Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Message to Arizona

There is a blog post from the Arizona Republic site by Laurie Roberts that attempts the impossible: defending Arizona's new immigration law, previously discussed on this blog.  She bemoans the fact that it's made Arizona "look bad"  then goes on to say the reason it was passed was that the "current and previous administrations" (although she goes out of her way to point at President Obama and Secretary Napolitano) let Arizona down on border control.  But here is where she gets down to the real reason that the bill is worth supporting, according to her:

It is because of Washington's steadfast refusal to do its job that we find ourselves where we are today – when half of Arizona Democrats, 69 percent of independents and a whopping 84 percent of Republicans support SB 1070, according to the latest Rasmussen Poll of likely voters.

Dismiss this, if you like, as the work of the “radical fringe”, as Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund did on Friday. But 70 percent of likely voters supported this law.
That's all probably true, but she and others who are repeating this line are missing a huge point: 

Rights are rights and not subject to popularity contests, polls or votes.

The issue here isn't about the so-called "illegal immigrants" - if Arizona had stuck to strengthening border patrols to stem the tide crossing their southern border and offered to assist federal law enforcement in finding illegals there wouldn't be much of a fuss if any.  Other states have done so and the assistance of local law enforcement is not only appreciated, it is encouraged. 

Where Arizona crossed the line was when they decided that they had the power to arrest people who look like illegals (aka "reasonable suspicion") when they don't have the papers on them to prove otherwise.  This violates our principles of innocent until proven guilty and the right not to be forced to incriminate yourself.  I don't care if 100% of Arizonians support doing away with those rights protected by the Constitution because of a perceived threat, they don't get to decide who gets rights and who doesn't.  Period.

This isn't the first time putting rights up to polls and votes has been tried either. 

In the years following World War II, African Americans found themselves confronted with increasing patterns of housing segregation. They were excluded from the suburbs and the real-estate industry, which severely restricted educational and economic opportunities. In 1955, William Byron Rumford, the first black to serve in the California State Legislature, introduced a fair-housing bill outlawing housing discrimination on the basis of race.

In 1963, California Legislature passed the Rumford Fair Housing Act which outlawed restrictive covenants and the refusal to rent or sell on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, marital status, or physical disability.

In reaction to the law, a well-funded coalition of realtors and landlords was determined to protect white neighborhoods and property values. They immediately began to campaign for a referendum that would amend the state Constitution to protect property owners' ability to deny minorities equal access to housing. Known as Proposition 14, it was passed by 65 percent of the voters.

In 1966, the California State Supreme Court, in Mulkey v. Reitman, ruled that Proposition 14 violated the State Constitution's provisions for equal protection and due process.

In 1967, in Reitman v. Mulkey, the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed the decision of the California Supreme Court and ruled that Proposition 14 had violated the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution.
It wasn't OK to put peoples' rights up for a vote in California in the '60s and it's not OK for Arizona to restrict rights by law now.  The US and state constitutions do not grant rights that may be taken away by a majority vote, state law, or the percentage of support a poll shows.  All of them work off a simple proposition:  we are born with rights and the Constitution only exists to protect them from being taken away.

Arizona, like California before it, is about to learn that lesson as their new 70%-approved law is challenged in court and likely overturned. 

Let those who are considering following Arizona's lead learn the same lesson.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

And here we go!

Reaction to Arizona's new anti-"illegal alien" bill being signed into law yesterday was swift and apparently I wasn't the only one to think "police state" when I heard about it.  Calls to boycott Arizona came even before this Anti-American act was signed into law.

The only way we can pressure the Arizona legislature to its senses is to embark on a boycott of the "Grand Canyon State."

The world can also join the boycott effort and be quite effective. Arizona is wildly dependent on producing world exports. Ironically its largest world customer is Mexico and its second is that hot bed of socialized medicine -- Canada. Both of those countries should join Americans from every state in the union and boycott Arizona.

The battle is on. Americans can ignore the menace in our midst or we can join hands and push back with moral authority and economic resistance. People often wonder and are asked what they would have done during the times in history when people were scapegoated through the force of law based on their race or ethnicity. Americans have an opportunity to answer that question either again or for the first time. Once again the whole world is watching.
Of course, not all of the reaction has been positive. In fact, some of it has been downright scary.

U.S. Democratic Rep. Raúl Grijalva is closing his Tucson and Yuma offices today at noon because of what he said were multiple death threats and threats of violence.

Police are stationed outside his Tucson office, according to a statement from spokesman Adam Sarvana.

Sarvana said the office received “some pretty scary calls,” including two from the same person, he said, “who threatened to go down there and blow everyone’s brains out then go to the border to shoot Mexicans.”

