Posts Tagged ‘racism’

Let’s beat up on Ron Paul

August 23, 2011

Ron Paul fans should be careful about what they wish for.

Last week on The Daily Show, Jon Stewart did a segment on how the media’s been conspicuously avoiding coverage of the Quixotic Presidential campaign of Ron Paul. His supporters loved it, probably hoping that more coverage of Paul would mean more people getting on board with his campaign. But more coverage means more coverage of his crazier positions too, and there are a lot of them. During the 2008 Republican candidates’ “debates” (they’re kind of like debates in that people in suits stand at lecterns), the candidates were asked to raise their hands if they believed in evolution. Most of the candidates did so, including Ron Paul. Then John McCain said something goofy about how he helped Jesus dig the Grand Canyon, or something like that. Shortly afterwards, a video showed up on the internet of Paul telling a much smaller, conservative Christian audience that he doesn’t believe in evolution.

“I, um, I think there, that it’s a theory. The theory of evolution. And I don’t accept it. You know, as a theory. I think the creator that, that I know, uh, you know, created us, every one of us, created the Universe. And the precise time and manner and uh, and all. I just don’t think we’re at the point where anybody has absolute truth on either side.” -Ron Paul

So we’ve got two possible ways of reconciling these contradictory positions: Either Paul is an evolution denying creationist and he lies to the much larger national audience, or he accepts what we know about how we came to exist and lies to smaller groups of ideologically skewered constituents when he thinks nobody will notice. Neither of those possibilities make him look good, especially since he’s been trying to earn this label of consistency in his campaigns. And that’s not even the extent of Paul’s weird Christianity. In 2003, he wrote a pretty terrible essay called The War on Religion for his friend Lew Rockwell. Rockwell’s another supposed “libertarian” who’s worked closely with Paul for decades. But anyway, this essay just reiterates Bill O’Reilly’s War on Christmas screeds, but with even less literary skill. Check this out:

As we celebrate another Yuletide season, it’s hard not to notice that Christmas in America simply doesn’t feel the same anymore.

If you read it, you’ll find Paul loves him some passive tense. It makes attacking your perceived enemies so much easier when you don’t have to actually identify them. Literacy problems aside, Paul doesn’t even seem to have a basic grasp of the Constitution he claims to hold in such esteem. He moans and bitches about the “anti-religious elites” who want to “transform America into a completely secular nation,” as if America wasn’t a secular nation from the very beginning. Apparently Paul believes America’s founders just forgot to mention that America is a Christian nation anywhere in the Constitution, which is weird since he claims to respect them so much. But here’s my favorite part of his whinefest:

Most noticeably, however, the once commonplace refrain of “Merry Christmas” has been replaced by the vague, ubiquitous “Happy Holidays.” But what holiday? Is Christmas some kind of secret, a word that cannot be uttered in public?

This is the kind of lack of self-awareness you get in true religious zealots. I doubt it even needs to be said, but if not saying Christmas means that it’s a secret which can’t be uttered in public, then the same must be true of all other religious holidays at that time of year. A Jew could just as easily claim that saying either Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays is driving Hanukkah underground. But Paul is incapable of looking at this “War on Christmas” nonsense from any perspective (let alone a Jewish one) other than his own narrow one.

Paul’s often described as Liberterian. There’s a tiny bit of truth to that, since his policies certainly lean that way. But Paul has been a Republican since at least 1992. He ran for President on the Liberterian ticket in 1988, and since then he’s been working in politics as a Republican. In ’92, Paul endorsed and advised the campaign of the racist Nazi sympathizer Pat Buchanan, who went on to lose the nomination for the Republican Party to George H. W. Bush.

Besides being “liberterian,” the other sales pitch for Ron Paul For President, Inc. has been that although he’s extremely conservative on fiscal issues, he’s socially liberal. He wants to legalize pot, for instance. But when it comes down to it, he sticks to the (Republican) party line on culture war issues. If you check out his voting record, you’ll see his votes against allowing adoption for gay couples in Washington, DC, against same-sex marriage, against taxpayer funding for abortions, and for displaying the Ten Commandments in government offices and courthouses. So much for his being “not a typical Republican.”

Some of those votes go back a few years, so it’s probably also worth noting that Paul’s still hammering away at culture war issues on behalf of his fellow Republicans. He’s even just recently tried to portray his advocacy of government restrictions on abortion as if it were on liberterian grounds:

“There is something that precedes liberty, and that is life,” Paul said. “If we are to defend liberty … you have to understand where that liberty, and where that life comes from. It does not come from the government, it comes from our creator.”
Paul recalled somewhat graphic stories from his time as an obstetrics-gynecology resident to explain his opposition to abortion rights.

There he goes again with all this “creator” talk, while at the same time saying that abortion should be illegal. And for some reason his supporters will keep on claiming that he’s not like those other Republicans, oh no, not at all.

