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Archive for the ‘Terrorism’ Category

A little covered story has the potential of helping to raise the issue of false allegations being made by right wing nuts.  Maybe, just maybe if we are lucky, it will also spell the doom of one of the biggest ranting bafoons on air.  Unfortunately, I am not referring to the fat drug addict.  I am instead talking about that wonderful liberty loving Glenn Beck!

Abdulrahman Alharbi has filed a defamation lawsuit against Mr. Beck in Boston.  For those who have the good sense to stay from this moron’s radio show, here is a little brief background on the matter.  Mr. Alharbi was standing near the finish line of the Boston Marathon when the attack took place.  He was injured by the blast.

In the days after the explosions that killed three people and injured more than 260, Beck “repeatedly and falsely identified Mr. Alharbi as an active participant in the crimes that were committed on April 15, 2013, repeatedly questioned the motives of federal officials in failing to pursue or detain Alharbi and repeatedly and falsely accused Mr. Alharbi of being a criminal who had funded the attacks at the Boston Marathon,” the lawsuit alleges.

Since, Alharbi has been called a “murderer, child killer and terrorist” based on Beck’s statements, the suit says.  When he spouted his vile accusations against Alharbi, Beck had no evidence for his accusations.  I guess having a middle-eastern name was all he needed.  Alharbi, as mentioned, was injured in the explosion.  Authorities did question him, they even searched his apartment.  As a result, the authorities came to the conclusion that he had no involvement in the attack.

So far, neither Mr. Beck or any of the stations included in the lawsuit have commented on the matter.  Not surprising.  Besides, what would they say?  “Yes we lied to get higher ratings.”

This is a great example of an individual standing up to one of these lunatics.  When the fat drug addict called Sandra Fluke a “slut” and suggested she “tape her sexual activities so we could all watch” I thought she should have sued him.  Maybe, if more people stand up to these bullies, we may finally get some common decency in our political system again.

Making a living by spouting made-up information is reprehensible enough.  Calling someone a murderer on air thinking your “free speech” will protect you is abhorrent.  These clowns only think about how much money they are making.  Maybe a win in this case will help show them enough is enough.  Let’s hope that Mr. Alharbi wins his case.  Let’s also hope the penalties for Mr. Beck and the stations that put him on air are severe enough to finally shut the ignorant pig up!!!  One can only hope.

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Senator Lindsey Graham just can’t seem to get out of his own way.  Yesterday, he tweeted that the Russians decided they could invade another country because of, get this, Benghazi!  One of his tweets read:  “Putin basically came to the conclusion after Benghazi, Syria, Egypt -  everything Obama has been engaged in – he’s a weak indecisive leader.”  Another one read:  “It started with Benghazi. When you kill Americans and nobody pays a price, you invite this type of aggression.”

So, there you have it.  The leader of one country is now able to invade another country simply because of the tragedy of Benghazi.  Pardon my amazement here, but just how stupid can Mr. Graham be?  I mean really?  Let’s forget that Mr. Putin claims that he is taking his actions to “protect Russian speaking Ukraines”.  Of course the right is saying that is just trumped-up charges.

Maybe Mr. Putin thought he could invade the Ukraine because the U.S. thought it was okay to invade Iraq over trumped-up “weapons of mass destruction” excuses.  No, according to Mr. Graham, Putin decided that he could invade another country because a bunch of people conducted a terrorist act and killed four Americans.

What does Mr. Graham think we should do about the Ukraine situation?  We don’t know because, as usual, he isn’t offering any ideas.  He is just crying in his beer over Benghazi.  Of course the twitter world blew up with some nonsense ideas about what else we can blame on Benghazi, like heartburn.  Well I have a few ideas of what can be blamed on Benghazi that is more closely tied to Mr. Graham’s worldview.

Gays in this country got brave enough to actually think they deserve the same civil rights as everyone because of Benghazi.

Homophobes believe they can pass legislation legalizing discrimination because of Benghazi.

