Thursday, April 17, 2014

Putin on the Blitz

By Capt. Fogg

Well, of course the media still hasn't come to the end of all the discussion, speculation, mourning wailing and fantasizing possibilities regarding that missing airplane and they need to keep reminding us that nobody has ever suffered as much grief as the families of the missing nor ever will, but I can't help but noticing that events in the Ukraine might be causing a bit of speculation as well.  Something we can do on our own during commercial breaks at least.

Russian troops are massed on the border, obviously fake stories of persecution are rampant in the Russian press, orchestrated riots, people running about with guns and armored vehicles and today we read that Ukrainian Jews have been ordered to register with the pro-Russian hooligans pretending to be a legitimate government.

Just in time for Easter.

USA Today tells us that in the Ukrainian city of Donetsk:

"Jews emerging from a synagogue say they were handed leaflets that ordered the city's Jews to provide a list of property they own and pay a registration fee "or else have their citizenship revoked, face deportation and see their assets confiscated."

The leaflet  states that all people of Jewish descent over 16 years old must report to the Commissioner for Nationalities in the Donetsk Regional Administration building and "register." Non-compliance will result in deportation and confiscation of property.  Nothing for Americans to worry about of course and no celebrities are involved.

Now back to the Mystery plane story in which nothing new has emerged in weeks.  Isn't that exiting?

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Monday, April 14, 2014

God, Guns and Hitler

I have certain misgivings about hate crime laws, but we're reminded this morning -- the eve of Pesach or The Passover, and a week before Hitler's birthday, that people who belong to hate-based organizations and creeds, who post virulent hate messages and calls for extermination on-line, need their constitutional right to keep and bear arms infringed.

I feel quite protective of our guaranteed right to free speech and our right to think what we think, but speech that incites to violence, that creates a mortal danger to the public, is something else and that's been established for a long time. Frazier Glenn Miller is a founding member of the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and the White Patriot Party.  That's not a crime, more's the pity, nor is shouting "Heil Hitler" from the back of a police car, but perhaps we ought to consider making it a felony to belong to groups who advocate murder because as far as I know, it's illegal for felons to own firearms.

I know -- penalties and restrictions don't prevent criminals and especially psychopathic criminals from committing crimes, but there's something wrong with Mr. Miller or Mr. Cross as he often calls himself, to own weapons.  There's something wrong if  the targets of hate groups need to arm themselves or to hire armed guards or to go about in fear because we elevate and protect a right to be armed above the right to remain alive.  We shouldn't have to wait for people like that to run amok before we do anything. Threatening violence against groups or individuals should be sufficient to disarm someone. 

Lest one think that being a white, Anglo-Saxon Protestant is protection and a reason not to worry, Methodists were shot in this tragedy as well.

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Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Kraut is out?

By Capt. Fogg

I'd hate to sound like I'm supporting or dignifying Charles Krauthammer, but he's right in saying that it's time for the Right Wing Wolves to stop howling about Benghazi. The administration has run out the clock and the public doesn't care, he said on Fox News.  Of course the public has moved on to other ruminations about other obsessive speculations driven by the relentless cable news networks which haven't yet tired of the "we know nothing, we have no facts but here's what could have happened"  approach to a missing airplane.  

Of course the implication is that the White House simply stalled until the furor died down and makes no mention of  the Republicans having cut security for the embassy in Libya.  The clock keeps running of course whether or not the Fox Fables have any truth behind them, and this one had little enough, but heresy is heresy whether or not we can prove the age of the universe or the rising temperature of our planet.  Can Krauthammer redeem himself before those wolves tear him to pieces?

 The Heritage Foundation, was shocked, shocked at his comments. The Malkin's website Hot Air blames him for "throwing in the towel on a fact-finding effort because it’s not politically expedient?" even though numerous investigations turned up nothing to corroberate the accusations.  No, this is right wing politics and just as with Right Wing Religion; even if it's over -- long over, it's not over ever.  The World was created by a deity 6000 years ago,  Bill Clinton ruined the economy and committed nebulous sins, Barack Obama is a Muslim, born in Kenya and a Communist and Joe McCarthy's blank piece of paper really contained a list of Communists in the Administration.

So maybe the illusion of Karma gets a bit more support when a wolf  tries to advise the pack for its own good and they turn on him, yelping and howling BENGHAZI, BENGHAZI!  Whether or not his creepy credibility suffers, I have to think it's funny.

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Friday, March 28, 2014

Deep tweets: Holy See

Best capture of the moment I saw all day on the social nets.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Deep tweets

It's become routine but I will never get over having lived to see pictures actually being sent to Earth from Mars. Just astounding.

