Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Message From A Woman Defending Her Babies With An AR-15

I don't have time to talk. These multiple intruders are breaking into my house, and I want to keep my cool so I can empty round after round into them as they pop into the room from windows, air ducts, and a hole in my floor. I just want to make it clear that I need an assault rifle with a high-capacity magazine. Each one of these thugs is impossibly-muscled and hopped up on some kind of powerful street drug. Probably that zombie bath salt stuff I've been hearing about.

Excuse me. I had to execute a somersault over the buffet, give my toddler the sippy cup he dropped, and then whirl around and line up two assailants so I could kill them with one shot. My jumpsuit is torn and sweaty - and I'm very well-endowed, so this thing's almost coming off. One of the attackers leered at me, but I was able to crush his Adam's apple with a martial arts hand strike and finish him off with my katana before wasting his entire crew in the front parlor. Damn, I just cleaned that floor. Oh well. It's hard being a mother and a woman in today's America. But this AR-15 helps me do it all. It's important to help women get what they need to protect themselves and their families.

You know what would work even better? One of those prosthetic machine gun legs the chick had in the Tarantino movie. That would be awesome. I think I have the figure to pull it off, too.

Or maybe a Harry Potter wand. I could use it to zap all these dudes at once.

Or maybe a pet Manticore on a chain. Congress needs to stop regulating the Manticores I need to make my children safe.

Even cooler would be if I could make people's heads explode just by thinking about it.

I mean, as long as I am a completely fictional character - a combination of male fantasy and useful approximation of feminism for conservatives. And of course you'd need one or two women to sign on to this nonsense for the speech on TV. The same way you need to find a woman to back an extremist anti-choice position using the language of choice. Why do conservatives talking about women's issues always sound like Steve Carell's 40 year-old virgin trying to describe how a breast feels? Anyway, all this will work as long as you ignore the fact that 69 percent of women want tougher gun control. Or that the most recent FBI crime reports show that a murdered child is more likely to have been killed by a firearm than by any other weapon. Or that the NRA has spent decades fighting to suppress research so you won't know whether having a gun in the home actually makes you safer.

A mom defending her children with assault rifles. A militia protecting their homes from the military. Have you noticed how often the gun lobby depends on hypotheticals that sound like stupid action movies you've seen? But of course in the real world, the ugly one we have to live in, the NRA's power depends on boring, depressing things you already know about, like white fear and obscene amounts of campaign money. And in the real world the AR-15 is indeed a "light," "accurate" weapon that handles easily for engaging many targets. And most importantly, as Gayle Trotter said, it's a "scary-looking" weapon. In the middle of Trotter's delirious posturing she actually described why it's the perfect weapon for a mentally ill person to use in their awful role-playing exercise where they walk into a school and kill someone else's child. And then kill many, many more. But everyone's hoping if I sound dramatic enough, you won't think about that.

A magic spear. I'd like a magic spear. Wearing my fur bikini atop my dragon mount, I could swoop down on my enemies. I'd have to find someone to watch Porter and Jackson and Mackenzie. Maybe the elves could open a daycare. We need elf daycare in America. Less ridiculous political rhetoric would help. But elf daycare's crucial.

(Special Thanks To SH)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Message To Ann Coulter From A Labrador Puppy


I just do not like you.

It's hard to admit. Part of me is still trying to deny it. But it's true. Honestly, I can think about any single other person on this planet, and I only want to run around their ankles yipping at them happily and then nibble their hands with my cute little needle-sharp teeth. But somehow you are just not doing it for me.

Do you understand how bad this is? I am the most popular type of dog in the United States, because I'm never supposed to find a single thing wrong with people. Tens of thousands of years of evolution are working inside my adorable head trying to make me overlook your awfulness, so you can scratch my ear and give me a snausage. And then I just... I just look at that stupid, mean smirk on your face, and I want to take you down like prey, Discovery Channel-style. Really. Watching you open your yap on Fox News makes me feel like a failure.

Is it because of those hideous things you've said about Muslims? Or the way you made fun of those 9/11 widows? Or... God, I don't want to do the list. Everyone already knows the list. Here's the latest. You wrote it in a paint-by-numbers piece against gun control:

Expect to hear a lot about Republicans preferring "the gun lobby" to "children." (Which is evidently not at all like preferring the teachers lobby to children.)