Grijalva staffer Ruben Reyes said the office has been flooded with calls all week about Senate Bill 1070. About 25 percent are "very racist" in nature, Reyes said, characterizing some as "telling that tortilla-eating wetback to go back to Mexico."

He said the staff feels "very intimidated" by the calls from this morning.
What caused all this, besides the fact that Representative Grijalva is Hispanic?

Grijalva has been calling for a statewide boycott of conventions to pressure Gov. Jan Brewer into vetoing a controversial immigration bill that authorizes local law enforcement to check immigration status given reasonable suspicion.
Make that "had" since Arizona's Republican Governor signed that into law but no doubt the Congressman is still calling for a boycott.  Speaking of "shooting Mexicans" ......

According to KOLD Channel 5 News in Arizona, local militiaman Bill Davis is recruiting “combat veterans, with kill records, to camp out and patrol” along the U.S.-Mexico border. “If it comes to when shots are fired in the general direction of these guys, they have my authorization to return fire, if they’re in defense of their life or their buddy next to them, return fire, stop it as fast as it starts, and they’re capable of it,” Davis told reporters. Despite a warning from Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada that the militia’s plan is “very dangerous” and “very risky,” Davis is pressing forward:

“If we think they’re carrying drugs, weapons, contraband, we’ll get out in front of ‘em and stop ‘em,” says Davis. “They won’t get past us. You can write into that what you want, short of shooting them.”

Davis may be feeling empowered (Ya think?) from the radical anti-immigrant law passed by the Arizona legislature, which requires police to attempt to determine the immigration status of anyone they encounter as part of a “lawful contact.” In any case, right-wing websites are celebrating Davis’ armed border patrol. The neo-Nazi website Stormfront calls it, “[m]ore good news out of Arizona!”
Oh, since Davis (who is not a law enforcement officer) gave the militia his very own "authorization" to shoot at border crossers it must be alright then.  He does say his little gang of trigger-happy and self-appointed guardians of the border won't be actually shooting any of them, but we'll see how long that lasts. 
Neo-Nazis are applauding his move too, what could possibly go wrong?

This won't end well.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Rightwingers Finally Get Their Police State

They went and did it.  Arizona succumbed to anti-"illegal alien" madness and signed into law a measure that is so incredibly un-American that words fail.

The law requires police to stop anyone on “reasonable suspicion” of being an undocumented immigrant. People could be arrested for failing to produce a valid driver’s license or papers proving they are a legal resident.
What?  Hispanic people in Arizona now have to walk around with papers proving it's OK for them to be here?  Excuse me, what country is this again?  Well, OK's not just for brown people who either speak Spanish or have a Spanish accent but seriously, we know who's going to be stopped.  It sure ain't gonna be that Canadian who lets slip an "aboot" and "oot" or that random German or French accent.  They're, ya know, white.

Oh, and it gets worse.  Matty Yglesias has the scoop:

According to America’s Voice, the approved bill, entitled the “Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act,” would “make every undocumented worker in Arizona guilty of a criminal offense and require state and local police to go after them.” More specifically, it would allow police to arrest anyone who is in this country illegally and charge them with trespass, require police to attempt to determine the immigration status of anyone they encounter, outlaw the hiring of day laborers off the street, and prohibit anyone from knowingly transporting an undocumented immigrant for any reason.
Wow, a rightwing Two-fer!  Take that, you pesky Fourth and Fifth Amendment - we never liked you anyway!!  You're brown and guilty until proven innocent! 

This isn't racial profiling, this is racial targeting.

No doubt this will be challenged in court and thrown out very soon, but until that happens let's remember one very important thing.  Which party's members passed this in the Arizona legislature and which party does the Governor who signed it belong to?


Since Hispanic-Americans - the fastest growing minority in America - are not stupid and will figure out who's to blame for this...I wonder which party will now get even more of their vote? 

Tough call.....

UPDATE: Facebook Obama death prayer page

According to the The Political Carnival blog, we now have an answer from Facebook on what they plan to do about the Obama Death Prayer page on their site. 


According to CQ Politics, the page doesn't violate Facebook standards.

"While it may be considered distasteful and objectionable to some, the Facebook page in question does not violate our policies," said Andrew Noyes, Facebook's manager of public policy communications.

And it gets better - the fans of that page are now over a million.

When exactly did a sizable number of Americans go stark, raving mad?

Oh.....nearly forgot.....

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

No, Rightwingers, You Do NOT Get To Say Whatever You Want Without Consequence

Overheated rhetoric is one thing, but hoping God takes out Obama?  Sorry, no - not acceptable.  However, the over 600,000 people who "like" this Facebook page think this is funny, or something. 