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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Subterranean homesick blues

Today would have been my Dad's 86th birthday if he had lived to see it. I bought garden plants because that's what I did for his birthday for the last twenty years of his life. My soul brother Mark Herschler's new song seems to be the only thing I have to say today. Reminds me of how much I miss my Happy Valley family as well. It's been that kind of day.


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Friday, March 21, 2014

The Liar's Crusade

By Capt. Fogg

Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion.

--Saint Augustine:  De Genesi ad litteram libri duodecim --


Well you knew it was going to happen.  When it comes to a vessel big enough to contain the egos of the illiterate Biblical literalists, the world is not enough and if anything can expand, can inflate faster than the early universe, it's those very egos who insist we consider their idiotic, superstitious, fatuous and fact-free delusions to be reasonable alternatives to demonstrated and proven physical law. 

Too bad that moronic mob of pretenders to received authority know as little about Christianity and its foundations as they know about nature as revealed in science and mathematics. Anything once rational and functional in early Christianity seems to have shed those attributes as vestigial organs, like the hip bones in a whale as an example of just how evolution works in all things.

There is nothing about the origin of species in the Fox TV series Cosmos that is without massive evidential support or that hasn't been thoroughly and repeatedly demonstrated in the fossil record and in the laboratory. The truth is that DNA based life forms not only can and do but must evolve over long periods of time into quite different life forms because of the mechanisms involved.  To argue otherwise is either dishonest or stupid or pathological.  Face it, only if one is staggeringly uninformed about basic physics and chemistry, geology and paleontology or mentally impaired and basically dishonest, is there any need to treat the fundamentals of science and mathematics as "opinions" that can honestly and reasonably be held by honest and reasonable people.

Few people would take the argument that because one can't come up with a final figure for Pi all numbers are so equally probable that I can't be mocked for saying it's 4 or worse. Would anyone honestly assert that I must be allowed in every classroom to insist that it's 4 because there's an old paleolithic legend I choose to delude myself with?  But it seems that there are more than a few who will, for many sinister and stupid reasons, tell you that facts are irrelevant and demand the right to interrupt your evening's entertainment and your offspring's education to demand respect for stupidity.

Danny Falkner, of Answers In Genesis showed up on the "Christ Centered" Janet Mefford Show  yesterday to accuse the Fox television series and its host, Neil deGrasse Tyson, of "marginalizing" those marginally rational and totally dishonest delusionals with "dissenting"  views on accepted scientific truths, reports Right Wing Watch. They say it's only fair to be allowed to refute the irrefutable -- and because they "believe" and belief is all they need to shut you up.

“Boy, but when you have so many scientists who simply do not accept Darwinian evolution, it seems to me that that might be something to throw in there, you know, the old, ‘some scientists say this, others disagree and think this,’ but that’s not even allowed,” 

Said Mefford, and presumably there were nodding heads all over the halls of idiocy and  cesspits of mendacity.   It's frightening to think someone can think of getting away with asserting that we have "so many scientists" and can't see the inherent contradiction.  (If you prefer unsupportable tradition over science, you're not a scientist) 

So perhaps we have so many football fans who think the Seahawks lost the Superbowl, that the Sun orbits the flat Earth and Methusala lived 900 years. I have the right to interrupt anyone to assert this and for free.  May I demand the right to show up in any church on any Sunday to insist that there is no Yahweh, no El or Elohim, no trinity, no creation and never could have been?  That Jesus was nothing but another of many, failed anti-Roman zealots, that there is no heaven, no hell, no sin, no forgiveness, no resurrection -- no spirits, demons, angels and no souls?  Do I have the right to set up an altar to Zog in every Church, synagogue, Temple, Mosque and public school?

And why the hell not? 

Because it's not about fairness. It's not about honesty, it's certainly not about freedom of speech or of belief .  As Salmon Rushdie said of Fundamentalism: it's about power. It's about bringing untold trouble and sorrow, it's the idiot's crusade.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The extraordinary deeds of ordinary men

By Capt. Fogg

I won't comment on the proposition that the men who were honored with the Congressional Medal of Honor yesterday had been overlooked because they had been identified with some less favored ethnic group. It takes away from their individual stories and suggests that by honoring them we're doing them some sort of favor by elevating them to the level of  "regular" Americans. 

Having listened yesterday to the long recitation of the deeds of these medal recipients, I don't doubt that they all earned the long delayed distinction in full.  In fact I felt that although I had only turned on the TV for a quick check of the stock market, I was duty bound as an American to watch the entire ceremony -- and I did.  None of these men seem to have borne a grudge for having been overlooked and that's more to their credit and speaks more to their character, but no one who endured such risk or paid such a price should ever be forgotten even by those like me who may not have approved of the actions that put them in harm's way and cost so many of them their lives.

