Thursday, December 31, 2015

On New Years Eve: Twelve Months of Quotes

Now that we've come to the end of it, perhaps it is time to take a glance back at some of the profound and not so profound statements made in 2015 by the famous, infamous, and the obscure.

January: Steve Emerson, who describes himself as, "a leading expert on Islamic extremism," went on Fox News and said, "Birmingham, England is totally Muslim. Non Muslims won't go there." His shocked Fox host responded with, "You know Steve that sounds like a caliphate within a country." Unfortunately for both of them the latest British census shows Birmingham is 22% Muslim and 78%non Muslim. British Prime Minister, David Cameron said of Mr. Emerson, "This guy is clearly a complete idiot."

February: Mississippi state representative Gene Alday explained his opposition to additional education funding this way, "I come from a town where all the blacks are getting food stamps and what I like to call crazy welfare checks. They don't work." After the shit hit the fan Mr. Alday first said he'd been taken out of context, then that he thought he was speaking, "off the record." He went on to assure everyone, "I'm not a racist."

March: In order to prove such vile nonsense isn't confined to the Mississippi outback, a video emerged on line which showed a bus load of University of Oklahoma fraternity members singing to their dates a little ditty whose lyrics were, "There will never be a n****r in SAE, there will never be a n****r in SAE/You can hang him in a tree, but he'll never sign with me/There will never be a n****r in SAE." In response to the impromptu serenade, school president David Boren kicked the fraternity off campus and the football team went on a three day walkout from spring practice.

April: At a Maricopa County, AZ republican dinner, the esteemed psychiatrist, Ted Nugent spoke to the audience about U.S. military veterans. He said, "Here's your job republican party, 20 to 25 of those guys kill themselves every day and they haven't told you why and they haven't told anyone else, but they told me why; because the commander in chief is the enemy."

May: Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a dark warning about the pending multi state military exercise named Jade Helm. According to Abbott the exercise might just be a ruse which would give the military a leg up on establishing martial law and begin a crackdown on, "political prisoners." He ordered the Texas National Guard to keep an eye on the federal troops just in case they tried any funny business.

June: After Reverend Clementa Pickney and eight of his congregation were murdered by a foul little racist, NRA board member, Charles Cotton said of the minister--who also served in the South Carolina legislature--"And he voted against concealed carry. Eight of his church members, who might be alive if he expressly allowed members to carry handguns in church are dead. Innocent people died because of his position on a political issue." It was a statement so cold blooded and cruel the NRA issued a statement saying its board members don't speak for the organization.

July: Back in Texas, on the eve of Jade Helm, the citizens of Bastrop were in a panic. Wild rumors of secret detention centers being set up in abandoned Wal-Marts and hordes of invading U.N. troops were flying. Helping fan the flames, martial arts expert turned actor Chuck Norris said, "The U.S. government says it's just a training exercise. But I'm not sure the term 'just' has any reference to reality when the government uses it." The local GOP chair assured those gathered at a town hall meeting there would be groups of armed people patrolling the streets to protect the city and its citizens. They must have done their job, because Bastrop still stands long after the exercise ended.

August: Conservative columnist, George Will wrote of Donald Trump, "Trump promises that constitutional arrangements need be no impediment to the leader's savvy management and iron will." He went on to say Trump's supporters saw him as a means to, "...turn the government into a triumph of the leader's will." The column appeared well before Mr. Trump called for a ban of all Muslims entering the country and a national Muslim data base of those already here. It was the first published op-ed piece to use language which, at least subtlety, linked Trump and his fans to Hitler and the Nazis.

September: Kim Davis, the Rowan County, KY clerk--who has been married three times and had two children out of wedlock--went to jail for refusing to sign off on the marriage licenses of gay couples, because, according to her, it was immoral. Presidential candidates Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz rushed to her aid and, not coincidentally, to the gathered media outside the local courthouse. Huckabee, playing to the crowd, said, "We must end the criminalization of Christianity. What a world where Hillary Clinton isn't in jail, but Kim Davis is."

October: After a mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, OR, local gun store owner, Candi Kinney summed up the collective American psyche perfectly when she told a reporter, "There's always a rush after a big shooting."

November: A self proclaimed evangelist and social media personality, Joshua Feuerstien became incensed over this year's Starbuck's holiday coffee cup design. He went on Facebook and raged, "Starbucks removed Christmas from their cups because they hate Jesus." Fox News agreed and took it further by bitterly complaining the holiday decorations in an upstate New York shopping mall had neither a tree, or any other traditional Christmas symbols.

December: A photo of a street demonstration in Dearborn, MI surfaced on line after the deadly terrorist attack in San Bernadino, CA. The caption beneath it read, "This is Dearborn, MI after the radical Islamic attacks in California. These are ISIS flags and supporters, folks, but the media hasn't reported it because of political correctness." The flags weren't ISIS flags and the people in the photo were demonstrating against ISIS, not for it, as was clearly evidenced by a sign a couple of them were carrying.

Yes, it has been strange year and 2016 won't be any better. The insane frenzy of a full blown presidential campaign guarantees us that.

Given what has gone on and what will--and thanks to the Orange Bowl game later this afternoon--is it any wonder that, ladies and gentlemen, the bar is now open.

sic vita est.


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Two Rich Boys

Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me. They possess and enjoy early and it does something to them, makes them soft where we are hard, and cynical, where we are trustful, in a way, that unless you are born rich, it is very difficult to understand. They think, deep in their hearts, that they are better than we are because we had to discover the compensations and refuges of life for ourselves. Even when they enter deep into our world or sink below us, they still think that they are better than we are.

F. Scott Fitzgerald, from the short story, The Rich Boy.

Such is the nature of the rich boys. One is named Ethan Couch. In  June 2013, when he was 16, security cameras at a Tarrant County, TX Wal-Mart showed him stealing two cases of beer. Shortly afterward he was clocked doing 70mph in a 40mph zone while driving his dad's pickup. He had six, or seven passengers with him.

An hour after he scored the beer he plowed into a stalled car on a country road. In the ensuing vehicular mayhem four people were killed. Couch walked away unharmed. Later that night, he blew three times the Texas legal limit for drunk driving and tested positive for Valium.

In December of 2013 the judge was convinced by Couch's attorney and a psychiatrist that he needed rehab instead of hard time. Their main argument was that he suffered from, "affluenza," an unrecognized mental disease caused by his parents wealth and the cushy life style they had provided him. According to the shrink, because of the "affluenza," the defendant was unable to understand there would, or even should be consequences for his bad behavior.

Young Mr. Couch got 10 years probation during which he had to stay clean of alcohol and drugs and could not drive.

A few weeks ago a video of a bunch of young people playing the drinking game, beer pong showed up somewhere on line. In the crowd of party hearty guys was someone who looked suspiciously like Ethan Couch.

Authorities went to question him about the incident after they learned of the post. If they did find it was Couch and he'd been drinking they might have declared he had violated his probation and subsequently, a judge could have ruled the now 18 year old should spend the next ten years of his life in the bowels of the Texas corrections system.

But, proving that pesky old affluenza virus really isn't curable, the cops found Ethan Couch and his dear old Mom, Tonya had taken it on the lam. It would seem the very idea her little boy could be chucked away into a facility full of all kinds of people who actually are bad was just too much for her to bear.

The current working theory is that they fled in her black pickup truck, but despite pleas for help and a small reward being offered, the cops haven't a clue right now as to where Ma Couch and her boy are. For all anyone knows they are currently sipping pina coladas on a beach in Costa Rica.

All of which is sort of a metaphor, or at least an explanation of Donald Trump's current run for the republican presidential nomination and his complete lack of civilized behavior.

Indeed, Trump's notion of a tough start in life is, as he put it, "a small loan of a million dollars," from his father.

He is completely amoral in his politics and vile rhetoric because he sees no consequences for such crude and xenophobic nonsense. He never has--not in his two previous marriages, or his business dealings.

In fact, as anyone with a sense of observation can plainly see, Donald Trump doesn't believe he makes errors, mis-speaks, or has bad ideas. If something he's been involved with has gone south, it's someone else's fault and he invariably threatens to sue. He never lies, only the people who criticize him do. And, as the whole world can see, everyone loves him, except the liberal press.

Currently he is rolling along, spewing Yiddish obscenities--while claiming they aren't obscenities--as he tells his supporters it's disgusting that Hillary Clinton goes to the bathroom, and he enjoys leads in practically every poll taken.

See, no consequences and as long as that's true there won't be any limits to what he says, or accuses others of.

He has a problem though. No one has voted yet. And one poll he hasn't bragged about is the one that shows over 50% of Americans would be utterly embarrassed if he were to become president. Presumably they will cast their ballots for just about anyone, but Donald Trump.

El Donald has taken his obscene, fascist, act further than many of us thought he could. His success has made him bolder, louder, and completely assured that arrogance is the perfect substitute for brains.

Let's see how that plays out once the voters deliver what, hopefully, will be some consequences at long last.

If we're lucky they will and Donnie Trump will join Mrs. Couch and her son on that beach in Costa Rica.


Friday, December 18, 2015

The Crowded Theater Where Everyone Can Yell Fire

Ah, the internet. The current source of choice when it comes to knowledge, news, communication, and it would seem, dangerous bullshit.

