Tag Archives: gun nuts

We’ll have to pry away the gun nuts’ ignorance and fear

Um, yeah, this is for illustrative purposes and is not anyone whom I know

I recently was tempted to write a post, in jest, that Colorado’s recent fairly devastating flooding obviously is God’s punishment for Coloradans recently having recalled two state legislators over their support of gun control, but, alas, I let that idea go.

Wingnuts routinely claim that this or that is “God’s punishment” for this or that — as a gay man, apparently, not only do I and my kind “deserve” “God’s punishment” of AIDS, but we also are the cause of hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, terrorist attacks, etc., etc. — but whatever. I don’t believe in God, and so I don’t believe in “punishments” from “God,” and even if there were such a thing as a “punishment” from “God,” no mere human being truthfully could claim to be “God’s” spokesperson who truthfully can pronounce such “punishments.”

That said, the concept of karma makes sense to me, but again, who among us can be an arbiter of karma with any actual knowledge of its workings?

Guns, though, are, in a word, bad. For the very most part.

Those who love guns overwhelmingly are ignorant and thus fearful individuals. Therefore, as President Hopey Changey once put it (accurately), they cling to their guns. Their guns give them a false sense of safety and security, when, ironically, they cannot see that it’s their own ignorance and fear that contributes to the violent environment of which they’re terrified.

While I don’t advocate that the guvmint attempt to take everyone’s guns — a position that most of us on the left are accused of holding by the wingnuts — and while I generally support the Second Amendment, it’s incredibly bad public policy for fearful, ignorant people to have such easy access to guns.

When you are drunk and/or drugged and angry and/or frightened, or even sober but angry and/or frightened, maybe having easy access to a gun isn’t such a great idea.

Fucktards like wannabe cop George Zimmerman should not be allowed anywhere near firearms. Frankly, I suspect that he carried a gun while he played cop in that gated community in Florida because he wanted to shoot someone, and that Trayvon Martin was just the poor individual who was the victim of Zimmerman’s quest for a “reason” to shoot someone.

While I can’t see that Zimmerman, as the aggressor, was acting in actual self-defense, guns can be used for actual self-defense, but it troubles me than in the year 2013, when we have so many other technological achievements, cops and others deem a lethal firearm as the best or even the only way to practice actual self-defense in many if not most if not even all cases.

How many times do we read news stories about someone who was unarmed but who nonetheless was shot to death by cops, such as the unarmed 24-year-old black man Jonathon Ferrell, whom a young white cop shot 10 times in North Carolina this past weekend? From what I can surmise, Ferrell, who had just been in a car wreck, was in shock, and so he came in the direction of the cop, probably for help, but did the cop really have to shoot at him — 12 times (hitting him 10 times)?

How can any of us, with a straight face, claim that Trayvon Martin and Jonathon Ferrell were not the victims of racial profiling?

This isn’t all abstract to me; gun violence recently hit close to home.

My 25-year-old nephew sits in a jail cell in Phoenix after he shot and killed another man earlier this month. Details of the incident, as they have reached me through relatives and as I have been able to find them on the Internet, still are sketchy; my nephew claims that he was ambushed or about to be ambushed, that two or more other males had set him up and were about to perpetrate physical violence upon him (to “jump” him, in the parlance).

My understanding is that thus far, there is no witness who is disputing my nephew’s account, as the others who were present at the shooting have evaded the Phoenix police, who would love to question them.

From what details I’ve heard, if they are factually correct, my best guess is that my nephew at worst ultimately will be convicted of manslaughter, but conceivably could be acquitted for the reason of self-defense if he and his defense team can demonstrate that he used the gun in self-defense, which, I understand, Arizona law, like Florida law, allows.

My understanding is that my nephew owned and carried the gun entirely within Arizona law, and that before the shooting incident he had no violent criminal record.

I consider my nephew to be innocent of any crime until and unless he is found otherwise by a jury of his peers (and exhausts any and all appeals, should that happen), but would I choose to carry a gun in public like we’re still living in the wild, wild West?

No.

Do I want to even see people — those of the non-law-enforcement variety, I mean — carrying guns on their persons while I’m out and about in public?

No, absofuckinglutely not, and I’m thankful that I live in California, which is a “non-permissive open carry” state, and not in one of the “permissive open carry” (or otherwise more gun-permissive) states, such as Arizona and most of the red states.

Do you really fucking need to bring a gun into, say, a Starbucks?

It’s in the news today that Starbucks’ CEO has asked that Starbucks’ patrons don’t bring guns into Starbucks locations, but that in those states where it is not illegal to openly carry firearms, Starbucks won’t ask those who are packing pistols to leave.

Where it comes to our rights, our rights end where others’ rights begin.

We sane Americans — we non-gun nuts — have the right, when we’re out and about in public, not to have to see fucktards who shouldn’t be even allowed to own a gun openly carrying a gun as though we’re still living in the wild West. We have the right not to have to fear for our own safety because some fearful idiot is carrying a gun in the name of his or her own “safety.”

Americans have the right to protect ourselves, but, it seems to me, most shooting deaths in the United States of America are not the results of cases of actual self-defense, but are cases of murder, suicide and accidental shootings (and, I suppose I should add, cases of trigger-happy, jumpy cops, many if not most of whom are white cops who are racial profilers and who probably are too young and immature to be cops anyway).

When guns for the most part cease to be about actual self-defense, it seems to me, they have become a public menace, and no one has the right to pose a menace to the public.

At this point, I think it’s fairly safe to say, the widespread ownership of and easy access to guns in the United States causes more harm than good. (I don’t even need to mention the latest gun massacre on Monday that left 12 people dead at the Washington Navy Yard, because these gun massacres are so common in the U.S. these days.)

But gun control, as Colorado voters have just demonstrated, is an incredibly sticky political subject.

The ignorant and the fearful will cling to their guns, which, the late gun nut Charlton Heston famously declared, we’ll have to pry from their “cold, dead hands.”  That’s their way.

Trying to pry the fucktards’ guns from their still-living hands, though, perhaps is the wrong approach.

It’s the ignorance and the fear, I think, that we have to tackle first, because it’s their ignorance and their fear that makes the gun nuts cling so steadfastly to their guns.