There are some ways in which Ron Paul is different from the rest, but those are mostly issues where he out-flanks his colleagues on the right. So while your Republican neighbor next door wants to reduce regulations and “cut some red tape,” Paul wants to just eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Education, the Department of Energy, the Department of Health and Human Services, and many more. While your average Republican might agree with Rick Perry’s crazy idea to just stop the printing of paper currency, Ron Paul would like to go back to the Gold Standard.

Speaking of the Gold Standard, it’s possibly revealing to go back and look at the arguments made for it when it was an issue – back when Dr. Paul was 728 years young. It turns out that there was a heavy emphasis on what they called “natural law.” That doesn’t mean the laws of physics. They had some strange ideas back then about natural hierarchies of elements, and it turns out that people with a lot of gold discovered that gold was at the top of that hierarchy. Nice coincidence, huh? They drew an analogy to a supposed natural hierarchy among humans with (surprise, surprise!) white males on top.

Ron Paul, seen here forced by the government to work with a black guy to save the Federal Reserve.

So in this way they argued that changing to paper money would be a horrible tragedy which would upset both this hierarchy of elements as well as the patriarchy, both of which were backed up by this “natural law.” It’s the worst of the worst of hippy nonsense – all the mindless worship of nature and the naturalistic fallacy without any of the socially enlightened impulses against sexism and racism.

Paul also had some race issues when someone working on one of his newsletters wrote some terribly racist stuff on his behalf. To be fair, that staffer was eventually fired. And if it were just a matter of just that instance, or if it were just his weird views on gold and “natural law,” or if it were just an early 90s gig with Pat Buchanan, or if it were just the fact that his supporters are overwhelmingly white, any one of those could be overlooked. But when you consider each of them, you start to get a very different picture of who Ron Paul is and what he’s all about. That should make most of his supporters uncomfortable, but that’s what they asked for when they wanted more coverage of him.

Leave it to a humorless, subhuman Belgian to take this seriously

July 4, 2011

There’s a wonderful children’s book out for all the parents out there who want to teach their children about international politics and the case for a Belgian genocide. Here is a quick outline of the case for killing all the Belgians:

What has [Belgium] contributed to world culture? Fluffy waffles. A few varieties of beer and chocolate. That’s about it. Which raises the question: what have the Belgians been doing with their time instead? Maybe Belgium chokes the world with its sweet, sweet waffles to divert us from its growing imperialist ambitions, as the Belgians build a war machine on a scale undreamt of by Alexander or Genghis Khan.

Terrifying. And if that didn’t convince you, there is also this testimony on the Belgians from John Cleese.And if you’re still not convinced all Belgians must die and their “culture” be wiped out forever, check out this response to this book from a real live Belgian. It starts off by trying to convince us that the Belgians really have made contributions to the world by inventing the saxophone and French fries. Then things get even weirder:

So, now that we’ve put these things straigt, I should give you some advise for the next time you think of writing this kind of  book.  First of all: a bit of research wouldn’t harm, you know?  We don’t eat brains.  We have stopped doing that since mad cow disease started spreading.  We don’t eat puppy’s.  I thought the chinese did that? You can buy a dog in a chinese market and they’d ask you if you want it cut and deboned .

It’s just like a Belgian to blame the Chinese for their own puppy-eating. This appalling racism is par for the course in Belgium, which is why we must immediately level the entire country and erase any mention of them from the pages of history – if there actually are any mentions of them in history.

We must prepare the next generation for another war in Europe. The savage Belgians are so committed to their national identity that they have obliterated their collective sense of humor. And so we must eliminate these barbarians from the face of the Earth before it’s too late.

6 Fundamentalist Movies You Should Watch

July 3, 2011

Gates of Hell

I learned about this movie from Right Wing Watch, which is an organization that watches the right wing. And they watched the right wing pushing this movie, and it looks awesome.

Have you heard about how conservatives have been trying to sell African-Americans on the idea of being against legal abortion lately? They’re putting up these nutty billboards (some of which imply that blacks are a distinct species) and running goofy political ads on the radio. See, they’re not racist anymore! They’re really concerned about black babies and how letting black women have abortions is like genocide. And that breaks their hearts, They are very concerned about black people. That’s what they’re pushing. It reminds me of how neo-Nazis like David Duke will pretend to be so compassionate to the Palestinians, when in reality they’re clearly more motivated by hating Jews than anything else.

Anyway, since the billboards and radio ads can only do so much, they’ve decided to make a movie about their abortion/race war fantasies. In this movie, black people are finally convinced by the WorldNetDaily (Molotov Mitchell of WND is the executive producer of this movie) that abortion is really a racist genocidal conspiracy against black people. Nevermind that nobody’s forcing anyone to get an abortion these days, that doesn’t matter. The important thing is that if we don’t outlaw abortion, these scary BLACK guys are going to start shooting doctors and liberals and probably your mom, too. So you better do what they say already.

