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Republican Treason

It wasn’t enough for Trey Gowdy and a gang of Relublican assholes to meddle in foreign policy by writing directly to Iran – a pretentious and vain effort to undermine a sitting president in the exercise of his exclusive authority to negotiate with foreign governments and which flirted with the line between being an asshole and being a traitor.
In the wake of President Obama’s announcement of a negotiated agreement with Iran regarding their nuclear program, the Republicans have unanimously curled into the fetal position and begun crying like red-headed stepchildren.
Perhaps if they hadn’t marched in lockstep opposition to every single thing the president has ever attempted to do – and not as a matter of principle but as a matter of determined ratfucking – they would still have a single tattered shred of credibility on which to hang their mewling, pants-wetting objections.
They opposed health care reform (an idea cooked up by their own greedhead hacks at the Heritage Foundation), supported DADT and DOMA, and rejoiced over Hobby Lobby but screamed about activist judges and tyranny at Obergefell. They are petulant fucking children who expect and demand that everything – every single fucking thing – be determined in their favour. Always.

Nevertheless, let’s be specific here. They are shedding tears today for the death of all things good, right and true as evidenced by this specific deal with Iran. Some history may be illuminating:
In 1953 Republicans acting in the service of British Petroleum sent the CIA to assassinate the democratically elected leader of Iran, Mossadeq, and install the brutal, tyrannical murderer and puppet the Shah.
After the Iranian people turfed his criminal ass (which the United States saved from ever facing the justice demanded by his own people), they spent the next 40 years provoking, demonizing and lying about Iran.
Then, GW Bush fabricated blatant lies about Iraqi WMDs and, in the greatest foreign policy disaster of all time, illegally started a war to remove the one element that stood as a bulwark against the rise of Iranian influence in the region – another American puppet and BFF of Don Rumsfeld, Saddam Hussein.

Following the destruction of Iraq and the consequential rise of ISIS (which both America AND Iran would like to see destroyed), the Republicans NOW mewl and bawl that any deal with Iran that does not give the GOP every single thing their cowboy delusions imagine they must have (and are downright eager to bomb Iran if they don’t get) must be opposed.
And their castrated, orange-hued leader, who supports torture, rendition, indefinite detention and survives by drinking the panic sweat from Lindsey Graham’s scrotum, has the nerve to call Iran the largest sponsor of state terrorism.

Political commonwealth (not to mention reason) is not possible with the stubbornly ignorant, mendacious, venal pieces of worm shit that comprise the GOP.

Ben Carson

There’s something deeply wrong with Ben Carson. “Being gay is a choice because some people go into prison straight but come out gay.” Clearly some people go into medical school able to learn but come out believing that their ability to wield a scalpel makes every ignorant, backward, unread, thoughtless, condescending, asshole idea that flits through their head worthy of being taken seriously. What an absolute piece of shit.

In a statement to CNN, Carson walked back his assertion. “I realized that my choice of language does not reflect fully my heart on gay issues,” Carson said. “I do not pretend to know how every individual came to their sexual orientation. I regret that my words to express that concept were hurtful and divisive. For that I apologize unreservedly to all that were offended.”

And so we learn that in addition to being stupid, Ben Carson is a liar. He was perfectly clear. He said being gay is a choice. He was asked to confirm if he meant that and he replied, “Absolutely.” ABSOLUTELY. CHOICE. It is of no value whatsoever to pretend to apologize for offending people by saying what he really thinks, or to walk it back ever so slightly by admitting that he doesn’t KNOW how people come to their sexual orientation (Pro tip: No one KNOWS how anyone comes to their sexual orientation.) The story here is that Ben Carson, in the complete absence of any valid information upon which to have an opinion (and worse that that, vomiting forth the stunningly ridiculous and intellectually shameful prison hypothetical), arrogantly asserts his completely ignorant opinion as ABSOLUTE fact, and supports policies that treat homosexuality as if it were abnormal, socially undesirable, and undeserving of equality under the law. I don’t know how this puffed up asshole ever managed to get admitted to medical school but given the demonstrations of his non-medical capacities, all I have to say to the Republican party is, “Keep going. You’re going great!”

Joe Scarborough – Racist Ignoramus

Joe Scarborough:

“The cops have every reason to be pissed off this morning,” Scarborough said. He argued that the five players on the St. Louis Rams who raised their arms in solidarity with Ferguson on Sunday based their gesture on “lies” that contradicted findings of a grand jury investigation.

“And by the way, if I’ve offended anybody by saying what I’ve said, trust me, 95 percent of America think just like me,” he said. “Just because there are cowards who won’t say that on TV… that’s their problem, not mine,” said Scarborough.