After all, ultimately, it’s not guns that kill people. It’s ignorant and fearful people who, using guns, kill people…

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Millions murdered Trayvon Martin

These editorial cartoons pretty much sum it up, methinks.

I haven’t written much, if anything, about the Trayvon Martin case, since I usually don’t blog about incidents of shootings, stabbings, rapes, etc. unless they have a wider significance.

But the Trayvon Martin case, of course, does have a wider significance.

I don’t know which individual on that fateful night of February 26, 2012, in a gated community in Sanford, Florida, physically posed the larger threat to the other, the 17-year-old Martin, who was black, or the then-28-year-old half-Latino-and-half-white George Zimmerman. (Yes, in this case, the race of the individuals involved has mattered.)

But the indisputable facts are that Zimmerman had a gun and Martin did not, and that Zimmerman shot Martin dead.

The indisputable fact is that Zimmerman was playing cop in a gated community (those two words, “gated community,” speak volumes as to the sociological context of Martin’s death*), and that such vigilantism should be illegal in all 50 states.

There is a reason that actual cops, in order to become actual cops, in most instances have to demonstrate a minimum amount of intelligence and a minimum amount of psychological health: Because you don’t want morons and/or those who have head issues walking around communities with guns, playing cops.

And I can’t see that Zimmerman wasn’t racially profiling Martin: What’s a young black man doing in this gated community? (Let’s fucking face it: The No. 1 function of a gated community is to keep certain “undesirables,” who more often than not have darker skin, out and away from the wealthier and usually lighter-skinned denizens of the gated community.)

Oh, wasn’t that Zimmerman’s mindset? Would Zimmerman have pursued, with his loaded pistol, a young white man who was dressed as a preppy?

And once you have made yourself into a pseudo-cop, don’t you want to “have to” play the role at some point? So wouldn’t you be looking for such an opportunity?

Zimmerman was just acquitted in Martin’s shooting death, but, it seems to me, Zimmerman was guilty at least of manslaughter. In a saner and more just state, such as my state of California, Zimmerman most likely would have been found guilty of at least manslaughter, I surmise. However, the backasswards state of Florida (along with other backasswards states) allows yahoos to walk the streets with guns, and to use those guns to “stand their ground.”

That’s Wild-West bullshit.

Martin wasn’t pursuing Zimmerman on that night. Zimmerman, playing cop, was pursuing Martin. Zimmerman was acting offensively, not defensively. He wasn’t “standing his ground” against an unprovoked attack on his person. No, he was playing cop.**

The state of Florida, along with George Zimmerman, killed Trayvon Martin, along with the gun-nut lobby and, of course, the institutional racism that of course still persists and will persist in the United States of America for some time to come. Martin’s murderers number in the millions.

These “stand your ground” laws need to go, or at least need to be modified to make clear that you aren’t “standing your ground” if you are the fucking aggressor — especially if you are the armed aggressor against an unarmed (or hell, even armed) individual who has made no threatening advance toward you in public. (“In public” is key there; no, I do not assert that an individual does not have the right to defend his or her own home against an actual intruder, for instance, and for actual self-defense I do support the Second Amendment.)

For the reasons that I have just laid out, I support the NAACP’s and other black community leaders’ push to have Attorney General Eric Holder’s Department of Justice file federal civil-rights charges against Zimmerman, even though such an action probably would touch off a race-based firestorm, given that the U.S. president and the U.S. attorney general are black.

(President Barack Obama is conflict-adverse, however, perhaps especially when it comes to issues of race — recall that he quickly and summarily threw the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Van Jones and Shirley Sherrod, all of whom are black, under the bus when they came under attack from the white-supremacist right wing — so I certainly don’t expect the Justice Department to file federal civil-rights charges against Zimmerman, regardless of how appropriate doing so might be.)

However, the seeking of justice for the very apparent race-based murder of Trayvon Martin needs to go waaay beyond George Zimmerman. It needs to encompass the entire state of Florida and every other state with the so-called “stand your ground” laws, which are a white supremacist’s or other racist’s wet dream: the opportunity to commit race-based murders while claiming self-defense.

If you believe that the U.S. Department of Justice should file civil-rights charges in the Trayvon Martin case, you can sign this petition and/or this petition. I have signed both of them.

*On that note, I very much look forward to the upcoming sci-fi film “Elysium,” starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster and written and directed by “District 9” creator Neill Blomkamp, whose 2009 “District 9” apparently was a statement on the white-on-black racism in South Africa.

From the previews, “Elysium” appears to be a bold statement on the direction in which the United States of America — as well as other nations, too, of course — with their haves and their have-nots, are going.

**A friend of Trayvon Martin, Rachel Jeantel, infamously testified that while she was talking to Martin on his cell phone shortly before he was killed, Martin reported that he was being followed by a “creepy-ass cracker.”

While I don’t know that I’d call George Zimmerman a “cracker,” as he looks Latino to me, and technically isn’t a “cracker,” I imagine that on the night of February 26, 2012, he indeed looked “creepy-ass,” pursuing his victim with a loaded pistol while playing cop. He probably looked crazed, because he apparently was.

And Rachel Jeantel, was treated horribly in the courtroom, was treated as though her English was not clear when it was quite clear if you actually just listened to the words that came from her mouth. Her mistreatment smacked of racism, and that the court allowed this mistreatment of her is yet another indication that there is a huge fucking problem in the state of Florida — and so that, again, it would be quite appropriate for the U.S. Justice Department to act on this.

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2013: The stupid white man’s last stand?

Hopefully the Bad-and-Scary Santa Pope (pictured above) will be replaced with a Cute-and-Cuddly Santa Pope who is not European. In the meantime, I take Pope Palpatine’s rare resignation — the first resignation of a pope in about 600 years — as a great fucking birthday gift.

The examples of the continuing downfall of the stupid white man are so numerous that this piece should write itself.

Let’s see. Where to begin?

We still have stupid white men John McCainosaurus and Lindsey Graham, both U.S. senators with the Repugnican Tea Party, still yelling about “Benghazigate” when no one is listening.

Stupid white man Mittens Romney had tried to make “Benghazigate” a Big Fucking Issue during the second presidential debate, but moderator Candy Crawley slapped him down like the bitch that he is, and Barack Obama went on to win re-election nonetheless, 51 percent to Mittens’ incredibly ironic 47 percent.

