Archive for June, 2014

Back in 2008, just before Obama’s election, John Cole at Balloon Juice posited a theory that we had passed “peak wingnut.” His theory held that the American people and the press had reached saturation on the wild stories of Obama being a socialist, Marxist, gay, Muslim, etc. and had reached the point where those crazy claims were ridiculed or dismissed outright by the public. Cole’s theory was quickly disproven when the goat fucking child molester Erick Erickson posted about convicted felon Frank Marshall Davis’ claim that Obama was molested as a child by a gay pedophile. Since that episode, peak wingnut has been suspected a number of times, but is now suspected to be an impossible state. I submit that we now have definitive proof that peak wingnut cannot exist within the current political environment.

Colorado Springs, Colorado, is a beautiful city nestled in the shadow of Pike’s Peak. The downside is that it is the central hub of El Paso County, one of the reddest counties in Colorado. Colorado Springs is the home of Focus on the Family, the creation of the despicable James Dobson. Dobson was also responsible for the creation of the hate group, Family Research Council. Last Tuesday, Colorado held their primary and a man by the name of Gordon Klingenschmitt won the Republican nomination for State House District 15, which represents eastern Colorado Springs. Now, some of you are probably saying, “Klingenschmitt? I’ve heard that name somewhere before.” You would be right.

Gordon Klingenschmitt was a US Navy Chaplain who was court-martialed in 2006 for wearing his uniform while participating in a political protest outside of the White House. Klingenschmitt was protesting alongside other luminaries such as Rep. Walter Jones and Judge Roy Moore. Klingenschmitt willfully disobeyed the lawful orders of his superiors by wearing his uniform after being told he was forbidden to do so. After his conviction, Klingenschmitt was thrown out of the Navy, to the cheers of his fellow conservative, Christian Chaplains.

After his national disgrace, Klingenschmitt continued to support himself by becoming the uber-wingnut. Here are just some of the things Klingenschmitt has said and may actually believe:

  • Demonic spirits are controlling the FCC and are using it to “molest and visually rape” your children.
  • Demonic spirits are behind the homosexual agenda.
  • Obamacare causes cancer.
  • Demonic spirits are behind gun control, the Bible forbids gun-free zones and the Bible demands people be allowed to arm themselves against “left wing crazies.”

Klingenschmitt is indistinguishable from the Taliban in that he believes the law should only protect those of his religion. Not just Christianity, but his extreme brand of Christianity. Now, there are plenty of these theocrats running around. Most notably are the “Dominionists,” who believe the country should be ruled in accordance with biblical law. In this case, though, Colorado Springs Republicans (and it was only Republicans because Colorado has a closed primary system) have actually nominated one of them to represent them in the State Legislature and he didn’t run unopposed. That means a majority of Republican voters in this district willingly chose to align themselves with Klingenschmitt’s beliefs. That is the lunacy and outright evil we are dealing with in the forces trying to take over the Republican Party. Klingenschmitt is just a slightly more extreme version of Ted Cruz, Michelle Bachmann, Steve Stockman, and Louie Gomert. The biggest difference is that, with the exception of Bachmann, those people didn’t really let their full freak flag fly until after they were elected. Once elected to safe Republican seats, they felt unrestricted in the batshit crazy things they could say, whether they believed them or not.

Don’t be fooled, though. Klingenschmitt is a true believer. He really sees demons under every rock. He is a complete adherent to the principle of stoning gays in the public square. He is committed to the principle that the laws only protect Christians and all others are merely peons subject to his Christian whims. And the saddest thing of all is that in Colorado Springs he just may win.

Weekly B4V Sucks Thread

Posted: June 27, 2014 by Marner in Open Thread
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It’s all yours.

Boehner is going to sue the President for something, but he doesn’t know what it is yet.

There were so many to choose from, but this one is my favorite.

Paul Ryan appears to be taking a lesson from Eric Cantor’s primary defeat. He’s been attacked from the right for proposing budgets that don’t punish the poor enough and has mostly avoided weighing in on contentious social issues, but he threw the Teabaggers some red meat on Friday.