Joe Scarborough has never been a smart man. His “Center right” cardigans button up over a pathetically weak mind operating from within a set of Dunning-Kruger level partisan presumptions. He’s a giant bag of dicks who somehow managed to get elected to congress and is now paid ridiculous amounts of money to daily ooze his condescension all over large blocks of time on our public airwaves.

Joe seems to know how offensive is the shit oozing from the inverted anus he calls a mouth. He attempts to inflate his credibility by admitting that his words are certain to offend and asserting that 95% of the population agrees with him. This is nothing more than self-stroking speculation. Even if it were true that the vast majority of Americans agree with his ignorant fantasies, it would only amount to argumentum ad populum. The truth would be that 95% of Americans are uneducated, racist know-nothings who are completely fucking wrong.
He then arrogantly labels anyone who doesn’t publicly admit that they agree with him a coward. This is cheap and shabby ad hominem. Think about what Scarborough is saying here: only cowards stand up for the weak against the power structure that has oppressed them for 300 years. Only cowards question the result of a blatantly rigged legal process that was inverted 180 degrees from its historical AND contemporary purpose.
Joe Scarborough – brave, smart and speaking for the silent massive majority who are just too…something…to say what only Joe has the sack to say – the singular voice willing to speak the POPULAR truth. The greasy little moron and his unwarranted pride in his own imagined genius fucking nauseates me.

The problem with all of this is that, in addition to being racist on its face, Joe doesn’t know what the fuck he’s talking about.

Firstly, a grand jury – to flog a soundly beaten and long dead horse – is supposed to examine the evidence for a singular purpose: to determine whether or not there ought to be a trial; whether there is ANY evidence that would require taking the matter before a trial judge.
They are impaneled by a prosecutor who is presumed to WANT an indictment and who will argue that the evidence supports that outcome. He will usually direct the jury’s attention to the evidence supporting an indictment and request that they return a charge appropriate to the facts.
This is NOT what happened in Ferguson. The grand jury in Ferguson did not investigate a goddamn thing. Grand juries have, in theory, the ability to perform investigatory functions but this one, in fact, did not.
It heard the evidence presented to it by the prosecutor – evidence which was collected during an investigation conducted by various entities. It examined that evidence ONLY in the light in which the prosecution presented it – no alternative arguments, no cross-examination, no alternative theories.

Secondly, as noted in my previous post, the conduct of the prosecutor in Ferguson, Missouri didn’t even distantly orbit anything remotely resembling a proper grand jury, much less meet the duty of his office or the laws of the United States. The only way it could have been more corrupt, the outcome more rigged, would be if the verdict had been rendered at gunpoint.
Incriminating evidence was cross-examined as though the prosecutors were employed by Darren Wilson – the target of the grand jury.
Exculpatory evidence – which grand juries are not entitled to hear and prosecutors are not obligated to present – was casually submitted with absolutely no critical analysis.
An assistant prosecutor misdirected the jury with regard to the applicable law.
The lead prosecutor didn’t even request that the jury return an indictment – he let those untrained citizens think their job was to decide if the shooting was justified!
This is nonfeasance, misfeasance AND malfeasance all wrapped up in, “Just doin’ my job.”

And yet, here’s the blathering white bread asshole Scarborough, backed up by his brainless sidekick (a pure talent hire who is only coincidentally the daughter of a former Secretary of State), and supposedly countered on the left by an even bigger yammering douche nozzle who is only too eager to jam his tongue up Scarborough’s ass to signal his complete agreement with a series of deep-cleaning reptilian licks.

“Michael Brown was a thug.”
That’s NOTHING but character assassination – an attempt to divert attention from the cheap three card monte scam he’s running on his “It’s OK to be racist if you just keep insisting you’re not” teevee program.

Joe Scarborough is an ignorant, lying, racist piece of shit. It may be the case that 95% of America agrees with him. That would explain much.

Stop Giving Cops Who Kill the Benefit of the Doubt

A 12-year-old child was shot to death by police officers in Cleveland. The child was alone in an empty park playing with a toy gun. The police claimed that the child was with a group of friends; that he ignored repeated commands to put up his hands; that he reached for what appeared to be a weapon. Only then, say the police, were they forced to use lethal force.
The officers did not know that there was a security camera across the street recording the entire incident. I leave to the viewer to assess the credibility of the officers.

Cleveland dot com copied the video and posted it in an article demanding answers from the police. My open rely to the editors of that publication follows:

“…the police have a lot of explaining to do.”