Perhaps especially after the Repugnican traitors got off scot-fucking-free from the thousands of preventable American deaths on September 11, 2001, and the thousands of preventable American deaths in the illegal, immoral, unprovoked, unjust and wholly bogus Vietraq War that used 9/11 (and not, say, war profiteering and Big-Oil profiteering) as its main pretext, Americans just weren’t in the mood to spank the Obama administration too hard over the deaths of four Americans, which is a much, much, much, much, much lower body count than we saw during the eight-year reign of the unelected Bush regime (in which I would include the almost 2,000 Americans who unnecessarily were killed by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005).

The last that I heard, the miserable closet case (or, as they say, “confirmed bachelor”) Lindsey Graham was promising to hold up the nomination of Repugnican former U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel to be the new secretary of defense. Graham seems undaunted by the fact that he virtually is alone in this little crusade, with the possible exception of McCainosaurus.

I’m not big on Hagel — as I have noted, it sickens me that so many so-called Democratic presidents fairly routinely have picked Repugnicans as their defense secretaries, when not once in the history of the nation has a Repugnican president ever picked a Democrat as his defense secretary (“bipartisanship,” you see, means that the Dems cave in all the fucking time but that the Repugs never give a fucking millimeter) — but who the fuck is Lindsey Graham to try to play president?

In his last election, in 2008, Graham, who hails from the 24th most populous state, South Carolina (which has a population of not even 5 million), received just over 1 million votes. In that same November 2008 election, Obama garnered more than 69 million votes (and he was re-elected with just under 66 million votes).

I get it that South Carolina was the first backasswards red state to secede from the Union, and so that it politically helps the white supremacist Graham with his white-supremacist constituency for him to be taking on the nation’s first black president, but the clear majority of Americans elected Barack Obama, not the bitter pansy Lindsey Fucking Graham, to be commander in chief.

Treasonous chickenhawk pipsqueak Lindsey Graham needs to sit down and shut the fuck up, unless it’s to come out of the closet already and to apologize to the nation for his having afflicted us with his sorry pansy ass.

Then there is President Obama’s State of the Union speech tonight — which stupid white man Ted Nugent is to attend as the guest of a stupid-white-male (of course) Repugnican Tea Party U.S. representative from Texas (of course), as a middle finger extended to Barack Obama and to anyone else who opposes massacres perpetrated by lunatics (usually stupid white men who are card-carrying members of the NRA) with assault rifles in public spaces, because there is no doubt that the “freedom” to kill as many innocent people as possible at one time surely is what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they drafted the Second Amendment.

The vile, washed-up piece of shit, white-trash traitor and gun nut Nugent has made many thinly veiled references to President Obama and other political opponents of his treasonous Repugnican Tea Party being shot — it’s the “tea party’s” “Second-Amendment remedies” for when things don’t go their way at the ballot box, you see — yet some stupid-white-male U.S. representative from Texas thought that it was a classy thing to invite Ted Nugent to the State of the Union address.

Way to reinvent the party that long has been alienating the majority of us Americans, yes — to bring to the State of the Union the guy who has made thinly veiled threats about President Obama and other Democratic elected officials being assassinated?

Then there is the uber-cheesy “So God Made a Farmer” Super Bowl ad for the Dodge Ram that the wingnuts relished because it pretended that we still live in the 19fucking50s — or before.

It must be said that dead right-wing radio show host Paul Harvey — who was the Thomas Kinkade of the radio, painting tacky, sappy, gauzy portraits of a time in the United States of America that probably never existed at all but that certainly no longer exists now — gave his “So God Made a Farmer” speech at a Future Farmers of America convention in 1978. So that’s already more than 30 years ago. But wait, there’s more — he based his 1978 speech on a piece that he’d written for a newspaper in 1975, and it gets even better: Apparently the piece that Harvey wrote in 1975 was ripped off from a letter to the editor of a newspaper from 19fucking40 — more than 70 fucking years ago.

Don’t get me wrong — to the extent that we even have any independent farmers left, I’m sure that many if not even most of them are hard-working, decent individuals, as Dodge’s nauseatingly misleading and manipulative ad alleges. However, surely not every farmer’s son wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps, as the ad also alleges, and surely there have been many who have found farm life to be fucking miserable.

And are we really to single out only certain professions as being valuable — the right-wing, macho professions, usually, such as farmers, firefighters, cops and members of the military — and others (the traditionally female-dominated professions, such as nursing and teaching, perhaps especially) as not?

And how can we simply overlook the fact that Big Agriculture, which has enjoyed the full support of the big-corporation-loving Repugnican Party, has killed the independent/family farmer? How can we pretend that we’re still a nation of farmers? What the fuck?

Funnyordie.com’s parody of the God-awful “So God Made a Farmer” ad is probably the best response to the ad that’s out there. It’s called “So God Made a Factory Farmer,” and it gives a much more truthful overview of what farming is about today and ends with the fitting tagline, “Here’s to shameless heartland pandering.”

Speaking of the idea that members of certain professions are to be worshipped, how about “the Shooter”?

“The Shooter” is the apparent stupid white man who (reportedly, anyway) assassinated Osama bin Laden in May 2011 when he was a member of the Navy SEALS. (Reportedly his name isn’t being released because if it were, his life would be in jeopardy from Osama-loving revenge killers.)

“The Shooter,” who, I am guessing, is just another stupid white man who wants all of us to drop to our knees and suck his cock just because he was in the military — even though the military’s bloated-beyond-belief budget is bleeding our nation to death and is destroying us all, a la the militarily overextended ancient Roman empire — apparently has whined to Esquire magazine that although he left the Navy after only 16 years of service when he knew that 20 years was the requirement for him to receive a pension, he is being screwed because he won’t get his pension anyway.

I’m pretty sure that there was no clause in there that said that if you assassinate Osama bin Laden, you can decide on your own to leave the military four years early with impunity, yet this guy is calling himself a victim.

Why special treatment for this man? How would it be fair to his comrades to bend the rules for him?

My understanding is that the first Navy SEAL to encounter bin Laden in the compound in Pakistan was to take bin Laden out. It could have been another member of the SEALS team that did the deed had he encountered bin Laden first, I understand. It’s not like “the Shooter” was the Divinely Anointed One to Avenge Us for 9/11, was it?

