Trivial Ted Canadian Cubano Cruz

Written by Scarabus


Not long ago Ted Cruz said…


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Assuming he’s right, what might the question be? Any suggestions?

Absurd? Bad taste?

Written by Scarabus


OK. Let’s start with the cartoon:


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This illustrates an execution by firing squad in Florida.


“Florida doesn’t execute people by firing squad! Florida uses lethal injection.” you complain.

True. But, as you know, the manufacturers of drugs used for such lethal injections have begun balking. They manufacture drugs to heal and not to kill, they insist. And they’re not just talking the talk; they’re walking the walk. They’re refusing to sell states the drugs used for execution. Lots of juggling, dancing, and dodging going on in states that like to kill prisoners.

America has an ugly history of state or quasi-state sponsored homicide. Used to be we had no problem with inflicting pain while killing. For example, consider this contemporary description by Robert Calef of the Salem witch trials and executions that occurred just before 1800:

And now Nineteen persons having been hang’d, and one prest to death, and Eight more condemned, in all Twenty and Eight, of which above a third part were Members of some of the Churches of N. England, and more than half of them of a good Conversation in general, and not one clear’d; about Fifty having confest themselves to be Witches, of which not one Executed; above an Hundred and Fifty in Prison, and Two Hundred more accused; the Special Commision of Oyer and Terminer comes to a period.


First thing to notice, these shouldn’t be referred to just as “the Salem witch trials.” They were both trials and executions. Twenty persons were killed, and 50 more would have joined them if they hadn’t been willing to confess to imaginary misdeeds for which they knew they were innocent.

Most were hanged. Hanging is tricky business. Too little weight on the victim, too short a drop, wrong knot, and you can get a macabre strangulation and “dance of death” by the prisoner’s body. Err in the opposite direction, and the head is severed. Only when conditions are just right do you get a snapped neck and relatively quiet death.

One, Calef notes was “prest to death.” That is, “pressed” to death — immobilized and then laden with more and more weight until literally crushed to death.

These days we don’t like to confront death directly. Our meat, fish, and poultry are provided neatly packaged or cooked and presented at table. (Remember the scene at the Chinese restaurant in Jean Shepherd’s A Christmas Story?) Our loved ones die in institutions rather than at home. While our agents are face-to-face inflicting PTSD on others, and suffering PTSD themselves, we experience war as if it were a video game. We don’t see the carnage. We see close-ups of targeting computer screens plus very long shots of explosions. Unless we or those we love are combat veterans, we see nothing of the un-healable pain and unassuageable grief so many of those veterans carry throughout their lives.

When I was a little kid, my dad took our cat to be “put to sleep.” I wasn’t sure what that meant, but it sounded rather sweet and comforting. Later, friends and relatives had animals “put down.” A couple of years ago I took our suffering, cancer-ridden cat Mittens to be “euthanized.” I’m OK with easing pain by choosing soft words, but I’m not OK with lying to ourselves about what we’ve accepted moral responsibility for doing.

American television “personalities” were twisting their knickers and pooping their tidy-whities when that …hmmmm… militant Islamic organization that’s known under a dozen different names beheaded some people. (No outrage over the fact that our allies like Saudi Arabia behead people routinely every month. Oh—! And sever hands every month also.) Anyhow, the point is, Fox News, Chris Matthews, etc. were much less upset about the executions per se than about the manner of execution.


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The image itself.

I tried to make the “firing squad” image as absurd as possible – not to make jokes about the death penalty but to make people think about its inherent absurdity. Executions have no deterrent value; they’re extremely expensive; they often are carried out against persons who are not guilty; they’re often botched; they are often gruesome; and they’re carried out in  a way that allows the public to pretend to themselves that they aren’t really happening. How typically American! 

While walking through our neighborhood, I noticed a fire hydrant “against the wall” (actually against a wind/sun screen). Looked promising, so I photographed it. It’s almost impossible to resist anthropomorphizing these things, and I admit that I saw it as like the Ferguson, MO, “Hands up, don’t shoot” gesture. Later it reminded me of a firing squad victim standing against a wall. I wanted to make it look absurd, so I added a blindfold and three man firing squad, all waiting for orders to begin. The firing squad are toy soldiers representing various units of the British army. The men are looking to our right, naturally, because that’s where the demands for death and retributive in/justice tend to emanate from. You can imagine Rick Scott and Pam Bondi just out of frame, chuckling with each other about this alternative to the electric chair.


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Still from a movie of a man being executed at Sing Sing.

He’s jerking uncontrollably. Smoke is coming from

whee the electrodes are burning his head.

“Lies and Consequences.”

Written by Scarabus



A strong organized labor movement helps everyone in the middle and working classes — even those who do not belong to unions!