The world wide web is the ultimate democracy, equally accessible to every up and coming Stephen Hawking, Hunter Thompson, George Will, Tim McVeigh, and Islamic State thug on the planet. It contains valuable information sources for millions of decent people and instant conversations between friends and loved ones. However, it's also conducive to, not just nefarious terrorist plots, but horrid cranks who can hide behind a dense fog of anonymity.

In fact, for many, the net is the ultimate crowded theater in which they can stand up and yell, "Fire!" at the top of their lungs even when there isn't a blaze.

Some do it for fun, or just because they can. Others do it to further political agendas, or prove to themselves that their worst fears and hatred of one group, or another is justified.

Case in point. Today, FactCheck.Org is reporting that there was a FaceBook posting--it didn't name names--which has gone viral about a demonstration in Dearborn, Michigan on December 5th, shortly after the gruesome terror attack in San Bernadino. The text, which accompanied a photo of demonstrators read, "This is Dearborn, Michigan after the radical Islamic attack in California. These are ISIS flags and supporters, folks, but the media has not reported it because of political correctness."

Actually the media did report the protest and it noted the people involved were Arab-Americans. But--in the photo you can clearly read a sign held by a couple of them which reads, "99.9 percent of ISIS victims are Muslim." It's sort of a strange thing for Jihadists to say, right?

Well, that's because the people in the photo were protesting against ISIS, not celebrating it.

It isn't the first time the good people of Dearborn, whose population of 90,000 plus is 30% Arab American, have been savagely libeled. FactCheck reports it and the city's government have been receiving terrified and outraged emails for two years after a self described satirical web site called, The National Report, put out a story which claimed Dearborn was the first city in the United States to implement Sharia law.

It was a suspiciously cruel joke and absolutely untrue, but there were plenty of yokels out there who bought every last word of it.

In another moment of hateful quackery FactCheck says a photo of a sign on a Dearborn street went viral after it was digitally altered to read, "Advancement of Islamic Agenda for America/Allah be  praised/America we will kill you all and/nothing you can do to stop it/Allah be praised." It was topped by a crescent and star logo.

The original photo was on a web site called Church Sign Maker. It read, "First Assembly of God/Church Sign Maker. On the top of the sign was a torch logo. In the background of each photo the exact same cars are waiting at a stoplight.

It would be easy to blame Donnie Trump for this crude propaganda blitz, but it was around before he started rousing the rabble. No, the real culprit is a pervasive, decades long, right wing talk radio campaign, which has been aided and abetted by Fox News.

Inside the foul conservative media bubble it has and is still, drilled into the volk each and every day, hour after hour, that all mainstream media is corrupt, a tool of liberal, one world, elitists who twist every fact to serve their ends. Such a notion creates a void which allows the type of malicious fucks who have demonized Dearborn, to rush in and create an alternate universe. It's one that doesn't have a thing to do with reality, but it rings true with those who feel besieged by a changing nation and believe they've been lied to by everyone to the left of Rush Limbaugh.

On the extreme end of this cult are those brutal fools infesting YouTube who claim every mass shooting in the United States is a, "Black Flag" operation meant to curb gun control and establish a dictatorship. Tragically, their first cousins inhabit places like Twitter and Facebook. They pass on posts such as the ones about Dearborn fully believing in each and every one of them. They do it, not because they are particularly evil in their daily lives, but because it validates every evil preconception and stereotype they've ever held.

That, in the final analysis, is the awful truth when it comes to this age of instant information and access.

God help us all.

sic vita est


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The God Awful Spectacle: Republicans in Vegas

What a God awful spectacle. There is no other way to describe last night's proceedings. It started with CNN's intro to the latest republican debate which looked to be stolen directly from some ESPN college football promo. In fact the only thing missing during the lead in, besides the cheerleaders and mascots, was the tag line, "Who is in?"

Then there they came, gliding across the stage. It was Carly and the Miracles. Ms. Fiorina was resplendent in all red and the chorus accompanying her was clad in what amounted to matching blue suits, white shirts and red ties. Unfortunately from that point on Carly Fiorina had very little say that was either effective, or memorable.

It was such a bad night for her that even Rand Paul came across more presidential. Still, she managed to avoid the cellar so to speak. That dank windowless place was reserved for Dr. Ben Carson who might have seen his sinking campaign slip beneath the waves forever. It was painfully clear that when it comes to foreign policy he is in over his head. You know you are having a tough evening when your most positive moment isn't the audience applauding, but when they're booing moderator Hugh Hewitt after he delivered what was believed to be a cheap shot follow up question.

Ohio Governor, John Kasich, a doomed moderate among a sea of loons, seemed on point most of the time, but his constant karate chop hand gestures made toward the crowd were utterly distracting. At times he looked almost as if he was doing a strange and  terrible imitation of the D.C. Comics character, The Penguin.

The desperate, Chris Christie showed up ready for a brawl. He mentioned his experience as a U.S. attorney who prosecuted suspected terrorist after the 9-11 attacks so many times that even reasonably astute mathematicians couldn't keep up. He also smacked both Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz when they fell off into an argument about NSA policy. Leaning against his lectern, seemingly exasperated,  he told the audience, basically, that's what these guys do, debate arcane policy in the senate while not a single thing gets done.

Rubio seemed the most professional of the lot. He never lost his cool even when Cruz hammered him on his support of immigration reform, which the senator from Texas claimed would allow, Barack by God Obama let in millions, if not billions of unvetted immigrants from everywhere--up to and including the planet Uranus.

Cruz, who recently has been promising to carpet bomb all of ISIS while not so subtly hinting he'd be willing to use nuclear weapons, ran afoul of head moderator Wolf Blitzer. The smarmy Canadian just wouldn't shut up after jumping into an exchange he wasn't asked to join, or had been mentioned in, a violation of the debate parameters. Blitzer finally told him he would have to be quiet and reminded him, sternly, "These are the rules you agreed to."

Former Florida Governor, Jeb Bush did manage to find his testicles as he took on Donald Trump and succeeded at it for the first time. In fact he delivered what was perhaps the line of the evening when he turned to Trump and told him, "Donald, you can't insult your way to the presidency."

Today most of the pundits are speculating Bush's aggressiveness has probably come too late. His campaign and associated super pacs have banked hundreds of millions of dollars, but he is still mired so low in the polls speculation is he'll never recover. There are an increasing number of reports many of the establishment big money people are starting to look seriously at Rubio as the only viable alternative to the crazed Trump and the equally despised Cruz.

At stage center was El Donald. He seemed truly stunned when he went after Bush with one of his patented personal attacks and it received not only that sharp retort, but a smattering of boos scattered throughout the hall. It went all the way down the slippery slope after Marco Rubio talked about the country's aging, "nuclear triad," and it was obvious the reality TV show host had absolutely no clue what the, "nuclear triad" even is. He tried to dance around it, but the jitterbugging was so awkward, Rubio finally had to spell out for him the triad consists of the U.S. long range bomber fleet, nuclear submarines, and ICBM missiles.

Overall, last night's debate was a gruesome display of bombast, half truths, outright lies, vulgar arrogance, and xenophobic rants. But, hey, what else can we expect from this crowd?

The feeling here is, 1-The undercard bunch isn't even worth mentioning. 2-Fiorina, Paul, Kasich, and Carson are finished. 3-Bush is in critical condition and not only on life support, but running out of health insurance coverage. 4-Christie is hanging in, but can't win south, or west of Pennsylvania. 5-Rubio will soon see an influx of serious money as panic sets in. 6-Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are having an ersatz homosexual affair. It is the only possible reason they didn't attack each other last night.

And yes, the bar is open.

sic vita est


Friday, December 11, 2015

The Week That Was: Buying Delegates in Cleveland, Carson Makes a Threat, Cruz and Trump Have a Spat, Carly Goes Off, and the NRA is Still in Charge

Has anyone else noticed things have become sort of manic when it comes to politics in these United States?

It is certainly easy to believe so. On Monday, 20 some odd GOP heavyweights met for dinner and one of the topics of discussion was how they would handle a brokered convention next summer in Cleveland.

Yeah, it is that weird now days. The last time there was a brokered convention in American politics was 60 years ago and it was the democrats. The republicans haven't had one since 1948 when Thomas Dewey ended up as the candidate of choice.

There will be plenty of denials, but the truth is the Monday evening summit was a direct result of Donald Trump's primacy in the polls. Guys like Reince Priebus and Mitch McConnell are hoping Trump's wild autumn rave will fizzle out over the next few months, but if it doesn't they are desperately praying he won't have enough delegates to turn the convention into just another episode of Celebrity Apprentice.

For those of you not familiar with, the process, if no one walks into Cleveland with a majority on the first ballot all bets are off. The delegates are released to vote for whoever the hell they want, or pays them the most. There is no telling how wild the deal making will get. One can readily see ol' Joe Blow from Kokomo demanding an ambassadorship to someplace like Fiji in exchange for his ballot and--if the timing and circumstances are just right--getting it, providing his guy wins the election.

Ben Carson, who has seen his numbers plummet in the last week, went all conspiracy theory when he heard about the meeting. He issued a statement which, in part, read, "If this was the beginning of a plan to subvert the will of the voters and replace them with the will of the political elite, I assure you Donald Trump won't be the only one leaving the party."

Dr. Carson has a reason to be suspicious. His party has a long and proud history of trying to subvert the will of voters in elections through increasingly restrictive voter ID requirements which are aimed directly at minorities, immigrants and senior citizens--you know--people who don't tend to vote for republicans.

