The Rockin Johnny B

Wednesday, April 24, 2013



Coulter couldn’t restrain herself, snarling: “She ought to be in prison for wearing a hijab.”
Coulter played the Muslim card again, tying the bombing to immigration generally. Oh, it was even worse than just this one Muslim terrorist, she insisted. Immigration in America was broken, our policy of us “assimilating immigrants into our culture isn’t really working. No, they’re assimilating us into their culture.”

Hannity ran with the idea, adding, ‘If people are coming from countries where perhaps they grew up under Sharia law, I think we can make a safe assumption that they have been radicalized.’” Yes, Sean, a safe assumption if you hate Muslims.

It was the same kind of statement people used to make when warning about the dangers of allowing Irish Catholics into this country if Hannity, a Catholic himself, had taken time to let that idea penetrate his thick skull and all the hair gel on top of it. Hannity finally summed up his respect for the U. S. Constitution and human dignity, generally, by saying of the wounded suspect, “I would water-board him myself.”

Given such sentiments, it’s probably important to say that in the wake of the tragedy in Boston you don’t have to be a right-wing hater to believe that the actions of Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his younger brother were craven and utterly reprehensible. That still  doesn’t mean we want to start trashing the U. S. Constitution.

In fact, it’s hard not to notice that folks on the right are only for “freedom” if others agree with every position they’re taking. Remember, for example, the furor Natalie Maynes of the Dixie Chicks aroused when she exercised a little freedom of speech at the start of the War in Iraq and said she was embarrassed to be from the same state as President Bush? That was before thousands of right-wing Texans decided they ought to secede from the union after the 2012 election.

You can find any number of examples of this type of thinking. If you utter the words, “Happy holidays,” around Sarah Palin, it’s not just a cheerful greeting. It’s part of some “war on Christmas” liberals are waging. Meanwhile, Palin and her pals believe that if they repeat the name “Barack Hussein Obama” often enough they can prove that Mr. Obama has no right to be President because he’s a dirty Muslim. Well, just check out Article VI of the U. S. Constitution. It states that “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust” under the laws of the United States government.

And how about the furor after 9/11 when Muslims tried to build mosques in various neighborhoods? Just because two million U. S. citizens happen to be Muslim that doesn’t mean right-wing defenders of freedom believe they should their exercise freedom of religion.
How about gay Americans? (The right would probably insist that they shouldn’t have to pass background checks if they buy guns over the internet.) When it comes to marriage equality the answer can only be discovered deep in the Bible—where a few verses in Leviticus trump every syllable in the Fourteenth Amendment.

Take a whiff of the smell coming from far-right circles today and you have a hint of the same odor of roasted flesh that once resulted from heretics’ burnings. (Oh, those dirty Jews, remember?) Consider Kelly’s phrase, to “lawyer up,” for example. Clearly, she meant it as a pejorative, implying that the protections Americans enjoy under the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Amendments have been taken too far, at least by Americans who look different than Kelly (no one on Fox is ever going to mention the thousands of convicted “criminals” who have been freed recently after new DNA evidence was used to prove their innocence). You can almost imagine the grumpy old white folks who make up the channel’s key viewing demographic asking, “What’s happening in this country? Why can’t we go back to the good old days when poor people, especially minorities, never had legal representation?”

Any murderer, be it the man who rapes his neighbor and strangles her in her living room, the young man who walks into a school and sprays children with an assault rifle or attacks a crowd with a pressure cooker-bomb, fills us with revulsion. Still, we try to insure that all suspects are afforded legal counsel because in almost all cases we don’t know if the neighbor is guilty.

Like it or not, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is an American citizen. He has the same right to counsel as you or I — or even Ann Coulter — would in a similar situation. He may be a naturalized citizen—but he’s no different, legally, than all the naturalized citizens who enlist and serve in our armed forces, or any of the many millions of  naturalized citizens who didn’t blow up innocent spectators at the Boston Marathon.

In fact, the very presence of the Tsarnaev brothers on U. S. soil is the perfect example of what makes this nation great when we live up to our ideals. We give shelter to “the tired, the poor, the huddled masses, yearning to breathe free.”

We don’t deal in torture.

We don’t deny human rights.

Or, at least, we shouldn’t.

In fact, whenever people are angry or afraid it is then we most need to restrain our worst instincts, to keep mobs from rising (we used to lynch black “rapists” if you remember), to guard against the instinct for summary justice.

Should we water-board a suspect if we believe he has accomplices, for example, that there might be imminent threats to bomb a Red Sox game? What if he still doesn’t talk?

Should we cut off his right little finger?

The same logic applies to all sorts of crimes. Suppose a suspect in a kidnapping won’t tell police where he’s holding his victim. He has a little finger on his right hand, as well. And don’t we want to save the kidnap victim?
If we really want a suspect to talk, why stop with one finger?

The problem comes, first, from the gross cruelty and secondly from the fact that often suspects are innocent. Jews were feared during medieval times because it was rumored they killed Christian babies as part of their religious ceremonies. So you had pogroms and immolations. Our own ancestors in Massachusetts feared witches and in 1692, in Salem, sent nineteen innocent individuals to the gallows.

