Monday, October 31, 2011

Least Surprising News of the Year.....

Congrats to anyone holding 72 days in the pool.

The next part of Kim Kardashian's master plan to smother the dying breath out of American culture began today with her divorce announcement.

Sham marriage, sham divorce, sham reality show.

Sham celebrity.

Yet somehow, this is front page news.


Almost forgot. In case you care, here's the link.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Bedford (PA) County Drug Task Force Creates Jobs.

(Story is from the Altoona Mirror.
The only reason I am linking it is the online version does not include the mug shots or names of the accused. Believe me, the print version took great joy in including both.)

After an eight month investigation, the Bedford County Drug task force ruined the lives of 21 addicts in a show of force and idiocy on Tuesday. In a second "fuck you" to the accused, the Altoona Mirror published color photos of each of the 21, who I must add, are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty.

"Operation: Scarecrow," as it is called, follows "Operation: Cupid's Arrow," which in February took 15 of the most violent non-violent addicts off the streets. Bedford County DA Bill Higgins, of course, thinks this is serious business. At a press conference, he said "Just like the 15 arrested in 'Operation: Cupid's Arrow,' these offenders will be zealously prosecuted."

"Operation: Scarecrow"? "Operation: Cupid's Arrow"? Can we have "Operation: Harm Reduction," next please?

Sheriff Charwin Reichelderfer then proves that he almost gets it, but that his mind just can't finish the leap.

I know from experience that many of these people will be characterized as just users by their friends and family. While they may be selling stuff to support their own habit, there is no question they are bringing this poison in our community and selling it to our kids. And for that they're going to be held accountable.

Bolds are mine.

Let me scan through the list quick and see how many have charges related to selling drugs to minors. Perhaps one. I say perhaps, because a few of these hardened criminals apparently were also parents, and got charges added if they had a child in the car with them.

Which I admit is not only stupid, but child endangerment. Drugs are illegal, leave your damn kids at home, or with a sitter.

But selling it to "our kids"?

Do you have proof of this assumption, Sheriff Charwin, or are you just jumping right to the most emotional target possible to corrupt the jury pool and further tar these child murderers drug addicts? Or are you trying to convince your self? Asshole, or asshole suffering from cognitive dissonance, I can't decide.

There is no reason to try to corrupt the jury pool, since I'd bet my car all 21 will take a plea. That's how it works. The ADA offers you a shitty plea, and then threatens that if you take it to trial, they will push for whatever crazy number of years they think sound believable. All 21 of these criminals victims are going to be facing felonies, and chances are all 21 will take the plea. The only ones who actually should take the plea are those offered ARD or IPP or some other path to clearing their record, but the threat of years in prison can affect your decision making.

Look, I know. Drugs are illegal. Selling drugs is illegal. They all broke the law. I get it, I really do. And unless it is far down the memory hole, I do not know anyone affected by this operation.

But I still know them. I see my past self in every picture. I know the game, I know the story. Some of them are runners for the actual dealer, delivering drugs and protecting the dealer. Some of them were hooking up a friend they probably used with a hundred times before. A few of them were probably straight set up by the Confidential Informant and actually are innocent. Some of them were only getting for someone else so they could make enough to get a fix. And, yes, some were driving to Baltimore and bringing back product to sell and support their own addiction.

8 months. Untold amount of tax payer money. 21 low level dealers, at the worst, off the streets facing a felony that will follow them forever. The one girl is only 18. One guy is 19. Welcome to adulthood.

And by the end of the week, 21 more will step in to fill whatever cog in the machine they happened to occupy. The heroin and cocaine will keep flooding the area. More people will get addicted. Then in 8 months or so, "Operation: June Bug," or the like will scoop up another group.

The cycle, it keeps on cycling.

21 jobs available today in Bedford County. It's high risk, but the profession is booming no matter the economy. No experience needed, just a self-destructive personality.

We've lost the war on drugs. The war was never winnable in the first place.

Why are we still fighting it? Why are there still casualties?

Isn't it time for harm reduction?

Going to link to LEAP, and shut up.

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

Friday, October 21, 2011

Psychic Kids, Skepticism, and TMI

And the most evil show on television not involving Jenny McCarthy marches on......

Rebecca Watson posted Mark Stewart's report on the Psychic Kids panel at DragonCon today over at Skepchick. I urge you to head over there to read it. Nothing really has changed. The show still makes me physically ill, their psychologist is still a full fledged believer which makes her largely useless for these poor kids, and the believers still ignore all skeptical criticism by building strawmen to beat on while ignoring our actual arguments.

The "all psychic children are mentally ill" strawman always gets under my skin.

I'm not going to deal with Mark's report here. If interested, go read it. It is good shit.

Instead, I want to try to explain why I hate this show so much. Yeah, other paranormal shows presented from the classic believer viewpoint annoy me, but nothing else paranormal inspires this level of revulsion in me.

I haven't always been a skeptic. From 12 to 20ish I was heavily involved in Wicca and other new age forms of witchcraft. If this show existed then, I could have been on it.

Was I mentally ill? Not at all. Part of it was rebellion. I wasn't indoctrinated into a religion until 11 when my mom decided to return to Catholicism and force it into me. Part of it was the time period. In my backwater town, Wicca and the like had just began hitting the bookstore shelves in force and I would read anything. And a large part of it was just feeling broken and searching for anything to believe in. Every member of my family, all my friends, everyone my young mind knew at the time all believed in some form of God.

I believed because my extensive pagan library told me what I was doing was real. My mind would seek coincidences and attribute them to spells. My experiences were filtered through the lens of pagan belief. And of course, my circle of close friends all either believed as I did, or weren't confident enough in their own beliefs to question mine.

Belief in magic, witchcraft, psychic ability, etc, is set up to defy any proof against. Spell didn't work? Sometimes they don't. Couldn't connect with a spirit? Sometimes they don't want to connect. Asked to prove it? Sorry, nothing will work if a non-believer is around. Bending reality is hard enough work as it is.....

My first year in college, I would sit in the off campus coffee house and read the Tarot for spending money. My accuracy amazed not only those I read, but myself as well. At first I'd maybe do a reading a day; after the first month I had to turn people away. I thought I had proof finally.

Then I took my first Psych class and my entire worldview shattered. I didn't know the term "cold reading" yet, but I knew why my readings were so accurate, and it had nothing to do with the cards or the paranormal. I was using what I had picked up of human psych on the streets to read people for clues. I would start with classic general cold reading statements, stopping at each card until the client recorded a hit no matter how many different avenues I had to travel to get the hit, and gradually forcing them to give me enough information to supply a stunningly specific hit on the last cards.

I spent the next 4 years examining every other paranormal belief I held without the assumption that they were true, while still clinging to any shred of belief I could muster.

Then came the self-destruction as I could no longer be the person I had been for the last 12 or so years.

All kids who claim to have "powers" aren't mentally ill. I've never even seen any of us make that claim. Some are to be sure, some are attention seeking, some are suggestible, and some just have a perfect storm of causes surrounding them.

I can not even begin to imagine how much worse off I would have been with a tv show and adults I respected confirming my beliefs at every turn. Could I have ever escaped? And, perhaps more importantly, how much worse would it have been if the beliefs did crash around me?

These people are sick, and I don't mean the kids. Some of these kids will become the next generation of TV psychics, and some of them will get out relatively unscathed.

But some of them are going to watch their entire lives crumble around them. Watch the persona this show helped to create disappear leaving them alone to try to figure out who they are and how to make sense of the past how many years.

And some of them are not going to be able to get through the fallout.

Based on my own anecdotal evidence, I'm convinced this show is going to have a body count. If not from outright suicide, then from drug abuse or other self destructive behaviors.

I tried it all without a TV show.

I hope in 15 years or so when we can do actual follow-ups on these kids that I am proven wrong.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Catholic Bishop Finally Charged in Connection to Child Abuse

Ed Brayton over at Dispatches From The Culture Wars brought this to the attention of the blogosphere, so I will let his words and the original article speak for themselves, while I concentrate on the upcoming response from the Catholic League.

For the first time ever in the U.S., a Catholic church official has been criminally charged for failing to report suspected child molestation by a priest in his charge to the police. The New York Times reports:

The details from said New York Times piece:

A bishop in the Roman Catholic Church has been indicted for failure to report suspected child abuse, the first time in the 25-year history of the church’s sex abuse scandals that the leader of an American diocese has been held criminally liable for the behavior of a priest he supervised.

The indictment of the bishop, Robert W. Finn, and the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph by a county grand jury was announced on Friday. Each was charged with one misdemeanor count involving a priest accused of taking pornographic photographs of girls as recently as this year. They pleaded not guilty.