While actually disqualifying republican voters during the primary season would be a tad counterproductive in the long run, buying delegates hand over fist in order to nominate a party establishment guy would come as second nature to the thugs in charge of this coven of werewolves. And let's face it, money won't be a problem for them.

Meanwhile the bromance between Trump and Ted Cruz might be cooling. Apparently Cruz held a get together with some big money donor types and, according to one report, questioned Trump's, "judgment."

Trump, as crassly arrogant as always, tweeted he, "expected an attack soon," from Cruz, but predicted it would fail, "like all the rest."

Cruz, while not entirely backing down tweeted that he won't be dragged into a, "cage match," with El Donald, no matter how much the liberal press wants it.

Then Carly Fiorina went off on CNN the other day after Chris Cuomo suggested the vitriolic campaign leveled at Planned Parenthood might have, somehow, facilitated the deadly Colorado Springs attack against one of their clinics. The whole discussion went off into never never land when it deteriorated into smack talk about the validity of the tape republicans have been saying proves Panned Parenthood sells fetal tissue for profit.

Fiorina borrowed a scene from Trump's script when she told Cuomo, "many experts," claim the tape, which was obviously and clumsily edited had never been altered.

Finally, proving that even in the face of overwhelming xenophobia and fear the NRA still runs the show, republican lawmakers refused to vote for a bill which would stop people who are on the FBI's terrorist watch list from buying guns. That's right, we won't let them on planes, and the ghost of Inspector Erskine might keep track of them, but they still can go out and buy that Bushmaster .223 and untold rounds of ammunition whenever they want.

Yes, we're in a terribly strange place at the moment. And just think, all this hysteria is completely driven by different polling services and the media. Not one American has cast a ballot during a primary, or caucus. We are still over a month and a half away from joining that traveling carnival.

Stay tuned, because, God help us, we've just started on this bizarre and hateful trip.

sic vita est


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Donald Trump: The Next Stop is Internment Camps

As of about 24 hours ago it became official. The United States of America has a full blown fascist running for the office of president. What else would you call a person who wants to ban people from immigrating here, or even arriving as tourists based solely on their religion?

Donald Trump's declaration that he would implement such a reprehensible policy yesterday really shouldn't come as a surprise. Let's face it the evil son of a bitch has already advocated the closure and, or monitoring of mosques and the establishment of a national data base which would keep track of Muslims. He even went so far as to say Muslims should have to carry ID cards.

According to Mr. Trump there is a sizable segment of the Muslim population who, "has a great hatred towards Americans." In addition he said, "Without looking at the various polls it is obvious to anybody that the hatred is beyond comprehension."

A story in the Washington Post, however, says Trump actually did look at a poll. He mumbled something about the Pew Research people, but the Post's staff couldn't find any Pew Polls which supported his broad brush accusations. In order not to be deterred by such an inconvenience, El Donald also cited a recent poll taken by something called The Center for Security Policy.

Indeed, there was one conducted by that outfit and the numbers are shocking. Of those surveyed the CSP found, 25% of Muslims agreed that violence against Americans in the United States is justified as a part of global Jihad. It also found, 51% agreed that Muslims in the U.S. should have a choice between obeying government law, or Sharia.

Hey, something as fancy sounding as The Center for Security Policy should know what it's doing right?

They might, but an unbiased survey about Muslims really isn't on their agenda. The CSP is run by a guy named Frank Gaffney. He was an assistant Secretary of Defense for about seven months during the Reagan administration. His stay was short because even the Reagan brutes quickly came to believe he was fucking nuts.

Brother Gaffney, among other things, claims long time GOP strategist, Grover Norquist has been actively working with radical Islamists for over a decade and Hillary Clinton aide, Huma Abedin is a secret agent of the Muslim Brotherhood. He also says the logo of the United States Missile Defense Agency contains a coded signal showing, "the official U.S. submission to Islam." Finally it's no surprise that, like Trump, he's a birther and claims Obama wasn't born here and is a closeted beer drinking Muslim.

As for the survey the Post says there was nothing scientific about it. It was an online opt-in poll of 600 people. There was no way to tell if any of those who responded to it were even Muslim. In fact, as far as anyone knows, Frank Gaffney responded to his own poll to help skewer the numbers. Given his politics the odds are he did because the results were exactly what he wanted them to be.

Earlier today, republican Speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan said of Don Trump's proposed policy, "This is not who we are as a party."

Well apparently it is exactly who 35% of you are, Mr. Speaker. Because that's the number of people in the GOP who currently support this raving loon according to the latest Reuters/IPSOS poll.

In the final analysis, that percentage, even more than Donald Trump's repulsive rhetoric, is the most appalling thing we have to contemplate amidst this crazed nonsense.

Ladies and gentlemen, the next stop is internment camps. Given what he said yesterday, The Donald has no where else to go, but there. Bet on it.

sic vita est


Friday, December 4, 2015

E-Coli, Salvador Dali, and Donald Trump Playing Them Just Like a Drum

Late Monday evening the week began to take a downward spiral. That is when an unidentified strain of E-Coli went to work on the old gastro-intestinal system and the hall bathroom became a residence within a residence for days. It was an ugly experience rife with sweats, chills, and other out of control bodily functions best left unsaid.

Meanwhile, amidst the fever and nausea, the rest of the world seemed to take on a Salvador Daliesque quality which harkened back to those days of yore when some of us were known to swallow various questionable substances, of both an organic and clinical nature.

Hey, let's face it, when a major presidential candidate continues to claim he personally saw things which--according to extensively documented history and the testimony of numerous eye witnesses prove never happened--then, gleefully sees his approval ratings go up, things have become so twisted the very concept of reality has become irrelevant.

Donald Trump's campaign, never at a loss for xenophobic bullshit, has tripped off into what amounts to a savage hybrid of George Orwell's Newspeak. The candidate continues to insist he saw, what he said were, "thousands and thousands of people," no doubt Muslim, in Jersey City, NJ celebrating the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. This despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Why? Because, according to him, his campaign has received, "hundreds of tweets," from those same rabid supporters saying they also saw the celebrations. In other wordswhat he is telling people must be true, because the people he is telling it to, tell him it is.

Good God, not even Hitler, or Goebbels had the guts to attempt this sort of crazed logic and they were the consummate pros when it came manipulating the past and condemning a religion in order to rile up the Volk.

Never pausing for a breath, The Don told a crowd in South Carolina that the president's passive defense against radical Islamic terrorists must be because, "...there is something we don't know about Obama."

That would be an unsubtle reference to Trump's birther rants which have fouled the airwaves and social media over the years.

Indeed, the message was clear. Obama really is a closet Muslim--a foreigner--who is facilitating the insidious plots being perpetrated by those seeking the nation's downfall. Trump will deny he ever meant it that way. He'll do his patented series of exaggerated shrugs and claim he was just posing a question to the crowd. He will insist, "The something we don't know about Barack Obama," crack could be anything up to and including simple incompetence. However, there isn't a doubt anyone out there with a functioning brain doesn't understand he was pandering to the most racist beliefs of those white rubes cheering wildly in that South Carolina hall.

Last week the people who run Fact Checker grudgingly admitted Don Trump is impervious to the truth. Well, of course he is. He creates his own truth, no matter how insane, on a daily basis and he knows the people who root for him will believe every word of his version.

That's because he has a perfect understanding of who they are and what they're afraid of.

Yes, you can say a lot things about the dangerously crazy fuck, but he does know his audience. And--he certainly can play them, just like a drum.

sic vita est


Saturday, November 28, 2015

Robert Lewis Dear and the American Way

The AP reports, Robert Lewis Dear lived in a cabin for a while, near Black Mountain, North Carolina. It didn't have running water, or electricity, but it did have a cross fashioned out of twigs hanging on the front door. A neighbor, James Russell, was quoted as saying, "The way he looked at you, the way he talked, he just seemed off."

Yeah, that might be one way to put it.

Yesterday, Robert Dear opened fire outside of a Colorado Springs, CO Planned Parenthood clinic, then he charged inside. By the time he surrendered to police--a refreshing change of pace from the usual run of the mill lunatic--he had killed three people, one of them a police officer who had responded to the frantic 911 calls. Nine others, including five additional cops, were wounded.

NBC News noted Colorado Springs authorities said, "The suspect appeared mentally unstable." That's another way of putting it.

Too bad the guy who sold Brother Dear the weapon, or weapons used in the attack didn't pick up on either assessment, or if he did, couldn't have cared less.

One report says Dear used, " AK-47 type rifle." A witness said he was shooting a shotgun. You can count on that discrepancy to be exploited immediately by the vile fucks who post conspiracy theory videos on YouTube. They'll also jump on the fact the same witness said he was wearing a hunting type jacket while news footage showed him being led away wearing a white tee shirt. As these words are being typed any number of savage clowns, who may be just as nuts as Robert Dear, are posting on line their, "proof," that the shooting in Colorado Springs was entirely faked by Barack, by God, Obama and his bosses in the Jewish controlled Illuminati.

Next year they'll all vote for Donnie Trump, because, let's face it, he's one of them, but that's a discussion best left for another day.

Right now we know both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton responded immediately to the tragedy by posting on Twitter that they, "...stand with Planned Parenthood." Ted Cruz tweeted he was, "Praying for the loved ones of those killed, those injured, and first responders who bravely got the situation under control..."