In a House Ways and Means Committee hearing, Ryan went off on IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, calling him a liar over some Lois Lerner emails from 2009 to 2011 that were lost when her hard drive crashed. He was incensed that the Committee wasn’t notified that Lerner’s hard drive, as well as the hard drives for six other IRS employees, had crashed until the Committee actually asked about it. Ryan called Koskinen a liar by saying that nobody believes him. Actually, Mr. Ryan, you and the Teabaggers don’t believe him. You’ve also managed to sow doubt into the minds of those who are already inclined to distrust the IRS and pay more attention to Fox News rather than facts because of your Party’s constant demonization of the agency. People who actually pay attention to facts recognize this craven political charade for what it is.

Republicans call this yet another smoking gun conspiracy despite the facts in the case. Rep. Boustany, in making a failed attempt at taking the title of America’s Dumbest Congressman from Rep. Gohmert, apparently watched Mr. Peabody and Sherman one too many times and demanded to know why the Committee wasn’t told about the hard drive:

BOUSTANY: Why wasn’t this committee notified before a decision was made to completely recycle her hard drive?

KOSKINEN: Uh, the committee was not notified because that decision would have been made three years ago. It’s not a decision—none of this had anything to do with the investigation.

BOUSTANY: Well, I would submit it does have to do with the investigation, because we’re trying to get necessary information.

BOUSTANY: It disturbs me that this decision was made internally, without any kind of outside consultation, when this committee was vigorously pursuing information regarding this targeting scandal.

It disturbs me that we have people of such limited mental capacity as elected representatives. Lerner’s hard drive crashed and was recycled in 2011, two years before the House began any investigations in 2013! Now I suppose someone in the IRS could have said, “You know, someday a batshit crazy group of Republicans in the House may want to create a completely phony scandal as part of a campaign to delegitimize the President. Even though our computer forensic experts couldn’t recover any data, we should store that hard drive just in case.” Yeah, that should have happened.

In Friday’s hearing, several Republican representatives took turns demanding to know why they were just finding out about this hard drive crash. The problem with that is that they knew last year. The IRS has turned over 24,000 emails from Lerner and several of them referenced the lost hard drive. The House Republicans ignored those references because they couldn’t see any way to politically profit from the fact at the time.

These phony scandals are really getting ridiculous, but Republicans will keep them alive for the purpose of making Obama out to be either incompetent or an evil genius, depending on what day of the week it is. It has the side benefit of getting brain-dead Teabaggers to vote for them, thinking that the Republicans agree with their conspiracy theories. I’m sorry to tell you, Teabaggers, but they just aren’t that into you. They’re only want you for your vote.

P.S. It’s not polite to mention the 22 million emails the Bush administration lost and how the same Republicans who consider lost emails to be a grand conspiracy now considered it to be an innocuous software issue back then. That wouldn’t be pointing out Republican hypocrisy, after all, it would just be more blaming Bush for everything. /snark

Weekly B4V Sucks Thread

Posted: June 20, 2014 by Marner in Open Thread
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Keep your anti-B4V rants here. Enjoy.

A person conservatives surely consider just a true American standing up to tyranny strikes again, with a man shooting a BLM agent and a police officer before being shot himself. He is yet another member of the “Sovereign Citizen” movement. The day after that news broke, a county in Utah declared that the BLM agents had no authority within its borders:

Any such attempted exercise of law enforcement powers by an official of a land management agency IS NOT RECOGNIZED by Carbon County,” the resolution stated (caps in original), “and shall be deemed AN IMMINENT THREAT TO THE HEALTH, SAFETY AND WELFARE OF THE CITIZENS OF CARBON COUNTY.

I can’t wait to see the legal defense of the first person that kills a BLM agent in Carbon County. After all, what are the laws in Utah for using deadly force to protect against an “imminent threat to the health, safety, and welfare” of a person?

It’s a short article. The conclusion:

And it’s not simply that [the Bush administration] failed to find the weapons of mass destruction that they worried could one day be passed onto terrorists. It’s that a terrorist organization now controls a territory about the size of Belgium, raising the possibility that America’s invasion and occupation inadvertently trained the fighters and created the vacuum that will lead to al Qaeda’s successor organization.

And all this cost us trillions of dollars and thousands of American lives.

It boggles the mind that any of the so-called experts associated with this travesty are given any credence in 2014.