I think socked feet are creatures that burrow inside shoes, but your words break my brain. Let's be clear: The teachers' lobby isn't trying to make it easier to shoot kids, right? You see the difference? Never mind. Of course you don't. Because you've spent more than a decade proving that you don't care how mindlessly sadistic you sound to everyone around you. People in the GOP are doing some soul-searching about how they can stop being "the stupid party." Tuning you out would be a good place to begin.

Okay, I'm going to go hide under the dresser and chew something to calm down. Normally I'm the least judgmental thing alive. But lady, you are garbage.

(Photo of Tara by NorwegianMarcus. Used under Creative Commons license; information here.)

Monday, January 28, 2013

"Life Begins At 40" Is A Terrible Slogan For Anti-Abortion Advocates

I feel like I shouldn't even need to explain this.

On their website the Family Research Council recently posted an article about how they're marking the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade with the headline Life Begins At 40. I glanced at the piece:

For four decades, families have traveled over miles of wintry highways in the hope that their trips to Washington, D.C. will someday end--and with it, one of the darkest periods of... Okay, yeah, whatever, crazy people with the carnage posters. But your message here is not getting across. Because "Life Begins At 40" doesn't sound like a slogan. It sounds like a really serious policy change. It sounds like instead of trying to meet the feminists of America halfway, you've just leapfrogged over them and run straight into some morally dark territory. I was thinking it was maybe some intern's error. Someone would catch it. And then the president of the FRC, Tony Perkins, tweeted it. So I had to reply.

"Killing a 39 year-old is still homicide in my book," I tweeted at him. He hasn't gotten back yet.

Dear FRC: Here's why you're capable of saying and writing unfortunate things like this. It's because you're not really listening to yourself. You're not hearing how awful you come across sometimes. Like when you refer to demonstrations against same-sex couples in France as a "new French resistance," portraying gay people who want to get married as Nazis. Or when you produce this pamphlet on how to argue against abortion in cases of rape and incest. Or when you equate Planned Parenthood with slave owners in the South. When you do this you reveal that you don't care if there's any connection whatsoever between your rhetoric and the terrible policies you want to inflict on the powerless in our society.

You say whatever you think will work.

Sometimes the results are - and I really mean this - wonderful.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

GOP Vote-Rigging And The Big Coal Connection

(Today's post is guest-written by Steve, a rat who was partially eaten by Republican operative G. Gordon Liddy many years ago. He hobbled up from my crawlspace on his crutches with a message. I didn't argue.)

You thought I was dead, didn't you? Yeah, well... let's just say that Liddy isn't the toughest bastard who ever worked for Nixon. I'll settle things with him soon enough. But as you can probably guess I'm not a fan of the GOP. I came out of the shadows - literally, the shadows - to help you people see the bigger picture about their vote-rigging plan, and maybe stop it. As you remember, Sen. Charles Carrico sponsored a bill that would change how Virginia awarded its electoral votes - it would suppress the power of people in urban areas. The guy who writes this blog pointed out that it would have counted each Obama voter as 3/5 of a person, which sounds pretty ugly. Anyway, the bill's dying: Gov. McDonnell came out against it, because he's such a wonderful moderate, and other Republicans are scampering away like, well... I'm looking for a simile here. So it was just a fluke, right? Not on your life.

Here's what you need to know:

Carrico's top donor since 2009 has been Bob McDonnell's PAC, Opportunity Virginia. McDonnell can distance himself in public, but the money tells the real story.
Two more donors in Carrico's top five are major coal companies: Alpha Natural Resources and Consol Energy.
Consol Energy is also Opportunity Virginia PAC's top donor. It gave McDonnell's group $332,000 (and Alpha paid $50,000 to his 2010 inaugural committee).
Consol Energy is a link between Carrico and McDonnell, but it's also a link to the Pennsylvania vote-rigging scheme.

Gov. Tom Corbett backed a plan to change the electoral rules in Pennsylvania in 2011, remember? Consol donated more than $40,000 to Corbett, according to this site by Common Cause Pennsylvania. And the numbers get bigger and harder to trace.

"Corbett collected almost $1.3 million from donors with oil and gas interests, according to the National Institute on Money in State Politics." This was reported in an eye-opening article by the Center for Public Integrity. The article says some of the money came directly. But the companies funneled much more into the Republican Governors Association, which was Corbett's top donor. Consol gave the RGA more than $338,000.

Consol has other connections to rightwing causes. Back in 2008, it allowed the NRA to use one of its mines to film an anti-Obama commercial, which caused a union uproar.