The U.S. Hockey Team didn’t even medal at the Winter Olympics because of Benghazi.

We can restrict voting rights in this country because of Benghazi.

Climate Change didn’t start until all of the smoke from the bullets and rockets fired in Benghazi.

Yes, I know these are all ridiculous.  But, so is starting a war on false pretense, regardless of which country is doing it.  So is refusing to expand the security budget for the State Department prior to Benghazi happening.  So is legalizing discrimination in the name of Religious Freedom.  So is denying voter rights in the name of Voter Fraud, which really doesn’t exist.  So is denying a livable wage to the working class in this country.  So is trying to close down public education and “privatizing” it in “for profit” companies.  So is cutting Social Security and “privatizing” Medicare and eliminating Medicaid.

However, these are all things that Mr. Graham wants to do.  He is all in favor of these ridiculous laws and budget cuts.  Mr. Graham seems to have lost all touch with reality all because of Benghazi.  Mr. Graham has become the nation’s great tear duct, all the while unwilling to offer any meaningful solutions or even suggestions.

As I wrote before, this is a serious situation.  It needs serious discussion and debate on the proper path to follow.  It is not a time for cry babies to voice themselves with fanciful ideologue.  But, fanciful ideologue is all the right-wing has to offer.  They are only interested in holding office, not doing the job that comes with the office.

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Call them what you will.  Far Right-Wing-nuts.  Conservative idiots.  Christian Conservative bigots.  Patriotic Icons of liberty.  Delusional Morons with no sense of dignity.  All could be appropriately used to describe the Tea Party, Christian Conservatives, and right-wing conservatives depending on your point of view.  As diverse as they may appear at times, they all have one thing in common.  They are all terrified that they are losing or have lost control of the political arena.  They are right in their assessment too.

But, that does not allow the rest of us to sit back and relax.  Instead, we must maintain the pressure on these people because there is nothing more dangerous than a wounded animal.  If you think all of the nonsense that has appeared over abortion, rape, homosexuality, race, religion, and immigration is a last gasp from these folks, you better think again.  They are really an attempt to usurp the Constitution and replace it with a Theist Philosophy that would enslave anyone who doesn’t think like they do.

I am going to be very clear about this.  Christian Conservatives, who have completely taken over the Republican Party, are not interested in what the Constitution says.  They do not care about civil liberties.  They do not care about religious freedom.  They do not care about “small government”, or any of the other things they claim to be in favor of.  They only care about taking over the government and replacing it with a theist document that only fits their narrow, and mostly wrong, interpretation of the bible.

They have been carefully planning this for over 30 years.  They realize that the changing dynamics of the country’s population is a threat to them.  The fact that recent surveys shows that the “milenials” have less to do with religion than almost any other group is a threat to them.  The fact that over half of the country believe same-sex marriage should be legal is a threat to them.

The recent attacks against the LGBT community is just the starting point.  They believe they can generate enough hate against LGBT from their base that they will be able to effectively outlaw homosexuality altogether.  That is what Arizona SB 1062 and others around the country is all about.  First you demonize a group of people, then strip them of their civil liberties, then outlaw them altogether.  But, if you think that is the end of it you are totally wrong.

After they outlaw homosexuals, they will go after someone else.  Their first target will be immigrants.  They don’t want any more immigration into the U.S., period.  It doesn’t matter where these immigrants would come from.  They don’t want them, because these immigrants would only add to the diversity of the population.  Diversity is something they absolutely hate.

Then they will go after race.  They will make sure that creationism is the only science taught in schools.  They will go after other religions like Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Atheism, Judism, Catholicism, and other “Christian” sects that do not adhere to their limited, narrow scope of biblical interpretation.  Their goal is to set up their own theocracy based on their rules and the rest of us be damned!

All you need to do is look at the outrage that came from Gov. Brewer’s veto of the SB 1062.  The fat, loud-mouthed, bigoted drug addict said she only vetoed it because of “inherent fear of minorities”.  Tea Party National President Judson Phillips completely lost his mind over the veto.  He accused Brewer of buckling under pressure from “the left and the homosexual lobby” and condemning Arizona to a dystopian future in which LGBT people force God-fearing Arizona cake makers to provide them with penis-themed sweets.