The case caused an uproar among Catholics in Kansas City this year when Bishop Finn acknowledged that he knew of the photographs last December but did not turn them over to the police until May. During that time, the priest, the Rev. Shawn Ratigan, is said to have continued to attend church events with children, and took lewd photographs of another young girl.

A decade ago the American bishops pledged to report suspected abusers to law enforcement authorities — a policy also recommended last year by the Vatican. Bishop Finn himself had made such a promise three years ago as part of a $10 million legal settlement with abuse victims in Kansas City.


People, people, calm down.

Bishop Finn, as a moral and ethical leader in the Roman Catholic Church, was more than likely just holding on to the pictures to protect the innocence of the little girl in question.

There is just no reason to jump to wild conclusions like B.Finn was attempting to protect a struggling artist/priest from a world that would never understand the artistic vision of naked kids representing the Innocence of the Virgin Mary. There is no evidence that Bishop Finn was masturbating wildly to the photos while in his office or the confessional, or that he paid the priest in question with envelopes filled to bursting with money from the Offering to produce the artistic visions.

Only in a culture as Evil as ours would someone point the finger of blame at the Roman Catholic Church and its leaders, when the true danger to our children is obviously from the Gay Agenda. The Catholic faith, and its leaders are servants of God. Whatever a priest or Bishop deems fitting to do to a younger member of the flock, whether it includes nudity, fellatio, buggery, whips, ball gags, video/photographic equipment, and/or large amounts of drugged communion wine, we can be sure that it is for God and God alone, and not due to any base desire of the priest.

You should all be ashamed of yourselves.


There, I already wrote Bill Donohue’s response for him. The bigot better give me credit if I see any of this in a press release from the Catholic League.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Obama is a Liberal Liar

I find the Obama-as-a-liberal meme to be quite amusing. Faux News and the Conservative Media Machine have conned the majority of their base and a great deal of the political center into acceptance of the meme. True, at times they seem confused over whether Obama is a far left Marxist communist or a far right fascist National Socialist, but discarding the coocoo-for-cocoa-puffs Hitler comparisons they have been largely successful painting him, along with most of the Democratic Party, as dreaded Liberals.

Rationality, to where have you disappeared?

We can argue for days over where on the political spectrum Obama and other Democrats land (I've heard center-left and dead center, while I would argue for center-right) but can we please stop this "Liberal" nonsense? No matter the cause, be it their true political beliefs, or just political opportunity created as the Republicans go off the rails of their personal crazy train, there is no viable national party representing the views of those of us firmly on the left. I don't expect for the Tea Party to see this as a negative, but I hope those on the right who still look at knowledge, logic, rationality and education as virtues realize that this is poison for our Nation.

The talking points are too easy. Effective policy needs criticism to blossom, it forces those on both sides to dissect their own ideas, tempering them to survive the attack of the enemy, leading to stronger more effective policies. Yes, I am a Liberal and I feel Liberal policies are best for this Nation, but that doesn't mean I want my ideas enacted without debate, rubber stamped blindly with any opposition shut down by the call of "fascists!"

*sigh* After that preamble, let me make one thing clear. I do not advocate "making Obama pay" in 2012. There is no viable 3rd option, and with the batshit insanity of the current Republican party, anyone they nominate for the Presidency is a danger to our Constitution and economy. So hold you nose and vote for Obama, but we need to start pulling the Democrats back to the left. That being said.....

Via Dispatches from the Culture Wars, we once again find our President breaking campaign promises and doing a two-step on our rights.

Apparently not satisfied with completely breaking the promise not to prosecute medical marijuana patients and providers who comply with state law, now the Obama administration has set its sights on the First Amendment as well by prosecuting media outlets that accept advertising from medical marijuana businesses.

From the original article, Feds to target newspapers, radio for marijuana ads on California Watch:

Federal prosecutors are preparing to target newspapers, radio stations and other media outlets that advertise medical marijuana dispensaries in California, another escalation in the Obama administration’s newly invigorated war against the state’s pot industry.

This month, U.S. attorneys representing four districts in California announced that the government would single out landlords and property owners who rent buildings or land where dispensaries sell or cultivators grow marijuana. Now, newspapers and other media outlets could be next.

As Ed Brayton writes to finish his piece, "I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: When it comes to civil liberties, Obama hasn’t just been bad, he’s been an absolute disaster."

I could not agree more.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

For Republicans, It Is All About Jobs And The Economy

It's a no-brainer.

The Country is mired in the Great Recession with little signs of recovery. The sitting Democratic President, sharing dangerously low approval ratings with Congress, has finally appeared to grow a spine, aggressively pushing his jobs package while painting Congressional Republicans as obstructionists. And as the Occupy movement continues to spread from city to city, nation to nation, struggling Republican presidential candidates have a surprising chance to get back into a race that Mitt Romney, despite every opportunity, has failed to claim.

The plan?

1. Bring the 7th anti-abortion bill of the year to a vote in the House.
2. Have candidates double down on anti-abortion rhetoric.
3. Watch as a former Republican State Attorney General, who discussed patients private medical records with Bill O'Reilly on national television as part of his witch hunt against Dr. George Tiller, a doctor who I must point out was gunned down and killed in cold blood by an anti-abortion fanatic, faces the suspension of his ability to practice law for ethics violations without a care, thanks perhaps to his new found prominence in the anti-abortion movement.
4. ?????
5. JOBS!!!!!

It could be worse, I guess. They could be hypocritical as well. I mean, imagine if, at the same time they were trying to massively increase the power of government over a woman's body, they were also portraying themselves as the anti-government party, telling their supporters that government was the problem, and that less government interference with private citizens was the solution.

While you're imagining, here's Rachael Maddow with the story.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Hulk Turns Heel On Obama

In what may be the most shocking event of the political season, Bruce Banner turned into a large green creature and ripped into President Obama.

Wait. What? Are you sure?

Hulk Hogan rips into Obama?

He's still alive?

His political opinions are relevant because............

I got nothing.

Via Yahoo News reporting off of Faux News' cutting-edge, pulse of the nation show Fox and Friends:

Fake wrestling champion Hulk Hogan supported President Obama in 2008, but alas, the honeymoon is over, Hogan said Thursday during a Fox News appearance.

"I was a big Obama supporter and kinda, like, believed everything he said he was gonna do," Hogan said on Fox and Friends. "But now that nothing's happened..."

Hogan said he was still sore about the president using his theme song, "I Am a Real American" when Obama addressed the 2011 White House Correspondents' Dinner shortly after he released his long form birth certificate earlier this year.

"I kinda was a little upset that he didn't ask me permission to use my music," Hogan added. "But the change of heart is that I think I should be president. I know nothing about politics. I think a flat tax across the board would straighten everything out."

When told that the Hulk's idea sounds something like presidential candidate Herman Cain's "9-9-9 Plan," he responded, "Wow, yeah well he's not a real American like I am. . . . I've been around, people know me, they know everything about me, they know I'm for real, they know I know nothing about politics. I'll just make decisions on what's right or wrong."

How is it even possible to force that much stupid into such a small space? The Incredible Hulk could grunt out a more coherent and nuanced political stance while smashing things with a tank. How exactly do you go from being an Obama supporter to supporting a flat tax on Fox and Friends?

Easy! Just follow these simple steps.

1. Watch Hank Williams Jr. bring the stupid on Fox&Friends.
2. Watch a washed up, irrelevant former star like yourself receive tons of negative publicity.
3. Decide that negative publicity is better than no publicity.
4. Bring the stupid on Fox&Friends!

In Vol. 22, No. 4, the Fall 2002 issue of Free Inquiry Harlan Ellison had a piece that I will never forget titled "Terrorists". I can not locate it online for free, but I have the issue in front of me. He begins the piece

It is wickedly difficult attempting to generate a sense of gravitas when you have convinced yourself that you have nothing to say that anyone should properly need to hear.

Let me try this:
Why can't I get that portion of the human race to which I have access to understand that it has been systematically gulled, hoodwinked if you will, had enough smoke blown up its kilt to refloat the Lusitania, by disingenuous egalitarian bunkum, into believing "Everyone is Entitled to His or Her Opinion" when, in truth, everyone is only entitled to his or her informed opinion; and all the witless upchuck devoid of fact or common ratiocination is merely the chittering of intellectually-arid hominids swathed in Old Navy shmatahs.

No, I can't launch into it that way. Sounds too Elitist. Don't even dare to suggest that some folks are smarter than some other folks. That ain't The American Way. All opinions have the same weight: Herman Kahn, Debbie Reynolds, Miss Cleo, Colin Powell. Joyce Carol Oates. Adam Sandler.

And may I add, Hulk Hogan?

