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Fear and Loathing in Bastrop

The office of the Bastrop County Republican Party is in an old lumber mill on Main Street, with peeling brown paint and a sign out front that captures the party’s feelings about the Obama administration: “WISE UP AMERICA!”

Inside, county Chairman Albert Ellison pulled out a yellow legal pad on which he had written page after page of reasons why many Texans distrust President Obama, including the fact that, “in the minds of some, he was raised by communists and mentored by terrorists.”

In my mind, I was born on Krypton, raised by a kindly farm couple, and mentored by the artificial intelligence of my dead dad. Unfortunately, that has no bearing on reality.

I also wonder if the contents of Ellison’s yellow legal pad are as cogent and rational as Jack Nicholson’s manuscript in The Shining.

So it should come as no surprise, Ellison said, that as the U.S. military prepares to launch one of the largest training exercises in history later this month, many Bastrop residents might suspect a secret Obama plot to spy on them, confiscate their guns and ultimately establish martial law in one of America’s proudly free conservative states.

This already sounds paranoid, but it’s especially absurd in light of the fact that Obama has gone on record as opposing military tactics from the police when dealing with civilians. But I suppose that was the radical Black Panther Obama who wants to let packs of Negroes run wild, setting fire to businesses, and terrorizing honest, law-abiding Americans. Today, Ellison is afraid of the Chairman Mao Obama who is going to turn America into a third-world dictatorship. Some might presume that because Obama has done nothing like this during his almost seven years in office that he probably isn’t going to get to around it. However, maybe the radical Black Panther Obama has been so busy eating fried chicken and watermelon that he’s going to have to pack all this in before the end of next year.

They are not “nuts and wackos. They are concerned citizens, and they are patriots,” Ellison said of his suspicious neighbors. “Obama has really painted a portrait in the minds of many conservatives that he is capable of this sort of thing.”

I dunno. “Nuts and wackos” seem a fair description of people who believe, with no compelling evidence, that an elected leader is either philosophically or even practically capable of establishing “martial law” in a free state.

Here in the soft, green farmlands east of Austin, some say the answer is simple: “The truth is, this stems a fair amount from the fact that we have a black president,” said Terry Orr, who was Bastrop’s mayor from 2008 to 2014.

Orr said he strongly disagrees with those views, and he supports Jade Helm. But he said a significant number of people in town distrust Obama because they think he is primarily concerned with the welfare of blacks and “illegal aliens.”

“People think the government is just not on the side of the white guy,” Orr said.

Yeah, if only the white guy could get a break in the United States.

 
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Posted by on July 5, 2015 in Political Theatre

 

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Post-Racial Pat Boone…

Pat Boone is annoyed with Barack Obama’s racist habit of pointing out racism.

“Mr. President! For God’s sake, and America’s sake, quit so often calling crimes that involve a black person ‘racist’!” said Boone, who was best known for his sanitized versions of rock songs by black artists in the 1950s, in a column posted online by World Net Daily.

Boone said he was deeply disappointed that Obama, the nation’s first black president, continued to discuss racial issues.

“As the president who came to office, a black man promising to bring people together, a man ideally suited for that job since you were born both black and white, you had a God-given chance to actually proclaim and demonstrate that racial divides and prejudice had greatly diminished and that our society was truly becoming colorblind,” the former pop singer complained.

In fact, our society is so colorblind that our racial Ray Charles here is completely unaware of any statistics associated with crime rates involving “black” people.

“At no time do I recall your mentioning the far greater instances of ‘black on black’ crimes, the high percentage of crimes of all types committed annually by blacks, or the senseless looting and violence that follows the inflamed ‘protests’ after one of the above-mentioned incidents,” Boone said. “Strange that you, our half-white president, have little to say about these things.”

Yes, it is strange that Obama never comments on things he repeatedly comments on.

Boone dismisses the massacre of nine black worshipers last week by an avowed white supremacist as a “satanically inspired” attack against Christians.

“Yes, I said, ‘inspired by Satan’!” Boone reiterated. “Though this had a racist element, to be sure, it was more than that and of far greater significance to America than that. This boy wasn’t just a sadist, or even criminally insane – he was carefully prepared and led by the Devil himself to kill as many Christians as he could. The fact that they were black was an excuse more than a reason.”

