Monday, March 30, 2015

Monday Morning Madness in America

I should learn to abstain from browsing political news on Monday mornings. Getting myself out of bed, showered, dressed and to work on time is challenge enough, I don’t need a further assault on my senses by reading articles about our frighteningly ignorant, dangerously delusional leaders. I need to ease into it, prepare myself mentally for the tsunami of absurdity that passes for politics in America today. Why make Monday’s tougher than they already are?

Today, however, it’s too late. I dove headfirst into Raw Story, The Huffington Post, Truthout, and Salon and found myself treading water in a cesspool of profound lunacy, hypocrisy, misogamy, bigotry, and…I could keep going, but I’ll stop there. From the Governor of Indiana trying lamely to rationalize the inherent bigotry of his “Religious Freedom” law to the droopy faced Ted Cruz wishing the White House could be moved to Texas where people like him to “The Dumbest Person in Congress” Louie Gohmert’s assertion that negotiations with Iran have already failed and we should just fly there and bomb their nuclear facilities.

The gravity of their stupidity has me reeling. The level of government to which they have ascended has me terrified. Whatever name you want to give our election system, it has failed us and allowed dangerously inept people into the halls of power, and the media is forced to take them seriously. How bad is it? The FOX News host who was interviewing Gohmert was visibly stunned and disturbed by his loony plan to bomb Iran. When, as a Republican, you can say something so inane it makes a FOX News host shudder, you have literally crossed the line into a clinically recognized mental disorder.

You can’t unthink this stuff. The Republicans running for President are crazy, and one of them could end up in the Oval Office. America has been given the opportunity to elect a person who would make George Bush look like FDR. It’s Monday morning and I’ve already had my week’s fill of stupidity. Thanks, me.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

At an Indianapolis restaurant

This sign was recently posted in the window of an all-you-can-eat restaurant in Indianapolis.

Dear Patrons,

Our deeply held Christian beliefs prohibit us from serving the following people:

African Americans
Muslims (especially you)
Midgets, Dwarves or Gnomes
Anyone who has ever voted for a Clinton
Anyone with the last name Obama
Anyone with an IQ over 100
Welfare recipients
The homeless
Latin Americans
Indians (both kinds)
Anyone working in the liberal media (you know who you are)
The physically deformed
Anyone who regularly watches PBS
Anyone who is friends with my alcoholic Uncle Chester
Tom Hunter, who beat me up in fourth grade
Janice Paulson, who dumped me for Calvin Weathers in ninth grade
Anyone whose last name ends with an “I”
Anyone wearing saggy pants
Circus workers
Anyone with a 666 license plate
Anyone with tattoos (Christian related tattoos exempt)

Friday, March 27, 2015

Another fun-filled week of Republican lunacy

During a discussion on gun legislation, Arizona State Sen. Sylvia Allen (R) expressed her support for mandatory church attendance nationwide. “Probably we should be debating a bill requiring every American to attend a church of their choice on Sunday to see if we can get back to having a moral rebirth,” Allen said at a recent Senate subcommittee meeting.

Rep. Pete Sessions (R), chairman of the House Rules Committee, said he did the math and that the federal government will be paying $5 million dollars per Obamacare beneficiary in the 2016 fiscal year. After others did the math correctly, the actual cost is closer to $4,130 per person.

Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) filed a budget amendment intended to keep American dollars printed as paper currency – instead of minting fancy, European-style coins. The Louisiana Republican objected to a proposal by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-WY), who wants to facilitate the move toward dollar coins as a potential budget-cutting measure.

Indiana Governor Mark Pence signed the disingenuously named “Religious Freedom Bill” into law that allows businesses the right to refuse serving gays and lesbians on religious grounds. Former Star Trek actor and gay rights activist George Takei is leading a boycott of the state, urging people not to attend events taking place in Indiana.

Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt (R-Colorado Springs) commented about the recent attack on a pregnant woman where her unborn child was removed from her womb. "This is the curse of God upon America for our sin of not protecting innocent children in the womb," Klingenschmitt said, attributing the attack in Longmont to legal policy on unborn children. "Part of that curse for our rebellion against God as a nation is that our pregnant women are ripped open."

Texas Senator and Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz said this week, “The global warming alarmists are the equivalent of the flat-earthers.” He also said that he used to listen to rock music, but switched to country after 9/11. Oh, and he also signed up for Obamacare.