Skipping ahead a bit...

Everybody wants to be on television. Everybody. At the scene of a fifty-car smashup, bodies strewn everywhichway like bloody pick-up-sticks, there will invariably be some gobbet of human phlegm who, with slack jaw and extruded tongue, positions him or herself behind the stringer with the mike, who waves to the world or to Mom while squishing an ejected large colon 'neath his/her Nikes. Pedestrians in malls, passersby in markets, patrons in moviehouses, all pant and drool as their progress is impeded by a total stranger with a hand-mike, seeking their oracular wisdom. The late British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan once wrote, "I have never found, in a long experience of politics, that criticism is ever inhibited by ignorance."

And, hell, we pay politicians to have opinions.

Everybody wants to be a dancing bear on television, and everybody deserves to shoot off a big mouth on the tube, because as everybody knows....We Are All Entitled To Our Opinion.

Doesn't matter if we're dumb as a box of Hamburger Helper, as uninformed as a hemorrhoid, as surfeited with jingoism and urban myth as a foot-soldier in the White Aryan Army, by gosh we're entitled to express that bone-stick-stone opinion, endlessly, at the top of our lungs, ungrammatically, like uh totally and, gawd willin' and the crick don't rise, on telemuthuhfugginvision

With no intent to do so, nine years ago, Harlan Ellison wrote the most accurate review of Fox&Friends I have yet seen. (Apologies to Harlan Ellison for using such a small piece of a great article to make my point. I urge you to track the article down if you have never read it, the full work is definitely worth a few moments of your time.)

So who is next, Fox&Friends?

Britney Spears? Lindsey Lohen? Jeff Foxworthy? Billy Ray Cyrus? Smilin' Bob from the old Enzyte commercials?

You've got us hooked, don't leave us hanging now.

Screw expert opinions. We want ignorant opinions!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Hasa Diga Eebowai

Yep. Ah ha. There is a omni-benevolent god. Yeah. I believe. Keep talking.

Apologies for a few days off....

Right now, I feel like a cross between Christopher Hitchens and Ke$ha.Make of that what you will........


1. Lucretius is a bitch to read sober, let alone on single malt.

2. Brushing your teeth with a bottle of Jack, or any other whiskey probably isn't the best idea for a good morning.

3. The safe word is always "Red".

Monday, October 10, 2011

Venue Cancels Christian Speaker: We don't want your kind here!

No, not really. But could you imagine the outcry if the tables were turned?

Via Dispatches from the Culture Wars

My friends at the Center for Inquiry were set to host Richard Dawkins and Sean Faircloth for a talk Wednesday night at the Wyndgate Country Club in Rochester Hills, a suburb of Detroit. But the club has now canceled the event, saying they don’t want to be associated with such an evil person.


The Wyndgate terminated the agreement after the owner saw an October 5th interview with Dawkins on The O’Reilly Factor in which Dawkins discussed his new book, The Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True.

In a phone call to CFI–Michigan Assistant Director Jennifer Beahan, The Wyndgate’s representative explained that the owner did not wish to associate with individuals such as Dawkins, or his philosophies.

So he had no idea what the CFI's purpose is, and no idea who Dawkins was until he watched the O'Reilly Factor? I can see that, most bigots are ignorant. Oh, well. It is his right to be a bigot.

Although privately owned, The Wyndgate facilities are open to the public for special events and occasions. According to Title II of the Federal Civil Rights Law of 1964, “open to the public” means “all persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, as defined in this section, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin.”

Right to be a bigot? Check. Right to discriminate due to his bigotry? Not so much.

Now I finally understand how all the poor oppressed Christians in the U.S. feel.

“It’s important to understand that discrimination based on a person’s religion—or lack thereof—is legally equivalent to discriminating against a person because of his or her race,” said Jeff Seaver, executive director of CFI–Michigan. “This action by The Wyndgate illustrates the kind of bias and bigotry that nonbelievers encounter all the time. It’s exactly why organizations like CFI and the Richard Dawkins Foundation are needed: to help end the stigma attached to being a nonbeliever.”

And that is exactly why I came out publicly, no matter how much grief I get from my family/religious friends.

Here's the CFI-Michigan page for the fundraiser with Richard Dawkins. It found a new location and will go on as planned. For an evening with Dawkins, the cost is a value.

Hopefully, the eventual legal judgement against The Wyndgate is nowhere near as reasonably priced.

Alt-Med Vampires

Feel the need to comment on this. If you want the full story, head on over to Respectful Insolence to hear from someone actually qualified to take this on. Much thanks to Orac for watching this trash so I don't have to.

Alt-med practitioners, at least the slimy ones, seem to have a habit of abusing dead celebrities to sell their woo and attack modern medicine. Why would Steve Jobs be any different?

, you are a stronger man than I, because I can't get through 10 minutes of that before the nausea sets in.

Mercola:This is not routinely done for two primary reasons. The first is that it in no way, shape, or form addresses the original cancer, and it can easily spread to the new liver. But more importantly, he had to be placed on large doses of drugs to suppress his immune system so he would not reject his new liver. Tragically this is the very system your body uses to help control cancers. The liver has enormous regenerative capacity, and if they only removed the portion of his liver that contained the malignant cells, he would not have to take those dangerous anti-rejection drugs.

Orac? Insolence please.

I've discussed the issue of liver transplant for neuroendocrine tumors like insulinoma (which is what Jobs had) before. While it is arguable whether a liver transplant was the best decision for Jobs in 2009, it was certainly not outside the standard of care, nor was it unreasonable. Mercola also makes a very silly statement when he states that "if only" they had removed the portion of the liver containing the cancer, Jobs wouldn't have needed all those nasty immunosuppressants. Well, duh! Give that man a prize for stating the obvious as though it were some brilliant insight! Here's the issue: Transplant is not even considered for insulinoma metastatic to the liver unless the metastases are unresectable (i.e., they involve two or more lobes or are too close to major vascular structures). And what defines resectability? To boil it down to its essence, although there are certainly other considerations (the aforementioned vascular structures, for example) it's basically the ability to remove the liver tissue containing all of the metastase(s) and still leave enough liver tissue behind to survive on. Contrary to what Mercola thinks, the liver's regenerative capacity, although truly impressive, is not limitless, particularly if the liver is compromised by cirrhosis. Take too much liver, and the patient will die of liver failure because the liver can't regenerate fast enough (or just enough) to achieve function consistent with life. In addition to that basic equation, we just don't know whether Jobs' liver had been damaged or otherwise compromised by the insulinoma; it's possible that his liver wasn't in the best shape at the time, leaving less capacity to regenerate.

Thank you, back to the woo. From the interview transcript....

DM: There were some comments that he was leading up to his death, and people would post comments on Facebook and are asking why I couldn't get in touch with him and offer him some therapy. I'm not a cancer expert like you are, of course, but I believe someone like you could have really made a difference. My understanding is that your therapy was offered to him, but could you go to that process of why he chose not to undertake a natural or alternative approach to cancer?

DG: He wanted to see an alternative. In fact when he was first diagnosed, he got some dietary program - again, he was very secretive of that - So I don't exactly know what he did at that point. But through his acupuncturist, there was communication. He was getting acupuncture, and he was doing some alternative things as far as I know. This acupuncturist actually talked to me, discussing the situation. She was really anxious for him to come and see me. But he chose not to do that.

You know, I always respect the patients' right to choose the therapy they want to choose, so I would never dispute that. The patients have to make the decisions based on what they want to do. But she was very adamant; in fact, she knew about all my works in the alternative world. He had seen alternative-type practitioners. She really wanted for him to come and see me. He chose not to do that. From my perspective, it was unfortunate, because he was such a gift to the world in terms of his inventions and genius in the past 30 years.

I don't need a medical degree to deal with this one. This is simply two vampires pissing all over a deceased man to sell their "treatment." The "phantom acupuncturist" is a great touch. It lends the story a certain aura of verisimilitude. I'm sure the acupuncturist is unnamed due to privacy concerns, and not lack of existence.

Not that it matters one bit, since Steve Jobs is conveniently dead and unavailable to either confirm or deny any of this. Of course, if he just would have went to Dr. Gonzalez for treatment, he'd still be with us today. *insert eye roll here*

Orac, can you deal with this, because if I do it is going to be libelous.