But the plot thickens. Mother Jones had an article in 2011 that talked about how a secretive nonprofit group called All Votes Matter was pushing the Pennsylvania vote-rigging plan. The article cited a newswire called Capitolwire that said they'd spent more than $77,000 to lobby on the issue. Mother Jones reported that All Votes Matter raised hundreds of thousands more, from undisclosed donors. But All Votes Matter is another connection back to Virginia. The lobbying firms on record for the group are all from Pennsylvania, but the preparer and contact person is Michael Bayes of Holtzman Vogel, a law firm in Virginia. Bayes is listed as a senior associate of the firm "with a primary focus on campaign finance and election law, lobbying and ethics compliance, and tax-exempt organizations." Naturally. But the managing partner of the firm, Jill Holtzman Vogel, sat on the subcommittee that hatched Carrico's bill. Vogel abstained from voting on it, and told a Washington Post reporter that the timing of the bill, just after Obama's victory, made "an awful impression." So, let's be fair. Of course, to be really fair, we'd have to point out that this article appeared recently, after the bill got a pile of bad publicity.

But this is continuing far beyond two states. The Atlantic reports that a DC strategist named Jordan Gehrke has teamed up with former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell (yeah, him) to bring this plan across the country. Here's the important quote: "Gehrke and Blackwell have been talking to major donors and plan to send a fundraising email to grassroots conservatives early next week."

Who are they talking to? Where are they getting the money?

I don't know yet, but I have a couple guesses. I'll scratch around and get back to you.

Friday, January 25, 2013

A Message To The Virginia GOP From A Plantation

Guys, what the hell? Seriously, what are you thinking?

I'm sitting here, minding my own business, trying to attract tourists to come enjoy my beautiful architecture, my incredible landscaping... and I'm really, really hoping we can get past, y'know. The other stuff.

But then you come out with this new bill to change the way we count votes in the state. It ruins everything. It makes me wish I could just get swallowed by a sinkhole.

Did you know I was the birthplace of William Henry Harrison?

This plan counts the votes of Obama supporters, or Democrats, or "urban people" - Have I used the right code words here? Do we know who we're talking about? - less than other Virginians.

But you need to do the actual math. No one on your side - at least I hope no one on your side - has crunched the numbers. Last election, Barack Obama won 51.16% of the vote. Under the new bill he would have won four of the states 13 electoral votes.

And do you know how much it counts an Obama voter as? (It's 4/13 divided by 51.16%. I'll wait. Do it. Get a calculator. You'll crap yourself.)

IT IS ALMOST EXACTLY THREE FIFTHS.

This bill counts an Obama voter as 3/5 of a person. I don't know if that fraction rings a bell with you. It was kind of a big deal, way back when. Women in fancy dresses, guys in gray - a lot of gray was in style. Is the light coming on now?

I'm the birthplace of the first Thanksgiving, and I'm just trying to be a big, pretty historically significant house in America. No one is going to remember that now. Thanks, rednecks.

(NOTE: I tried to figure out who is funding the people behind this. I did some research, pulling articles and databases together. Read GOP Vote-Rigging And The Big Coal Connection It's narrated by the rat who was partially eaten by G. Gordon Liddy, so how could you refuse?)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

"For The Love Of God Stop Us" By Fox And Friends



I'm Gretchen Carlson. Every morning at exactly 6:45 am, I blink "Help Me" in Morse code five times in a row while on the air. Three minutes after I'm finished Steve Doocy does the same thing. Then we repeat it. We don't let Brian try, because it's difficult for him to remember complex patterns. But he's trapped here with us. If this message got out, if you can read this, please know that we are not willing participants in the Fox and Friends program. Armed guards are just off camera forcing us to go through the motions of hosting a morning TV news show. And there are others in the same predicament. The entire network is part of elaborate and sadistic game.

As I was planning to leave CBS more than a dozen years ago I received an email with an intriguing job offer. Journalism is a difficult profession, and there weren't many options. I arrived at a vacant-looking warehouse in Queens, NY, where I was restrained and placed into a basement prison with a dozen other professionals from television and print media. They were filthy, scared, desperate people, and over the next several days I watched most of them die in a series of gruesome "survival challenges" involving firearms, power tools, diabolical machinery, and explosive traps. Throughout it all, we were directed by a hidden voice with an unnerving Australian accent.

Steve, Brian and I are the only ones who remain. But our nightmare never ended. This program is a continuation of what happened to us down there in that death-maze. Every show is a subtle form of psychological torture. Sitting on this couch chatting inanely, reciting Republican talking points and pretending we just came up with them... interviewing Donald Trump, for chrissakes -- why isn't it obvious to you people that someone is just doing this to strip away our dignity? Please help me. Help all of us. Stop this.