He continued his rant saying vetoing of SB 1062 was “tyranny on the march,” Phillips writes that opponents of SB 1062 want to enslave its supporters. According to the remarkable Mr. Phillips, SB 1062 was never just about “the story of a cowardly governor who has no core beliefs.” On the contrary, SB 1062 was, in Phillips telling, “the story of liberalism at work in America.”  From what I read, it is more likely she only vetoed the bill so the NFL wouldn’t cancel next year’s Super Bowl in Phoenix.  If I’m right, look to seeing it brought back up this time next year.

The proponents of bills such as this and all of the bans against same-sex marriage all claim that allowing same-sex couples to marry or not allowing people to discriminate against homosexuals is violating their “religious freedom”.  I defy any one of these scholarly people to give me one reference from the New Testament where their savior said it was okay to discriminate against or hate anyone!  Their savior only preached about inclusiveness, the brotherhood of man, and loving one another.

They are also fond of saying that same-sex marriage is destroying the traditional family.  Funny, I have a very traditional family.  I even have friends who are gay and married.  Their marriage has done nothing to ruin my family.  It hasn’t even hurt it.  No, traditional families are ruined more often by infidelity, finances, and abuse of one of the partners.  I have never heard of a single divorce case using the cause as “the gay couple down the street was allowed to get married”.

The Christian Conservatives are a very dangerous group of people.  They see the world around them and are saying “oh shit!  We are losing control”!  Rather than practice what their so-called savior preached, they instead preach hate, discontent, discrimination, and loathing.  These are the real philosophies of the Christian Conservative.  It is seen everyday in their attempt to usurp the Constitution along with their political pals in the Republican Party.  They are more dangerous to American Freedoms than any other terrorist group!

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It is becoming clearer and clearer that the far right-wing conservatives and Christian Conservatives have so many phobias it is hard to count them.  These people seem to think that just because they disagree with something, it is their responsibility to make laws even if they are clear examples of phobia and/or discrimination.

The attacks on groups are unbelievable.  There are attacks on the LGBT community.  There are attacks on women especially those who report rape.  There are attacks on the victims of bullying.  There are more attacks on the victims of crime than there is on the people responsible of committing those crimes.  It is becoming so you cannot tell the phobia without a scorecard.

The law in Kansas that would have made it legal to discriminate against anyone who is gay based on “religious” beliefs has been withdrawn.  The amazing part is that Idaho had two bill that are similar to the Kansas bill.  Fortunately, at least for now, they too have been withdrawn.  Not because the author of the bills saw they were wrong, but because he claims they were “misinterpreted”.  The second of his two bills would have made it illegal for private organizations like the American Medical Association to force doctors to treat “all” patients without discrimination.

The attack on women is just as bad, maybe even worse.  Naturally, the conservatives are against contraceptives being part of health care, not to mention their hatred of abortion.  How else could Rush Limbaugh gotten away with calling a woman who spoke up for contraceptives a “slut”?  Through their “abstinence only” training they are also claiming that a “woman’s worth is tied to her virginity”.  Worse still, police departments, others in the criminal justice system, and colleges are blaming the women who are victims of sexual assault for the violence committed against them.

Investigative journalist Kiera Feldman has an incredible (though deeply troubling) piece in the New Republic detailing how Patrick Henry College, an evangelical Christian private university commonly referred to as “God’s Harvard,” systematically failed student victims of sexual assault.  She conducted a series of interviews for her story.

Some quotes from Ms. Feldman’s article:

 After a student named Sarah told the school’s dean of student life Sandra Corbitt that she had been sexually assaulted, she was told, “He’s a nice boy. Are you sure you want to report this?”