Given that the police have already lied about their actions, saying the child refused repeated orders to put up his hands – a claim made manifestly false by the video – how does one manage to express the expectation there could be any possible explanation, justification or excuse?
The stern way you appear to demand answers in the face of evidence that leaves no goddamn questions only underscores the degree to which police are given license to use force in any way they see fit against anyone that comes along. Even after LYING about the murder – and there is nothing else to call it – of a small child sitting alone in an empty park playing with a TOY, you still want them to tell you HOW IT IS that such a thing might have happened; what confluence of circumstance led to this awful (but, of course, unavoidable) outcome. They need to EXPLAIN.
Perhaps when they finish scuffing their feet, looking at their hands and stuttering about how no one understands the dangers they face every day while keeping us safe from children in empty parks, you’ll explain why it is that your paper’s tongue is jammed so deeply up the backdoor of a thin blue pair of child murderers.
One wonders at what point your newspaper would stop asking for explanations; stop giving murdering cops the opportunity to cobble together a “valid excuse” for why they shot a 12-year-old child who posed NO DANGER to ANYONE without so much as a single word.
‘He was big for his age. He looked like a demon. He had rage in his eyes. I thought he would charge me. He went for my gun. It’s difficult to be a cop, you know…you never know when you will be confronted by a 12-year-old sitting alone in a park and be forced to make a split-second life-or-death decision. YOU WEREN’T THERE!’

You ask a series of WHY questions as if there are possible answers; as if there’s some string of words that a cop might utter that would justify what appears on that tape: TWO SECONDS after those brave men arrived to serve and protect, a pubescent child was shot and killed. And they have ALREADY LIED ABOUT IT.
But even THAT – the knowledge that you are demanding answers from people who lie with the first goddamn words out of their mouth; who lie as a matter of standard operating procedure; who attempt to justify what cannot possibly be justified with complete fiction; LIES THAT WOULD BE ACCEPTED WERE IT NOT FOR THE CONTRADICTING VIDEO – does not stop you from demanding an explanation. “WHY? Tell us what reasoning you employed!”
I have a better question: Which member of that police force has the videotape of your editor-in-chief fucking a pig?

Resa Aslan is Rubber and You’re Glue

http://www.alternet.org/belief/why-richard-dawkins-sam-harris-and-new-atheists-arent-really-atheists

This entire article is nothing more than a slow, simmering pot of false equivalency. A dishonest attempt to smear those willing to accurately and honestly speak about the consequences of religious faith; who refuse to make excuses for evil by painting shades of grey all over the place.

The question is not whether Reza Aslan finds the things said about the belief systems for which he apologizes rude.  No one is obligated to respect the long history of faith claims about flying horses and talking snakes, much less the willingness of some to murder a cartoonist or an abortion doctor.

The question is whether or not the things they say are TRUE.
This is also a very good question to ask about the things said by Reza Aslan.

Not long ago, I gave an interview in which I said that my biggest problem with so-called New Atheists like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins is that they give atheism a bad name. Almost immediately, I was bombarded on social media by atheist fans of the two men who were incensed that I would pontificate about a community to which I did not belong.
That, in and of itself, wasn’t surprising. As a scholar of religions, I’m used to receiving comments like this from the communities I study.

As a scholar of religion?  I wonder how Aslan feels about it as a professor of creative writing.  It doesn’t matter – the replies were not “incensed” about Aslan’s pontification, nor about Aslan not being an atheist.  Those would be odd things about which to be incensed: he’s Reza Aslan – fish swim, birds fly, Reza pontificates.

In any event, they were incensed by the cheap tactics Aslan serially employs to cobble together condescending attacks against those who insistently point out the emperor’s distinct lack of clothes.

In truth, Marx’s views on religion and atheism were far more complex than these much-abused sound bites project. Nevertheless, Marx’s vision of a religion-less society was spectacularly realized with the establishment of the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China – two nations that actively promoted “state atheism” by violently suppressing religious expression and persecuting faith communities.
Atheists often respond that atheism should not be held responsible for the actions of these authoritarian regimes, and they are absolutely right. It wasn’t atheism that motivated Stalin and Mao to demolish or expropriate houses of worship, to slaughter tens of thousands of priests, nuns and monks, and to prohibit the publication and dissemination of religious material. It was anti-theism that motivated them to do so. After all, if you truly believe that religion is “one of the world’s great evils” – as bad as smallpox and worse than rape; if you believe religion is a form of child abuse; that it is “violent, irrational, intolerant, allied to racism and tribalism and bigotry, invested in ignorance and hostile to free inquiry, contemptuous of women and coercive toward children” – if you honestly believed this about religion, then what lengths would you not go through to rid society of it?