I guess.

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Impeaching like it’s 1999

Jonathan Capehart rallies Democrats with the fear that a GOP-controlled House and Senate will impeach and remove President Obama from office.

Writing about Rep. Eric Cantor’s  (R-Va.) stunning primary defeat last week, I warned Democrats that the House majority leader’s loss was as much a wake-up call for them as it was for the GOP. Well, now I want to warn them about a very real possibility: President Obama will be impeached if the Democrats lose control of the U.S. Senate.

It’s a noble get-out-the vote effort, but is it a rational consideration? I suppose when considering the current state of the GOP, it’s rational to bet on their collective irrationality. In the forty years since President Nixon resigned to avoid impeachment, we no longer discuss the procedure on legal grounds of any sort but basically whether there are enough votes for a party to overturn the results of an election. At least with President Clinton, there was a lengthy independent counsel investigation and a corresponding official report that beat 50 Shades of Grey to the erotica punch.

So, the Republicans need an actual crime or at least a stained dress. Would they proceed without one? Who knows with these guys. The House has become a telenovela — we don’t even expect reasonable behaviors and predictable motivations. I do disagree with Capehart’s math regarding the Senate. Even if it flips to the GOP, they won’t have two-thirds of the vote to remove the president from office.

Actually, impeachment is a two-step process that starts in the House. All it takes is a simple majority of that chamber to approve a single article of impeachment against the president for “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” Once that happens, a president is forever branded as having been impeached. President Andrew Johnson (1868) and President Bill Clinton (1998) share that distinction.

I doubt the average high school student or even Game of Thrones-watching adult remembers Clinton was impeached or even who Andrew Johnson is (no, not the guy on the $20). The impeachment “brand” was so devastating to the Clinton brand that allowed his wife to successfully run for the Senate in 2000. And Bill Clinton is more an active public figure than his successor. He’s hardly hiding away in the shadows.

No, I think the true question is whether the GOP wants to do Obama the favor of impeaching him. Or maybe they just think that’s what you do to two-term Democratic presidents.

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2014 in Political Theatre

 

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Defining “Nigger”…

Defining “Nigger”…

The police commissioner in Wolfeboro, N.H. stands by his use of a racial epithet to describe Barack Obama.

“I believe I did use the ‘N’ word in reference to the current occupant of the Whitehouse,” (Robert) Copeland said in the email to his fellow police commissioners… “For this, I do not apologize — he meets and exceeds my criteria for such.”

I have to say he doesn’t seem as friendly as the former police commissioner.

I’m curious as to how Obama “meets and exceeds” the official old person’s definition of a “nigger.” When more subtle bigots use the “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Racist” code word of “thug” to describe a black person, it’s usually applied to a teenager who wears a hoodie (without the forgivable exception of being a Portland resident or CEO of Facebook) or to a trash-talking football player. But Obama has no criminal record, dresses conservatively, has two kids to the same mother to whom he’s still married, and has a job — it’s a crappy, thankless job, but like many other black men in a similar situation, he takes pride in his work.

So, if even Obama exceeds Copeland’s “criteria” for nigger-hood, then it’s probably a low bar. Chalk up another win for Affirmative Action, I guess.

About 20 black people live in Wolfeboro, a town of 6,300 residents in the scenic Lakes Region, in the central part of New Hampshire, a state that’s 94 percent white and 1 percent black. None of the town police department’s 12 full-time officers is black or a member of another minority.

Resident Frank Bader mocked those who took offense at Copeland’s comments in a state that prizes freedom.

“All this man did was express his displeasure with the man who’s in office,” Bader said.

Oh, this again? At least he didn’t directly mention the first amendment. Despite that one Chris Rock routine every white person has apparently seen and memorized, “nigger” is not a qualitative noun. It’s not like Copeland called Obama an “idiot” or a “liar” or a “moron.” “Nigger” refers only to his skin color. Perhaps Copeland believes that is condemnation enough.