The Least Worst Option

Posted: June 17, 2014 by Marner in Current Events
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Iraq is devolving into open civil warfare, with the extremist group ISIS taking over cities and threatening to push into Baghdad. A number of things brought it to this point, including the “De-Ba’athification” instituted by the Coalition Provisional Authority in 2003, the readiness level of the Iraqi military, and the utter failure and corruption of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. We are left with an Iraqi state that is no state at all. There is no sense of nationalism among the populace, who define themselves as Sunni, Shi’a, or Kurd rather than as Iraqis. You can’t get people to fight for something they don’t believe in, and Iraqis don’t believe in their country or their government. Out of self-preservation, they are left having to side with the strongest actor in their region until a stronger actor comes and takes his place. Right now, that actor is ISIS, a brutal group that maintains power solely through fear and intimidation.

That leads us to the question of what do we do now? We no longer have American forces in Iraq. Contrary to the lies of John McCain and other conservatives who want to pin the blame on Obama, it was al-Malaki’s decision for all of our troops to leave. He refused to sign a Standard of Forces Agreement that would have exempted the US military from Iraqi laws. Al-Maliki didn’t want the US military in the way of his plan to fully purge all Sunnis from the government and solidify his relationship with Iran. In the absence of a SOFA agreement, Obama had no choice but to pull all of our military out of the country. To leave them there, subject to the whims of the Iraqi “justice” system, would have been a serious breach of his responsibilities as Commander in Chief. Can you imagine the outrage if one of our soldiers had been charged, tried, convicted, and executed by the Iraqi government?

If al-Malaki signed a SOFA agreement now, we could have US forces back in Iraq in short order, but I don’t know if that is the right move. Obama has made the right statements about us not helping without serious changes in al-Malaki’s government, but I think all we would be doing is giving him the military force he needs to gain control once again, then when we leave he’ll be back to his same old tricks. Besides, we’ve learned from 10 years of war in Iraq that you can’t just install and prop up a government and hope the people will follow.

In the short term, we will probably continue to provide intelligence and we will likely engage in limited air strikes and close air support (assuming the Iraqis have any troops on the field to support), but I don’t think it will succeed. I believe that without drastic measures by the US, Iraq will eventually fall. It won’t happen overnight, because Iran will send their forces in to battle the Sunni insurgents, but it will happen. Our only hope then will be to contain the insurgents within the country’s borders. That’s the least worst option, but it just kicks the can down the road for someone else to deal with later, most likely with yet another invasion.

There may be a way to resolve Iraq once and for all, and that’s through occupation and pacification. It would be a long process and would come at great cost, but it may be the only thing that will work.

Obama should draft a new Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) for Iraq for Congress to vote on. The AUMF would lay out the required authorizations as well as the criteria for termination.

The requirements:

  1. Activate the draft immediately for all military-age US citizens, male and female. Provide no exemptions for anything other than physical condition and conscientious objectors. Those exempted would be required to provide service for an identical period in organizations such as Peace Corps, Red Cross, Doctors without Borders, etc.
  2. Declare Iraq a hostile state and authorize the use of all means necessary to eliminate the threat.
  3. Provide the US State Department, with cooperation from the Department of Defense, the authority to create and implement a new system of government.
  4. The AUMF will remain in force until Congress has determined that all objectives have been fully achieved.

The objectives:

  1. An Iraqi government that is stable, fully functioning, and recognized as legitimate among the Iraqi people.
  2. Elimination of all terrorist and insurgent groups within the Iraqi borders.
  3. Elimination of the Iraqi populace placing ethnic identities over national identity.
  4. Iraqi populace pride and belief in their government.

This is not a 10 or even 20 year process. It will take generations to change the mindset of the Iraqi people, but I don’t believe peace is possible without that happening. It will not take 100,000 or even 500,000 US troops. It will be on the order of 1,000,000+. For the first decade or two, our military would have to function as the police, the military, and the entire government. It will take that long to raise people who can fill those positions that have more loyalty to their country than to their ethnic group and who won’t turn tail and run the first time shots are fired at them. We would have to function as benevolent dictators, completely occupying and pacifying the country. We would have to go door-to-door and disarm the entire populace to reduce the threat to our troops.

I recognize that this is an extreme step with no guarantee of success, but the strategy we’ve been following for the past few decades is doomed to certain failure. This approach would not be popular on the left or on the right and I’m sure I’ll take some arrows for even suggesting it. This approach would never happen because the political risk is too great for the President and members of Congress, but if you honestly believe that what is happening in Iraq is vital to the national security of the US, you have to be willing to do what it takes to fix the problem and that’s what I think it will take.

The article in the link describes our tolerant conservatives in action. Geez. Ask a simple question and they turn into an ugly mob. And it’s an ugly mob mentality that becomes more apparent as the days go by.