Never pass up a chance to sit down or relieve yourself. -old Apache saying

Saturday, August 31, 2013

9 Questions

Current-day Syria is a total mess.  I'm glad I'm not in Obama's shoes right now.  If he strikes Syria without consulting Congress, the cries for "impeachment" from the right will begin immediately.  If he consults Congress, there is no doubt they would say don't do anything, because the GOP is still too reflexively anti-anything-Obama.

The article below is a good one.  As with so many things, the situation has a lot of nuance, something that the GOP does not do well.  Those on the right and the left should read this and realize there are no good options.

9 questions about Syria you were too embarrassed to ask

The United States and allies are preparing for a possibly imminent series of limited military strikes against Syria, the first direct U.S. intervention in the two-year civil war, in retaliation for President Bashar al-Assad’s suspected use of chemical weapons against civilians.
If you found the above sentence kind of confusing, or aren’t exactly sure why Syria is fighting a civil war, or even where Syria is located, then this is the article for you. What’s happening in Syria is really important, but it can also be confusing and difficult to follow even for those of us glued to it.
Here, then, are the most basic answers to your most basic questions. First, a disclaimer: Syria and its history are really complicated; this is not an exhaustive or definitive account of that entire story, just some background, written so that anyone can understand it.
Go here for the rest.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

they all said no

So the GOP wants to make inroads with minorities?  They have a strange way of showing it...

'They asked a long list of Republicans to come'

by Steve Benen

We talked briefly yesterday about the lack of Republican representation at the 50th anniversary event honoring the 1963 March on Washington, but a day later, the questions persist: where were the GOP voices?
Former NAACP Chairman Julian Bond told MSNBC that organizers "asked a long list of Republicans to come, and to a man and woman they said 'no.'"
In fairness, some prominent Republicans had good excuses. Former Presidents George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush were invited, but poor health kept them away. That said, former Gov. Jeb Bush was invited to represent his family, and he turned down the invitation, too.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is currently on a fundraising tour, and though his public schedule included no events yesterday, he declined the opportunity to appear.
And how about House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), whose office yesterday complained about only getting two weeks' notice from event organizers? He was otherwise engaged in the afternoon (via).
Cantor, hosted by Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., met with energy industry and community leaders at a crew camp in Williston, toured a drilling site and other oilfield locations in the Bakken and met with North Dakota Petroleum Council members in Watford City. [...]
"I hope to be able to tell the president that there's a lot for him to learn here as far as energy production here in America," Cantor said. "North Dakota seems to have gotten it right."
Oh, I see. Cantor couldn't make it to the event on civil rights because he was visiting with oil industry representatives.
Keep in mind, organizers wanted Republican voices. They reached out to former RNC Chairman Michael Steele for help, and the Rev. Leah D. Daughtry, who served as executive producer of the commemoration, told the Washington Post's By Ed O'Keefe that Cantor tried to find a GOP lawmaker to take his place but couldn't find anyone.

It's true that Congress isn't in session, and most members have left the Beltway until after Labor Day, but -- and this is key -- airplanes exist. If the party considered it a priority to participate in yesterday's event, GOP leaders could have made sure someone with an "R" after his or her name was there.
But they didn't.
Two weeks ago, Reince Priebus led a Republican National Committee event to feature "rising stars" in the party, which emphasized diversity within the party. The point wasn't subtle: from a distance, it may look like Republicans are an old, white party unconcerned with diversity, but Priebus actually cares.
Yesterday's no-show represents an important setback for those efforts. It's almost as if the party's rebranding campaign is going backwards.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


23 years ago today, Stevie Ray Vaughan died.  I remember the days when we used to book him in the Coffee House at the University of Houston for $50.  I'm surprised the windows didn't shatter in that tiny room.

Texas in so many ways is so full of shit, but it's also usually full of great musicians.  Go figure.

Live at the Mocambo - RIP Stevie.

Monday, August 26, 2013

random shots

And now a few items that caught my eye on the internet over the last few days.  You will probably need to click some of them to read them.


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Vulture's Picnic

I finally finished reading Greg Palast's 2012 book, "Vulture's Picnic".   It follows on the heels of his other muckraking books "Armed Madhouse" and "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy."  If you want to know more than you ever wanted to know about how big money works, read these books.

Vulture's Picnic is a little disjointed but a picture comes together of super-rich people who will do whatever they can to further their own fortunes and influence.   In this internet-connected, global economy, these people have outsized influence, and are often behind the scenes and unknown to most people.

These vultures are like a cancer, feeding off the bodies and bank accounts of people, companies, and countries.  It's far beyond "free enterprise."  

Among other things, Palast chronicles British Petroleum's (BP) 2010 Macondo blowout in the Gulf of Mexico, and how they had an almost exact blowout two years before that in the old Soviet empire.  It was easier to cover up the latter, leading directly to the former, and it's criminal.

I can't do the book justice.  I admire Greg Palast for his tenacity and ability to gather the goods on wrongdoing around the globe.  He thrives on whistleblowers and insiders who can't stomach what their companies are doing.  In that sense, we need a whole lot more whistleblowers.  And in that sense, Obama has been horrible, prosecuting whistleblowers at an unprecedented rate, even after campaigning that we need more whistleblowers.  Why?  So he could weed them out and prosecute them?

Anyway, if you'd like to read Chapter 1 for free, go here.

For some good reviews of the book, go here

If you have the goods on serious wrongdoing, you can get that info to Greg at or go to Greg's website here.

Do the right thing.  Read this book.  This is information that we all need to know, and you won't get it by watching the news on TV.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

STFU birthers

So, Ted Cruz, do you have the FS-240?  Could Cruz actually be ineligible to be a U.S. Senator?  Funny how karma works sometimes, if you believe in karma, that is.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

no justice

coup in Iran

Finally, at long last, the CIA has confirmed what many of us already knew:  that the CIA was behind the overthrow of democratically-elected Mohammad Mossadegh in Iran in 1953.  We knew it was all about the oil.  Sure enough.

I remember arguing with some right-wingers years back about our government being involved in multiple coups across the world and this particular right-winger just could not fathom that the U.S. would do anything like that.  I truly hope this kind of revelation helps to open up some eyes that have been tightly closed.  