 

 

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Countdown to public apology starting… now…

ObamaKenya  Yahoo!’s Rachel Rose Hartman revives the birther controversy by referring to Barack Obama’s “country of birth” and not meaning the United States. This was later updated to the slightly more accurate but still curious “ancestral homeland.” Ancestral homeland?

Oh, right, the place his absentee dad lived. I guess that means he has some innate connection to it, sort of like Superman and Krypton.

 
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Posted by on June 21, 2013 in Political Theatre

 

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Sebelius vs. Science…

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius overruled the Food and Drug Administration Wednesday and stopped plans for the Plan B morning after pill to be sold over the counter. It is still available without a prescription but only to women (and I suppose men) over 17 who show proof of age, which at 17 would mean sulleness and a propensity for texting. Explaining her decision, Sebelius says she was “worried about confusing 11 year olds.”

Forget the 11 year olds; I’m 37 and her actions confuse me.

“I don’t think 11-year-olds go into Rite Aid and buy anything,” much less a single pill that costs about $50, (said American Academy of Pediatrics) member Dr. Cora Breuner, a professor of pediatric and adolescent medicine at the University of Washington.

Plan B is emergency contraception but not an abortion pill; it won’t affect an existing pregnancy.  The FDA believed no age limit was necessary, but is there an actual risk to minors who take the pill? Sebelius isn’t talking but Greg Pfundstein at the National Review explains his support for the decision.

The general outline of the controversy is familiar enough. Plan B and similar drugs are controversial because in addition to their contraceptive effects they are known to have abortifacient effects by preventing fertilized embryos from implanting in the uterine wall. Advocates for wider availability of the drug decry those who stand in the way of a simple means of decreasing the number of abortions and out-of-wedlock births, all for the sake of very early fetal life. Imagine the “scramble — often in late-night or weekend panics after having sex without protection.” Opponents of trivializing sex, on the other hand, think that we should be concerned about how we treat all, even inchoate, human life, and, moreover, wonder why on earth we would want to decrease the caution in that late-night scenario. Do we really want to make it easier to have irresponsible sex and then run along to the nearest 24-hour retailer to pop a pill?

The sentiment here would not confuse an 11 year old. This is the standard, generally offensive judgment of women who are sexually active. Plan B wouldn’t make it “easier to have irresponsible sex.” Irresponsible sex is already easy. It’s an absolute. You can’t improve its simplicity. However, birth control — even when responsibly used — does fail. When that occurs, it’s responsible to take action.

This decision forces a minor to go to her parents if she wants the pill, which removes the choice over its usage and potentially her own pregnancy from her. Forcing women over 17 — presumably even those twice that age — to show proof of age and purchase behind the counter also restricts their privacy and needlessly so without a compelling medical reason.

Dr. Margaret Hamburg, the head of the FDA, disagreed with Not-a-Doctor Pfundstein, saying in The New York Times that the “studies and experts all agreed that young women would benefit from having easy access to the pill and did not need the intervention of a health care provider.”

The agency’s scientists, she wrote, “determined that the product was safe and effective in adolescent females, that adolescent females understood the product was not for routine use, and that the product would not protect them against sexually transmitted disease.”   

A mandate to purchase health insurance is a constitutional crisis, but the Obama Administration placing an age restriction on the purchase of a health-related item that’s proven safe is met with applause from the same people who thought the administration overreached with health care. You’d think they were the guy from “Memento.”

I suppose it’s important to ensure that women don’t have irresponsible sex but if they do, they become irresponsible mothers and eventually raise irresponsible kids who can walk into an Arizona gun show and buy semiautomatic pistols without a background check.

Arizona is the state where a punk with a gun almost assassinated a congresswoman. It’s also where you can carry a concealed weapon into a bar or a school. There have ben no recommendations for sensible changes to our gun laws since then. The Second Amendment is inviolable in this country, but a woman’s autonomy apparently is not.

 

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Rick Perry, Man of Faith..

Presidential candidate Rick Perry released the following commercial:

Only #RickPerry is bold enough to release a commercial affirming his lack of shame in belonging to the same religion as 83% of U.S. citizens, as well as insulting homosexuals, who amount to a whopping 1.5% Who will stand behind Perry as he faces such overwhelming odds?