Union members are greedy slackers who hurt the economy with extravagant demands, stealing money from non-union members, sending U.S. jobs overseas.


Who promotes such absurd lies?

Major corporations for one. They’re not really “persons,” of course (that’s a Samuel Alito wet dream); but, if they were persons, they would be dangerous psychopaths: having no conscience, no empathy, no sense of guilt. Also the wealthiest 10%. They already have more money than they could ever spend, regardless of how much they invest in bribing politicians and gulling mouth-breathing Teabaggers. [Yeah, I know. A ridiculous mixed metaphor. You can’t breathe through your mouth and teabag at the same time.] And, of course, earnestly ill-informed Republicans, rattling around in the tiny imaginary snow globe which right wing media, deluded clerics, and cynical right wing “opinion makers” have hermetically sealed them.



Check this little graph. The weaker organized labor, the more easily the wealthiest 10% can steal money from the pockets of the workers and the (shrinking) middle class and stuff it down into their own insatiable gullets.


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“Liberal Bias”?

Written by Scarabus

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Happy Day for Thinking About Ireland, Religious Bigotry, Violence, Reconciliation, and Peace

Written by Scarabus

Delayed Post. Looking story… 

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My father was born and grew up in Scotland, just outside Glasgow. He was reared as a Protestant (Scottish Presbyterian, a tight-sphincteredly strict Calvinist sect). I remember his telling stories about how on St. Patrick’s Day the Catholic boys wore green and the Protestant boys wore orange. When they met, they would fight and throw rocks at one another. Can you think of a more appropriate way of honoring Jesus? You know, the guy who taught his followers to eschew violence, obey the law, pay their taxes, practice forgiveness, love their neighbors as themselves, and all that other sissyfied tommyrot?

The green was for St. Patrick, of course, the monk who converted the Irish pagans to his own version of Catholic Christianity. As has so often been customary (I.S.I.S. is doing exactly the same right now), he did so through a combination of persuasion and violent coercion. There had been no actual snakes in Ireland since the last ice age. Many argue that the legendary snakes Patrick is said to have driven off the island were symbolic of the Druidic priests he was driving out of power — not infrequently by killing them.

The orange was for William of — duh! — Orange! Yeah. Glorious Revolution. No fight. Constitutional monarchy to succeed the Cromwellian nightmare. But not for the Irish. William took land from the Irish and gave it to the English aristocracy. So for succeeding centuries religion and politics were confused; innocent persons died; Jonathan Swift wrote about it in A Modest Proposal; starving Irish peasants came to America, where they were treated like shit (“Irish need not apply.”); Irish gained power, and eventually we had an Irish Catholic president; the Catholic Irish in Boston became some of the worst racists in the nation… The wheels turned. The circles turned within circles. And, as always, race and class and religion combined with lethal toxicity.

As I write, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the younger brother, is standing trial in U.S. Federal Court for the Boston Marathon bombing. Of course he placed the bomb etc. His attorneys acknowledged as much in their opening statement. Let’s stipulate that, regardless of pressure, Dhzokhar voluntarily maimed and murdered persons he had never met and knew nothing about – including innocent children. If we limit consideration to that? Case closed.

But start working backward: Dhzokar was moved to action by his older brother’s persuasiveness; Tamerlan was persuaded by militants moved by a combination of religion, ethnic pride/identity, nationalism, outrage over the deaths of innocent civilian men, women, and children in a war fought to obtain oil and power. Iraq? An invention of the West after WW I to be a colony whose natural resources the British and others could exploit. And work your way back. Dzhokhar will either be executed or sentenced to life in prison. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, etc. will spend their lives in comfort. (In the U.S. the bigger the crime, the less likely you’ll be punished severely if at all.) Look at the way Chelsea (née Bradley) Manning has been treated. Compare that to the way Petraeus has been treated. (Both soldiers who gave top secret documents to a reporter (in Petraeus’s case his adulterous lover). Petraeus, after pleading guilty, was hired to advice President Obama. Is it relevant that Manning was a private with a liberal conscience, while Petraeus was a general with a conservative’s lack of conscience?


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Sorry. I’ve been sick for a couple of weeks here, and it’s wearing me down.


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The Irish flag derives from a couple of 19th century initiatives. The official explanation of its symbolism is the following:

The Irish government has described the symbolismbehind each colour as being that of greenrepresenting the Gaelic tradition of Ireland, orange representing the followers of William of Orange in Ireland, and white representing the aspiration for peace between them.