We're a nation that loves to say "support the troops" instead of supporting their interests while they serve and afterwards.  There's far more to support than pestering anyone in uniform with applause while voting for politicians who constantly attack their benefits.  Applause is cheap, medals are inexpensive. Remembering what happens when we go to war; remembering what apparently ordinary men have done and can do when something needs to be done and despite the danger or the personal consequences, is a part of the obligation they place on us and the least we can do in return. 

Of all the things we are urged never to forget by people who foment wars, such men, such deeds are the most often and soon forgotten.  I would remember them individually if I could, but not so much as heroes but as another reminder of the value of human life; of how much an ordinary man can do, of how far beyond common experience he can rise and of how little his value has to do with the petty ways we measure our fellow Americans.

None of the survivors became millionaire industrialists or could afford to purchase political favors. Perhaps some could be described by the 'Patriots' on the Right as takers looking for handouts from the government at our expense. Can we ignore the lesson that the measure of a man is not money, nor knowledge, nor industry?  Can we remember that the man who mows your lawn, fixes your BMW or drives a school bus -- even the man who has never been able to hold a job may be, in such a staggering way, a better man than we are, that I am?

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

They don't want you to know

By Capt. Fogg

I'm probably repeating myself by warning you that a sales pitch insisting that the item or idea or information you're selling is something someone doesn't want you to have or to learn about is a marker for hokum and perhaps outright fraud.  Similar marketing techniques include warnings that you must get this or read that or go to the website "before they ban it" or that scientists, or historians or doctors or liberals are hiding the real truth from you about things like magic beans or  some dietary trick that will block the effects of eating ten thousand calories a day -- or that some common ingredient is making you sick or pumping you full of  obscure 'toxins'  you can only get rid of if you buy my book.

Such marketing, if you can call it that, is so pervasive that it might seem as though the truth about most things has been hermetically
encapsulated in an impenetrable shell of propaganda: websites, infomercials and advertisements designed to misinform and mislead for profit.  We recognize some of it, tolerate much of it as just hyperbole and humor, but sometimes too much flim flam will send you to the slam.

Kevin Trudeau, whose Natural Cures "They" Don't Want You To Know About is a prime example of health and nutrition hokum, just found out the hard truth the hard way and will have ten years in Federal prison to meditate on life.

Do booksellers who feature and promote such books bear some responsibility for misleading millions into harming or at least neglecting their health?  As far as I know there have been few cases like it. It seems to be a rarity and there are no end of fraudulent sales pitches for water "with a different, non-toxic hydrogen bond angle,"  bracelets and pendants "tuned to natural frequencies" and books that assure you it's only the gluten-containing bun on that triple bacon chili cheese megaburger with cheese fries making you sick and giving you "grain brain."  Caveat Emptor after all, is part of the Tea Party Utopian dream where allowing anyone to cheat anyone else leads to liberty and justice for all -- and of course enforcing any kind of truth in advertising law would run up the debt and cost jobs and place an unnecessary regulatory burden on business.


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Thursday, March 13, 2014

One of their aricraft is missing

By Capt. Fogg

Let's be certain of one thing today:  Nothing whatever has been going on on planet Earth for the last couple of days that is worth interrupting the constant speculation and obsessive concern with the missing aircraft.  There is no armed uprising in Venezuela, escalating Russian aggression against the Ukraine isn't worth mentioning and that the Dow is down nearly 260 points this afternoon is of no consequence whatever.  One of our aircraft is missing, or rather one of Malaysia's aircraft is along with 200 odd mostly Chinese passengers.

If any of the other things that go one everyday happen to interest you, CNN doesn't want to be bothered with it and you'll have to tune in to something like BBC or Al Jazeera where you might learn about the collapse of  the cease fire between Gaza and Israel, the struggle for democracy in Turkey, a left wing victory in El Salvador, the arrest of journalists in Egypt. . .  you know all that boring stuff that none of the hip people are interested in when there are celebrities and calamities carefully selected as the thing we need to hear about to the exclusion of all else.

No, the proliferation of the all-news format has resulted in far, far fewer choices and much less information for Americans and apparently we like it that way.  Entertainment news, infomercials, rumors of scandals and commercials and one major story at a time, chewed on, speculated on, extrapolated from endlessly until some other profitably sensational thing comes along to drown out our interest in the real world as we are led through the chutes to be fleeced.


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