Monday, December 31, 2012

Conservative Do-Nothing Congress Thrives



The following piece by Amanda Terkel at the Huffingtonpost.com, "112th Congress Set To Become Most Unproductive Since 1940s," is a lesson in contemporary Conservative civics for all of us:

"WASHINGTON -- As 2012 comes to a close, the 112th Congress is set to go down in American history as the most unproductive session since the 1940s.

According to a Huffington Post review of all the bills that hit President Barack Obama's desk this session, Obama has signed 219 bills passed by the 112th Congress into law. With less than a week to go in the year, there are currently another 20 bills pending presidential action. In comparison, the last Congress passed 383 bills, while the one before it passed 460.

The 104th Congress (1995-1996) currently holds the ignominious distinction of being the least productive session of Congress, according to the U.S. House Clerk's Office, which has records going back to 1947. Just 333 bills became law during that two-year period, meaning the 112th Congress needs to send nearly 100 more bills to Obama's desk in the next few days if it wants to avoid going down in history -- an unlikely prospect, considering that both chambers are squarely focused on averting the "fiscal cliff" before the new year.

The 112th Congress has done far less than the 80th Congress (1947-1948), which President Harry Truman infamously dubbed the "Do-Nothing Congress." Those lawmakers passed 906 bills that became law.



While Obama has signed several pieces of large, consequential legislation in the past two years -- such as sanctions on Iran and the National Defense Authorization Act, allowing the indefinite detention of terrorism suspects without charge -- many of the bills passed by Congress have been small and noncontroversial.

At least 40 bills, including ones awaiting Obama's signature, concerned the renaming of post offices or other public buildings. Another six dealt with commemorative coins.

Meanwhile, significant pieces of legislation that have traditionally received bipartisan support -- such as the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act -- have been blocked.

House Republicans have also held votes to repeal Obamacare more than 30 timessince gaining control of the chamber in 2011, despite the fact that such a measure has no chance of passing the Democratically controlled Senate or being signed by Obama.

The lack of bipartisanship in Congress has been lost on no one. In April, Thomas Mann of the left-leaning Brookings Institution and Norm Ornstein of the conservative American Enterprise Institute published a Washington Post op-ed saying that the GOP deserves the blame for the dysfunction.

"We have been studying Washington politics and Congress for more than 40 years, and never have we seen them this dysfunctional," they wrote. "In our past writings, we have criticized both parties when we believed it was warranted. Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party."

Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) also cited the hyper-partisan, unproductive atmosphere of Congress when she announced her retirement in February.

"'[W]hat I have had to consider is how productive an additional term would be. Unfortunately, I do not realistically expect the partisanship of recent years in the Senate to change over the short term,' she said. 'So at this stage of my tenure in public service, I have concluded that I am not prepared to commit myself to an additional six years in the Senate, which is what a fourth term would entail.'

Congress' approval rating currently stands at 18 percent.

Polling Data

PollDateApproveDisapproveSpread
RCP Average11/25 - 12/1718.075.4-57.4
USA Today/Gallup12/14 - 12/171876-58
CBS News12/12 - 12/161181-70
FOX News12/9 - 12/111774-57
Associated Press/GfK11/29 - 12/32374-51
National Journal11/25 - 12/12172-51

Snowe is as usual, a liar.  She has voted along Party lines without a murmer, even jumping to the Conservative obstructionists' side on the Benghazi incident, as we see in the story, "Snowe Says Delayed Benghazi Information 'Unacceptable," by Kevin Miller at The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram:


"Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe on Sunday continued to question how the Obama administration publicly handled the September attacks on a U.S. facility in Benghazi, Libya

"Appearing on the CBS Sunday morning news program 'Face the Nation,' Snowe said it was 'unacceptable in today’s environment' that it took the administration’s top intelligence officials 17 days to issue a statement saying that the Benghazi attacks were deliberate and well-organized. Four Americans, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, were killed in the attacks by militant groups."

Rachel Maddow's take on our new Do-Nothing Congress:

"This is not, by the way, the inevitable result of divided government (one party controlling the House; the other party controlling the Senate). There have been plenty of other Congresses, some quite recently, with a Democratic Senate and a Republican House, but their bill totals weren't nearly this anemic."
No Republican officeholder can do anything but lie, and Snowe is no exception; she has carried water for the Conservative leadership in Congress since her first term in office.  No Republican office holders can stand for re-election unless they faithfully toe the line on each and every vote.  Why are the Republicans so successful in standing together while the Democrats often seem to be battling with each other?  Because the GOP represents one thing and one thing only - the interests of the greediest of us among the wealthy; the Democrats represent everyone else.  When labor argues with Environmentalists,  when teachers argue with entrenched unions, they are still fighting the battles of the non-rich.



When Conservatism is finally outlawed, the numbers of parties in our system will increase, not decrease.  (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_political_parties_in_the_United_States AND http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_political_parties_by_country)


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"Some fellows get credit for being conservative when they are only being stupid."

Kin Hubbard (American cartoonist, humorist, and journalist. 1868 - 1930)


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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Ridiculously Stupid Republican Quotes



From Tiffany Willis at Addictinginfo.org, "60 Ridiculously Stupid Republican Quotes " a compilation of...yes, you guessed it - Ridiculously Stupid Republican Quotes.  We've limited our observations of Conservative stupidity to the Conservative followers, but the fruit doesn't fall too far from its tree, as we see by the following quotes from the leadership:

"Conservatives. You’ve gotta love them! Who would entertain us if we lost all of the Republicans? The things that so many of them say are stupid, out-of-touch, and sometimes, downright crazy. Here is a list of some of the dumbest comments Republicans have ever made.