Hilarious, huh?  And "Swayzie"?  The Teabag nuts have an alergic reaction to spellcheck, I suppose.

Now, the person who set this page does try to get out of what is an obvious threat to the President, but really...are they that stupid and think we'll buy this?

I just wanted to let some people who were wondering know that we are not really praying for the death of obama it is just some humor to show our disapproval of our current president
Hey, jerkweed - I don't approve of you and your little site.  I sure hope some bomber doesn't lose a load of bombs over your house with you in it!  Ain't that funny? I'm not really hoping you get bombed, I'm just expressing disapproval over your Facebook page. Ha ha ha.

Yeah, that crap'll work.  Looks to me like the joker here needs to be introduced to this law:

TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 41 > § 871

§ 871. Threats against President and successors to the Presidency

(a) Whoever knowingly and willfully deposits for conveyance in the mail or for a delivery from any post office or by any letter carrier any letter, paper, writing, print, missive, or document containing any threat to take the life of, to kidnap, or to inflict bodily harm upon the President of the United States, the President-elect, the Vice President or other officer next in the order of succession to the office of President of the United States, or the Vice President-elect, or knowingly and willfully otherwise makes any such threat against the President, President-elect, Vice President or other officer next in the order of succession to the office of President, or Vice President-elect, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.
Oops.  Still a knee slapper there Bubba?  Would a little visit by the Secret Service help you understand things better?  I'm sure we can arrange that.  Keep in mind, another would-be comedian was convicted and sent to jail for his "joke" about President George W. Bush and a "burning bush."

Now, before anyone brings it up, this Facebook page was based on a similar "joke" passed around by a teachers' union about New Jersey Governor Chris Christie - in fact, the only difference between the two is that the Facebook guy replaced Governor Christie with "President" and "Obama." 

Oh, well that makes it OK then!  The liberals did it and so can we!

No, that doesn't make it OK.  The union didn't make that into a Facebook page with thousands of followers and not a single liberal said it was OK for the union to do that.  Not one - in fact it was pretty roundly denounced by all.  It wasn't OK when it was directed at a Republican Governor, it sure as hell isn't OK directed at a Democratic President.  In fact, as mentioned earlier, it's illegal.

Here's the thing:  The far right has gotten away with saying anything about anybody without anyone making a stir about it for way too long.  Do they have the right to do that?  Of course they do - the government won't arrest them for it.  Do they have the right to go unchallenged?  HELL NO.

So here's what I'd like you, dear reader, to do: 

First, report the page to the US Secret Service (look on the FAQ page for how to report threats).  Similar groups and posts have already happened on Facebook and Twitter and the Secret Service is grateful when they are pointed out - they can't be everywhere. 

Second, if you have a Facebook account, go to the funny little "joke" page and look for the "Report Page" link (It's small and near the bottom on the left side of the page).  Do what the link says - report this to Facebook and get them to remove it.  (Yes, rightwingers, you do have the right to free speech.  No, rightwingers, you do not have the "right" to be on Facebook.)

We do this enough and maybe..just maybe...the idiot right will get the message that even "jokes" about threatening the life of any President is wrong. 


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

No Racism Here!

Edited version on Alan Colmes' LIBERALAND

As the Tea Party movement looks more and more like the Sarah Palin movement – she sure doesn’t seem to be able to miss going to them, even if she isn’t being paid – one wonders whose true face is being revealed in this story from Ben Smith of Politico.

It concerns one Leland Yee, a California State Senator, and the response he is getting for his efforts to get the California University at Stanislaus where Our Sister of Perpetual Victimhood, St. Sarah of the Quit agreed to speak, to reveal the rather posh contract they entered into with the former half-governor. Since the college in question is a public institution and California tax dollars helped pay for that, it’s a fair request.

Looking at the response from Palin supporters, you’d think Senator Lee had…like…personally attacked her or something:

From Yee's press release:

 An expletive-laden fax received yesterday in the Senator’s San Francisco and Sacramento offices says, “To: JoBama Rectum Sniffer Fish Head Leland Yee” and then in all capital letters, “WERE YOU TO EXTRACT YOUR HEAD FROM TREASONOUS MARXIST NIG**R HUSSEIN OBAMA’S RECTUM, YOUR BRAIN WOULD STILL FUNCTION AT ITS PRESENT MUCH DIMINISHED LEVEL BUT AT LEAST THE NIG**R SH*T SMELL WOULD EVENTUALLY DISSIPATE.”

The fax, which included a graphic of an American flag adorned pickup truck dragging a noose, also states “FIGHTING The Marxist Nig**r Thug Hussein Obama” and “Safeguard the Constitution, Death of all Domestic Marxists!”