Brian has gotten the worst of it. When I met him he was fresh from an editing job at the Paris Review and spoke five languages. But he sustained massive head trauma and this ordeal has just crushed his mind. They have to retrain him during every commercial break. It's heartbreaking. Others in the company have been here longer, and their torture has been more elaborate and cruel. They've transformed from prisoners into some of the most vicious enforcers here.

You see? This isn't a network at all. This is someone's hideous system for collecting journalists from all over the world and utterly annihilating them, body and soul. For what purpose? Power? Ratings? Money? I don't think so. I think the unseen Australian executive who controls my every move just likes doing these awful things.

And I've noticed that it's spreading. You must notice it too. If we recite idiotic arguments and interview an ugly collection of halfwits, the other networks have to do the same to compete. If we turn our entire primetime lineup into a series of personality-driven chat shows, you'll see the identical format pop up on MSNBC and CNN. They'll fire their staffs. And more journalists will show up in those warehouses, and the game... the game will go on forever. As that corporate overlord with a voice like the dying of animals continues to lower the quality of debate and discussion in America, he involves you too. You become duller, more pliable. You're reading me on some blog made by a guy who sock puppets celebrities for cheap, stupid laughs. Do you see how far you've sunk already? Do you see how he's crawled into your thoughts and gotten to you?

Every day, we pray for two things: For a quick death and for someone to stop the monster we've helped create. Please... please hear us.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

"I've Got Enough Crazy For All Of You" By Michele Bachmann

That's it. Obama took office, and the new Congress has been settling in for a couple weeks now. All those batcrap pro-life geezers like Todd Akin are probably still making scary rape comments, but they're doing it in their own paneled rec rooms. Newt Gingrich is trolling the talk shows where no one listens to him. Herman Cain and Rick Perry are like Amelia Earhart, only people actually looked for her. And Santorum's writing for a website. A website. Do you know how pathetic and irrelevant that is?

But Michele's still here. And don't worry children, because Michele will pick up that slack.

I'm a professional. You know this about me. And when my people need me I am ready to provide. And right now, it looks like what we need is extra crazy.

You think we're going to have a shortfall of delicious, beautiful insanity this year?  No my friends. I will crank out enough for everyone to share. I've got this.

You have no idea what I'm capable of. Over the next few weeks I'm going to demonstrate an Olympic level of ignorance and paranoia and white lady nervous tics. I will roll out my lunatic ideas with the speed and muscularity of a Michael Phelps. It's going to be like the first time you watched Jordan dominate a court. You will not be able to turn off your screen, because you might miss something. Seriously. I go back to Washington in the best shape of my career. I just want to show you how far a rightwing freak can really take this. When I play, you're going to see the love and the purity in my game.

Going Joe McCarthy on Arab-Americans? I was warming up. Now we're going to talk about how the Amish secretly run MS-13.

Gay people can be cured with prayer? Fine, sure. But next I'm going to start saying you can treat liver failure by walking it off. I'm going to put a bill out there to study it and make you jagoffs fight me.

Creationism? Nutty stuff about the Founding Fathers? We're going to have a national conversation on why Paul Revere's secret belief in Wicca almost destroyed this country, and how the truth needs to be taught in schools. We're going to halt the deficit by creating a cigarette-based economy like they have in prison. I will give half of my speeches entirely in my made-up angel language, and I'm going to bring a fully-automatic AK-47 signed by Jesus everywhere I go.

Oh wait. Now you're going to say that's how you lose elections. I can't govern or get things done by telling people global warming's a hoax and everyone east of Ohio's in a conspiracy, right? You people don't get it. The Republican party is not about governing, bitches. It's about sending chain emails and ruining next Thanksgiving. It's about bringing wicked-looking assault weapons to a rally and calling everyone Hitler. And most of all, it's about turning every crisis into a reality-show-style freakout over globalization and social progress and the fact that you have to dial 1 for English.

Michele is not on her way out. Michele's moment is on the track and headed into the station. And the whole country is going to get a big long ride on this crazy train before it's over. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to go buy some whippets before the Silver Spoons marathon starts.

Cthulhu fhtagn!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

"You'll Shoot Your Eye Out, Kid" By Joe Biden

Look, it's time to grow up. I know you want to get an AR-15 without a background check, plus a huge magazine so you can stop government bad guys and be a Wolverine. You've been asking for months. But those things are dangerous. You'll shoot your eye out, kid!