  1. “If this were a dictatorship, it’d be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I’m the dictator.” ~ George W. Bush
  2. ”We need to uptick our image with everyone, including one-armed midgets.” ~ Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele.
  3. “When the President does it that means that it’s not illegal.” ~ Richard M. Nixon
  4. “Exercise freaks … are the ones putting stress on the health care system.” ~ Rush Limbaugh
  5. ”Feminism was established so as to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream of society.” ~ Rush Limbaugh
  6. “Rarely is the questioned asked: Is our children learning?” (sic) ~ George W. Bush
  7. “Good Christians, like slaves and soldiers, ask no questions.” ~ Jerry Falwell
  8. “As yesterday’s positive report card shows, childrens (sic) do learn when standards are high and results are measured.” ~ George W. Bush
  9. “Grown men should not be having sex with prostitutes unless they are married to them.” ~ Jerry Falwell
  10. “Facts are stupid things.” ~ Ronald Reagan
  11. “How did [the Holocaust] happen? Because God allowed it to happen… because God said, ‘My top priority for the Jewish people is to get them to come back to the land of Israel.’” ~ Rev. John Hage
  12. “Our gays are more macho than their straights.” ~ Ann Coulter, commenting in 2005 on Jeff Gannon, the conservative plant in the White House press corps who turned out to be a male escort
  13. “This foreign policy stuff is a little frustrating.” ~ George W. Bush
  14. “Trees cause more pollution than automobiles.” ~ Ronald Reagan
  15. “[America has to import so many workers because] for the last 35 years we have aborted more than a million people who would have been in our workforce.” ~ Mike Huckabee
  16. ”I even accept for the sake of argument that sexual orgies eliminate social tensions and ought to be encouraged.” ~ Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia
  17. “I would not say that the future is necessarily less predictable than the past. I think the past was not predictable when it started.” ~ Donald Rumsfeld
  18. “My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals. You know why? Because they breed. You’re facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don’t think too much further than that. And so… what you’ve got to do is you’ve got to curtail that type of behavior. They don’t know any better.” ~ Andre Bauer
  19. ”Well, I learned a lot….I went down to (Latin America) to find out from them and (learn) their views. You’d be surprised. They’re all individual countries.” ~ Ronald Reagan
  20. “We have a lot of work to do. It’s a very hard struggle, particularly given the situation on the Iraq-Pakistan border.” ~ John McCain (the countries share no common border)
  21. “The only way to reduce the number of nuclear weapons is to use them.” ~ Rush Limbaugh
  22. ”Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on you.” ~ Rep. Virginia Foxx
  23. “I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully.” ~ George W. Bush
  24. What I don’t know is what the unexpected might be.” ~ John McCain
  25. I think gay marriage is something that should be between a man and a woman” — Arnold Schwarzenegger
  26. ”The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.” ~ Pat Robertson
  27. “President Washington, President Lincoln, President Wilson, President Roosevelt have all authorized electronic surveillance on a far broader scale.”~ Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, testifying before Congress
  28. “Juarez is reported to be the most dangerous city in America.” ~ Rick Perry
  29. “You can always follow me on Tweeter.” ~ Rick Perry
  30. “Don’t blame Wall Street, don’t blame the big banks, if you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself!” ~ Herman Cain
  31. “From time to time there are going to be things that occur that are acts of God that cannot be prevented.” ~ Rick Perry, on the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, in 2010
  32. “I had other priorities in the sixties than military service.” ~ Dick Cheney on his five draft deferments
  33. “The Holocaust was an obscene period in our nation’s history. I mean in this century’s history. But I didn’t live in this century.” ~ Vice President Dan Quayle
  34. “The more toppings a man has on his pizza, I believe the more manly he is. A manly man don’t want it piled high with vegetables! He would call that a sissy pizza.” ~ Herman Cain
  35. “I will tell you that I had a mother last night come up to me here in Tampa, Florida, after the debate. She told me that her little daughter took that vaccine, that injection, and she suffered from mental retardation thereafter.” ~ Michele Bachmann on the HPV vaccine. (It doesn’t cause mental retardation.)
  36. “These are not bad people. All they are concerned about is to see that their sweet little girls are not required to sit in school alongside some big overgrown Negroes.” ~ President Eisenhower commenting on racial segregation after the Brown vs. Board of Education decision.
  37. “This president, I think, has exposed himself over and over again as a guy who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture….I’m not saying he doesn’t like white people, I’m saying he has a problem. This guy is, I believe, a racist.” ~ Glenn Beck
  38. “I’ll be long gone before some smart person ever figures out what happened inside this Oval Office.” ~ George W.Bush
  39. “I feel the best way to ensure Americans’ freedom is to tighten restrictions on that freedom in any way possible. Only through wiretaps, illegal searches and seizures, unfettered government intrusion, a controlled media and a complete crackdown on free speech can we ensure the liberties of all people.” ~ Attorney General John Ashcroft
  40. “What a terrible thing to have lost one’s mind. Or not to have a mind at all. How true that is.” ~ Vice President Dan Quayle
  41. “Michele Bachmann… I’m not going to say it. I’m not going to say it…. Tutti-frutti. I know I’m going to get in trouble!” ~ Herman Cain on the different flavors of ice cream to which he’d compare his primary competitors.
  42. “When I see a 9/11 victim family on television, or whatever, I’m just like, ‘Oh shut up’ I’m so sick of them because they’re always complaining.” ~ Glenn Beck
  43. ”I find it interesting that it was back in the 1970s that the swine flu broke out under another, then under another Democrat president, Jimmy Carter. I’m not blaming this on President Obama, I just think it’s an interesting coincidence.” ~ Rep. Michele Bachmann
  44. “I love California; I practically grew up in Phoenix.” ~ Dan Quayle
  45. “He is purple – the gay-pride color, and his antenna is shaped like a triangle – the gay pride symbol.” ~ Jerry Falwell’s warning to parents that “Tinky Winky of Teletubbies, may be gay
  46. “The greatest threat to America is not necessarily a recession or even another terrorist attack. The greatest threat to America is a liberal media bias.” ~ Rep. Lamar Smith
  47. “Carbon dioxide is portrayed as harmful. But there isn’t even one study that can be produced that shows that carbon dioxide is a harmful gas.” ~ Rep. Michele Bachmann
  48. “If Lincoln were alive today, he’d be turning over in his grave. ~ Gerald Ford (on Nixon and Watergate)
  49. “Isn’t that the ultimate homeland security, standing up and defending marriage?” ~ Rick Santorum
  50. “I should tell my story. I’m also unemployed.” ~ Mitt Romney
  51. “I saw the young man over there with eggs Benedict, with hollandaise sauce. And I was going to suggest to you that you serve your eggs with hollandaise sauce in hubcaps. Because there’s no plates like chrome for the hollandaise.” ~ Mitt Romney
  52. “I’m ready for the ‘gotcha’ questions and they’re already starting to come. And when they ask me who is the president of Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan I’m going to say, you know, I don’t know. Do you know?” ~ Herman Cain
  53. “They [China] have indicated that they’re trying to develop nuclear capability and they want to develop more aircraft carriers like we have. So yes, we have to consider them a military threat.” ~ Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, warning that China could develop nuclear weapons. (They developed them in 1964.)
  54. “If you’ve seen one city slum, you’ve seen them all.” ~ Spiro Agnew
  55. “Capital punishment is our way of demonstrating the sanctity of life.”” ~ Orrin Hatch
  56. “I went to a number of women’s groups and said: ‘Can you help us find folks,’ and they brought us whole binders full of women.” ~ Mitt Romney
  57. “We have a president, who I think is a nice guy, but he spent too much time at Harvard, perhaps.” ~ Mitt Romney
  58. “We need a leader, not a reader.” ~ Herman Cain
  59. “How do you say ‘delicious’ in Cuban?” ~ Herman Cain
  60. ”A poet once said, ‘Life can be a challenge, life can seem impossible, but it’s never easy when there’s so much on the line.’” ~ Herman Cain, using the theme song of the Pokemon movie in the closing statement of the first GOP debate in 2012

From the writer:

"Yeah, these are hilarious, I’ll admit. But what’s scary is that way too many people support and respect these idiots. Unbelievable! To stay up to date on topics I discuss, you can follow me on Twitter, subscribe to my public updates on Facebook, or connect with me via LinkedIn."
This quick review of the "ridiculously stupid Republican quotes" is a reference for some nifty bumper stickers, but Conservatism needs to be criminalized because of its criminality (http://www.criminalizeconservatism.com/search/label/conservative_crimes), not because of the stupidity of its leaders and followers (http://www.criminalizeconservatism.com/search/label/conservatives_are_stupid).


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"Better pass boldly into that other world, in the full glory of some passion, than fade and
wither dismally with age."

James Joyce


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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Conservatives: No Longer Fit To Govern



Dave Johnson, of Campaign for America's Future, at Truthout.org, has a piece titled, "Republicans "No Longer a Normal Governing Party," "Unfit for Government," echoes the underlying theme of this site, that "A destructive, radical group is in control of part of the government. It is bent on sabotage and destruction. When you elect people who hate government, don’t be surprised when they set out to destroy our government," a must-read, and reprinted here in its entirety:

"Outrage is growing over Republican sabotage of … well, everything.


"E. J. Dionne Jr. in the Washington Post, writing in It’s our system on the cliff...(link doesn't work.)


"'The United States faces a crisis in our political system because the Republican Party, particularly in the House of Representatives, is no longer a normal, governing party.'
"'The only way we will avoid a constitutional crackup is for a new, bipartisan majority to take effective control of the House and isolate those who would rather see the country fall into chaos than vote for anything that might offend their ideological sensibilities.;

Michael Tomasky at The Daily Beast, in The GOP Brings Politics to a Crisis Point,

"'Really, what is to be done about this Republican Party? What force can change it—can stop Republicans from being ideological saboteurs and convert at least a workable minority of them into people interested in governing rather than sabotage? … They are a direct threat to the economy, which could slip back into recession next year if the government doesn’t, well, govern. They are an ongoing, at this point almost mundane, threat to democracy, subverting and preventing progress the American people clearly desire across a number of fronts. They have to be stopped, and the only people who can really stop them are corporate titans and Wall Streeters, who surely now are finally beginning to see that America’s problem is not Barack Obama and his alleged “socialism,” but a political party that has become psychologically incapable of operating within the American political system.

"'[. . . They didn’t come to Washington to govern. They came to sabotage. So our working assumption must be whatever the issue, sabotage is what they’re going to do.'



"Andrew Sullivan, also at The Daily Beast, says Enough!, (emphasis added, for emphasis)

"'Between the humiliating and chaotic collapse of Speaker Boehner's already ludicrously extreme Plan B and Wayne La Pierre's deranged proposal to put government agents in schools with guns, the Republican slide into total epistemic closure and political marginalization has now become a free-fall. This party, not to mince words, is unfit for government.;

"'[. . .] Enough. This faction and its unhinged fanaticism has no place in any advanced democracy. They must be broken. … We need a new governing coalition in the House – Democrats and those few sane Republicans willing to put country before ideology. But even that may be impossible.'

"Mark McKinnon, also at The Deaily Beast, All I Want for Christmas Is a New GOP, (emphasis added, for emphasis)

"'But here’s the deeper point and the bigger problem for the GOP. Increasingly, it is becoming clear that the party is against everything and for nothing.'

"'Nothing on taxes. Nothing on gun control. Nothing on climate change. Nothing on gay marriage. Nothing on immigration reform (or an incremental, piece-by-piece approach, which will result in nothing). It’s a very odd situation when the losing party is the party refusing to negotiate. It may be how you disrupt, but it is not how you govern, or how you ever hope to regain a majority.'

"'And so, we have a Republican Party today willing to eliminate any prospect for a decent future for anyone, including itself, if it cannot be a future that is 100 percent in accordance with its core beliefs and principles. That’s not governing. That’s just lobbing hand grenades. If you’re only standing on principle to appear taller, then you appear smaller. And the GOP is shrinking daily before our eyes.



The incomparably great Dave Johnson, writing at Campaign for America’s Future’s blog last week in, Radical Plan B Failed Because It Was Not Extreme Enough,

"'Just how radical and extreme are the Republicans today? Republicans didn’t oppose Boehner’s radical “Plan B” because it would devastate American families and small businesses and destroy government — that was OK, in fact that wasn’t even enough destruction for them. They opposed it because it would raise taxes a small bit on the billionaires who grease their wheels. In other words, they opposed it because it was not extreme and radical enough.'

