Living Large in Carson City: We don’t need no stinkin’ Constitution: Bobby Jindal Edition

Having been raised Southern Baptist, I understand the lunacy that can grip fundamentalist from the South. It could be something in the water, but more likely, it’s a sad byproduct of primordial inbreeding and an aversion to any new idea that came after the Baptist split over slave ownership at the beginning of the Civil War (hence the Northern Baptists and Southern Baptist denominations).  Southern Baptists are a strange lot simply by definition, however, there are few fundamentalist more loony than a Louisiana fundamentalist.

Take the case of Louisiana Governor, Bobby Jindal. Speaking last weekend at Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition’s annual conference, Jindal was rearing skyward on his high horse when he made rather interesting, if not somewhat inflammatory, statements as reported in the Huffington Post. The online news site reported Jindal stated:

“. . . President Barack Obama and other Democrats of waging wars against religious liberty and education and said that a rebellion is brewing in the U.S. with people ready for “a hostile takeover” of the nation’s capital.”

On one hand, Americans are used to such inflammatory rhetoric coming out of the mouths of people like Jindal. The one over-arching theme of the Republican Party over the last eight years is to bash Obama on any topic that pops into their small minded, little conservative minds. This is the wacko Republican Party faithful at their most basic core. Religious liberty and education, however, are fairly innocuous terms without any real power behind them, so what’s the big deal.  Leave it to Bobby J to elucidate.

“I can sense right now a rebellion brewing amongst these United States,” Jindal said, “where people are ready for a hostile takeover of Washington, D.C., to preserve the American Dream for our children and grandchildren.”

Statements like this are made for a reason, especially when politicians are facing a crowded convention hall full of fundamentalist wingnuts whose modus operandi is based on a belief system that is straight out of the Iron Age. Words like these are spoken to “incite” the base. Stir up the blood. Get the people to thinking. In a case involving the United States government as these do, they are also very close to seditious language.

Jindal follows up those remarks stating:

“. . . there was a “silent war” on religious liberty being fought in the U.S. — a country that he said was built on that liberty.”

Not so much Bobby J. Here, like religious zealots have been doing for years, he his conflating the first two parts of the First Amendment (Prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion . . .). This country was not built on religious liberty per se. The Constitution protects the “free exercise of religion” but doesn’t imply or maintain that religion is anything but a personal matter that the Constitution protects as a right of individuals to pursue at their own discretion. The First Amendment does not make religion an integral part of the government mandate or give religions any special place in the government, no matter how much fundamentalists would like it to  be so. 

Then there was this mini-tantrum as reported in the Huffington Post article:

“Earlier this week, Jindal signed an executive order to block the use of tests tied to Common Core education standards in his state, a position favored by tea party supporters and conservatives. He said he would continue to fight against the administration’s attempts to implement Common Core.

“The federal government has no role, no right and no place dictating standards in our local schools across these 50 states of the United States of America,” Jindal said.”

Really? Currently, according to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) (no shrinking violet when it comes to conservative issues), Louisiana ranks forty-ninth out of fifty-one states (including the District of Columbia). In fact, the bottom four states are all Southern states that just so happen to be fundamentalist strongholds (odd fact, no?). In a state as noted for corruption as it is for shrimp gumbo, one wonders just how low Louisiana would drop into the education cesspool where it now resides near the bottom if education standards were left up to state official oversight. Given their head without Federal guidelines, the vistas of mediocrity are endless.

In an attempt to be fair and balanced, Jindal also made this comment:

“I am tired of the left. They say they’re for tolerance, they say they respect diversity. The reality is this: They respect everybody unless you happen to disagree with them,” he said. “The left is trying to silence us and I’m tired of it, I won’t take it anymore.”

Hmm . . . since tolerance and diversity are certainly not a long suit of either fundamentalist Christians or the Republican Party, this sounds a bit like the pot calling the kettle black. As far as tolerance and diversity goes, one need only examine his party’s stance on women’s rights, the immigration issue, the minimum wage, gay marriage, funding for education, voters’ rights, and well, just about  everything they stand for in this  day and age. The line, “They respect everybody unless you happen to disagree with them” is especially egregious. If liberals agree with you on everything, they would be fundamentalist, conservative Christian Republicans. Think about it Boggy J. It’s politics. You don’t get a free pass simply because you want one. LOL

Expect to hear more from Bobby J in the future. People of his fundamentalist ilk see threats and conspiracy everywhere. Throw in some Jesus talk and a bit of readin’, rightin’ and ‘rithmetic, and they are in for the long haul.