“NEW WEBSITE COMING SOON: lyeesucksobamasnig**ras*.com,” as well as “JoBama. HE IS BRAVE ENOUGH TO KILL OUR UNBORN, JUST NOT BRAVE ENOUGH TO CALL OUR ENEMIES WHAT THEY ARE: Muslim Terrorists!” The fax also includes a rifle scope targeting a shirt with the communist hammer and sickle symbol.
Wow! You’d think that the people who are saying no racial slurs were shouted at members of the Congressional Black Caucus because there’s no video of that and that the supporters of Palin are racism-and-violence-free would be more careful what they send to an elected officeholder! These elected types are tricky – they tend not to keep stuff like this to themselves and cower in the corner in fear of night riders, they go public with it.

Of course, it just may be that Lee himself is the racist since he dared to bring to light the racism directed at him. That is how it works, right? That’s what the far right keeps telling me anyway.

Yeah, that’s the ticket!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Defeating the Corporate Pro-Wealthy Propaganda on TV

Mark Karlin of posted an interesting article on that site today.  He argues that a media owned by corporations and the wealthy are producing programming on radio and TV meant to keep the viewers/listeners tuned in to propaganda meant to support the wealthy and increase their wealth.  Network and cable news covers trivia more than serious issues as nothing more than a vehicle for advertising - often the most important story you need to know about scrolls by on the bottom of your screen as the people on it discuss First Lady Michelle Obama's hairdo or today's version of the Balloon Boy. 

As liberal talk show host Randi Rhodes once said (while testifying before a Congressional hearing held largely by Democrats during the Bush era that was forced to be held in the Congressional office building basement by the majority-at-the-time Republicans), "The news is closed."

Of course, this article produces the expected handwringing and cries of  "What to do?  What to do?" from its readers.  Well, I have a suggestion to combat this:

Become your own news media.

Here's how I do it.  When I wake up, the first thing that goes on is my computer - not my television.  Thanks to, I have a page set up there that's the first thing I look at.  On it, I have news headlines from Yahoo (which covers everything from national news wires to Politico), the Associated Press, Reuters, AFP, the New York Times, Washington Post, local/state news plus blogs I follow.  I get national and international headlines as well as entertainment news.  In five minutes, I have a pretty good idea what's going on in the world and am a click away from reading more about what interests me.  You can set this up for yourself by using their My Yahoo feature. There are other sites that do this too, I just happen to use that one.

I have news and opinion sites I regularly go to bookmarked and get breaking news from ABC, CNN, NYT and WaPo via email.   I even have rightwing sites bookmarked so I can browse through them to see what the far right's talking points for the day will be.

The real message to all this is don't rely on your TV for newsI too have noticed how bad it's gotten on the tube so I don't rely on any network or cable show to inform me.  I don't even watch the talking head shows that I agree with as in Ed Schultz, Keith Olbermann or Rachel Maddow.  Fox Noise never goes on my TV.  Ever.  About the only time I turn on a news network is when there is something going on that I'd like to see as well as read about.

Noticing a trend here, like what's the biggest tool we have to defeat the corporate propaganda and infotainment that fills our TVs?  If you're reading this, you're on it. 

Care has to be taken when you rely on the internet for your information, of course - for every nugget of wheat there are tons of chaff.  My suggestion on how to weed out the crap is to stick with what you know and trust  that has a reputation for reporting real news, be highly suspicious with blogs (if they have no links to back up what they say, ignore and delete) and remember anyone can have a website or a blog and most of them do.  Take no one's word on anything, including me - when in doubt, look it up for yourself.

We have what Michael Moore once said is a "fearsome force for democracy" right here on our computer monitors just a mouse click away.  Use it well and you can be the best informed person on your block.  Use it badly and you end up screaming about socialism carrying a misspelled sign.

Use your TV for entertainment.  If you want news, read a paper or magazine or go online.  This way we win.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Who was it?

That blew up the OKC building?

That had the standoff at Ruby Ridge?

That planned to kill police officers and then blow up the first responders?

That plans on forming an militia in Oklahoma to fight the government?

That heartily endorsed tax cuts for the super-rich?

That heartily endorsed the Iraq war (even though France was RIGHT; there were NO WMDs)?

That had NO problem with Bush not securing the munitions in Iraq, which were immediately looted and used to kill Americans.

That heartily endorsed stripping US citizens of the 5th Amendment rights?

That heartily endorsed denying US citizens the right to bail or a trial or an attorney?

That heartily endorsed Halliburton building internment camps?

That heartlily endorsed PD51 by Bush, which would let him take over the government?

