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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Teach your children well

Image from Behance.net

We moved from liberal Vermont to a very small conservative town a little over a year ago. I only wear my pro-Obama tee shirt when I am with my husband and I have received some very negative reactions to the Obama/Biden window sticker on my car. I expected that.

What I did not expect was the story our son told us one afternoon after school. He was waiting for 8th grade gym class to start, and overheard some kids talking about snipers. As he listened, he heard a conversation about how "cool" it would be if snipers were perched all along the walls, above the bleachers, and when President Obama walked into the gym, those snipers shot and killed him.

I'm serious. Our son heard this from kids his own age, standing in a gymnasium. I freaked out. I wanted to call the Secret Service, the school, the police, anyone and everyone. Our son didn't know any of the kids who made these statements, and the police would have probably chuckled and said kids will be kids, patted me on the head and told me to lighten up. So, we had no recourse.

Our son is now a freshman in high school, and tells us there are still teens who hate the president. They claim he is going to take away everyone's guns, he is a socialist and, when they're feeling really honest, they just hate President Obama because he's black. Other than seething hatred for President Obama, you know what else there's a lot of in this town? Old, angry white people and churches. Who knows, maybe some of those churches have pastors who asked their congregations to pray for President Obama's wife to be a widow and his children to be orphans.

During the Inauguration celebration Monday, a few rocket scientists decided to Tweet their displeasure with President Obama. The majority of them look, at least from their profile photos, to be in their late teens or early twenties. Brittany Brooke wrote "Maybe Obama will get assassinated, where are all the school shooters lmao let me stop #nobama." JennaRose Chadwick opined "It would be funny if obama gets assassinated on martin luther king day...just saying." And Keiran Kavanaugh chose the direct approach, writing "I truly hope Obama is assassinated sometime very soon." The names and Tweets, along with many others, can be found at publicshaming.tumblr.com.

Parents, what the hell are you doing? Our son is meeting kids in 9th grade who have never heard of EVOLUTION. Mom and Dad Tea Partier, you're teaching your children to hate, to be ignorant, to be violent, racist, bigoted asshats with no hope whatsoever of surviving in the real world. You, Mr. and Mrs. Bagger, are raising the next J. T. Ready. Congratulations?

Stop it. Stop taking innocent children and turning them into hatemongers. Any parent who chooses to fill a child's head with lies and racism and fear shouldn't be a parent. Our son has empathy and compassion, and a sarcasm streak a mile long. He needs that, by the way, to deal with the ignoramuses at his school. Someone asked him last year how the Earth can be billions of years old if it's only 2012. A parent taught that to his or her child, and sent said child off to school to meet my son, Captain Snark. That particular chat ended with our son laughing so hard, he cried.

Do I make fun of conservatives? Hell, yes I do. But have I ever wished harm on any of them? (Real harm, not just locked in a Porta Potty for 3 days.) No. I never wished harm on George W. Bush, never wished harm on Bachmann or Palin or Boehner or Cantor. Never. But liberals are the "scary ones," we're the ones dividing the country and we're the party of hate and racism.

We are teaching our son not to hate, not to judge, not to discriminate. We, I think, are teaching him well. I wish other parents did the same.


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Yay Us!

Image from aattp.org


January 19th was National Gun Appreciation Day. To show their appreciation for guns, several people decided to either accidentally shoot themselves or others, resulting in 5 gun injuries. At the Dixie Gun Show in North Carolina, a gun accidentally discharged, shooting three people. In Ohio, a 62-year old man was accidentally shot by a friend who is a firearms dealer and in Indiana, a man shot himself in the hand unloading a .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun. Oddly, at events around the country not involving firearms (Hug Day, Love your Kids Day), no one was shot.

Then there's the fascinating tale of one Richard Schmidt. Mr. Schmidt, the owner of a sporting goods store, was being investigated for marketing counterfeit goods, like NFL jerseys. Lo and behold, while executing search warrants on Mr. Schmidt's property, investigators discovered a veritable arsenal of weapons in trailers on Mr. Schmidt's property. One small problem: Mr. Schmidt is a convicted felon who spent time in prison after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter. Other evidence collected indicates Mr. Schmidt is also a white supremacist with ties to the neo-Nazi movement.

To recap, National Grope Your Gun Day results in a banner day for accidental shootings by people who claim they're responsible gun owners including a firearms dealer, and a convicted felon with neo-Nazi leanings is the proud owner of AR-15 assault rifles (yes, plural), Ruger and Sig Sauer semi-automatic handguns, bulletproof body armor and high capacity magazines as well as ammunition. Oh, and he's selling fake NFL jerseys. I think the feds can throw that charge out, don't you?

Next year, why doesn't Public Media just rename their celebration of violence and bloodshed National Hunting With Dick Cheney Day, so everyone knows what they're in for? And maybe the NRA can get Richard Schmidt to make a few ads for them, perhaps pointing out how violent the Quakers are (snort, gasp) as opposed to a peace-loving neo-Nazi who killed a Hispanic man and shot two others during a traffic dispute.

What a great time in America. Sheriff Joe Arpaio is allegedly using felons in his school guarding "posse," Wayne LaPierre is blaming 1980's movies and video games for violence in America, Gun Grope Day results in 5 hospitalizations from gunshots and a convicted felon who happens to be a neo-Nazi owns firearms and ammo to keep himself safe from all the brown-skinned people.

Yay us.

Thanks to The LA Times and NBC News.



Saturday, January 19, 2013

My borderline mother


My mother died in November of 2008. She contracted rheumatoid arthritis as a teenager, and developed osteoarthritis later on in life. She had multiple strokes, one so severe she suffered from aphasia and deafness in one ear. She had a permanent staph infection from a botched hip replacement surgery. My mother was also a borderline personality.
My grandmother was the Witch mother. Sadistic, charming, and only affectionate when she wanted something. My mother was beaten, as was her youngest sister, and both my mother and my aunt chose to something interesting when they had children. They each embraced the borderline mother within. My mom was the Waif, the Witch and Queen. She was fragile and needed constant care, she was sadistic and cruel and she was the only person in the family who mattered. It was a very dysfunctional environment in which to grow up.
I got my borderline personality the old fashioned way-I inherited it. At the age of 16, on my birthday in fact, I took all the Naprosyn and Darvon my mother had in her medicine cabinet. Her first response as my father carried my semi-conscious body down the stairs was “What am I going to take tomorrow?” According to my dad, eventually she realized that her only child was in crisis and thought about someone else.
When I became pregnant with my son, I cried because he was a HE. Women from BPD families are more likely to carry on the tradition than men, and my son being, well, a son, was a huge weight off my shoulders. Then I realized I had to get well. Realizing that and doing it are two entirely different things. My son was 5 the last time I was hospitalized for self-injury. In the ten years since that last hospitalization, I found a truly wonderful therapist, went on Lexapro for a while, and came out the other side of BPD. I don’t think about cutting, or starving myself, and I would never treat my son the way my mother treated me.
I have scars all over my arms and legs. In the summer, I can see people look down and try to figure out what happened to me. They usually don’t ask. If someone did, I would proudly say “These are battle scars. I won, by the way”, and grin. Because I did.
Borderline personality disorder affects millions of people, mostly young women. If you are reading this and saying to yourself this sounds like me, or my mom, or my wife, get help. For you and for the borderline. If the borderline won’t get help, get out. It sounds cruel, and when my then fiance now husband did it, I hated him for a year, but borderlines will destroy everyone around them even as they destroy themselves. Think of it this way: borderlines don’t see the world in shades of gray, they see it as black OR white. One day they love you, the next day, they despise you. Borderlines self harm, they engage in risky and often dangerous behavior and they will hurt you on a whim. But a recovered borderline is one of the most beautiful creatures on Earth. We are strong and empathetic, and we are hyper aware of the perfection in the petal of a flower or the giggle of a child. We are scarred, but only because we fought so hard to stay alive.