Sarah says Corbitt grilled her on certain details: What was she wearing? Had she flirted with him or given him mixed signals? “The entire line of questioning was basically like, ‘Did you make it up? Or did you deserve it in some way? Or was it consensual and now you’re just lying about it to make him look bad?’ ” recalls Rachel Leon, Sarah’s roommate who had accompanied her to Corbitt’s office for support.

Listening to Sarah from across her desk, the dean was as polite as ever. But she didn’t seem to believe Sarah’s story at all. “If you were telling the truth about this,” Sarah remembers Corbitt saying, “God would have kept you conscious to bear witness to the abuse against you.” [...]

Corbitt summoned Sarah for several rounds of questioning. “It’s my job to poke holes in your story,” Sarah remembers Dean Corbitt saying. “I have to make sure that you’re not lying to me. … I don’t think you’re wholly innocent in this situation.”

Another student, who disclosed to Corbitt that she had been receiving emails from a male student threatening to “forcibly take” her virginity, was told, “The choices you make and the people you choose to associate with, the way you try to portray yourself, will affect how people treat you.” The student was later instructed to think about her clothing and “the kinds of ideas it puts in men’s minds.”

Last year a Louisiana Parish argued that is should not be held liable for the rape of a 14-year-old girl in a juvenile detention center because the victim “consented” to be sexually assaulted by a 40-year-old corrections officer at the facility.  Court documents alleged that “[former guard Angelo] Vickers could not have engaged in sexual relations within the walls of the detention center with [the victim] without cooperation from her. Vickers did not use force, violence or intimidation when engaging in sexual relations.”

Commenting on the case, an anonymous parish official remarked that the 14-year-old should share the blame for her assault, saying, “These girls in the detention center are not Little Miss Muffin.”

Around that same time, Judge G. Todd Baugh said he believed that a 14-year-old student who was repeatedly raped by her 49-year-old teacher Stacey Dean Rambold “acted older than her age,” thus making her complicit in her rape. Baugh further stated that Rambold should not serve time in prison for the rapes, he had “suffered enough” during his trial.

There has been little discussion about the bullying that a Miami Dolphin Offensive Lineman faced from his teammates.  The investigation is in, and it is not a pretty picture.  It turns out that Jonathan Martin was not the only victim of this bullying.  Another lineman and an assistant team trainer were also bullied by Incognito and other players.  Even a Line Coach, who was recently fired, took part in the bullying.  When the assistant trainer went to his boss, the team trainer, he did nothing to help.  The trainer was also fired.  Of course the head coach claims he didn’t know anything about the bullying.

The problem with all of this is that there are far more current players around the league that say Martin will have a harder time getting back into the league than will Incognito.  As usual, the victim is being blamed more than the guilty parties.

Unfortunately, these are not uncommon examples of the conservative point of view.  If you are a victim, then you obviously did something to “entice” the assault against you, and therefore you carry the majority of the blame.  We may read these examples of total abuse of power by administration officials, people in authority, police, judges, etc. and are appalled.  But Conservatives, especially Christian Conservatives read them and say “right on”!

Conservatives keep saying they want a small government.  What they are really saying is they don’t want a government that will interfere with their perceived right to discriminate against anyone they wish.  In my mind, I equate this kind of behavior with terrorism.  Terrorism doesn’t have to be political.  Terrorism can also be when people are intimidated and blamed when they report something illegal being done against them.   Looking to the “right people” for help and getting blamed is the worst kind of terrorism an individual may face.

What makes it worse is that the Republican Party endorses these kinds of behavior.  It is their party trying to pass such legislation.  When it is someone outside the party, they are very silent.  Not condemning such behavior is akin to endorsing it.

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I know it may be hard to believe, but the crazies on the far-right might have just gotten even crazier.  Yes, we all know about the “hammock poor” that Paul Rand keeps talking about.  We all know about how immigration reform will ruin our country.  We all know how the President isn’t enforcing current laws like the boarders even though he has deported more illegal immigrants than any before him.  But two things surfaced yesterday that goes even a bit crazier.