In an interview during this year’s state of the union address, Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson called President Obama a psychopath.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Politics in 2015: Ignorance is an asset

The first two “official” Republican candidates for the presidency, Ben Carson and Ted Cruz, are fumbling their way from one gaffe to the next, and left-wing commentators and publications are having a field day. From the shirt-rending hypocrisy of Ted Cruz signing up for Obamacare after spending 24/7, 365 days a year trying to destroy it to Ben Carson’s bloodthirsty homophobic rants, columns of eye-rolling, head shaking revelations are being posted at Salon, The Huffington Post, Raw Story and many other zines.

The one point that is overlooked in all of the verbiage is that in today’s Republican Party, ignorance is an asset. The religious right and Tea Party members are deeply distrustful of people outside their ideological circle, which is the majority of Americans, seeing them as snarky know-it-alls who look down their noses at America’s true patriots and their bedrock values. As difficult as it is, we have to come to grips with the fact that one of the two major political parties in America values superstitious beliefs and unquestioning adherence to a faith-based ideology over reason and objective reality, and that this group is putty in the hands of today’s ruling elites.

Politics in America today is not about competing solutions to our major problems, it is about competing views of reality. Our political leaders can’t even agree on what’s real and what isn’t real. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, we have people in positions of power who believe the earth is 6000 years old, that humans and dinosaurs lived together; that global warming is a hoax; that homosexuals should be put to death; and yes, that dark-skinned people are inferior.

Many of us shake our heads in astonishment when Ben Carson reveals he knows absolutely nothing about modern-day Israel, a country he loudly supports with every fiber of his being, but that attitude only strengthens him in the eyes of his supporters. Ignorance is strength. War is peace. Up is down.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Should the Republican Party be classified as a terrorist organization?

How could anyone propose such a horrendous idea? Well, it’s actually quite easy. Today’s Republican Party is doing more to destroy those ideas and principals that made America a great country than all the actual terrorist organizations combined. I present my case:

They want to destroy our form of government – The conservative propaganda is relentless: government is bad, government is bad, government is bad. We get it. You hate our government. So does ISIS. Ignoring everything good that government has done, the ongoing attacks on our leadership and active efforts to weaken the executive branch have zombefied many Americans who repeat the chant without giving it a second thought. By overtly working daily to destroy our form of government, conservatives in Congress and their Right Wing megaphone are accomplishing what al Qaeda and ISIS and the Taliban could never dream of achieving. Their conscious and unconscious ineptness becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

They want to destroy our educational system – A strong system of public education during the forties, fifties and sixties truly made America the envy of the world. Young people from all economic strata and ethnic backgrounds could (theoretically) get the same education as sons and daughters of the elite. Republicans reject the idea that Americans should have a strong, healthy public education system, and have spent decades criticizing, defunding and demonizing the public education sector. As with everything else having government ties, they want to completely privatize education, allowing schools across the country to teach whatever they feel like, filling the minds of young people with whatever religious beliefs or political propaganda the local community desires.

They are at war with science – In recent years there has been a relentless attack from Tea Party Republicans on science and scientific findings that clash with their religious beliefs or campaign funding sources. Like their Middle East brethren, many conservatives refuse to accept established science and continue propagating myths and superstitious mumbo jumbo. How can America possibly compete on the world stage if our children are being taught religious theory instead of scientific facts? There is a subset of Republicans who attack science to protect their funding sources. Climate change deniers often fall into this camp, doing the oil and energy industries bidding at the expense of the world’s future health. In both cases, the result is an assault on science that is dooming not only the United States, but the world at large.

They are intent on crippling our economy – Conservatives slavish devotion to illogical and demonstrably wrong economic theories like austerity, free markets, supply side economics and deregulation have resulted in an economy that is as unequal as it’s been in over 100 years. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, conservatives continue to believe, and act on the belief, that tax breaks for the already wealthy will stimulate the economy. Ignoring the fact that this has been tried over and over with the same dismal results, it remains an article of faith among Republicans. The Republican Party is the party of the elites, and whatever they can do to please their financial supporters, that is the course they will follow with no regard for anyone else. The middle class is being destroyed as a result of their misguided economic policies. The great irony is that American voters have been convinced to vote against their best economic interests by double-talking conservatives who play on their emotions and religious beliefs.