Rand Paul addressed the shooting on the same social media with a post which read, "Visit the Rand Paul Store for best black Friday deals..."

Jeb Bush, on the other hand, promised to undo the damage done by the Obama foreign policy and urged followers to, " my new op-ed in New Hampshire's @Con Monitor News.

At the same time, Trump was still blasting away at the New York Times reporter he said he didn't know, remember, or cruelly mock and Marco Rubio was urging everyone to stay warm. However, The Huffington Post did note that earlier this year, Senator Rubio wondered publicly why Americans don't get "fired up" over Planned Parenthood's dead babies.

Every official in Colorado Springs and the management of Planned Parenthood are currently saying the motives of Robert Dear are, at this time, unclear. But let's face it, we don't need Dr. Spencer Reid to explain the man's twisted journey from a North Carolina shack adorned with a cross of twigs to a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic.

And we certainly don't need him to explain how the bat shit crazy fucker got a gun.

We all know how that happened. He just walked right into some store and bought it with no questions asked.

It is, after all, The American Way.

sic vita est


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Donald Trump is Utterly Insane

He was first considered a joke. Then he upgraded to the status of a crude and many times cruel buffoon, not to mention misogynist and borderline racist. Now, over the last week, or two, he has taken such an appalling trip into delusional mania it has become crystal clear, Donald Trump is utterly insane.

And that isn't a joke.

On Saturday in Birmingham, Alabama Mr. Trump railed against American Muslims. He told the crowd, "Hey, I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down. And I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands and thousands of people were cheering."

Fact Checker reports he doubled down on his claim during a Sunday interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC's "This Week."

When Stephanopoulos told him, "You know the police say that didn't happen and all those rumors have been on the internet for sometime. So, did you misspeak yesterday?"

Trump's response? "It did happen. I saw it."

Stephanopoulos was incredulous. "You saw that?" he asked.

Trump replied, "It was on television. I saw it." He went on to say, among other things, "It was well covered at the time, George."

Fact Checker quotes a Newark Star-Ledger report on September 18th, a week after the attacks which said, "...rumors of rooftop celebrations of the attack here proved unfounded."

Fact Checker also cited Jersey City's mayor, Steven Fulop who said, "No one in Jersey City cheered on September 11." Fulop tweeted, "Either Donald Trump has memory issues, or willfully distorts the truth, either of which should be concerning for the republican party."

Some of the conspiracy theorist loons have said for ages that the wild parties were actually held in Paterson, NJ. When contacted, Paterson police commissioner, Jerry Speziale was blunt with his response. "There were no flag burnings, no one was dancing. That is bullshit."

There are only three possible reasons for Trump's recollection of American Muslims partying on the day of the attack. One is that he was under the influence of extreme pharmaceuticals. Two, he's nuts. The third is he saw a Fox News report which aired footage of Palestinians celebrating in the occupied West Bank and confused the middle east with New Jersey. This despite the Fox talking heads clearly saying the demonstrations were about a quarter of the globe away from anywhere in Jersey.

This crazed nonsense follows on the heels of Trump's weird and manic performance on an Iowa stage, his declaration that a Black Lives Matter protester at his Birmingham rally deserved to get roughed up by the crowd, and his promise to close mosques and create a system which would keep track of Muslims.

Yesterday he was in Columbus, Ohio where he told the audience he would not only re-institute the practice of waterboarding prisoners, but he'd, "...approve more than that." According to the Washington Post he repeatedly told the wildly cheering throng that, "It works, it works, it works."

Then he added, "And you know what? If it doesn't work they deserve it anyway for what they're doing!"

Ah yes, torture for torture's sake. Welcome to The Don's vision of making America great again.

Obviously these are the actions and ravings of a lunatic.That an unhinged man such as Donald Trump leads the republican race for the presidential nomination speaks volumes about the type of people the GOP currently appeals to--an aging and shrinking population of white folks who see their absolute control of this nation quickly slipping away.

Herr Hitler would be proud. The rest of us should be scared shitless.


Friday, November 20, 2015

Donald Trump Wants to Keep Track of Muslims Because, Well, They're Muslims

There is evil afoot and we are teetering on the edge of something horribly dark in this country.

No one will deny this nation, western civilization, and the rest of the world, who seeks nothing more than peace, is under siege by a horde of barbarians who barely deserve the title, human beings. They are savage beyond all comprehension and claim to adhere to a ghastly version of a religion most Americans not only don't know, but a huge number of us absolutely refuse to even try to understand. That the overwhelming majority of the people who belong to that religion, Islam, are equally appalled by these beasts escapes us. As does the obvious truth that most of the victims of ISIS are themselves Muslim.

Into this conflict comes marching two, or three candidates for the republican presidential nomination who are overtly pandering to the worst in us. There isn't a single shred of statesmanship, or common decency to be found in their words when they harangue the crowds who wildly applaud them, or during press interviews which they so eagerly seek out.

On Thursday, Donald Trump was asked by a NBC reporter if he would support a national data base which would help track of Muslims in this country. Without even pausing to think he quickly promised, that if elected, he would implement a registry of all Muslims. In other words, despite what that pesky constitution says about freedom of religion, he would single out the members of a particular belief system so that the feds could keep an eye on them.

According to NBC the responses to his statement were swift and varied among his GOP rivals.

Ben Carson said that singling out a particular race, or religion for surveillance would set a dangerous precedent. Sounds reasonable, right ? Sort of. Prior to Trump's comment, Dr. Carson had used a metaphor involving rabid dogs when speaking about Syrian refugees. Then, proving he has a rather peculiar understanding of the endless republican mantra which condemns an over reaching federal government, he told the media he was in favor of keeping a data base on every single person in the entire country. That idea should garner him wide spread support among tea party and NRA types.

Ted Cruz maintained that while he liked Donald Trump he, "...wasn't a fan of government registries of American citizens." Ah, the nuances of lawyers. Notice the Senator didn't say he was against a registry which would keep an eye on people who aren't American citizens.

John Kasich, while saying Trump's proposed policy would, "divide people," seemed to not care about the morality, or unconstitutional nature of it, but rather the election night results it could cause. He warned it could cost the republican party his home state of Ohio.

George Pataki said such a measure was, " revolting as it is un-American, but no republican is going to vote for him anyway, so it really doesn't matter what he thinks.

At this moment, Jeb Bush is the only major republican candidate who portrayed the idea as, "...abhorrent. It haunts back to a time that no one wants to go back to."

Indeed, it does. In fact the last time the world has seen anything like it in a western nation was after Herr Hitler and his pals grabbed the reins in Germany. The Nazis made Jews sew yellow stars of David on their clothes while members of the gay community had to wear pink triangles. That way everyone would know who and where they were  Make no mistake about it, yesterday, Donald Trump endorsed nothing less than a twenty-first century version of that grotesque policy.

Meanwhile the republican controlled house wants a, "pause," on accepting Syrian refugees and then demanded that the justice department sign off on each and every one of them coming into the country after a thorough investigation. Basically, Paul Ryan and his crowd wants to make it so difficult for Muslim refugees to get here that they'll give up trying.

In 1939 the German ocean liner, M.S. St. Louis set sail from Germany carrying a little over 900 Jews who were trying to escape from Hitler and the other monsters wearing red, black, and white arm bands. They had bought visas for Cuba, but the Cubans changed their laws and wouldn't take them in.

The St. Louis then attempted to reach port in Florida, but rumors swirled in the United States that the passengers were, not only Jews, but communists and anarchists. We turned them away. So did those always friendly Canadians.

The ship returned to Europe and those on board were accepted in varying numbers by the U.K. Belgium, France, and the Netherlands. For those of you who failed 20th century history, Belgium, France, and the Netherlands quickly fell to the German onslaught. It is estimated 25% of the passengers, who the United States of America refused asylum to, were killed in Nazi death camps.

President Obama wants to allow 10,000 Syrian refugees into the country over a year. If we kick them all back to the middle east what will the book be on the over/under of how many of them will be killed either by Assad, or ISIS?

So much for the ideal engraved on the Statue of Liberty.

And if we stoop to what Trump wants, so much for the ideal known as America.

sic vita est


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The War Against ISIS: Gazing into the Abyss as it Gazes Back at Us

Beware that when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster. For when you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.
Friedrich Nietzche

Yes, we've been here before. Periodically some large portion of humankind exists in a marginalized life as they're ruled by a corrupt and, or cruel regime, or regimes. Then they begin listening to people on the fringe  who seem nearly messianic in nature, who appear to be talking directly to them, addressing their grievances perfectly. After a while they collectively become convinced that the world, which they feel has wronged them so terribly, should not only be punished, but conquered. Then, with frightening swiftness, they go all ape shit crazy and descend upon their neighbors and everybody else on this blue ball with a terrible ferocity.

There is no vaccine to cure this disease--no therapy, or rehab. It has to be surgically removed by a process so appalling that many will utterly ignore Nietzche's warning and end up exactly what they are fighting against.

They'll deny it of course. Patriots will thump their chests and say they are defending freedom and decency and to a degree they'll be right. However, around the edges there will be a darkness in which we'll ignore the very principles we say we are fighting for. We've done it before--plenty of times--and the ugly truth is in most of those instances race is a huge part of it.

As of right now the governors of  27 states are saying they won't allow Syrian refugees within their borders. The Speaker of the House of Representatives wants to put a hold on accepting any and all refugees because they can't be adequately, "vetted." In Paul Ryan's words, "It is better to be safe than sorry."