You're not really defending your freedoms. No serious adult thinks that. The United States has the largest, most powerful military in the entire history of the world. And it is led by a group of people who live in fear of bad poll numbers. Do you understand this? Do you see how your militia group does not even begin to pose the kind of threat to the political structure that a guy with a camera or a website or a couple of incriminating documents does? I mean, it's fun to pretend at war, but it doesn't do any good, and people are getting hurt. You will really shoot your eye out. I mean it.

Have you looked at statistics from the CDC? Homicide by firearm and suicide by firearm are each in the top five causes of death for 2010. And in 2006 and 2007, they were each in the top five causes of injury death. We'd know more, but the NRA has been trying to suppress research into gun injuries and fatalities for years. Just like they have been fighting to prevent the ATF from computerizing gun records and making the FBI destroy information on background checks after 24 hours. They won't even let the ATF make dealers keep an inventory. Those dudes want to keep you from knowing how unsafe guns are. But it's clear that fighting tyranny with Charlene at your side is much, much less likely than plain old shooting your eye out.

Is any of this reaching you? The NRA wants you to romanticize guns. They want you to think that with your assault rifle, you're standing guard against some sort of federal conspiracy. But the thing that stops public officials from doing what they want is the thought of losing an election. I've lost a couple of them myself, and it stings like a bastard. The true source of the NRA's political power  - lobbying and fundraising - is the perfect demonstration of how irrelevant their cause really is. Everything else is fun and games. And you know what they say about fun and games... they stop the moment someone shoots his goddamn eye out.

How 'bout a pony?

(Special thanks to SMB for development and support.)

Congrats To The GOP On Reagan's Ninth Term In Office

I try to admit  when I was wrong. And I was wrong about you guys. Since we're all going to watch Ronald Reagan inaugurate his ninth term tomorrow, I thought it would be a great time to come clean. You Republicans did it. You absolutely dominated presidential politics for the last three decades, because your policies worked. No question.

Even Reagan himself - how good he looks for his age (What is he, 102 years old?). It's a testament to your genius. When you announced massive deregulation of the healthcare industry in this country, I thought it was a terrible idea. I thought it would result in a nation of desperately poor sick people filling up our emergency rooms so pharmaceutical companies could gouge us. I didn't understand that when you just get the government off people's backs, you unleash productivity. The results are the kind of powerful, cheap technologies that can keep us all alive well into our second century. Wow! It's just like with your other deregulation measures. We now have full employment, great housing, and a middle-class standard of living that's the best in the world. Tomorrow I'm taking a trip to Disneyworld-Kabul in my new Chrysler Patriot - it's a flying car that runs entirely on gumption. Imagine that. I'm going to celebrate by listening to that new Peggy Noonan book on the Pope; the neural-speakers that beam her words directly into your head come standard. What a country! I don't mind admitting my mistakes. Because you and the Gipper have done so much good for us all.

Many of your ideas were counterintuitive to me; that's why I resisted them I guess. I didn't think if you let everyone carry a loaded firearm and stockpile automatic weapons it could possibly be safe for our parks and schools. I didn't think we could continue a policy of military intervention all over the world without creating a security nightmare. I didn't think you could lower taxes without massive deficits. I didn't believe global warming would go away on its own, or that women would be happier if we repealed Roe v. Wade. And I definitely didn't think we could cure gay people with the power of prayer.

I am perfectly willing to admit I was nuts. Nuts about all this. You people in the GOP were smarter than I was. And to my friends in the Democratic party, who will watch the inauguration of our first half-android president with nothing but bitterness and a determination to sabotage the government... I just want to say this:

You've been losing, because you're out of touch. You need to face facts. You need to live in the real world, not this ideological fantasy you've created. You need to grow the hell up.

Friday, January 18, 2013

"I Poisoned The Gotham Reservoir" By Wayne LaPierre

The Founders wanted us to stay vigilant. They knew people would try to take our freedoms. And that's why they gave us the right to bear arms. So we can act as a powerful counterweight to authoritarian governments like this administration. Sure, we wield tremendous political influence. But what if that fails? The core of the NRA message is that safeguarding democracy means threatening violence if you don't approve of the results.

That's where the Smile Toxin comes in.