It gives me no great pleasure to be proved "right" in this case.  It's sad that oil has played such a huge role in world affairs.  What is sadder still is the glacial pace of converting to renewables.  And guess what?  The oil companies are throwing roadblock after roadblock to prevent conversion to renewables because they fear a loss of power and influence.

CIA admits role in 1953 Iranian Coup
Robert Scheer

NASA/WikiMedia Commons
Mohammad Mossadegh in front of the Straight of Hormuz, as seen from the international space station.

Sixty years ago this week, on Aug. 19, 1953, the United States, in collaboration with Britain, successfully staged a coup in Iran to overthrow democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh that a newly declassified CIA document reveals was designed to preserve the control of Western companies over Iran’s rich oil fields.

The U.S. government at the time of the coup easily had manipulated Western media into denigrating Mossadegh as intemperate, unstable and an otherwise unreliable ally in the Cold War, but the real motivation for hijacking Iran's history was Mossadegh's move to nationalize Western-controlled oil assets in Iran.  According to the document, part of an internal CIA report:

“The target of this policy of desperation, Mohammad Mosadeq, [sic] was neither a madman nor an emotional bundle of senility as he was so often pictured in the foreign press; however, he had become so committed to the ideals of nationalism that he did things that could not have conceivably helped his people even in the best and most altruistic of worlds. In refusing to bargain—except on his own uncompromising terms—with the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, he was in fact defying the professional politicians of the British government.  These leaders believed, with good reason, that cheap oil for Britain and high profits for the company were vital to their national interests.”

There you have it, the smoking gun declaration of the true intent to preserve high profits and cheap oil that cuts through all of the official propaganda justifying not only this sorry attempt to prevent Iranian nationalists from gaining control over their prized resources but subsequent blood-for-oil adventures in Iraq and Kuwait. The assumption is that “the best and most altruistic of worlds” is one that accommodates the demands of rapacious capitalism as represented by Western oil companies.

Tragically, the coup that overthrew Mossadegh also crushed Iran’s brief experiment in democracy and ushered in six decades of brutal dictatorship followed by religious oppression and regional instability. If Iran is a problem, as the United States persistently and loudly insists, it is a problem of our making. Mossadegh, who earned a doctorate in law from Neuchatel University in Switzerland, was not an enemy of the American people; he was an Iranian nationalist who as the CIA’s own internal report concedes was preoccupied with the well-being of his people as opposed to the profitability of Western oil interests. 

The CIA report derides the Western media’s acceptance at the time of the coup of the demonization of all actors on the world stage that fail to follow the approved script provided by the U.S. government. As the report notes, the “complete secrecy about the operation,” breached only by leaked information, made it “relatively easy for journalists to reconstruct the coup in varied but generally inaccurate accounts.”

Without conceding responsibility for misleading the media, the report says “The point that the majority of these accounts miss is a key one: the military coup that overthrew Mosadeq [sic] and his National Front cabinet was carried out under CIA direction as an act of U.S. foreign policy, conceived and approved at the highest levels of government. It was not an aggressively simplistic solution, clandestinely arrived at, but was instead an official admission that normal, rational methods of international communication and commerce had failed. TPAJAX (the operation’s codename) was entered into as a last resort.”

Parts of the formerly top secret report, an internal CIA study from the 1970s titled “The Battle for Iran,” which detailed the CIA-directed plot, have been revealed previously. But the section disclosed Monday in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by the National Security Archive is, as the archive’s research director Malcolm Byrne writes in Foreign Policy magazine, the first time the CIA admits to “using propaganda to undermine Mossadegh politically, inducing the shah to cooperate, bribing members of parliament, organizing the security forces, and ginning up public demonstrations.”

All of these actions were described in great detail by veteran CIA operative Kermit Roosevelt in a lengthy interview with me for the Los Angeles Times in 1979. Roosevelt is confirmed in the newly released documents as having the leading role in planning and executing the coup. In the interview, Roosevelt revealed his part for the first time, but instead of celebrating the success of the venture, he cautioned that it had set a terrible example. 

As I summarized the conversation in the story that appeared on March 29, 1979: “Roosevelt said that the success of the operation in Iran—called Project AJAX by the CIA—so inspired then-Secretary of State John Foster Dulles that Dulles wanted to duplicate it in the Congo, Guatemala, Indonesia and Egypt, where he wanted to overthrow President Gamal Abdel Nasser. Roosevelt said that he resisted these efforts and finally resigned from the CIA because of them.” 

Roosevelt, as he recounted in his memoir published five months after our interview, came away from the coup he engineered with serious concerns about the efficacy of such ventures.  But unfortunately it became the model in Vietnam, Guatemala, Cuba, Afghanistan, Nicaragua and other countries, where the full official record is apparently judged still too embarrassing for our government to declassify. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Remember this web address
for information about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the upcoming healthcare exchanges.  
The Republicans are lying so heavily and blatantly about "Obamacare" that it's no wonder there is confusion and antipathy about the program.

"EVERYONE WILL LOSE THEIR HEALTHCARE!!" they scream, which is so easily disproved, I'm a little surprised they keep saying it.  They must REALLY think that their constituents are stupid and too lazy to think for themselves.  

(you might need to click on this one to read all of it)

If I continue my employer-subsidized healthcare insurance, I won't be eligible for a subsidy for the healthcare exchanges.

Texas continues to disgrace itself by refusing to participate in the healthcare exchanges and refusing to expand Medicare.  I hope some of Texas' financially-struggling Republicans (and there are many) will figure out that Republicans in the Texas legislature are working against their interests before it's too late.  Everybody deserves good healthcare.  Even Republicans.  Even Republicans who mindlessly hate Obama (because FOX told them to).

If you haven't already, you can sign up on now and receive updates as to the implementation of the online exchanges which are set to open Oct. 1. You cannot purchase insurance just yet, but you can set up a User ID and password at this time. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

No Christian nation

No, America is not and was never intended to be a "Christian" nation.  Our Founding Fathers wanted strict separation of church and state.  The word "God" never even appears in the Constitution or any of the amendments.  