What to do if someone you love is a Republican



Everyone knows one. A relative, a friend, a spouse. Everyone knows a Republican. Not the old fashioned kind-the sane, lucid, calm Republican of yesteryear, but the new kind. Twitchy, paranoid, convinced that President Obama is a foreign born Muslim socialist. I came up with a few tips that might help you deal with, and possibly help your Republican.

1) Don’t ostracize your Republican. The worst thing you can do is leave them alone with Fox News blaring in the background and Ann Coulter’s latest book on the nightstand. Show them you love them, no matter what.
2) Be gentle. For God’s sake, do NOT suddenly inundate your Republican with articles from Daily Kos, or duct tape them to a chair and make them watch The Young Turks. This is a process not unlike deprogramming someone who is in a cult. Without the hand cuffs, unless you’re into that sort of thing.
3) Remember that they will fight you. You can point out the 50 times Fox and Friends have lied in the past week, but depending on how far gone your Republican is, be prepared for a battle. Memorize the lingo: libtard, Muslim, anti-American, conservative Jesus. Hugging can help, but in some severe cases, people have been bitten. Head gear may be an option.
4) Take your Republican outside. One of the best ways to show someone the light is to get them out IN IT. Many hard core conservatives sit in their living rooms all day, watching Fox and listening to Glenn Beck, Michael Savage and Rush Limbaugh. Getting the Republican physically out of the house can help. You may need assistance with this step, as some Republicans grab onto the door frame quite fiercely, digging their heels into the hallway carpet.
5) Show your Republican all the great things the government does, every day. Make it personal. For example, if your Republican is retired, remind them, again gently, about Social Security and Medicare. If your Republican is employed, ask them what they did last weekend. Point out that the weekend was brought to them by unions and that the Department of Labor, which is a government entity, helps protect American workers from abuse. Remember to duck after using the word “unions”.
6) When your Republican is at work, or a DAR meeting, go through their personal library. If you find four versions of the Bible, three Sean Hannity works and discover your Republican has subscriptions to both The American Spectator and Townhall, remove them. Yes, this is harsh, but remember, the less propaganda they have available, the less likely they are to throw it at you.
7) Use facts, not emotion. When your Republican launches into an “Obummer is a Socialist” tirade, point out that, in fact, he is not. Find actual Socialists and use them as a comparison. Travel to the library, hopefully with your Republican, and check out some books on Lenin, or Karl Marx or Leon Trotsky. Show your Republican the difference between all the “isms”-Fascism, Communism, Socialism, Marxism, Foxism.
8) Turning point.  You will either be feeling pretty damn good about your work thus far, or you are in the emergency room, having your earlobe sewn back on. Be strong, stay the course. Invest in antibiotic ointment and bandages. This is your Republican and you are the only person standing between them and utter Republicanism. Another “ism”.
9) Introduce journalism. It's time for the mainstream media to make an appearance. Mainstream. Please, do not undo all your work by taking your Republican to Mother Jones.com. It’s too soon. My suggestion is HLN. This is the home of Nancy Grace, whom your Republican will love, and interspersed between tabloid shows is actual news. Watch your Republican’s response to unbiased news reports. If their eyes narrow, or a vein pops out of their neck, turn off the television and try again later. This is a painful process for your Republican, who up until now, did not know there were other news channels available. And NO RADIO. Take it with you if you have to. Use force.
10) The final moment. This is when you need to honestly evaluate your Republican. Is your Republican becoming more open minded? Are they less likely to mutter that government health care is Socialism on the way to the bank to deposit their Social Security check? Are they using the word “President” before Obama, rather than calling him “That Muslim”? Have they stopped wearing shirts with sayings like “You can have my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead hands” and moving on to shirts with kittens? Then congratulations. Your Republican is well on their way to becoming a productive member of society, controlled not by irrational hate and Gretchen Carlson’s hair, but by their own mind! However, if there is no change in your Republican, and they are even more obsessed than before, a session or two with Dr. Schadenfreude may be in order.

Originally published at Mad Mike's America.

Cody Rogers: Fighting Hate with Love


Image of Cody Rogers from NoH8 and Facebook

Eighteen year old Cody Rogers has been thrust into the spotlight thanks to an event happening more and more often in America. Cody Rogers was the victim of a brutal assault because he is gay. Cody  wants to be an architect, and during our Skype interview, his mother Sarah laughingly told me Cody was addicted to Legos. Cody grinned as if he were remembering building massive fortresses out of little plastic blocks. Cody grins a lot, in spite of what he's been through.
In 2011, Cody started the Facebook page “Help Stop The Stomping.” At the time, it was a page to draw attention to violence against the LGBT community, without any personal connection. Then Cody joined the ranks of thousands, even tens of thousands of gay men, brutalized just for being who they are.
Cody attended a farewell party for another gay friend in February of 2012, and spent most of the evening on the upper level of an apartment, chatting with other friends, including a young woman. At some point, other guests became angry that gay men were at the party, and Cody’s female friend, along with others, asked those guests to leave. Cody’s friend went outside to make certain the men were leaving when one of them “put their hands on her.” She suffered a fractured wrist. Cody jumped to her defense, was grabbed and pushed down on the ground and kicked and stomped until he lost consciousness.
Sarah Rogers knew there was something wrong when Cody didn’t come home. At nine o’clock in the morning, she and her daughter were frantically searching their home for old cell phones, as Sarah’s brand new phone did not have Cody’s information loaded in yet. When Cody finally walked through the door at 11:00 AM, Sarah heard her daughter say “What happened?!” She saw her son, battered, bruised and bloodied.
Sarah told me her first reaction was rage. Wait till Mom gets hold of these people, she said. Three days later, that anger had turned to sadness. Sadness for the people who had assaulted her son; she felt pity for people who need to live lives filled with so much hate. She believes they are missing out on an amazing community, filled with love and friendship, and hopes that this experience is one that opens their eyes and their hearts. As she shared her story, Sarah Rogers glowed with pride for Cody.
When Cody came out to his family it was a “celebration.” Both Sarah and Cody say it was a great day, filled with love and acceptance and joy. Sarah was proud of her son: proud that he had the courage to live life openly and honestly, and proud that he would not have to hide or pretend. The Rogers family is a close knit one, and friends are welcomed in with the same love and joy as a sibling. Sarah believes it takes a village to raise a child and she loves her village.
I asked Cody if he would do it again, if he would defend a friend even at the risk of personal harm. Without hesitation, he said yes. Sarah agreed. She said they have taught Cody to think for himself, and to make the right decisions. She is proud of the decision Cody made that evening, more proud I think than he may even know. It is thanks to Cody’s family that his new notoriety has not changed him in any way. He is humble and polite, funny and open, and seems unaffected by the media attention. Cody did share that he feels blessed to have so many people supporting him and sending him their prayers and love and light, and he accepts it all with a grace far beyond his years.
Imagine creating a Facebook page titled “Help Stop The Stomping,” eight months before you are stomped in an assault. Imagine realizing that your page describes what happened to you, but months before it happened. Cody feels now that his page serves a purpose, and Sarah finds it incredibly moving that people are not only posting supportive messages to Cody, but sharing their stories as well. It’s become a hub of sorts for people all over the world to not only tell Cody “we love you,” but tell him he is not alone.
Cody shared a bit about the case with me, including why his assault is not being prosecuted as a hate crime. Cody said if, when these men were kicking and stomping him, instead of “f-ing queer,” they had yelled “f-ing black” or “f-ing Asian,” or “f-ing” anything other than queer, the state would be treating this as a hate crime. Cody was kicked and stomped for being gay, but in the state of Oklahoma, that doesn’t count. Cody told me that the Tulsa police expressed frustration about this, as well, and without going into details, let me know the men responsible for this are being prosecuted, but not for a hate crime.
In order for this to change, and for Oklahoma to change its laws regarding hate crimes, the legislature requires 100,000 registered voters in Oklahoma to sign a petition. Cody is hugely grateful for the Change.org petition and others that are spreading the word about changing the laws in Oklahoma, but wanted people to understand the legal requirements to change those laws.
This was a truly humbling experience for me, meeting such a strong and heroic eighteen year old man and his equally powerful and brave mother. We had a wonderful chat at the end about architecture and activism and what it’s like to fight against a powerful force. Cody Rogers will always be a hero, not for what happened to him at the hands of a few bigots, but for what he has in his heart, his mind and his soul. Sarah Rogers is immensely proud of her son, and he of her. Having met them both, I can understand why.

