Tag Archives: arizona

Do something

This is who America put in charge of the House Oversight Committee:

Darrell Issa, a man who used his power to prevent the ranking Democrat on the committee from using his opening statement to charge that Issa prevented the summoning of a witness from JPMorgan Chase to explain the bank’s role in alleged foreclosure fraud.

This is who Kentuckians, already saddled with a man who likes like a turtle and declared that his main goal for the next two years is to stop Barack Obama from being re-elected, chose to join Mitch McConnell in the Senate:

Rand Paul, a man who declared on CNN he wanted to end all foreign aid. ALL foreign aid. No exceptions. Of course, he also isn’t sure he would have voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

New Mexico. That’s a state that skipped jumping the shark and went all the way to batshit insane. The new governor, Susana Martinez, picked Harrison Schmidt, to head up the state’s environmental concerns. Schmitt, in case the name sounds familiar, is a former astronaut and U.S. senator, who went on conspiracy freak Alex Jones’ radio show to claim that “the environmental movement” is just a bunch of commies scaring people by misusing science.

But then, New Mexico is right next door to Arizona, which is following up its “show your papers” law by banning ethnic studies in public schools and targeting the 14th Amendment because it declares that if you’re born in the United States, you’re a citizen. Can’t have that. The children of illegal immigrants might send secret messages to their mothers from the womb, forcing them to risk life and limb to illegally cross the border so they can be born here and eventually run for president.

By the way, the aforementioned Paul and the diaper-wearing pig senator from Louisiana, David Vitter, are introducing legislation to amend that birthright citizenship thing right out of the Constitution. Which I think means that Alberto Gonzales would never have gotten to be a judge or attorney general of the United States.

Michele Bachmann.

Rep. Paul Broun, M.D., R-Georgia, can tweet. “Mr. President, you don’t believe in the Constitution. You believe in socialism.” Obviously, the Queen has not taught him how to abbreviate appropriately. But Broun wouldn’t know a socialist if one bit him, not unlike the others of his ilk. If Obama were a socialist, Tim Geithner would not get a White House tour, let alone be Treasury Secretary. Broun also didn’t want to sit with any Democrats during the State of the Union and listen to while Obama “spews his venom.” Right after the 2008 election, he declared that Obama was gonna establish a “Gestapo-like” security force to impose a “Marxist dictatorship.” He’s also said he’s afraid Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Obama would unleash a pandemic disease or use a natural disaster to declare martial law. Last year, he told Republicans in Georgia that Obama has what he needs to declare himself a dictator: “a national police force, gun control and control over the press.” I guess that’s not too weird for a guy who still calls the Civil War “The Great War of Yankee Aggression.” The man is seriously deranged. And a doctor. I wouldn’t see him for a hangnail.

Rush Limbaugh did a little racist mocking of the Chinese president last week. That’s OK though, because he’s Rush Limbaugh. Apparently California State Sen. Leeland Yee didn’t get the memo. He demanded that Limbaugh apologize. Limbaugh, of course, ranted about Yee, who promptly received faxed death threats from someone who said that Limbaugh would “kick your chink ass and expose you for the fool you are.” The San Francisco Chronicle:

The anonymous faxes, laced with racial epithets and misspellings, were addressed to “JoBama Rectum Sniffing Moron LEELAND LEE” and call Yee a “fish head,” according to a copy provided by Yee’s office.

The faxes include a drawing of a U.S. flag-adorned pickup truck towing a noose that is looped around what appears to be a caricature head of President Barack Obama. The document says: “Without exceptions, Marxists are enemies of the United States Constitution! Death to all Marxists! Foreign and Domestic!”

Lila Rose, the female version of James O’Keefe, went after a more sophisticated target than O’Keefe. She tried to punk Planned Parenthood, which, being 100 years old and knowing a thing or two about assholes, especially since O’Keefe and Andrew Breitbart have been so obvious about the tactic, didn’t fall for it. Instead, they notified the Justice Department after several of their offices were visited by men who were very pushy about wanting to set up health care for the underaged girls who were part of their sex trafficking rings.