In their time, every nation had a strong church and priest caste, and our enlightened Founding Fathers saw how much that could get in the way of personal liberties.  

To back that up, here is a list of 35 quotes from our Founding Fathers.   So don't give me that "the United States is a Christian nation founded upon Judeo-Christian tenets" bullshit.  It's not true, and if you would take the time to look into it, you'd know it.

35 Founding Father Quotes Conservative Christians Will Hate

The separation of church and state is one of the cornerstones of America’s foundation. Conservative Christian fundamentalists have sought to crush this cornerstone in the hopes of establishing Christianity as the state religion, an action that would threaten the rest of the foundation that makes up the Constitution. These conservatives contend that the Founding Fathers dreamed of making America a Christian state at the expense of those who practice other religions or none at all.

So here are 35 quotes from the Founding Fathers. Perhaps your first thoughts are the first four Presidents and maybe Benjamin Franklin, but there were many other Founding Fathers. Many were signers of the Constitution and The Declaration of Independence. They were lawyers, judges, soldiers, merchants, farmers, and some were even clergy. And the great majority of them signed the Constitution knowing that matters of government and matters of religion would be separate.

 1. “If I could conceive that the general government might ever be so administered as to render the liberty of conscience insecure, I beg you will be persuaded, that no one would be more zealous than myself to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution.”

~George Washington, letter to the United Baptist Chamber of Virginia, May 1789
2. “Of all the animosities which have existed among mankind, those which are caused by a difference of sentiments in religion appear to be the most inveterate and distressing, and ought to be deprecated. I was in hopes that the enlightened and liberal policy, which has marked the present age, would at least have reconciled Christians of every denomination so far that we should never again see the religious disputes carried to such a pitch as to endanger the peace of society.”
~George Washington, letter to Edward Newenham, October 20, 1792

3. “We have abundant reason to rejoice that in this Land the light of truth and reason has triumphed over the power of bigotry and superstition… In this enlightened Age and in this Land of equal liberty it is our boast, that a man’s religious tenets will not forfeit the protection of the Laws, nor deprive him of the right of attaining and holding the highest Offices that are known in the United States.”
~George Washington, letter to the members of the New Church in Baltimore, January 27, 1793

4. “The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or in America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses.”
~John Adams, “A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America” 1787-1788
5. “The Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.”
~1797 Treaty of Tripoli signed by John Adams

6. “Thirteen governments [of the original states] thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery, and which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favor of the rights of mankind.”
~John Adams, “A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America” (1787-88)
7. “We should begin by setting conscience free. When all men of all religions shall enjoy equal liberty, property, and an equal chance for
honors and power we may expect that improvements will be made in the human character and the state of society.”
~John Adams, letter to Dr. Price, April 8, 1785
8. “I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibit the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state.”
~Thomas Jefferson, letter to the Baptists of Danbury, Connecticut, 1802
9. “In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own. It is error alone that needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.”
~Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Horatio Spofford, 1814
10. “Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, then that of blindfolded fear.”
~Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr, August 10, 1787
11. “I am for freedom of religion and against all maneuvers to bring about a legal ascendancy of one sect over another.”
~Thomas Jefferson, letter to Elbridge Gerry, January 26, 1799

12. “History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes.”
-Thomas Jefferson: in letter to Alexander von Humboldt, December 6, 1813
13. “Because religious belief, or non-belief, is such an important part of every person’s life, freedom of religion affects every individual.
State churches that use government power to support themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths undermine all our civil rights. Moreover, state support of the church tends to make the clergy unresponsive to the people and leads to corruption within religion. Erecting the “wall of separation between church and state,” therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society. We have solved … the great and interesting question whether freedom of religion is compatible with order in government and obedience to the laws. And we have experienced the quiet as well as the comfort which results from leaving every one to profess freely and openly those principles of religion which are the inductions of his own reason and the serious convictions of his own inquiries.”
~Thomas Jefferson: in a speech to the Virginia Baptists, 1808
14. “Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.”
~Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814,
15. “The civil government functions with complete success by the total separation of the Church from the State.”
~James Madison, 1819, Writings, 8:432, quoted from Gene Garman, “Essays In Addition to America’s Real Religion”
16. “And I have no doubt that every new example will succeed, as every past one has done, in shewing that religion & Govt will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.”
~James Madison, letter to Edward Livingston, July 10, 1822

17. “Every new and successful example of a perfect separation between ecclesiastical and civil matters is of importance.”
~James Madison, letter, 1822
18. “Strongly guarded as is the separation between Religion and Government in the Constitution of the United States, the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies, may be illustrated by precedents already furnished in their short history.”
~James Madison; Monopolies, Perpetuities, Corporations, Ecclesiastical
19. “It is only when the people become ignorant and corrupt, when they degenerate into a populace, that they are incapable of exercising the sovereignty. Usurpation is then an easy attainment, and an usurper soon found. The people themselves become the willing instruments of their own debasement and ruin. Let us, then, look to the great cause, and endeavor to preserve it in full force. Let us by all wise and constitutional measures promote intelligence among the people as the best means of preserving our liberties.”
~James Monroe, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1817
20. “When a religion is good, I conceive it will support itself; and when it does not support itself, and God does not take care to support it so that its professors are obligated to call for help of the civil power, it’s a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one.”
~Benjamin Franklin, letter to Richard Price, October 9, 1780
21. “Manufacturers, who listening to the powerful invitations of a better price for their fabrics, or their labor, of greater cheapness of provisions and raw materials, of an exemption from the chief part of the taxes burdens and restraints, which they endure in the old world, of greater personal independence and consequence, under the operation of a more equal government, and of what is far more precious than mere religious toleration–a perfect equality of religious privileges; would probably flock from Europe to the United States to pursue their own trades or professions, if they were once made sensible of the advantages they would enjoy, and were inspired with an assurance of encouragement and employment, will, with difficulty, be induced to transplant themselves, with a view to becoming cultivators of the land.”
~Alexander Hamilton: Report on the Subject of Manufacturers December 5,
22. “In regard to religion, mutual toleration in the different professions thereof is what all good and candid minds in all ages have ever practiced, and both by precept and example inculcated on mankind.”
~Samuel Adams, The Rights of the Colonists (1771)
23. “That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forebearance, love, and charity towards each other.”
~George Mason, Virginia Bill of Rights, 1776
24. “It is contrary to the principles of reason and justice that any should be compelled to contribute to the maintenance of a church with which their consciences will not permit them to join, and from which they can derive no benefit; for remedy whereof, and that equal liberty as well religious as civil, may be universally extended to all the good people of this commonwealth.”
~George Mason, Virginia Declaration of Rights, 1776