Originally published at Mad Mike's America.

Where are the tears for Lizzy Seeberg?

Image of Lizzy Seeberg from Wizbangblog, courtesy of the Seeberg family


For the past two days, ABC, NBC, The New York Times, USA Today, ESPN, CNN and Sports Illustrated have been covering a story about a football player at Notre Dame being duped into believing his online girlfriend died of leukemia. Manti Te'o's coach teared up during a press conference while defending Te'o. The national media has been obsessed with this story, speculating as to motive, who was behind the hoax and introducing some of us to a new term, "catfish." Catfish is a reference to a certain kind of online dating hoax, and originated in 2010.

National media attention, tears, press conferences. Notre Dame even hired private investigators to look into the alleged scheme. The girlfriend, Lennay Kekua never existed. She didn't die of leukemia, because she never lived. Lizzy Seeberg was a real person, and she did really die. At the age of 19, Lizzy Seeberg took her own life.

Lizzy Seeberg alleged that she was sexually assaulted by a Notre Dame football player on August 31st, 2010, when she was a freshman at St. Mary's college. She reported the assault to campus police the following day in a handwritten statement. Immediately following her report, she began receiving threatening text messages, including one that read "Messing with Notre Dame football is a bad idea." Lizzy Seeberg committed suicide on September 10th, 2010.

Investigators didn't even speak to the player Seeberg accused of assaulting her until 5 days after her death. Notre Dame administrators hired private investigators to look into Te'o's fake girlfriend right after the hoax came to light. The lawyer representing Seeberg's alleged attacker told the National Catholic Reporter that Seeberg's story was a "complete, phony lie" designed to ruin the player's good name. Notre Dame is defending Te'o, stating they believe he had nothing to do with the girlfriend hoax.

Lizzy Seeberg's parents, Tom and Mary issued a statement after a hearing found that Lizzy's claim was unfounded. They said the news was "not at all surprising," and said Notre Dame's investigation into their daughter's claim was "wholly inadequate."

Fake girlfriend gets national press, tears and immediate investigation. Real girl commits suicide after being threatened and ignored and nothing. Oh, a few online sites covered the incident, the National Catholic Reporter had some articles about Lizzy, but ABC, NBC, The New York Times, USA Today, ESPN, CNN and Sports Illustrated didn't feature Lizzy Seeberg's story on their home pages or the front page of their publications.

Tom and Mary Seeberg have tears for their daughter. They have a hole where her smile used to live. Where are Notre Dame's tears for Lizzy?

Thanks to Huffington Post and the National Catholic Reporter.

Friday, January 18, 2013

National Date Your Gun Day

As real as National Gun Appreciation Day




Media Matters posted an article earlier this morning, highlighting one of the many sponsors of National Gun Appreciation Day, or what I am calling National Gun Grope Day. This sponsor has been removed from the list, but it's quite telling that they were ever included in the first place.

That former sponsor was none other than American 3rd Position, or A3P. A3P is a white nationalist organization, and is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Last year, A3P was famously hacked, and information released revealed communication between A3P, Stormfront.org and the Ron Paul campaign. 

Media Matters reported that once the folks over at National Gun Grope Day saw the article, A3P was removed from the list of sponsors. I visited the website for NGGD, and in order to become a sponsor, you must fill out a pretty detailed form and include a link to your website. That means that A3P filled out the online form, and someone, after clicking the link and seeing exactly what A3P was all about, gleefully accepted their sponsorship. NGGD yanked A3P down only because, in my opinion, they got caught. 

While I was over there, I took a look at some of the other sponsors. Holy shit. Let me share a few with you.

*Oath Keepers. Oath Keepers is a group of alleged former military and law enforcement members who are willing to commit treason, and encourage others to do the same. One of their many mottoes:

"We will never disarm. We will never surrender our military pattern, semi-automatic rifles and the full capacity magazines, parts and ammunition that go with them. The fundamental purpose of the Second Amendment is to preserve the military power of We the People so we will have effective means to resist tyranny. Regardless of what unholy, unconstitutional filth issues from the mouths of oath breakers in 'Mordor on the Potomac' our answer is MOLON LABE." (Molon labe means "come and take. Watch 300.)

*Whiteout Press. The second most popular article on their website was entitled "Lady Gaga, Satanism and the Illuminati," while number four was "Obamacare, RFID Chips and 666."

*Citizens and Country. Headline reading "Unvetted Obama Radically Transforming America Demand Sheriff Joe File A Criminal Complaint Now!" Not as weird as Whiteout, but still pretty nutty.

*DB Capitol Strategies. A conservative law firm. Will help you set up a PAC or Super PAC, offers assistance with non-profit status and political law. Grassroots, all the way. 

*Red State. Erick Erickson's insanely right wing blog. Erickson is a CNN contributor, why, no one actually knows-he's a giant douche.

*NW Conservative. Link takes you to a Facebook page, website is going live sometime this month. Logo featured on sponsor link is a gun sight over the American flag. (Classy)

*The Angry Pepper. This made me sad, because they have good products, but obviously not good enough to bleach my soul if I ever ordered anything.

*The Armed Lutheran. Let this speak for itself:

"The Armed Lutheran is dedicated to the Second Amendment, the shooting sports and guns in general. Offering opinion, news, tips, gear and firearms review from a uniquely Lutheran perspective."

And finally we have:

*American Sovereignty PAC. Guess. Go ahead, guess. Here's a little help, from their website:

"American Sovereignty PAC is a duly registered Federal Election Commission authorized federal political committee. American Sovereignty PAC is embarking immediately in activism, recruitment, endorsement and financial support of pro-freedom, pro-energy, pro-sovereignty candidates and of elected officials who share our vision of a secure and sovereign America." (I wonder if DB Capitol Strategies helped them out?)

My only question is, with these stellar groups on board, why did National Gun Grope Day feel the need to throw A3P under the KKK bus? A conspiracy rag, the most disgusting right wing blog on the planet and a Sovereign citizen PAC? Come on, NGGD, man up. Bring back American 3rd Position. Trust me, it can't hurt.

H/T to Media Matters.








Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Tidal Wave of Insanity


A portion of my week was spent communicating with Bank of America. We do not use Bank of America for any of our financial needs, and I was not calling and emailing them to become a customer. I was contacting them to debunk yet another rumor about firearms.

A video surfaced online early Wednesday morning, showing a woman who called herself Freida calling Bank of America's toll free customer service number. Frieda, who according to the floating text that hovered over the video from time to time, is part of a group of "preppers," had heard a rumor that Bank of America was no longer allowing its customers to use debit cards for firearm and ammunition purchases. Frieda, after being on hold for about 20 minutes, spoke with a customer service rep who told her the rumor was true. My bullshit detector went off.