That aside, I can’t imagine that the extralegal assassination of Osama bin Laden on another nation’s sovereign soil was allowed by international law anyway. “The Shooter,” in my book, acted illegally.

True, he was just a pawn, but so were the Nazi soldiers who were “just following orders.” We can’t allow that “excuse” for illegal actions. All of us are responsible as individuals when we break the law, whether we carry out the illegal action with our own hands or whether we order it from afar (yes, this makes Barack Obama criminally liable for the extralegal assassination of bin Laden, too, of course). We can’t try to hide behind some larger structure and disavow any personal responsibility for our own actions. Shit like that allows atrocities like the Holocaust and My Lai and Abu Ghraib to happen.

That aside, it’s the entitlement mentality of “the Shooter” that really rankles me. You hear so many current and former members of the military acting like all of us civilians owe them something, usually becuase they have protected our “freedoms.”

No, we don’t owe them anything — they get their paychecks and their benefits (unless they, oh, say, leave service four years too early); that is their pay, and we, the taxpayers, pay them — and looooong ago they stopped fighting for our “freedoms.” Now, they are just taxpayer-funded thugs who enable the plutocrats and their corporations to strong-arm other nations into handing over their natural resources over to the plutocratic and corporate profiteers.

Iraq, for instance, certainly never threatened any American’s freedoms, as it had had no fucking way to do so, but the Vietraq War sure was great for Dick Cheney’s war-profiteering Halliburton’s no-bid federal contracts and for the other war-profiteering subsidiaries of BushCheneyCorp, including, of course, Big Oil, which when Saddam Hussein was in power was not in Iraq but which is in Iraq now, which tells you what the Vietraq War was all about — the “liberation” not of the Iraqis, of course, but of the oil under their feet.

Our soldiers don’t protect our interests — they protect the plutocrats’ interests, which the plutocrats propagandistically call “our” interests so that we don’t go after them with torches and pitchforks like we should.

Our soldiers actually are doing us more harm than good by allowing the military-industrial machine to keep on chugging and to keep on destroying the American empire, telling us that while we can afford an ever-growing military, we can’t afford to provide for basic human needs, such as adequate health care and decent schools. The military, which we pay for, just can’t afford us, you see.

And lo and behold, if the U.S. military slaughters and savages enough innocent civilians abroad, especially in the Middle East these days, it will create enough enemies, real and fabricated, to try to justify its continued existence. Nice gig, if you can get it — to first create the threat or “threat” and then to claim that you are so vitally needed to deal with it.

Most U.S. military adventurism makes us Americans much less safe, not safer, by creating more animosity against the U.S. abroad.

Yet, again, these soldiers, most of them stupid white men, expect us to stop in the streets and give them head. They are special, they are exempt, they deserve our worship.

“The Shooter” not only left service four years too early, but, AFP notes, his talking to Esquire like he did was prohibited:

Soldiers and spies, whether retired or not, are required to submit manuscripts to the Pentagon for review to ensure no sensitive information is published. But the Esquire piece was not submitted to the department for vetting beforehand, a U.S. defense official said.

The Defense Department is now looking at the article to check if any classified material was divulged, the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

“The Shooter” isn’t some poor, selfless soldier who, according to the sensationalistic cover of Esquire, is being “screwed.” He’s a selfish, self-promoting, rules-ignoring egomaniac who didn’t belong in the military in the first fucking place, along with hordes of other stupid white men who don’t belong in the military for the same reasons.

But there are glimmers of hope on the horizon.

Stunts like the Ted Nugent invitation usually backfire (think of Clint Eastwood talking to that empty chair at the last Repugnican Tea Party National Convention); “the Shooter” is more likely to be seen as the self-serving prick with an outsized sense of entitlement that he is rather than as the “screwed”-over hero that he’d like to portray himself as being; corporations probably will think twice before putting out more nauseating, right-wing, propagandistic, back-to-Mayberry-like ads like Dodge did; Chuck Hagel probably will get confirmed as secretary of defense, despite the attempts of white-supremacist red-state senators to hit at Obama via Hagel; and maybe one day soon Lindsey Graham will be busted like former Idaho U.S. Sen. Larry “Toe-Tappin'” Craig was for soliciting same-sex sex in a public restroom.

We have an actual date for the exit of one stupid white man from the world stage: February 28 is to be Pope Palpatine’s last day, which I consider to be a great fucking birthday gift. (My birthday is February 29, which I celebrate on February 28 and on March 1 three out of four years. [I don’t lose three birthdays every four years — I gain three birthdays every four years…])

Pope Palpatine is an example of the fact that the phenomenon of the stupid white man is not exclusive to the United States. Although I’m not Catholick (in fact, I enjoy watching the Catholick church die here in the United States and in Europe), I was aghast when the Catholicks chose the former Hitler Youth member Joseph Ratzinger as pope in 2005. (The Associated Press notes that “When he was elected the 265th leader of the church on April 19, 2005, [Ratzinger], aged 78, was the oldest pope elected in 275 years and the first German one in nearly 1,000 years.”)

I don’t know — it seems to me that the pope should be cute and cuddly, like the last pope was, not this mean, very old, right-wing German guy who looks waaaay too much like the evil emperor of the “Star Wars” films.

Speaking of “Star Wars,” I recall that cheesy line of Princess Leia’s to her captors on the Death Star in the 1977 installment: “The more you tighten your grip, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.”

Ratzinger came in as pope believing that the church had gone way too liberal. The modest reforms of the Vatican II, which took place even before I was born more than 40 years ago, were too liberal for Ratzinger; it was back to the Dark Ages for him.  His attempts to bolster the church’s membership by swinging it to the far right, however, only lost the church even more membership in Europe and the United States, like more star systems slipping through his fingers.

Educated and enlightened people increasingly reject the oppressive and backasswards stances of the Catholick church, which apparently is growing only in third-world nations, as though the poor peoples of those nations didn’t already have enough problems.

That said, I hope that the next pope is from Latin America. Or hell, I understand that there’s even this Canadian guy who is in the running. If it can’t be a Latin American, I’ll take the Canadian. (No, I don’t want there to be an American pope. Hell no. The patriarchal, misogynist, homophobic Catholicks have too much power here as it is.) This string of European popes needs to stop, and the selection of the first non-European pope ever would be the world equivalent of Barack Obama’s having been the first non-white U.S. president, in my book.