None of the suspects had lawyers. That’s a modern convention. And when one suspect wouldn’t talk they “pressed” him, allowed under law in those happy times, piling weight on his chest in an effort to force him to admit guilt.

He wouldn’t—and the weight killed him.

A more recent example might be what happened to Japanese-Americans after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Ironic, really—another bombing. Sixty-one years ago our grandparents and great grandparents reacted with anger and fear, just as we might do now, if we’re not careful. The Japanese were hated as a group then—just in the way the far-right hates Muslims today.

So what did we do?

In 1942 we removed 110,000 men, women and children from their homes, including 77,000 U. S. citizens, and stuck them in camps because they looked different and couldn’t be trusted. Eventually, thousands of young Japanese-Americans came out of these camps to fight for this country, including Daniel Inouye, awarded the Medal of Honor for taking out several German machine guns, and later a U. S. Senator from Hawaii.

The concept is simple, really.

“We the People” don’t get to indulge our personal biases or take out our anger on those we suspect of criminal activity.

The Bill of Rights is always the one true guide.

The worst offenders of this ideation are the ones claiming to be 'patriots' while they spout hate and descent.  They advocate succession from the union and they tell us women have no rights when it comes to their bodies.  These people were also among the crowds that listened to hate speeches given by Hitler and Stalin and Mussolini.  They sometimes wear white hoods and burn crosses.  They proudly wear t-shirts proclaiming just how patriotic they are while they pat their Sig Sauers and Glocks fondly while protesting our rights to have a safe school and movie theater.  I personally believe God has a special place for these folks in His heaven and I know I would not like to visit it,  They are the most unchristian Christians among us.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

More Idiocy

Too much control, regulation destroys

How sad it is that we need to control people and regulate everything, because look at that those countries that do control people and you will see death and poverty.
These people suffer daily and cannot speak out against injustice and are tortured and executed. And why? Because they are controlled like cattle. 
The point I’m making is that we need less control, and instead enforce laws that we already have and work together by coming together with real solutions that work. 
The problems we suffer we can fix without control and regulations by working together, because people come to America to get away from control and to enjoy freedom. 
John Landers, Wilder

Here we go again. Ignorance is certainly bliss. Regulation kills freedom, kills people with death a poverty, et cetera, et cetera ad nauseum.

Sometimes I just wanna shake these people. We just went through one of the worst financial crisis of all time – save the Great Depression – and this guy wants to deregulate. What a fool. 

What we learned from many many crises over the years is that deregulation leads to massive fraud and, well, to a license to steal. Ponzi schemes abound in an unregulated government. People who have no morals or scruples take advantage of those that do. Take the telephone industry or the power companies in this country. Deregulated they would be able to charge you anything they want without a care cause, guess what, these utilities are absolutely necessary so you would have to pay what ever the crooks demanded.

Regulation does not impede your freedom, it enhances it. Without it, you, Mr. Landers, would be paying twice...three times what you already are paying for your essentials. Keep in mind that companies are out there TO MAKE MONEY. Their only objective is to enhance the bottom line, not your well being. Good God man have you not learned anything during this last crisis regarding the deregulation of our economy? You want to go back to that? You want to keep bailing out companies that are TOO BIG TO FAIL? If you do, then let's just deregulate everything. After all, big corporations are people, right? They have our best interests at heart.
Mr. Landers needs to educate himself regarding what's real economically and what's a fairy tale told to him by his friendly neighborhood corporation.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

You're Not Dead?'s been a year since Ted Nugent said, and I quote: “if Barack Obama becomes the president in November again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.” Hmmm. Didn't I just see you on a hunting show on cable? You mean you're not dead? What happened Uncle Ted?

Course we all know The Nuge is a hyperbolic nincompoop who features himself the end-all spokesman for the NRA. He makes wonderful statements like, “this vile, evil, America-hating administration” or “we’ll be a suburb of Indonesia next year.” [Indicating the USA if we don't elect Romney].

When confronted about the “I'll be dead or in prison” statement, The Nuge said, “So it’s funny that I might be dead or in jail. And that is so indicative of how callous and disconnected some are, because you are talking about arbitrary, punitive, capricious draconian felonies.” What ever the hell that might mean.  What hate-filled parallel universe hatched you, Ted?

So, trying on hyperbole, take this Teddy: “[you] draft dodging, diaper wearing, poaching, child support avoiding, underage girl dating, feckless has-been NRA board member. [all documented]”

Monday, April 8, 2013

Misinformation and Misdiagnostics

16 tons, $17 trillion: Another day of debt

Do you remember or know the Tennessee Ernie Ford song “16 Tons?” It goes like this: “You load 16 tons, what do you get? Another day older and deeper in debt. Saint Peter don’t you call me ‘cause I can’t go. I owe my soul to the company store.”
Here is my take on it, dedicated to everyone, especially the young people and the ones not born yet: “$17 trillion and what do you get? Another day older and deeper in debt. Oh, President Obama, what have you done, that I owe my soul to your government waste? $53,000 you tell me I owe. You tax and spend more for your own. Oh, President Obama, when will you hear? We don’t want your spending here!”