I then watched a second video that claimed to "debunk" Frieda's experience. Once again, someone calls Bank of America's toll free number, spends some time on hold, and is connected with another representative. This time, however, the customer service rep stated the rumor was false. That detector was now a 5-alarm fire in my head.

Again, I am not a customer with Bank of America, nor am I employed by Bank of America. I have nothing to gain from this situation except the truth. So, I went digging. First, I called the toll free number, and when I spoke to a customer service rep, I was told what made perfect sense to me. The B of A rep informed me that he was unable to answer my question, did not have any information about this at all, and referred me to Bank of America's media website.

I contacted B of A by email and called their corporate offices twice. The first call was simply to ask if this rumor was true, and the woman with whom I spoke stated it was unequivocally false. My dear friend and fellow truth seeker, John Henry, subtly reminded me I should get a name, so I called back. The advocate was unable to share her name with me (my guess is that, as an executive assistant of some sort, she wanted someone farther up the food chain to put their name on this mess), but assured me Bank of America was not putting any restrictions on debit card purchases relating to firearm and ammunition purchases.

Later in the day, I received an email response from a woman named Anne Pace from B of A's media relations department. Ms. Pace wrote that Bank of America credit and debits cards can be used at retailers where major credit cards are accepted, and that any information contrary to that was inaccurate. What's disturbing is that people still refuse to believe the truth, and not just about this hoax, but about almost everything. Including the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

There is a tidal wave of insanity crashing over America, and it's scary to watch. Most people know of my battle with borderline personality disorder and that I was hospitalized a few times in my twenties and thirties. During those stays, I met paranoid schizophrenics, people who believed in global conspiracies and things that were so far out of the realm of reality, it made me wonder if they could ever be well. The first time I heard about a "New World Order," I was listening to a paranoid schizophrenic who also obsessed about Armageddon, Jesus and how the American government was just like Nazi Germany.

I have no idea what to think anymore. Are the people who post videos accusing the government of using "crisis actors" in Newtown truly mentally ill, or are they choosing to behave this way? We all watched Alex Jones on CNN-is he mentally ill? He believes wholeheartedly in the same things that paranoid schizophrenic believed, and what's worse, Jones has a large audience of people who devour every single thing he says.

What I do know is that while the NRA and the anti-gun regulation groups bellow about the problem of mental illness in America, rather than continue to point their fingers elsewhere, perhaps they should be pointing at themselves. Understand, I am in no way belittling people who are genuinely mentally ill. As I asked above, are these people, these conspiracy theorists, truly ill or are they choosing to act this way?

If they are choosing to do this, if they could rein it in and show some respect and empathy for the families in Newtown and survivors of Aurora and Oregon and Virginia Tech and so many other massacres, then they are not ill. They are evil. Perhaps the title of this piece is wrong; perhaps we are not facing a tidal wave of insanity. Maybe we're just facing old fashioned evil.



One Billion Rising

Image from One Billion Rising

As I type this sentence, a woman somewhere in the world is being raped. In the time it takes you to read this sentence, a young girl, maybe 9 or 10 years old, is sold into the sex trade. Take a sip of coffee, and understand that as you savor the aroma, a woman was just beaten by a spouse or intimate partner.

One in three women on the planet will be raped in her lifetime. One in three. We feel powerless, helpless, saddened, and we wonder what can we do. We can rise, as one voice, and dance.

One Billion Rising is an organization focused on shining a light into the darkest corners of violence against women all over the world, and on February 14th, they are calling on people everywhere to "walk out, dance, rise up and demand an end to this violence." Joining with V-Day, OBR hopes to bring global awareness to the violence perpetrated against women and young girls all over the world.

On Valentine's Day, 1998, playwright and activist Eve Ensler joined with a group of women in New York and created V-Day. Ensler, the creative genius behind The Vagina Monologues, heard from women all over the world, women who shared their own stories of survival. V-Day began as a single event in New York City 15 years ago, and today includes over 5,800 events annually.

The message and mission of V-Day is simple: violence against women and girls must end. Each year, Eve Ensler allows groups from around the world to produce a performance of The Vagina Monologues in February, March and April, using the proceeds to fund programs, shelters and other resources that work to end violence against women and girls.

One Billion Rising and V-Day promote the idea of a world where women and girls are not treated like property, where their genitals are not mutilated http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs241/en/
and where a woman who is raped, thrown off a bus and left to die is not blamed for her own attack. The global statistics are disturbing and sobering, but it is not enough just to read those statistics and shake our heads, wondering what we can do.

Join One Billion Rising and V-Day on February 14th, join with one billion people all over the world, and walk out, rise up, dance and demand an end to the violence. Eve Ensler is "Over It," and so am I, so are one billion people. Rise up.

Thank you to One Billion Rising, especially Jennifer Hirsch, and V-Day for contributions to this piece.

http://onebillionrising.org/pages/over-it (Eve Ensler's amazing statement on why she is rising)

http://www.onebillionrising.org/pages/about-one-billion-rising (One Billion Rising's website)

http://www.vday.org/home (V-Day's website)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fL5N8rSy4CU (Video of "Break the Chain")


Monday, January 14, 2013

Welcome to Independence, USA!

Glenn and his Dream!

Glenn Beck, never content to rest on his laurels or take his Haldol, announced plans for his very own city last week. Called Independence, USA! (you have to include the exclamation point, or David Barton will come to your house), Beck's Utopian/Galt town includes working ranches, farms, small businesses and a Research and Development Center. Independence USA! will also boast a church designed to look exactly like the Alamo! What screams Jesus more than a place of worship modeled after the site of a bloody battle?

Because I have the best darn readers not living in Independence, USA!, I discovered the marketing brochure for Glenn's shining city in the desert in my inbox this morning! Thank you, anonymous reader! Exclamation points are addictive!

Without further ado, I present to you Glenn Beck's Independence, USA!

As a child, Glenn loved Walt Disney. Glenn loved the Tea Cup ride, even though it made him nauseous, he loved Peter Pan, and he wanted to live in Cinderella's castle forever. When Glenn discovered Walt Disney's true dream for Disneyland, he knew that one day, he, Glenn Beck, would make that dream a reality. And today, Glenn does exactly that with Independence, USA!

Combining Walt Disney's dream for a perfect city with Ayn Rand's dream of a dystopian world where people refuse to pay taxes or help each other, Glenn has created the perfect place for the Sovereign citizen in us all. Glenn has been warning us for years about the ever expanding New World Order and the unpatriotic fascist, socialist, Marxist American government. In response to the terrifying plot being waged on conservative Christians by nefarious global powers and fluffy puppets, Glenn has taken matters into his own hands.

Independence, USA! will welcome people of all faiths (as long as you're Christian), all creeds (sort of) and all financial statuses (as long as you can pay 35% up front). Applicants will have to fill out a detailed questionnaire, go through a background check (credit only, we don't care if you've been arrested) and show 25 years of voting records. Anyone exhibiting a liberal "lean" will be directed to the Independence, USA! Camp for reeducation.

Here are some sample questions:

1) How many times have you read Atlas Shrugged? Please present your copy to the moderator.

2) Have you ever been to Cuba?

3) Was Jesus white?

4) *Why are most Coloreds/Blacks considered inner city hoodlums, alcoholics, gang bangers, druggies and racists? Please give specific examples.

5) Have you ever purchased a foreign car?

6) Are you wearing, or do you own, a pair of 1791 Jeans?

7) Why do liberals hate America? List three examples of liberals hating America.

8) What is the Tides Foundation, and why is it dangerous to our way of life?

9) Have you ever voted for a Democrat?

10) Are you a Nazi?

Glenn is keeping the location for Independence, USA! a secret for now, but he did share the architectural mock up with his viewers, and WOW is it fantastic! Some naysayers have claimed Independence, USA! looks a lot like EPCOT Center, but that's the liberal media for ya!