This movie also strives to solve a major public relations problem for the anti-abortion zealot community. I could be wrong on this, but I’m pretty sure that every single anti-abortion doctor-killer or attempted doctor-killer has been a honky. If you line up their mug shots in a row, it looks like what the Children of the Corn would be like if they were allowed to live past their 19th birthday. Gates of Hell seeks to racially diversify the hate-filled anti-abortion terrorist demographic. Since reality won’t do it for them, they’ll have to make a movie about how they wish black people acted when it comes to abortion, like how colleges Photoshop in Hispanic kids in wheelchairs on their homepages.

See, it’s not this guy who’s threatening those of us who want to keep abortion legal and safe:

Molotov Mitchell of WND has an impressive IMDB page

It’s THIS guy:

Gosh, I wonder why anyone ever though conservatives were racist?

The Life Zone

Bitches love Jesus... I'm gonna get those bitches some Jesus.

The Life Zone is a movie about women who were all having an abobo at the same time and were all kidnapped by some anti-choice terrorist good guys. So they lock al the women up in some underground dungeon and force them  to carry on with being preggo until the baby jumps out of her vagina or however that works.

Their captor is some shady old man who leers on as the younger nurse-lady makes sure their pregnancies are going in the exact opposite way the women wanted. They all talk about abortion and have fourth-grade level arguments about it. And at the end it turns out that they were all in Purgatory the whole time to make sure their unborn babies would be able to go up to Heaven. Yay for massive simultaneous deaths during routine medical procedures!

But one of the women tried to induce a miscarriage during her pregnancy because she still believed that abortion is pretty awesome, so she goes to Hell. And  so does the nurse-lady, because she also died recently from committing suicide. And oh yeah, the captor turns out to be Satan.

The director of this movie is a former Republican judge and politician from New Jersey who had to quit because he kept on promoting his movies from the bench. I heard rumors that he would oftentimes sentence people to watch his movies, much like how  the senile Judge Wapner now sentences us all to drink his root beer. Anyway, this guy has another movie you may want to check out called “O.B.A.M. Nude,” which is about how Barack Obama sold his soul to the devil while in college and in exchange was given some mysterious power to turn the world into a socialist paradise for Satan. So that’s where he’s coming from…

Left Behind I-III

I have only seen the first two movies in the Trilogy O’ Kirk (We hardcore fans call it TOK for short on internet forums), but then again I haven’t seen any of the movies I’ve mentioned so far. Hey, this is about movies you should see, not necessarily movies I should see.

So way back in the day, Jesus promised he would return at the side of God  to kick the asses of the non-believers. St. John or whichever crackhead wrote Revelation took that  premise from Jesus and ran with it, elaborating it into a D&D-ish apocalypse fantasy. In the mid-19th century, some pastors merged in some passages from 1 Thessalonians and rapture theology was born.

But the rapture never happened. This made fundamentalist Christian authors Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins very sad and frustrated. They wondered: What if it really did happen? Hey, maybe it will happen, like, really soon! Wouldn’t that be awesome? LaHaye and Jenkins were getting all excited just thinking about it!

So they wrote a book about it. Then they wrote a few more books about it, and a few more. And then Kirk Cameron was all like, “Dudes! Let’s make some of these shitty books into unwatchable, straight-to-DVD movies!” And so it came to pass.

Cameron’s character starts off as a reporter for “GNN” who’s trying to find out where all those missing people have gone. Some people start asking him if he’s considered believing they all went to Heaven for the rapture. He hadn’t, but he takes that belief system out for a test drive, buys it, and it works out pretty well for him. He’s told that if he can bring 10 friends and family members in to start selling Amway products Christianity themselves, then he can definitely expect to achieve financial independence in 3 easy steps go to Heaven the next time Jesus sweeps his favorite people up into the sky.

Buck Williams also discovers that the UN Secretary General is the antichrist. GNN has a strict disclosure policy for when you are reporting on someone you believe to be the antichrist, but it’s OK in this case because he can hide his anti-antichrist bias fairly well.

The way you get to activate antichrist mode in the Left Behind universe is to advocate peaceful solutions to the territorial disputes in the Gaza Strip. That’s what the UN SecGen does, and that’s how Buck finds him out. You see, when someone tries to settle international disputes in a non-violent way, that’s a sure sign that they’re evil. The Left Behind crowd can easily tell how good someone is by how many wars they wage. If only it worked the same way with the State of New York Department of Justice and drunken disorderly charges.

In the end I guess Kirk Cameron sneaks into the UN, gains the antichrist’s trust, and just kinda hangs out while God comes back to kick his ass. Because it’s not like either of them can do anything to change what’s going to happen. Supposedly this God person predetermined all of it. That takes a lot of suspense out of this trilogy. We all know there’s no chance the good guy will tragically (?) die after a cameo appearance by Cthulu. It’s just going to be Jesus guiding Mike Seaver through a fundie’s fever dream.

