Tag Archives: birthers

The campaign? Oh it’ll get worse.

“Perfect storm” is played to death, so let’s just go with “perfect combination”. Whatever your terminology of choice, the stage is set and the evidence is bubbling to the surface of what will be, as soon as the Republican primary season wraps up, a long and absolutely ugly Presidential campaign. Vast and unchecked amounts of political dollars will be able to tap into this ever-prevalent yet somehow ill-defined world of seething discontent among a certain subset of the population.

A rational observer might cut through the b.s. and say that the “subset” of the population are better described as “white, religious, and conservative” and that the “ill-defined” nature can be easily described as overt racism and sexism, but to bring that amount of candor to the table is to be labeled an elitist.

Consider the following political cartoon that almost made its way into the News-Tribune of Rome, Georgia:

This cartoon is what one might consider "racist" and "sexist."

This cartoon is what one might consider "racist" and "sexist."

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A New Paul to Drag the Tea Party into the Light of Reality

Rand Paul, Republican nominee for Senate from Kentucky

Rand Paul, Republican nominee for Senate from Kentucky

You’ve got to hand it to the Tea Party people – they know how to get organized and get things done when it comes to trying to put their people in places for getting elected.  It’s a smaller version of the ground game that Howard Dean had the DNC run before Obama’s ’08 election, matched with the cherry-picking-primaries-that-can-be-won talents of the people behind movements like Ron Paul for President.

With each fresh effort to push one of their ideology out into the light, in hopes of getting elected to offices, the effort is challenged by reality – the way things are and the way things need to be.  Ideology that is so single minded and touts one means to one end can only fly into so many walls before it is left for dead.  The fact that a campaign for someone like Ron Paul couldn’t really ever get off the ground – aside from convincing libertarians to empty their wallets for him before the real ’08 campaign began – I hoped would be the end of this new lust with libertarianism without acceptance of what it actually means.  Turns out, thanks to the influence of some Tea Party enthusiasm, we’re going to have this mindset to kick around for quite a bit longer.

This all, of course, leads us to the recent primary victory by the now official Republican nominee for Senate this fall – Rand Paul, son of Ron Paul, and one of the new darlings of the Tea Party movement.

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A ‘Jack Bauer’ Republican, except this is the real world

Ilario Pantano (right) after his primary night victory

Ilario Pantano (right) after his primary night victory

While we are still months out from the midterm elections in the United States, at this early day there are some rather intriguing races setting up.  Some of these races involve incumbent Senators getting upset by radical-leaning constituents showing up to a caucus and demanding someone even more conservative than who is already in place, some of these races involve closely-fought over seats from the 2008 elections, and one in particular, involves references to a man who is synonymous with Chuck Norris in the world of meme-based tough guy lore, Jack Bauer.

Jack Bauer became a household name by taking one day out of his otherwise uneventful year to save the country from imminent attacks by terrorist organizations.  Instead of abiding by the laws and process in place of the day, Bauer used torture tactics to get exactly the information he needed, virtually exactly every time he needed it.  This recurring and successful plot tangent wound up being used as justification (by some) for real torture in the real world, whether that be CIA renditions or episodes like Abu Ghraib.

Enter newly-official Republican nominee for Congress, Ilario Pantano.  He has become a sort of darling in Conservative circles with his backstory

In 2001, immediately following the 9/11 terror attacks, Pantano, a veteran who had previously fought in the Gulf War, left his career as a successful producer and media consultant in his native Manhattan to rejoin the Marines and was eventually deployed to Iraq.

A vet, a hero, someone who has fought for this country.  This is something you would expect to come from the right, since they like to wrap the flag around their selves the tightest – when push comes to shove.  There’s one other significant detail in his bio, however…

In April 2004, Pantano killed two unarmed Iraqi detainees, twice unloading his gun into their bodies and firing between 50 and 60 shots in total. Afterward, he placed a sign over the corpses featuring the Marines’ slogan “No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy” as a message to the local population.

Even Jack Bauer would be impressed.

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Somewhere to the right of ‘insane’ we find The Opposition

also known as: Not Hitler.

also known as: Not Hitler.

TheDailyBeast brings us an interesting set of poll data from Harris, giving us an interesting insight into the mind of the average member of the opposition to the Obama administration.  Actually it would be interesting if its implications were not downright frightening.  The tale of the tape:

Number who think…
Category all of Americans Republicans
…Obama is a socialist 40% 67%
…Obama is a Muslim 32% 57%
…Obama is not an American
citizen
25% 45%
…Obama is “doing many of the
same things Hitler did”
20% 38%
…Obama “may be the Antichrist” 14% 24%

If only this poll was a one-off outlier.