A leading candidate for the republican presidential nomination, Donald Trump not only says he'd consider forcibly closing mosques in the United States, but he'd send every Syrian refugee trying to get into the country back to the place he, she and their children are so desperate to escape from.

In the meantime other republican candidates are howling because Barack Obama won't use the terms, "radical Islamists and radical Islam," rather than terrorists and jihadists when he talks about the nightmare  which happened last Friday in Paris. It shouldn't come as a surprise that within 24 hours of the barbarity a Fox News panel concluded Obama directly contributed to the entire bloody affair.

Nuances, such as translation and perception, escape these bozos. Besides killing innocent people, ISIS is quite accomplished at the foul art of propaganda. It won't take the brightest of bulbs in their media cadre to turn a war on "radical Islam," into  a war on all of Islam, which is exactly what they want every Muslim in the world to believe.

There can be no negotiating with these beasts. That is understood by just about everyone on the planet with a functioning brain. At the same time we've had troops fighting in middle east since 2001. Most reasonable people understand there won't ever be a clean finish to the violence. There will never be a formal surrender on the deck of this century's version of the U.S.S. Missouri which ends the fighting completely.

Let's face it, we're never going to be completely rid of these evil fucks. To them religion isn't a reason, it's an excuse to make the world pay for their miserable circumstances.

Knowing plenty of tea party types I have no doubt that nuking the bastards has probably crossed large numbers of impaired minds.  It is, after all, the easiest solution in the short term. And it will enable an untold number of male Anglo-Americans to experience erections for the first time in years. However it won't eliminate jihadi wannabes in places like Indonesia, or Minnesota, but it will give them yet another excuse.

In the end, the real questions we must ask ourselves in this moment are first, will we, as a nation, destroy the ideal of America while we're waging an endless war against a bunch of de facto fascists who want to destroy us? Second, are we willing to turn away refugees because of their race and religion? Then, finally, in the worst case scenario--which given the attitude of some current politicians doesn't seem that far fetched--will we sink to the depths of establishing internment camps, quarantining American Muslims? If the answer is yes to any of them, ISIS will have won.

Tragically, there are plenty of people like Trump and Ryan, who are ready to dive head long into that fetid pool.

I was driving a cab 20 plus years ago while trying to sell a couple of novels. A day after Timmy McVeigh blew up the Oklahoma City federal building and killed 160 some odd people, including a bunch of babies, I picked up an aged African-American woman. During the ride we talked about the bombing. As she sat there, completely serene in the back seat of the hack, she told me, "You know, all they're trying to do is make you just like them."

That's a true story. I've never heard a priest, or minister say anything more profound and I've certainly never heard any politician approach her level of understanding, or humanity. I dropped her off at a run down apartment complex near the intersection of Portland Ave. and NW 23rd St. and never saw her again.

I've haven't forgotten her lesson though. Listen, there are evil people in this world, but during this fight, we just can't afford to become like them.

As a man in France, who lost his wife in the horror at a Parisian concert hall said to ISIS on Facebook today, "You will not have my hatred."

Well said, Sir and well believed.


Friday, November 13, 2015

The Old Man's Assessment, Terrible Strangeness in Ft. Dodge, and Was the Trump Performance in Iowa Due to Amphetamines, or Simply an Unhinged Mind?

The old man is 91 years old and despite being a registered democrat has in the past--far too often for my tastes--voted for republican candidates running for president. His assessment of the Donald Trump candidacy is, "What bothers me most is that so many people think he's actually fit to be president."

Given what went down in Iowa last night there might be a few others beginning to question Big Don's suitability for the oval office.

According to a report by the Washington Post the express freight train known as the Donald Trump campaign ran completely off the rails in front of a crowd in Ft. Dodge yesterday. So much so the estimated audience of 1,500 not only grew silent at times, but downright edgy.

People tend to do that when a candidate for president shows up 40 minutes late, hair dis-shelved, then launches into a 95 minute, overly loud, harangue of bombastic personal attacks on opponents. Not to mention displaying flashes of behavior on stage which are so bizarre words like alcohol and drugs come to mind.

That's right--to question the veracity of Ben Carson's tale of stabbing a friend with a knife, who was saved from injury by his belt buckle is one thing. However, to step away from the podium, undo your jacket, then say to those assembled, "Anybody have a knife? You want to try it on me?" enters an area usually reserved for a person who has either knocked back a few too many martinis, or is in the throes of amphetamine induced dementia. After his demonstration Trump added, "How stupid are the people of Iowa? How stupid are the people of the country to believe this crap."

This after he told the crowd, Carson has, "a pathological disease." Adding, "A child molester, there's no cure for that. If you're a child molester, there's no cure. They can't stop you. Pathological? No cure."

Ah yes, quite presidential.

Brother Trump opened the night with a tribute to the border policies of North Korea and Afghanistan. He used them both, along with Canada, as examples of how other countries take care of illegal immigrants by telling everyone, North Korea sentences them to 12 years of hard labor, Afghanistan shoots them outright, and Canada levies fines of $5,000. It isn't clear how many people are clamoring to get into Canada, but one can cite several reasons, other than draconian punishments, why North Korea and Afghanistan don't have illegal immigration problems.

In another moment of audacious strangeness Mr. Trump claimed, "I know more about ISIS than the generals. Trust me." He also, quite predictably, labeled members of the press as, "...scum and garbage."

It wasn't tough to sell his supporters that line. They already believe it. In fact The Post reported that as members of the mainstream media began to tweet all the crazed madness, a number of Trumpites immediately took to various social internet outlets claiming a conspiracy--that mainstream journalists had gotten together and tweeted fabrications about the speech all at the same time. They backed away from that nonsense only after videos of the address surfaced.

The Post noted Trump's hectic schedule which began last weekend when he hosted Saturday Night Live and his lack of sleep during this week's edition of his campaign. And, there was no mention of slurred words, or other evidence of alcohol abuse. To be honest though, a sleep deprived old guy doesn't usually go on an increasingly loud and verbose 95 minute rant after an exhausting few days unless he is propped up by questionable pharmaceuticals.

Whatever the case, Don Trump's performance in Ft. Dodge can only be described as manic in nature.

Indeed, the only question now is whether Donald Trump's mental state is becoming completely unhinged, or the guy ate a couple of  black mollies before he went on stage last night.

Both options aren't particularly comforting.

Neither is the observation of a 91 year old WWII veteran sitting at home in Oklahoma City who has never voted for a presidential candidate who he deems too far to the left.

sic vita est


Monday, November 9, 2015

Tis The Season to be Crazy: The Apostates at Starbucks and the People Who Hate Them

It just keeps getting weirder and weirder. Yeah--it isn't even Thanksgiving yet, but apparently the season to be crazy has arrived early.

A Washington Post article on the internet today reports that Mr. Joshua Feuerstein has declared war on Starbucks, which is the over priced, over rated and over expanded, coffee house chain.

Brother Feuerstein, who is a self proclaimed Arizona evangelist and "social media personality," jumped on Facebook raging not about the prices, or quality of product, but the latest seasonal design of Starbucks' disposable coffee cups. In a video on Facebook he claims, "Starbucks removed Christmas from their cups because they hate Jesus."

He added, "Do you realize that Starbucks wanted to take Christ and Christmas off their brand new cups? That's why they're just plain red."

It didn't take long for a right wing hack at Breitbart to jump on this bizarre bandwagon. Raheem Kassam wrote, what the Post called, a detailed history of Starbucks Christmas season cups in order to prove their fealty to political correctness and, what Feuerstein calls, "a symbol of the larger war against Christianity."

Kassam's piece isn't a lengthy treatise. It begins with the 2009 cup. He describes it as bearing artwork which, "resembles," the fronds of a Christmas tree, stars, and baubles. Then he traces a sinister history of, in his words, "things going south, or east maybe." Yes, the designs degenerated into snowflakes, snowmen, fewer stars and baubles, and finally a happy dog playing in the snow.

That's right, according to these two goofs, this years plain red cup with the green Starbucks' logo is the evil conclusion of a campaign to degrade Christmas. This despite the fact, according to the appalled Kassam's exhaustive research of throwaway cups, they've always been generic in nature and have never once mentioned, Jesus Christ, or displayed any sort of specific Christmas greeting.

Kassam wrote, "Frankly, the only thing that can redeem them from this white washing of Christmas is to print bible verses on their cups next year."

Things spun so out of control, even Fox News, God bless 'em, kicked in a report mourning the de-Christifcation of Christmas, blaming not only Starbucks, but some mall in upstate New York.

Meanwhile, Joshua Feuerstein marched into a Starbucks wearing a Jesus tee-shirt, in order to, "just offend." He also wore a gun because Starbucks has asked patrons not to pack weapons while in their stores, although they haven't banned them. Arizona, being an open carry state, allows such crazed nonsense.  He did it, because according to, Reverend Feuerstein the chain not only hates Jesus, but  the second amendment. That's right dude, go all in: God and Guns in the name of the Prince of Peace and patriotism.

After he placed an order, he told the person at the counter his name was Merry Christmas, which he, or she promptly wrote on the cup. After he was served his latte, with the words Merry Christmas written across it, he bragged, "Guess what Starbucks. I  just tricked you into putting Merry Christmas on your cup."

