Archive

Monthly Archives: May 2011

Seems at first glance like the rare case in which canned conservative outrage is legitimately-directed, but I can’t help but notice a bit of a funky connotation.

SOQUEL, Calif. – Students banned from a Central Coast school for wearing a white t-shirt. On Wednesday, Soquel High School suspended at least two students. The students say it’s because of allegations, they’re part of a white supremacist group.

Soquel High Senior Mikey Donnelly wore a white t-shirt for his senior class photo Tuesday. About 10 of his friends did the same. That decision may seem harmless. But Soquel High suspended Donnelly for three days because of it.

Donnelly said the school told him people were offended and intimidated by his group, claiming they’re a white supremacist gang.

“I do think this is BS,” says Donnelly. “I’m not a white supremacist in any way shape or form. If I did say white power, I would probably say it just as much as I say black power.”

via Soquel Students Suspended for White Supremacy Claims – Central Coast News KION/KCBA.

Wait, what? So according to this guy’s own best-case-scenario spin, he’s not quite sure how often he goes around talking about white power? Do I have that right? Forgive me for assuming, but I’m thinking you can see how someone might have legitimate concerns (the non-italicized kind) about that.

Something to think about: they’re great at displaying flag pins, crying on cue and the like but when you get down to it, these are people that believe you need a gun to protect yourself [because the police can’t], that government workers of all kinds are overpaid leeches, that government can’t do anything right and should be replaced with private equivalents wherever possible, that bin Laden isn’t actually dead [and therefore the troops, intelligence services, etc. did nothing.] Add in all the bullshit about crushing unions and stripping federal, state and municipal workers of benefits and you have an open and shut case.

Time for everyone to do as they’re told and freak out about our latest outrage superhero Adult Baby On SSI Man.

A key senator has asked the Social Security Administration to investigate how people who live their lives role-playing as “adult babies” are able to get taxpayer-funded disability payments — after one of them was featured on a recent reality TV episode wearing diapers, feeding from a bottle and using an adult-sized crib he built.

Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican and the Senate’s top waste-watcher, asked the agency’s inspector general to look into 30-year-old Stanley Thornton Jr. and his roommate, Sandra Dias, who acts as his “mother,” saying it’s not clear why they are collecting Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits instead of working.

via Senator questions benefits to adult baby – Washington Times.

If there’s a piece of paperwork on file somewhere in the SSA that says this guy has been diagnosed with “gets a boner by roleplaying as a baby” and therefore he can’t work, then that’s ridiculous, but I doubt very much that this is the case. Similarly, I doubt his roommate submitted paperwork saying that she can’t work because she feels like putting a bottle in some grown guy’s mouth instead. The SSA has guidelines on what qualifies you as disabled for SSI purposes, and many people with illnesses and ailments that nobody disputes the validity of are denied the first (second, third…) time as a matter of routine. The program just is not this easy to get into, and given that these two live in California I can tell you exactly what they’re getting: $865 a month each, or $10,380 a year. In a nearly $4-trillion dollar budget this doesn’t even qualify as a rounding error. From a fiscal impact perspective, the outlays for this man and his roommate’s SSI don’t even exist, and gee isn’t it funny that nobody was outraged about this until it appeared on TV? It’s almost as though we’re being a bit reactionary.

Now I’m going to go way out on a limb here and say that there are privacy laws preventing the SSA from responding to press inquiries by saying, “No you fuckers, the guy’s also crazy. We don’t pay him to be an adult baby, we pay him because he’s crazy and can’t get a job as a result,” and that his roommate’s situation is similar; when seeking help with coping skills in general, one thing SSI receipients are often counseled to do is seek other SSI recipients to move in with, in order to find a way to help with the bills without having to go through the stress of explaining your living situation to a bunch of random people. While out on that limb, I’m going to further say that Coburn knows this and sees a great opportunity not only to demagogue the issue in its own right but to distract from this bit of hot water he seems to have gotten himself into regarding his role in the Ensign scandal.