But there’s still lots to learn from Left Behind, especially in how these people view nonbelievers. Basically, they think we’re all extremely stupid and shallow, that the only reason we don’t believe is because if we did we’d all have to confess our sins and submit before the Jesus and we’re all just too proud for that scene. It doesn’t seem to occur to them that maybe we don’t believe because none of the miraculous events in the books and the movies have actually happened. This is all meant to be fiction, right?

But maybe not. If you read the newspapers and do a little free association here and make a few leaps of faith there, it’s possible to link real current events to all this ancient mythology the Left Behind groupies seem to be so obsessed over. And that’s where this stuff starts to get creepy.

Expelled!

Expelled! is a creationist propaganda movie. It also gets pretty far into conspiracy theories and Holocaust revisionism, but mainly this is about creationism.

The filmmakers told their interview subjects that they were making a documentary about the intersection between science and religion. This is how they got people like PZ Myers, Richard Dawkins, Michael Shermer, and Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Science Education to speak with them on camera. Obviously I don’t have any problem at all with this deceitful tactic since we at The BEAST do this kind of thing pretty regularly. The problem… well one of the problems with this movie is selective editing. This is very obvious when you watch the film because the cuts are so fast and awkward that it’s as if Michael J Fox did the editing the old-fashioned way with a razor after a few days off his meds.

According to Expelled!, evolution isn’t accepted by relevant experts because there’s a lot of evidence supporting it, but because there’s a massive worldwide conspiracy of scientists which controls with an iron fist all the peer review literature and all the important positions in relevant fields. So it’s the same premise used by pretty much every other goofy conspiracy theorist, with a twist: If you disagree with Stein and his friends at the Discovery Institute, you sir are a NAZI because this anti-God conspiracy goes all the way back to Nazi Germany.

Yes, as a matter of fact I do got mittens.

The National Center for Science Education has a website devoted to debunking Expelled!, if you’re interested in the details of why Ben Stein is wrong about everything. Maybe you should read that before watching the movie, just in case watching the movie first causes you to start reading about the science in Ben Stein’s voice.

Four Lions

These gentlemen represent an existential threat to our way of life.

I’m going to have to cheat a little with these last two movies which focus on Islam. The ones mentioned earlier were made by the true believers themselves, but here they are the subject. Did I cheat that way because I’m an uncouth American who needs the movies I watch to be westernized for me to appreciate? Probably!

Four Lions is actually about four humans who aren’t lions at all. But they are Muslim wannabe terrorists living in England and planning a suicide bombing for Allah. Hilarity ensues.

We have this disturbing way of looking at Muslim terrorists here in America. It’s the same way they probably see themselves: as a grave, existential threat to Western secular democracy on par with the fascists during World War II. And if you suggest that maybe they’re just a bunch of criminal but laughable idiots who sometimes succeed but usually fail hard, then you’re disrespecting their victims.

It’s a lot like how people still believe in conspiracy theories about John F Kennedy’s death in that when something terrible happens, we ascribe an amount of meaning proportional to the amount of misery it’s caused, even when that connection is not supported by the facts. We don’t like the idea of someone as esteemed as Kennedy being blown away by some down-and-out loser who’s been rejected even by the Soviet Union. It’s much more comforting to believe that he died for brave principles and that he was taken down by one or another shady cabal of evil people with lots of power. Everything seems less random and fragile that way, regardless of the facts.

And in the same way, we’d like for the ‘bad guys’ in the Post-9/11 World news narrative/Michael Bay movie to be not just genuinely bad guys. We want them to be absolutely demonic and with superhuman powers. We can’t have them in court because they might say something which will somehow transform normal, rational Americans into Islamic extremists who want to let Khalid Sheikh Mohammed walk around NYC and plan more terrorist attacks. Because people can do that kind of thing with mere words, apparently.

If you believe in that perception of al Qaeda and others like them, then Four Lions is completely heretical. And what’s funny is that it will outrage Muslim extremists themselves too, and for the same reasons. It just doesn’t take terrorism seriously enough! If you want to laugh at Islamic terrorism, do it in the wake of a drone’s airstrike. It’s for some reason blasphemous to laugh at them for being gullible, ineffectual morons with goofy beliefs and embarrassing, mundane, interpersonal relationship problems.

Oh yeah, they all die in the end.

The Infidel

In a way, The Infidel is a mirror-image opposite of Four Lions. While Four Lions focuses on the titular extremist characters who create humor by interacting with moderates, The Infidel’s main character Mahmud is a moderate Muslim who’s constantly befuddled by the extremist wackos he occasionally crosses paths with in his everyday life. His sister or cousin or someone is about to marry an extremist Muslim cleric he hates, and he’s gotta deal with that somehow. Even his own daughter randomly yells jihadist-y slogans about restoring the caliphate.