"… You can’t even imagine that you have the responsibility of being a legislator — never mind Speaker of the House — if you are prepared to offer a bill like this to the Congress, never mind that most of them favored this, and opposed it only because it was not radical enough. The cuts and destruction were fine with them, they wanted no tax increase whatsoever on the billionaires.'

"So here we are. A destructive, radical group is in control of part of the government. It is bent on sabotage and destruction. When you elect people who hate government, don’t be surprised when they set out to destroy our government."



Very little needs to be added to the essay other than: Criminalize Conservatism, before it's too late!

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"A loving heart is the beginning of all knowledge."

Thomas Carlyle (Scottish philosopher, satirical writer, essayist, historian, and
teacher during the Victorian era.  1795 - 1881) 

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Friday, December 28, 2012

Conservatives: No Sense of Humor?


Facebook poster Andrew Rei posted some hilarious definitions to our Facebook site yesterday. As both of us had once been suspended for a fortnight for violating Facebook's "Don't Post Stuff On Right-Wing Pages That would Make Them Whine Policy," we agreed to share the laughs only with those possessing a sense of humor, which precludes Conservatives even reading this page. (Note the number of failed attempts at humor over at Fox News, to the chagrin of those like Dennis Miller, who was under the misapprehension that he was funny.)



As anything of a humorous bent online outnumbers conservative postings in a ratio of around 1,000 to one, when searching for jokes about Republicans the numbers of them were staggering, so we limited our search only to Chris Christie, and came up with these gems at http://politicalhumor.about.com/od/republicans/a/Chris-Christie-Jokes.htm:



"I think Chris Christie is a good choice for the keynote speaker. I mean, is there a better symbol for belt tightening than Chris Christie?" –David Letterman

"New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is doing the keynote speech at the Republican Convention. He didn't want to, but they're going to lure him in by having Paul Ryan drive the Wienermobile." –Bill Maher

"New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is going to be the keynote speaker at the Republican National Convention, and wherever Chris Christie goes you know what that means. That's right, unlimited bread sticks." –David Letterman

"Yesterday New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said he's not sure if he's going to run for re-election next year. He's said, 'I'll collapse that bridge when I get to it.'" –Jimmy Fallon

"It looks like the Republicans are going back to the strategy of 2008 where Obama is characterized as a celebrity. Says the party who is gay for Ronald Reagan. Come on, you can't worship Ronald Reagan and then attack Obama for being a celebrity. That's like running Chris Christie and saying Obama has a fat ass." –Bill Maher


"In the last year, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s approval rating has gone up 12 points. That's impressive. Usually, the only time he picks up a dozen is when he goes to Krispy Kreme." –Jimmy Fallon

"Last night Newark Mayor Cory Booker rescued a woman trapped inside a burning house. Not to be outdone, Governor Chris Christie rescued a Tostito that fell in his artichoke dip." –Jimmy Fallon

“Bad news for the governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie. While celebrating Easter they rushed him to the hospital with an impacted peep.” –David Letterman

“Opening in New Jersey tomorrow is the circus. They put up the big tent, although this year it’s Governor Christie’s pants.” –David Letterman

“Opening in New Jersey tomorrow is the circus. They put up the big tent, although this year it’s Governor Christie’s pants.” –David Letterman

"New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is going to Israel. He's going to be pretty disappointed when he finds out the Gaza Strip isn't a steak." –Jimmy Fallon

"Chris Christie has officially endorsed Mitt Romney for president. Christie said President Obama is 'shrinking the American pie.' And believe me, if there's one thing Christie hates, it's a small pie." –Jay Leno

"Today New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced that he's endorsing Mitt Romney for president. It's good news for Romney. I mean, you always want Chris Christie on your side. Unless you're in a canoe." –Jimmy Fallon

"And Chris Christie isn't running. This guy had a lot of followers. Most of then were ivory poachers, but still …" –David Letterman

"Chris Christie decided not to run. He had a big decision. He weighed the pros. He weighed the cons. He weighed himself. I like the guy. This is a candidate we could have all gotten behind. Now they’re saying he might be a Vice Presidential candidate. He’d make a great one. I’ll bet this guy knows how to spell 'potato.'" –David Letterman

"New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie officially announced that he will not be running for president. Do we really want a president who looks like an American League umpire?" –David Letterman

"Chris Christie would have been the first American President visible from space. The Marine Band would have played 'Hail to the Chef.' If he'd run, the Republicans would have had to choose between him and Rick Perry. One's morbidly obese, and the other is morally obtuse." –David Letterman

"People said it's not fair to joke about Chris Christie being fat when they wouldn't make the same kinds of jokes if he were gay. But it's a whole different thing. For one thing, if he were gay, he wouldn't be fat. I'd love to have him in the Oval Office. He'd fit right in." –Jimmy Kimmel

"New Jersey Governor Chris Christie lost his laptop. In his lap." –David Letterman

"Gov. Chris Christie keeps saying he's not running for president. On the other hand, he would consider running for Santa." –David Letterman

"Republicans are having trouble luring Gov. Chris Christie into the presidential race. They should try pie." –David Letterman

"Gov. Chris Christie was hospitalized yesterday, he had trouble breathing. He first noticed there was a problem when he had difficulty inhaling a pizza." –Bill Maher

"He was in the supermarket, and he felt a tightness in his chest, and then he realized he got stuck in the dairy case. He's OK. The hospital today upgraded his condition to gigantic. The doctors say he was already up and about, and taking helicopters to travel 20 feet." –Bill Maher

"But the doctors said to Governor Christie 'you have got to stop eating ice cream out of big five gallon tubs' and he said 'why?' And the doctor said ‘so I can examine you.'" –Bill Maher

"New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was rushed to the hospital when he felt he couldn't breathe. Doctors said the condition is called 'living in New Jersey.'" –Jay Leno


In previous posts we've shown scientifically how the conservatives are hard-wired for stupidity, viciousness, and "Kick-down, kiss-up" robotic authoritarianism, but note the lack of studies showing their lack of humor when compared with non-Conservatives. Although researchers have studiously broken scientific ground in exposing Conservatives' foibles, we suspect their hesitancy to be cowardly in nature, as we already know that one can accuse anyone if anything without fear, except to accuse them of bad driving or a lack of a sense of humor.



So in the spirit of Mr. Reis's offering, and with the sure knowledge that even a serious site like ours must indulge in a modicum of humor to maintain our mental health (see Conservatives, Humor, Lack Of, above) we submit a few more yuks. The sound of fingernails scraping on dried pine that you may hear is merely the noise made when Conservatives scratching their heads - some conservative near you is reading this post too.

We leave it to the professional researchers to explore the reasons for, and the depths of, Conservatives' lack of a funny bone, but would surmise that the ratio of Conservative stand-up comedians to liberal ones is probably 100 to one - or more...and when we consider that the "humor" emanating from the likes of Victoria Jackson, Drew Carey, and the aforementioned, hapless, Fox Newsboy Dennis Miller are the among the best-known of them, the mind reels.

And now from Mr. Rei:


I'll be editing this note as new definitions come along....
GOP To English
Dictionary

Abraham Lincoln- first GOP President, elected as country's chief executive just six years after the party's founding. Conservative icon [even though he was a Liberal].

Blue Dog Democrat- A Republican in Democratic clothing.

Communist: a Liberal or Progressive

Conservatism- a political philosophy where change should only benefit rich people.

Democratic Party- the political party Conservatives used to populate [GOP started out as Liberals in 1854 but Conservatives drove them out by 1872]

Emergency Spending- any spending needed to fund fast-arising needs, like wars, but not for any other reason

Enemy Combatant- any person who takes up arms against GOP/Conservative ideals.

Entitlement Program- any earned benefits program, such as Social Security and Medicare, where people paid taxes to get benefits later.

Entitlement Reform- making Draconian cuts to Entitlement Programs in an effort to eventually eliminate them.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)- a government agency created to hamper big corporations' pursuit of profit via “environmental safeguards”. [It was founded in 1973 by that “radical Liberal” Republican Richard Nixon]

47%: percent of the American populace who are freeloaders and feel "entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it." (Mitt Romney) Also Mitt Romney's share of the popular vote during the 2012 presidential elections. (

Fox “News”- propaganda arm of the Republican Party.

Frank Luntz- the GOP's version of Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels.

Freedom- a philosophy that allows Republicans to do whatever they want and is not conferred upon anyone else.

Free Market Economy- an economy where big corporations are allowed huge tax breaks and subsidies and the executives of those companies are allowed to make any decision to maximize the profits and drive up the value of the company at the expense of its workers [Also known as “Vampire Capitalism”]

George W. Bush- who's that? [GOP timeline skips from January 2001 to Jan. 2009]

Grand Old Party- what GOP is supposed to mean [GOP actually means, “Greedy Old Perverts”, “Greed Oppression Piety”, “Greedy Old Patricians”, etc.]