Stay tuned to Glenn Beck's website, Twitter feed, Facebook page, Foursquare account and psychiatrist's reports for further updates on Independence, USA! where America will be greeted by the reanimated corpse of Walt Disney as they pass through the Pearly Gates™!

*Question 4 comes from a fan at The Blaze! 

Top image from Mother Jones. Info on Independence, USA! from Mother Jones and Glenn Beck's website.

Shoot a Tiny Coffin, Thanks to the NRA



Think Progress had a story this morning on the NRA's newest I-Tunes app. It's called NRA: Practice Range, and it is a target shooting "game," where you start off with 10 rounds. Your target has 2 kill zones-one in the head and one in the heart-and the "heart" is on a much smaller target. Which looks exactly like a coffin. Let me repeat that: the smaller target, the heart "kill-shot," looks exactly like a coffin.

One month ago today, Newtown, Connecticut became a site of sorrow and carnage. To honor the memories and lives of the people, mostly little children, murdered that day, the NRA trotted out Wayne LaPierre to talk about armed guards at every school, movies and violent video games.

Gee, Wayne, a shooting game where the target that garners you the most points looks like a coffin, and where, for an extra 99 cents, you can unlock an MK 11 (also known as the Stoner Rifle, a semi-automatic sniper rifle) seems pretty violent to me. Oh, wait, no one dies in the NRA game, so it's not considered violent.

Coffin shaped targets. A semi-automatic sniper rifle. A month after Sandy Hook. Stay classy, NRA.

H/T to Think Progress, image from itunes.apple.com. See the details of NRA: Practice Range at the link below.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/nra-practice-range/id584567057?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D2

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Hate

Image from Pagecovers.com


People hate other people. They have since the first human rose up and glared at the moon. Governments can say they are waging war for a myriad of reasons, but it usually comes down to hate. Country A hates Country B because Country B subjugates its citizens, and Country B hates Country A because they worship a different god. And away we go.

Over the past 4 years, America has seen a resurgence of hate. It's always been there, this desperate need to despise everyone who doesn't look like you or pray like you or vote like you or love like you, but that malevolence now has mass representation in the political arena and in the pulpit. We have politicians who actively promote hatred towards the president, towards the poor, towards minorities, towards women and towards the LGBT community. So-called Christian preachers and pastors, standing proudly under a giant cross, thumping a Bible and telling their congregants that if "you" don't believe in the Christian god, get out of America.

With the explosion of social media and blogging, it is much easier to hate other people. Liberal "trolls" frequent conservative pages and websites, bombing them with epithets and references to bestiality, calling them stupid and retarded. Conservative "trolls" do the same thing, using words like "libtard," calling anyone on the left a traitor. Hate is the new accessory for the discriminating Internet user.

I don't hate people. I used to, but I learned that hating someone doesn't affect them. Hating another person or group only makes my life more miserable, because all that hate takes energy. I know people hate me, and I don't care. I've been bullied, attacked, threatened, stalked, lied about, harassed, called crazy, told I am intellectually and morally inferior, ugly, stupid, and had someone tell me I should have my child taken away and that my husband is "hopefully" cheating on me or should divorce me.

Most of that hate comes from the right, but not all of it. The stalker was a liberal, a few of the bullies were on the left, as were the people who called me crazy and claimed I was intellectually inferior. Folks on the right threatened to come to my house and kill my entire family, implied (or just flat out said) that my husband must be having an affair because who could love someone like me and called me a horrible mother.

And I don't care. Here's how you wind up where I am. I have a core circle of people I love, people I know would be at my side in a matter of hours if I needed them, people who honor me with their friendship. Outside that circle, I truly do not give a rat's ass what anyone thinks of me. My 15-year old son thinks I am a great mom. My husband loves me with all his heart. Friends who have been in my life since grade school, high school, Disney, even a conservative friend with whom I rarely agree, but I know if I called Brian, he'd help, and vice versa. That's what matters. Hate can't hurt me because I won't let it.

The far left has haters, too. But for the most part, no one on the far left has ever threatened me. Oh, they've bullied me and lied about me and harassed me and, in that one case, stalked me, but no hard left liberal has ever sent me a message, telling me they were going to come my house (address included) with their guns and murder my entire family, because "the only good liberal is a dead liberal." That came from a far right Christian.

The Westboro Baptist Church/Law Firm is a hate group of epic proportions, but they have a right to free speech. So does the Klan. It makes me physically ill, but there it is. The key to dealing with non-violent hate, hate online or emblazoned on a sign or on a tee shirt, is to remember it only affects the hater. We know that God doesn't hate the LGBT community or liberals or anyone, for that matter. We know that minorities are not destroying America. We know that hate is not the answer. There will always be people for whom hate is the only answer, and it is not your responsibility to try and change them. It is your responsibility, our responsibility, to respond with non-violence. A peaceful protest. Bombarding Mitch McConnell's Facebook page with a poop emoticon.

Hating someone, or a whole of people is easy. Yes, I participated in the McConnell poop protest, but I don't hate Mitch McConnell. I don't hate Paul Ryan or Bryan Fischer or the people who hate me. I'd be lying through my teeth if I said I adored them and was having them all over for coffee, but I don't hate them. What I'm trying to do, and what we might all want to do, is embrace the idea of peace and tolerance, and if some refuse to join us, okay. That doesn't mean we give up. Let the love in, let the peace in. We're better than this.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Breaking: Surprise Announcement from the NRA

Image from Tiny Little Dots.com


Dateline: Virginia

In a move many on the right are calling "bold" and "fresh," the NRA announced earlier today their decision to name former Vice President Dick Cheney as their 2013-2014 celebrity spokesman. Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the NRA who was most recently seen on the talk show circuit, blaming violent movies from the 1980's for our current gun violence problem, spoke exclusively with World Net Daily about the Cheney appointment.

Sitting down with Jerome Corsi, most famous for his well written and factual articles on President Obama's marriage to a Palestinian man and his birth in Kenya, LaPierre explained the decision to appoint Cheney to this highly coveted post (rumor has it Ted Nugent, Alex Jones, Michele Malkin, Carrot Top and Jeff Foxworthy were all under consideration).

Wayne LaPierre, wearing his trademark American flag tie and brown suit from Sears, told Corsi how thrilled the NRA was to be working with the former vice president, saying:

"Our members of course found about this before the so-called media. We have received tens of millions of emails from patriotic Americans everywhere, and I want to quote one of those emails. This comes from Mr. Chester McMarthur of Rosy Nipple, West Virginia." LaPierre then read the following email, often having to stop as tears filled his eyes.

Dear NRA,
My name is Chester McMarthur and I live with my wife and 7 kids in Rosy Nipple, West Virginia. When we got the call on the telephone that you were getting Vice President Cheney to be your famous spokesman, well, it was the best news we'd ever heard. My momma has a shrine to the Vice President, and when she heard the news, she was crying for joy. We all went out into the back of the house and shot our Bushmasters into the air. If you're in the neighborhood tonight, we're having pigeon, eagle and flying squirrel for supper.

I think Vice President Cheney is perfect for this job. He ain't scared of a face-off when one comes around, and when someone says something he don't like, he'll go after them with both barrels. When it comes to guns and hunting, he's always ahead, and he never takes cheap shots. We are glad you tapped Vice President Cheney to be the new face of the NRA.
God bless you, God bless America, and God bless our guns.
Mr. Chester McMarthur.

As LaPierre and Corsi held each other, weeping over Mr. McMarthur's email, some on the left were expressing doubt as to the wisdom behind this choice. Chairman of Women against Guns and Lap Dogs, Hestia Flowerbottom, told me she is surprised by this decision.