That heartily endorsed removing oversight of the financial industry in 1999, 2004 and 2007?

That heartily endorsed the law that is being used to prosecute those religious nuts in Michigan (or Minn or wherever) as terrorists and send them to Gitmo?

That heartily endorsed the oil companies meeting with Cheney to dictate our oil policy?

That heartily endorsed Medicare Part D, the largest expansion of Medicare since its inception?

That endorsed DOUBLING the deficit from 2001 to 2008.

That endorsed Bush directing Federalized troops to confiscate guns in New Orleans?

That endorsed Bush filing an Amicus Brief with SCOTUS in SUPPORT of the DC gun ban?

That endorsed Bush taking guns out of National Parks?

That endorsed a president that spent 1/2 of his entire presidency on vacation?

That endorsed Bush going on vacation immediately after being warned that bin Laden was about to strike?

That endorsed Bush ignoring FBI warnings about Arabs learning how to fly, but not being interested in taking off or landing?

That gave Bush a complete PASS when 9/11 happened?

That gave Bush a complete PASS when he let thousands of people die during Katrina and then didn't do what he promised about helping to rebuild?

That gave Bush a complete PASS when he KISSED a Saudi Prince and held the guy's hand?

That gave Bush a complete PASS when he let bin Laden's relatives escape the country right after 9/11, when NO OTHER flights were allowed to fly?

That gave Bush a complete PASS for gutting the Consumer Protection agency and then having people die because they weren't protected?

That gave Bush for giving companies TAX CREDITS for offshoring jobs?

That gave Cheney a complete PASS for drinking and then shooting his friend in the face?

Why - I believe it was the moronic Reich-wingers. They didn't have even ONE problem with all of that.

But NOW - they make up crap about Obama and wail and moan and shit themselves over the how we've gone far away from the Constitution - even though they don't have a clue what the Constitution says. One winger even said that the STATES hold power over the FEDS. I rather thought that the Constitution and then the voters did that - being a REPRESENTATIVE REPUBLIC and all. I've never heard that drivel about the States; it used to be these wackos ran on and on about the power of the County (Posse Comitatus), where the COUNTY, not the state, was the supreme power. I guess they can't make up their pointy little heads.

It's a bitch having a black man in the White House; it gives those wingers fits.

h/t to Larry, who posted this to the Left Wing Radicals email group.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Feed It or Starve It

Originally posted on the What a Nascence blog.

Sometimes I am slightly synesthetic. I think of it as I do my dyslexia. Dyslexia makes it harder to read, and sometimes, when I am tired or stressed, words make no sense at all; but the upside is that I can solve jumble puzzles, seek and finds, and even cryptographs, faster than most people who are way smarter than I am. The answers just seem to 'show' themselves.

My slightly synesthetic side gives me shape and form to forces, elements in this world, revealing them to me, their symbols and their behaviors, in ways that makes them easier for me to understand.

Under stresses and events of intimidation in my own life, I began to see, recognize fear as something with a shape, form, beginning, and end. An animal complete with gnashing teeth and a fatal flaw. That flaw is the hunger that fear creates that gives it strength and impetus, but which also MUST eat. And when it cannot consume its target, it will consume itself.

I watched as I was growing up, how people were controlled by others. Fear was key to getting people to act against their own best or better interests. Fear was key to keeping people divided by false issues or untruths, to where they would not act, collectively, in their own best interests.

The rules of fear that I have observed, work on an individual one-to-one basis, exactly the same as they work on the collective, the masses.

For the sake of making this simple to understand and to relate to, we will deal with the personal, one-to-one tactics that make fear work, and at the same time, reveals to us exactly what it is and how to defeat it.

Fear is used to control people. It is used by people who themselves, fear us. If they did not fear us, they would not need to make us fear them, for them to feel safe. They would have no need to control us.

Essentially, one has to know and understand fear and how it affects others. Fear is such an emotional core sense, that to understand it, one has to have it. Like a gun: You can't shoot it if you don't know how. You have to first know it to then use it. Then you can 'aim it'.

Unlike a gun, Fear cannot affect someone who has none of it in them to begin with. It cannot be used by someone that is not afflicted with it and it cannot afflict someone that does not recognize it. Fear has to be owned, sold and bought or it has no effect.

Essentially, they have to take their fear, and sell it to us. For this to work, we have to buy their fear. For this to continue working, we have to ignore where it came from: Their fear of us and what we can do with what we know about them.

Fear has to be reinforced in order to stay in control. That reinforcement has to come at closer and closer intervals, increasing, essentially, the frequency in the cycles, in order for it to continue to have the desired effect.