John Boehner. He’s giving the keynote address at an insurance industry conference’s “lobbying day.”

We won’t be getting filibuster reform. Harry Reid and McConnell came up with a devil’s brew that keeps anything like that from happening. Instead, Harry promised that the Democrats would let the Republicans add a couple of amendments to bills and Mitch promised the Republicans wouldn’t filibuster as much. Oh, and it takes 67 votes to change the rules of the Senate.

Republicans lie. Democrats are just stupid.

And while they’re at it, Republicans are trying to eliminate the OPTIONAL public finance of presidential elections, because for some reason they think that will decrease the deficit. I have a better idea. Eliminate the private finance of presidential elections — in fact, of ALL elections. Let media provide some free ad space — a limited amount — hold some debates. Provide some funding for mailings. NO ROBO-CALLS. Think about it. And try to make it happen, although neither side wants any restrictions on the amount of bullshit they can put out in an election. Too bad, I say.

And Tea Partiers, your next president thinks that the launch of a shiny, 23-inch diameter, 184-pound ball with four antennae attached in 1957 caused the collapse in 1991 of the Soviet Union. Ah, hell. You probably do too. But I always thought it was Saint Ronnie. TPers, your next president needs to stick with one story.

And for the record, here’s what did it in a nutshell:

  • Gorbachev opened the political system
  • Gorbachev trashed the 5-year plan economic system
  • The Cold War ended.
  • Eastern Europe started dropping its communists.

All of those things started years earlier, of course — but the bottom line was that the Soviet system was too rigid and dogmatic. Its rigidity and dogmatism, which ultimately killed it, also kept it standing long after the Union had breathed its last. Kinda like those jeans you say are so filthy they can stand on their own.

And finally, WTF? I mean, really. The half-term governor of Alaska, and the Tea Party’s next president, went on and on about Obama’s “Winning the Future” theme, making snide little WTF comments … like some high school sophomore or left wing blogger who likes to mispronounce Boehner. Not presidential, folks. Not at all.

I tell you all this just because I see it. I can’t get away from it, and I think you should see it too, and not just gloss over it. Drink it in. Remember it. Tell your parents, aunts and uncles. Your grandparents. Your children. Your boss, your dentist. Anybody. Everybody. You don’t even have to deliver the news with much editorial comment, unless you’re like me and can’t resist the snark. But the problem should be obvious.

We’re fucked. Unless we do something about it.

Just how fucked are we?

A majority of Americans support Arizona’s attempt to become a racist police state. Now, a majority also thinks the new law out there in the wild west will lead to racial profiling, but, hey, what’s a little racial profiling among friends, huh?

If that’s not a direct indication of the racist hearts of Americans nowadays — that people don’t care if the brown and black people are profiled — then I don’t know what is. If it were the other way around, d’ya think they’d like it so much?

Remember the Arizona deputy who was shot last week? Originally, we were told he was shot by illegal immigrants. With and AK47. Now, I’m thinking that not too many illegal immigrants carry around AK47s, but what do I know? I’m just a dirty miscreant hippie. But sure enough, we find out later that the dudes who shot the deputy (but not the sheriff, who wasn’t there) were dug smugglers. They may well have been in the country illegally, but they were also doing something quite illegal at the time. Same with the rancher who was shot and killed on a ranch, the incident that got the Arizona legislature on this kick to begin with. The illegal immigrant in question was a drug smuggler.

In fact, virtually all the crime that the legislature was looking to cut down on with this crackdown on illegal immigrants is done by drug smugglers. But instead of looking at the drug problem, the lawmakers made a law that doesn’t just target drug smugglers. And it doesn’t just target illegal immigrants. It targets anybody who looks like they might be an illegal immmigrant, which, in Arizona, means anyone who isn’t white.