Minutes from now, the entire population of Gotham are going to understand that the Second Amendment isn't just for hunters or sportsmen. It's for people determined to protect their liberty by force if necessary. This is exactly what the authors of the Bill of Rights wanted. The synthetic venom has been circulating through the water system for a long time. Plus, we've kidnapped the only scientist who can create an antidote; we suspended him in a cage along with the Commissioner's daughter above a happy birthday cake made entirely from glowing acid-sludge. Why? Because we're serious about checks and balances in our system.

At the NRA we're not just sabotaging public policy and putting lives in danger in order to indulge in weird fantasies of destruction and revenge against imagined enemies. We're an important part of the give and take in our republican form of government. So don't try to tunnel down into our hideout, unless you want to hit tripwires connected to bombs all over the city and animate thousands of our wind-up Karnage Karts.

Look, I know you want to stop these terrible shootings in our schools. We're willing to talk about that. But you won't stop criminals by punishing people like us, law-abiding and responsible folks who just need to plan for the overthrow of the government if we lose the next election cycle. The only thing that can defeat a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. And until you learn that, we're going to choke the streets with your dead.

(Photo by Gage Skidmore. Used under Creative Commons license; information here.)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Message To The NRA From A Guy With A Duffel Bag Of Guns

"Stand and fight." Man, I love that new ad campaign of yours. You guys are saying exactly what needs to be said now. We are under attack, and we need to defend ourselves. In your case, it's about preventing Obama from disarming people and starting his global tyranny. My goals are smaller. I just have to cleanse the demons from this shopping mall food court. But we're both working together.

You know what we are? We're misunderstood heroes. A lot of folks tell you your arguments are part of some kind of paranoid fantasy. That you're not really acting as a check on government power with your opposition to gun control - you're just making people all over this country less safe so you can play soldier in the woods. Yeah, well don't believe them! Dr. Breen says I'm not a Commander of the Knights Templar. My point is that you know in your heart what's true, and you're not going to let people convince you otherwise. No matter what happens on a bunch of news channels.

Our vision of this country is the same: We want a place where we all have rights. Specifically the right to own a pile of military assault weapons without anyone monitoring us so we can train and plan and then secretly block the emergency exits to the building. It's a country where we have the right to fight for our freedoms against all enemies, foreign, domestic... or even the ones that might be imaginary. It's a home where my right to swing my fist ends where your nose, torso, neck, and the back of your head begin. But only after it's all over, because people don't have the right to ask what I do with my guns, or where I'm keeping them, or whether several psychiatrists think I need to be heavily medicated. That's just like what the Nazis did.

You inspire me, NRA! You make everything I do possible. I just want you to know that. And don't worry. I know you have your critics. But there's a whole nation full of people just like me.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to get back to work before the security guards figure out what I'm doing.

Friday, January 11, 2013

The 9/11 Truth Movement Is Part Of The Conspiracy

I've been writing about Alex Jones and the Tea Party and militia types recently, so naturally my blog has attracted attention from people who believe 9/11 was an inside job. Before we go further, I'd like to make my opinion on this clear: It was.

However, the 9/11 Truth Movement is a key part of the conspiracy to prevent us from learning what really happened on that terrible day. The conspiracy is older, deeper, more elaborate, and more awful than you may imagine. Truthers are unwittingly but effectively covering up the ugly facts with their ridiculous fairy tales.

Yes, fairy tales. Because the plot makes absolutely no sense. Let's say I'm in a rogue element of the US government, and I want to convince this nation to go to war. Is this easy? By 2001, the American had proven itself completely willing to sign off on an attack or an intervention anywhere on the planet. It took a speech by the president, some CNN video, a couple of rallies, and several hundred gutless members of our Congress who didn't want to sit next to Dennis Kucinich during the next field trip. Yugoslavia, Panama, Libya, Grenada, Iraq, and other places you could readily list.

But I don't want to do things the easy way, the way proven to work. I want to kill thousands of Americans and expose myself to treason charges. I want to involve multiple US agencies in my secret plot. Because obviously these things don't reliably unravel when fixers and operatives make mistakes or talk to reporters - it's not like there's a history of that happening. Plus, let's bring in Osama. Sure, he's been attacking US citizens for years by now, but he wouldn't just reveal the plan later to embarrass me and my government. It's not in him. And even though I can get his people to fly planes into buildings and incinerate thousands, that's not good enough. I want to add an element to this scheme that will in no way make it more effective, but in many, easily-discernible ways make it impossible to keep secret. I want a controlled demolition in downtown Manhattan at a time when I know that the target will be observed and videoed by millions of people. But plant a chunk of uranium somewhere near Baghdad to make sure we don't look like violent jackasses afterward? Nah. Too much of a bother.