Particularly vomit-inducing is the way Gonzalez turns around the argument based on a "patient's right to choose." Frequently, those of us who support science-based medicine, when confronted with the story of a patient who chooses quackery instead of medicine and suffers harm or dies as a result, will sadly say that a competent adult has the right to choose quackery if that's what he wants, mainly because he does. Self-determination is a basic human right. Here, we have Dr. Gonzalez turning that argument on its head, sadly shrugging his shoulders and expressing regret that Jobs had the right to choose his own course and chose SBM instead of quackery. After his flirtation with some sort of diet and unknown "alternative" therapies, Jobs appears to have turned to scientific medicine and never looked back, at least as far as we can tell based on the limited information available from press accounts. There's one thing that's for sure, though. If SBM couldn't save Jobs, Gonzalez sure as hell couldn't save him either, his claims otherwise notwithstanding. Now that Jobs is dead, Gonzalez's claims have the added bonus for him of being unfalsifiable, even though Gonzalez's methods have already been shown to be worse than useless for pancreatic cancer.

Thanks again, Orac.

Seriously. Dr. Mercola? Dr. Gonzalez? How about less pissing on the dead and more proving your treatments work, and no, I am not talking about anecdotal "evidence." Give me five bucks and ten minutes and I'll provide anecdotal "evidence" that I can cure cancer with a kick to the shin. Real evidence. Major journal articles. Double blind studies. Documented case histories. Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?

I'll wait.

Seriously, I'm in no hurry.

Got all the time in the world.

La la la la la.

Protip: Real evidence is not coming because their treatments do not cure cancer, or anything else for that matter, other than perhaps heavy wallet syndrome. Think I'm wrong? Then fucking prove it.

Prove your treatments work and I'll be right there in line to kiss your ass. Until then, can you please leave the dead to rest in peace?

Iran sentences film actress to 90 lashes, I check calendar to make sure this isn't the year 1316

Patriocentric Theocracy? Check.
Whipping women who don't know their place? Check.
Punishment that proves the point of the woman's "illegal activities?" Check.

Is this the plot of an important novel showing how religion can warp peoples sense of morality? A film showing how women suffered in a long ago, unenlightened time? A parable on the dangers of Dominionism and Patriocentric bronze age beliefs in the modern world?

Nope, it's just "modern" Iran.

The Envoy at Yahoo brings us today's news to both make you sick and piss you off.

An Iranian court has sentenced an Iranian actress to 90 lashes for her role in a new Australian-made film

90 lashes? And not with a wet noodle either? What the hell did she do, shoot a porn in Mecca?

portraying social alienation, drug use and political oppression in Iran.

Oh. Ah. Um. All I can imagine is the following exchange.

"This film says that we alienate and oppress people here in Iran."
"Those bastards! Round them up then alienate and oppress them. That will teach them!"

While I hesitate to use the word "lucky" at anytime when referring to the violent abuse of women under a draconic theocracy, at least they didn't try to stone her to death.

Which I am sure would have been the sentence for filming a porn in Mecca.

"In an outcome that could have been lifted from the pages of the movie's script"--"My Tehran for Sale"--the film's lead actress, Marzieh Vafamehr, "was arrested in July and received her sentence at the weekend, according to reports quoting Iranian opposition website," the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

"Vafamehr often appears with a shaved head and no headscarf in the film, which also explores cultural oppression in Iran and taboos such as drug use," the paper said.

Granaz Moussavi, the Melbourne-based Iranian-Australian director of the film, declined to comment to the paper out of respect for the actress' family's wishes. Her portions of the film were "shot on the sly in Iran with a local crew in 2008," the paper said.

No headscarf? Shaved head? Shot on the sly? ....

Sorry, I can't bring myself to sarcastically imply this is a rational reaction. I try not to use the word much, but this is evil.

And fucking insane.

Since its disputed 2009 presidential elections, Iran has intensified a harsh crackdown against those perceived to violate its strict Islamic code, but often sentences are cruel and arbitrary. A moratorium had been declared on stoning in 2002, but the nation's Islamic courts have continued to hand down stoning sentences in accordance with the strict wording of the law. Reliable numbers are hard to come by, but human-rights groups estimate that scores of women were stoned to death in Iran during the 1980s and 1990s. One documented case of such a stoning was captured on a horrifying video in 1994. In 2009, two men were stoned to death in Iran on charges of adultery and murder.

Two gay teenagers, identified only by their initials, were stoned to death in Iran in 2005, and two gay men received a death-by-stoning sentence last year after filming themselves having sex.

Various parliamentary reforms have been mounted to reduce the penal system's harsher sentences, but they are not binding on the country's independent judiciary.


not binding on the country's independent judiciary.

Once more?

not binding on the country's independent judiciary.

They are killing people with fucking stones! Who thinks that is a just punishment? Religious fanatics who believe every word of their holy book is true, other than the parts that don't let them stone people to death, rape their own wives, and in general be self-righteous pricks. Fuck parliamentary reforms, fuck independent judiciaries. Religion is the issue here. Yeah, it is batshit insane religion, but it is still religion. No change is going to come until the underlying cause is dealt with, and that requires dragging Iran kicking and screaming into at least the 20th century.

They whipped a woman, 90 times, for acting in a film. Not a porn. Not a snuff film. Not even a breast filled teen comedy. It was a film with a message, a point, and no matter how much the Iranian authorities dislike the point, they proved it with their actions.

Let me be clear.

There is no justification possible for whipping a woman. There is no justification possible for whipping a dog, let alone a human. This isn't about a film, just as the stonings aren't about gay sex or adultery. It is about a patriarchal religion taken to extremes by men who have lost all touch with actual ethics and morality, refusing to accept the passing of time and the end of male values uber alles attempting to put uppity women in their place and GLBT people back in the closet through fear and violence.

Patriocentric theocracies have no place in the modern world. People are not property. Women are not your slaves, your wives are not sperm receptacles, girls are not fuck machines, and no matter how hard they make you, gays are not temptations sent by the devil.

If God exists, and agrees with Iran, I would rather burn in hell.


At least it could never happen in the United States.

The Constitution Restoration Act of 2004 and 2005


According to Gary North, women who have abortions should be publicly executed, "along with those who advised them to abort their children." Rushdoony concludes: "God's government prevails, and His alternatives are clear-cut: either men and nations obey His laws, or God invokes the death penalty against them." Reconstructionists insist that "the death penalty is the maximum, not necessarily the mandatory penalty." However, such judgments may depend less on Biblical Principles than on which faction gains power in the theocratic republic. The potential for bloodthirsty episodes on the order of the Salem witchcraft trials or the Spanish Inquisition is inadvertently revealed by Reconstructionist theologian Rev. Ray Sutton, who claims that the Reconstructed Biblical theocracies would be "happy" places, to which people would flock because "capital punishment is one of the best evangelistic tools of a society."


For connoisseurs of surrealism on the American right, it's hard to beat an exchange that appeared about a decade ago in the Heritage Foundation magazine Policy Review. It started when two associates of the Rev. Jerry Falwell wrote an article which criticized Christian Reconstructionism, the influential movement led by theologian Rousas John (R.J.) Rushdoony, for advocating positions that even they as committed fundamentalists found "scary." Among Reconstructionism's highlights, the article cited support for laws "mandating the death penalty for homosexuals and drunkards." The Rev. Rushdoony fired off a letter to the editor complaining that the article had got his followers' views all wrong: They didn't intend to put drunkards to death.

Ah, yes, accuracy does count. In a world run by Rushdoony followers, sots would escape capital punishment--which would make them happy exceptions indeed. Those who would face execution include not only gays but a very long list of others: blasphemers, heretics, apostate Christians, people who cursed or struck their parents, females guilty of "unchastity before marriage," "incorrigible" juvenile delinquents, adulterers, and (probably) telephone psychics. And that's to say nothing of murderers and those guilty of raping married women or "betrothed virgins." Adulterers, among others, might meet their doom by being publicly stoned

Yep. Could never happen here.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Glenn Beck Still Insane! I Feel Much Better Now.

I try not to just repost other bloggers work here, but this is just too good. If you want to watch the video, go give Ed Brayton some more traffic.

Via Dispatches from the Culture Wars

Glenn Beck continued his pattern of finding proto-Hitlers everywhere he looks. President Obama is the next Hitler for wanting to give health care to those who don’t have it — because, as everyone knows, Hitler began his campaign to exterminate the Jews by giving them health insurance. Even empathy leaders to Hitler. And this time, the winner is — spins the wheel — the Wall Street protesters.

Why is this man still relevant? How insane do you have to be to look at the Occupy Whatever protesters and think "yeah, Hitler!"? How insane do you have to be to listen to him and then say "yeah, he's got a point"?

I'd laugh if I didn't think a decent percentage of the far right thinks Beck is hitting nails square on the head.

George Will Makes Sense. I'm Going To Go Lay Down Now

Here in Pennsylvania, the Republicans are attempting to change the way PA's electoral votes are awarded, with 2 going to the State-wide winner, and 1 to the winner of each congressional district. There is little doubt that this is political electionrigging of a new level. For those unfamiliar with Pennsylvania politics, the Pittsburgh and Philly areas are deep blue, while the rest of the state is called Pennsyltucky.