Gun Control- Liberals' illegal campaign to take away everybody's guns.

Grover Norquist- Conservative lobbyist. A true American hero. Author of the Norquist Pledge [which fits the definition of actual treason, not the GOP definition].

IOKIYAR- stands for “It's OK If You're A Republican” [which the GOP uses to justify their 8 cornerstones: bigotry, hypocrisy, elitism, fascism, greed, corruption, incompetence and arrogance]

“Job Creators”- the wealthy and big corporations [The true Welfare Queens and the true beneficiaries of the actual Entitlement Program/Ponzi Scheme, tax incentives and subsidies for them specifically]

Liberals- a group of people within the Democratic Party that are against all American ideals...also called “Treehuggers”, “Communists”, “Marxists” and “Socialists”

Marxist: see communist

Moderates- see “Useful Idiots” entry

Norquist Pledge- a pledge signed by nearly every Republican politician with the intent of never raising taxes, especially on the job creators

Polls: something used by strippers and cross-country skiers (Sarah Palin)

Second Amendment- A Constitutional amendment allowing the unfettered access to weapons for all Republican-Americans

Small Business- any business with fewer than 50 employees, regardless of income.

Socialism- a type of government that goes completely against GOP/Conservative principles; practiced by Liberals (Socialists, Marxists, Communists)

Spending- any outlay of the government that isn't a tax cut/incentive/subsidy for the job creators or given to the defense budget and military.

Starve the Beast- a program to systematically reduce taxes on the rich and big corporations to reduce the size of government, therefore allowing those two groups of “people” to eventually take over stewardship of it.

Taxes- the government's illegal program to redistribute wealth downward.

Tax “Breaks”, “Incentives” and “Subsidies”- a program designed to help the wealthy and big corporations accumulate more wealth [redistribute wealth upward].

Tax Reform- ensuring that the Job Creators pay less or as much in taxes as they do now.

Tea Party- a faction of the GOP that the Conservatives use to distract attention to what they (the Conservatives) are doing. Also see “Useful Idiots” entry

The Constitution- a document written long ago that justifies all actions and philosophies of the Republican Party.

Treason- any action done that goes against the principles and values of the GOP.

Union Thugs: Teachers, cops, firefighters, and other public-sector workers who don't "produce" anything.

Useful Idiots- anyone who votes for or supports the GOP that don't fall into one of the following three groups of “people”, the “people” the GOP actually represent: fetuses, angry rich old white men and big corporations [GOP Tea Party, moderates, women, African-Americans, Asian-Americans and Gay/Lesbians are useful idiots].

Witch Hunt: questioning the GOP's policy stances after yet another negative situation, such as a mass murder in the US involving military-grade weaponry.


And from About.com (http://politicalhumor.about.com/library/bl-late-night-joke.htm):



''Maybe Sarah Palin would be smarter if she had bigger hands.'' —Jimmy Kimmel, on Sarah Palin's hand notes

''As the Republicans continue checking underneath every available flag pin and Bible for viable candidates, presumed de facto frontrunner candidate Mitt Romney has gotta be thinking, 'What the fudge? This is starting to hurt where my feelings should be.''' —Jon Stewart

''If you're keeping score at home, they have now applauded executions at the Republican debate, they have cheered letting an uninsured man die, and they booed an active duty U.S. serviceman for being gay. I don't know how you get to the right with this crowd but Ron Paul's new campaign ad is just the Rodney King beating to the sound of children laughing.'' —Bill Maher

''I want to just take a moment to thank the Teabaggers. Thank you so much for helping us pass health care, for resurrecting the Obama presidency. I know they're saying, 'Why are you thanking me? I was so against it, I marched on Washington with tea bags hanging off my Founding Fathers costume, with a gun on my hip and a picture of Obama dressed as Hitler, screaming about his birth certificate.' And America saw that and said, 'I think I'll go with the calm black man.''' —Bill Maher
''I worry about Rick Perry. One, he's too conservative, Two, his debating skills. And three ... Oh crap, what was three?'' —David Letterman
''It's interesting what former presidents do when they leave office. Bush is now working as a motivational speaker. And if you want to be motivated, who better to turn to than the guy who invaded the wrong country and started a depression.'' —David Letterman

''Michele Bachmann won the Iowa Straw Poll. She said she hasn't been this excited since she won last year's 'Who's Crazier Than Sarah Palin' contest.'''—Conan O'Brien

Placing jokes from this About.com site on Conservative sheeplet Facebook blogs got this poster suspended by Facebook for two weeks, so we must urge some discretion.  But for others, it may be worth it...

Brain: We must prepare for tomorrow night.
Pinky: Why? What are we going to do tomorrow night?
Brain: The same thing we do every night, Pinky - try to criminalize Conservatism!
Chorus: They're Pinky, They're Pinky and the Brain Brain Brain Brain Brain!



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"When his library burned down, it destroyed both books. Dole hadn't finished coloring
in the second"

Jack Kemp on Bob Dole before he became Dole's running mate in the 1996

presidential election race.


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Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Renaissance of Unionism In America


In a recent discussion with a labor organizer, I suggested that 2012 would mark the Renaissance of the labor unions in America.  With a reviving economy and the realization that the country's demographics are spelling the death knell of the Republican Party, together with a new effort to explain to the general public how "Right To Work" laws have not only hurt those states who have enacted such draconian laws against the worker, but are part and parcel of the successful propaganda by the Conservatives in the past to convince us of the absurdity that unions hurt the worker.  And from Alternet.org we have a new piece, "6 Ways to Juice Up the Labor Movement," "...suggestions on how to build a reinvigorated, vibrant labor movement...by some of the smartest organizers and thinkers we know.":

"The passage of a so-called “right-to-work” law in Michigan recently left the labor movement feeling gut-punched.

"The law, which defunds unions by allowing workers in shops represented by a union to opt out of paying for the cost of representing them, was a blow at the once-mighty unions that made manufacturing work, particularly Michigan's famed auto manufacturing, a middle-class career. It came in the heart of union country, and while after Ohio and Wisconsin (not to mention RTW's passage in Indiana last year as well) it was hardly a surprise that the wealthy businessmen who fund the Republican party wanted to destroy the labor movement once and for all, the swift passage of the bill (in just days) despite the protests of thousands outside still felt demoralizing.

"To make matters worse, it came on the heels of some of the most exciting labor organizing in years; the strikes of hundreds of workers across the country at Walmart stores and warehouses, the strikes of fast-food workers in New York and similar organizing in Chicago. It came not long after Chicago's teachers union struck and pushed back against a wave of corporate-backed education reform policies.

"While Michigan's unions regroup and begin the twin processes of trying to survive and retain dues-paying members in the face of RTW and trying to find a way to overturn the law, it's clear that the national labor movement needs to do more than just fight defensive battle after defensive battle."



The Six Ways:

"1.  From Stephen Lerner, architect of the Justice for Janitors campaign:

“'It's time to reinvent the strike—the strike as guerrilla warfare,' says Lerner. The strike is the traditional weapon of organized workers, but employers have gotten pretty good at beating those strikes. But in his work with Justice for Janitors, Lerner learned that bosses weren't ready for short, quick strikes. 'If you look at the strike as a way to make them pay a price for how they treat you, you do short strikes, in and out strikes,' he notes. 'Part of the reason it's so difficult to organize workers now is most people work multiple jobs, they have not a moment to participate. If you view the strike as having multiple goals, one is it allows workers to publicly declare and demonstrate they're unhappy. Second, because they're not at work they can talk to the media, go to churches. Third, it's something very concrete that they can do that does start to make the bosses a little crazy.'

"The second thing Lerner suggests is a re-politicization of bargaining. 'We need bargaining not to just be about workers but what's good for the community,' he says, 'So that we're bargaining for broader issues, especially in the public sector. So that it's not bargaining for the few, it's bargaining for the many.' Chicago's teachers, he notes, raised the issue of the city divesting from banks that were foreclosing on people. 'We need to make it so that people see that when those workers win, we all win, rather than they're negotiating for something we don't have.'

"2.  From Jonathan Westin, executive director, New York Communities for Change, organizer of recent fast food strikes:

"It's not just about who you're organizing, Westin notes, it's also about how you do it. 'It's about constantly pressuring employers from as many angles as possible. It's leveraging not only NLRB elections but back wage claims to pressure the employers, leveraging community pressure, boycotts, strikes. We did a strike at the car wash in the Bronx and they came to the table. That's the lesson, it's not just any one strategy, you have to come at them at every different angle.'

"Because, of course, the big money and corporations are coming at workers from every angle, from RTW laws and attacks on collective bargaining to wage theft and erratic scheduling. 'There's so many sectors of low-wage workers that are affected,' Westin says, 'Who's to say that we can't organize multi-sector campaigns together? It's not just we're targeting an industry, but we're targeting the entire service economy, looking to build that sector of workers in a big way.'