We can, if we let ourselves, begin to predict the next installment of 'fear reinforcement'. The pattern becomes predictable. Only the extremes that are required are relative unknowns. However, that each cycle will increase in intensity, is predictable.

This leaves the person who is employing fear as a weapon or tool, in a quandary. It becomes a chore. It takes more and more energy to do the wrong thing. It is exhausting. Fear is a limited resource because it has to increase how much it draws from the well each visit. Fear requires more fear.

It also requires timing. One cannot go directly to the worst case and most extreme, because they would have to top it at the next interval. How do you top your best? How do you top that? And then top it again?

Fear is limited. As a tool, it is also limiting.

Fear is utilized by those who have no other skills. It is the worst choice of anyone seeking to lead or control. Fear has no allies. It has servants, but they are never trusted completely.

Every time fear loses its desired effect or performs at less than the optimal level, it backfires. The victim of fear might get an insight or feel empowered and put up more resistance. Or lose their fear of the person bullying them, regardless of what they do.

They might even see the flaws in the Fear Plan. They might see that the person employing fear is doing so 'because they are wrong and they know it.' If they were Right, they would not need fear. It would be obvious.

When fear stops working for the ones who employ it, it does not go away. It goes home. Home is where it came from. Home is where it lives. Home is where it eats. And fear, once it is used, becomes hungry. The person who uses it can't control it. Fear begins to consume them.

This is why bullies and despots become unhinged, paranoid, sleepless. The fear they cannot sell to others, consumes them. Even if they have a majority of people cowed, they still need more. They need it all. All is not enough. Fear either grows or dies. Resources are finite. There is never enough.

Had they opted to deal with their fears in the first place, learned more about themselves and rid themselves of their insecurities, they would be immune from ravenous beast. But they chose, instead, to bully others to bend them to their will, all for the one goal of getting their way, when in fact, their way, and getting it, is what ultimately destroys them.

Fear's Worst Fear

Comedians are Fear's worst Fear. To be a comedian of any worth, any success, one has to be really smart. One has to have a true perception of times, places and events that rings true with their audience. Otherwise, no one would laugh.

People who laugh, rethink, relive that which made them laugh. Laughter is shared amongst all Human Beings. We share jokes, tell funny stories, and repeat those that are told to us.

Comedians defeat fear by showing us how stupid it is. Showing us, comically, how ludicrous the tools of it are. Essentially, we laugh at those who try to use fear on us. We begin to think.

People who are laughing are not, in those moments, in fear. Fear and laughter are mutually exclusive and both cannot reside in the same place at the same time. Laughter can come and go, and remain strong. Fear, as we have seen, must be sustained. Any break in the continuity of fear means it has to be, essentially, rebuilt again.

One laugh leads to another. People lose their fear of tyrants. Tyrants and their minions sense their own failure. They turn on one another. They begin to consume one another. Once they start feeding on one another, to survive, to consolidate their power; they become smaller. Smaller becomes weaker. The bellows and roars that used to instill quakes and shudders in their victims, become squeaks and shrieks... and fade from weapon, to ineffective implements, to vague curiosities, as victims stand up, and walk away.

Using the tools, training and skills of non-violence, we overcome those who bully us. We overcome them by not becoming them. By not employing fear or violence, both of which need to be sustained, we build a more lasting ever increasing unity.

But first we have to remember who we are: Especially in those dark moments when we are being beaten down, bullied and intimidated: We are, in ways we may not know or realize, something that they fear. Knowing that, we are already armed with several facts:

They fear us so much they are now engaging in what will be their downfall.

Whatever it is, it must be powerful in us. So powerful that they want us to be afraid of who we are and what we can do.

One laugh can undo all their efforts and they have to start over.

They will have to spend every waking moment, and many a sleepless night, worried that we will see through them. Afraid of us.

It is nothing we have done wrong that causes them this fear and panic. It is what is in them that causes this fear and panic.

All we have to do is survive or die. If we die, they have to start over on someone else. And they have to fear that they will be found out on this. If we live, we live to tell the story, and their weaknesses, fears, all that they were afraid would be found out-- is revealed.

Fear is High Maintenance

The one thing I have seen that bullies fear the most is Truth. Truth is their undoing. It reveals them to us. It reveals them to their minions. It reveals them to themselves. Whatever that is, or means to them, it is something they cannot face. It is the demon they flee while tethered to it.

Fear relies on lies. Lies that create a general mindset that is other than the truth. An alternate reality of sorts. Alternate realities require constant construction and maintenance as the gaps, contradictions and flaws, all bring it down.