25. “A man of abilities and character, of any sect whatever, may be admitted to any office or public trust under the United States. I am a friend to a variety of sects, because they keep one another in order. How many different sects are we composed of throughout the United States? How many different sects will be in congress? We cannot enumerate the sects that may be in congress. And there are so many now in the United States that they will prevent the establishment of any one sect in prejudice to the rest, and will forever oppose all attempts to infringe religious liberty. If such an attempt be made, will not the alarm be sounded throughout America? If congress be as wicked as we are foretold they will, they would not run the risk of exciting the resentment of all, or most of the religious sects in America.”
~Edmund Randolph, address to the Virginia Ratifying Convention, June
10, 1788
26. “I never liked the Hierarchy of the Church — an equality in the teacher of Religion, and a dependence on the people, are republican sentiments — but if the Clergy combine, they will have their influence on Government”
~Rufus King, Rufus King: American Federalist, pp. 56-57
27. A general toleration of Religion appears to me the best means of peopling our country… The free exercise of religion hath stocked the Northern part of the continent with inhabitants; and altho’ Europe hath in great measure adopted a more moderate policy, yet the profession of Protestantism is extremely inconvenient in many places there. A Calvinist, a Lutheran, or Quaker, who hath felt these inconveniences in Europe, sails not to Virginia, where they are felt perhaps in a (greater degree).”
~Patrick Henry, observing that immigrants flock to places where there is no established religion, Religious Tolerance, 1766
28. “No religious doctrine shall be established by law.”
~Elbridge Gerry, Annals of Congress 1:729-731
29. “Knowledge and liberty are so prevalent in this country, that I do not believe that the United States would ever be disposed to establish one religious sect, and lay all others under legal disabilities. But as we know not what may take place hereafter, and any such test would be exceedingly injurious to the rights of free citizens, I cannot think it altogether superfluous to have added a clause, which secures us from the possibility of such oppression.”
~Oliver Wolcott, Connecticut Ratifying Convention, 9 January 1788
30. “Some very worthy persons, who have not had great advantages for information, have objected against that clause in the constitution
which provides, that no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States. They have been afraid that this clause is unfavorable to religion. But my countrymen, the sole purpose and effect of it is to exclude persecution, and to secure to you the important right of religious
liberty. We are almost the only people in the world, who have a full enjoyment of this important right of human nature. In our country every man has a right to worship God in that way which is most agreeable to his conscience. If he be a good and peaceable person he is liable to no penalties or incapacities on account of his religious sentiments; or in other words, he is not subject to persecution. But in other parts of the world, it has been, and still is, far different. Systems of religious error have been adopted, in times of ignorance. It has been the interest of tyrannical kings, popes, and prelates, to maintain these errors. When the clouds of ignorance began to vanish, and the people grew more enlightened, there was no other way to keep them in error, but to prohibit their altering their religious opinions by severe persecuting laws. In this way persecution became general throughout Europe.”
~Oliver Ellsworth, Philip B Kurland and Ralph Lerner (eds.), The Founder’s Constitution, University of Chicago Press, 1987, Vol. 4, p.
31. “Persecution is not an original feature in any religion; but it is always the strongly marked feature of all religions established by law. Take away the law-establishment, and every religion re-assumes its original benignity.”
~Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man, 1791

32. “God has appointed two kinds of government in the world, which are distinct in their nature, and ought never to be confounded together; one of which is called civil, the other ecclesiastical government.”
~Isaac Backus, An Appeal to the Public for Religious Liberty, 1773
33. “Congress has no power to make any religious establishments.”
~Roger Sherman, Congress, August 19, 1789
34. “The American states have gone far in assisting the progress of truth; but they have stopped short of perfection. They ought to have given every honest citizen an equal right to enjoy his religion and an equal title to all civil emoluments, without obliging him to tell his religion. Every interference of the civil power in regulating opinion, is an impious attempt to take the business of the Deity out of his own hands; and every preference given to any religious denomination, is so far slavery and bigotry.”
~Noah Webster, calling for no religious tests to serve in public office, Sketches of American Policy, 1785
35. “The legislature of the United States shall pass no law on the subject of religion.”
~Charles Pinckney, Constitutional Convention, 1787
These are hardly the words of men who allegedly believed that America should be a Christian nation governed by the Bible as conservatives constantly claim. On the contrary, the great majority of the Founders believed strongly in separation of church and state. So keep in mind that this country has survived for over two centuries under the principle of separation and it is only now when conservatives are attempting to destroy that very cornerstone that we find America becoming ever more divided and more politically charged than ever before. If this right-wing faction has their way, America as we know it will cease to exist and the freedoms we have enjoyed because of the Constitution will erode. The Founding Fathers had a vision of this
nation and trusted that the people would protect that vision and improve upon it. Now is not the time to fail them. Because the day the people fail, so does America.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

a very tiny place

Is your mind capable of being blown?


I haven't gotten into the whole "vine" thing yet, but some of these are pretty funny.  Kinda indicative of our fast-paced, fragmented world, eh?

The 50 Best Vines Of The Week

Friday, August 16, 2013


Enjoy a moment of calm.  Or several moments.

This site has several soothing scenarios, with or without audio.

You can also listen in on guided meditations of 2 minutes, 5 minutes, 10, 15 or 20 minutes.  I enjoy these.  

It's nice to pause and relax from our busy day and busy lives.  There is something special about  meditation.  It's something we can all benefit from.

Calm.  Treat yourself.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Top 10 Idiots

This is a very long-running series featured on Democratic Underground.  The author has changed over the years, but it's still a good look back at the inanity and insanity of the current-day Republican Party.  