The first is happening in that great bastion of equal rights, South Carolina.  There the Governor, Nikki Haley (a Tea Party nut) is in favor of a law making its way through the State Senate that will allow South Carolinians to carry guns without a permit or training on how to use them.  That is right, if you live in South Carolina and this law passes, you will be able to carry a gun anytime and anywhere you wish.  You won’t need a permit, background check, or even get trained in its use.  All you will need to do is go down to the nearest gun shop and buy one, no questions asked.

This bill comes on the heels of another bill passed, and signed by Governor Haley that allows current permitted persons to carry guns into liquor stores.  As long as they don’t drink, or the liquor store doesn’t ban them.  I learned a long time ago that guns and booze makes for a bad combination.

But, here is the real crazy part of the no permit or training law.  Gunlaws.com has this to say about the bill:  “No tests. No taxes. No paperwork. No fingerprints in the criminal database. No photographs. No expiration dates. No plastic-coated permission slip. Just rights. For all law-abiding adults.”

Of course if this law passes, criminals will also be able to purchase guns without a permit or training.  I guess in South Carolina criminals fall into the category of “all law-abiding adults”.  Without the need for permits and/or training, how will you know if someone is a criminal when you sell them a gun?

The second item is a story that boggles the imagination.  Someone sent threatening emails to several Republican members of Congress over the debt ceiling vote.  In the one sent to John Boehner, the writer asks that he stop “lying to the American people in re. the debt limit.” The writer apparently argues that not raising the debt limit wouldn’t lead to default and widespread economic calamity.

Another to Rep. James Lankford threatened to politically ruin members who vote to raise the debt limit and included “see you soon”.  He also attached another email from someone named “exposethefrauds” containing a spreadsheet of Republicans who’ve voted to raise the debt limit in the past.

So who sent these emails?  As one Republican who had seen the emails said:  “It’s got to be another member. Probably one of the crazy ones.”  The email was sent from an anonymous email address, unrepresentative1@gmx.com.  Why are they so sure it was sent by a member?  The emails were sent to the internal congressional email addresses which are extremely difficult to find by an “outsider”.  So, either the emails were sent from another member, or a member gave the email addresses to someone else.  In either case, this has to be an inside job.

Taking into consideration the plan to allow the sales of guns to anyone without a permit or training, maybe they should hope it isn’t someone from South Carolina.

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I guess it is time I ended my silence on the NSA situation.  The whole problem with a democracy is that everyone considers their privacy as paramount to continuing democracy.  I agree with that.  The other problem is that everyone wants the government to ensure that we are protected and our security is upheld.  I also agree with that.  But in todays modern, global world that is where the conundrum comes into play.  Just what is the government allowed to do and not do.

As you know, this all came about because Edward Snowden leaked information from the NSA about its collection of emails, phone lists, text messages, etc.  Although I was never involved in Intelligence Gathering, I did live in the “secrecy world” for several years.  Maybe I have a different point of view than others because of that.  That is also why I am not going to beatify Mr. Snowden or his actions, yet.  I need more information as to why a contractor should decide to steal and then leak this information and offer it to other nations in order to gain asylum.  That is to say, I am not convinced about his motives.

The only good thing that came from Mr. Snowden is that we now have a national debate about just how far the NSA should be allowed to go.  That is something that should have taken place when the Patriot Act took effect under Mr. Bush.  I am not blaming Bush, but there was no discussion as to what type of spying should take place then, and that has had a direct effect on what is going on today.

President Obama gave a speech offering several proposals to help clean up this situation.  Some will naturally say it doesn’t go far enough, while others will say it goes too far.  The one thing that seems to bother most Americans is the meta-data collection by the NSA.  The President said it should be held by a third-party, without specifying who that third-party is.  That can also be a problem.

Many of the reforms will need to be handled by Congress.  The President ordered the NSA and Attorney General Eric Holder to develop recommendations over the next 60 days as to how the program should be structured, and how meta-data should be stored. This window coincides with the late March deadline by which Congress must vote to re-authorize many intelligence practices anyway.