The relevant question is not, “Is it ridiculous to pay a grown man disability to roleplay as an adult baby?” but whether that’s even what is happening. I’m going to guess that the answer is no, and that this has a lot more to do with our reflexive habit of distracting ourselves from all the horror and pain of everyday life by finding a more vulnerable target to take a shit on; in this case, yeah sure, we’re blowing trillions on pointless, endless occupation of foreign companies and tax cuts for Warren Buffett, but who cares about that when we can come home from the office of reality and kick a dog we’ve named “$20,000 a year to the adult baby” right in the gut? We don’t solve problems, we ignore them while looking for an unrelated scapegoat. That’s the American Way.

The GOP and their media arm are taking the partisan warfare up to 11. And that will be my last concession to humor, because frankly there isn’t a goddamned thing funny about this.

Napolitano began his Monday show by saying bin Laden was “killed on the illegal whim of the president.” Moments later, he added, “Osama bin Laden is dead. And the president seems to think he has the right to kill whomever he wants so long as the person is perceived as a monster and the public supports it.”

And yet the judge also questioned whether officials are “telling us the truth or pulling a fast one to save Obama’s lousy presidency.” Later in the broadcast, Napolitano asked a guest, “Do you believe he’s dead, or do you want some more evidence: a photograph, a testimony of an eyewitness? Something other than the words of a president whose words we have doubted before?”

via ‘Deathers’ take over where ‘birthers’ left off – CNN.com.

Note that he is basing current disbelief on prior disbelief, thus creating a perpetual justification loop for just “asking questions” on any subject he decides to “have honest concerns” about.

FRANKS: I’m afraid that this administration somehow now will declare the peace dividend and really just exploit the issue for political reasons and not really have the insight to do what’s necessary to protect this country in the future because we still have an Iran that is on the cusp of gaining nuclear weapons capability, we still have terrorists all over the world that are steeped in this ideology, we still have the potential of radical Islamists in the Pakistani military appropriating nuclear weapons and passing that along to terrorists.

via ThinkProgress » Franks: Obama Won’t ‘Do What’s Necessary To Protect This Country’ After Killing Bin Laden.

The free world, particularly the United States, has a right to make sure Osama bin Laden is really dead. Every American has a right to walk right up to bin Laden’s corpse and view it. We are entitled to know for a fact that the witch is dead. No shroud for dignity’s sake, please – bin Laden’s naked, bullet-riddled corpse should be put on display in lower Manhattan for all the world to see. The entire body should be digitally scanned, inside and out – and made available for everyone to take his or her own picture.

via ThinkProgress » Meet The Deathers: Andrew Brietbart Website Pushing Conspiracy Theory That Osama Might Not Be Dead.

I get that the GOP platform is reflexive opposition to literally everything Obama does. I get that the only principle they have besides cutting taxes for the rich and banning abortion is to take any position that provides an angle of attack. And I get that acting out this way is a sign of anxiety and desperation on their part. Still, this shit has reached a point that even I find shocking and disturbing. It is absolutely unreal to see these guys try to figure out ways to paint Obama taking out Osama Fucking bin Laden as evidence that he is a weak president who has no idea how to bring terrorists to what we’re choosing to call “justice.” This level of cynicism is truly astounding, and I’m honestly starting to wonder how much longer this goes on before it becomes impossible to step back from the abyss.

I’m no big fan of Obama, as I believe has been aptly demonstrated in this space, but that isn’t even the point. How I feel about the way bin Laden was killed is not the point either. The point is that we have a large portion of our citizenry and virtually all of a major political party that have become flat-out political nihilists: Birthers asked for Obama’s long form certificate for three years and rejected it within three hours. We’ve been after bin Laden for almost a decade, and allegedly we’ve wanted nothing more than to “get’im,” yet we couldn’t even make it through a 5-minute speech announcing his liquidation without throwing on our Internet Linguistics Analyst caps and determing that the President of the United States is too “arrogant” based on his use of the word “I” while describing how the operation went down.