Nowadays, "Nanjing to Seoul" does the work.

Boobs Up In Arms Edition

It's Friday in China, so it's time to release this week's list.

This week, there has a been a bumper crop of asshats and morons. It's been a fun week cataloging conservative idiocy. And they never let us down. The only thing that changes is they get more stupid and brazen as they slowly die off. To start of with, the GOP Circular Firing Squad (1) is in full effect, Paul LePage (4) wants to blow something up, Mike Huckabee (6) puts away his frock and pulls out his white sheets, Steve King (8) has a rally with a turnout that could rival outhouse occupancy and Pat McCrory (9) revokes a constitutional amendment as quietly as he can. And as always, don't forget the key.

GOP Circular Firing Squad

The wackjobs that run the Republican wing of the Congress have gotten, shall we say. . .a bit weird in the arguments. The have voted 40 times to kill “Obamacare” and 40 times it failed. They tried to kill it with talk of “socialism” and “death panels,” but that also failed. Now they are talking about defunding it and will hold the government and the country's viability hostage to do it. Apparently they forgot about when a piece of crap named Newt Gingrich shutdown the government because he sat in the back of Air Force One.

Well, that was 1995 and this is 2013. Another Democrat in the White House, more Republicans in control of the House and it's time to threaten a shutdown again. But this time it's coming from both Chambers.

Let's start with Ted “Carnival” Cruz, who mocked his fellow GOP Congresscritters in Iowa.

Contrasting the crowd’s response to his GOP colleagues’, he quipped: “If I were sitting in the Senate cloakroom, the reaction to that statement would be fundamentally different. I don’t know that I’m quick enough to dodge all the things that would be thrown at me.”
Other Republican senators have warned against this strategy as a dangerous gambit that could backfire.
“I can’t count the number of Republicans in Washington who say, ‘Look, we can’t defund it. No, no, no. We can pass symbolic votes against it but we can’t actually stand up and take a risk and potentially be blamed,’” Cruz said.

There's the first shot. Cruz has unloaded on the GOP to grow some balls and shut down that uppity black, Kenyan-born, socialist/communist/fascist “Mooslim.” Surely the GOP, following the Reagan idea that Republicans should not attack Republicans will prevail. Cue the GOP Establishment in failed presidential robot Mitt “47% and I love firing people” Romney.
The GOP establishment is undoubtedly against a shutdown and many of them are becoming more vocal about it.

"The people of the nation would not be happy," said 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney this week at a New Hampshire fundraiser about the possibility of a shutdown where Medicare benefits were skipped and troops didn't get paid.

Even Charles Krauthammer and Senate uber-loon Tom Coburn (R-Mars) think Cruz and his “temper tantrum” are bad for the GOP, but not bad for the country. (Fuck the country).

In fact, the entire GOP is eating themselves. Look at this chart from Rachel Maddow's MSNBC blog:

Remember this comment from Senator Richard Burr (R-Moon):

"I think it's the dumbest idea I've ever heard of," Burr said. "Listen, as long as Barack Obama is president, the Affordable Care Act is going to be law."

Apparently, people like Cruz, Paul and Rubio (and the rest of the teabaggers in Congress) think Burr, Coburn and McCain are RINO liberals, because they are trying to enlist small-time ne'er-do-well (I mean House Speaker) John “Orange Crush” Boehner.

While House Speaker John Boehner isn't overtly ruling out picking a fight with President Barack Obama over a spending bill, he is laying out an alternative strategy to avoid a government shutdown.

During a closed door meeting on Wednesday with House Republicans, Boehner tried to "gently hold members' hands and walk them away from this," said one GOP source who was in the room.

The debate is about whether Republicans should attach a measure to defund Obamacare to a must-pass spending bill. The government runs out of money on September 30, the end of the fiscal year.

Holding their hands isn't going to help them. Maybe it will. Pick the fight, Ohio Tearduct. You can lead your lemmings off the cliff! Maybe we on the other side can litter the ground with candy in order to get you to jump!

Georgia Republicans

Last week, the Top Ten mentioned Arizona Republicans (#10 on the list) doing their racist, stupid best to prove they were the dumbest mouth breathers in the United States. Not to be outdone, Georgia Republicans decided to step up to the plate and knock the stupid in the cheap seats.

Georgia Republicans were polled to see which they believed: Creation “science” or Evolutionary SCIENCE. Guess which one they believe in more, 70% - 30%.

A new Public Policy Polling (PPP) poll finds that a majority of Georgians believe in creationism over evolution.

Entitled "Georgia Miscellany," the Thursday item surveyed a pool of 520 voters on 32 questions. On the issue of creationism vs. evolution, 53 percent believe more in the former, compared to 29 percent choosing the latter, and 18 percent voting not sure.

When that question was transferred over to party lines, Republicans had a staggering split -- 70 percent for creationism, 17 percent for evolution and 13 percent not sure. Democrats split along closer lines -- 43 percent for creationism, 33 percent for evolution and 24 percent not sure. Independents held an even narrower divide -- 46 percent for creationism, 40 percent for evolution and 14 percent not sure.

I don't know what's sadder. A) That 70% of Republicans think evolution is bunk; B) that 46% of “Independents” think evolutionary is bunk; or C) that only a low 40% plurality of Democrats think evolution is not bunk.

Actually, that was to be expected. Bible Humpers love make-believe stories with no evidence. Let's take a look at a simple question that was asked in another poll of Georgia Repubicans:

Who do you like more, Georgia GOP? Martin Luther King, Jr. . .or racist bomb thrower Paula Deen? Remember, folks, be logical.

Okay, let's see how they polled:
According to a new poll by the Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling, Republicans in Georgia have a more favorable opinion of Paula Deen than they do of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Favorability ratings with Georgia Republicans: Paula Deen 73/11, Martin Luther King Jr. 59/28


This leads to the poll question: If you don't boycott Georgia after the GOP that run the state proved they are racists and clueless, what is the best thing out of the Georgia?

I vote for I-95.


Okay, personally, I have no patience for gundamentalists. I have about the same respect for Badge Sniffers than I do Gundamentalists. There are good gun owners that don't do stupid shit (I am one of them). But, then there's the fucking NRA and gun-nut huggers that piss off everything with their gall, hubris, bullshit and just plan evil shit.