Read more »

The Kids Are Going To Be Alright

School begins today for a vast majority of students in this country.  The President has decided to mark this occasion by releasing a speech with some words of encouragement to the nation’s children, along the lines of stay in school and try hard.  This, of course, portends an impending socialist indoctrination of the country’s students to obey the President.  No, really:

But this speech has roused controversy among some conservatives, who have said he is trying to indoctrinate their children with a “socialist” political agenda. Some parents have said they would keep their children home from school rather than allow them to watch the president. The controversy, stoked by conservative talk-radio hosts and some politicians, took White House officials by surprise, and marked a new low in the deteriorating relationship between Mr. Obama and a right wing he had pledged to work with in a postpartisan presidency.

I feel deeply sorry for any children out there who are being raised in such an upbringing where the political beliefs of their parents are forcibly projected onto them in the form of keeping them out of school.  I’m sure the kids don’t mind.  I know if I was dreading going back to grade school I’d take any excuse my parents would offer up to extend summer vacation just one more day.  Of course, that’s why kids don’t get to decide these sorts of things and that’s why they have to go to school – it’s a part of the whole learning process.  If only the parents had been raised the same way.

I could see the cause for anger if the speech was, say, some sort of campaign speech designed to… make children influence the votes of their parents?  Well anyway, I could see the cause for anger if there was anything to be really angry about – but the whole thing is basically a positive stay in school type of message:

“I’m calling on each of you to set your own goals for your education — and to do everything you can to meet them,” Mr. Obama will say in a televised speech from a Virginia high school, according to a transcript released Monday by the White House.

“At the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents and the best schools in the world — and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities. Unless you show up to those schools, pay attention to those teachers, listen to your parents, grandparents and other adults and put in the hard work it takes to succeed,” he will say.

With the talking about individual responsibility and the need to instill a core ethic of hard work, you would think that conservatives of all people would love this speech.  Somehow a request to try harder in school and to live up to one’s potential turns into some sort of socialist suggestion that everyone must unite under the banner of Obama… or something along those lines.

The truth is, of course, that the meme on the right is one of “call everything Obama does socialist – no exceptions”.  Lord help this guy if there’s a picture of him taken eating French toast, that’s all I have to say.  It’s the same sort of anger that has simmered throughout the man’s presidency from the birth certificate to health care to death panels and now here… to a stay-in-school speech.

You know you might have gone a bit too far if Laura Bush of all people feels like she has to chime in to support the current President:

Former first lady Laura Bush on Monday expressed support for President Barack Obama’s decision to speak to the nation’s school children, saying it is “really important for everyone to respect the president of the United States.”In an interview with CNN, Mrs. Bush, a former school teacher, said, “There’s a place for the president of the United States to talk to school children and encourage school children” to stay in school. And she said parents and others also need to send that message.

For anyone who would like to read the whole of what will be spoken today, word for word, I invite you to check the already released transcript.  For the socialist-hunters out there, I dare any of you to find any sort of indoctrination hints at all in that speech.  I suppose Obama is trying to indoctrinate people into being productive members of the future society, but other than that – find me something that is actually wrong.

It’s another facepalm moment, another in a lengthy series that we seem to be having these days.  I suppose we all missed the part where the hopes of “post-partisanship” wound up translating to “we’re just not going to talk to you”.  I guarantee that even though the text of the speech was released the day before it is to be given, some parents will think they are fair and just when they keep their kids out of school to avoid the president and his suggestions – all because the shouting man on the television or the radio told them to do so.

For the children who are old enough to realize what is going on, I am hoping that they can see through it.  For those who are not, I hope they aren’t raised to be the ignorant-class of the future.

On this most socialist of holidays…

Clearly socialist propaganda

Clearly socialist propaganda

Who thought a series of degrading events would leave one hearkening back for the old days when “liberal” was the ultimate insult that could be hurled against any politician.  Well past that looking glass, we’ve now entered a most unique land where socialist, marxist, nazi, fascist, and communist all apparently mean the same thing and can be used interchangeably to describe the same person or policy.  That alone is almost worth the humorous snicker that it gets but finds itself surpassed only by the look of confused disbelief on the faces of someone who has to have the differences in such different theories explained to them – if they even take the time to listen and don’t just respond by shouting socialist nazi!!!!! back at you even louder than the first time.

