of five congressional hearings next week, including one on Monday that is expected to include testimony from the hospital commander who was relieved Thursday.
I point out - again - that these issues are long standing, substantive and need an approach far more substantive than hand-wringing, head-rolling and committee investigations. However, potential solutions have the virtue of being fairly obvious.

But obvious need alone doesn't seem to have ever swayed the Pentagon - one more reason for taking the responsibility for veteran's health care away from them.

The comment of one authoritative veteran:

Read all Military Times coverage about Walter Reed Army Medical Center:

Official: Gates fired Army Secretary (March 2)

Democrats say Harvey’s ouster isn’t enough (March 2)

Walter Reed topic of five hearings next week (March 2)

Maj. Gen. Eric Schoomaker named new Walter Reed head (March 2)

Committee subpoenas former Walter Reed chief (March 2)

Walter Reed chief fired; critics say more must go (March 2)

Army denies patients face daily inspections (Feb. 28)

Walter Reed patients told to keep quiet (Feb. 27)

Walter Reed soldier wins small victory (Feb. 27)

Gates’ candor on hospital woes lauded (Feb. 27

Pentagon names members of Walter Reed panel (Feb. 23)

Renovations underway at Walter Reed (Feb. 22)

Wounded and waiting (Feb. 17)

Retired Brig. Gen. David Grange said it will be up to Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Richard Cody to provide steady leadership for the service while Harvey’s replacement and incoming Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey settle into their jobs.

“As the vice chief, he is going to be the steadfast leader in this period,” Grange said. “You really have to have Cody kind of holding things together.”

Grange said he was surprised to hear that conditions at Walter Reed had deteriorated so badly and said that in the end, Harvey is responsible.

“If you are in charge, you are accountable,” Grange said. “I’m sure they were not resourced the way they should have been.”

Grange said being wounded twice in the Vietnam War showed him first-hand that medical care for wounded soldiers is always neglected.

“When you are going to go to war, what never is financed is the second- and third-order effects like veterans benefits and patient care,” he said. “That’s always frustrated me. Having been wounded a couple of times and sent to [military] hospitals, ... you see a lot of things.”

It's an ugly fact of war that fatalities are a great deal less trouble and expense than casualties - and not just in terms of money, logistics and manpower. Dead heroes cannot embarrass the commanders responsible for their posthumous heroism. LIVING veterans, however, have a distressing tendency to criticise, to organize and worst of all - work hard to one day find themselves on congressional oversight committees interviewing other veterans who will not decently and loyally cover the asses of their superiors.

I suspect that it was no different in the Punic Wars than it is now; this is not so much a result of a US military problem as it is a problem of humans who are in the Military. Disabled, hideously wounded survivors are far less romantic - and far more depressing than Tombs of Unknown Soldiers. Soldiers cope with death rather well. The idea of spending the rest of your life pissing into a bag from a hole where the Unit Commander used to live is not nearly so easy to deal with.

This means that higher command spends a great deal of time Not Thinking about it, and when it comes down to a choice between something sexy - like Patriot Missiles, Aircraft Carriers or a next-generation gee-whiz asskicker of a fighter jet - routine care for vets and even current active members isn't even on their radar.

Oddly enough - I have a great deal of difficulty blaming them for that, since it seems to be a nigh-unavoidable side-effect of being in military service. As damnable and unforgivable as the outcome is, this is just as much a failure of general citizen accountability as it is of military duty.

Call me crazy, or socialist if you will, but to me, when someone steps up and takes on the duty of defending their country, the last thing they should ever have to be concerned about is having lived through it, only to find themselves living in a cardboard box under a bridge with rotting teeth and cirrhosis from trying to make the nightmares go away. They faced those demons for those of us who "had other priorities," like our Vice President. They deserve, at the very least, to be comfortably housed, well fed and cared for if their duties have left them incapable of anything more.

This is not charity. It is a solemn duty and a true moral obligation.