"He shot a guy in the face."

Comedian John Fugelsang, who won world-wide acclaim for his portrayal of Doorman # 2 in "The King's Speech" had a similar reaction. He sputtered a bit, sighed deeply, and said "Actually, it makes perfect sense."

When told of the appointment, Vice President Joe Biden stared at a Fox News reporter for approximately 15 seconds, turned and walked away from the podium, exiting through a door. Almost immediately, raucous laughter, loud thuds and gasping sounds could be heard emanating from behind the door. President Obama could not be reached for comment, as he was admitted to Bethesda Naval Hospital for a "laughter induced nose bleed."

We will have to wait and see what, if any impact appointing Dick Cheney to this position has on the reputation of the NRA. As of right now, it's obvious that Cheney will give a new cache to the organization, as well as possibly increasing the NRA's face value.

Thanks to Shawn S. and Erin D. for contributions to this article.

What Would Jesus Do?

Image from Sodahead

Remember those wrist bands every Christian in America wore a few years ago? They were rubber, sometimes braided leather with a metal tag attached, and they all read "WWJD?" What Would Jesus Do. Having spent the last 48 hours wandering around a private Facebook group intended for far right conservatives, I can tell you what He wouldn't do.

He wouldn't pop in, call a few liberal women "C*nts," then pop out again. He wouldn't call those women "hags" and "bitches" and state we are all on welfare, which is why we have an hour or so a day to hang out and poke giant sticks at people who wouldn't know the message of Christ if you wrapped it around a brick and threw it at them. And He certainly wouldn't write this:

"Erick...You breathing through your mouth, having a helmet with a combo Drool-Cup/Chin-Strap speaks of your mind! If you want to know how I feel about socialism..I'm very close-minded to it."

Jesus wouldn't post a photo of bullet holes, with text that read it was Idiot hunting season, and address that photo to "Libtards."

I am 110% positive Jesus would never write this:

"Actually, I don't Gary...Some of you liberals have the emotions of a 9 year old girl screaming and crying like you're at a Justin Bieber concert! If you're a man, start acting like one instead of a little girl with a rash on your clam!"

In April of 2008, the Republican party disappeared and was replaced by the people I've quoted above. The fringe came out of their bunkers and joined the Tea Party. Suddenly we had presidential candidates calling the LGBT community evil all the while crowing about their own strange version of Christianity. We were witness to the birth of the American Taliban; people who want a government based on Christianity, LGBT men and women dropped behind "electrified fences" and left to "die out," or as another super duper Christian pastor put it, the government should just go out and kill all the gay people. Women who miscarry can be charged with murder, a zygote has more rights than a human being, women who use contraception are "prostitutes," and victims of rape and/or domestic violence don't matter.

The Republican party is dead. Oh, there are a few stragglers, but for the most part, anything remotely normal within the GOP began a slow demise in 2008 and dropped dead at CPAC. You remember CPAC-white nationalists invited to speak, white supremacy groups with tables at the convention, raging fundamentalist Christian Islamophobes preaching their hate and bigotry? They unplugged the respirator at CPAC. It was over.

While it's fun, especially for a satirist, to watch these people froth at the mouth over nonexistent Sharia law and Obamacare and scream "they're coming to take my GUNS," we would be remiss if we didn't take these sort of people seriously. After all, they seem to focused on mental health in America at the moment, if only to take the attention away from getting your "man card" by buying a Bushmaster, and if anyone seems mentally unstable, it's these folks, folks.

I planned to use the names of the two men and one woman I quoted in this article, then I realized their friends and family may not know their loved ones have gone completely round the bend. So I refrained. Having gotten to "know them" over the past 2 days, odds are if they read this, they will "out" themselves, just because the self righteous indignation at having their hypocrisy dragged into the light will be more than they can suffer in silence.

Oddly, they all adore Thomas Jefferson. Someone get on the horn to the uber right Texas Board of Education-let them know there are some people on the far, FAR right who haven't gotten the message that most of our founding fathers weren't good enough for their history books.

Update: While I am still not posting the names of the 3 people quoted above, the following comment was just too stereotypical not to publicize, along with the name of the charming man who shared it. So, here is a piece of witty commentary from one Mr. Steven J. Manning:

All libtard women are ugly and all libtard men are Homos. Suck on that for awhile

Friday, January 11, 2013

Aging Gracefully or Fighting It Tooth and Nail?

Image from Fan Pop.com


Somewhere in Africa, hyenas are not sitting around a bonfire talking about Botox. Clown fish do not swim through the oceans of our planet, griping about belly fat. Lizards don't have face lifts. We are the only species on Earth consumed with the need to never look our age.

In chi chi neighborhoods all over America, women (and men) hold Botox parties. A doctor (or a guy from Jiffy Lube) pops into your home and for an obscene amount of money, he or she will merrily inject Botox (or commercial grade silicone) into your face. A needle filled with either a variant of botulism or car lubricant, jammed into your skin in your desperate attempt to look younger. Sort of makes those sex toy parties look tame by comparison.

I will be 47 in April. I have been told I don't look 47, but if I did, I wouldn't care. As long as I don't look 70 before I'm actually 70, it's all good. I have friends who are Botox junkies, friends who have had plastic surgery, friends who have lipo and face bleaches and dermabrasion and laser treatments, and you know what? They're still going to grow old and die. There is nothing stopping the natural order of the universe, the only thing they will have going for them is a slower rate of decomp because of all the shit in their bodies. Who needs formaldehyde when you have dermal fillers?

This is really something I don't understand. As far as I know, there's no "vanity clause" in any health insurance program, so all of this is out of pocket. Tens of thousands of dollars spent to look younger. General anesthesia, needles, scalpels, tubes sucking fat out of your butt, stomach, even your face. I'll pass, thanks. 

Now, I am not saying I don't do things to try and at least keep my skin from looking like crumpled parchment paper. I moisturize and am currently using a serum from Origins to try and fade my age spots. My twenties were spent in Florida in the sun. I didn't care, and I probably should have because my cute freckles are now large and brown and very un-freckle like. No one would believe me if I said "Oh, I'm Irish so I have giant freckles shaped like Italy on my face" (Total exaggeration; the only one I have that's annoying looks more like Austria). I also color my hair, BUT I've been going gray since I was eighteen years old, thanks Dad and Grandma Brock, so I think that's justified. 

The only surgery I would ever consider is a nose job. It wouldn't be plastic surgery, it would be reconstructive. When I was fourteen, I had a summer job babysitting a little girl up the street. One afternoon, she asked me to teach her to roller skate, and I said I'd bring my skates the next day. As I was getting ready to leave, I hung my skates over the handlebars of my bike, at which point my mom questioned whether that was a good idea. I told her I'd be fine, and off I went. Turning the corner of our street, I began pedaling uphill, and suddenly the laces of one of the skates caught in the front spoke of my bike. The bike stopped immediately. I did not.

My face went into to asphalt, my leg was caught in the frame and I was screaming in pain. Our neighbor's father, a doctor, was visiting and outside gardening as I hit the ground. He called the fire department and tried to keep me calm while extricating me from the bike frame. All I remember is a fireman carrying me and telling me I had beautiful eyes, don't look in a mirror. My nose had exploded. My mother was, to her credit, fairly calm, until we got to the hospital where they deposited me on a gurney in the ER and left me there. Then she became Shirley Maclaine in "Terms of Endearment." It didn't help. I never received an x-ray, they never set my nose, I just sat there until I was discharged so eff you, Fairview Southdale Hospital.

Now, I have a severely deviated septum, my glasses take half an hour to adjust at the eye doctor, I get raging migraines and sinus infections. So, if you ever see me with bandages on my nose, understand I did not have a "nose job," I had reconstructive surgery so I can breathe like a normal person.