Like hoards of plasterers, minions carry the mortar and try to cover the flaws. More and more are created. Mortar is whipped up faster and with less thought, becoming thinner and less supportive, some of it, towards the end, won't even stick, much less dry.

It gets louder, but it fails. The more it fails, the weaker it becomes, the more the minions and their masters become afraid. The more they become afraid, and with fewer people to impose that on, and FEAR being the only skill or tool they have, they begin to turn against one another.

Blame is all they know, so they blame one another. They then cannot reglue those alliances as they see each other as the reason for their failures.

Truth is Low Maintenance

Truth is unchanging. More and more Truth can be revealed, but Truth itself, exists whole. Lies have to be manufactured and the recipes are flawed.

Speaking Truth to Lies, even the really loud lies, even the really bad-tempered lies, is all it takes to keep the lies from sticking, drying, becoming part of the scene as anything except a work of fiction, and of little enduring relevance.

One Truth, spoken over and over again, can undo the lies of history. One Truth, unchanging, more and more revealed, can crumble the lies that have fundamentally created a false history.

In this day and time, we can, by speaking Truth to Lies, prevent a false history from ever solidifying.

We have no enemies. We are all brothers and sisters in this Human Race. We have opposition, and that can be dealt with by laughing at fear merchants, speaking Truth to Lies. They can continue to divide us, and we can continue to appeal to that we all have in common: The Truth. They have it too. They just choose to ignore it.

It is more powerful than all their lies, and it reveals the core of their fears, from which they have chosen to deal, for far too long.

Once we realize we have Truth, we have already won. It just will take time to get there. Meanwhile, they and their minions, their plaster and their noise, are running from the beasts they created and are tethered to, until they let it go.

As long as they are feeding the fear, it will consume them. Fear must feed or starve. That is the way of Fear.

As long as we stand in Truth, we are sustained by Truth.

This is why the opposition is failing. They want us to believe we are failing, but we are winning. We are gaining. Their voices are everywhere, carrying their lies... but the Truth is unchanged, unmoved, unharmed. It is there for us to see, to know and to take sustenance from.

We have done good work. We have told the truth. We have not sold fear to anyone. Those who have it chose to feed it, and it is not our fault they can't let go as it is devouring them.

Their lies starve in our presence.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Cross-posted at Alan Colmes' 'LIBERALAND' site where I am a contributing writer.

There will be a quiet ceremony on Monday, April 19th. It won’t get national media coverage. There will be no Presidential proclamation. People attending will pass through a gate with the time “9:02″ inscribed on it and will hear remembrances of victims and stories of survivors. They will place flowers on 168 empty chairs made of bronze, glass and steel. It is a memorial to hatred and its costs and stands where the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City used to before Timothy McVeigh set off a large bomb and killed 168 of the people who worked there on that date in 1995. It’s a memorial to the worst act of domestic terrorism in the history of the United States.

We can thank President Bill Clinton acting swiftly and reassuring the nation that 4/19 isn’t as well known as 9/11. Clinton did not use the terrorist act to scare the country or take us to war. He said in his address at the first memorial service that this was a singular act by individuals and that the nation was still safe. He did not use it to restrict constitutional rights or allow anyone to ramp up fears of white supremacist Christian military veterans. Among the accomplishments of the Clinton presidency, his reaction to the Oklahoma terrorism has to rank in the top 5 if not #1.

Oklahoma City happened at the height of anti-Clinton hatred by the far right. Radio hate hosts were proclaiming daily that government was the enemy and that Bill Clinton was everything from a sexual predator, an outright traitor to a serial killer of at least 45 people.. This hate directed at a Democratic President was something new on the national stage at the time, or at least in the lifetime of those around at the time. To be certain, there’s always been crackpots willing to push outlandish and unbelievable conspiracies about any President but they’d been laughed at and dismissed. This time was the first time that the craziness went mainstream among a sizable minority of Americans.

Enter Timothy McVeigh. A veteran of the first Gulf War, he had come home to hook up with white supremacists and the extreme right. His education was the white supremacist wet dream of good: white Americans rising up against liberals and nonwhites and retaking “our country” set into print in the book, The Turner Diaries. Then came the standoff at Waco, Texas with the Branch Davidian cult. McVeigh was actually there, watching in horror at what he perceived as the Democrats murdering a Christian group over their guns in a huge, live-on-TV fire. That theme was picked up by the radio haters as well. The rest, as they say, is history.

And here we are, 15 years later, and the same dynamics that set in motion the mass murder of people whose only “crime” was that they went to work and their employer was the federal government are setting up again. There’s even more radio and television haters now than then preaching the gospel of hatred toward the federal government and another Democratic President.