Guess what you stupid son of a bitch. You also contributed to that Starbucks' bottom line by paying for their product. In short, you just helped them buy more solid red cups.

The constitution of the United States guarantees freedom of religion, just as it prohibits the establishment of a state sponsored religion. There isn't a single phrase in the document which says a corporation must recognize a religious entity, or holiday at either it's outlets, or on its packaging.

If evangelical Christians have stooped to this level of banality--are so enraged when our Lord and Savior's words, imagined visage, or birthdate aren't recognized on some re-enforced paper cup which will be thrown into the nearest trash can as soon as its contents have been drained--they should probably re-think their priorities.

They won't though. A false paranoia has augmented their faith. They revel in it. And in the end, each and every one of them have gleefully become self styled martyrs and they're determined to tell the rest of us over and over again how persecuted they are.

It's all bullshit. It also might be the end of the religion I have known and loved since my early childhood.

Can I get an amen?

sic vita est


Friday, November 6, 2015

Jerrod Murray Will Have to Wait on Objective B

It appears Jerrod Murray will have to wait on Objective B a while longer. On December 6th, 2012, Murray, a freshman at East Central University in Ada, OK, paid fellow student, Generro Sanchez $20 for a ride to a local Wal-Mart. On the way there he pulled a gun and forced Sanchez to drive him out into the middle of no where, then shot him twice in the head. One of his reasons was, "To see what it felt like." After he committed the murder, Murray called his roommate and told him he had reached, "Objective A."

Because justice is anything, but swift in Oklahoma, young Mr. Murray didn't face trial until July of this year. It didn't last long. In fact both sides decided a jury needn't be bothered with the proceedings. You really don't need one when even the prosecution's shrink says the defendant is as crazy as they come.

District Judge John Canavan quickly declared Jerrod Murray innocent by reason of insanity. In August the judge ordered him committed to the Oklahoma Forensic Center in Vinita where it was expected, by everyone, he'd be woofing down some heavy duty drugs for a long, long time.

Unfortunately no one counted on psychologist Peter Rausch. In September, a little over a month after Murray landed in Vinita, he issued a report to Canavan which said Jerrod Murray is no longer a threat to himself, or society and should be released. Staff psychiatrist Joseph Errico disagreed and filed a second report saying Murray is still utterly bats.

Faced with the conflicting assessments, Judge Canavan ordered further tests and scheduled another hearing which was held yesterday.

In today's, The Oklahoman, Nolan Clay reports the latest psychologist, Shawn Roberson wrote in his October evaluation that he asked Murray, "How do you know if this won't happen again if you're released?" The response was, "I don't."

According to Clay, Roberson also wrote, "He believed the victim's death pre-determined fate and he expressed no remorse for having killed him." Then, Roberson quoted Murray as saying, "There's no point in feeling bad for the dead, because they're dead."

Roberson summed up by writing, "...he (Murray) is quite satisfied with the way he is and has little motivation for treatment, or change at this time."

After hearing all that it didn't take long for Canavan to provide Murray with second free ride up to Vinita. He scheduled another hearing for next year after more tests and evaluations, presumably conducted by just about anyone other than Peter Rausch.

The entire affair has driven the Pottawatomie County D.A, among others, into a rage. He is busy trying to get legislation passed which would change the Oklahoma law from, "Innocent by reason of insanity," to "Guilty, but insane." In short someone found guilty, but insane would be sentenced to a term like everyone else, then after being found cured at a place such as Vinita they'd be sent straight to a prison in order to finish out their time. Or--in theory one supposes--to the white room where he, or she would get the hot shot if so ordered. Indeed, if we're going to kill them, we want the fuckers fully aware of what is happening when we do.

Clay quoted, D.A. Richard Smothermon as saying, "(Murray) can be released a year from now, two years from now and all he's got to do is fool one doctor."

That might be stretching it a little. While Murray did fool Rausch he certainly didn't pull one over on either Errico, or Roberson and no one but Canavan, or his successor can actually free him.

Not that it matters to Murray. Even if the law is passed, which it probably will, it won't apply to him.

However it might mean a great deal to Adacia Chambers. She is the woman who plowed her car into a crowd of people in Stillwater who were watching the Oklahoma State University homecoming parade on October 24th. She is looking at four counts of second degree murder and her attorney is already working his way toward an insanity plea. If her trial date is delayed as long as Jerrod Murray's, the new law could well be in effect and no matter how nuts she was last month, she'll still be looking at serious jail time.

The week is mercifully coming to a close and the insane, at least for the moment, are still insane. We'll simply have to wait and see if that remains true next year.

And now, since it is 5pm in places like, Bridgewater, MA, as you can well guess, the bar is open.


Monday, November 2, 2015

A Four Year Ride Back to Carina Saunders, Kelsey Bransby, Alina Fitzpatrick, and Jaymie Adams

It has now been a four year ride for this blog. On Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011 the first post of Ghost Shirt Papers appeared on BlogSpot. It focused on the murders of Carina Saunders and Kelsey Bransby. Both were nineteen years old and both had attended Mustang High School in the far southwest corner of the Oklahoma City metro area.

Saunders, who was living a life on the dark edges of society had gone missing in late September of that year. Her body was found on October 13th behind a Bethany, Oklahoma grocery store. She had been dismembered and her body parts were stuffed into a duffel bag.

The Bethany police force, manned by a little over 30 officers, took the lead in the investigation and assigned five of its members to the case. They were in over their heads from day one. Of course, it didn't help that they appeared more than willing to share every lead and rumor of a lead, plus the names of any potential suspects, persons of interest, and even possible witnesses with the media. The local press went into a feeding frenzy which lasted months.

Names came and went while talk of the existence of a phone video showing the brutal killing both horrified and mesmerized not just the media, but the entire town. Finally two men, Jimmy Lee Massey and Luis Ruiz were arrested for the crime.

Unfortunately for the local D.A, who eagerly jumped at the chance to become Ringmaster of the circus, the evidence given to him by the Bethany PD wasn't worth shit. In fact the Bethany cops had screwed the pooch so completely they were forced to hand the entire show over to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. Shortly after that, District Attorney David Prater, knowing he had no real case against either man, dropped the charges against them.

As of this date the OSBI isn't talking to anyone about what they've found, or haven't found and the people who killed Carina Saunders are still out there, somewhere. So is the video, if it does actually exist, although that seems as far fetched right now as Bobby Jindal becoming president.

Kelsey Bransby was discovered shot in her apartment two weeks after Saunders' body was found. She died a short time later at a local hospital. It turns out two of her friends, Cole Hopper and Danielle Cooley were involved in her murder. According to Hopper the whole thing was just an accident which took place while the three of them were copping a needle full of fun and paradise.

After the shot was fired, Cooley and Hopper did what any real friends would do. They fled the scene, leaving Ms. Bransby dying on the floor, got rid of the gun, and concocted an alibi for each other. By May of 2012, Cooley turned state's evidence. She was sentenced to probation, which she quickly violated by testing positive for drugs, then flew the coop, only to be caught within a few weeks. Hopper was sent away for nine years.

The November 17th, 2011 post of this blog reported the nude body of a young woman found in far northeast Oklahoma City had been identified as Alina Fitzpatrick. She was last seen on the 4th of that month near an apartment complex at NW 23rd St. and Western Avenue. A short time afterward her cell phone began to go directly to voice mail.

The 17 year old's body had a number of bruises and abrasions, and some, "cotton, or paper like," material stuffed in her mouth.

By January 20th, 2012 the state medical examiner declared Ms. Fitzpatrick had enough meth in her system that she may, or may not have overdosed. He ended his report by saying the circumstances of her death were suspicious, but he refused to say it was a homicide.

Shortly after the ME's report everyone got a hint of exactly how serious the OKCPD was taking the death of Alina Fitzpatrick. Department spokesperson, Sgt. Jennifer Wardlow issued a statement saying that while there was an open file on the case, detectives were, "not currently investigating the death as a homicide."

Ten days later, another spokesperson, Capt. Dexter Nelson tried to calm the outrage by assuring everyone homicide, "is just a legal term." He told the local print media the investigation was still ongoing and that while the injuries suffered by Fitzpatrick weren't, in themselves, serious enough to be fatal, she, "obviously didn't OD naked on the side of the road."

As far as I can tell that is the last time the OKCPD has ever addressed the mystery of Alina Fitzpatrick's disappearance and demise. In the words of one member of the local media, "The police have little confidence the case will be solved." Well why should they? They wrote her death off as soon as the ME said drugs were in her system. You could hear that file drawer slam shut all the way out to Guymon in the panhandle.

Finally there was the end of Jaymie Adams. She went missing in December of 2011. Her body was found near Lake Stanley Draper in the southeast part of the metro the next month. She was in her 20's and pregnant. To help make ends meet her husband Justin had advertised on Craig's List that she was sexually available in exchange for cash, which, in most minds, is pretty much the definition of prostitution.

According to reports at the time Justin Adams' story about his whereabouts and what his wife was doing had changed enough that our man, David Prater charged him with her murder.

And just like in the Saunders' case he couldn't make the murder rap stick, although he did end up hitting Justin Adams with two counts of manslaughter for facilitating his wife's death by putting her in the position to be killed. Justin Adams pled out and is currently on probation.

A guy named Joe Cyr was finally charged with Jaymie Adams' murder and his oft delayed trial is now set December 7th of this year.