Apparently, the NRA has its knickers in a twist because people want to limit or restrict the lead in bullets because it is harmful to animals that may swallow things that may have casing or shell residue on it. Never mind that, the NRA sees this as a gun grabbing threat by hippie gun-control wonks in their hemp shirts and drugged out Phish music

You might think the NRA would be busy enough fighting its current battles, fending off crazy ideas like expanded background checks for gun sales. But no. The group is now picking a whole new fight, this one against activists who want to ban lead bullets.

Studies have shown that as many as 20 million birds, including endangered California condors, die each year from lead poisoning after ingesting bullet fragments. Ammunition is likely the greatest unregulated source of lead released into the environment, according to a statement from scientific experts in lead and environmental health. Some states, notably California, are now weighing regulations to outlaw the use of lead in bullets.

The NRA isn’t going to stand by and let that happen. The group has launched a campaign called Hunt for Truth to fight back against “the assault on traditional lead ammunition” by targeting the groups and individuals — mostly scientists, nonprofits, and government agencies — behind this unconscionable attack on American values.

Screw birds. They made their choice to eat lead. . .they deserve to die. After all, they need to pull themselves up by their boot straps and let us NRA types shoot and poison them. Remember, if you want to wipe your ass, do it with a giant condor.

However, getting panties in a wad over proposing banning bullets made of poison isn't the evil part. We'll leave that to a gun nut group in New England.

Gun advocates are reportedly set to hold a "Starbucks Appreciation Day" at an establishment in Newtown, Conn., to celebrate the ability to carry weapons in the store. Gun control groups have vehemently criticized the event as "reprehensible."

NBC affiliate WVIT reported that gun rights advocates are using Facebook to rally supporters to head to Starbucks stores across the nation Friday to celebrate the coffee chain's open policy on carrying weapons. The company doesn't prohibit customers from openly carrying guns in states where it is legal. The "Starbucks appreciation day" Facebook page says they want to thank Starbucks for standing up for the right to bear arms.

One post by a Ridgefield, Conn., resident on the "CT Open Carry" page caught some attention. The resident said he and some members from the Connecticut Citizens Defense League were going to meet Friday evening at the Starbucks at 34 Church Hill Road in Newtown, the town where 26 people were killed in a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School last year. (The Hartford Courant has a screengrab of the post, which appears to have been taken down.)

“Reprehensible?” That doesn't even describe the feeling. Words fail me here. Maybe when you respond to this Top Ten list, you can think of an adjective to say.

Paul LePage

Plurality governor Paul LePage is a piece of work. Maine people who voted for this jackass must be real proud. . .all 38% of them (both in his GOP primary and the general election).

He has made some really stupid statements. Click on the hyperlinks to see LePage's views on:
following Maine State Law about offices
the Gestapo
State of Maine workers (maybe he means LEOs and firefighters too)
art and paintings
black people

Quite a large mouth this troglodyte has. Amazing his brain generates enough juice to keep his legs moving. So, let's add to his whimsical list of stirring oratory. On August 9th, while using a flight simulator, LePage came out and said this doozie.

LePage made the remark while participating in a fighter jet simulation at Pratt & Whitney, a defense contractor in North Berwick. When asked by a simulator what he'd like to do, LePage said, "I want to find the Press Herald building and blow it up," according to video posted by the Bangor Daily News.

Ummm. . .what? What!?! You want to blow up a newspaper headquarters? How Stalinist of you, Paulie. Are the reporters in the building at the time? Are the reporters being tortured. . .oops, being accustomed to enhanced interrogation techniques?

Don't worry, though. According to one of his spokes-flunkies, Adrienne Bennett, LePage was “clearly joking and was responding to a question from the simulator who asked the governor if he'd like to blow up anything “ Well, that's all good. It's a joke. If someone in Maine made that joke against LePage's house, the police would be told immediately.

I can't wait for LePage's next joke. I'm sure it it will be a side-slapper. Or a gut-buster. Hopefully, it will be funny. Because, based on his track record, the only thing funny about Paul LePage is the fact he thinks he has a mandate with 38% of voters supporting him in 2010. Way to go, Governor Plurality.

Robert Dudley

So, remember this nightmare? 4.9 million barrels of oil covering miles of Gulf water over nearly five months?

Remember the damage? No? Here's a few pictures:

This is a sperm whale carcass.

The ocean water

The beaches

Depressed? I am. Completely. This is a downer in the Top Ten. Greed knows no bounds. Even BP's half-assed efforts to stop the leak were as pathetic as their tone deaf attitude towards people affected.

Well, it's been almost three years. And BP CEO Robert Dudley believes that the real victim of all of this is BP, for having to pay people for the losses their bullshit incurred. Well, you deadbeats. . .the gravy train is over, grifters!!!

DUDLEY: We are still committed to make sure that legitimate claimants and people who were true victims of the spill are paid.

Quite frankly, the results have been really strange. The claims going through a claims facility have resulted in absurd results, and millions of dollars are going out to pay people who suffered, in many cases, no losses from the spill. And this is just not right. I don’t think it’s right for America. We’re a big investor in the United States, and we’ve challenged this really strongly. It’s just not right.

Millions of dollars. This from a company with a $12 billion dollar profit in 2012. With $300 million in tax breaks. Now that is fucking gall.

BP had asked a federal judge to halt spill payments, though the judge decided against BP yesterday. That will not prevent BP from fighting claims with its new hotline that pays watchdogs to report fraud.

Wow! Good job, federal judge. However, BP isn't resting. They will now claim fraud and have actually set up a hotline to “combat fraud." Because everyone knows oil belongs on the beaches people use to swim and in the fish people eat out of the ocean.

To cut down on this alleged fraud, BP is eliciting the public’s help. The company recently set up a hotline for reporting fraudulent claims relating the the Gulf oil spill, a tool it calls “a reliable resource for people who want to do the right thing and report fraud or corruption.” According to BP, callers can receive a reward if the claim they report leads to an indictment, recovery of money or denial of a claim. BP also placed full-page ads in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Washington Post last month that accused lawyers and politicians of encouraging businesses to submit dishonest claims.