Then Mahmud finds out that he was adopted and that his parents were Jewish. So he’ll have to go through a crisis of identity where he learns how to say “Oy, vey” correctly and wear the tattered remains of a Yamaka he just burnt at a pro-Palestinian rally. And then there’s the matter of the radical cleric marrying into his (now Jewish, apparently) family. All this while poor ol’ Mahmud just wants to go on being a half-assed cultural Muslim who doesn’t go to the mosque or care much about politics, but loves to listen to cheesy 80s music and maybe has a drink every once in a while.

The reason you really should see this movie is because the next time some dickhead whines about how people are too afraid to mock Islam like they do Christianity, you can both watch this movie together and prove said dickhead wrong. The attacks on fundamentalist thinking in it are stronger than you’d get in a typical Christian-mocking movie or TV show, but it manages to raise serious concerns while keeping a sense of humor.

Egypt v. Mississippi

April 7, 2011

Today is apparently Beating Up On Mississippi Day. I just found these two recent polls, one from Egypt on peace with Israel and another of Mississippi Republicans on whether or not interracial marriage should be legal. The anti-miscegenation law in Mississippi has been repealed since 1967 by the Supreme Court (Loving v. Virginia).

It’s not a controlled experiment, obviously, but this could be a pretty good test on which region is more modern and progressive and open to embracing people who are different from them.

The good news is that 60% of Egyptians supporting maintaining peace with Israel and 50% support the secular Wafd Party. And the bad news?

Remember that’s only the Republicans in Mississippi, so it’s not necessarily representative of the entire state.

So far I haven’t seen any quotes from someone who votes for “illegal” justify it by saying that people can do what they want as long as it doesn’t go against the Bible, but would you really put it past them?

Robot Jim

March 10, 2011

I had some pretty strong feelings about the watering down of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, but now I think the other side is starting to win me over. These people make some excellent points:

Here is where to go to contribute to this important project.

African-American Jim

January 6, 2011

One of the literary controversies that’s always left me the most befuddled is the reaction to Mark Twain’s portrayal of racism in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Critics of Twain’s portrayal of racist characters as… well, racist, have for a long time been trying to either censor or water down some of the language used. And now it looks like they have to some extent succeeded. From Reuters:

Twain scholar Alan Gribben said he decided to reissue the 19th century classic “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” replacing the slur with the word “slaves” in all 219 places it occurs in the text because the original offended many readers.

Here’s the thing though: If you read that book and your conclusion is that Twain is saying that Huck and his dad are awesome for saying “nigger” all the time and that Huck and Tom should be admired for keeping Jim in bondage when it’s no longer necessary to do so as if it’s part of some really cool game – and by extension that Twain is saying that slavery and Jim Crow laws are wonderful – then you’re not just wrong, you’re borderline illiterate. Someone who comes to that conclusion might be able to mechanically read actual words on a page (probably moving their lips in the process), but totally fails when it comes to deriving a larger comprehension of the words they’re reading. And if you’re worried about the children who might not pick up on the completely obvious moral of the story, then that is the problem of the parents and teachers of said children and not of the rest of us who know how to read.

So either this Gribben person is missing the whole point of this book or he’s catering to those who do, as if they somehow matter. I would lean towards the latter, but either way, the term “Twain scholar” should not be applied to him. And in censoring the book in this way, Gribben’s actually whitewashing late 19th century racism. Replacing “nigger” with “slave” ostensibly makes the racism of the characters Twain is portraying and attacking less offensive (although Roger Ebert disagrees on that point). But what interest should we have in making those who believe in inherent racial inequality more likeable? Why is that a priority for literary critics, or anyone, for that matter?

This is really the most insidious way of attacking good satire that those who would censor it have. They draw on the good instincts we all have against stupidity and racism and then use it against the target of the work in question. But what other choice does an author have? How can you attack racism without actually portraying it in a character?

That’s where all of this starts to get ugly. You have to wonder what it is exactly these “many readers” are offended by. If it’s just the actual word “nigger” devoid of any context at all, then they’re borderline-illiterate morons who have no business dictating how books should be published. But it also could be that they do understand the larger context and just don’t like Twain’s message. It’s not exactly subtle, after all. That’s just not how the guy rolled. They want a friendlier, happier, most nostalgic view of Reconstruction in the south and this book is depriving them of that fantasy. So they’ll try to water it down and censor it even if they have to bend over backwards betraying their true feelings to do so.

Fortunately we’re not all dumbed down enough to let this slide. The Librarian of the Year is speaking out against it (In other news, there is such a thing as a Librarian of the Year), along with other actual scholars who aren’t as stupid and/or sensationalist as this horrible Alan Gribben person.