This is a nasty little bit of straw man – the implication that Marx held more complex and nuanced views about religion than do these inflexible and dogmatic “New Atheists” (who would, then, logically go to any lengths – “violently suppressing religious expression, persecuting faith communities…demolishing houses of worship” – to oppose religion).
But are Aslan’s cherry picked quotes TRUE?
Is religion a form of child abuse? Let’s not ask the Catholics about that.
Is religion allied to tribalism and bigotry? Let’s not ask…well, an awful fucking lot of people in a goddamn lot of places, actually.
Is religion invested in ignorance and hostile to free inquiry? …are you fucking serious?
Is religion contemptuous of women?…coercive toward children?
How rude to point it out.

In any event, I’ll stack the nuanced understanding of religion – its foundational scriptures and its history – demonstrated by Christopher Hitchens against that of Reza Aslan any day. Plenty of scholars far more qualified than Reza Aslan made the mistake of questioning the depth and breadth of Hitchens’ theological chops. I suspect Aslan only dares suggest such a thing secure in the comfort that the man is no longer able to deliver the public humiliation such implication deserves.

Secondly, where’s all this atheist oppression? Some examples would be nice.
We’ll come back to the distinct lack of secular beheadings later.

Aslan pretends to play fair.  Despite the casual lies that Stalin and Mao instituted anything distantly orbiting Marxist philosophy, and that the Soviet Union and China were examples of how Marx envisioned atheist states, he admits that Stalin and Mao were not motivated by atheism.
This is simply true, and Aslan may be given minor credit for not dragging out the shibboleth that atheism was responsible for the crimes of those tyrants.

But then Aslan pulls a sneaky, underhanded move – he substitutes ANTI-THEISM as the culpable motive:  Stalin and Mao were not motivated by atheism (which is true) but by the narrow sort of atheism espoused by Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris – the INTOLERANT atheism. The RUDE atheism. The EVANGELICAL atheism.

Let’s examine that assertion.

Aslan makes a distinction between atheists and anti-theists: the former reject god claims, the latter actively oppose god claims (which makes them rude and intolerant).  Fair enough. If you care that Reza Aslan thinks you’re rude, raise your hand.

He also correctly labels Christopher Hitchens as the most iconic contemporary example of “Anti-theism,” a title which Hitchens notably claimed for himself. Aslan then suggests that anti-theists, in their zeal to eliminate theism (how very like fundamentalist religious adherents!) would go to ANY lengths – violence if necessary – in order to achieve that end.

This is a bald-faced lie and Aslan damn well knows it. It goes well beyond false equivalency and slides greasily into slander.

(What? Not again!)

The words of Christopher Hitchens on numerous public and recorded occasions (as well as those of Harris, Dawkins, Dennet et al), make Aslan a liar.

That he could make such a claim in the face of absolutely contradictory evidence – evidence of which he is perfectly well aware and to which his attention has been directed on numerous occasions – only aggravates the crime.

Hitchens had no desire to eliminate religion and did not even think it possible. He merely insisted that those so inclined keep their Bible thumping, Quran waving hands off the public square, out of his business, and the business of everyone else who may not share their beliefs.

All of the “New Atheists” have clearly and repeatedly rejected forcing anyone to abandon their faith – and it must be noted that this is in rather stark contrast to the monstrous lengths to which theists have demonstrably gone, are at this very moment going, and will gladly go in the future to achieve the opposite.
Hitchens and Harris have called for violence – that whatever means necessary be employed to stop honour killings; the mutilation of children for attending school; the murder of homosexuals and other hideous crimes – crimes which Aslan has specifically admitted are the product of fundamentalist religious faith.
Objecting to hideous crimes and demanding they be stopped – by force if necessary – is not the structural or moral equivalent of committing those monstrous, divinely inspired crimes in the first place.
Accusing Hitchens of being willing to employ coercive measures to eliminate theism is a filthy lie, as is extending that wish to the larger belief system.
The insult is compounded by having been done in defense of belief systems which PROUDLY employ coercive measures to inflict their beliefs on others, on children…and to punish those who resist.
Aslan should be ashamed.

Also, while Stalin and Mao certainly attacked and repressed organized religion, it is no more accurate to claim that their violence and oppression were motivated by “Anti-theism” than it is to blame “Atheism” (which Aslan specifically admits is not the case).
They were motivated by the desire to destroy sources of social cohesion and opposition to their political and economic power – something King Henry would have been all too happy to do if he weren’t making such good use of it (and it had been even remotely possible). The same factors that make a lie of the tired assertion, “Atheism has been responsible for as many deaths as religious faith,” apply equally to “Anti-theism”.  Playing sophomoric semantic games and substituting Christopher Hitchens for Josef Stalin does not advance Aslan’s argument. Sadly, neither does it embarrass him.