Living Large in Carson City: Shut your pie-hole Dick Edition

Dick Cheney is at it again trashing Obama, sane people and others who think his type of freedom looks more like a Third World nation run by a lunatic despot who channels spirits of wars past and believes them. In a Wall Street Journal editorial posted June 17, he and his daughter, Liz, attacked Obama and his administration over the rise of ISIS in Iraq accusing the president of “taking America down a notch”. While their rhetoric is laughable on its merit alone, he seems to think that Americans want to hear anything he has to say about the country or the civil war going on there now. He had his chance when he and his puppet, George W. Bush, led us into this mess in the first place. Here are some reminders of his track record on Iraq in statements he made in the past:

“My belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators.” March 16, 2003 (Wishful Thinking but still a lie)

“We know he’s been absolutely devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons, and we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons.” March 16, 2003 (A bald faced lie)

“I think they’re in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency.” Speaking about the Iraq insurgency, June 20, 2005 (A misguided lie)

Dick, Dick, Dick . . . please do the nation a favor and retire to whatever ogre colony you escaped from years ago. There is a rock there with your name on it under which you can ruminate to your heart’s content on tortured visions of a world at perpetual war. America doesn’t want or need your “sage” advice as if you are some avuncular historical character of merit. You are not.

Still, it is worth the time to explore some of his more egregious points that surface in the op ed. Here’s a good one. I wonder if he was giving Liz that dirty old man smirk he is so famous for when he wrote this line:

”Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many.”

Ironic, no? But really, Dick doesn’t understand the meaning of irony. Sometimes it isn’t evident if he isn’t talking about W in many of his statements. George W. Bush didn’t just get things wrong out of hand. He and Dick’s administration seemed intent on getting everything wrong, especially about Iraq and weapons of mass destruction, finance, social issues, and well, anything they put their minds to.

This statement is especially galling when he refers to the situation going on in Iraq today:

 “Watching the black-clad ISIS jihadists take territory once secured by American blood   . . .”

Uh, wouldn’t that be innocent blood that should never have been spilled. It was Cheney, Bush, Rumsfeld, Fife, Rice, Powell and a host of other neocons who dreamed up the Iraq war in the first place on false intelligence and hearsay. How does this man say and write these things then go home and fall asleep?

On al Qaeda and how he and the Bush people left Iraq, here is a gem:

“When Mr. Obama and his team came into office in 2009, al Qaeda in Iraq had been largely defeated, thanks primarily to the heroic efforts of U.S. armed forces during the surge.”

The surge’s efficacy will be debated by historians for years. However, one thing is certain, the effects of the surge did little to “defeat” al Qaeda. The al Qaeda forces that were there, simply moved on and began regrouping. The idea that they were defeated is the idle musing of an old man who is still basking in a glory that never was.

Later in the paragraph, he writes this tone-deaf statement about Obama pulling out the troops from Iraq:

“Instead, he abandoned Iraq and we are watching American defeat snatched from the jaws of victory.”

Well, that is simply bullshit. The American people had had a bellyful of the Iraq folly that he and Bush served up on a platter. Americans no longer had a stomach for seeing innocent American soldiers die because of lies and deception dreamed up by old white men caught in the throes of blood lust. Besides, Bush had already set in place an exit plan that would have withdrawn the lion’s share of our troops anyway.

It often appears that he and Liz are simply making things up to see if they will fly. Like this nugget of wisdom:

“Now, in a move that defies credulity, he toys with the idea of ushering Iran into Iraq. Only a fool would believe American policy in Iraq should be ceded to Iran, the world’s largest state sponsor of terror.”

Dick must not think people are intelligent or that there isn’t this thingy called the Internet. Obama isn’t a fool like Dick. He understands that aligning our interests with Iran would be counterproductive from the get go. This is simply a red herring that was smelling badly before the ink dried on the paper.

Something our nation should consider when Dick writes or speaks. This little nugget of information surfaced in a Democracy Now! broadcast last week that put his comments in a different light. Richard Clarke former national coordinator for security and counterterrorism under the Bush administration had this to say about Bush and Dick:

“I think things that they authorized probably fall within the area of war crimes. Whether that would be productive or not, I think, is a discussion we could all have. But we have established procedures now with the International Criminal Court in The Hague, where people who take actions as serving presidents or prime ministers of countries have been indicted and have been tried. So the precedent is there to do that sort of thing. And I think we need to ask ourselves whether or not it would be useful to do that in the case of members of the Bush administration. It’s clear that things that the Bush administration did — in my mind, at least, it’s clear that some of the things they did were war crimes.” Democracy Now!

Time to button up your pie-hole . . . Dick.

Living Large in Carson City: Wondering where the lions are

Jerad Amanda Miller Joker Harley Quinn

The world turns and crazy gets crazier. The domestic terrorist husband and wife team of Jerad and Amanda Miller have roots in the subversive patriot movement that the nation saw up close and little too personal with the Cliven Bundy fiasco a couple of months ago. Now, it appears the Millers ran amok recently when they entered a Las Vegas pizza restaurant and cold-bloodedly gunned down two police officers, and later, a Walmart customer who tried to stop them with a legally carried concealed weapon, which doesn’t bode well for gun rights activists who claim concealed carry laws cure everything from the common cold to small egos.

There is evidence that the Millers moved to Las Vegas recently and took part in the Bundy ranch farce that pitted a band of malcontents playing soldier with Bureau of Land Management officers as targets. What is ironic, however, is the way the group has turned against the couple for, in their words,  “beginning the  revolution”. In a Raw Story article posted today, it is almost comical to read how members of the Bundy coven do everything within their power to distance themselves from the two dead terrorists. Almost comical if it were not so pathetic of an attempt to justify their actions and gloss over the  fact that the rhetoric Bundy followers used in the BLM standoff is not all that different from the Millers. The intent was there but not the dreadful actions the the Millers used. Still, the Bundy group is making it plain that the Millers were asked to leave when they found out that Jerad had a criminal background and dabbled in illegal drugs.