“Whatever you think about BP, we can all agree that it’s wrong for anyone to take money they don’t deserve,” the ads read. “And it’s unfair to everyone in the Gulf — commercial fishermen, restaurant and hotel owners, and all the other hard-working people who’ve filed legitimate claims for real losses.”

Wow! Real losses. Don't worry, according the same article, people in Alaska are still waiting for the Valdez money to come in. That was 24 years ago. So, you moochers on the Gulf Coast. . .prepare to never see money owed to you.

To end this one comes just the most tone-deaf thing anyone can say.

The BP CEO is perplexed as to why Americans perceive the oil industry badly. This negative perception might have something to do with receiving billion-dollar subsidies for a highly profitable industry that charges high gas prices. BP claims it pays too much in taxes, despite receiving an annual $300 million in estimated tax breaks on top of a $12 billion profit last year.

Can't figure out why Big Oil is as despised as Banksters, Speculators and anyone else that tries to suck blood from a stone? There isn't a prison big enough for people like Robert Dudley. I hope his money loves him, because no one else does (probably not even his mother).

Mike Huckabee

Former Goodyear Blimp impersonator and current wanna-be Christian rocker Mike Huckabee has made a name for himself since getting booted from the 2008 Presidential Campaign. Book deals, Fixed Noise gig, speeches. . .he is like Sarah Palin, except he fulfilled his terms in office: Using a presidential run to enhance a personal bottom line.

From what people say, Huckabee is a cordial, friendly man. He is very approachable and down to Earth in his approach. Maybe he got that when he became an ordained minister during the 1980s. Being a man of the cloth should give you a soul and a conscience.

However, sometimes the good Pastor's words tend to show him as the callous douche he really is. He does have a soul (black one), but apparently those scary, “uncorked animal” Mooslims don't have a soul or even belief in the One True God.

FORMER GOODYEAR BLIMP IMPERSONATOR: But can someone explain to me why it is that we tiptoe around a religion that promotes the most murderous mayhem on the planet in their so-called ‘holiest days’?”

“You know, if you’ve kept up with the Middle East, you know that the most likely time to have an uprising of rock throwing and rioting comes on the day of prayer on Friday.”

“So the Muslims will go to the mosque, and they will have their day of prayer, and they come out of there like uncorked animals — throwing rocks and burning cars.”

Yes because Christians aren't violent and never kill anyone in cold blood.

But please proceed, Governor.

CURRENT REINCARNATION OF NATHAN BEFORD FORREST: Now, my point is — I mean do you ever say ‘Oh boy, it’s Christmas! Oh my gosh, these Christians are going to come out of that Christmas Eve service and they are going to Wal-Mart, and they are going to so rip that place apart, because you know what happens when they go in there and pray about Jesus. And they get out of there and they go straight to the mall, and they just, I mean they set fire to the place.’ I mean, when Christians get out of their Christmas services, about the worst thing they do is commit the sin of gluttony when they go to some Christmas dinner, be it at a restaurant or someone’s home,” Huckabee remarked.

“I mean, for most of us, the holiest days that come in the Christian world, particularly Christmas and Easter, I don’t really recall that the government has to issue a warning and say ‘Look Out! It’s Easter! Those Christians are coming. They’ll be throwing eggs all over town.’

Violence bad. Vandalism good! Gotcha! Next please.

Blake Farenthood

Sometimes the jokes write themselves. Meet Blake Farenthood (R-Nuthouse) from Texas. Blake is a fun guy. He likes to say what's on his mind. When he was at a meeting with the people who elected him, Farenthood asked himself a question.

FARENTHOOD: “A question I get a lot — ‘If everybody’s so unhappy with what the president’s doing, why don’t you impeach him?’” Farenthold said.

“I’ll give you a real frank answer about that. If we were to impeach the president tomorrow, you could probably get the votes in the House of Representatives to do it, but it would go to the Senate and he wouldn’t be convicted.”

Amazing that Republicans have the votes to impeach a president for whatever high crime and misdemeanor their little pea-brains can come up with. Maybe Obama's high crime and misdemeanor is “Being President While Black and Democratic.” Who knows?

So, they want to impeach the president and have the votes to do it. What happened back in 1998 when the Republicans were impeaching Clinton for getting a hummer? They lost seats in the House (five actually) and barely held their six seat majority in the Senate (which for a midterm election is soul-wrenching, because the President's party usually does badly in the midterms).

But one thing I don't think the Republicans want is losing seats. Their party is pretty much broken and getting older. But, if Farenthood wants to impeach, good for him.

Maybe when he's done masturbating his impeachment fantasy, he and the Republicans can get to work on important things that affect the country. Things like:

Jobs Bills
Debt Ceiling
Infrastructure maintaining
Education spending
Farm bill that actually helps farmers
Removing the FICA cap

Nah, they'll just vote to end Obamacare a 41st time, since that's Americans really want them to do.

Steve King

Another candidate for “World's Most Batshit Crazy Congresscritter.” Steve “Klu Klux” King from Iowa.

You know about this prick, so I will save the jokes for now. Let's just say he has interesting views on Mexicans, immigrants and livestock. These are just this asshole's recent turds of wisdom.

So, when he billed a big “STOP AMNESTY” rally in Eric Cantor's hometown, in a racist response to those who want people to become citizens regardless of how they got here, Klu Klux King arrived with his speech and gave a massive speech to a huge crowd of people.

The event was billed as a “Stop Amnesty” event — a response to the pro-reform rallies being held around the country. It was held in Richmond, Virginia. But instead of massive turnout by those who agree with King’s assessment that the bill “proposes to legalize a lot of people that will include the people who are drug smugglers,” a mere 50 to 60 people came to the event, by Politico reporter Seung Min Ki’s estimate.

I'm sorry. I need a second.


Here's a photo:

Whopping crowd. How did the pro-immgration rallies turnout?

More than a thousand workers and immigration reform advocates hit the streets of downtown Bakersfield before heading to an immigration reform rally at Yokuts Park today.