Like religious fundamentalism, New Atheism is primarily a reactionary phenomenon, one that responds to religion with the same venomous ire with which religious fundamentalists respond to atheism. What one finds in the writings of anti-theist ideologues like Dawkins, Harris and Hitchens is the same sense of utter certainty, the same claim to a monopoly on truth, the same close-mindedness that views one’s own position as unequivocally good and one’s opponent’s views as not just wrong but irrational and even stupid, the same intolerance for alternative explanations, the same rabid adherents (as anyone who has dared criticize Dawkins or Harris on social media can attest), and, most shockingly, the same proselytizing fervor that one sees in any fundamentalist community.

Another shallow attempt to liken “New Atheism” to religious fundamentalism: they are both reactionary responses.  In fact, they’re responses to each other!

Bullshit.  Absolute ginned up cocktwaddle.

Religious fundamentalism is in no way a reaction to atheism. It is entirely predicated on an absolute and enduring certainty about the nature of the world in which we live; its evil a direct consequence of divine warrant to inflict their god upon others.

The suggestion that religious zealotry is in any way a response to godlessness only plainly demonstrates the distorted and disingenuous methods Reza Aslan casually employs, and the kind of premises which he attempts to pass off as simple and obvious facts.

Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris make no claims to a monopoly on truth. They do, however, object to demonstrable falsehood being propagated as historical fact, and to demonstrable harms being treated with fawning respect simply because they come wrapped in delusional convictions about inerrant words from omnipotent creators.
Alternative explanations? This is not a fucking question of alternative explanations. Evolution is a fact. Honour killings and beheading people for apostasy are morally wrong.

Aslan sets up BOTH SIDES and claims each views the other as irrational and stupid. Well, one side claims that the world is 10,000 years old, women should not control their own bodies and condoms are a sin (among other things); that anyone who rejects Islam deserves to die (among other things).

One side wants to inflict their religious views on children, pregnant women, unmarried women, homosexuals, non-believers, cartoonists, authors, education…and every damn thing they demand is rooted in a fairy tale.

But, according to Aslan, anyone who considers that to be foolish, stupid, delusional hogwash is being intolerant in precisely the same way as the fundamentalist religious crackpot making the claims.

How rude of the anti-theist to oppose the harm caused by teaching children that science is wrong and a tool of the devil.  How insensitive to point to the stonings, beheadings, burnings, mutilations, oppression and violence done only by the religious – to oppose those things AND the cause of those things!

Yes…how rude.  One ought to be insulted that Aslan expects to be taken seriously. He plainly considers his audience to be morons.

But, for Aslan, opposing blatant lies that are the proximate cause of evil is identical to arrogant certainty that one holds a monopoly on truth.
Aslan wonders why all those mean New Atheists can’t be more like the reasonable atheists – the ones who don’t want to deny people their god.
Of course, it’s a lie – a purely necessary fantasy – that Anti-theists seek to deny anyone their god.

Hitchens and Harris have been very clear about it: Keep your god, but keep it to yourself…and you may not inflict it on others. They simply recognize the world would be a much better place without that ugly excuse for evil infecting everything, and they SAY so.

Aslan finds this rude.  Have a fucking cookie.

His seemingly fair-minded request that New Atheists be more reasonable (which is really to request that we split the difference between truth and lies) is the Trojan Horse in which Aslan hides his desire to start painting everything grey.  “Sure there are bad people doing bad things, but there are lots of good people who believe in god, so…you know, let’s not blame god. The IDEA of god is very comforting for lots of people.  It’s spiritual, and that’s important. It’s tradition! It’s NUANCED! You just don’t understand it as well as I do.”
Aslan inverts the perfectly reasonable qualifications clearly elucidated by Hitchens, Harris and Dawkins: to the degree that the faithful start being more reasonable (stop inflicting their faith on others), the *ANTI* fades and the reasonable atheist Aslan longs for appears.
But Aslan’s attempt to be clever reveals the one-way street on which this reason operates. We’ll get no such slack from the extreme religious set. They will never split the difference between scientific fact and the tenets of their faith; never split the difference on permitting gay people to have equal rights. But those who object to these things must be more reasonable. The hypocrisy is stunning.

What is the likelihood that religious zealots will more resemble those tolerant semi-agnostics Reza eagerly counts among the faithful? That they will join Aslan in that great live-and-let-live middle ground where he and David Brooks attend church, pointing at the same awful BOTH SIDES, lamenting the lack of nuance…the intolerant extremists on both poles.
We know well enough the sort of things to expect from extreme fundamentalist religious faith.
What, exactly, constitutes an “Extreme Anti-Theist” position?
Apparently it is this:  Insisting that science be treated as science; that people be given equal rights and not murdered for a difference of belief; pointing out that god claims seem to be highly correlated with blatant examples of hideous evil; objecting to the religious oppression and murder of women; asserting that we’d all be better off without any of those delusional mythologies or the evil they necessarily inflict.
Keep your numinous, your transcendent, your humble faith that the creator of everything has a plan just for you…but you don’t get to inflict it on other people.
And, of course, that there’s no evidence upon which a belief in any god could stand.
Yes…if only we could do away with these evil fucking troublemakers.