"3.  From Ruth Milkman, Professor of Sociology at the CUNY Graduate Center, Academic Director at the Joseph S. Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies:

“'Don't mourn, organize!' says Milkman, whose research has focused both on the American auto industry and recently, on low-wage immigrant workers. 'Forget the NLRB system,' she continues; that system has become largely dysfunctional for the workers who are covered by it, and for many it's simply not a question—they're not included in its protections, so they have to find other solutions.

“'This is the time to rebuild from the bottom up, with a focus on low-wage workers, both immigrants and the U.S. born,' Milkman says. 'Organizing should be based on alliances with community groups, faith leaders, and pro-labor elected officials, drawing on the full spectrum of historical strategies and tactics.'

"4.  From Bill Fletcher Jr., longtime organizer and author most recently of 'They're Bankrupting Us' And 20 Other Myths About Unions:

“'We're living with the consequences of a movement that ceased being an economic justice movement,' Fletcher says. To get back to those roots, he's advocating some serious change and rebuilding for labor.

"Internally, he believes that unions need to re-examine their structure, evaluate positions, committees, and connect them to the overall mission of the union. Externally, too, he calls for a reevaluation of central labor councils and other forms of geographic organization—organizing across a city or metropolitan area. 'What these central labor councils allowed us to do was position organizing as an economic development strategy.'

"Beyond that, he's calling for leadership that is willing to take risks—including knowing when to step down—and to build new alliances. 'We need new leadership that understands that alliances are not about hiring the Hessians. This tendency of some unions to believe that alliances with other forces is about funding those groups to do what we want them to do.'

"It's about organizing politically in neighborhoods and communities where union members are and building leverage that way rather than depending on a party.
"5.  From Jane McAlevey, longtime organizer and author of Raising Expectations (And Raising Hell):

"McAlevey points out that the entire structure of work has changed over recent years. That means that there are many workers who don't see how unions could work for them, and who have to be reintroduced to the entire concept of unions. 'The way that unions can keep any kind of skin in the game is by rethinking their relationship to their own rank and file and rethinking their relationship to their broader community,' she says.

“'How about budgeting the time and recruiting a ton of your top rank and file leaders to go out and meet with damn near every single member of the union, in their worksites, in their neighborhoods, in community meetings?' She suggests that from there, workers themselves could chart and track the relationships they have in their community, figure out their connections. 'What is the social fabric of the relationships that the 16 million members of unions in this country hold?'

"16 million, she notes, isn't a lot when it comes to the percentage of the workforce (7 percent of the private sector), but it's still a lot of people who have a lot of connections and can have conversations with their community. But to get there, the union members have to feel connected, have to take responsibility, and have to feel like they own their union and they care about their union. 'There's no reason to expect that a rank and file member is going to prioritize and make time to reintroduce the value of their union to their community unless they value their union.'

"This kind of work can be done, she notes, and must be done—the same way unions put together a Get-Out-The-Vote machine for presidential elections.



"6.  From Eric Robertson & Ben Speight, Teamsters Local 728, Georgia:

"When it comes to organizing under so-called 'right to work' laws, Robertson and Speight know all about it. 'What Scott Walker tried to do in Wisconsin is our status quo here. In Georgia, there's no recourse. You can literally be told "I'm firing you for that union button, get out." There's no board to petition for unfair labor practices. The only ability we have to organize is the discretion of the employer,' Speight says.

“'Labor has to think far beyond the confines of what has been permitted for us to organize,' Speight says. 'The solutions to labor's challenges now come from a recognition that we can only truly grow at the scale that's needed to bring about balance in our society and economy if we're able to compel owners to drop their weapons.'. That either comes through comprehensive labor law reform that brings in workers traditionally excluded from the protections of the NLRA, or, he notes, through massive action from working people and allies, making it impossible for owners to keep operating their businesses until they deal fairly with workers. It's time for mass action, Speight says. 'There's the old saying that you can have collective bargaining at the table or have it in the streets.'

“'We need to teach people, even longstanding union members, in practice what collective action looks like, how do we identify targets, how do we escalate tactics to make those targets say yes.' To get there, he notes, labor needs to 'embark on a deep relationship-building effort with our allies, so that struggles, attacks on labor are not viewed as an attack on labor in isolation, but are viewed as attacks on fundamental democratic rights.'"
The fifth item is one that should be examined by anyone interested in taking part of union organizing.  Approach a union of your choice and offer to volunteer for projects identifying those workers badly in need of a union.  With the decline in membership since the Reagan union-busting era, unions are cash-strapped and should welcome anyone eager to help build up their memberships.  If you live in a resort area, for example, unions specializing in hotel workers will probably need volunteers to help out in their research departments, identifying the hotels by the size of their employees to facilitate organizing.  If you have contacts in one of those hotels, you could even be the one to infiltrate them, starting the drive for unionization.

Unite Here! Local 5 In Hawaii, In Front of Hyatt Hotel


It doesn't take much to convince the non-union workers that they are getting the short end of the stick:  just show them the difference in pay, benefits, and seniority between non-union and unionized hotels.

A sentence in the sixth "...Way To Juice Up The Labor Movement" is more generalized, but no less important than any other strategy, and bears repeating and emphasis:

“There's the old saying that you can have collective bargaining at the table or have it in the streets.”

The Conservatives have decimated unionism in the U.S., and the lowered income and standard of living that accompanied the reduction in union membership is proof that the Conservative machinations have been deliberately put together to plunge the middle class into poverty - and the resulting starvation, illness, and death of the American worker.


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“The person who knows how to laugh at himself will never cease to be amused.”

Shirley MacLaine (Outspoken American actress and dancer, b.1934


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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Why America Is A Nation of Guns



From Michael Moore, "3 Reasons America Is Falling Apart -- And How We Can Save Ourselves," an article at Michaelmoore.com that offers a few guesses to America's problems with guns.  In Moore's film, "Bowling For Columbine," he offered a paradox, comparing Canada's low murder rate with that of the U.S.'s.  The border separating the two countries doesn't explain a thing - the Canadians own guns, they see the same violent movies we do, play the same video games, and read the same magazines.  So why the difference?  Moore:

"So here's my little bit of holiday cheer for you:

"These gun massacres aren't going to end any time soon.

"I'm sorry to say this. But deep down we both know it's true. That doesn't mean we shouldn't keep pushing forward -- after all, the momentum is on our side. I know all of us -- including me -- would love to see the president and Congress enact stronger gun laws. We need a ban on automatic AND semiautomatic weapons and magazine clips that hold more than 7 bullets. We need better background checks and more mental health services. We need to regulate the ammo, too.

"The sad facts are these: Other countries that have guns (like Canada, which has 7 million guns -- mostly hunting guns -- in their 12 million households) have a low murder rate. Kids in Japan watch the same violent movies and kids in Australia play the same violent video games (Grand Theft Auto was created by a British company; the UK had 58 gun murders last year in a nation of 63 million people). They simply don't kill each other at the rate that we do. Why is that? THAT is the question we should be exploring while we are banning and restricting guns: Who are we?

"I'd like to try to answer that question.

"We are a country whose leaders officially sanction and carry out acts of violence as a means to often an immoral end. We invade countries who didn't attack us. We're currently using drones in a half-dozen countries, often killing civilians.

"This probably shouldn't come as a surprise to us as we are a nation founded on genocide and built on the backs of slaves. We slaughtered 600,000 of each other in a civil war. We "tamed the Wild West with a six-shooter," and we rape and beat and kill our women without mercy and at a staggering rate: every three hours a women is murdered in the USA (half the time by an ex or a current); every three minutes a woman is raped in the USA; and every 15 seconds a woman is beaten in the USA.

"We belong to an illustrious group of nations that still have the death penalty (North Korea, Saudi Arabia, China, Iran). We think nothing of letting tens of thousands of our own citizens die each year because they are uninsured and thus don't see a doctor until it's too late.

"While we are discussing and demanding what to do, may I respectfully ask that we stop and take a look at what I believe are the three extenuating factors that may answer the question of why we Americans have more violence than most anyone else:

"1. POVERTY. If there's one thing that separates us from the rest of the developed world, it's this. 50 million of our people live in poverty. One in five Americans goes hungry at some point during the year. The majority of those who aren't poor are living from paycheck to paycheck. There's no doubt this creates more crime. Middle class jobs prevent crime and violence. (If you don't believe that, ask yourself this: If your neighbor has a job and is making $50,000/year, what are the chances he's going to break into your home, shoot you and take your TV? Nil.)

"2. FEAR/RACISM. We're an awfully fearful country considering that, unlike most nations, we've never been invaded. (No, 1812 wasn't an invasion. We started it.) Why on earth would we need 300 million guns in our homes? I get why the Russians might be a little spooked (over 20 million of them died in World War II). But what's our excuse? Worried that the Indians from the casino may go on the warpath? Concerned that the Canadians seem to be amassing too many Tim Horton's donut shops on both sides of the border?