It will be interesting to see if any Big Scandalous News is revealed after Pope Palpatine’s departure. He is, after all, the first pope to resign since the year 1415.

Maybe it’s just his old age that’s the problem — popes who lived before the days of television probably could be incapacitated for years and get away with it, since they weren’t expected to appear regularly on the non-existent television — but one remains dubious.

In any event, for now, anyway, it seems that after February 28, the world might just get a little bit kinder and gentler after Pope Palpatine is put out to pasture, and one hopes that the year will only continue to get better as the rule of the stupid white man continues to wane all over the globe.

P.S. (Wednesday, February 13, 2013): A simple Google search brings up ample articles on how the membership of the Catholick church indeed has been falling not only in Europe, but in the U.S. as well.

This article from The Week from April 2010, for instance, reports:

How severe is the crisis?
It’s “the largest institutional crisis in centuries, possibly in church history,” says the National Catholic Reporter. Worldwide, the Roman Catholic Church now has 1.1 billion members, compared with 1.5 billion Muslims and 593 million Protestants. In the U.S., all the major denominations have seen their numbers decline in recent years, but the Catholic Church has taken the biggest hit. Since the 1960s, four American-born Catholics have left the church for every one who has converted, according to a 2009 Pew study. [Emphasis mine.] In 2008 alone, Catholic membership declined by 400,000. More than 1,000 parishes have closed since 1995, and the number of priests has fallen from about 49,000 to 40,000 during that same period. Some 3,400 Catholic parishes in the U.S. now lack a resident priest. “Catholicism is in decline across America,” says sociologist David Carlin.

What about in Europe?
The situation there is even more dire, especially in the most historically devout countries. In 1991, 84 percent of the Irish population attended Mass at least once a week. Today the weekly attendance figure is less than 50 percent. In Spain, 81 percent of the population identifies itself as Catholic, but two-thirds say they seldom or never attend services. And the priest shortage is acute — in England and Wales, the church ordained only 16 clergy members in all of 2009.

The full article is here:  http://theweek.com/article/index/202388/catholics-in-crisis

And again, a simple Google search will turn up many similar articles and statistics online.

The apologists for the Taliban-like Catholick church are entitled to their fucked-up opinions, but not to their own fucking facts.

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Freedom is impossible without reasonable gun control

I don’t want a gun. I don’t like guns.

But I’m OK with you having a gun — within reason.

When the Second Amendment was crafted and ratified way the fuck back in 1791, we didn’t have the assault weapons, these weapons of mass destruction, that we have today. There weren’t mass school or movie-theater shootings when the “founding fathers” were alive, and no sane and honest person would assert that in the Second Amendment the “founding fathers” meant to endorse the ability of any civilian to shoot up public spaces, killing as many victims as humanly possible with a firearm or firearms.

It’s a long-standing principal in American law that the individual’s rights end where others’ rights — which includes, of course, the right to be safe in public — begin.

So: If you don’t have a violent criminal history and you haven’t been deemed by a court of law to be mentally ill with a propensity toward violence, I’m OK with you owning and safely storing a handgun for personal protection at home and/or owning and safely storing a rifle for hunting (even though I myself never could blow away a defenseless animal, which is not an act of manliness or courage, but is an act of cowardice).

Beyond that, however, yeah, I have a problem.

I don’t want you owning the more destructive, more lethal weapons that the members of the military or the police are able to use.

You may not legally possess an over-the-shoulder rocket-propelled-grenade launcher, so why may you legally possess a military-style assault rifle?

No, the “guvmint” is not coming for your guns and going to impose martial law. The federal “guvmint,” for the most part, doesn’t give a flying fuck about you as long as you pay your federal income taxes and don’t grievously violate federal law.

Wingnutty paranoia over such events that very, very most likely never will occur — um, Barack Obama is not going to round you up in his socialist concentration camps, since not only is he not a socialist, but is a center-right DINO, but he never would have the support of the right-wing U.S. military for such an act — is not justification for allowing every Jeb, Zeke, Cooter and Skeeter to own his own personal weapons of mass destruction.

The Second Amendment never was intended to allow such insanity.

All of our rights are subject to being curbed when our exercise of them begins to harm others. The welfare of the whole trumps the wishes and desires of the individual.

Without such safeguards and limitations and boundaries, it becomes a fucking free-for-all, and therefore there no longer is freedom for all, but only freedom for the few who don’t give a fuck about others’ rights, such as others’ right to public safety.

I don’t want a gun right now, but yes, I want the right to own one in the future, and so, within reason, I support the Second Amendment. But it’s not the “guvmint” that I’m concerned about. It’s the gun nuts.*

*Speaking of the gun nuts, the National Rifle Association’s assertion that it’s hypocritical and wrong that President Obama’s two daughters have more protection than does the average American public school child is insane.

It’s much, much more likely that a member of the presidential family would be targeted by some gun nut that the average American public school child would be. With Obama’s daughters the actual threat is there, so the appropriate protection, naturally, is there. That makes fucking sense. Guns in all of our public schools — which is what the NRA explicitly advocates — does not.

I take the NRA’s inability and/or refusal to make a rational argument as proof that it’s becoming extinct, that it’s a dinosaur whose days are numbered.

You can watch the NRA’s latest wingnutty spot here and practically smell the desperate NRA’s rotting decay.

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Assorted shit Sunday!

On Cuba, Pope Palapatine just hates the competition

Woman sits under banner of Pope Benedict XVI in Havana

Reuters photo

A Cuban woman on Friday sits under a banner in Havana announcing the impending visit of Pope Palpatine. If the Cuban government were as evil as Palpatine claims it is, it probably wouldn’t let him set foot on the island in the first fucking place. Palpatine proclaims that Marxism is dead, yet it’s backasswards Catholicism that is dying in the more developed nations of Europe and the United States, and Latin America remains the last bastion of the dying Catholic empire.

“Today it is evident that Marxist ideology in the way it was conceived no longer corresponds to reality,” Pope Palpatine decreed of the government of the nation of Cuba on Friday, in advance of his scheduled visit there tomorrow.

I love the apparently unintended irony of that statement: “Marxist ideology in the way it was conceived no longer corresponds to reality.”