And there we have it. If you count this one it has now been 680 posts over four years. That initial entry seems like a long time ago and there has been lot of agua under the bridge since then. Probably not so much for the family and friends of Carina Saunders, Kelsey Bransby, Alina Fitzpatrick, and Jaymie Adams. There are some things you simply can't distance yourself from. It's what makes some of us human.

sic vita est


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A Well Liked and Respected Employee in Stillwater

According to her father and a boyfriend, Adacia Chambers does not have a drug, or alcohol problem. The 25 year old woman is from Oologah, Oklahoma which is north of Tulsa, near a large man made lake of the same name. It is such a nondescript little village its most famous son, humorist and early day movie star, Will Rogers chose to tell people he was from nearby Claremore, which is not only larger, but easier to pronounce.

Ms. Chambers remained in Oologah, staying with her father, until six months ago. She finally left to move in with a boyfriend who lived in Stillwater, the home of Oklahoma State University. After hitting town she found a job at a fast food restaurant called, Freddy's Frozen Custard and Steakburgers. According to a story in today's The Oklahoman written by Matt Dinger, she was a, "well liked and respected employee."

Last Friday night, after working a full day, she and the boyfriend joined in an Oklahoma State Homecoming tradition known as the "walkabout." It is when returning alums, locals, and fans stroll down the streets near the university admiring the different decorations put up by students in honor of the celebration. Afterwards, she returned to the store and helped her fellow employees clean and close the place up for the night.

Saturday morning she reported for work, but something seemed off. Around 9:00am Adacia Chambers abruptly left the restaurant. The manager maintains she was not fired, or sent home for disciplinary reasons. One unidentified person claimed that as she walked away from the store she was crying. Unless some other, as yet unknown, witness comes forward at a later date, no one knows where she was for the next hour and a half. It is as if she temporarily disappeared into the twilight zone. The current evidence is she actually did, because during that time something went horribly wrong in her head.

She was next seen at 10:30am in her car barreling through a red light three blocks north of the Homecoming parade route. As people frantically waved for her to stop she blew past two traffic barricades, knocking one of them to the side. Finally, she smashed into a parked police motorcycle then into the crowd gathered at the intersection of Main Street and Hall of Fame Avenue. At least two people have been quoted as saying she never hit the brakes and, in fact, seemed to speed up.

By the time her car came to a stop over 50 people were injured, three were killed, and a fourth would die later at an Oklahoma City hospital. One of the dead was two years old, two were in their mid sixties and another was a University of Central Oklahoma grad student from India.

Yesterday's The Oklahoman cited a court affidavit as saying, while she was being booked into jail, Ms. Chambers told officers that she was suicidal at the time of the crash, but not any more. If she did go all kamikaze Saturday morning she wasn't very good at it. After leaving dozens of injured littered on the street and four dead, or dying, local police led her away in cuffs unharmed.

Her boyfriend, Jesse Gaylord was quoted as saying, "It would have to be something medical, or seizures, or mental. She would never do anything like that consciously." He also told reporters that nothing seemed unusual when she left for work that morning. Of course not, it never does.

Her attorney immediately began playing to potential jurors through both the local and national media. He told the press Ms. Chambers didn't seem drunk, but certainly didn't appear competent when he initially talked to her. The Oklahoman's Kyle Schwab, reports the lawyer, Tony Coleman said, "There was a very blank, almost lifeless look in her face." Mr. Coleman also noted she had been hospitalized twice in the last two years for undisclosed mental issues and hinted there had been suicide attempts in the past.

Adacia Chambers is currently sitting in the Payne County jail. Her bail was set at one million dollars and a psych evaluation has been ordered. The county DA has yet to file official charges against her, probably because her office has never been confronted with a nightmare of this scope. The word in the local media is they are going hit her with four counts of second degree murder and given the number of injured, God only knows what and how many other charges.

Years ago, the United Negro College Fund used to run some public service spots on TV which ended with the tag line, "A mind is a terrible thing to waste." True, but sometimes it's obvious a mind is simply a terrible thing.

Just ask them in Stillwater.


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Jim Webb Quits the Race, Joe Biden Doesn't Start It, and Kevin Johnson Decides Not to Run Again

Sometimes things really do happen in threes. In the space of 24 hours a presidential candidate has quit the race, a possible candidate has decided not to run, and the incumbent mayor of Sacramento announced he won't seek re-election. The reasons for the decisions are as disparate as the men who made them.

First there is former Virginia Senator, Jim Webb. He announced he was dropping out of the democratic race for the presidential nomination. He might as well--no one was going to vote for him anyway. Any slim chance of that quickly dissolved during the Las Vegas debate when he spent much of his limited time allotment complaining about his limited time allotment. While others were trying to score points, he came across as nothing more than a bitchy Ben Carson on steroids.

That pares the field down to three, because no one in their right mind actually considers Lincoln Chafee either a democrat, or a real candidate. The two highlights of Chafee's performance in Vegas were getting bitch slapped by Hillary Clinton and a whiney defense of a vote he made in the Senate which had all the gravitas of a high school kid telling his teacher the dog ate his homework.

Then we come to Joe Biden, the current Vice President of these United States. For months people had been urging him to climb into the race as a serious alternative to Hillary Clinton. The cable media, in an effort to add to the drama of the campaign, kept reporting a Biden decision would come at any moment. Those reports droned on for weeks.

Today an announcement finally came. Mr. Biden won't run.

During an appearance with the president, among other things, he said the reason was, "Unfortunately I believe we're out of time." Well you have to say something don't you.

The more cold blooded among us can think of another reason, or two. First, Secretary Clinton kicked ass on the Las Vegas stage and by doing so re-energized her campaign. Second, just a couple of days ago, Biden seemed to say he had whole heartedly supported the raid which took out Osama bin Laden. The press jumped all over it because it is well known that, at the time, Biden had advised Obama to delay the attack.

A gross public gaffe at the beginning of a run, which was woefully late to start in the first place, certainly didn't bode well. Especially since Hillary Clinton was there in person when Biden expressed his lack of daring.

Ultimately, however, the real truth, when it comes to Biden's decision, may lay elsewhere. Joe Biden has had to endure two crushing tragedies in his life. He has lived to see a wife and baby daughter die in a terrible accident, then years later a son pass away to an incurable disease. He has admitted he still suffers through moments of intense grief. None of us who have been fortunate enough not to go through what he has can ever imagine the pain he feels.

To run for president of this country a serious candidate must possess an icy singleness of purpose, not to mention the disposition of a rogue, man eating, lion. To have any sort of pause is fatal. Indeed, there is precious little room for real human emotion until the brutal and expensive marathon is over. In short, if you can't be all in with every fiber of your being, it's best to stay out.

The odds are, Joe Biden simply no longer has the killer instinct, or the stomach needed for such a ride. Who can blame him?

Finally we get to Kevin Johnson, the two term incumbent Mayor of Sacramento, CA.

Johnson, a former NBA star, has been plagued for years by rumors of sexual misconduct involving underage girls. Early this month Deadspin writer, Dave McKenna got his hands on a video tape of a Phoenix police interview with Mandi Koba. The tape was shot in 1996 when she was 17 years old and Johnson was playing for the Phoenix Suns. During the course of the tape she alleges Johnson molested her over a two year period when she was 15 and 16.

Mr. Johnson was never charged. According to McKenna, Koba claims she was paid over $230,000 not to tell anyone about the deviant behavior, but now at age 36 she feels she isn't bound by the agreement between her and Johnson.

It isn't clear if Koba was offered the money before, or after the police interview. Nor is it clear why, as of last week, despite her willingness to speak with McKenna, she was refusing to return phone calls, or emails made to her by the Sacramento Bee newspaper.

After Deadspin ran with the story the head of the local democratic party immediately began calling for Johnson's resignation. That shouldn't be a surprise since he has been persona non grata with the local democratic leadership since 2003. That's when a foundation he controlled got a Sacramento public high school turned into a charter school which went out and hired non-union teachers. Mr. Johnson, who is a democrat, ran twice for his seat and won both times without any help from the democratic establishment.

Today Kevin Johnson announced he would not run for a third term. In the press release he did not bring up Mandi Koba, or the Deadspin story. Neither did he touch on allegations raised by republicans he attempted to pay off another young lady sometime between 2007 and 2009. No charges were filed in that case either.

At this point there is no telling if Mayor Johnson is being shook down, attacked solely for political reasons, or, in actuality, is a low rent Bill Cosby. All we know for sure is Kevin Johnson won't be running for political office again. Whether someone--anyone--pursues criminal charges, or civil action against him after he is out of office is a matter of speculation, although, to be honest, it seems doubtful. Once he is out of sight, he will quickly be out of everyone's mind.

Meanwhile, as you can guess--the bar is open.


Monday, October 19, 2015

Nehemiah Griego Cops a Plea

In January 2013, then 15 year old Nehemiah Griego went a little funny in the ol' noggin'. He reportedly told Albuquerque police he shot his mother to death as she slept because he had become frustrated with her. His younger brother woke up due to all the noise and according to Nehemiah, became upset their mother was dead. So, to keep the little guy quiet, he shot him too, because nothing shuts up a whiney little brother quicker than a .22 cal. slug to the head.

The authorities say, Griego told them that after those two murders, he, "lost his conscience," and proceeded to kill his two younger sisters and finally his father when he arrived home later.