Let's take where I live. The last time my district had a democratic rep was in 1939. To say my district "leans right" would be the understatement of the year. While Obama carried 54.7% of the PA vote in 08, my district went to McCain 63% to 35%. And Obama personally visited my city, tried to bowl, and ate a hotdog, yet still only got 35%.

If electoral votes are awarded by district, why the fuck would a candidate ever campaign here again? Hell, I already know my half the votes I cast are only to cancel out a Tea Party member, now they want my Presidential vote to be meaningless?

And then, George Will brings the sanity....

Republicans supposedly revere the Constitution, but in its birthplace, Pennsylvania, they are contemplating a subversion of the Framers’ institutional architecture. Their ploy — partisanship masquerading as altruism about making presidential elections more “democratic” — will weaken resistance to an even worse change being suggested.

Hi, my name is Foster Disbelief, and I agree with George Will. There are word combinations I am less likely to type, granted, but damn. So far this week I've agreed with Bill O'Reilly, found AL-Queda to have the rational position in an argument, and now am quoting George Will like a fanboy. I need to go lay down.

More from Will.

The 2012 Republican candidate might lose the statewide vote but carry, say, nine of the 18 congressional districts, cutting President Obama’s yield to 11 electoral votes. But if the Republican candidate carries nine of Pennsylvania’s 18 districts and the statewide vote — Obama’s Pennsylvania poll numbers are poor — Republicans will have cost themselves nine electoral votes, which would be condign punishment.

Not since 1988 has a Republican carried Pennsylvania, a state described as Philadelphia in the east, Pittsburgh in the west and Alabama in between. Incongruous political cultures coexist in many states, so the temptation to which Pennsylvania Republicans may succumb could become a national contagion.

Look, I'm not too sure on the Electoral College. I've read arguments for and against reforming it, but it has never been an issue I've concentrated on. Too much else going on, not enough time in the day, picking your battles and so on. But I am sure that the path to reform should not be blazed by partisans with an eye to the next election.

Wonder what my rep has to say about it?

Rep. Rick Geist, R-Altoona, said the proposal would be closer to a "one man, one vote" attitude, giving more importance to each individual voter in the state.

I need to move.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

How To Clean Everything! Reviews of Vital Punk/Hardcore Records

Every Sunday here at Foster Disbelief I will look at one album that made me who I am, and how it has stood the test of time. No matter what my current beliefs, I never would have been interested in politics if it wasn't for political punk. Yeah, sometimes the lyrics are cringe inducing, but some ideas are still vital.

One of my goals with this blog is to prevent young, brilliant, radicals from throwing their lives away, either thru naivety, or self-destruction. That Circle A shirt I wore? Naive. The heroin I shoved in my arms? Waste of life and talent.

Here's to reaching one person. That would satisfy me.

With that being said, perhaps the most influential record of my youth, and one of the best political punk albums ever, Propagandhi's first album, from 1993, How To Clean Everything

First cut, Anti-Manifesto

Listen to Anti-Manifesto Here

Dance and laugh and play. Ignore the message we convey.
It seems we're only here to entertain.
A rebellion cut-to-fit. I refuse to be the soundtrack to it.
While we entertain we're still knee-deep in shit.
There's something wrong inside.
We've played it safe, enjoyed the ride.
You won't like this but I've something to confide.
We stand for something more than a faded sticker on a skateboard.
Now we've rained on your parade and we're out the door.
And I don't even care any fucking more.

How many times, in bands or in the crowd, have I felt the same way? The knowledge that 99% of the people listening are ignoring any purpose you have? Watching as the words go unnoticed? Political punk is not just entertainment. Punk was never supposed to be just entertainment.

I am so full of shit.
But I will remain until this self-awareness fades
Until I defeat the purpose of this soapbox that you made.
That you made.

Hypocrites, everyone of us. Some of us realize it.

It don't really matter cuz nothing's ever felt as right as this.

Even when naive, the moral highground was still ours. Anti-Manifesto is still perfect for summing up the thoughts and feelings of those who know versus those who don't care.

Cut two! "Head? Chest? or Foot?"

Listen to Head? Chest? or Foot?

Both an anthem of the underclass and a indictment of the ignorance of the masses.

You're all the same. Just part of their machine.
Perpetuate their dream.
They subsidize your nightclubs and they subsidize your malls.
They herd and brand the masses within painted prison walls.
'Til your freedom of assembly becomes the missiles they create.
Or just mass delusion dancing to this music that you fucking hate.


I'd rather be imprisoned in a George Orwell-ian world
Than your pacified society of happy boys and girls.
I'd rather know my enemies and let you know the same.
Whose windows to smash and whose tires to slash
And where to point the fucking blame.

I would also prefer to know where to focus my rage. If only it was that easy.

Cut three is "Hate, Myth, Muscle, Etiquette"

Listen to Hate, Myth, Muscle, Etiquette

Mark your point of failing. It begins where you concede.
Hesitate. Procrastinate. Sedating.
All configured to impede your path.
You need a good kick in the ass.

In today's society, it is so easy to not care. Internet, tv, movies, etc. The masses need to wake up.

Mark my point of failing. It began where I gave in.
Comfort. Convenience. Placating.
Construed to suck me in, to their trap.
I need a good kick in the ass.

Even the Dissenters need a kick in the ass at times.

As time passed I realized we don't need rules to survive.
Just common sense and means to subsist.
So from here on in I will resist.

Cringe worthy naivety. No rules? Who's going to stop that big idiot from raping your daughter? You? Good luck. Anarchy is a great thought experiment. Not very good in practice, and I haven't even asked about who is going to fix the sewers.

And then they follow that with perhaps the best lyrics of the whole album. Figures.

The basis of change: educate! Derived from discussion,
not hate, not myth, not muscle, not etiquette.
Intellect, not "re-elect!".
Status symbols yield to respect between sex, species, environment.

One point I will always hammer home. Educate. Educate. Educate! Educate! Without education we are ignorant, and while ignorance may be bliss, it is not useful or helpful.

Next comes Showdown Listen to Showdown.

At first glance, it seems like a strange song. Then you realize what the name means, and it makes sense. There are two perspectives in this song as I see it. The view of the dissident, and the view of the man just trying to make it through life emotionally intact.


Waking up each morning with confusion in my eyes.
The wind is biting through to wave "hello".
Seeing my reflection, an exterior of lies.
I hope this shaky feeling doesn't show.
As if I had to tell you there was little left to say.
Stilted conversations colored blue.
You were sitting down and you got up to walk away.
I tried to stay but I was right behind you.
Tension in the stair, I cannot bear so close to helpless
as this song I sing. Inside me ring.
Final words are boring, never touch,
I know you whispered something in my ear.
I couldn't hear you.
Girls with the greenest eyes. The first time you have kissed.
Our quiet softest sighs.
A song for all of those who shot and missed.


Welcomed to this world, imputed identity.
Born, tagged, tattooed, pacified.
Generously bestowed my rights and privileges replete.
Arbitrary values ascribed.
There's nothing I can tell you. There's nothing I can say.
Stunted conversation, censored thought.
I'm completely free, at liberty, guaranteed
Unless of course you decide I'm not.
But I'll not be resigned to, fall in line behind you.
Tension in the air I cannot bear
So what the fuck am I accomplishing? Absolutely nothing.
All these words are boring, it's time for action.
But you've taught me to be a pawn.
It won't last for long.
Those who see through the lies are quickly gagged and bound.
Ambition realized, tear the whole fucking thing down.

Can't get much different than that. And a special roll of the eyes at the "tear the whole fucking thing down." Really? Destruction is the easy part, it's the rebuilding that is a bitch.

5th song is Ska Sucks. On a future album, you can hear the singer chanting "I hate this song" as the opening notes are played. Not even going to cover it. All ska bands are in it for the money? Pot, I'd like you to meet kettle. Oh, you aren't in it for the money? Then why the fuck do you think all ska bands are?

6th Cut. Middle Finger Response.

A song dealing with how comfort can cause us to close our eyes.

Why am I not part of this?
Pine cone wealth and cedar fence bliss?

The cry of the underclass.

Nobody cares about the state of affairs.
You can turn blue in the face, but you cannot erase.
Oblivious to the obvious.
I'm making perfect sense but I'm not getting through.

Yeah, I feel like that once a day.

But don't expect to find me with a note left to be read.
Pistol in my hand and a bullet in my head.
Because this census indicates and this atlas has related
3 billion humyns I haven't irritated.
I've got a lot of work to do. 3 billion people.
That's 3 billion snotty Fuck you's
Fuck you, fuck all of you.