Um, what about Catholicism?

Here in the U.S., we have far-right-wing Catholic nutjob Prick Santorum telling us that as president — as Pope Palpatine’s puppet in the White House — he would support banning contraception, abortion, same-sex marriage and “obscene” pornography (which would be pretty much all pornography).

The U.S. Supreme Court in 1973 (in Roe vs. Wade) ruled that abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy is always legal, and the same year essentially ruled (in Miller vs. California) that the porn that we see today that widely is considered to be legal is protected free speech (and not “obscenity”).

The far-right-wing Pope Palpatine, however, views the mildly progressive reforms of the Catholic church of the 1960s as having gone too far, and believes that the church should revert to the “good old days” before the 1960s.

But Marxism is outdated?

In order to remain relevant any ideology needs to change and grow with the times — which the patriarchal, misogynist, homophobic, anti-science Catholic church refuses to do, which is why its membership is hemorrhaging in the U.S. and Europe — but with rampant global capitalism destroying the planet at record pace, Marxism is even more relevant today than it was when Karl Marx was still kicking around, when the greedy, selfish capitalists’ ability to destroy the entire fucking planet wasn’t nearly what it is now.

Pope Palpatine’s real problem with the government of Cuba, of course, is that he fucking hates the competition for the minds, hearts and souls of the masses.

It long has seemed to me that the people of Cuba have been far better off under Fidel Castro than they ever would be under the tyranny of capitalism, which sees the masses only as a means of making a tiny few obscenely richer in such noble names as “democracy” and “freedom,” or under the theocratic tyranny of the Catholic church, which, like a virus, only wishes to subvert the time, energy and money of the masses from their own benefit to propping up the decaying carcass of the Catholic church, an all-male hierarchy that should have met its extinction long ago.

Prick Santorum still stuck on his Etch-A-Sketch bullshit

Republican presidential candidate former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, waves a Etch-A-Sketch while criticizing the policies of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney at a rally in Shreveport, La., Friday, March 23, 2012. Santorum has strong support among many conservative voters in the state which his campaign hopes results in winning Louisiana's primary on Saturday. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Associated Press photo

Prick Santorum lamely still waves an Etch-A-Sketch Friday in Shreveport, Louisiana, a state where such retarded tactics apparently work.

The anti-Mittens “Etch-A-Sketch” thing wasn’t worth exploiting in the first place, since its exploitation was based upon wildly twisting its source’s rather obvious intended meaning, but Prick Santorum, having nothing else to offer, continues to use the lame tactic that ultimately only is hurting his own fucking party.

On CBS’ “Face the Nation” today, Prick declared, “Even though a lot of folks are saying this race is over, the people in Louisiana said, ‘No, it’s not.’ They still want to see someone who they can trust, someone who’s not running an Etch-A-Sketch campaign, but one who has their principals written on their heart, not on an erasable tablet.”

Really, how much mileage does Prick believe that he’s going to get out of this retarded diatribe?

Of course Prick won Louisiana yesterday and previously won some other Southern states (including Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee): The Southerners are all a bunch of mouth-breathing inbreds to whom Prick’s preaching about the supposedly Jesus-Christ-based hatred and oppression of self-respecting women, gay men and lesbians, non-Christians, non-whites and many others appeals. Truly: The Prick Santorum voters’ mantra must be: “We love him! He hates everyone we hate!”

Actually, the Repugnican Tea Party presidential race is over. According to The Associated Press, Mittens Romney thus far has more than twice as many delegates as does Prick Santorum, 568 delegates to 273. Newt Gingrich has a paltry 135 and Ron Paul an even paltrier 50, and even if you gave those 185 delegates to Prick, he still would trail Mittens by more than 100 delegates.

The next big state on the Repugnican Tea Party presidential primary season calendar is Wisconsin, which votes on April 3. Even if Prick should eke out a win in Wisconsin (he did win neighboring Minnesota and Iowa, but Mittens won neighboring Michigan and Illinois), Mittens should clean up in April, with several Mittens-friendly states on the calendar, including New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Delaware, and if Mittens actually wins Prick’s home state of Pennsylvania on April 24 — and remember that Prick lost his 2006 U.S. Senate re-election bid in Pennsylvania by 18 percentage points — then we probably will see Prick actually toss his Etch-A-Sketch prop into the garbage for good.

By that time, though, Prick will only have further damaged Mittens, whose lack of charisma, whose alleged opportunistically changing political positions — accurately and fairly or inaccurately and unfairly — are criticized by the members of his own party as well as by the members of the opposing party, and whose exalted status as a multi-millionaire in a nation whose commoners still struggle economically — as well as his membership in the Mormon cult — never made him a strong candidate against Barack Obama anyway.

Still, Mittens is the best that the Repugnican Tea Party traitors have got, which apparently even they increasingly are recognizing, as evidenced by the fact that Mittens these days is polling in the low 40s in the Gallup daily tracking poll, while Prick can’t even break 30 percent.

And most national polls show a much tighter race between Obama and Mittens than they do between Obama and Prick. Even a Faux “News” poll taken earlier this month puts Obama at only four percentage points ahead of Mittens, 46 percent to 42 percent, and a whopping 12 percentage points ahead of Prick. (A Bloomberg poll taken around the same time has Obama and Mittens tied, at 47 percent each, and Obama six percentage points ahead of Prick.)

The good news in all of this is that the “Christo”fascists, with whom the Richie Riches of the old guard Repugnican Party struck an unholy alliance because the 1 percent can’t win elections on their own, these days apparently are more of a drain than a help to the GOP, at least presidentially.

Wild West bullshit needs to be made illegal in all 50 states

I haven’t weighed in yet on the apparent race-based murder of Trayvon Martin —

FILE - This undated file family photo shows Trayvon Martin. Martin was slain in the town of Sanford, Fla., on Feb. 26 in a shooting that has set off a nationwide furor over race and justice. Neighborhood crime-watch captain George Zimmerman claimed self-defense and has not been arrested, though state and federal authorities are still investigating. Since the slaying, a portrait has emerged of Martin as a laid-back young man who loved sports, was extremely close to his father, liked to crack jokes with friends and, according to a lawyer for his family, had never been in trouble with the law. (AP Photo/Martin Family, File)

Associated Press image

— the 17-year-old who apparently was gunned down in Florida late last month by a vigilante named George Zimmerman who claims that he shot the black teen in self-defense, even though the teen reportedly was “armed” with only a bag of Skittles and some iced tea.