I believe that Kipling said it better than I a long time ago;
You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires, an' all:
We'll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
Don't mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow's Uniform is not the soldier-man's disgrace.
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of 'is country" when the guns begin to shoot;
An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;
An' Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool -- you bet that Tommy sees!
We need compressive medical and social services available to everyone in need - and I've made a libertarian case for that before and will again. However, before anyone in civvies benefits, we need to start here, and now. Today. Our military veterans have earned the right to be first in line, because our collective panic and hysteria PUT them on that line. This is absolutely a "no excuses, Sir" situation for all of us above the age of reason.

But, since we ARE pointing fingers at those who should have known, and could have done something but preferred to not annoy their superiors - why not fire the Commander in Chief? It is a matter of both symbolic and practical urgency that transcends politics as usual.

George Bush will undoubtedly veto or ignore anything implies accountability to those who have born the cost and consequence of his ambitions, while continuing to flail about in increasingly belligerent and dangerous ways. George Bush is in fact the single most easily addressed threat to our National Security. We need to impeach him and generally clean house in the Executive Branch so that come 2008 we may possibly be served by someone worthy of national and international respect - and with perhaps some due humility for the honor and understanding of the responsibility of an office that used to be referred to as "leader of the free world."

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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Speaking of Potty-Mouths.

Here's a rhetorical question for you: Which is worse, using the "seven words you can't use on Television" - as defined by George Carlin, or committing the "seven deadly social sins", as defined by Gandhi?"

Coulter: I Would Talk About Edwards But “You Have To Go Into Rehab If You Use The Word ‘Faggot’”

Speaking today at the Conservative Political Action Conference, right-wing pundit Ann Coulter said: “I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, but it turns out you have to go into rehab if you use the word ‘faggot,’ so I — so kind of an impasse, can’t really talk about Edwards.” Audience members said “ohhh” and then cheered. (Video on site)

Seeing this blonde turd in the soup of our great political discourse, I find it increasingly difficult to take the posturing of certain pearl-clutching hypocrites at all seriously. However, I'm willing to observe a potential compromise - they don't have to take as credible anything that contains one of the seven deadly words, and we don't have to take anyone who links to Coulter, laughs at Colter or buys Coulter's books serously. You are what you eat, folks - and in this case, politically speaking, I believe this boils down to "eat shit and die."

Not as a curse - as a matter-of-fact observation of fact; if you persist in eating shit, you will die. In this case, it's a viscerally disgusting metaphor for an even less appetizing reality.

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Somewhere on the Self-Rightiousness Spectrum

If there's one thing that pisses me off, it's uninformed, judgmental self-righteousness - from anyone, about anything, even when I happen to agree. No, especially if I agree - because bigotry in my favor sucks away the moral force of a good argument.

I'm pleased to have a truly stunning example of a a bigoted idiologial self-congratulation society that does NOT involve politics, because perhaps then it will serve to illustrate just how universally ugly and stupid such things are. This should serve to nicely illustrate that the words "ideology" and "idiot" have a great deal in common.

I've been getting a sudden huge surge of traffic about the Pokez thing, and it appears to come mostly from a livejournal community called "childfree hardcore."

And just like many other varieties of net-bigot, they have set comments to exclude response from people who might have something to say that would make them question their own bias. Here's what I tried to say there. Since I can't correct them more discreetly in comments, I suppose I need to share it with the world.

Why? Well, here's one sterling example of the mindset:

So today I had some fucking annoying encounters with some moos. At the best buy in the mall, I was walking over to buy at ime card for World of Warcrack, and basically a flock of moos and their turds were congregating and discussing irrelevant shit, so it took them like 5 minutes to realize I had been standing there trying to get through even though I tapped them on the shoulder, shouted out HEY, EXCUSE ME, TRYING TO COME THROUGH for about 5 minutes straight. Then, I wanted to ask a best buy salesperson where to locate a CD disc cleaner, and of course some technology-retarded piece of shit moo didn't understand about how the shitty OS Vista works, so I had to stand around for like 10 more minutes waiting for the fucking bitch to ask her stupid questions while her kids were running around and generally being annoying.