Of course, the supporters of these kinds of measures won’t tell you about the drug smugglers. But they will spare no expense to tell you about the scary, scary Mexicans swarming across the border by the millions to take your jobs and usurp the benefits paid for by your tax dollars (the very same benefits, by the way, that most of the supporters of this kind of law don’t want you to have either).

I’m sure you’ve seen and hears the teabaggers going on and on about how Obama is shredding the Constitution. But from just that little discussion above, it’s damn clear who’s doing the shredding these days. But this is what conservatives do. They accuse the reset of us of doing what they’re doing, putting us on the defensive because damn we don’t like to be accused of being unAmerican.

The eight years of unmitigated fear mongering we had during the Bush administration has very nearly killed us. Far too many folks fall for it now. You and I are at an extreme disadvantage, and yes, my colleagues are quite culpable in that.

Speaking of my illustrious colleagues, they’ve spent much of the last week goading Republicans into complaining that Faisal Shahzad, the incompetent Times Square wannabe terrorist, got Mirandized. Not that it took a lot of goading, because these country-lovin, Constitution-supportin, gun-totin hypocrites live by the Constitution’s exception clause, wherein all the rights and responsibilities iterated in our ruling document apply to everyone except the people they’re afraid of. They also use the exception clause to exempt certain member of society — them — from certain laws. Pretty good racket they’ve got goin there.

See, the thing about conservatives is that they are completely convinced that they and only they have the right to rule. They are never wrong, always right, and the rest of us need to shut the fuck up and get out of the way.

But let’s get back to Shahzad, shall we? What a loser. Dude even bought the wrong kind of fertilizer, a mistake conservative hero Tim McVeigh certainly didn’t make. But boy those conservatives are just riddled with fear over this guy. And it’s all Obama’s fault, of course. Obama’s fault that he got naturalized and the security checks didn’t flag him, because, you know, terrorists, being Muslims, are bound and determined to attack the United States from the day they are born, unlike, say, white guy and Christian Joe Stack, who’d just had enough of the socialist government of the United States one day and flew his airplane into an IRS building.

Shahzad was also “allowed” to get on a plane. Incompetence! the conservatives scream. Yeah, but there’s just one little thing wrong with that. Shahzad got on the plane because hemadehis reservation on the way to the airport but didn’t pay until he was there. So he wasn’t on the passenger manifest right away. But by the time he had actually gotten to his seat, he was, and Customs and Border Protection took him off. Then the plane started to leave, but CBP called it back to make sure they had the right guy — and that the plane was safe.

And then there’s the Miranda thing. As if they didn’t get enough of that with the totally incompetent wannabe terrorist underwear bomber. This time, though, there was a difference — Shahzad is a citizen, although, of course, not a real citizen since he was naturalized. But the damn Constitution says that makes him a citizen.

That wasn’t enough, though, to stop folks like John McCain and Pete King from saying it was a mistake to read him his rights, even though the attorney general told us that he’d waived his rights and kept providing information even after he was Mirandized.

Pete King even had the quote of the week.

I know he’s an American citizen, but still.

But still. Joe Lieberman has an idea, though, to take that “but still” right out of the mix. He’s introducing a bill to strip terror suspects of their citizenship. And ship them to Gitmo.

Just gotta be a suspect, man. That’s the American way. If we think you’re guilty, you are. Especially if you’re not White Like Me.

And that’s the way the Arizona law reads too. Just gotta be a suspect. And you’d better have you’re papers in order. But there won’t be any racial profiling, y’know.

And of course, the failed Times Square attack has the conservatives falling all over themselves to be the first to say that it proves we need stricter immigration laws, just like they did after 9/11. Couldn’t be more predictable. Some congressman, whose name I flushed out of my mind, even issued an incomprehensible news release in which he said that the failed attack in Times Square justified the Arizona law.

Conservative bloggers are all over that too, except for the most part they’re calling for stricter regulations against Muslim immigrants, rather than Arizona’s unwritten Hispanic rules.