Let's end with this happy note. We are all aging. There is nothing we can do about it. I expect science will discover some magic formula derived from sheep intestines or goat urine that we can apply to our skin to turn back the physical clock, but if it costs as much as a car, why bother? Everything ages, everything dies, it's the natural order. Yes, eat good foods, exercise, try and limit your stress, but that's so you can spend more time with the people you love. Who, by the way, don't care what you look like. They just love you.

And they'll love you a little more if your face isn't frozen by botulism.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Godwin's Law, or Why They Always Go Back to Hitler


Image from Mother Jones


There is a theory called Godwin's law, which, amazingly, is the brainchild of a man named Mike Godwin. In 1990, Mr. Godwin posited that if you are in an online discussion for a lengthy period of time, someone will inevitably mention Hitler or Nazis. Now, I was unaware of this theory until I commented on a friend's discussion thread, and another person posted a link to Godwin's Law. It was a come to Jesus moment for me. Suddenly, things fell into place.

Since America woke up and said "Holy shit, we have a lot of mass murders here," conservative gunnuts (it's all one word) have been screaming that the "libruls are coming for our guns," and that we will turn into Nazi Germany, because the first thing Hitler did was "take away all the guns." Actually, the first thing Hitler did was get rid of unions, but let's just stay in the "gun regulation=Nazis" discussion for this article. 

This morning, I discovered a website that confirmed a nagging suspicion winging around my mind, The Propaganda Professor. On this website is an article entitled "The Myth of Hitler's Gun Ban." The article begins by debunking a quote conservatives like to attribute to Hitler, something he allegedly said during a speech in 1935. The quote is:

"This year will go down in history! For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration! Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future!"

According to the Propaganda Professor, Hitler never said that. When I looked for it, all I found were memes created by gunnuts, but no actual historical reference to that quote. Hitler did make a speech seven years later about the dangers of allowing conquered people to keep their guns. Which, if you're a totalitarian psychopath, makes perfect sense. Can you imagine the embarrassment? There goes springtime for Hitler. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNXj-SCx5dY

The gun registration that supposedly went along with the nonexistent 1935 speech was actually put in place in 1928, before Adolf Hitler rose to power. This law didn't outlaw guns, it  simply "restricted their possession to individuals who were considered law abiding citizens, and who had a reason to own one." (Quote from Propaganda Professor) Besides, the Nazis didn't take control of Germany using guns. They used propaganda.

So, no speech in 1935, gun regulations in Germany were enacted in 1928 BUT Hitler did pass gun laws in 1938, after the Nazis came to power. Just one small problem; those gun laws were more lax than the laws already in place. From Propaganda Professor:

"For example, it greatly expanded the numbers who were exempt, it lowered the legal age of possession from 20 to 18, and it completely lifted restriction on all guns except handguns, as well as on ammunition."

Huh. That's awkward. Hitler did forbid Jews from owning guns, but that decision meshes perfectly with his conquered people theory. And that's what conservatives latch onto. Remember the Tea Party sign-we're all the Jews for Obama's ovens? That's their fear, that a country founded on democracy will overnight become a dictatorship and you and me and Ed Schultz and Jon Stewart and John Fugelsang and Dianne Feinstein and Gabby Giffords are going to parachute onto their roof and take all their guns. President Obama will, of course, be driving an Abrams tank over their lawn gnomes.

Give me a frigging break. This is ridiculous. No one wants "yer guns." We want the gun show loophole closed, and stronger background checks, and so do the majority of NRA members. Gunnuts are hung up on the Second Amendment, which is in the Constitution, the majority of which they ignore, but GODDAMMIT, they have a right to own 15 assault rifles, extended magazines and other lovely accessories made for one thing and one thing only-killing people. You don't go deer hunting with an AR-15 unless your plan is to watch a buck explode. 


Let it go. Just calm the hell down. Hitler didn't do what you think he did, except with the Jews because he hated them and wanted them all dead. No one hates you and wants you all dead. We'd like you to read a history book (not from Texas) every once in awhile, maybe turn off Glenn and Rush and Fox and go outside, but no one wants to kill you. I have never threatened the life of a conservative. Oddly, conservatives have threatened my life, so why are they afraid and I'm not? I don't have a "Liberal Hunting Permit" tee shirt or bumper sticker. 

Shouldn't liberals be scared shitless?



Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The 4Chan Cutting Hoax (May contain trigger language)


The photo above is a picture of my left forearm. Those raised scars are from cutting. I have scars like that, some more shallow, some deeper, all over my arms, my legs and a few on my face. Cutting was my coping skill for over 20 years as a borderline personality. I am not ashamed of those scars, but I am not proud of them either. And before anyone gets upset and says "Oh my God, how could you post that picture," remember-I look at those scars every single day and will continue to see them for the rest of my life.

Monday, January 7th, an anonymous poster at 4Chan proposed an odd idea in response to Justin Bieber being photographed with what looks like a joint. That anonymous user posted "Lets start a cut yourself for bieber campaign. Tweet a bunch of pics of people cutting themselves and claim we did it because bieber was smoking weed. See if we can get some little girls to cut themselves." Another 4Chan user responded with a photo of a little girl wearing a fake mustache and the word "BRILLIANT" printed on said photo. And the hashtag #CutForBeiber was born.

Let's start with the obvious. The person behind this hoax is demented. Who the hell thinks like this? The photos I saw were horrible, and frankly, I can imagine quite clearly what probably happened to quite a few people when they saw those photos. What kind of person sits in his or her home and devises a plan to try and get young girls to self harm?

Now the less obvious. For survivors of any type of trauma, be it mental illness, violence, rape, there is something called trigger language. Trigger language is language that worms its way into a survivors psyche and "triggers" an emotional response, often negative. The GOP with their rape speak used trigger language. My former editor in his Erin's still crazy blog used trigger language. Whether done on purpose or not, it does create a response. With the rape mantra, millions of men and women felt like they had been punched in the gut. When a pundit on Fox News said women should "make better decisions" in response to the murder of Kassandra Perkins, victims and survivors of domestic violence were chilled to the core.

When this 4Chan user came up with his or her hoax and posted those photos, it was trigger language. Understand, a trigger does not have to be a word. A trigger can be a scent or a sound, a painting or, in this case, graphic photos of alleged self-harm, complete with razor blades and pleas to Bieber to stop smoking pot or "they" will keep cutting themselves. Hell, this article contains trigger language, hence the warning contained within the title.

Recovered borderlines could look at the photos posted by the 4Chan user and be okay, just as I was okay. They were shocking and horrible to see, but from a human perspective, not from a trigger perspective (Trust me-if I were not well, that "crazy" article from 2 months ago would have done me in). But someone in the midst of the pain and the darkness and confusion of ANY mental illness with a primary criteria of self harm would look at those photos and disappear into a place no one wants to be. I wonder if Captain 4Chan thought of that before he or she started their hashtag hoax. I wonder if it even entered their tiny little mind that someone might actually hurt themselves. Or perhaps, as is common online these days, that was the point.

The Internet is a place where most of us have fun, chat, catch up with old friends, watch videos and share common interests. There's a darker side to the Web, and this hoax is proof that there are some very cruel and evil people out there, lurking, waiting to cause great pain and destruction. I would like to think that the 4Chan hoaxer will be flushed out and exposed, and I would hope that no one actually self harmed because of this hashtag. It would behoove Mr. Beiber to, along with trying to explain the joint in his hand, reach out to his fans and tell them not to hurt themselves, that this was a mean and horrible hoax and if they feel like hurting themselves, to immediately seek help. Instead of trying to rescue his image, Justin Bieber could try and help the young girls targeted in this hoax.