Such… unique circumstances… are where we find ourselves in today, where the “insult” socialist is apparently the new black.  I wish I could only be referring to something as simple as the health care debate – even those were good old days that left us earlier this summer.  Now anything and everything proposed by someone on the left side of the political isle is being branded as socialist (or nazi, fascist, whatever else) by a rather impressively organized (or desperate) right.  So I figured – why not point out the socialist tendencies of Labor Day, and maybe that can be protested against in earnest as well.  Maybe we can get hysterical paid-for “grassroots” protesters to shout at town halls or perhaps parades until we are relieved of this terrible liberal nazi socialist fascist plot to turn America into an evil red country that has a day off every year in honor of the labor movement. Read more »

Happy “birthday”, Mr. “President”

In this second, late night, edition: birthers make me giggle, and what a blue, blue nation it is.

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Time to take a walk on the lighter side and embrase the most entertaining group of the day, the birthers.  Yesterday (August 4th) was President Barack Obama’s birthday.  (That would be the legal and actual President of the United States, for those still on the fence about this.)  In honor of the movement of the birthers and their narrow strands they grasp at, trying to convince the world that Obama is a secret planted agent of Evil itself sent here to drive America into a socialist wall… or something like that… here’s an honorary Obama birthday card!

A so-called card for this so-called birthday

A so-called card for this so-called birthday

We’re on to you, Mr. Manchurian Candidate.

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Polls entertain me, especially when they’re taken so far away from election campaigns that they have no real electoral impact.  They’re still fun to look at, though.  There may be some redeeming value, like knowing what the American people tend to gravitate toward when they aren’t having lies shoved down their throat.  To that end, if left up to their own devices it would appear that America is a blue, blue country:

State of the states, August 2009

State of the states, August 2009

On its face, the electoral college breakdown of this is Democrats (lean+solid) at 436, Republicans (lean+solid) at 27, and undecideds at 75.  Those are… rather difficult numbers to overcome, but again we’ll check back with this in the year 2010 when we are closing in on the midterm elections.  A few months of smearing and we will more than likely have an entirely different looking map.  Oh, politics…

Rumors send Muslims into Christian killing spree

In today’s edition: Pakistan sees anti-Christian violence, America’s income is falling off a cliff, and more birther bits.

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Pakistan, a country that is unstable at best, was rocked over the weekend by violent protests targeting the Christian community in the central part of the country.  According to the country’s government, a radical group of Muslims spread and acted upon a rumor that some Christians had desecrated a Quran and attacked minority Christian neighborhoods, setting fire to homes and killing at least six people.  The military had to be called in to break things up.

On Monday, paramilitary troops patrolled near the dozens of targeted houses, with their blackened walls, charred furniture, and twisted ceiling fans. Six people died in the fires, two by gunshots.

Authorities urged calm and promised that local police would be investigated for their inability to stop the violence, which spiraled even after an initial probe debunked the rumor that a Quran had been defiled.

“It was like hell. Nobody was coming to help us,” said Atique Masih, a 23-year-old Christian who was shot in his right leg.

Both the Prime Minister of Pakistan and the Pope criticized the violence, but odds are the efforts and words of either will be able to prevent such actions in the future.  Pakistan itself is sliding down a road toward more and more of a radicalized society – with that radical element flexing its muscle by instigating these violent attacks with little fear of reprisal – and perhaps even complacency by the local authorities.

The outlook isn’t that good…

…mosque prayer leaders on Saturday stirred the pot by calling for every Christian to be killed. Christians repeatedly sought police help but to no avail…

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American income is falling off a cliff.  Not just in terms of the income of actual individual American citizens, but the actual income that the government is getting is also falling rapidly:

The recession is starving the government of tax revenue, just as the president and Congress are piling a major expansion of health care and other programs on the nation’s plate and struggling to find money to pay the tab.The numbers could hardly be more stark: Tax receipts are on pace to drop 18 percent this year, the biggest single-year decline since the Great Depression, while the federal deficit balloons to a record $1.8 trillion.

Logically, for the government to continue functioning and providing services to its people, income will have to rise some how and some way.  This has to come in the form of increased taxes on someone.  There is a gold mine of money that can be made by raising the taxes on income earners of $250,000/yr or more – returning the balance of tax power back to what it was during the Clinton years while avoiding any negative impact on the middle class.  No such tax increase will be spun that way by the opposition, it will be spun as a failure of the administration and backtracking on a campaign promise – even though the campaign promise was only regarding people whose incomes are less than that $250,000/yr level.  There’s also a $11 trillion debt out there somewhere, increasing by the second, that will have to be answered for at some point down the line.