So how fucked are we? Unless and until a whole lot more people take the blinders off and see what they’re doing to themselves, not to mention the country, I’d say we’re pretty damn fucked. And I didn’t even get to the part about the Ayatollah Limbaugh’s new theory: that environmentalists blew up the Deepwater Horizon as some sort of black flag operation to discredit the oil companies, as if they need any outside help.

Limbaugh and the other conservatives who are playing that song do so because that’s something they’d do. They don’t get it that the rest of us don’t operate like that. We care just a little bit more about honesty and integrity, fairness and justice.

That puts us behind the 8-ball sometimes. But in the long run, it’s the only way to go.

Recovering from stupidity

We’ve got a problem.

I’m not talking about our political woes, up to and including the politically-led bankruptcy of everything good and decent about this place we call our country, although that’s  certainly a problem.

No, the problem I’m talking about may well be the underlying source, the wellspring from which that particular malignancy has sprung.

The problem we’re facing now is that we have too damn many stupid people.

And no, I don’t mean uneducated people. I know some pretty darn smart uneducated people, and god knows some folks with all the degrees money can buy are just plain damn stupid. And that’s what I mean.

But it goes beyond just having too many stupid people. It’s almost like we want people to be stupid. And we certainly don’t want them to go the way of natural selection. No, we coddle them.

You heard me. We coddle stupid people. We make their lives comfortable and safe so they won’t hurt themselves or other people too badly. Look at all the ridiculous warning labels we put on things so the stupid people won’t do something stupid. Except they will, or maybe even come up with something even more stupid than what’s on the label.

How about a fishing hook with a label that says “Harmful if swallowed?” No, duh. Really? Washing machines carry labels warning not to put people in them. An iPod Shuffle warns not to eat it. A blender label warns not to try to stop the blades with your hands. A hair dryer warns that it shouldn’t be used in the shower. An electric router (for carpenters not computers) says that it shouldn’t be used as a dentist’s drill. A night time sleep aid that warns it may cause drowsiness. A stroller suggests removing the child before folding for storage. A clothes iron warns not to iron clothes while you’re wearing them. The label on a Batman costume says the cape won’t enable flight (because everybody knows Batman didn’t fly).

I know. You’re all out there saying, but Nunzia, those labels are really there to protect the manufacturers of the products from ridiculous lawsuits.

Yeah, from stupid people! Back where I come from, there’s a common joke. Ready? OK, here goes:

What’s a redneck’s last words?

Hey, y’all, watch this!

Stupid people, I tell you.

And what happens when you coddle stupid people and protect them from the natural laws of evolution? Well, they do more stupid things.  And more stupid things. And then more, and pretty soon, their stupidity starts to affect the rest of us.

Take Arizona, for example. The home state of John “I’m only a maverick when I”m bucking my own party, otherwise I’m a partisan hack” McCain has now made apartheid official policy.

OK, that’s an exaggeration. But you better not forget your wallet when you leave the house, because police don’t have to have a reason to ask you for your papers now. Well, they do, kinda. It’s supposed to be some reasonable reason to suspect that you might not be in the country legally, but that’s not defined. The governor promises training, but I suspect when it comes down to it, the only reasonable reason to suspect that you might actually be in the country legally will be if you’re blonde and blue-eyed. Like the governor. I doubt Arizona has too many problems with northern European illegals.

On the other hand, I’d be really keen to find out who a Navajo or Hopi officer would reasonably suspect might be in Arizona illegally. Hope the governor is carrying her papers at all times.

Now, before my conservative friends start clenching their asses so tight they can’t breathe, let me say that our immigration non-system is fucked up, seriously. But you don’t fix it by putting a bunch of local deputy sheriffs on the streets and tell them to make sure everybody’s legal. You also don’t fix it by deporting 12 million people, as many conservatives would like to do. Know why? Because it would cost more than it costs to bail out the conservatives’ buddies in the banking industry, which, incidentally, they’re all trying to pretend they oppose now. What we need is a little common sense and not the fear and anger ginned up by politicians aiming to take full advantage of their unthinking constituents.