For nearly a decade now, these people have pretended to want nothing more than to see bin Laden eliminated; when they got their wish they became bored of it within minutes, and proceeded directly to shitting on Obama for doing exactly what they would’ve wanted not an hour prior. It really is more important to these people that bin Laden get killed during a Republican presidency than that he can no longer contribute to the spreading of violence, hatred and pain. The conspiracy madness has become mainstream enough that it is now basically trendy to deny that bin Laden is dead, and my personal read is that while initially smart-seeming, Obama catering to the long form demands has empowered these people to feel as though they have a right to demand anything they think of from the White House.

This is poisonous, and though I generally approach this stuff with sardonic detachment, this latest round is really getting to me. I thought the last decade was pretty shitty, but we’re in a place now that is so overwhelmingly cynical, bitter and divisive that I can hardly even process it. I feel a slow-building rage making its way down my spine, directed at these people and their obsession with attaching their constant, reflexive partisan hatred to every event, large or small, that happens in their lives; at their mindless, bleating repetition of the previous days’ talking points; at their feigned patriotism and postured concern; at their attempts to position themselves as True Patriots and The Only Ones Who Truly Believe In Our Brave Troops, all the while implicitly criticizing those same soldiers and their support crews as incompetent — do they think Obama personally set up the equipment that allegedly failed to provide a proper video feed*? — or outright claiming that the Brave and True Seal Team 6 whose praises they’re singing did not actually do a goddamn thing.

I am genuinely concerned about the next few decades. We’re going to have children who are going to be raised knowing as “Fact” that the President of the United States faked the death of bin Laden — we’ve already seen the results of almost ten years of 9/11 trutherism; between birth certificates and bin Laden fairy tales, there are going to be a hell of a lot more conservatives being raised with this reflexive distrust and hatred as their primary religion. I’m trying to imagine how this all works itself out, and the only answer I can come up with is an old saw that I’m not sure is the case: it’s the economy, stupid. We’re always told that economic anxiety brings out the worst in people, so if there is hope, in my mind it rests upon an economic recovery which it seems is not happening. I don’t even believe that’s the case, to be quite honest — but it’s the only plausible story I can tell myself of how we step back from the breach on this. Photos and videos and other assorted bits of corpse-porn are not going to satisfy people who, if they even accept their validity, would then immediately pivot to excoriating Obama for inflaming Muslims unnecessarily. That much is quite evident from the Republicans’ sudden, newfound respect for international law.

I don’t know where we go from here. For myself, I’m in a bit of trouble with this, and starting to have some very low-grade violent urges about these people; punching, gouging and spitting, that is — nothing too over the top, and not directed at anyone in specific, but still bad news. I need to step away from the Internet for a while, I think. The problem is I’m not sure I can.

*I suspect, with no evidence, that there was in fact a video feed and this is merely a way to head off the inevitable demands that its footage be disseminated to doubters (without using any precious taxpayer money, of course) via Facebook and FaceTime so they can immediately declare it fraudulent; in fact, I hope this is the case. Fuck these people. Burden of proof is on the accuser, you pieces of shit — if you want to discredit the official story, do some fucking legwork instead of sitting on your ass punching buttons on your smartphone and demanding that Obama post the bin Laden files on your fucking Wall. At least the 9/11 trolls and birth certificate freaks did something that could theoretically be labelled ‘investigative research’ — this theory that bin Laden isn’t dead is based entirely on the “gut feelings” of a bunch of ignorant motherfuckers who are at best pretending that watching police procedurals gives them an intimate knowledge of how long it takes a SEAL team on a top-secret mission from the President to do a DNA test, and at worst flatly asserting that bin Laden isn’t dead without feeling the need to justify it in any way.

I’m glad, at least, that the White House has taken a firm line against releasing the photos.