There is apparently nothing nobler than serving in the U.S. military… unless you’re gay. What sort of fiends are we dealing with who wish to put their lives at risk for the safety of others, many of whom often vote to deny them basic rights? They must have some insidious master plan — like when the Legion of Doom pretended to be the Legion of Good.

Perry insists that Obama has launched a “war on religion.” It’s unclear what the president has done to attack Christianity (what conservatives usually mean when they say “religion,” just as they mean “heterosexuals” when they say “Americans”). The best I can come up with are any efforts for inclusion Obama’s administration has made for groups or belief systems that conservative Christians don’t like.

When Perry talks about kids not being able to openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school, he seems to have confused the United States with Sombertown and Obama with the Burgermeister Meisterburger from “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town.”

Christians have complained about the apparent secularization of Christmas (while taking their kids to see Santa at the mall) for years. The expression “war on Christmas” dates back to 2005 when Bush was in office, so yet another attack on the U.S. that occurred on his watch and for which conservatives blame liberals.

Children can pray in school. Teachers don’t smack a kid in the head if they spot them saying grace before a meal — and you might want to pray before eating a school lunch these days. What can’t occur is school-approved prayer. There are several logical reasons for this, as David E. Ross details:

  • Non-sectarian prayers are impossible. A prayer is an expression of hope, praise, or thanksgiving directed to God. If religion is removed from prayer in an attempt to make it inoffensive to all religions, it become meaningless and offensive to those who are truly religious. A “sanitized” expression is no longer real prayer.
  • Public schools are funded by taxes collected from persons of all religious beliefs. It is wrong to tax a person of one religion in support of the practices of another religion or to tax an atheist to support religion in general. It is even more wrong to tax parents to provide facilities and supervision where their children will participate in a religious activity that may differ from their own family’s practices. In any case, these taxes are collected to operate systems of public education, not public religion.
  • A teacher’s direction, “Let us pray!” is insufficient. (For a government employee — a public school teacher — to give such an order is offensive.) True prayer (even for adults) requires a state of mind that is not obtained immediately upon command. Often, this state of mind requires several minutes of contemplation, ritual, or even hymn singing. Different religions reach this state differently. This is an inappropriate activity for a group of individuals with differing religious beliefs and practices.
  • “Optional” prayer among children is not really possible. Peer pressure among children is very strong. They have trouble resisting pressures to engage in disapproved activities such as drinking alcohol and premarital sex. When officially approved and endorsed by government, pressure from peers to conform in prayer would be impossible to resist. In this manner, children will thus be led into an activity that may be contrary to their parents’ religious beliefs.

You can debate the Constitutionality and suitability of school-approved prayer — arguably not the best debate to have as the U.S. education ranking continues to drop, but you can’t claim this is anything new. It goes back decades.

Conservatives groups do point to Obama’s 2009 stimulus bill, which they claim was “an attempt to prevent religious practice in schools.”

According to the bill, which the Democratic-controlled House passed despite unanimous Republican opposition, funds are prohibited from being used for the “modernization, renovation, or repair” of facilities that allow “sectarian instruction, religious worship or a school or department of divinity.” 

The American Civil Liberties Union pointed out that the restriction has “been the law since 1972,” when another famous Republican president was in office. Perhaps Watergate was part of a then-11-year-old Obama’s far-reaching plan to curtail religious expression in the nation.

You know, all this talk about gays and prayer doesn’t come close to addressing any of the real issues the country faces (though, rampant homophobia and religious fanaticism are serious concerns). I would venture to hope that Perry realizes this, as well, and with his campaign faltering and having no real solutions to offer, he does what any desperate, shameless man would do:

You gather a group of middle-age, middle class, middle income voters who remember with longing an easier time, and you talk to them about family, and American values and character.

If Americans believe in values and character, they should also know that you can’t build either by denigrating other Americans, other nations, other faiths, other orientations. What leader is remembered today for having invented enemies and threats of their own creation rather than going after the ones they help enable?

Rick Perry probably knows this, but as Andrew Shepherd would say, the problem isn’t that he doesn’t get it, it’s that can’t sell it.

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2011 in Political Theatre

 

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