This appears to be akin to  the pot calling the kettle black and a difference between the Millers and militia groups merely a matter of degree. In an article in Newsweek, one researcher into human rights had this to say about the militia phenomenon:

The anti-government movement is nothing new. “This is a continuing, recurring phenomenon in the American political landscape, one that ties into both a hatred of American government as it’s conceived by them as well as a deep-seated gun culture,” said Devin Burghart, vice president of the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights, who has studied extremist groups in America for years.

Hatred is hatred. The Millers’ actions are not surprising in retrospect. Take two parts ideological lunacy, one part gun toting crazies and add artificial stimulants, whether it is alcohol or illegal drugs, mix well and viola! You  have an act of terrorism that stuns the nation. One wonders how close the militia at Bundy’s ranch came to opening fire on the BLM officials who had the good sense to avoid a confrontation.

However, the real issue is when will it happen again?


Living Large in Carson City: Contemplating Cake and Death Camps

Far be it from me to claim I understand the fundamentalist Christian mindset. Let’s face it, people on the fringe tend to make up their rules as they go along to fit their small minded view of the world. Yet, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council is in a class all his own.

A case in point involves a wedding cake. Most of the nation heard of the Colorado lawsuit where a baker refused to bake a cake for a same sex couple, citing his religious beliefs as reasons for his actions. As this link shows, the court ruled that the baker was discriminating on a variety of levels. The final decision was the baker had no legal leg to stand on.  His actions were based on bigotry, pure and simple. God or religious beliefs had nothing to do with the case.

Perkins, never one to shy away from upping the ante to suit his particular worldview, was a bit taken aback by the ruling. As the article notes, Christian apologists were quick to jump on the ruling as if Satan himself was the ruling arbitrator.

“Attorney Nicolle Martin, of the Alliance Defending Freedom, told Perkins the ruling was part of an ongoing “witch hunt” against Christians, reported Right Wing Watch.”

Never one to mince words, Perkin’s had his own take on the issue of “gay cake” as quoted in the article,

“Perkins reached for a more recent historical analogy to compare the state’s actions to Nazi Germany.

“I’m beginning to think, are re-education camps next?” Perkins wondered aloud. “When are they going to start rolling out the boxcars to start hauling off Christians?””

Setting aside the obvious tone deafness of such a statement, equating baking a cake for a gay wedding to hauling off Christians to the evil of death camps and gas chambers, in most people’s minds, would be insensitive at the best or downright cruel and inflammatory at the worst. Perkins’ egocentric view of the world and the importance he places on his beliefs, however, seems doubly hateful and cruel in this case. One thing is certain, Perkins can’t have his cake and it eat too on this one.

Living Large in Carson City: Drinkin’, shootin’ and the futility of reasoning with urban terrorists

The gun nut wackos have been crawling out of the woodwork recently. With “open carry” laws relaxing, it appears that some gun owners are trying to revert the country back to the Wild West days of yesterday years. Emboldened by the fringe of Second Amendment supporters, too often, people are reaching for their guns to settle scores that often seem senseless. Granted, the lion’s share of these wingnuts come from my home state of Texas, a place I have become increasingly ashamed to call home. However, the phenomena seems to be part and parcel of the red neck conservative masses’ mentality regardless of what part of the country they cock their hammers, or whatever they do with their semi-automatic rifles.

A case in point is the Minnesota man who ran amok when a neighbor wouldn’t take his advice on how to teach his daughter to ride her bike. This is seriously over the top dumb. Throw in a Remington 870 shotgun, and things got crazy in a hurry.

According to the arrest complaint, 61-year-old Gary Drake began making comments about the father’s tactics May 25 as he taught the girl to ride on the cul-de-sac they shared.

The father told his neighbor, “I’ve got it,” which apparently angered the older man.

“If you don’t like my advice, get off my street,” Drake told the man, who reminded his neighbor he didn’t own the street.

This apparently angered Drake even more, and police said he went inside to retrieve a Remington 870 shotgun. From

Drake returned and threatened to kill the father, but fortunately, cooler heads prevailed as Drake’s wife came outside and physically took the shotgun away from him and dragged him back inside.

Drake wasn’t finished, however, and returned a second time to repeat the threat. Police were called and found alcohol was a factor before arresting the would-be killer before things really got out of hand.

Granted, most gun owners are much more in control of their emotions and actions than what we see happening on the fringe. The right to keep and bear arms is as sacrosanct to most Americans as the right to freedom of speech and other inalienable rights guaranteed by the Constitution. No one wants to see that right abridged. Abridgement, however, does not mean that regulations on who can carry arms and what arms they can carry in public is not the same thing. The thing to fear is when macho men armed to the teeth get to drinking and take the concept of “stand your ground” to the logical extension of lunacy. Therein lies trouble.