I like to think of it a little differently, with the green representing the Catholic North, the orange the Protestant South, and the white the reconciliation of the two to form a single united nation/people:


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On the green, St. Patrick, chastizing the snakes/Druidic priests; on the orange William of Orange, using a single hand casually to control a rearing horse; on the white some random lady peeking at us between the petals of a flower on which a goldfinch is perched. The lady showed up on the search page for St. Patrick. Go figure. Maybe because her pasties and g-string are decorated with four-leaf clover leaves. Including this absurd image makes no sense, you say? I say, “Yes. Your point being?” 

Church “message” signs

Written by Scarabus


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Sean Hannity, an *uneducated* male instructs an *educated* woman about what it’s like to be a woman.

Written by Scarabus




Sean Hannity: Hillary Clinton “Sold Out Women”


“Let Me Educate You”: Hannity Talks Down To Female Guest About Hillary Clinton’s Accomplishments For Women


Blog ››› March 11, 2015 10:43 PM EDT ››› KATE SARNA


Sean Hannity lectured criminal defense and civil rights attorney Tamara Holder about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s impact on women’s issues, telling Holder, “let me educate you.”

On the March 11 edition of his radio show, Hannity asked Holder to list Secretary Clinton’s accomplishments on women’s advancement. Before she could, Hannity continually interrupted to argue Clinton “sold out” women by accepting Clinton Foundation donations from Middle Eastern countries with a poor track record on women’s rights.

At one point, the host shot off, “I’m going to let you Google, and I’m going to let you research” before he would listen to Holder’s opinion. 
Hannity’s lecturing became so egregious, his female producer challenged him, asking if he was treating Holder this way because she is a woman….



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Have you ever wondered how the women at Fox News manage to deal with such sexist assholes day after day without resorting to the “Joni Ernst” remedy Tamara Holder’s contemplating in the cartoon above? Our intrepid investigative reporters were slipped some open-mic video by disgruntled Fox techies, and now we can reveal the secret! Here’s Ms. Holder talking off-camera with her colleague Michelle Malkin:


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Forgot to post this…

Written by Scarabus


Back on February 28 I read a news report about Ted Cruz having said he wanted to be a “disruptive app” for American politics. (That was the time he called Net Neutrality “Obamacare for the Internet,” thereby inadvertently telling the truth while simultaneously demonstrating abysmal ignorance.) I wrote a quick post about that, and apparently shared it with Twitter.

The very next day I got a return Tweet from an imaginary person named “Ivonne Monks,” who told me she had found some people who could take care of my malware problem very quickly. She very kindly provided a phone number.


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I immediately thought, “What a very nice young woman! And so lovely as well. The least I can do is to call the number she provided!”


Yeah. Right. Instead I ran down the phone number and a couple of IP addresses:


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What are the odds that if I’d done what lovely Ivonne suggested, I’d have ended up with some genuine phishing, sniffing, malware, virus problems in place of my make-believe Ted Cruz malware affliction?


But of course we still have to deal with Mr. Malware Ted Cruz, don’t we? Perhaps Ivonne unintentionally suggested a plausible solution!


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Predators of the North Woods

Written by Scarabus


Re Representative Don Young, Alaska:


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For the record, I most definitely do not think Young is a raving lunatic (Yes – based on his votes, on-the-record remarks, and interviews, he might easily be mistaken for a loon. But other responses have mitigated that.)


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GOP congressman: If you had wolves in your district, you wouldn’t have a homeless problem

by Jen Hayden

March 6, 2015



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Three things worth noting here:

  1. The name in front of the speaker says “Mr. Harris,” but that’s wrong. This is indeed Don Young. Harris too is a GOP  representative who sports a beard and wears glasses, but this isn’t he.
  2. Note Young’s suggestion that the only ones who should have a say in whether an endangered species of animal should be protected are the ones who live in the same place the animal does. Follow that principle to its logical conclusion and ponder the consequences if it were applied.
  3. The look on the face of that young woman is absolutely priceless, isn’t it! She’s sitting there looking prim and professional, wearing the Farrah Fawcett nouveau reverse twist thing that’s de rigueur these days, and suddenly….


Later on the same day Young’s office released a statement wherein he issued a clarification:


“The analogy I made today was intended to be hyperbolic in nature, in order to stress the point that wolves are a serious problem for communities who deal with them,” Young said. “Anyone who’s dealt with a healthy, roaming wolf population, as we have in Alaska, understands that these predators have a detrimental impact on wildlife populations. If you misunderstood my comments, just imagine the impact a healthy wolf population would have on your own town, community or congressional district. It would wreak havoc and place anything in their reach in great jeopardy.” [Emphasis mine.]

Department of Clueless Irony:

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Calling from his congressional office in Washington, DC, Don Young (R Alaska) seeks
commiseration from one of his hunting pals back in his home state.