Yeah, it's snotty, it's cliched, and it is naive. How is telling the whole world to fuck off going to solve anything?

At the same time, I'm alive because of that cliched lyric. Sometimes, even cliches can make you think twice.

Next cut, "Stick The Fucking Flag Up Your Goddam Ass, You Sonofabitch"

And this is the cut that went on the comps, that was fucking everywhere during my junior and senior year. And this is rhetoric that does nothing to help us or our cause. "Fuck the troops?" Welcome to political irrelevance. And then there is this:

Well, if you're dumb enough to vote,
You're fuckin dumb enough to believe him.

Great. Tell a generation of leftist radicals not to vote. Good idea.

The next track is "Haillie Sellasse, Up Your Ass" Those not in the know, know it as "Fuck Religion." One of the classic punk songs of the last 30 years. No comment needed.

You speak of Rastafari, but how can you justify belief
In a god that's left you behind?
You've simply filled the gap between the upper and lower class
And your faith merely keeps you in line.
An amalgamation of jewish scripture and christian thought.
What will that get you? Not a fuck of a lot.
Take a look at your promised land.
Your deed is that gun in your hand.
Mt. Zion's a minefield. The West Bank. The Gaza Strip.
Soon to be parking lots for American tourists and fascist cops.
Fuck zionism. Fuck militarism. Fuck americanism.
Fuck nationalism. Fuck religion.

How do you follow absolute perfection? How about with the song that made me a feminist? "Fuck Machine"

It's something physical, conditioned reaction.
It's something physical, conditioned attraction.
But have I finally escaped?
Will my eyes no longer rape the innocent womyn, children, humyn beings?
Seeing the pain that it brings.

There is no way I could ever explain how much these lyrics still affect me. What is my failing?

Shallow, superficial decision.
Real beauty obscured by my television.
But this just in! Bikini film at ten.
The female anchor smiles and shrugs it off,
"Boys will be boys!"
Do you really wanna be our fucking toys?
And in again, condone it with a grin.
Sit back, idly chat, smile, prove you're just a fuck machine.
Is that what you really wanna fucking be??
Conditioned reaction. Conditioned attraction.
Conditioned suggestion. Conditioned rejection.

36 years of social conditioning to find one and only one body type attractive. I could never explain how hard that is to fight, especially when so many women accept what they are told and play to it.

And yet again, subjecting womyn.
The female anchor's fists finally clinched,
"I'm not your fucking toy!"

Yes, I get chills every single time I hear that lyric. This song beats me down, and then builds me up, reminding me of my failings, while expressing my beliefs and calling my bluff. The end of the song is everything I want in a womyn.

And though I long to embrace, I will not misplace my priorities:
Humor, opinion, a sense of compassion, creativity,
And a distaste for fashion.

Nail? Meet hammer. Foster? Meet Failing. This society does not make it easy.

Next cut, "This Might Be Satire" And yeah, it just may be satire.

I wanna chew my bubble gum with you.
And I wanna walk you home from school.
And I wanna carry your books to every class.
And I wanna fuck you up the ass.
Girl, don't you know it's true, how much I love you.
I wanna sing it 'cross the land, oh won't you hold my hand?
She tells me that she loves me,
Now I'm gonna tell her that I love her.
She tells me that she loves me,
Now I'm gonna try and fuck her.
But where the hell are my priorities?
Left in the hands of the authorities.

They follow the satire with a song that I hope the GLBT movement found and made their own. I know I heard myself called "fag," and "queer" once too often for a straight guy. I have no idea what it would actually be like to actually be what people fear that much. This song got me through some tough times, I hope it reached who it was intended for. It works for any dissenters. The gay rights message is overt in my mind. I will never forget this band for helping me with this issue. As a straight male in pennsyltucky, believe me, peer pressure was not leaning towards being Gay-Positive.

"Who Will Help Me Bake This Bread?"

You can rearrange my face but you can't rearrange my mind.
You can beat this shell about me, but you can't touch what's inside.
So now who will help me bake this bread?
Who will be the first to speak and leave complacency for dead?
I've done all that I can on my own.
But stagnant minds persist to squeeze blood from this stone.
But I won't bleed for you. I have no need for you.
Death will be the day I concede to you.

"Death will be the day I concede to you." If I adopted one motto from the punk scene, there it is.

Then, for some reason they finish the album with a Cheap Trick cover with a vegan message added in.

"I want you to want me"
Which honestly is a confusing end to a masterpiece of political punk.

The vegan message involves a girl named Megan who obviously doesn't eat meat. The song ends with:

She don't eat bacon.
She'd never kill a sweet little innocent piggy to get bacon.
She's one of them vegans.
She's so sweet loving sweet talking lovable vegan.
And that's alright.

And then comes a chorus of "Fuck" Don't ask me, it's not my album.

Propagandhi is still around, although the bassist from this album, John K. Samson split off and formed The Weakerthans Personally, with the departure of Samson, Propagandhi went in a musical direction I didn't like, although I always check up on them and would definitely see them if they played close.

Some lyrics are cringe inducing, yet the over all pro-feminist, anti-racist, gay-positive ideals were/are vital to young punks forming their ideals, especially in conservative areas. As long as education is mixed in, this is an album that will have meaning for years, if not decades.

Next Week? The Subhumans, The Day the Country Died.

Preserving the Radical, Killing a Movement *Exasperated Sigh Here*

According to Kasama, Ride the Tiger this is a liberal hit piece on the Occupy Whatever Movement

From The Daily Beast

For two-and-a-half long—and believe me, they’ve been loooong—years now, people on the left have been wondering: How on earth is it that we were hit with the greatest financial crisis since the Depression, very obviously caused by deregulation and adherence to other conservative nostra, and yet the only protest movement to arise from these ashes is one ... of the right? It has been, to put it mildly, exasperating. But now comes Occupy Wall Street. Is the cosmic score about to be evened? Maybe. But paradoxically, only if this new left protest movement embraces some crucial lessons from the Tea Party movement—and if it outgrows certain impulses from 1968 that continue to loom large in the left’s imagination.

Damn that Michael Tomasky is vicious. He's on our side and has advice, he must be a witch!


I want to stipulate up front that I am firmly on OWS’s side. I don’t really know who its leaders are, and I don’t especially care. I don’t know its exact goals—a subject on which the movement has been roundly, and in my view pointlessly, criticized. But it is desperately needed. It needs to succeed. And I fear it won’t.

Let's see, on the side of OWS? Check. Agrees it is desperately needed? Check? Has concerns over the movement's tactics? It's a hit-job!!!!!

No I am not exaggerating. Kasama actually calls it a "hit-job." And that isn't out of context. Back to the vicious screed:

And this is where today’s protesters need to steal a page from the Tea Party activists. I beg, plead, implore, importune: Get some spokespeople out there for the cause who are just regular Americans. Don’t send Van Jones out there to be the public face of this movement. I happen to have a high opinion of Van Jones personally. He’s dedicated his life to justice in a higher-stakes way than I have. But any movement that is led by someone who was forced to resign from the White House and who signed a 9/11 truther petition will be dismissed by the mainstream media as left-wing and elitist in three seconds. You may like that or not like that, but it’s true.

Honestly? Sounds a lot like some of what I just wrote in Occupy *Insert Anything Here* I'm a muthafucking hitman!

Seriously though, it is also rational, logical, and realistic. And very, very true.

Moving on....

The OWS movement is part of the way there. The “We Are the 99 Percent” trope is powerful. It is true. But the movement has to prove that it really is the 99 percent. It has to win middle America, and the way to win middle America is to be middle America. For all the Seattle-ish longhairs down in Zucotti Park—whom the mainstream media and the right wing will undoubtedly highlight—there are, to be sure, homemakers in Wilkes-Barre and IT guys in Dubuque who sympathize. Find them. Put them out there. Get them on cable.

Strategy?!? Propaganda? Using the media for our own ends? Oh, the shame. The shame. Excuse me as I hide my eyes...

And finally, don’t fight the man. Maybe in 1968 in Grant Park, the cops were pigs. Today, the cops aren’t pigs. They aren’t the man. They’re working stiffs, and they’re part of the 99 percent. They have underwater mortgages in Ronkonkoma and Orangeburg. Don’t make them arrest you. Make them part of the 99 percent. And don’t mess with traffic. That just pisses people off.

Seriously, out of all of Tomasky's points, this is the one that really grinds at me. I've seen the videos. They make me sick. Police beat and pepper spray protesters on 10.05.11 PEACEFUL FEMALE PROTESTORS PENNED IN THE STREET AND MACED! NYPD pepper sprays peaceful protesters Foster Disorder (or hell, Ed Brayton) won't let me forget that there are still cops that abuse their power. But he is right to a point there. Making them arrest you leads to jail cells, not success. And yeah, messing with traffic does piss people off.