Where are the extreme Anti-theists milling about outside churches?  Shouldn’t they be screaming epithets at believers seeking to exercise their constitutionally protected right to worship god?  But there are the believers, inflicting their god driven “counselling” on women attempting to enter medical clinics to obtain constitutionally protected services.
Where are the anti-theists going door to door, asking if you’ve lost Jesus?

Where are the beheadings for the sin of accepting a god? Surely the extremist atheists, bent on the elimination of religious faith, must be killing believers.

Where are the secular demands that homosexuals be denied the right to marry?
Apparently I’ve missed all the non-religious demands that a ridiculous and fantastic alternative explanation for the diversity of life – one with absolutely ZERO evidence to support it – be treated as plausible in the science classroom.
But, again, for Reza Aslan, the extremists on both sides are equally intolerant. Because objecting to honour killings is being just as intolerant as committing honour killings, or something.

At what point does it become fair play to simply tell Reza Aslan to pack up his bullshit false equivalency, his inflated stroke-job of religious scholarship, his crap premises and broken reasoning, and go teach some kid to write a fucking short story.

On Language, Tone and Insistent Stupidity

I have always enjoyed argument and viewed it more as a pastime – a sport – than anything to be avoided.
The exchange of reasoned ideas supported by evidence of varying kind and quality. Like chess, no one gets to say they got a bad bounce or that the sun was in their eyes. Debate doesn’t come with those sorts of excuses for poor results (although, it is well noted that in the orgies of idiocy one commonly stumbles into on facebook, fan interference produces some ugly moments).

Premise: All of us believe very many wrong things.
Some more than others – there are people out there who are wrong about almost every single thing they believe short of their name…and they might be lying about that, too. But the ubiquity of stupidity is the point, not its varying depths. We’re all wrong about some things.
I tend to take great pains over this seemingly simple truth…usually by not making any claims.
There is a difference between making a positive case for a proposition X, and pointing out that the case being made for Y is a ridiculous fantasy cobbled together out of bullshit, lies and foolishness.

This commonly results in various forms of straw man: “Oh, you don’t like my Libertarian FREEDOM!, so therefore you must be a full-on stooge of full government control of everything!”
No…not really…I’m just pointing out what a moron YOU are.

THAT, of course, leads to accusations of ad hominem. So, before we go any further, allow me to clear that up.
Ad hominem (literally “At the man”) is a logical fallacy in which one attacks the person making the argument RATHER THAN the argument itself.
It takes the form, broadly speaking, of, “He is a stupid and bad man, so his argument (which I have not addressed) must also be stupid and bad.”
This must be contrasted with taking the time to specifically address the argument, shred it to fucking pieces, demonstrate beyond any question that it is premised on bullshit, and THEN calling the person who constructed it a mendacious, wrongheaded twat.
THAT AIN’T AD HOMINEM. That is calling a spade a spade.

The foregoing is merely a quick glance at the SORTS of stupid…the depth of the stupid is also a real and quantifiable thing.
There is a significant difference in degree between these two positions with regard to “questions” about September 11, 2001:

1. “I’m not sure we’re being told the whole story about what happened on 9/11. I have doubts about the official explanation.”
2. “The official explanation is a lie and the laws of physics prove it! Because they lied, I know it was a controlled demolition / inside job which the same laws of physics also proves!”

You can have a reasonable conversation with the first one.
For some purely masochistic reason I refuse to examine too closely, I cannot leave the second one alone.
And it doesn’t matter whether they are Truthers, Birthers, anti-abortionists, god wallopers, gun nuts, Republicans, Libertarians, Left-Wing Purity Police, Glenn Greenwald fanbois, anti-vaccers, creationists, racists, xenophobes, homophobes, David Brooks, Sarah Palin…I loathe stupid.
I simply cannot resist stabbing insistent public imbecility, willful blindness, and that damned Dunning-Kruger Effect degree of completely unwarranted certainty that they actually know what they’re talking about.
For me, stupid people might as well be slathering themselves in bacon grease and running around the garbage dump outside Churchill, Manitoba.
If you didn’t catch the reference, google “Polar Bear Capital of Canada.”