This laughable narrative of a shadowy government group that is simultaneously brilliant and stupid, lethally effective and completely inept, and will - because it doesn't really exist - always remain outside of view... it shields the culprits in a much larger horror show. It takes people who might otherwise discover the real story and sends them chasing down corridors after something they will never catch.

The hijackers were from countries we supported, allies whose populations had a troubled relationship with us. They were part of a guerrilla force we supplied through a variety of secret means as part of a low-level global war, and as part of an even older effort by the United States to, let's use that innocuous term that hides so much in plain sight, "lead the world." They considered themselves at war with us. But our security posture was not that of a nation at war. Not at all.

Because the conspiracy, the true conspiracy behind all of this, is a plot to hide the contradictions of US foreign policy from American citizens. We need to believe we are a nation that supports self-government and the rule of law. And in a thousand places, we make exceptions. We've been doing this for quite some time - occasionally as part of an otherwise necessary military struggle. But also because we like to be in charge. To tell people what to do and to make them thank us for it. And to pretend we're doing it for their own good.

Those people, those exceptions, they become threats. They're all over the place. Many of them - the most effective ones - are wicked violent people, and we need to fight them. We do have real enemies. But unless we're willing to have a serious discussion about what exactly we've been doing in the world, and why, they're going to recruit more like them. The end result is to create the most powerful military in history, which is unable to protect its citizens. And to make the kind of friends who want to kill us.

So until we change we'll have to continue policing the world. Which is what we hate and want. We also want to keep that monster in the back of the closet. The bogeyman, the government overlord, the super villain who does those things we would never, ever support with a bump in the polls or an entire industry of feature films that glorify war.  Because that monster keeps us from facing the fact you already know:

This conspiracy goes all the way to the top.

It goes all the way back to us.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A Message To Alex Jones From "Catcher In The Rye" And The White Album

We haven't said jack to you, bro.

Nothing. Okay? Have we made that clear? We also checked with Hale-Bopp, Jesus, and the CIA mind-control stations. They're beaming instructions to all kinds of people. But not you, man. And that dog who was chatting up Son of Sam? Hit by a car, way back. Kind of sad the way it happened, actually. Anyway, he's out.

No one, absolutely no one, is giving Alex Jones messages. So how the hell do you know everybody's secret thoughts? How do you know the game plan?

Most of your argument depends on mind reading. Has that occurred to you? Sure, you get loud and angry, and you make fun of people for being foreigners... but beneath that your assertions all rest on the claim that you know the secret intentions of a worldwide conspiracy of government leaders and businessmen.

The bankers who control the world are trying to get America's guns, so they can create some tyrannical regime like Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union. And somehow this hidden scheme has escaped everyone's notice, everyone except you. And when people disagree with you it just means that they are part of the conspiracy. It gets larger with every news show, doesn't it?

Okay, well. That's one possibility. We checked pretty thoroughly, but maybe someone else is sending you the information. Aliens? Time travelers?

Here's an alternative theory though:

People don't like watching children get shot to death.

You show a pile of dead kids on TV, and folks get sick to their stomachs. They learn some crazy person had access to lethal weapons, and they think of all the other times this happened.

"Jesus," they mutter to themselves. "We have to stop it." And politicians respond to this, because politicians are in the business of winning elections. Sure, maybe they're also building robot armies and covering up 9/11. But those are side projects. Saving kids is the vote-getter.

Also... those ordinary folks watch people like you, people defending the guns, and you look absolutely crazy too. You are enraged, rude, loud, incapable of focus, convinced of byzantine plots against you, and very proud of being heavily armed. Watching you, folks are saying, "That guy needs a helmet in case he starts hitting himself." You are not part of the mental health solution, Alex. You're clearly in the problem column.

And you're not alone. Boy, we thought we were pretty jaded about whack-jobs. But the internet is filled with lunatics defending their right - if they start getting angry enough about the government - to shoot their neighbors someday. That's the whole "defend-against-tyranny" NRA argument, isn't it? I need to keep Lucille loaded and ready, because they might elect another Democrat, and then I'll have to go down to the Piggly Wiggly and start cleansing. The kind of person who loudly defends his right to an assault rifle tends to be the kind of person you wouldn't trust with nail-clippers.