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The birther thing will not go away – and it’s been a story so many days now it’s earned its own tag on this blog.  Congrats, nutters!  Today’s big hoo-ha deals with the supposed finding of Obama’s actual birth certificate, from Kenya, which proves that he is not an American citizen and shouldn’t be President and something something conspiracy… and so on.  If you need to be entertained, check the supposed true document out.

…and now for the eloquent debunking, already done for us, thanks to DailyKos.

First, the hospital is Coast Provincial General Hospital (sometimes said to be Coast Province General Hospital), not Coast General Hospital.

Second, Kenya was a Dominion the date this certificate was allegedly issued and would not become a republic for 8 months.

Third, Mombasa belonged to Zanzibar when Obama was born, not Kenya.

Fourth, Obama’s father’s village would be nearer to Nairobi, not Mombasa.

Fifth, the number 47O44– 47 is Obama’s age when he became president, followed by the letter O (not a zero) followed by 44–he is the 44th president.

Sixth, EF Lavender is a laundry detergent.

Seventh, would a nation with a large number of Muslims actually say “Christian name” (as opposed to name) on the birth certificate?

Eigth, his father (born in 1961) would have been 24 or 25 when he was born and not 26.

Ninth, it was called the “Central Nyanza District,” not Nyanza Province. The regions were changed to provinces in 1970.

Of course the debunking of the conspiracy is just a part of the conspiracy, and the concept of the truth is also part of the conspiracy, because the entire world is united against American conservatives because of their great conspiracy and… this is never going to die down.  I suppose the question now is who had it worse: Obama and the birthers or Clinton and everyone wanting to know about his sex life.

Alexander the Great can still cause wars? (QH: 28 July 2009)

In today’s edition: Alexander the Great, the UK continuing to go off the privacy deep end, albinos being hunted for magic, and a birther followup…

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Starting off with a non-Iran international story today, the Washington Post is reporting on an apparent rift that is opening up between the countries Greece and Macedonia over, of all things, Alexander the Great.  The landlocked country of Macedonia is technically known as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, or FYROM.  This was done at the demand of it’s southern neighbour, Greece, which claimed that the country’s official name according to its constitution, Republic of Macedonia, is actually a tacit attempt of annexing the Grecian province of Greek Macedonia and presents a threat to the country.  To combat this, Greece has in the past blocked the country from joining the United Nations, imposed a crippling economic blockade, vetoed its attempt to join NATO and is preventing the country from joining the European Union until it changes its name.  Really.

Then there’s Alexander The Great…

Alexander the Great died more than 2,300 years ago. But his cult of personality is just starting to grip this tiny Balkan country.To the annoyance of next-door Greece, which has long claimed the conqueror as its own, Macedonia has anointed Alexander its national hero. The government has renamed the international airport here in his honor, as well as the main highway to Greece. Soon to come: a 72-foot-tall marble colossus of Alexander astride his favorite warhorse, Bucephalus, which will dominate the skyline of the capital, Skopje.

Perhaps if Macedonia was a strong regional power looking to turn into an empire there might be something here, but according to Macedoian Foreign Minister Antonio Milososki, the army consists of “8,000 troops and a fleet of eight helicopters”.

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For all of the worries in America (mainly among liberals) that our country was encroaching on rights of freedom or rights to privacy, one must remind theirself over and over that we are nowhere near the crazy rendition of rights that some other supposedly free Western countries are inflicting on theirselves, most notably amongst those being the backdrop of the book 1984 itself, Airstrip One/United Kingdom.

If sifting through a couple dozen pages of the UK’s Home Office report doesn’t suit you this evening, this summary is also nice:

We’d all like to help the police to do their job well. They, in turn, would like to have a massive database with DNA profiles from everyone who has been arrested, but not convicted of a crime.

Gold star to the first country that implements precogs

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Down go the birthers.  By a 378 – 0 margin.  Better luck on the next conspiracy, right wing.