I will get this out of the way, though: As a blue-eyed white guy, I’m happy that George Zimmerman looks like this:

Handout booking photo of George Michael Zimmerman

Reuters image

— and not, say, something like this:

FILE - In a Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2009 file photo, Andrew Breitbart attends a news conference, at the National Press Club in Washington. Breitbart, who was behind investigations that led to the resignations of former Rep. Anthony Weiner and former Agriculture Department official Shirley Sherrod, died Thursday, March 1, 2012 in Los Angeles. He was 43. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari, File)

Associated Press photo

— or this:

(That’s a photo of the Archie-Bunker-like Andrew Breitbart that was taken before he went to hell early this month and a photo of “Joe the Plumber” and some other yahoo with a dead bear that I found on the Internet. [I’m sure that it was a fair fight with the bear, you know, mano a mano, because those right-wing white guys are so fucking tough!])

Seriously, though, when I read the name “George Zimmerman,” I’d thought that yet another stupid whitey had gunned down someone for the crime of breathing while being brown or black, and I was, admittedly, at least a little relieved to discover that Zimmerman is half-white and half-Latino.

However, that fact is of no consolation to Trayvon Martin’s family, I’m confident, and what can you say about such a senseless slaughter that very apparently was race-based to at least some degree (and probably a large degree)?

The news today on the Trayvon Martin case is that Zimmerman and his family and friends are fearful for his safety, and so he is hiding at an undisclosed location.

Jesus fuck — is this another right-wing attempt to make the victimizer into the actual victim here?

The Trayvon Martin case screams for us to examine (at least these) four social phenomena (in no certain order): The one in which the victimizers claim to be the actual victims; the one in which many right-wing Latinos, perhaps especially in backasswards Florida, think that the ticket to being accepted by whites is to join whites in their oppression of blacks; the one in which armed-and-dangerous fucktards think that it’s OK for them to play cops and robbers with real guns and real bullets; and the phenomenon, the cancer, of the gated community, which is sick and fucking twisted and probably not what Jesus Christ had in mind, that the rich, who can only become rich through exploiting others, should barricade themselves in ritzy neighborhoods while everyone else slowly dies from poverty.

Most of the focus on the Trayvon Martin case seems to be around the race of the slaughtered and the slaughterer, and while of course the evil of racism still is alive and well in 2012 (the incredibly racist “Don’t Re-Nig” anti-Barack-Obama-re-election bumper sticker is one of many examples that I could give), it seems to me that not enough attention is being focused upon the fact that Zimmerman slaughtered Martin while Zimmerman was volunteering on a neighborhood watchThe Associated Press notes that “Martin was shot dead after Zimmerman, 28, a white Hispanic neighborhood watch captain, believed the young man walking through the gated community looked suspicious.”

Since when did neighborhood watches involve vigilantes gunning people down in the streets? 

The American empire indeed is crumbling all around us, but is this what we have come to — the return of the wild West?

States (like Florida and more than a dozen others) that have so-called “stand-your-ground” laws, which allow people to cap other people in the streets willy-nilly — and which make you wonder if certain paranoid, fearful, gun-loving individuals want to find “reasons” to cap other people in the streets willy-nilly — need to repeal these laws voluntarily or the federal government needs to step in and nullify them, as these woefully misguided laws blatantly violate the United States Constitution.

You have the constitutional right to defend your home from actual grave threats (that is, threats that might actually put you in your grave…), and you have the constitutional right to own a gun, but I have the constitutional right to be able to walk down the street without fear of you blowing me away because you, for some fucking reason, deem me to be a “threat.”

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Politics permeate EVERYTHING

It may be a uniquely American inability or unwillingness — or both — to realize how everything is connected.

So many are screaming that politics have had nothing whatsoever to do with Saturday’s shooting of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and several others, including a girl who was born on Sept. 11, 2001, and who had shown an interest in a life in politics.*

I read at least one (right-wing, if memory serves) commentator claim that accused shooter Jared Lee Loughner’s act was “random.” (Which, if true, of course lets the right wing entirely off the hook.)

“Random”?

Maybe the Lotto is random, maybe atoms bounce around more or less at random, but human beings don’t act entirely randomly. They might be mentally disordered, as Loughner certainly seems to be, but do they act “randomly”? No. Inanimate objects can act randomly, but human beings do not. Human beings act within and respond to social contexts, even if their mental processes are disordered.

I never have claimed that Loughner was directly “inspired” by Sarah Palin-Quayle’s rhetoric of assassination, but, as I have noted, if he didn’t see or read Palin-Quayle’s assassination rhetoric, perhaps he saw Giffords’ Repugnican Tea Party opponent’s advertisement for a June fundraiser that read, “Get on Target for Victory in November. Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office. Shoot a fully automatic M15 with Jesse Kelly.”**

Perhaps Jesse Kelly saw Palin-Quayle’s March 2010 assassination rhetoric and followed her lead for his June 2010 fundraiser — Palin-Quayle is, after all, the Borg queen of the Repugnican Tea Party — and perhaps Loughner saw Kelly’s Palin-Quayle-inspired assassination rhetoric if he didn’t actually see Palin-Quayle’s.

If so, we still can draw a line back to Palin-Quayle.

We don’t know yet how all of the dots connect, and it’s possible that we never really will, but just as it’s too early to directly blame anyone, it’s too early to absolve anyone whose assassination rhetoric might have inspired Loughner.

A Washington Post columnist makes an interesting argument that the cause of Giffords’ shooting is not politics, but is too-lax gun control.

While I agree that too-lax gun control certainly was a factor in Saturday’s massacre in Tucson, apparently in the widespread fervor to be “bipartisan” and to avoid pissing off the right wing (who do, after all, like to pack heat), the columnist seems to ignore or to at least miss the fact that the members of the National Rifle Association and other assorted gun nuts support the Repugnican Tea Party, not the Democratic Party or the progressive or liberal cause.

The Repugnican Tea Party itself encourages gun violence under the guise of “Second Amendment rights.” (Indeed, in the atmosphere of Repugnican Tea Party rhetoric in which Loughner acted [the available evidence suggests that Loughner has not been living in a cave, by the way], Second Amendment rights have morphed into “Second Amendment remedies.”)