Since 9/11 we have had a series of problems with the Intelligence Community.  Again, some claim that they have gone too far.  Others claim they have not gone far enough.  Many even blamed them for the 9/11 attacks because they “should have known” something was going to happen.  The real problem with intelligence is that it is run by people.  People are flawed, and we can never be 100% certain of anything.

Rather than ranting and raving about what has happened, we need to take all of that into consideration and focus on what will happen in the future.  The reforms that are necessary in Intelligence Gathering will give us an opportunity to have a national debate on the subject.  That should give us an opportunity to mutually agree on a common method that the NSA and other Intelligence Gathering organizations must follow.

Senator Cruz offered his usual general statement that we “should only be going after the bad guys”.  How convenient for him to say.  But, how will we know just who the bad guys are if we aren’t allowed to find out?  That is what I mean by having a reasonable debate on the problems.  Headline grabbing nonsense like this cannot be part of the debate if we are to get the proper balance.

Benjamin Franklin once said “be careful of giving up freedoms in the name of security.  Otherwise, you will find that you have neither.”  Unfortunately, he lived in a time when global communications took several months, not seconds.  Even still, we must find a middle ground where our freedoms are protected and still allow our Intelligence Gathering organizations the tools necessary to keep us safe.  It will be difficult, but if we use common sense and level-headed thinking, it should be possible.

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Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of the Newtown school mass shooting.  Immediately after this happened, there was the usual outrage about gun control.  The NRA naturally, railed against any form of gun control.  About 10 years ago, the NRA was all in favor of universal background checks for anyone who wanted to purchase a gun.  But, suddenly last year that position changed to condemning universal background checks.

As a result of their bullying, blackmail, and outright lying, Congress failed to pass any legislation.  The Senate did pass a universal background check law, but the House, as usual, failed to even bring it to a vote.  I find it outrageous that Republican lawmakers want to force “drug tests” for anyone getting food stamps, but not universal background checks anyone who wants to get a gun!  Could you please explain the logic for that conflict?

We haven’t learned anything from that tragic episode, just like we never learned anything from various similar tragic episodes.  In case you are wondering, since that very sad day one year ago, 173 children under the age of 12 have been shot to death in this country!  That is right, 173 innocent children under the age of 12 have been shot to death since the Newtown Tragedy!  Overall, approximately 30,000 people are shot to death each year in this country!

Let me be very clear!  As a retired veteran, I am against the government telling the American People that they cannot own firearms!  However, I must also be clear that with the right to bear arms comes personal responsibility to protect those firearms as well.  I do not see any problem, or any conflict between the right to bear arms and universal background checks.

For those non-gun owners who may not know what is really being talked about here, let me explain.   Federal law requires that people “engaged in the business” of firearms sales must have federal licenses – but doesn’t define what that phrase means.  Any business with a federal license must complete a background check on anyone purchasing a gun.  So, if for example you go to someplace like Bass Pro Shop, WalMart, etc., you would need to complete a background check to be able to purchase a gun.

However, there are loopholes in the law that allow the sale of guns, even mass purchases at one time, without any background checks.  These loopholes are so big, you can drive an M1 Tank through them!  Private citizens who wish to sell a weapon can do so without needing to have a background check done on the buyer.  If the buyer goes to a gun show, background checks are not required.  Several sales off of the internet do not require background checks.

The NRA is very quick to point out that many states, especially in the northeast, have very strict gun laws.  They are also quick to point out that gun violence still occurs in those states, which is true.  They fail to say that many of the guns that are used in these crimes come from out-of-state sources like the Internet and gun shows in other states.  When I was growing up on the south side of Chicago, I knew many gang members.  They were not afraid to tell me that they got their weapons mostly from another gang member going “down south to gun shows” to get their guns.

A short two months after Newtown, an American Terrorist came out in a video explaining just how easy it was for any terrorist to go to a gun show and purchase an AR15 assault riffle without any background checks.  Then in his own words finished with “what are you waiting for”?  Yet the NRA still refused to allow a vote on universal background checks.