"No. It's because too many white people are afraid of black people. Period. The vast majority of the guns in the U.S. are sold to white people who live in the suburbs or the country. When we fantasize about being mugged or home invaded, what's the image of the perpetrator in our heads? Is it the freckled-face kid from down the street -- or is it someone who is, if not black, at least poor?

"I think it would be worth it to a) do our best to eradicate poverty and re-create the middle class we used to have, and b) stop promoting the image of the black man as the boogeyman out to hurt you. Calm down, white people, and put away your guns.

"3. THE 'ME' SOCIETY. I think it's the every-man-for-himself ethos of this country that has put us in this mess and I believe it's been our undoing. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps! You're not my problem! This is mine!

"Clearly, we are no longer our brother's and sister's keeper. You get sick and can't afford the operation? Not my problem. The bank has foreclosed on your home? Not my problem. Can't afford to go to college? Not my problem.

"And yet, it all sooner or later becomes our problem, doesn't it? Take away too many safety nets and everyone starts to feel the impact. Do you want to live in that kind of society, one where you will then have a legitimate reason to be in fear? I don't.



"Well, there's some food for thought as we head home for the holidays. Don't forget to say hi to your conservative brother-in-law for me. Even he will tell you that, if you can't nail a deer in three shots -- and claim you need a clip of 30 rounds -- you're not a hunter my friend, and you have no business owning a gun."


"On the other hand, Valerie Terico at Alternet.org has her own suggestions in her essay, "Does the Bible Make Americans More Violent?," wondering:



"Americans can be notoriously prudish about sex, yet our entertainments are stuffed with violent acts. Could this go all the way back to the Bible?

"The Motion Picture Association of America has been rating sex, violence and profanity in movies since 1968, with the goal of limiting how much of each children absorb—or at least giving parents a tool that lets them make the judgment explicit sex and violence had both increased over time, but that “ratings creep” affected only violence. Explicit sex is still reserved for “R” rated films; explicit violence is not. call. In 2006, the Annenberg Public Policy Center reviewed the top grossing movies since the rating system began. In fact, they reviewed movies all the way back to 1950. They found that

"Many parents naively trust that media targeted at young children are developmentally harmless even though brain science suggests otherwise. They similarly tend to assume that a G-Rating means a movie is low on violence. In reality, it may mean simply that the violence is less realistic or designed to trigger laughter rather than fear. A Harvard study published in 2000 reviewed every animated feature film produced between 1933 and 1999, 74 in total. At the time, the findings made headlines because they were startling:

"-- Every single film had at least one violent act. The amount of footage devoted to violence ranged from 6 seconds to 24 minutes.

"-- Most of the films showed physical fighting as a means of resolving conflict.

"-- Characters used weapons including swords and guns and every-day objects.

"-- In half of the movies at least one character gave violence a thumbs-up at some point by cheering or laughing.

"A follow up in 2004 showed that G-rated movies, like all others, gradually are becoming more violent. A 2007 study sampled 77 PG-13 films and tallied 2251 violent actions, with nearly half causing one or more death. Researchers classified most of the incidents as “happy violence” meaning it was “cool, swift, and painless.” Today, by the age of 11, the typical American kid has seen almost 8000 murders on TV. Why? Because we like it that way. Movies that are rated R for violence make more money than those that are rated R for other reasons. We are attracted to violence and we are inured to violence. Most Americans...find murder to be more acceptable fare for children than sex or swear words.



"Our peculiar hierarchy of priorities may be due in part to the influence of Abrahamic religion on Western Civilization and the unique standing accorded to the Bible in American Christianity specifically. The Bible amalgamates the mythology and legal codes of a specific kind of culture: a clan-based tribal society in which herdsmen struggling for survival in an arid and increasingly denuded environment. Males competed to control females and territory while maintaining the purity of bloodlines and inheritance; gods that were modeled on warlords competed for fealty. Consequently, while codes governing sexuality and blasphemy were strict, codes governing violence were complicated.

"Yahweh himself originated as a war god. Non-Hebrews were regarded with hostility and indeed, much of the founding story of the Israelite people comprises tales of triumphal genocide. The violence in in the Bible is so extreme that it defines vast portions of the book:

"[Edmund Leach] looked at the Bible through the eyes of a communications engineer and asked: what message are these authors trying to get through to the reader? The answer, Leach thought, was that they were trying to obscure the fact that mankind began through incest (Adam and Eve) and so the strategy was to compile a list of atrocities so heinous that, in the end, the original incest would come to look like a harmless act.

"Whether history or mythology or some fusion of the two, the Bible stories, when tallied, include an estimated 25 million violent deaths. And yet, like any people, the internal narrative of God’s Chosen Ones is one of yearning for peace and prosperity, the dream of an idyllic past in which the lion lay down with the lamb; an idyllic future in which men will beat their swords into plowshares and the lamb and lion will lie down together again.



"Like the ancient Israelites, we Americans see ourselves as peacemakers. During the midwinter holiday season, Peace on Earth is sung from choir lofts and hung in shopping malls. We complain about our role as 'policeman to the world.' And yet, if we could see ourselves as others see us, we would see a people who, like the ancient Israelites have created unparalleled archetypes of violence: the Rambo, the mushroom cloud, the Tommy Gun, the Cowboy. Hollywood ensures that, even independent of the world’s best funded military, violence is one of our top exports.

"In movies, of course, it is the bad guys who do the unprovoked killing. Any violence perpetrated by the protagonist, meaning by us at a fantasy level, is vengeance or justice. Most people are deeply ambivalent about violence. We are both attracted and repelled by it. We enjoy and fear it. It turns us on and it horrifies us. Consequently, to get the satisfaction of a good blockbuster we need those bad guys to instigate things. The violence we like best is righteous violence, and—in movies and stories--most violence is just that. It protects innocence and restores justice. It safeguards women and children and the homeland.

"Ironically, those who most relish the fantasy power of righteous violence are those who in real life are most likely to perpetrate unrighteous violence. Masculinity, the substance of action films, is defined by the Oxford Online Dictionary thus: possession of the qualities traditionally associated with men: a need for men to prove their masculinity through domination over women. Hypermasculine men hit women more, and a woman being pregnant is no deterrent. In the real world, tough guys are good guys until suddenly, sometimes, they are not. In the real world, most murders are triggered by the same motives we find so satisfying on the screen: righteous anger, a sense of violated fairness or honor, the outrage of feeling wronged, the conviction that the one murdered was the bad guy.

"Who of us is willing even, to miss the next blockbuster? In The Hunger Games, the bad people are the citizens of the Capitol who demand that outlying districts provide sacrificial contestants for their high tech version of the Roman Coliseum. Movie viewers and readers root for the kids and scorn those who give them no choice but to kill or be killed, those who watch the blood sport for entertainment. But the books and movie work only because we, as readers and viewers, ignore the disturbing obvious: we arethe Capitol. The Hunger Games were staged for us; we are and always were the only intended audience. Suzanne Collins offered us a chance to watch kids hunting and killing each other, and we ate it up. Did she laugh we flocked to the book stores and theater, as we downloaded DVD’s and shared dog-eared copies and checked sequel release dates? Did she cry? Did she care? Do we?"



When the inspiration for this site was in its infancy, the truths about gun ownership and the spectre of Conservatism was admittedly a minor consideration.  The need for Conservative politicians to protect the bottom line of the gun manufacturers and importers was apparent, and it took an incident like the recent elementary school massacre to awaken many Americans to the same abuses of the Republican Party, the front group for the greediest among us - the American Conservatives.

It will take time to educate gun-loving Americans to the truth about the Second Amendment - see "America's Gun Fetich Revealed," (http://www.criminalizeconservatism.com/2012/12/conservatisms-gun-fetish-revealed.html) AND "Curing America's Gun Addiction (http://www.criminalizeconservatism.com/2012/12/curing-americas-gun-addiction.html), and it will take investigative journalism to show the public how high the economic stakes are for the gun merchants and their lobby, the NRA.



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"I like not only to be loved, but also to be told I am loved."

Mary Anne Evans. (Better known by her pen name George Eliot, an English novelist,

journalist and translator, and one of the leading writers of the Victorian era. Wrote
Adam Bede, The Mill on the Floss, Silas Marner, Middlemarch, and Daniel Deronda.
1819 – 1880)


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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Xmas From Joyce, Jnr!


From E. J. Dionne, Jr. at the Washington Post Writers Groups' Oped, "Some Christmas Inspirations."

"There is much dispute and dialogue among scholars over what to make of the Christmas narratives in the Scriptures and the connection between what was written and what we can know about what happened. As the Rev. Daniel J. Harrington has noted: 'The New Testament contains two Christmas stories, not one. They appear in Matthew 1-2 and Luke 1-2. They have some points in common. But there are many differences in their characters, plot, messages and tone.'