Racists to boycott Thor movie

December 16, 2010

The Council of Conservative Citizens is this white supremacist group which still exists, and they’re very angry about this movie:

… because there’s a BLACK GUY in it. From Digital Spy:

“It’s not enough that Marvel attacks conservatives values, now mythological Gods must be re-invented with black skin,” a post on the site reads.
“It seems that Marvel Studios believes that white people should have nothing that is unique to themselves. An upcoming movie, based on the comic book Thor, will give the Aesir an insulting multicultural makeover. One of the Gods will be played by Hip Hop DJ Elba.”

It should be noted that the CCC was also very angry at Robert Rodriguez for his movie Machete. The silver lining here I guess is that groups like this have been reduced to whining about movies which they don’t like, Bill Donahue-style. But anyway, who knew that a backwoods group of whiny loons like these guys would know enough to distinguish Marvel from DC?

Egyptian government official uncovers the secret Israeli / shark alliance

December 9, 2010

There was a shark attack in Egypt last weekend. A German tourist was killed. So obviously it was a Jewish conspiracy. Duh. From the Jerusalem Post:

“What is being said about the Mossad throwing the deadly shark [in the sea] to hit tourism in Egypt is not out of the question, but it needs time to confirm,” South Sinai Gov. Muhammad Abdel Fadil Shousha was quoted as saying

I wonder if the hypothesis of sharks just being dicks who kill almost everything they smell is out of the question for this guy, or if it just needs more time to confirm.

Weird standards

December 9, 2010

All three of these stories are about private institutions doing things which are completely within their rights to do. Lots of us think they’re very weird and despicable for doing these things, but there’s nothing illegal about any of it. At the same time though it’s very revealing to examine how selectively certain standards can be applied and ignored.

Since I last wrote about WikiLeaks, a lot of shit has gone down. The site was targeted with denial of service attacks and as a result moved to Amazon’s server. So Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) put pressure on Amazon to boot WikiLeaks, which they did. That’s not too unusual considering the cast of characters. But where it gets weird is that Amazon UK is now selling the same cables WikiLeaks released to the press for the Kindle.

MasterCard, Visa, and PayPal also were pressured by the government to stop allowing donations to organizations affiliated with WikiLeaks via the claim that what WL is doing is illegal (even though it’s not- although what the people leaking to them definitely is) and therefore violates those companies’ terms of service.  Instead of checking with their lawyers, those companies capitulated to the government and stopped allowing donations to WL. But it gets weird again here because MasterCard and Visa seem to have no problem with this.

And the Salvation Army is now refusing to distribute Harry Potter and Twilight toys because they’re “incompatible with the charity’s Christian beliefs.” They would not even agree to pass on these toys to other agencies which could then distribute them without sullying the good name of the Starvation Salvation Army. The story broke when a volunteer in Calgary found a bunch of Twilight and Harry Potter toys quarantined in a warehouse. But then it gets weird:

“I was told to withhold a six-inch Harry Potter figure, but when I picked up a plastic M-16, I was told, ‘That’s for the 10-year-olds,'” he said.

It’s not even so much that the Salvation Army would allow one type of toy and not the other. The Bible, taken as a whole, is pretty ambiguous on both warfare and witchcraft. Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead and makes evil spirits possess pigs and then kills them, but Exodus 22:18 tell us not to suffer a witch to live. Jesus tells us to turn the other cheek and to give people our coats, but then says he’s here to divide and comes not for peace, but with a sword.

What I’m trying to get at is that the SA could just as easily distribute Harry Potter toys and ban the plastic M-16s and be just as compatible with Christianity. So it’s not just Christianity that they’re concerned about, it’s a certain variation of it. For some reason they get the benefit of lumping themselves in with the large number of Christians when many of them would be appalled at their selectiveness.

Arizona

May 5, 2010

The first thing you should know is that DJ Spooky and Chuck D remixed By the Time I Get to Arizona in response to SB 1070.

The second thing you should know is that’s not what’s in the video above because that’s a different remix by the Evolution Control Committee.

The third thing you should know is that it’s just a coincidence that this is Cinco de Mayo. I didn’t plan that out.

One thing that’s always bothered me about the American left/right political discourse is how it’s often framed as if the left were the ones that are driven solely by their emotions while the right is supposed to be the ones who are pragmatic realists who want to stand up for the rule of law. And in most cases, including this one, the reality of the situation is the exact opposite.

The new immigration law in Arizona is not a practical way to deal with illegal immigration, largely because in today’s age of international travel it’s not possible to tell where someone happened to have been born just by looking at them. If you just go around detaining anyone without their citizenship papers, you’re going to end up with tons of false positives which is going to just end up wasting more police and legal resources. That’s why city councils are preparing lawsuits against SB 1070 and even Arizona’s police are divided over the issue and one sheriff even went so far as to call it “stupid,” amongst other things. The efficient and practical way to address the problem of illegal immigration is to go after the employers of illegal immigrants, especially in large companies that employ them en masse.