But, they got what they wanted.  A recent Poll shows that fewer people favor stricter gun control now than they did shortly after Newtown.  That is because, we have very short memories.  Once a tragedy like this is over and time passes, we forget what happened.  That is a real shame on us.

Besides their usual rant about how everyone should be armed to the teeth, the NRA does admit that criminals, people with a history of violence, and the mentally ill should not own a gun.  But, without universal background checks, how is anyone to know who they are selling a gun to?  Do gun owners and dealers have a built-in “loony detector”?  Their own argument shows the need for universal background checks.

I know a lot of gun owners.  Some have their guns for hunting.  Some have their guns for self-defense.  Some have guns because they like target shooting.  Some just like to collect guns as part of history.  I don’t have a problem with any of my friends owning guns.  Nor, do I ever argue against their right to own them.  That said, almost every person I know who owns a gun has no problem with universal background checks.  Oh, you will get a vicious argument about gun registration or gun control legislation, but they understand that universal background checks are necessary to help ensure guns don’t fall into the wrong hands.

In my opinion, the NRA, which stands for the National Rifleman’s Association, has deviated so far from its intended purpose, they have really become irrelevant in this argument.  Yes, they were founded to help defend our right to bear arms.  But, they used to be an organization that taught “gun safety” and were reasonable enough to know that those whom they call “bad guys” should not be able to purchase a gun.  Yet, they are the major reason these “bad guys” can buy guns!

I am not naïve!  I know that universal backgrounds are not the panacea that will stop all of these killings.  But, any reduction in the number of these gun violence murders are stopped because universal background checks kept the wrong people from easily obtaining a gun, than it is worth it.  We have to stop using arguments looking for absolutes and start thinking rationally on this.  Universal background checks are necessary to close the loopholes in the law.  How about it Congress, can you give us sensible universal background checks law as a Christmas present?

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No.

Just . . . no.

Ron de Jeremy Spiced Rum
That’s right: “Ron de Jeremy” Spiced Rum, named after . . . you know . . .

Like its namesake, Ron de Jeremy Spiced is full of flavor. It is artfully blended with spices and all natural ingredients. The rich and deep color supports the well-rounded and complex aroma, with hints of vanilla and spices. The long and smooth finish is extremely pleasing. Ron de Jeremy Spiced is an exceptionally good mixer with cola and juices, but also great straight up.

Ron Jeremy loves his rum and is highly involved and active in promoting it; “Ron de Jeremy is great- the taste is long and full, and the finish is smooth, which suits me perfectly! And I love the idea. Ron means Rum! I am very proud of my Ron and I hope my many friends all over the world will have a chance to try it.”

What I really love is that they pass it off as some sort of artisanal product of the legendary Cuban rum-making craft:

Ron de Jeremy Rum is hand crafted by another legend, 72-year old Cuban Master Distiller Francisco “Don Pancho” Fernandez. Don Pancho is one of the most experienced and renowned Master Distillers in the rum industry today. His skills have been directly responsible for the success of countless rum brands. Don Pancho inspected his best barrels to hand pick the ones worthy of becoming Ron de Jeremy.

So drink up! You’re getting the good stuff. Don Pancho himself ensured it is “worthy of becoming Ron de Jeremy”. I can’t bring myself to imagine how.

UPDATE: I have to admit, the distributors’ response was cool (see Comments). And apparently the drink is getting good reviews at professional tastings. So I’ll give it a try and report back!

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9/11

What Atrios said:

A tragic day which brought out the worst in our country. Not right away, but once evil people saw opportunity to exploit it for their own dreams of destruction.

The worst of this is that we had won. Al-Qaeda had thrown the absolute worst they had at us and the country didn’t even wobble, much less totter. The country was never in any existential danger, we had crushed the Taliban, Al-Qaeda was being rejected in even the most militant parts of the Muslim world, and we had cornered the bulk of Al-Qaeda and it’s leadership.