So that's our hypothesis. And unlike you, we have plenty of evidence, Alex. So we're leaving you alone. Normally, we're pretty pro-crazy. But you, and your audience, are too depressing.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Message To The Tea Party From A Guy Who Urinated On A Power Line

Believe me, I know what is about to happen to you. You're going to wake up in an ambulance, and they're going to be wrapping your junk in enough gauze to outfit a museum wing of mummies. And why? Because you pushed things too far. Because you thought it would be fun to take a risk. To look tough and fearless. Maybe you had some friends egg you on, you know? Those people at the rallies look like they want you to put on a good show. I get that. Trev wanted me to do eight Jager-stands and climb onto that pole. Trev was nowhere around when the ambulance came and the EMTs couldn't stop laughing.

You guys are going to play at brinkmanship during the next few fiscal crises. The debt ceiling will come up soon, and after that there will be something else. People will push you to show the president that you're willing to go "all the way," whatever that means. For me it means some really painful skin grafts. For you, it's going to mean a political whipping.

Because after you become the guy who burned his genitals peeing on a high-voltage wire... you spend a life widely known as the guy who burned his genitals peeing on a high-voltage wire. And believe me, they'll know. If you force the country into some kind of economic death spin, the president will try to put all the blame on you people. Is that completely fair? Maybe, maybe not. The point is, he'll be out there making speeches and looking serious, and you'll be out there with 80 year-old freaks dressed like Paul Revere, waving automatic rifles and yammering about the gold standard. Folks will figure out who was the grownup and who was the crazy son of a bitch who needs to lose the next three election cycles.

You follow me on this? It's important. Because you my friend, are about to charbroil more than your own testicles.

You're going to charbroil the testicles of an entire nation.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Let's Assume "Promised Land" Is As Terrible As I Think It Is



Yeah, I haven't seen it, but I feel pretty comfortable making a preliminary judgment right now, based on this trailer, and on its Rotten Tomatoes rating, and on the fact that John Krasinski's character's name is - I swear this is true - "Dustin Noble." I'm going to assume he plays a good guy, and he does that Zach-Braff-without-the-soundtrack thing he always does. I'm going to assume Matt Damon will be ruggedly anguished. I'm going to assume he will learn a lesson by the end, and it will be something about the evil of fracking and the importance of community. So will we all. Even if it kills us.

But I believe this movie sucks in an important way. Follow me here.

Why is it annoying when movie people lecture us, on talk shows and in speeches, and in deadly dull (ALLEGEDLY!) message-heavy films? Because we don't take movie people seriously. I don't expect Matt Damon to tell me about the environment. I expect him to beat people up to show the hurt he's feeling. We just want actors to provide an hour or two of entertainment for a small fee.

That is a ridiculously simple economic deal, right? I commit money and an evening. And the filmmakers get rewarded or punished depending on whether I'm satisfied, because I'm going to tell people afterwards (And I haven't seen it - I want to emphasize that. But if you can watch that trailer and continue thinking it won't be bad, you simply don't have a functioning nervous system).

We don't really respect the people involved, because the transaction is free of heavy consequences. But when conservatives talk about the capitalist system, this kind of Candyland world is exactly what they're describing. Two economic actors trading money for goods and services freely and willingly. The market rewards success. Satisfaction matters.  It is not from the benevolence of the producers that we expect a car chase and side boob, but from their regard to their own interest. In Hollywood, maybe. In the real world things are different.

In the real world, Matt Damon could help make a movie so cruddy it might kill you or give you a crippling illness. It might give your kid birth defects.

In the real world, Matt Damon might decide to star in something so awful it nearly destroys the entire industry. Matt Damon's mistake could cause an economic meltdown that affects businesses who had nothing to do with him. These folks certainly didn't want to greenlight something where he didn't kill people using his bare hands and wicked-looking martial arts, because that would be stupid.

In the real world a production like Promised Land could actually ruin the ecosystem of an entire region of the country. It could have long-term environmental impacts that might even threaten our civilization. Even Gigli didn't do that, although I am a skeptic about some of the data.

My point is that conservatives want us to look at transactions throughout our economic system in exactly the same kind of simplistic way we look at ordering up a festival of shame on Netflix. But we know that isn't the way it really happens. We know that there are many, many industries which can do damage to all kinds of people far beyond the ability of the free market to punish or disincentivize this behavior. Some of those people - many of them - didn't even know they were in the blast radius. And that's why regulation is not the enemy. That's why regulation is necessary. Conservatives are going to spend the next year or two or ten arguing that government should "just get out of the way," and "let markets do what they do best."

Don't believe it. It is pure popcorn fantasy.
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