Of course, that’s kinda the prescription for anything that ails us right now. Quit playing the stupid for fools and get real.

Back to Arizona, though, which doubled down on the stupid. The governor hasn’t signed it at this writing, but the legislature passed a bill requiring that presidential candidates prove they’re U.S.-born before they can be put on the ballot in the state. They say it had nothing to do with our Kenyan-born president, although it was sponsored by people who believe the president was born in Kenya even though he’s already proven he wasn’t. No word on who in Arizona will be the final arbiter of the veracity of Obama’s Hawaii birth certificate, which has already been proven to be real and legitimate.

The stupid gets worse too. How about a Republican contender for Harry Reid’s seat in Nevada who thinks people should barter things like livestock and house-painting for health care? Sue Lowden was actually quite clearly talking about bargaining on the price of health care when she used the word “barter.” But when she was given an opportunity to correct herself, she doubled down and said she meant to say barter, that there was nothing wrong with that because “in olden times” it was perfectly acceptable to bring chickens to the doctor’s office.

I was willing to give Lowden the benefit of the doubt in the beginning — who hasn’t used the wrong word before? But that got harder when she insisted she meant what she said. And the real proof of stupidity was actually using the phrase “in olden times.” Seriously, Sue, you’re not old enough to say that and not appear stupid. Get with the times.

On the other hand, Lowden was once Miss New Jersey and second runner-up in the Miss America contest. That’s not to say that beauty contestants are all stupid. And remember, some very smart people are also quite stupid.

Speaking of women, conservatives have a problem there with the stupid too. Erick “I cleaned up my act (sorta) so I could get a gig with CNN” Erickson of Red State had no problem tweeting about “ugly feminists” who should “get back in the kitchen” back in February, after he had supposedly quite tweeting stupid things like calling a Supreme Court justice a “goat fucking child molester” and urging that conservatives go beat their congresscritters “to a bloody pulp” (a sentiment that resurfaced in one of Erick’s blog posts just a coupla weeks ago). The Medina County, Ohio, GOP also sees women as slaves cooks too. It sent out a flyer to voters urging that they put Rep. Betty Sutton “back in the kitchen” and elect a Republican instead. They apologized, of course — they always do — but they’re only apologizing that they were stupid enough to say what they think out loud, not that they’re misogynist assholes.

And there’s just not any need to go into the stupid displayed on race and gays. Seriously.

The worse stupid of all, though, is all the lies. Mitch McConnell is still pretending that the financial reform bill will codify “too big to fail,” which is stupid when you look at reality and realize TBTF is codified NOW. But my colleagues are busy coddling the multi-chinned one. Instead of saying, Mitch, baby, that’s a lie, we’re just doing what we usually do. We put on a Democrat to say no, that’s not right. We report, you decide.

Fuck that, man. You can’t decide if all we’re doing is playing stenographer to spin doctors. The financial reform bill, which is pretty darn weak, just like the health care reform bill, but is nevertheless much better than leaving things as they are, which apparently is The Republican Way. Now, the bill’s not gonna end TBTF, but it’s not gonna set up an endless litany of bailouts either, as McConnell insists after his brazen meeting with the Wall Street fat cats to get his talking points in order.

What, does he think we’re all stupid?

Well, that’s kinda the point. The liars and obfuscators in Congress count on our stupidity. And that’s not just The Republican Way, it’s The American Way.

The good news is that we can recover from stupidity. It doesn’t have to be fatal. But it takes, first, an admission that we are stupid, and that the entire country has become unmanageable because of it. And then we have to reject the coddling, and stop coddling each other.

After that, we begin the long hard climb out of the hole our stupidity as dug for us.

I know, it sounds terrifying. Thinking for ourselves, actually reading things and understanding them rather than depending on the familiar lying faces on what was once affectionately called the “boob tube” (and not because it featured women’s breasts).

But we can do it, I know we can. Just take the first step.