On to the coup de grace of this attack piece.

An execrable legacy of ’68 is the temptation to treat politics as a realm of self-expression. But it isn’t. Politics is where you go to get things done, to change things. Changing things means persuading those people sitting at home watching on TV. The bulk of those people have been persuaded that they don’t like government. But they also know that the system is rigged against them. Get them on your side. Be them. They’ll be with you, if you only invite them along.

Seriously, that is a hit piece? What does Kasama call Fox's coverage?

Fighting against your own allies. Perfect plan for success.


I humbly admit my error. Kasama calls it a "hit-job," not a "hit piece." Edited for accuracy, although I fail to find any distinction between the two.

Occupy *Insert Anything Here*

Thoughts while pondering the Occupy Pittsburgh meeting tomorrow.

It is so difficult to be rational sometimes. I am watching my teenage wet dream happen across the Nation, and I'm having flashbacks to my days as Foster Disorder and all the naivety that colored my political ideals at the time.

I watch commentators such as Ed Schultz try to make sense of this movement as it pertains to electoral politics. Thanks to Kevin Gosztola of The Dissenter (I'll get to him in a second, calm down) for the transcript.

Schultz brought Salon’s Justin Elliott and GRITtv’s Laura Flanders on during the segment to add their take. Here’s a key exchange that took place between Elliott and Schultz:

SCHULTZ: Many of the things that I heard were that of the Democratic platform. Not to overstate or simplify the frustration of people but some of the major issues are right from the Democratic platform. Are they the winners here?

ELLIOTT: Maybe. I think there’s a mix. I haven’t found many Obama supporters in the crowd. As I said, one of the chants I kept hearing is how do we cut the deficit? End the wars. Tax the rich…[cutoff]

SCHULTZ: I think they’re Obama supporters. I do. I just think they’re frustrated Obama supporters.

ELLIOTT: Perhaps, there’s a strain of Obama supporters but there’s a strain of people who are far to the left of people here and they’re very dissatisfied.

Flanders jumped in to help Schultz understand:

What I heard is people wanted change. They wanted an end to war. They got more war. They didn’t want to see drone attacks, even taking out people who were threats to the country. They didn’t want to see a little bit of healthcare reform. They needed to see profit seeking out of healthcare. So, they’re frustrated and they are creating the movement that four years ago was channeled into electoral politics. This is being channeled into a global movement. And I think that’s what’s exciting about it because we need global change.

Ed may have today confused with a time in the past where the left actually had a part in shaping politics. The Democratic Party has ran from the label "Liberal" and have consistently moved to the right over time. Granted, much of that move has been due to the absolute insanity of the right, but moving to the center to pick up sane moderate voters is still a political decision that has caused many on the left to feel abandoned.

The Right controls the media yet still trots out the "Liberal Media" hoax. And it isn't just Faux news. Remember who gave Glenn Beck his first national TV gig? Hint: It wasn't Fox. What about MSNBC? Surely they are the liberal voice? Ahem. I would love to be convinced. I think Rachael Maddow is the most progressive voice on a major network right now and a vital part of the left. But when I think of MSNBC, I can't help but also think of Michael Savage(No link. I refuse.), Don Imus(of Nappy headed ho's infamy), and Joe Scarborough. I have a feeling that the only reason MSNBC is left-leaning is it makes sense going up against Fox from a ratings perspective. Hell, even when MSNBC trots out the "liberals" sometimes you have to shake your head. From the magic wikipedia on Chris Matthews.

Liberal blogger Glenn Greenwald has called Matthews "the most vivid example of all that is wrong with political coverage," saying "[h]e’s endlessly obsessed with personality-based politics and likes to promote the strong, masculine tough guy who you can have a beer with, versus the nerdy loser. And he has a cast of characters who go on his show, like Newsweek’s Howard Fineman, who gush over the maleness of the Republican candidates and warn Democrats about how that has real appeal to American voters. Most political reporters judge candidates on the basis of the likeability factor–Matthews is just more explicit about it."[20]

The progressive media watchdog group Media Matters for America named Matthews its 2005 Misinformer of the Year, in part for statements he made in support of President George W. Bush.[21]

On January 9, 2008, the morning after Hillary Clinton's surprise victory in the New Hampshire Democratic presidential primary, Matthews appeared on MSNBC's Morning Joe program and said of Clinton,
“ I'll be brutal, the reason she's a U.S. senator, the reason she's a candidate for president, the reason she may be a front-runner is her husband messed around. That's how she got to be senator from New York. We keep forgetting it. She didn't win there on her merit.


The comments were criticized by such media figures as Bill O'Reilly, Joy Behar and Gloria Steinem.

When Bill O'fuckingReilly has the moral high ground, you are obviously fucked.

The point is that I don't trust anyone in the media to cover this without an eye towards promoting their own agenda. When Shultz claims the protestors as "democrats" or "Obama supporters" he is ignoring the fact that the Democratic Party abandoned these people in their rush to the center and now are stuck trying to court people who just do not trust them. How many times does the Democratic Party get to lie to us? How many times are we going to let them do it? Do not get me wrong here. I know the conservative right has gone off the deep end. I know rational Conservatives who are disgusted at the culture of Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity, Geller, and the Palin/Bachmann/O'Donnell Overdrive. The Republicans have lost control of their own party, while ours abandons its own platform to get elected.

Let's just look at Obama. I make no excuses for the fact that, barring a revolution, I will be working on his campaign in 2012 and holding my nose while voting for him. Why? Because the fear of what the Republicans/Tea Party could do if in power scares the living shit out of me. If that makes me an "Obama Supporter" then I guess I am guilty. Guilty, but not blind.

Obama Campaign Promise: Develop an alternative to President Bush's Military Commissions Act on handling detainees. Result?BROKEN

Obama Campaign Promise: Reform the Patriot Act. Result? Obama seeks longer PATRIOT Act extension than Republicans Er..BROKEN

Obama Campaign Promise: Urge states to treat same-sex couples with full equality in their family and adoption laws. Result? BROKEN

Obama Campaign Promise: Tougher rules against revolving door for lobbyists and former officials. Result? BROKEN

Obama Campaign Promise: To respect State's Medical Marijuana Laws, and bring sanity to the nations drug policy. Result? Liar, Liar, LIAR! 3 Liars = BROKEN

I know, I know. Obama is dealing with one of the most obstructionist Congresses since Civil War days. How can he get anything passed if Congress says "NO!" to every idea he has? Note, please; that is why I picked examples that have nothing to do with Congress.

And don't get me started on AL-Awlaki.

So now we have a political party reaping everything they have sown. I must admit, watching the Democrats try to figure out what to do with this movement of the left amuses me to no end.

But I don't need multiple personality disorder to also be saddened.

Back to Kevin Gosztola of The Dissenter (Ok, it was more than a second but I told you I'd come back to him.)

What should the Occupy Wall Street organizers do? They should continue on the path they were on prior to all the labor and Democratic Party support. They should put the movement first and not bow to any Democratic Party or liberal organization operatives who seek to channel the movement into electoral politics or compel the movement to lower its sights.

To borrow a Streetlight Manifesto lyric, "I'm not going to play if there ain't no way I'll win!" An end to electoral politics would require what exactly? The overthrow of the United States Federal Government? Constitutional Amendment? Good luck with that.

Look, I'm right there with you. The system NEEDS to change. If not broken, the two party system is definitely damaged. But part of this is our fault. Where were we as the word "Liberal" was demonized by the media and abandoned by the Democrats? As the mainstream media slandered the left as weak on terror, as taxandspenders, as anti-military, as anti-family, as anti-christian, as anti-white? Where was I? Fair question. I was shooting fucking heroin. I claim no innocence here. But even shooting dope, I kept informed, I read books, papers, journals, blogs and the like from all political persuasions. Apologies for quoting Streetlight again, but...

And I won't claim to believe the things I read
Black books or agenda magazine
I'd rather see in shades of gray

We, the people of the left, the people of the Occupy Whatever movement, we are NOT the 99%. We are not the 98%. We may feel that we represent the 99% or 98%, but a good portion of that 99% thinks we are dirty lazy hippies who need to go home, take a shower, and quit blocking the road. If you believe that we could ever actually BE the 99%, you are living in a dreamworld that I would really like to visit. Look. I would love to, in the words of The Broadways, "build a world where smiles and love are worth more than money," but reality check time. We live in a nation where millions of people vote against their own economic interests to save a fetus. Where ignorance is considered a positive by a large portion of the electorate. Where fucking Dominionism is invading the mainstream. Where a fraudulent study and Jenny McCarthy's mommy instincts can cause a fucking measles outbreak and KILL children.