"Those of us who celebrate Christmas do not tend to think as scholars or (God forbid!) journalists, but as people of hope. We tend at Christmastime to rely most on Luke, whose telling of Jesus' birth is, as the Rev. Harrington says, 'upbeat, celebratory and even romantic.' We find in Jesus, all at once, inspiration, comfort, challenge and, in one of Pope John Paul II's favorite phrases, 'a sign of contradiction.' And the contradiction is right there in the two Christmas accounts: Matthew emphasizes Jesus' noble lineage, while Luke tells the story of a savior born in a manger. There is a special moral significance, I think, in Luke's account: a faith rooted in the Jewish prophetic tradition traces its origins not to a palace but to a stable; not to an aristocratic household but to a family led by a carpenter. It was a powerful way to send one of Christianity's most important messages: that every single human being is endowed with dignity by God and worthy of respect.



"Pope John XXIII offered a take on this idea that quietly reminds us of how the materialism that seems to run rampant at Christmastime is antithetical to the Christmas story. The church, he argued in his 1959 Christmas message, 'has always fixed her gaze on the human person and has taught that things and institutions -- goods, the economy, the state -- are primarily for man; not man for them.' He added: 'The disturbances which unsettle the internal peace of nations trace their origins chiefly to this source: that man has been treated almost exclusively as a machine, a piece of merchandise, a worthless cog in some great machine or a mere productive unit. It is only when the dignity of the person comes to be taken as the standard of value for man and his activities that the means will exist to settle civil discord.' In this telling. 'Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men' is not a greeting card sentiment but a moral demand.

"The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. also took 'peace on earth' as a personal and social imperative. On Christmas Eve 1967, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. aired King's 'A Christmas Sermon on Peace' as part of the Massey Lecture series. (I draw this from 'A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King Jr.,' published by Harper Collins.) King argued that 'if we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional,' and he added: 'Now the judgment of God is upon us, and we must either learn to live together as brothers or we are all going to perish together as fools.'

"Like so many of Rev. King's sermons that included stern warnings and tough lessons, this one ended in hope.

"'I still have a dream,' he said, four years after his most celebrated speech at the March on Washington, 'that with this faith we will be able to adjourn the councils of despair and bring new light into the dark chambers of pessimism. With this faith we will be able to speed up the day when there will be peace on earth and good will toward men. It will be a glorious, the morning stars will sing together, and the sons of God will shout for joy.'

"Go tell it on the mountain."

© 2012, Washington Post Writers Group



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“The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live”

George Carlin


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Monday, December 24, 2012

Re-education Camps For Conservative Followers


In our post the other day, "7 Studies: Fox News Viewers Are Stupid," we concluded:

"In...the...posting, "Punishing Conservatives, Revisited," (http://www.criminalizeconservatism.com/2012/12/punishing-conservatives-revisited.html) and the stories listed in http://www.criminalizeconservatism.com/search/label/punishment, we have begged for mercy for the intellectually challenged Conservative followers when Conservatism is criminalized, as their deficiencies are not totally their fault and thus may be corrected in re-education camps, and new neurological studies may find the cure for the sheeplets' sub-IQs, as well as their propensity for Authoritarian behavior. Punishing the Conservative leaders, of course, is another matter

Today we are presenting some excerpts from an abstract by Michael D. Parsons and Jennifer D. Parsons, "Change in the Conservative Personality Equals Change in the Offender with a Resultant Reduction in Recidivism," that present a foundation for our premise that Conservative followers are in need of re-education, not punishment.  Introduction:

"Offenders have many of the characteristics of the conservative personality as defined by Adorno, Collins, Wilson, and Boshier. The characteristics of the conservative personality limit change necessary for rehabilitation. Until that personality is modified, it is very difficult to reduce recidivism. Modification of the conservative personality through education and environment can lead to change in the offender’s behavior.

"Is it possible to reduce violence by the criminal offender during incarceration? This paper presents the basis for a model which deals with certain offenders through an educational effort to modify some of their negative characteristics which include violence. The model in this paper is based on the concept of a conservative/authoritarian personality as it is found in offenders. The concept of the authoritarian personality remains important today as evidenced by coverage in current introductory psychology textbooks (Crooks & Stein, 1991; Dworetzky, 1991; Gleitman, 1991). 'It appears that conservatism has pathological dimensions manifested in violence and distorted psycho-sexual development' (Boshier, 1983, p. 159). This is supported by a study conducted by Walker, Rowe, and Quincey (1993) in which there was a direct correlation between authoritarianism and sexually aggressive behavior. An investigation done by Muehlenhard (1988) revealed that rape justification and aggression toward subordinate individuals was much higher in traditional (conservative personality) than non-traditional personalities. It is postulated in this paper that the offender has a conservative personality and, therefore, manifests that violence.


"The conservative personality work has as its antecedents the efforts on authoritarianism as developed by Adorno, Frenkel-Brunswick, Levinson, and Sanford (1950) in their book The Authoritarian Personality. Adorno, et al. developed what was called an F-Scale, or Fascist scale, which dealt with nine variables thought to be found in the authoritarian personality: anti-contraception, conventionalism, authoritarian submission, authoritarian aggression, power/toughness, projectivity, superstition/stereotyping, destruction/cynicism, and sex. Historically several problems with the F-Scale instrument were found. To counteract these problems, a Conservatism or C-Scale was developed by Wilson and Patterson in 1968 (Boshier, 1983, p. 50).

"To reduce confusion, the remainder of this paper will interchange the terms conservatism/authoritarianism, as 'neither conceptually nor empirically does there appear to be any grounds for distinguishing authoritarianism and conservative personality-except that the former may be regarded as a somewhat more particular case of the latter' (Wilson, 1973, p. 33). Dogmatic attitudes tend to be related to close-mindedness. The individuals who adhere to dogmatic attitudes have behaviors including: authoritarianism, tough-mindedness, conservatism, and alienated behavior (Rajnarain, 1986).



"It needs to be noted that there is a right wing authoritarianism and a left wing authoritarianism (Sanford, 1973). The previous comment is made to maintain balance in the discussion on authoritarianism. For the purpose of this study, the focus will be right wing authoritarianism and the concept of conservatism was developed from that expression. Additionally, conservatism was linked to culture as noted by Sanford 'Thus today, although I find little in the facts or theories of The Authoritarian Personality that seems fundamentally wrong, I have no difficulty in urging that we now stress the interaction of personality and culture, of psychodynamic and cognitive processes.' (1973 p. 1961). The point of the above is that the conservative personality must be viewed within the context of the current culture. The focus of this paper is on the non white-collar offender and, therefore, primarily on the lower socioeconomic culture.

Religious dogmatism
Right-wing political orientation (in Western society)
Insistence on strict rules and punishments
Ethnocentrism and intolerance of minority groups
Preference for conventional art, clothing, and institutions
Anti-hedonistic outlook (the tendency to regard pleasure, particularly sexual, as necessarily bad)
Superstition and resistance to scientific progress
(Boshier, 1983, p. 51)
The following is a series of statements or beliefs which can be attributed to the individual who manifests a conservative personality:
Religion of a dogmatic and fundamental nature
Commitment to political organizations which favor maintenance of the status quo (even by force)
Strict regulation of individual behavior
Militarism
Preference for people of one’s own kind
Resistance to change
Conventional in art and clothing
Refusal to accept new ideas
Superstitious and fatalistic
(Wilson, 1973)

"OFFENDERS

"This section focuses on how the above conservative personality is manifested in the offender. Duguid (1981b) has noted that offenders possess many of the attributes of persons with authoritarian personalities. 'In their attitudes toward society, these men-inmates-share many of the attributes of what has become known as the ‘authoritarian personality’ (p. 139).

"Authoritarian tendencies akin to Adorno’s definition of the ‘authoritarian personality’ a rigid conformity to social conventions and adherence to whatever sexual, racial, or religious rules are dominant in the group-these reasoning deficiencies make most criminals true conformists (Duguid, 1981a, p. 100).

"Sanford (1973) also supported the idea that offenders are significantly high in the area of authoritarianism:

"We could not tell whether socioeconomic class as such is a determinant of ethnocentrism, but there was some evidence that membership in certain groups is an expression of an authoritarian outlook. Thus, it seemed consistent with our general theory to find that inmates at San Quentin prison obtained the highest mean F-Scale score of all of the groups we studied
(p. 153).

"Finally, McClosky (1958) noted that in Western society conservatism tended to be indicative of certain people: social isolates, people thinking poorly of themselves (low self-esteem), those uncertain of their values and who lack a clear sense of direction. That certainly fit the pattern of most of the offenders within the criminal justice system. The above was affirmed by Boshier (1969) when he suggested that those persons who were high in self-esteem were low in conservatism. He further noted that the individual with low self-concept scored high on conservatism. The offender certainly fit the criteria of having a low self-concept and, therefore, being high on the conservative scale. Boshier (1969) noted that by scoring high on the C-Scale, the conservative seemed to be demonstrating his hostility toward others which was once more a characteristic demonstrated by most offenders.