Yeah, I hate moos and breeders who bring their children to stores and clog up the aisles with their filthy turds.
But these things were not what I was responding to:

THIS is: Overstars writes

But it's the principal of the thing and I will not be threatened out of my right to be of the opinion that this guy is an exaggerating bullshit breeder of a man who threatens lawsuits at every little offense and that I still sympathize with the waitress somewhat. Sure, whacking kids is wrong, but I understand the urge. Oh do I understand the urge.

Not only that, but the more I'm forced to read this case, the more I see how selfish people with children can be. This guy wants to take up the time of the police, the district attorney, and a nonprofit advocacy group for an *incident in a restaurant*.

Because they don't have anything better to do, of course.
I was unaware that the choice to be child-free granted the ability to read minds and motives. And "forced to read?" Fuck, kiddo, the next key is your friend. If you can't deal rationally with something on the net, move along.

Hey, it's what I do. It's one seriously effective tactic for not looking like a total putz in public, aside from the ethics of picking a stranger to pick on because you can present that situation in a way that will make you look good to your friends. It's not just unethical - it's 7th grade giggletwit unethical.

But I did try to inject some reason, not realizing that reason was unwelcome.

I'm getting hellacious traffic from here, so I figured I should say something. I'm the "another biased page". I'm not going to take exception to that, since I do have a bias - although it's slightly amusing to be accused of bias seeing all the bias here.

But that's cool too. As it happens, I have never bred, though I actually enjoy children - in controlled doses. :)

Nope, my bias comes, frankly, from being on the AS spectrum myself.

And second - although I think he should sue, I tend to be an unforgiving bastard: Someone else said why better:

Also contact a lawyer, because the restaurant's policy is against the ADA by a longfuckingshot.... As part of that, go into the restaurant sometime, and record all the time that nondisabled adults or kids are allowed to take a long time or be outright disruptive. I would bet she's one of those assholes that thinks it's okay to abuse someone because they look autistic -- the fact that we're the ones put through years of psychologically damaging "training" to hide what we are so people like THAT are more comfortable makes me really angry.
She's biased too. But it's a learned bias, and I second it. Even though I went through all this before autism at a level less conspicuous than non-verbal drooling and spinning was recognized, there was lots of behavior mod used on me, including school officials sicking the bullies on me so that I would "conform" and "fit in."

Meanwhile, Jay (dad) - whom I would bet to be on the spectrum myself - says this:

I'd still be OK with just 3 things from the Pokez owner: a written public apology for David, a statement that the manager was incorrect in his reaction then to support the waitress's abuse , and something (either staff training or personnel changes) to prevent this from happening again. But apparently the restaurant is claiming that we were asked to leave because *we* were rude (LOL.. we were actually reserved and probably the quietest table in the place that night, and I was incredibly polite-but-firm to the manager afterwards), and they are saying that it doesn't matter because David isn't really autistic because he can talk (?!?). Apart from them being utterly incorrect on both counts, even if David was a *neurotypical* child, that still doesn't somehow make it OK for the waitress to grab him and scream in his ear! (scratches head)

Sound like someone wanting to make a quick million at an insurance company's expense? Seems a lot more reasonable than I could be (or indeed would choose to be) under the circumstances.

Re: comments about "just sitting there:" For the longest time, I had just two speeds in handling confrontation - paralysis, or "assault with intent to kill." I'm still unclear how I made it through grade school without causing anyone grave bodily harm.

It took ten years of martial arts to give me some nuance. I've heard and seen enough over the years to realize this isn't just me - it's a combination of factors, both wiring and social that seem to affect a lot of autistic, PDD and Asperger's types. Generally, an apparent paralysis is a better response than the alternate.

Having said all this, I think it's more about her than the boy or his family. Reports of behavior like this regarding this one waitress go back quite a way. I think she's got her own issues, and because it's a family restaurant, and she's the sister, well, she gets cut slack she shouldn't get.

Were she my sister, she'd be on a cruise right now. I'd be babysitting her kids - and I'd be a little cautious about giving them back until I was sure that sanity had returned.

She just happened to pick the worst possible target for her drama, and that means it's not so much about kids or kids with autism as it is about Karma.