There are some specific examples that stand out:
One particularly knowledgeable chap asserted (among so very many outright lies) that Indian Reservations were created as reparations for past wrongs.
Now, one can view the creation of reservations in many ways, but their creation by treaty between sovereign nations (for good or ill) is an absolute conceptual denial that they could be seen as having been CREATED (as opposed to held back…or, you know RESERVED) or that they were in any way related to reparations for crimes that had not even been acknowledged and, for the most part, have yet to be so acknowledged, much less that any “Reparations” might be due.
He did not retract, modify or even acknowledge the error…by which term I am being kind, especially in view of his immediate progression into the casual claim to know what is best for Those People; how they need to get off their sovereign land and integrate into the community that murdered their ancestors, inflicted residential schools on generations and continues to socially and economically oppress them.
Ah…smart white people – where would Natives be without them?

In another thread, the same insightful fellow posited that corporate charity could and should be the source of all social welfare monies…because corporations, despite their ill-deserved reputation, are really very generous and caring.
He posted links to show that corporate giving is $16 BILLION per year! Do you see? Are you not thankful? If we would just stop taxing those generous, loving corporations, why…they would give more!
Analysis of his own data showed that corporate giving to “Charity” amounted to 16 billion. He was unable to explain how donations to Ducks Unlimited, the Texas 4H-Club, Americans for Prosperity and The Heritage Foundation equated with the social safety net.
Further analysis revealed that corporate charity amounts to 5% of ALL charitable giving – vastly greater sums coming from trusts and endowments, and (leading the pack!) individual, private donors – people like you kicking in $10 or $20.  This, of course, has nothing to do with the social safety net. After we subtract all of the Ducks and wetlands and Pandas, the anti-Obamacare organizations, Sean Hannity’s scam off the children of fallen soldiers which exists to provide Sean Hannity with private planes and expensive hotel rooms…after all that “Charitable giving”, some money winds up in church soup kitchens and food banks which are just a wee bit fucking overwhelmed by demand.
Almost effortless additional googling turns up the annual cost of the social safety net, which is not “Well-funded” or “Comprehensive” by any measure and through which far too many slip: $650 billion dollars per year.
The brilliant defender of corporate largess was unable to explain where the other SIX HUNDRED AND FORTY BILLION DOLLARS might come from…but lower taxes for generous corporations was still the only way to fly.

In yet ANOTHER thread…in which he had a problem with Building 7 falling at the speed of gravity (which, I kept explaining to him, is how fast things FALL)…he asserted that GRAVITY affects different material in different ways.
Now, keep in mind, the point at issue – the nut he wanted to crack – is that Building 7 fell at “Free fall speed”.
I granted that it did, because that is how things fall when there is nothing holding them up.
He kept insisting that it should not have done that.
“Why should it not have done that?”
Because there was something impeding it.
“What, specifically, was ‘impeding’ it?”
*crickets*

I provided an analogy: a skateboarder’s shin snaps – he doesn’t fall slowly as the skin and muscle fight to continue holding up what the bone can no longer support.
The brilliant truther started screaming that I know NOTHING about science, engineering, physics, the laws of gravity…that I was stupid. How could I not know that GRAVITY AFFECTS DIFFERENT MATERIALS DIFFERENTLY? Did I really expect that GRAVITY affects sheets of glass and large piece of steel the same way it affects a human body?
Well, yes…in fact, I do.

I explained gravity to him. How it’s a constant. How in 1589 Galileo dropped some stuff from the Leaning Tower of Pisa and sorted that bit out…and how most elementary school children know this.
Now comes the BEST part…
This fellow, who had repeatedly insisted on his expertise in design, engineering, construction, infrastructure, Native American history, economics, politics, civil rights (trust me…these specific examples barely scratch the surface) while asserting my stone ignorance in ALL things, accused me of putting words in his mouth:
OF COURSE he understands gravity…
…what he was REALLY talking about was how different materials respond to the force of IMPACT after they have fallen…
…remember that television commercial in which they drop a real pick-up truck and a TONKA truck from the same height and the pick-up truck is destroyed but the TONKA truck is only dented? See? The force of impact depends on the materials involved, and THAT’S what he really meant…
…and if I weren’t such a foul-mouthed, unreasonable, stupid know-nothing, I would KNOW that!

I did point out to him that the way different materials respond to impact doesn’t have ANYTHING to do with how fast they fall…which was, I had thought, the issue. I didn’t point out that the differing MASS of the pick-up truck and the TONKA truck might have had something to do with force of impact…but I didn’t want to stray farther into science, about which I know nothing.
But if I were arguing about how fast things are SUPPOSED to fall, I would certainly consider what happens to them on impact to be a determining factor. Sure I would. Because it makes perfect sense. How could I not know that? I guess I need to bone up on that science stuff.
…..