"Persons who had a dogmatic belief in religions and adhered to the teachings of absolutist and perfectionistic religious groups, tended to be more frequently and more intensely emotionally disturbed than those who followed less dogmatic religion (Ellis, 1986). Authoritarianism and religious fundamentalism were positively correlated, with scores on authoritarianism significantly related to those on ethnic and racial prejudice, hostility toward homosexuals, and punitiveness in prison sentencing (Wylie & Forest, 1992). According to Parker (1990), dogmatism and orthodox belief were incompatible with ethical acuity.




"EDUCATION AND CONSERVATISM OF THE OFFENDER

"The offender was lacking in education as noted by comparing the average years of schooling with the general population. It can be noted that, 'A reality that must be faced is that when we talk about the typical offender population we are dealing with the least advantaged members of our society. They generally have a multiplicity of problems: limited education, lack of skills, poor work history . . . poor self-concept . . .' (Enocksson, 1980, p. 7).

"McClosky (1958) noted that, 'Conservatism is not the doctrine of the intellectual elite or of the more intelligent segments of the population, but the reverse. By every measure available to us, conservative beliefs are found most frequently among the uniformed, the poorly educated, and the less intelligent.' (p. 38).



"EDUCATION-CONSERVATISM

"Boshier (1983) found that offender conservatism was inversely related to the educational level of the offender. The more highly educated inmates tended to be less conservative. The more that an individual was educated the less conservative he/she was likely to become, as noted by McClosky (1958). 'The negative association between educational level and measures of conservatism have been recognized for years' (Schuman, Bobo, and Krysan, 1992, p. 379). Sanford (1973) also mentioned that freedom from authoritarianism increased with education, although he was primarily referring to college education (p. 162).

"Sanford (1973) related the data of Adelson in which 'he found that early adolescents are highly authoritarian, with significant reduction occurring in middle and late adolescence-largely because of cognitive development.' (p. 163). Since the offender had limited cognitive development, the educational efforts would conceivably have assisted in reducing the conservatism of that offender. At that point in time, rather than reduce the amount of conservatism of the offender, the prison environment tended to increase it by its emphasis on many of the characteristics found in the conservative personality.

"In the outside world, conservatives tend to seek situations and pursue occupations where stimulus and response uncertainty is minimized. They are attracted to authority, discipline, and structure. Some inmates could be in prison because of a desire for structure. Stimulus uncertainty is minimized. The daily routine is predictable and repetitive. With regard to response uncertainty, needs, feelings, and decisions are largely subjugated to and controlled by the keepers. Inmates do not have to take much responsibility for decisions; life is ordered and, for a person who fears uncertainty, must represent a structuring unlike that experienced in the days prior to incarceration. The prison system reinforces conservative behavior. (Boshier, 1983, p. 154).

"While it was difficult to determine whether or not offenders functioned well in prison, by obtaining the above control, routine, and structure; nonetheless, it was certain that conservative qualities found in most prisons would have appealed to the conservative offender. The cultures of most prisons reinforced the conservative personality. While encouraging the maintenance of the conservative personality on the one hand, we wanted offenders to change and be open on the other. This emphasis upon socially structured prison life style contradicted individuality and reinforced Merton’s anomie 'strain' theory. According to Allport (1954) the authoritarian personality type was one which found daily life and 'the consequences of personal freedom . . . unpredictable' (p. 382). He argued that such individuals would look to authority, in the form of society’s rules and laws, for discipline and stability. Allport specified that, 'This need for authority reflects a deep distrust of human beings' (p. 382) and described authoritarian individuals as wishing to be a part of an orderly, powerful society, with well-defined rules and authoritative leadership; to act aggressively toward deviants and out group members; and to believe in the rightness of power and control, whether personal or societal.

"Strain theory placed the offender in conflict by requiring offenders to be submissive to prison authority and yet develop personal independence and autonomy through education programs. The society of both the offender and staff modeled authoritarianism/conservatism by enforcing strict compliance to rules and regulations without question or independent thought. That submissive role reinforced conservatism and dogmatic beliefs through fear of negative consequences causing excessive strain and repression of individuality, therefore, raising levels of stress and anger within the institutions. Sanford (1973) pointed out that there was an interaction between culture and the authoritarian personality.  He stated that 'In any culture the common emotional impulses of individuals are shaped through shared experience in the social group, and ways of controlling these impulses are developed in the individual and in the group, thus forming and favoring cultural values . . . Culture and personality continuously interact, in mutually supporting ways' (p. 160).

"Currently, many corrections facilities have as a part of their mission statement the mandate to protect the public. As a result, institutional procedures designed to contain and control offenders ultimately result in a reinforcing model of conservative practice. It was within the walls of these modeled conservative environments that breathed the stagnant suffocating air which smothers the offender’s desire or his attempts at change. Education was not successful in prison due to the current conservative attitudes toward punishment first, rehabilitation last (Cosman, 1989). On the other hand, as part of the rehabilitation process, corrections departments needed to educate offenders in preparation for their return to society with better skills to live and the ability to think more independently and make more informed choices and decisions. The following comments by Duguid (1981) certainly supported the above observation:

"The goal of rehabilitation is a developmental one, raising the level of cognitive development in order to affect perception and sophistication of analysis and raising the level of moral development in order to affect the way the individual usages and interprets the insights gained through cognitive development (p. 145).

"In addition to the above dilemma, there was a problem relating to the culture in which the offender lived. Boshier’s study noted the significantly high score for correctional officers on the C-Scale. This was hardly a surprise since it would have suggested a controlling individual to control others, as in the case of the officer maintaining authority over the offender. Hiring, training, orientation, and work efforts centered on certain control issues which tended to perpetuate a culture of conservatism. While this insured facility control, it did not help the offender begin to make choices for himself. Education had within it the ability to assist the offender in thinking differently and acting accordingly based upon the new insights gained through expanded knowledge (Duguid, 1986).




"MODEL

"If the negative attributes of the conservative personality of the offender are to be modified, this can be done through education and culture modification. The model being proposed here is simple: It is necessary to modify the culture to minimize those factors which enhance the conservative personality and to work toward educating the offender so that there will be the opportunity for significant change. Modification of the culture would include, as a minimum, differing means of control over the offender and restructuring training and orientation of the staff (most especially the correctional officer). Education of the offender would necessitate more emphasis upon high school and college education as well as development of cognitive skills. Education can serve in the capacity of rehabilitation, habilitation, or cognitive enhancement providing maturation (Ayers, 1981; Enocksson, 1980; Glasser, 1964; Linden & Perry, 1982; Ragen & Finston, 1962; Sutherland & Cressey, 1974; Teodoro & Milan, 1979; Yarborough, 1985). Currently, a system utilized by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections is Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT).

"MRT is a systematic treatment strategy designed to enhance the ego, social, moral, and positive behavioral growth in a progressive, step-by-step fashion. It is based upon the assumption that fully functioning, reasonably content, happy persons have a strong sense of identity and that their behavior and relationships are based upon relatively high moral judgement levels. MRT attempts to forge a connection between moral reasoning and moral behavior. The system assumes that clients enter treatment with low levels of moral development, strong narcissism, low ego/identity strength, poor self-esteem, inability to delay gratification, relatively strong defense mechanisms, and relatively strong resistance to change and treatment (Little & Robinson, 1988, p. 135).

"CONCLUSION

"The conservative personality as noted by Boshier (1983), Wilson (1973), and others had the characteristics of a conservative personality. If those negative characteristics associated with the conservative personality could be modified, then it would have been possible to ameliorate some of the violent behavior of offenders while incarcerated and reduced recidivism. This paper has provided the framework of a model which can deal with the conservative personality."

"A reality that must be faced is that when we talk about the typical offender population we are dealing with the least advantaged members of our society. They generally have a multiplicity of problems: limited education, lack of skills, poor work history . . . poor self-concept . . ." "A reality that must be faced is that when we talk about the typical offender population we are dealing with the least advantaged members of our society. They generally have a multiplicity of problems: limited education, lack of skills, poor work history . . . poor self-concept . . ." BUT, "Education had within it the ability to assist the offender in thinking differently and acting accordingly based upon the new insights gained through expanded knowledge," AND, "The system assumes that clients enter treatment with low levels of moral development, strong narcissism, low ego/identity strength, poor self-esteem, inability to delay gratification, relatively strong defense mechanisms, and relatively strong resistance to change and treatment," SO, "The model being proposed here is simple: It is necessary to modify the culture to minimize those factors which enhance the conservative personality and to work toward educating the offender so that there will be the opportunity for significant change. Modification of the culture would include, as a minimum, differing means of control over the offender and restructuring training and orientation of the staff (most especially the correctional officer). Education of the offender would necessitate more emphasis upon high school and college education as well as development of cognitive skills. Education can serve in the capacity of rehabilitation, habilitation, or cognitive enhancement providing maturation."




The abstract is a mine of information and seems to validate our prior conclusion: Conservative sheeplets are to be pitied, not hated, and they may be rehabilitated through re-education.  Only when Conservatism is outlawed will we have the chance to discover whether this sort of behavior modification is conducive to helping Conservative followers finally see the light.



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"He looks like the guy in a science fiction movie who is the first to see the Creature"

David Frye on Gerald Ford


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