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The Boston Globe has an excellent and absolutely heartbreaking photo essay up tonight (among two others) dealing with the plights of Albino people in non-western nations.  The captions for these photos speak better than anything I could say…

While albinos in sub-Saharan Africa have faced discrimination for many years, their situation has become far more dangerous in recent years in Tanzania. Albinos in Tanzania are increasingly targeted by those who would kill them for their body organs, limbs and even hair to be used in luck potions by others seeking wealth and good fortune in business and professional circles. According to local residents, witch doctors use the organs and bones in concoctions to divine for diamonds in the soil, while fishermen have been known to weave albino hair into their nets hoping for a big catch on Lake Victoria. More than 50 albinos have been killed in Tanzania and neighboring Burundi in the past year – prompting a network of protective services and a few arrests and murder trials which have been fast-tracked by the Tanzanian government.

Killed for magic

Killed for magic

Mabula, 76, crouches beside his bed January 25, 2009 in his mud-thatched bedroom in a village near Mwanza near the grave of his granddaughter, five-year-old Mariam Emmanuel, an Albino who was murdered and mutilated in an adjacent room in February of 2008 and who was buried inside the mud hut to discourage grave robbers who commonly dig up albino bones. (TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images)

The birthers? How much further can a party fall? (QH: 27 July 2009)

The upcoming celebration of the 50th year since Hawaii was admitted to the union might just have some political fireworks – the remarkably useless, pointless, idiotic, and nonsensical kind.  To combat a rather strange charge in the minds of those on the far-right, that President Barack Obama is somehow not an American citizen and does not have a birth certificate, Representative Neil Abercrombie (D-HI) has a rather unique idea:

“In the language of the resolution, there is a statement that Hawaii is the birthplace of the 44th President of the United States,” Abercrombie spokesman Dave Helfert confirms.

Adorable.  In the midst of fixing the economy, trying to get people back to work, unintentionally running a couple of car companies, and making an attempt at sorely needed comprehensive health care reform, there is an effort to call out the shamed-in-the-electoral-sense political party into admitting if they stand with a stark raving loony mad minority faction, for the entertainment of the rest of us.  While I find it humorous, I believe the Congress has better things to do.  This will probably ultimately get nowhere, as queen of that loony faction, Michelle Bachman (R-MN), killed this.

If this becomes a 2012 issue, I may have a heart attack laughing.

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Scott Roeder, murderer, is thrilled that he killed George Tiller, doctor, but is rather upset that those who speak so highly of murder in the name of their God (sorry, in the name of what’s right), are not rushing to his defense:

The Kansas City man charged with killing Wichita abortion doctor George Tiller said in an interview he was angry at a major anti-abortion group that he thought had abandoned him.

Scott Roeder also said from jail that he was elated that Tiller was dead and that he knew he could be going to prison for decades.

…a money-shot of a quote comes a little later in the article:

“I told him, ‘You better get your story straight because my lawyer said it’d be good for me to show that I was supporting a pro-life organization.’ ”

…a murdering pro-life person.  Only in Christian America.

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The United States has laid out an overture to Iran to have an open dialog about their nuclear program.  Secretary of Defense Gates made it clear that this offer won’t last forever:

Strains between the United States and Israel surfaced publicly in Jerusalem on Monday, as Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates tried to reassure Israelis that American overtures to Iran were not open-ended, and as Defense Minister Ehud Barak of Israel expressed impatience with the Americans for wanting to engage Iran at all.

“I don’t think that it makes any sense at this stage to talk a lot about it,” Mr. Barak said at a joint news conference with Mr. Gates at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, referring to the American offer to talk to Iran about giving up its nuclear program. Nonetheless, he said Israel was in no position to tell the United States what to do.

That last statement represents an Israel that is frustrated with a not-so-warmongering United States these days.  Also, while ultimatums might get the wheels turning, one has to wonder exactly who will even be running the show in Iran by September, as things like this continue:

The Iranian opposition leader Mir Hussein Moussavi spoke out more strongly than ever before on Monday against the arrests and killings of protesters, hours before Iran’s supreme leader ordered the closing of a “nonstandard” prison in an apparent effort to deflect rising criticism over the issue.

“How can it be that the leaders of our country do not cry out and shed tears about these tragedies?” Mr. Moussavi said, in comments to a teachers’ association that were posted on his Web site. “Can they not see it, feel it? These things are blackening our country, blackening all our hearts. If we remain silent, it will destroy us all and take us to hell.”

Mr. Moussavi’s angry tone appeared to reflect the steadily rising toll of those killed — some after being beaten in prison — in the crackdown that followed the disputed June 12 presidential election. A funeral was held in Tehran on Monday for Amir Javadi-Far, a student activist who died in prison after being arrested, and reports emerged of still more deaths.