For her, it could also be pretty damn good luck, in the long run.
But as I said, responses from non-members are unwelcome. "Don't confuse me with the facts; my mind is made up" seems to be the summa logica of the group, and if it were not so very good an example for my point about the ethics involved - I'd just suck up all the nice free traffic with a faint smile.

I agree with Mae West about "bad publicity." "Just make sure they spell your name right."

But it's also symptomatic of something of real, cultural importance. This is the sort of mindless contempt and in-group tail-sniffing that allows people like George Bush divide and conquer. In other words, it's the sort of behavior no self-respecting freethinker should tolerate in themselves or in their company. It's no different in nature than the sort of vicious, mindless ignorance one hears over at Free Republic or Little Green Footballs. But my point is that this sort of behavior is human behavior -not just Republican behavior.

And just like it's possible to be ethical, and still be Republican, it's also possible to be Child Free and not be a self-righteous pinhead.

Do I object to the choice of being child-free? Hell, no! Frankly, I think folks who feel like this about kids should never breed, just as I feel than nobody should take on jobs or responsibility they KNOW they will suck at just to "fit in." I applaud and celebrate that degree of self-awareness, especially when it is against the tide.

I speak from experience, being raised by those too gutless and conformist to make proper choices based on their own self-understanding ain't a good thing for anyone involved.

And I surely do agree with much of what is said there, there are parents out there that are easily as idiotic as the example above - and with far wider approval of their mindless bigotry. (thanks to the group for these amazing examples of extreme majoritarian cluelessness.) I'm just not so willing to assume that the idiocy has anything to do with breeding or not breeding. I think it's pretty much the same as the idiocy shown in childfree_hardcore: self-righteous, mindless appeals to the pack. Same buttsniffing, different assholes.

Willow Dragon found these:
Baby found dead a a TN Christian College (watch the video)

but that led me to this...

Naked Classroom Spanking (there's a video for this too)

School officials in Prince George's County, Maryland are investigating a relative's actions in a charter school last week.

This after a woman walked into the school and spanked her nephew in front of his entire classroom.

Jane Watrel has more on this story.

"I asked him if something had happened and they said, oh you mean the whopping."

Paula Reitan couldn't believe her ears after leaving a school party at Turning Point Academy her daughter and three classmates told her how a fellow second grader was stripped naked below the waist and spanked by a relative in front of the entire class.
The first - Tragic irony at it's best/worst, depending on your personal biases.

The second: Just obscene. There's more, and I'll have more to say about it myself, because it's WTF on SO many levels.

And then there's this. Perpet says

The guy to whom the Duggars look for an excuse to continually churning out kids doesn't have any kids.

That's the wiki-article. You'd think the guy who discourages family planning of any degree would have actually lived the life himself. And he thinks Cabbagae Patch Dolls have demonic middle names and will cause you to be unable to conceive. If you need me, I'll be in the toy aisle.
The only thing that I have to say about that is that the facts are funnier than the presentation. Laughing more and bitching less means fewer wrinkles by the time you are my age. Besides, how many "breeders" take this maroon seriously? I assure you, nobody I would hang with.

This fellow isn't typical of even typically extreme evangelicals. He's a nutball - from an evangelical Christian perspective. So expecting reasonable behavior or any appreciation of irony is along the lines of expecting a cat to bark. He's a funny, tragic example of ... well, what he is. Which is about being a cult-leader and control-freak with very, very strange and silly ideas. It's silly to take it further than that, because whatever he says about what he's pretending to be for social cover is either a lie, or a symptom of his own delusional system.

This is my final bit of advice to the hysterically, abusively and cluelessly bigoted. Stop taking yourself and your ideas so seriously - because it's for sure, nobody worth taking seriously does.

Moreover, it's a mindset that makes it laughably easy to manipulate you into voting Republican, giving money to the 700 club or assaulting 80 year old ladies with 40-year old fur coats. Self-righteousness is like strong drink, and in the words of Lazerous Long, "it can cause you to shoot at tax-collectors - and miss."

Don't bitch about what's wrong with the world unless you are pretty darn sure you aren't a damn fine example of one of it's many symptoms.


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