With more than 345 cars and buses in tow and more than 5,000 people on board, the largest car and bus caravan in California history came to Bakersfield, Wednesday calling on Congressman Kevin McCarthy to fight for a vote on immigration reform with a path to citizenship.

“The Path to Citizenship Goes through Bakersfield,” gathered immigrant rights leaders, labor unions, communities of faith, students, LGBT groups, business, elected officials, and other friends and allies at Yokuts Park before marching and rallying in front of Congressman McCarthy’s District Office.

Here's a photo of the event:

1000 for inclusion vs. 50 for racism.

Pardon me, Klu Klux King, but:


Pat McCrory

Last week, Pat McCrory (Governor-North Carolina) signed into law one of the most restrictive voting “rights” legislation in the history of forever, something that would make the five jackasses that killed the Civil Rights Act on the SCOTUS extremely happy.

The bill will require voters to show photo identification -- a driver's license, passport, veteran's ID, tribal card -- beginning in the 2016 elections. Student IDs are not an acceptable form of identification. The bill also reduces early voting by a week, eliminates same-day registration, ends pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-olds and a student civics program, kills an annual state-sponsored voter registration drive and lessens the amount of public reporting required for so-called dark money groups, also known as 501(c)(4)s.

Expect more election buying by people like Adelson, the Kochs, the Donald and every other right-wing lunatic with more money than brains. Luckily, people will not go down without a big fight.

The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation, and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice today filed a lawsuit challenging North Carolina's voter suppression law signed by Gov. Pat McCrory. The suit specifically targets provisions of the law that eliminate a week of early voting, end same-day registration, and prohibit "out-of-precinct" voting. It seeks to stop North Carolina from enacting these provisions, arguing that they would unduly burden the right to vote and discriminate against African-American voters, in violation of the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

I expect the law to be overturned, but you never know with judges. They can be bought just like Congresscritters. . .so, it's a crap shoot. I also expect an injunction soon too. And why would they do that, block the will of the white power elite from denying a basic American right to people because they do not have “their papers” available for inspection? Because of this amendment and this amendment to this piece of paper.

#24: Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.

Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation

#26: Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.

Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation

This all seems so logical and simple to me. It seems like simple and plain language. No where in the amendments mentioned does it say “red states are excluded.”

North Carolina, Georgia, Arizona, Texas. . .sucks to be a Democrat in those states (I know, I'm a Democrat in Arizona). Pat McCrory, and his stooges in the NC Lege, have pretty much turned North Carolina in mini-Texas over the past few weeks

The legislation, passed by the Republican-controlled legislature over the objections of Democrats before heading to McCrory's desk, is the latest of a string of conservative legislation signed into law in the state. McCrory has also signed measures introducing new restrictions for abortion clinics (attached to a motorcycle safety bill), expanding concealed-carry permits to bars and restaurants, and cutting unemployment benefits.

This after he pledged to be moderate and disable the partisan bickering. No bickering here, Patty. . .you're a craphead! I doubt people outside the frothing mouth right-wing will argue or bicker over that.

UPDATE: Add Kansas to the list of moron states that think voting is not an unalienable right

Hannah Gastonguay

And finally. . .sigh. Another Arizonan that makes the list. I am from Arizona. We aren't all like this. Trust me. Tucson is where they are at least rational, if not borderline sane. But the rest of the state (save Flagstaff), “Holy jumping fucking shitballs. Dumber than a second coat of paint” (Thanks George Carlin for that line).

Anyway, meet Hannah Gastonguay and her family. Just your average, bible thumping, jingoistic, bigoted and completely homophobic Jesus loving family. They are angry at that mean ol' black man in the White House for supportin' abortion and homosexuals gettin' hitched.

The Gastonguays weren't members of any church, and Hannah Gastonguay said their faith came from reading the Bible and through prayer. So they hatched a plan. Epic Fail!

A northern Arizona family has survived being lost at sea for weeks after an ill-fated attempt to leave the U.S. over what they consider government interference in religion.

Hannah Gastonguay and her family will fly back home Sunday after taking their two small children and her father-in-law and setting sail from San Diego for the tiny island nation of Kiribati in May.

Weeks into their journey, the Gastonguays hit a series of storms that damaged their small boat, leaving them adrift for weeks, unable to make progress. They were eventually picked up by a Venezuelan fishing vessel, transferred to a Japanese cargo ship and taken to Chile.

That's sad. I believe they just ran into bad luck, storms, lack of navigation skills, brains and logical, rational thought. Being religious fundies tends to limit the latter two of that list. Let's see why these good Americans wanted to ditch the Good Ol' U.S. Of A.

Hannah Gastonguay said her family was fed up with government control in the U.S. As Christians they don't believe in "abortion, homosexuality, in the state-controlled church," she said.

U.S. "churches aren't their own," Gastonguay said, suggesting that government regulation interfered with religious independence.

Among other differences, she said they had a problem with being "forced to pay these taxes that pay for abortions we don't agree with." While federal law bars public funding for abortion, state attempts to block Medicaid funding for organizations that provide the procedure have met with legal hurdles. Opponents say that funding allows those groups to perform abortions.

Wow, what a list. The stupid burns. Addicting Info has a nice rebuttal for Hannah's turds of wisdom. To sum it up, Henry Hyde's worthless amendment ended federal funding for abortions, churches are still tax-exempt and the US Government believes ALL Americans have unalienable rights, not just straight Americans that perform only “man on top, get-it-over-with-quick” straight sex.

What lesson did Hannah learn from this? What will carry her forward as she was returned to the US (more than likely on the taxpayer's dime)?

Hannah Gastonguay said the family will now "go back to Arizona" and "come up with a new plan."

Maybe they will build a rocket ship out of cardboard and ceiling wax, then blast off to a new place populated of backwards thinking neanderthals that believe gays need to be discriminated against, women need to be controlled and where religion dictates all law.

I hear Iran is pleasant. . .so is the northern part of Mali, where Timbuktu is (which is now controlled by crazy Islamic militants that are destroying the place), or Northern Nigeria, where Boko Haram has taken control of many parts. Nah, too many Mooslims.

Just remember, Gastonguays, if all else fails, there's always Texas. I hear Rick Perry wants to secede from the Planet Earth.