To assert, as the Washington Post columnist essentially asserts, that too-lax gun control is disconnected from politics (or even to assert that it is a “bipartisan” problem) is insane (if we define “insane” as “detached from reality”).

Way too many Americans right now are demonstrating not only their inability and/or their stubborn refusal to connect the fucking dots, but they’re also displaying their penchant for false equivalencies, which demonstrates their moral turpitude or their utter inability to reason (or both). Under the soothing umbrella of false equivalencies, everyone is guilty or no one is guilty — therefore, there is no need to actually do the work of sorting through the facts.

False-equivalency-loving pundits still are referring to assassination rhetoric as “war” or “military” rhetoric (or the like), when, in fact, rhetoric about shooting or otherwise killing a specific individual (usually, but not always, a political figure) is nothing else but assassination rhetoric.

I have not seen a single Democratic or other left-leaning candidate for political office employ assassination rhetoric. Repugnican Tea Party candidates, however, have. (Right off the top of my head, I can name three of them: Sarah Palin-Quayle, Sharron Angle and Jesse Kelly. [And Repugnican Tea Party princess Michele Bachmann has advised her followers to be “armed and dangerous.”])

And false-equivalency-loving pundits still are stupidly comparing such remarks as President Barack Obama’s remark that if the opposition brings a knife to the political fight, then you bring a gun, to Palin-Quayle’s listing of 20 Democratic lawmakers whose congressional districts she indicated on a map with gun-sight crosshairs while simultaneously advising her followers not to “retreat” but to “RELOAD!”

These are not equivalent. Obama never suggested or even hinted that certain, specific individuals actually be shot. Sarah Palin-Quayle did.

I fear for the American empire, because its denizens are either too morally bankrupt or intellectually disabled (or both) to be able to connect the dots, and because they compare apples to blood oranges. 

An empire can survive with a certain percentage of its inhabitants being immoral and/or incredibly stupid, but the United States of America apparently has reached a critical mass of immorality and stupidity that imminently threatens its survival.

*Newser reports:

Pundits aside, most Americans don’t actually think the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was caused by inflammatory political rhetoric, CBS News reports.

Of 673 people polled on the issue, 57 percent said political discourse had nothing to do with the shooting, while 32 percent said it did. In a reflection of the opinion war being waged between liberal and conservative political figures, fewer Republicans (19 percent) felt the shooting was related to rhetoric than did Democrats (42 percent).

Well, again, it remains to be seen, if it ever is seen at all, to what degree inflammatory political rhetoric played a role in Saturday’s massacre, doesn’t it?

And it’s hardly a shock that apparently only one in five Repugnicans believes that there’s any problem whatsoever with the assassination rhetoric of the likes of Sarah Palin-Quayle, Sharron Angle and Jesse Kelly. And it’s a testament to the cancers of “bipartisanship” and centrism that so few self-identified Democrats are willing or are able to make the apparent connection between assassination rhetoric and an actual assassination attempt.

**I just checked out Kelly’s website, and the only thing on the home page of his website is this statement:

In the wake of this stunning tragedy, my prayers are with Rep. Giffords, her husband Mark and the rest of her family. May God’s strength comfort her as we pray together for her recovery. We mourn for those who lost their lives in this horrible act.

Senseless acts of violence such as this have absolutely no place in American politics.

Kelly used the shooting of “a fully automatic M15” with him as part of his campaign, but now (like Sarah Palin-Quayle does) he denounces violence!

How politically, morally and ethically convenient!

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Giffords was on Palin’s hit list

In March 2010, Repugnican Tea Party queen Sarah Palin-Quayle put Democratic U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ name on her hit list and indicated Giffords’ legislative district in Arizona with a graphic of gun crosshairs. Today, Giffords was shot in the head in Tucson.

We don’t know yet whether or not Jared Lee Loughner, the 22-year-old shooter of Democratic U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Tucson, ever saw Repugnican Tea Party queen Sarah Palin-Quayle’s Facebook-page hit list — which, along with Palin-Quayle’s Tweeted advice to “Commonsense Conservatives & lovers of America: Don’t Retreat, Instead – RELOAD! Pls see my Facebook page” (which contained her mapped hit list as shown above), I wrote about in March.*

Clearly, however, there are plenty of mentally unstable among us who take such advice as to “RELOAD!” and who take such symbols as gun crosshairs over an elected official’s legislative district quite seriously.

Rep. Giffords is No. 4 on Palin-Quayle’s hit list. Giffords made the hit list because she’s a Democrat in a conservative congressional district who voted for the same health-care reform bill that the Repugnican Tea Party now is trying to repeal.

Of course, members of the Repugnican Tea Party, such as Palin-Quayle and Repugnican Tea Party House Speaker John Boehner, are falling over each other now to express their condolences for the violence that the Repugnican Tea Party condones — and their claims that of course the Repugnican Tea Party does not condone violence!

Fact is, once the idea is put out there, repeatedly, that it’s OK to commit violence against elected officials with whom one disagrees, it kind of doesn’t matter who exactly suggests it (such as Nevadan Repugnican Tea Party U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle’s suggestion that “Second-Amendment remedies” might be necessary for those elected officials who just won’t do what we want them to do) or who exactly the suggested targets are; it just contributes toward making the idea of shooting elected officials whom you don’t like the new norm.

They will deny their obvious complicity in actual acts of violence, as the fucking hypocrites never admit their wrongdoings, but those of us few Americans who still value what is left of what we call our “democracy” have to hold the feet of the members of the Repugnican Tea Party to the fire for the violence that they promote. (Figuratively. [For now.])

*In that post, titled “Bricks and Stones Can Start a Civil War,” I concluded:

Today, bricks — tomorrow, bullets?

It would be interesting to see what would happen in the aftermath of a “tea-baggin’” fascist actually assassinating someone, and I have to wonder if the question isn’t whether that will happen but when it will happen.

Hey, sign me up for the next civil war! I’ll be happy to fight for the blue states! This next time, though, we need to finish the job!

You betcha!

I still feel that way, by the way. I prefer bloodlessness, but if it’s a bloody civil war that the wingnuts want, I still say: Let’s give it to them!

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