If you are in danger of self harming or know someone who is, please contact a crisis center in your area. If you cannot locate one, please click the link below for help. Thank you to Buzzfeed for contributions to this article.
http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Nano Chimps, Great White Sharks and Hitler: An Evening with Alex Jones

Image of Alex Jones from Dangerousminds.net

The first time I ever watched Glenn Beck on Fox News, I was struck by how paranoid he was. He believed in grand conspiracies, he had his strange chalkboard, he dressed up like a Minute Man, he pretended to poison Nancy Pelosi and joked about murdering filmmaker Michael Moore. That's not stable behavior. As I continued to listen to the things Beck said, I wondered if he was just in it for the money. Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh are all in it for the money, and there is the chance that Glenn Beck is as well. That possibility may not exist when it comes to Alex Jones.

Alex Jones is the creator of the websites Info Wars and Prison Planet. I don't know why he felt the need to launch Prison Planet; maybe the giant donation button at Info Wars wasn't lucrative enough. Or maybe Mr. Jones has so many "theories," he needed a second place to share them. Here are a few of those theories:

*The government is using juice boxes to create homosexuals. (You Tube has a delightful 1 minute video of Jones yelling about this)

*The Deepwater Horizon oil spill was part of the Obama administration's plans of oil nationalization and global government. (Mother Jones)

*The Bohemian Grove's mascot, an owl, is actually the god Moloch, and one of the rituals performed at the Grove is "an ancient Canaanite, Luciferian, Babylon mystery religion ceremony." (The actual documentary)

*FEMA concentration camps. (Psychology Today)

Monday evening, Piers Morgan in what can only be called a show of utter masochism, had Alex Jones on his program. Jones is one of the people behind a White House petition calling for Morgan to be deported because of his pro-gun control stance. The video of the interview is all over the Internet, and I tried to watch it Tuesday morning, pre-coffee. I made it to Jones actually screaming "1776!" before I walked away and had to take an ibuprofen. After taking our son to school, I grabbed a mega mug of java, and sat down for the entire 14-minute "interview."

First, who do I sue to get those 14 minutes back? I'm almost joking. This was painful to watch. Piers Morgan was somehow convinced that he would be able to have a discussion with Alex Jones, asking questions and having those questions answered. Who the hell told him that? You don't talk to Alex Jones; you put on a spit guard and sit back, watching his eyes get wild and the veins in his neck bulge and listening to him scream about the New World Order and SSRI medications being responsible for all mass murders and great white sharks killing swimmers and Hitler. God, they always go back to Hitler, don't they?

When Piers Morgan asked Jones about the difference between gun deaths in America and gun deaths in Britain, Jones accused Morgan of using "little factoids." In Alex Jones' world, gun deaths are insignificant, because the federal government is using Juicy Juice to turn our kids gay. Oh, and Jones asked what may be the most surreal question I have ever heard during this verbal assault on Piers Morgan: "How many chimpanzees can fit on the head of a pin?" Obviously, Alex Jones has discovered top secret documents about the government's Nano Chimp program.

Look, it's easy to make fun of someone like Alex Jones, but there is a deeper issue here. He lives in a world of darkness and fear and paranoia and hate, and he's heavily armed, according to what he told Piers Morgan. He rails against medications that help mentally ill people in America every day, he hates the government, he believes in the Bilderberg and Rothschild conspiracies, he believes the Bush administration orchestrated the attacks of September 11th, 2001 and he believes the Obama administration is coming for all the guns in this country. Alex Jones also despises psychologists and mental health specialists, he is a rabid right wing, pro-life conservative and he is the guy behind the horrible and lie-filled "The Obama Deception."

What does this all add up to? I am not a psychologist, so I am in no way attempting to diagnose Alex Jones. But having lived the life I have, and having met the people I have met, I can say with pretty good certainty that Alex Jones appears to be severely unstable, both emotionally and mentally. He sounds exactly like paranoid schizophrenics I met in Florida, and I would not be surprised if he has suffered from visual or auditory hallucinations in his life. Understand, I state "appears." Honestly, he could be like Beck-in it for the money-but after watching him on Piers Morgan's show, I really doubt that.

Let me leave you with the Alex Jones conspiracy that convinced me there was something very off about Alex Jones. Clockwork elves.

http://dangerousminds.net/comments/alex_jones_dmt_elves_want_the_elites_to_kill_us_all


Monday, January 7, 2013

Tacky Trump

Image from Soadhead.com

Before he became the male Orly Taitz, before he began hocking mattresses, before he growled "You're fired," I was offended by Donald Trump. Not for his hair, or his accent, but for his absolute tackiness.

There is a fine line between obscene wealth and tackiness. The wealthiest woman I ever met lived in a $6 million apartment in the heart of Chicago, but you'd never know it to look at her. Her wedding ring was a plain gold band, her purse was a small Chanel clutch, and her hair was a sleek bob. If you dug a little further, you discovered her shoes were handmade in Italy and that haircut was courtesy of Charles Ifergan, who came to her home once a month, along with a manicurist and masseuse. You had to dig, though. She and her husband had oodles of money, and they would rather eat paste than flaunt it.

My mother was sort of the same way. If you looked at the jewelry I inherited from her, your eyes would become the size of dinner plates. Then I would whisper two words into your ear-Cubic zirconia. Mom liked the look of expensive jewelry, but she was loathe to spend money on anything real. She had some pieces she inherited from her mother, and those went back to her sister when she died. She did adore French perfume and Coach purses, but her Coach purses were not covered with giant double "C's." She was subtle. Donald Trump is not subtle.

I was taught that there is a certain decorum required when one is in public. You do not raise your voice, you do not swear, you do not drink to excess, and you never brag or preen. Thank goodness we were't obsessively preppy, or I would have learned you appear in the newspaper three times in your life: birth, marriage, death, and that would end my blogging career. Donald Trump behaves horribly in public-loud, brash, obnoxious, crass and crude. He reminds me of one of those women on "Mob Wives."

Donald Trump is like fingernails on a blackboard for me. He calls women fat and ugly, he insults President Obama, he's a flaming racist and he's just downright rude. And he flaunts his money. I know wealthy people, people who could afford a Birkin bag or a Bentley or their own Gulfstream, but they choose to be quiet about their money, going about their day to day activities, not letting on that they own a villa in Italy or donated money in some distant relative's name to build a college library. They are not anything like Donald Trump.

We as a society find people like Donald Trump fascinating, and I really do not know why. Yes, he donated money to David Axelrod's epilepsy charity, and I know he has donated to charity before, because he makes sure we all know he donates to charity. That's the other thing about him that makes my head hurt; you don't tell people about your charitable giving. That takes away the charitable part and just makes it bragging.

When all the Republican presidential candidates were smooching Trump's 24-karat bottom, I wondered why they felt the need to do that. He's a blowhard; a tacky, oddly coiffed blowhard, who matters not a whit to the majority of the world. He's a joke of epic proportions, with his birth certificate nonsense and his basketball conspiracies.

And we learned this week that the powers that be at NBC woke from their coma and are trying to reign the Trumpster in. We'll fire him, they say, if he doesn't behave himself. We talked him out of running for president they claim. Okay, but where were you when he sent "investigators" to Hawaii to determine it was still a state? Where were you when he made that incredibly racist comment about President Obama and basketball? Where have you been, NBC executives? You think now, after all is said and done, now you can exert some sort of power over The Mouth?

We, the normal, sane, subtle, not tacky Americans not glued to Fox News, wish you luck in your newest endeavor: controlling a man with no class, no filters, no boundaries and a muskrat on his head. My hope is that at the end of his contract, someone with a spine will look that orange man in his beady little eyes and say "No, Donald, you're fired."

Thanks to Sodahead.com, CNN and Economyblogs for photos used in this piece.