Those early reports said the father, Greg Griego, was a former gangbanger who had found Jesus and become a pastor at a nearby mega church. In addition he was ministering to inmates in local lockups and serving as a volunteer chaplain for the Albuquerque Fire Department. He also owned the weapons his son used during the gruesome spree. A story in the Albuquerque Journal said the guns were kept unlocked so Nehemiah could get to them in case of an emergency.

After he finished off his family young Griego got it in his head that he would travel to a Wal-Mart that was close by. The plan was to open fire on the patrons just because he could, then go out in a blaze of glory during a gunfight with police. There have also been reports he sent his girl friend a photo of his dead mom and she didn't call the cops after getting it.

It isn't clear whether he actually got to the Wal-Mart or not, but he certainly didn't open fire in the parking lot there, or anywhere else for that matter. He did, however, go to the church he and his family attended regularly and meandered about the campus aimlessly. Most of the staff and Sunday School faculty were there attending a seminar. The subject was what to do in case an of active shooter incident on the grounds.

The church's coordinator of security, Vince Harrison told police Griego approached him with a story about his family being murdered. Harrison, a retired cop, called 911 then the two of them drove to the home were the real story quickly came tumbling out.

Last Friday, 33 months after the fact, Nehemiah Griego pleaded guilty on two counts of second degree murder and three counts of child abuse resulting in death.

The tabloid news sites have been howling that he could get off with nothing more than probation. Yeah, that could happen and it could also be he serves time in some juvenile facility until he is 21 if he is sentenced as a child. That would be three years, since he has either turned 18 already, or will by the time another hearing is held in January. If the judge rules he is an adult and hits him with the maximum Griego is looking at 120 years.

His relatives and the people who knew him say they never saw the outburst of savagery coming. They all contend he was nice, respectful kid, who not only attended church, but played guitar in it's band. Harrison added that at an earlier date Nehemiah expressed interest in a military career after high school. An uncle, Eric Griego, a former state senator, has previously complained about the way the investigation was conducted and how the media has portrayed his nephew.

Well, Senator, let's face it--it was tough to make him look good nearly three years ago and it remains that way today.

Right now we don't know how long Nehemiah Griego will remain in custody. What we do know is if he is released in January, or after three years, or even in twenty, no matter what his mental state, he'll be able to get his hands on more guns as soon as he walks out the door.

Hey, it's a free country.


Friday, October 16, 2015

The Week That Was: Lamar Out of Control, Democrats in Vegas, and the Wrong Drugs in Oklahoma

This week has been so weird it is hard to know where to begin. Indeed, the list of losers is a long one, while the number of winners can be counted on one hand.

To begin with there is the strange and tragic saga of former NBA star, Lamar Odom. Last weekend Odom reserved a four day stay at the Love Ranch in Nevada. The ranch is actually a legal brothel located 80 or so miles outside of Las Vegas. Just prior to his arrival he apparently began a bender so epic in nature not even a pro like the late Hunter Thompson would have attempted it during his prime.

According to reports, by the time he was found unconscious in his bed on Tuesday, he had tooted a few lines of cocaine, drank most of a bottle of brandy, downed around 10 tabs of, Reload-72 Hour Sexual Performance Enhancer, and run up a tab of $75,000. While it isn't completely clear what caused the medical emergency, it is known that, despite Reload's over the counter availability, the FDA has warned against using it in conjunction with alcohol and drugs.

Mr. Odom is now on life support in a Las Vegas hospital.

On the same day the medics were called to the Love Ranch, the democratic candidates for president were in Vegas for their first debate. The clear winner was Hillary Clinton who easily proved herself to be the class act of the field.

At the same time, Lincoln Chafee and Jim Webb came across as a couple of two bit cranks while, Martin O'Malley nailed a too little, too late score with an eloquent closing statement.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders turned out to be a one note Johnnie. His, "Screw Wall Street," message came through loud and clear, but he seemed adrift on other issues, especially foreign policy. In addition his surprisingly soft stand on gun control was not only exposed to a national audience, but deftly exploited by former Secretary of State, Clinton. By the time the exchange wound down he was gesturing wildly and babbling about cultural differences between rural and urban states.

Meanwhile in Oklahoma, the people who run the Department of Corrections are fighting to keep from appearing in front of a multi-county grand jury.

The state's tea party Attorney General, Scott Pruitt wants to know who is to blame for the DOC screwing the pooch before the execution of Richard Glossip. The confusion was so bad the whole dreadful ceremony had to be postponed at the last minute by the governor.

The main reason for the fuck up looks to be no one at the Oklahoma Department of Corrections knows how to order the right drugs used in executions, or read the labels on bottles already in stock.

Glossip's execution was postponed because someone noticed--just before the injection was to take place--the state was getting ready to use Potassium Acetate, rather than Potassium Chloride. It wasn't the first time the mistake has been made, although, to Glossip's great relief, it was the first time anyone realized it before the hot shot was administered.

Back in January an autopsy proved Oklahoma mistakenly used Potassium Acetate in its three drug mix when it executed Charles Fredrick Warner. An AP reporter who witnessed Warner's death said that the convicted child rapist and murderer's last words, were, among other things, "It feels like acid. My body is on fire. No one should go through this."

Warner's initial date with the needle had been delayed in April of the previous year. That's when things went terribly awry during the execution of Clayton Lockett. It took Lockett 43 minutes to die after he began flopping around on the gurney like a boated tuna instead of going quietly into Forever Land. The scene was so grotesque prison officials blocked the assembled witnesses from watching the entire horrific affair.

The attorney for the DOC, former state Attorney General, Drew Edmondson, claims that since there has been no allegation of a crime, an appearance by his clients is beyond the jurisdiction of the grand jury. He also threw in some stuff about conflict of interest since the state's AG office also represents the Department of Corrections in other matters.

Edmondson's main problem is Pruitt doesn't give a shit about such legal nuances. He has eyes on the governor's mansion in 2018. He desperately wants to prove to the local right wing rubes he can crush all manner of incompetent liberal bureaucrats entrenched in state government. You can bet that is how he is going to play it in the press and to the voting public.

So there we have it--just another week riddled with crazed carnal self abuse, hookers, politicians, and people who simply can't read.

And yes, the bar is now open.


Monday, October 12, 2015

An NRA Weekend: We Have Met the Enemy and He is Us

It is painfully obvious that we in America not only have a huge number of guns, but an unlimited supply of ammunition. And for those of you not following the news, we aren't very smart, or original when it comes to using all that deadly hardware.

Yesterday in Phoenix, Arizona, police rounded up three yokels suspected in two shootings aimed at just about anyone driving along Interstate 10. The NBC report doesn't shed any light on the motive for the shootings, other than it was a Sunday and the people involved had a gun and thought it would be fun to use it. The network did say the Phoenix police classified the crimes as, "an isolated incident."

Yeah, well, that depends on your definition of, "isolated." In August and September there were 11 similar sniper attacks along the same Interstate in the Phoenix area. The local cops finally arrested Leslie Allen Merritt, aged 21, in connection with four of them. He has pleaded not guilty on all counts.When it comes to the other seven shootings, the authorities speculate they were perpetrated by, "copycats." In other words, unless the three goofs they picked up yesterday confess to all of them, the other shootings remain unsolved--not to mention the person, or persons who have been allegedly inspired by Merritt are still armed and out there.

It is probably safe to say these, "isolated incidents," will continue.

A little later in the day over in Arlington, Texas, posted something went a tad wrong during an after game tailgate party in the parking lot of AT&T stadium. A few hours after the New England Patriots beat the Dallas Cowboys in a NFL football game, a fight broke out between two men which degenerated into--you guessed it--gun fire.

The report goes on to say one man in his 40's was transported to a hospital with a gun shot wound to the neck. He is in critical condition. Another guy, the suspect, suffered some sort of leg injury and surrendered to police without a struggle.

It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that Texas currently allows its citizens to carry concealed hand guns. Of course, that being a little wimpy for real Texans, the gun crew passed another law which, in January, will let them, like, John Wesley Hardin once did, strap on the ol' hog leg right out in the open.

When it comes to Sunday night's shooting, according to the news outlet, "Arlington Police have not ruled out alcohol as a factor."

Oh you think?

Early this morning, in downtown Brooklyn, New York a hip hop music producer named Eric McKinney was in his car waiting at a red light. Before it turned green he was shot twice for unknown reasons. He tried to drive himself to a hospital, but wrecked his vehicle and died on the way. Police found eight shell casings at the intersection where he was attacked.

Mr. McKinney was the father of three children.

Finally, just west, in Manhattan, Walikque Grace Faussett and a friend walked out of a club early this morning. While attempting to hail a cab she was shot dead and her pal was wounded, as was another person. The suspect is an unidentified wild and crazy dude who was ejected from the club hours earlier. He promised the bouncers he would come back with a gun.

Apparently they didn't believe him. They should have. Ms. Faussett, the mother of a three year old, was celebrating her 24th birthday. Police say she had nothing to do with the argument which caused the suspected shooter to be kicked out of the joint.

In the end, she was, as so many Americans from top to bottom have been and continue to be, simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Honestly, when confronted by horrific shit such as this, it is hard to worry about some ruthless outfit like ISIS. Thanks to the NRA and the bizarre and deadly American gun fetish we will kill a lot more of ourselves this year than those evil bastards could ever dream of.

As the late cartoonist, Walt Kelly once said in another context, "We have met the enemy and he is us."

Given the current American culture, it tough to argue his point.