It’s also pretty questionable that the proponents of the legislation are standing up for the rule of law. See, in America we presume that those accused of a crime are innocent until the State proves them guilty. Our legal apparatus is set up in such a way because as a whole we’d rather err on the side of letting the guilty go free instead of erring on the side of imprisoning the innocent. Maybe you don’t like that and wish it were the opposite like it is in England, but if you’re to do that then you can no longer be said to be advocating the rule of law – at least not in America, anyways.

Another basic civil liberties issue arises with the Fourth Amendment. For reasons I’ve already explained the search and seizure of individuals based on their race is an unreasonable grounds for charges of illegal immigration. That’s just unconstitutional.

So the lesson here I would encourage would be to not let people on either side of the issue frame this as if the proponents of SB 1070 were practical and legally-minded, while the opponents have their heads in the clouds and just want to be nice to everyone. It’s pretty clear here who is basing their position on their childish emotions and who is basing their position on the rule of law. Don’t let people confuse the issue by switching the roles around.

UPDATE: The controversial parts of SB 1070 have been blocked (NY Times).

Carl Paladino’s ideas are intriguing to me, and I wish to subscribe to his newsletter

April 14, 2010

WNYMedia got themselves a nice scoop about local developer/gubernatorial candidate/Batman villain Carl Paladino.

It’s actually kind of a WikiLeaks-ish story about his e-mail. Someone’s private e-mail usually should stay that way, but it’s a different story when you’re a public figure running for public office. Paladino’s apparently incapable of not forwarding every single sexually explicit or racist picture he sees on the internet to just about everyone on his contacts list. And one of those contacts, a friend of his, forwarded some of these to WNYMedia.

Dave Weigel – who’s recently moved from the Washington Independent to the Washington Post – has a follow-up. Here’s an excerpt:

“I believe that the people doing this are hard-core, left-wing, liberal people who are going to stop at nothing to smear him,” said [Buffalo Tea Party organizer Allen] Coniglio. “He’s not a racist. He was just passing on some nonsense in an e-mail. Everybody does things that are not 100 percent pure. He’s just a human being.”

See, when Coniglio says that the people “doing this” are hardcore commies, what does he mean by “this?” If he means that they sent those e-mails, then maybe he should let Paladino know that that’s supposed to be the story. Because he is on a different script entirely. In this video, he gets as close as politicians get to admitting that the press was correct about something.

Maybe he meant that the act of “this” was leaking the e-mails in the first place. But if that’s the case, why is Paladino sending this stuff to “hard-core, left-wing, liberal people” who he would have to know would leak it to the press? Paladino’s not that stupid, is he?

Apparently, “doing this” just means reporting on the story. So when Coniglio complains about “the people doing this,” he is saying that he thinks it’s a big problem for WNYMedia to report news, and not that a gubernatorial candidate for New York in 2010 (not 1810) actually believes in racism. It actually took me a minute to figure that out just because it’s so bizarre.

The thing that people like Paladino and Coniglio can’t seem to grasp is you don’t have to be some radical extremist to think that this story is newsworthy. Most people think that believing in racism is weird and primitive – that’s why they had to rush to saying that he’s DEFINITELY NOT A RACIST and this is just yet another “isolated incident” of Republicans doing and saying racist things.

If it were only the hardcore commies who cared about that, then there would be no problem with Paladino just coming out and openly saying that he really does believe that black people are inferior. So why not do it, Carl? You’ll only offend a few of us hardcore leftists, right? Surely everyone else – the” real Americans” – will rally by your side against this minority of uber-PC elites, right? Right.

Easter in a post-racist America

March 15, 2010

Since the 2008 election of Barack HUSSEIN Obama as Czar For Life of America, various intellectual weenies have been wondering if America has mostly gotten over the whole “hating people because of the amount of melanin their DNA encodes for” thing. Now we can finally put this question behind us because the answer is clearly “No.”

As it turns out, racists can’t even resist incorporating their weird beliefs into something as silly as Easter. In Auburn Hills, MI, black families found Easter eggs tossed onto their lawn with racist messages inside, some of them referring to the white nationalist neo-Nazi group called the Aryan Nations.

And it turns out that some kid had his fantasies about supernatural rabbits dispelled in the process:

Shamir Lyles said she watched a girlfriend’s son open one of the eggs.

“He was shocked. He didn’t know what it was, he thought it was the Easter bunny,” she said.

So do you tell the kid the truth? Or do you tell him that maybe the Easter bunny’s a racist?

Francis E Dec, Esq.