Everyone should be mad as heck at government — out-of-control spending. Remember, it’s the hard-earned money that we give them in taxes and what they borrow.
Here are some ideas that might help:

Stop debt. Cut government salary $1 and one benefit. Cut czars. Cut government duplication. Cut pork and waste. Cut free programs that taxpayers pay for. Independent audit and investigate to stop Social Security and Medicare checks going to dead people, inmates in jail (should go to prison for the money it takes to care for them), criminals and illegals.
Margaret Lee, Caldwell

I often find it amazing that people like Margaret Lee don't understand the very basics of economics. She probably does just fine on her budget, never spending more than she earns and she thinks that the federal government should do the same. Most Americans would agree with that last statement. “Government balance the budget you spending idiots...especially you Mr. Obama. You are a wasteful spending person who has no business being president of our dear, dear country.

Margaret, you really don't know how your government works. You have no idea what happens in Washington. You believe in the 'Balance the Budget Fairy' who, incidentally, does not exist. Obama just does what YOU and your ELECTED OFFICIALS TELL HIM TO DO. Here's what I mean.

Mr. Obama sends a budget to the Congress who takes it apart and shoves in what THEY WANT no matter what the President wants or the country needs. This is what has caused the problem we now face: The National Debt. Congress then sends the New and Improved Budget back to the President and they say, “There it is, Mr. President, our National Budget.” Then The Constitution says, “you have to spend that money on these 'special' projects and cut these projects.” If the President doesn't have the funds to pay for all of this Pork & Beans, then the president – by law – still has to fund those projects. How? By borrowing the money. From whom? US. How? By printing more money or borrowing from another country. Like the Iraq War...funded with money we DID NOT HAVE.

Margaret, we spend money like drunk sailors and you blame it on The President. He has little or nothing to do with our spending. The US Treasury and the US Legislature does. Stop blaming the president and vote out those idiots in congress.

Sunday, April 7, 2013


Gun Advocates Resort To Lies About Hitler To Push Their Agenda

There is an old law on the internet. It was coined by Mike Godwin in 1990:
In short, in a heated argument, eventually someone will bring up the Nazi’s, Hitler, etc, and the moment they do, the argument is over because the side that does it has just lost it. This is because, no matter how bad the other side is, nothing can compare to the systematic, methodical and calculated genocide perpetrated by the Nazi’s in their goals for racial purity.
Absolutely nothing.
 So, it was amusing when the Drudge Report posted this headline earlier this week:

Note the not-so-subtle attempt to compare firearm regulation with Nazi Germany and Joseph Stalin. In addition, there is a quote going around the right-wing blogosphere being attributed to Hitler:
This year will go down in history! For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration! Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future!
This is of course complete bunk. Hitler never said such a thing. Germany had enacted tough gun control laws in 1928, years before the Nazi rise to power. Instead of banning guns, Hitler instead expanded gun ownership for German citizens (he’d stripped the citizenship of undesirables already) to levels which one cannot even get inside of the United States. The 1938 German Weapons Act actually relaxed all gun ownership restrictions save on pistols. A German citizen could own a fully automatic weapon complete with grenade launcher, legally, under Nazi control.

Why was Hitler comfortable doing this, when all common wisdom is that dictators eliminate gun ownership? Because Hitler ruled from a popular standpoint. He had little to fear from German Citizens, and for those who would stand against him, he made sure to strip away their citizenship, therefore their rights to firearms. This left him with a well armed nation who worshiped the ground he walked on. This is one of the reasons why the closing days of World War II were so bloody. The majority of German citizens, however, were untrained, so ineffective on the battlefield against the well trained Allied forces.
Hitler did discuss gun confiscation in 1942, but not against his own citizens, but against the people who he had conquered:
The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to permit the conquered Eastern peoples to have arms. History teaches that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by doing so.
Indeed I would go so far as to say that the underdog is a sine qua non for the overthrow of any sovereignty. So let’s not have any native militia or police. German troops alone will bear the sole responsibility for the maintenance of law and order.
Everything in it has to do with the fact he conquered them, and they were subject races, little better than slaves.

As for the gun control discussion in the United States, Obama has not discussed eliminating gun ownership. To the contrary, his policies so far have expanded gun ownership opportunities for law abiding US citizens. What is being discussed instead are restrictions on gun manufacturers and importers. The Assault Weapons Ban passed under President Clinton was just that, a regulation on the manufacture of weapons, not on ownership. The problem is, the gun manufacturers lobby, through their front group, the National Rifle Association, the gun manufacturers paint any form of restriction of the manufacture of weapons, any form of weapon, as something unpatriotic, an attempt to eliminate freedom, to enact a police state, and, as Drudge here did, the first step before the rounding up of people into FEMA camps and wholesale extermination of “pure blooded Americans” as one commentator put it.

Godwin’s law is still in effect, and by throwing the Nazi argument, gun advocates have lost the fight.