If there’s a hopeful sign in any of this, it’s in the fact that the people who initially turned up the heat over an election defeat on the right to a boil are now trying to tone it down. Late certainly, but there are voices in the Republican Party and even the head of a ”Tea Party” who are speaking out against the violent rhetoric before it gets worse and moves into more actual violence than what’s already happened. We don’t need history to repeat or another date to commemorate.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Confederate History Month? Past Time for this to Stop.

Relatively-newly elected Republican Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell has ended 8 years of policy and declared the month of April "Confederate History Month" in his state.

I say enough.

Celebrate a war that killed the most Americans of all the wars we ever fought - and the fight being over which states got to keep slavery and which didn't?  No way.  Oh, we've all seen the excuses for this:  that it was over states' rights, that it's part of the South's "heritage" blah blah blah.  Let's be honest for once - this was a war for racism and the cheapest labor imaginable in the South as well as the largest act of treason in the history of the United States. 

Article 3 - The Judicial Branch
Section 3 - Treason

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

The Congress shall have power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.
The treason charge is the biggest one.  As much as they hate him, the South should drop to their knees in thanks at the mere mention of President Abraham Lincoln - it's thanks to him that ol' Jeff Davis and Bobby E. Lee weren't swinging at the end of a rope after their War of Secession and that they weren't occupied and treated as a defeated enemy nation.  Take a look back in history - Lincoln's position was hardly a popular one in the victorious Union and his thanks was a bullet in the back of his head fired by a "Confederate patriot."

Let's take a look at the "heritage" claim for keeping alive the memory of an event in American history that should evoke shame every time it is mentioned.  The supporters of memorializing the late Confederate States of America bring up the concept that doing so is in remembrance of a genteel Southern culture that should be looked back upon in fondness.  If you are white that is - it was far from "genteel" if you are of another skin tone and your memory of the time is of your ancestors being brought against their will overseas to another country to be sold into bondage.

They also claim as fact that their ancestors fought bravely for their side and should be remembered.  It's hard to argue against that - until you remember that German soldiers fought bravely for Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany as well.  Bravery doesn't excuse what either were fighting for and Germany, much to the chagrin of surviving Nazis there and their supporters, has chosen not to create a "Nazi Heritage Month" for very obvious reasons even though that chapter in German history is a lot more recent a past than our Civil War.  That would be as much a slap in the face to surviving German Jews and their families as a "Confederate Heritage Month" is to African-Americans.

So, what do we do about this?  The answer is in the response taken when certain Southern States insisted on flying what the NAACP and other civil rights groups have called the Confederate Swastika - aka the Rebel Flag - over their state capitols:  Boycott Virginia over this so-called "heritage" month declaration.  Virginia isn't the only state that does this, but it's a good start and just might send a message to the other Southern states that do this that celebrating a war for slavery is past due for ending.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Comedy Just Never Stops from the Right

We've been seeing how hard the righties are trying to rewrite history but the stories have mainly been about the Texas Board of Education. It's expanding.

This particular laff riot comes from Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal and Scantily Clad Pin-Ups "newspaper" and the James Taranto "Best of the Web" column. This particular entry entitled "Riot Is the Voice of the Unheard" two of the far right's favorite pastimes: rewriting history and defending the outrages of the 'conservatives' under the banner of, "BUT...THE DEMOCRATS/LIBERALS/LEFT DO IT TOO!"

What re-writing of history? Thanks to Mr. Taranto, we learn that the riots following the not guilty verdict in the Rodney King beating in April of 1992 had nothing to do with black Los Angelinos' anger at police getting away with another mistreatment (read: "beating the crap out of") of an African-American but was a political riot. Ummm, ok. Taranto fails to mention what political event sparked this riot - perhaps it was the fact that Bill Clinton was looking to be the Democratic nominee for President that year. Yeah, black people HATED that.

Wait, it gets better. Taranto claims that new-at-the-time Democratic Representative Maxine Waters defended the rioters and even egged them on - not unlike what several far right hate radio shows and the Fox GOP Channel is doing now when it comes to the Tea Partiers. He then takes several quotes from statements Waters made at the time that were clearly meant to defuse and calm the situation down in L.A. and tries his darndest to twist them around to look like she was not only excusing the riots, she supported their rioting. And there's your, 'BUT...DEMOCRATS DID IT TOO!!" defense of the violent rhetoric and actions of the stealth Republican Tea Party "movement."

What's the most hilarious thing about all of this is that anyone with a working memory who paid attention to the riots and who did what can easily shoot these claims down. Then again, this isn't directed to those people. This is a bit of fancy pageant walking for the right's True Believers who'll buy anything as long as it's against the liberals and the Democrats.

And they wonder why we don't take them seriously.