March 12, 2010

Try listening to any of these for more than 30 seconds at random and then try telling me that he wasn’t the most paranoid person who ever lived:





In my pursuit of all things crazy, I’m pretty sure that Francis E Dec will be the ultimate yardstick for the scale of the craziest motherfuckers of at least the 20th century. Guys like Fred Phelps and Jack Chick just have to stand back in awe of the way Dec has fully embraced his inner crazy. The time cube guy was probably inspired by him. Exhibit A is one of his rants which he would mail out to random people:

A lot of that is pretty tough to read, so here are some excerpts of some of his other rants. That’s really the only way to try to understand this guy because the details of what he believes are not very clear.

“Gangster Computer God worldwide SECRET CONTAINMENT POLICY, made possible SOLY by worldwide Computer God Frankenstein Controls, especially LIFELONG CONSTANT THRESHOLD BRAIN WASH RADIO ( quiet and motionless, I can slightly hear it; repeatedly this has saved my life on the streets ). FOUR BILLION worldwide population ALL living have a Computer God CONTAINMENT POLICY BRAIN BANK BRAIN, A REAL BRAIN, in the Brain Bank Cities on the far side of the Moon, we never see. Primarily, based on your lifelong Frankenstein radio controls, especially, your eyesight T.V. (sight, and sound) recorded by your brain. YOUR Moon BRAIN of the Computer God, activates your Frankenstein Threshold Brain Wash Radio LIFELONG, inculcating conformist propaganda, even frightening you and mixing you-up and the USUAL, “DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT.” for your set backs, mistakes even when you receive deadly injuries. THIS IS THE WORLDWIDE COMPUTER GOD SECRET CONTAINMENT POLICY.”

See what I mean? You kind of have to wonder if there’s some kind of other unspoken narrative going on inside Dec’s head here where this all supposedly makes a little bit more sense than it appears on the surface. Or is this just word salad? Maybe a little of both?

As it turns out there’s a Francis Dec fan club, and it looks like their goalis to try to explain Dec’s theories in ways that normal people can comprehend without having to piece everything together into a coherent story based on his rants. Doing this seems to be a lot like how when the main character in this movie

needed to look at some statue or some shit in order to go half-crazy so that he would be able to understand and translate the ideas of his friend who had stared at the idol for too long and gone fully crazy.

The idea behind mailing these things out to random people was that Dec believed this whole conspiracy targeted him specifically. Of course they were going after everyone; but like most paranoid schizophrenics, Dec was supposed to be some kind of crucial enemy of the conspiracy. It got to the point where Dec couldn’t even leave his house!

So if he only alerted enough people to what was going on with the Computer God and the far side of the Moon and the Frankenstein radio controls and the rest of it, his plight would have some kind of public awareness and there would be a degree of safety. And at one point he decided that he had mailed enough information to enough random people for him to be able to leave his house again.

It’s really pretty obvious when you think about it.

Probably the most over-the-top batfuck insane thing ever is Dec’s account of World War II, which he calls “The TRUE History of Nazi Jewmany.” According to the fan club, Dec had to believe that Jews were secretly controlling the Nazis because he couldn’t hate both the Nazis and the Jews otherwise.

Some details of his life are that he was born in NY in 1926, served during WW II, became a lawyer, was disbarred in the fifties, lost his shit around 1961 and started mailing out these things to strangers. He lived with his possibly abusive brother in Long Island until he died in 1996. You can also see a picture of him and read the account of someone who tried to impersonate the criminal deadly gangster atheist communist Jew Catholic conspirators in order to terrify him on his death bed. And here are some mp3s of people reading his rants in a crazy voice. So that’s Francis Dec. Please try not to be an eternal Frankenstein slave to the Worldwide Deadly Gangster Computer God.

Similar:

Obama hates something I’m afraid to talk about

September 27, 2009
Katie Couric: Gots purdy teeth. Purdy mouth, too.

Katie Couric: Gots purdy teeth. Purdy mouth, too.

I have to admit I was pretty skeptical when Katie Couric took a top spot at CBS. She was taking the position once held by Walter Cronkite, and she had never even been in a war zone before. It looked exactly like CBS was just putting a purdy face on the evening news in order to get young’uns watching that there teevee again.

But she’s been pretty steadily proving my instincts wrong. Here is a great example:

The only way that would’ve been better would be if she had just pulled out a gun, asked him what country he was from, that What wasn’t no country she ever heard of, etc…

As someone who is supposed to know something about journalism, Beck should really know better than to pretend this was an unfair question. He wasn’t asking a question, as he tried to defend himself as doing. He said that he thought Obama hated “white culture.” So it’s fair to ask what exactly he meant by “white culture.” He could’ve said that he misspoke, or that he could’ve chosen better words, and then clarified, but he didn’t want to do that. When he says something like that, it’s in his interest to keep his meaning unclear so that his audience can fill in the blanks for him.

I also love how at the end he’s pretending to think that asking “tough questions” is so important for Americans. Yes, we should ask tough questions; just don’t ask Glenn Beck any tough questions. It might hurt his feelings.