Then we threw it all away out of unreasoning panic and immoral dreams of empire. If I had told you on 9/12/2001 that we would ease off the hunt in Afghanistan in order to attack a Muslim country that had nothing to do with 9/11 and thus let Bin Laden escape and give Al Qaeda evidence that the US really did want to subjugate all Muslims, you would have called me a lunatic infected with Bush Derangement Syndrome. Now, if you are a Republican leader, odds are you would argue that Bush didn’t go far enough in making a religion, instead of a terrorist, the enemy.

So lets end on a reminder of what America is supposed to be:

For if there is a lesson to be drawn on this anniversary, it is this: we are one nation – one people – bound not only by grief, but by a set of common ideals. And that by giving back to our communities, by serving people in need, we reaffirm our ideals – in defiance of those who would do us grave harm. We prove that the sense of responsibility that we felt for one another was not a fleeting passion – but a lasting virtue.

This is a time of difficulty for our country. And it is often in such moments that some try to stoke bitterness – to divide us based on our differences, to blind us to what we have in common. But on this day, we are reminded that at our best, we do not give in to this temptation. We stand with one another. We fight alongside one another. We do not allow ourselves to be defined by fear, but by the hopes we have for our families, for our nation, and for a brighter future. So let us grieve for those we’ve lost, honor those who have sacrificed, and do our best to live up to the values we share – on this day, and every day that follows.

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Boehner seems to think that the community center being put up by a Muslim organization a couple blocks from ground zero is insensitive:

The decision to build this mosque so close to Ground Zero is deeply troubling, as is the president’s decision to endorse it. The American people certainly don’t support it.

The fact that someone has the right to do something doesn’t necessarily make it the right thing to do. That is the essence of tolerance, peace and understanding. This is not an issue of law, whether religious freedom or local zoning. This is a basic issue of respect for a tragic moment in our history.

I need a conservative to explain this to me. The organization has no ties to Al-Qaeda. The organization has no ties to Islamic radicals at all. In fact, the leader of the organization was tapped by George W Bush to be an ambassador of moderation to the Islamic world. Unlike a place like Auschwitz or Treblinka, the dead of Ground Zero were not a special religious or ethnic group — the Towers were targeted because they were symbols of American and, to a lesser extent, Western secular power. The dead were deemed worthy of murder because they were American. And Muslims died in the towers alongside their fellow Americans. So why is a Muslim community center two blocks from Ground Zero insensitive?

It is not, of course, unless you are a bigot. Only a bigot or a monster playing to bigots would argue that the mere fact of a shared religious label would justify treating the center in question as if it was an outpost of Al-Qaeda. There is no other reason, at all. It is bigotry, plain and pure and simple and it has become the primary plank of the Republican Party. They have replaced the Southern Strategy with the Muslim Strategy and may God have mercy on their souls.

I cannot understand how anyone with an ounce of decency would support these people. Whatever your feelings about the size of government, or economic theory, or immigration or any other normal political issue, supporting the GOP means supporting the worst kind of bigotry. The Boehners and Gingirches and Palins, the leaders of the Republican Party, are deliberately trying to equate all Muslims with terrorists. There si no excuse for it and it represents a horrible attack on American foreign policy and an even worse attack on American values. This kind of bigotry strikes at the heart of American ideals. it is as corrosive as acid and as deadly as poison.

In the 1960s, Nixon and Atwater had the chance to drive racists out of the mainstream of American politics. The Democrats had finally driven them out of their party, and the GOP had never been hospitable territory to them. But to their everlasting shame, Nixon and Atwater invited them into the GOP with open arms. In 2001, George W Bush had the same choice with anti-Muslim bigots. In his finest moment, Bush turned them away.

Now the leaders of the GOP seek to emulate Nixon instead of Bush. Voting for the GOP is voting to empower the worst sort of bigotry, a kind of pre-Enlightenment tribalism and bloodlust that our Founders explicitly rejected. We have a chance to strangle this particular version of establishment bigotry in its crib — but only if people of conscience explicitly reject the GOP.

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