They want to turn American into a theocracy – Conservatives have been more than willing to rewrite history to try and support a major tenet of theirs; that the United States is a Christian nation. Ignoring accepted history surrounding the founding of our country, the right wing continues to promote the idea that the founding fathers were fundamentalist Christians who built this nation on biblical principals. They want to rewrite and revise our fundamental documents to align with the Bible, and rule the country using a Biblical foundation. Like their Middle Eastern counterparts, they want their particular religious views woven into the entire fabric of our country, from schools to the workplace to the halls of power in Washington, D.C.

From shutting down the government to conducting illegal foreign policy to flagrant attacks on the very institutions that once made America a true world power, I think the evidence is irrefutable that the Republican Party is intent on destroying the current version of American and replacing it with a theocracy. What would you call that?

Monday, March 23, 2015

Ted Cruz is running for President. Now that’s entertainment.

Ted Cruz announced he is running for President today. One of the sleaziest, most obnoxious, low-functioning members of Congress has chosen to waste everyone’s time by jetting around the country for the next year-and-a-half putting his ignorance on display like a freak show exhibit and making children cry.

Cruz isn’t considered a front-runner for the Republican nomination, but on planet Tea Party, this has nothing to do with his medieval belief system, but everything to do with whom the Koch’s are going to choose to rain their money down on. Apparently, Cruz isn’t at the top of that list.

Don’t think for a minute that Cruz couldn’t become the Republican nominee. As the campaign heats up and other presidential hopefuls throw their tri-corner hats in the ring, we will be treated to an inter-party battle where combatants heatedly exchange lies in a ring of ignorance. Cruz should do very well at this stage, but the money men are looking for a Republican who can go from throwing red meat to the Tea Party crowd in the primary to someone who can resemble a sane person in the general election. This could be Cruz’s Achilles heel.

And then there’s that face. Those droopy eyebrows, that painful-looking smile, that creepy squint, Cruz is the store manager you never want to be caught alone with in the back room, regardless of your sex.

All of that being said, the Republican primary should be chock full of entertainment as candidates sever ties to their brains and work to impress Tea Party members with their ignorance, heartlessness, and bigotry. Should be fun.

Friday, March 20, 2015

A frightening new duo of short scary stories

I've uploaded two new short scary stories for your ghoulish pleasure at They're Only Shadows.

In "The Accident," a man panics and flees the scene of a car accident only to learn that the damage he caused is far worse than he imagined.

A peeping Tom spies on a young woman next door in "Voyeur, but the object of his attraction is not what she seems to be.

The Poisonous Influence of the Tea Party in American Politics

I used to be counted among the camp of lefties who believed that there was fundamentally very little difference between Democrats and Republicans. Members of both parties pander to lobbyists, allow the rich and connected more influence than the average citizen and are desperately afraid of upsetting the status quo in Washington. While I still believe that’s true in many cases, the growth and influence of the Tea Party among Republicans has pulled its members farther to the right than ever before into a dangerous fantasy land that bears little resemblance to the democracy in which we claim to live.

An incredibly disturbing example of this appears in today’s news. Ever searching for ways to enhance his Tea Party creds, Florida Governor Rick Scott recently issued an unwritten ban on state employees from using the phrases “climate change” or “global warming.” As pernicious as this is, he followed up his warning with action when an employee of Florida’s environmental protection department used the terms in official notes from a forum he attended.

Okay, you might think, the guy probably got a warning or a nasty email, but no, it went far beyond that into the realm of 1984 totalitarian thought control. The employee was forced to take a leave of absence and told he could return to work only after a mental health evaluation from his doctor that verified his “fitness for duty.”

A mental health evaluation?

This, friends, is the kind of pre-enlightenment, fact-denying, authoritarian direction the Republican Party has taken of late. It almost seems as if there is a below-the-radar weekly contest among conservatives to see who can spew the most ignorant, hate filled comment. Rick Scott, you are without question this week’s winner. But let this be a serious warning to voters, in 2015 there is a stark difference between where Democrats and Republicans want to take this country. If you prefer a democracy to a theocracy, freedom of speech to thought control, reality to fantasy, you cannot in good conscience vote Republican.