Thus far, I have restricted my comments to the nature, quality and degree of the sorts of stupidity one is likely to encounter when strolling about hunting for it; the sort of insistent, wrongheaded pathology that accompanies it.
There is another facet I would like to note.
There are a couple of assumptions that people make about how debate ought to be conducted. The first of these seems to follow, incorrectly in my view, from the principle that everyone has a right to their opinion – freedom of thought and freedom of speech. The false step that often follows is the assumption that everyone’s opinion is just as good as anyone else’s. “You say X, I say Y…it’s a coin flip.”
Bullshit.

If I need an operation, the opinion of my doctor outweighs that of my motorcycle mechanic. The reverse is true should I require piston rings.
Questions of evidence, expertise, experience, reason, history, bias and many other qualities come into significant play when assessing the value of any opinion.
That one HAS an opinion in no way obligates anyone else to take it seriously, or gives it ANY inherent value.

The other assumption people seem to make is that they deserve to be treated respectfully when they parade around in public spouting outright lies, stubbornly refusing to engage facts, reason and evidence in favour of insistent repetition of their paranoid fever dreams and giving snotty, condescending responses to anyone who happens to point out that, you know, the laws of physics they’ve been lecturing everyone about don’t work the way they think.

I understand the reasonable protocol of not calling someone a “Brainless, ignorant fuckwit with their head jammed so goddamn far up their own ass they need a glass belly button,” right off the drop (except in egregious cases)…but when it reaches the point where some god walloping anti-science piece of shit starts blathering about AIDS being god’s punishment for the homo-sek-shuls, I stop caring whether they care for my fucking tone.

When some stunningly ignorant, casual hatesac Libertarian starts telling me that I can trust the FREE MARKET to stamp out any “No Colored” signs that appear in Mississippi because, of course, that would cost the restaurant all of their business…you explain to me why they SHOULDN’T be asked when they get their fucking Klan sheets back from the cleaners.

I’m fucking well tired of a bunch a lobotomy survivors telling me they don’t like my tone; that my salty language offends their delicate, Nancy-boy sensibilities…but they have no trouble pulling themselves up from the fainting couch to bawl like a spoiled tween over my horrible language while refusing to address the awesome pus-soaked brainlessness that provoked it.

I don’t need anger management…they need stupid management.
And anyone who thinks they have a fucking right NOT to be offended can kiss my ass. Twice.

You don’t like being called a stupid, lying, ignorant fuckwit in public?
Stop telling blatant lies and making insistent claims that ooze infectious stupid IN PUBLIC.

When you climb up on the soapbox, squat and proudly take a giant shit, don’t expect a fucking pat on the head.

Anti-Tax Stupidity

Some brainless cretins are sharing a list of specific taxes levied over the years, followed by this:
“THINK THIS IS FUNNY? Not one of these taxes existed 60 years ago, & our nation was one of the most prosperous in the world. We had absolutely no national debt, had a large middle class, and Mom stayed home to raise the kids.”

As if taxes are the reason for the shrinking middle class and the growing national debt. I fkn detest stupid people who forward stunningly myopic, shockingly ignorant tea-party anti-tax bullshit that fails to account for, oh….let’s see: That North America, in the wake of WWII, had absolutely NO manufacturing competition ANYWHERE ON THE FKN PLANET; had not just had the guts bombed out of its continental infrastructure; sent millions of men to college on the GI Bill; engaged a truly MASSIVE set of road and infrastructure projects…
That without regard for the various and sundry forms of levies enacted since those halcyon days, the top corporate tax rate was 35% and the top marginal personal rate for income was 90%. Now the same people who spread this anti-tax horseshit want the corporate rate eliminated completely and the personal rate cut to to something less than what Mitt Fucking Romney pays in a year he knows people are going to see his return.
That 60 fkn years ago, “Made in China” meant shitty plastic nesting dolls, not clothes, cars, computers and every-fkn-thing else.
That 60 fkn years ago, people could get a job in a factory in Cleveland and not worry that the equipment would be shipped to Indonesia next year.
That 60 fkn years ago we had half the population driving on new roads and being served by recently constructed infrastructure instead of double the population scaping by on crumbling roads and rotting infrastructure…not to mention unfunded middle eastern wars, massive tax cuts for the rich, corporate welfare, rising CEO salaries coupled with slashed worker benefits, lower pay packages, no job security and a rising cost of living.

Bumper sticker simpletons, without the basic tools for constructing a cogent thought, seem more than sufficiently supplied when paving over vast swaths of real problems with asphalt made of shit and sheer stupidity.