Even if all of our desires are in the best interest of the 99%, a large portion of that will never identify with us. Are you willing to tell that feminist marching beside you to shelve reproductive choice as an issue for the "greater good." Are you going to tell the GLBT protesters to hold back on equal marriage rights until after the revolution? To tell the atheists to just shut up so we can get more Christian support? To tell Muslim friends that they should go away, because they scare too many middle americans? I'm not.

How is Fox covering this anyway? Remember, they are the most trusted name in news.

From Fox, who doesn't even believe their own tagline, comes the following:

The protest began with no stated goals, no public spokespeople and many of the most ridiculous attendees you could imagine – socialists, Code Pinkers, anarchists and more. (Anarchists are notoriously poor organizers.) Their slogans (they have many) include: “We are the 99 percent” and “This is what democracy looks like.”

First off, no they are not the 99 percent. They are a very tiny piece of it, many of whom hate capitalism and want to see it overturned. You know, that system that helped make this country great and provided the wealth they now loathe. That’s why a bunch of the protesters repeatedly interrupted an art auction at Sotheby’s. It’s even easier to mock the other slogan as “This is what democracy smells like,” or as one person on Twitter said, “This is what hypocrisy looks like.”

That’s the kind of criticism they bring on themselves. The group’s live video feed, which is often not live, is headlined “Global Revolution.” They can’t use megaphones (illegal), so they embrace “the people’s microphone” where the crowd repeats each line a speaker says. It brings to mind laughable socialism such as actor John Candy in “Volunteers” discussing “the people’s truck” filled with “the people’s gas.” Annie Day, one of the arrested protesters, told The New York Times her profession: “I’m a revolutionary.” The headline of their protest paper, The Occupied Wall Street Journal, is “THE REVOLUTION BEGINS AT HOME.”

Not exactly how to sell a movement to ordinary, taxpaying Americans, but demonstrators don’t really care. Remember, this is a global effort. Many protesters aren’t even American or despise American exceptionalism. But they have the force of propaganda on their side to push a typical liberal agenda and the media are throwing support behind them as well.

“A freelance reporter for The New York Times, Natasha Lennard, was among those arrested,” wrote the Times. Unsurprisingly, the police can’t tell Times reporters apart from radical leftists, a problem Americans have been grappling with for years.

Bolds are mine. FD

Excuse me as I go vomit while realizing how large a percentage of this Nation is getting their news from this propaganda machine.

Back to Kevin Gosztola once again. Just as an aside, the only reason I'm picking on Kevin here is because I agree with a lot of what he says. You don't have to be enemies to disagree on issues.

It should work to maintain a level of discipline and make sure it establishes what it is not. It should continue to aim for the impossible and remember that they have earned their power because they have occupied the park and stood their ground in the face of a media blackout, police brutality and contemptuous criticisms.

Establish what it is not? How about establishing what it is? Every single sign that mentions the Socialist Party, the Workers World Party, or some form of anti-Capitalism is a piece of propaganda for the other side. The word "Socialist" killed national healthcare, and now we think it can win the people to our causes? We have the nations attention. It's time for more concrete demands and less scaring the fuck out of middle America. Aiming for the impossible is fine, as long as you are willing to only hit the possible. Capitalism isn't going anywhere. Socialism is a dead issue in this Country at the moment. But we scare the fuck out of the Democratic Party, because they need our votes. This system of government has worked before, and it can work again. Yeah, it's broken, but are we going to chase ideologically pure pipe dreams or actually cause some change?

*Sigh* The truth? If this would have happened in 1995 or so I would have been there with a Circle A shirt waving around The Communist Manifesto. Of course, in 1995 I also believed in ghosts, psychics, fairies, witchcraft, Bigfoot, homeopathy, and shamanistic healing. Make of that what you will.

As for "remember that they have earned their power because they have occupied the park and stood their ground in the face of a media blackout, police brutality and contemptuous criticisms," I honestly can't help but laughing. Media Blackout? Perhaps at first. Now this is the story of the year. Police Brutality? No argument from me there, although if you think that was brutal, wait. Contemptuous Criticisms? You haven't even warmed up the republican noise machine yet.

If the stand you want to make is truly to tear the system down, I wish you the best. My heart goes with you, and I will shed tears when the ones with the guns, the prisons and the money either kill you, jail you, or send you home with a note to stay the fuck away. The revolution will be televised; on their terms. The most radical amongst us will be trotted out to show the public how lucky they are that the government cracked down, and the common man will be disappeared from the screen.

Last bit from Kevin Gosztola:

they need to make clear this is not about building a better Democratic Party. This is about the war on poor, working class and middle class Americans, the constant attacks on unions and how Americans are begin to have influence over their government so the assaults on poor and working Americans come to an end.

I've been wrong before, I was a junkie for the love of FSM, and as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow (or more accurately, as sure as the earth will rotate us back into sunlight), I will be wrong again. I see great things in this movement, I believe it is the most important story going on today, and I feel that it can cause great change. I also think it could just as likely overstep the possible and crash like Prometheus. Yes, this is about the war on the underclasses. Yes, it is about ending the war against working Americans. Once we have public opinion on our side, we will be unstoppable!

Call me when the Tea Party calls to sit down, break bread, and rationally discuss the issues. Or just email me. It will take a few for me to get back to you, because I will be in church since 2 plus 2 now equals 5 and I have a lot of explaining to do.

I want change. Not Barack Obama "Change!", but real change. This Nation was founded out of the Enlightenment by imperfect men who through the Constitution and the Bill of Rights sought to limit the effect of their imperfection on the people and the Nation. Yes, they made mistakes but that doesn't change how remarkable our founding documents were then and still are today. We the People have given the government too much power over us, or sat back while the power was taken. We let the monied interests takeover politics as we watched blue-filtered light from our window to the outside. How many of us gave a fucking damn when we were employed? Where were we when Florida was stolen? When Clinton fucked us with NAFTA? Were we all playing video games as the Republicans made intelligence, caring, rationality and knowledge handicaps in politics? Perhaps we weren't even born when the Right started playing us against each other, through racism, sexism, homophobia, religious bigotry and fear, but we were alive while they continued doing it, and we let it happen. You show up now, after 40 years of the country being dragged to the right, and think the system is going to crumble because you finally woke up?

Do not get me wrong. Do not misinterpret what I am saying here. I am glad you are now awake. Fuck, I'm ecstatic! Welcome back to the discussion. We NEED you! Solidarity! Where the fuck have you been since the last G-8 or WTO summit? But this is a long term fight we have picked. To win, we need the hearts and the minds of a majority of Americans. That is not going to happen over night, and it is not going to happen just from protests. The system exists. No, it isn't fair. But the system does give us one advantage; the power to swing elections and the power to hold those we elect accountable for their actions once in office. We've been ignored for far too long by the Democratic Party. It is time to pull the party back to the left, and to pull the whole political debate back towards the center. We need to reach out and educate those who we know, because the media's propaganda isn't going away, and our beliefs will be slandered to no end. Yes, I know. This path will not get us everything that we want. No one gets everything that they want. But harnessing our power towards causing constant change with an eye toward the future just seems a better choice than wasting it on a pipe dream.

We can reform the system. It will take years, dedication, compromise, and hard work. When the economy improves, it will take effort to stop people from fading back asleep. Nothing will come easy. Nothing good ever does.

I will end with the words of Naomi Klein

We all know, or at least sense, that the world is upside down: we act as if there is no end to what is actually finite—fossil fuels and the atmospheric space to absorb their emissions. And we act as if there are strict and immovable limits to what is actually bountiful—the financial resources to build the kind of society we need.

The task of our time is to turn this around: to challenge this false scarcity. To insist that we can afford to build a decent, inclusive society—while at the same time, respect the real limits to what the earth can take.

What climate change means is that we have to do this on a deadline. This time our movement cannot get distracted, divided, burned out or swept away by events. This time we have to succeed. And I’m not talking about regulating the banks and increasing taxes on the rich, though that’s important.

I am talking about changing the underlying values that govern our society. That is hard to fit into a single media-friendly demand, and it’s also hard to figure out how to do it. But it is no less urgent for being difficult.

That is what I see happening in this square. In the way you are feeding each other, keeping each other warm, sharing information freely and proving health care, meditation classes and empowerment training. My favorite sign here says, “I care about you.” In a culture that trains people to avoid each other’s gaze, to say, “Let them die,” that is a deeply radical statement.

If we waste this chance, how long til the next? And will it already be too late?

Flame away.