Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Lord of the Lies


How to talk to complete idiots

Three basic options. Choose wisely, lest you go totally insane

There are three basic ways to talk to complete idiots.

The first is to assail them with facts, truths, scientific data, the commonsensical obviousness of it all. You do this in the very reasonable expectation that it will nudge them away from the ledge of their more ridiculous and paranoid misconceptions because, well, they're facts, after all, and who can dispute those?

Why, idiots can, that's who. It is exactly this sort of logical, levelheaded appeal to reason and mental acuity that's doomed to fail, simply because in the idiotosphere, facts are lies and truth is always dubious, whereas hysteria and alarmism resulting in mysterious undercarriage rashes are the only things to be relied upon.

Examples? Endless. You may, for instance, attempt to explain evolution to an extreme fundamentalist Christian. You may offer up carbon dating, the fossil record, glaciers, any one of 10,000 irrefutable proofs. You may even dare to talk about the Bible as the clever, completely manufactured, man-made piece of heavily politicized, massively edited, literary myth-making it so very much is, using all sorts of sound academic evidence and historical record.

You are, of course, insane beyond belief to try this, but sometimes you just can't help it. To the educated mind, it seems inconceivable that millions of people will choose rabid ignorance and childish fantasy over, say, a polar bear. Permafrost. Rocks. Nag Hammadi. But they will, and they do. Faced with this mountain of factual obviousness, the bewildered fundamentalist will merely leap back as if you just jabbed him with a flaming homosexual cattle prod, and then fall into a swoon about how neat it is that angels can fly.

But it's not just the fundamentalists. This Rule of Idiocy also explains why, when you show certain jumpy, conservative Americans the irrefutable facts about, say, skyrocketing health care costs that are draining their bank accounts, and then show how Obama's rather modest overhaul is meant to save members of all ages and genders and party affiliations a significant amount of money while providing basic insurance for their family, they, too, will scream and kick like a child made to eat a single bite of broccoli.

Remember, facts do not matter. The actual Obama plan itself does not matter. Fear of change, fear of the "Other," fear of the scary black socialist president, fear that yet another important shift is taking place that they cannot understand and which therefore makes them thrash around like a trapped animal? This is all that matters.

Democrats Don't Deliver Healthcare Reform... Again

The Nation.

By Adam Howard

Senate Finance Committee members, Sept. 22, 2009, during opening remarks of the committee's markup of healthcare legislation. AP Images</br> For weeks now it's seemed more and more evident that instead of significant, meaningful healthcare reform, we are--if we're lucky--going to wind up with something akin to health insurance reform. These reforms will be pretty unassailable (who could oppose making it illegal for insurance companies to discriminate against pre-existing conditions, for instance?) but a far cry from what just a couple months ago seemed not just possible but probable--reform that included a robust, affordable public option accessible to all Americans.

Why has the healthcare reform battle disintegrated so rapidly? Certainly the seemingly endless barrage of right wing lies and downright insanity over the summer didn't help. Neither did the White House's lackadaisical approach to countering it. But at the end of the day, real reform--the public option, considered today by the Finance Committee--should have had the votes it needed to pass. Instead it failed by fifteen votes to eight, with five Democrats voting against it.

Four out of five major committees have delivered in one form or another what 65 percent of the American public wants: a government-run public health insurance option. President Obama supports a public option, the majority of medical profession does, and without it there is no way healthcare costs can be brought down in any significant way.

And yet our Democrat-controlled Congress can't get its act together. Today, five Democratic senators rejected the most progressive version of the public option to emerge from the Senate Finance Committee, Sen. Jay Rockefeller's amendment. Remember their names, because they should go down as traitors to what the Democratic party should stand for: Blanche Lincoln, Bill Nelson, Max Baucus, Kent Conrad and Tom Carper.

The Mess Left Behind


by William Rivers Pitt


    They were careless people, Tom and Daisy - they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.

    - F. Scott Fitzgerald

    Sooner or later, heaving buckets of blame onto George W. Bush for what we as a nation are being forced to endure will become a facile excuse; at some point, the whole kit and caboodle will be the sole property of President Barack Obama, whether he likes it or not and be damned to excuses. Already, his administration has taken enough dramatic measures to ensure that, should something go wrong, a fair share of censure will and rightly should be placed on the present and not the past.

    This has been one of those weeks, however, when everything happening bears the scars and stains of the despicable, cowardly and criminally insane actions of the Bush administration. This has been one of those weeks where it seems for all the world as if Bush left a flaming bag of dog poop on the White House porch before fleeing into the night, and President Obama had no choice but to stomp on it and get covered in crud. This has just been one of those weeks.

    President Obama spoke before the UN General Assembly on Wednesday after making significant progress in two key areas of foreign policy: he secured concessions from Russia regarding sanctions on Iran and won support from both Moscow and Beijing for a resolution to curb nuclear proliferation. In his address, however, one could not help but notice how forcefully the president emphasized the demonstrable fact that he is not George W. Bush, and that the country he leads is not the same one that had run roughshod over the international community over the last eight years.

    "During his address to the General Assembly," reported The New York Times on Thursday, "Mr. Obama sought to present a kinder, gentler America willing to make nice with the world. He suggested that the United States would no longer follow the go-it-alone policies that many United Nations members complained isolated the Bush administration from the organization. 'We have re-engaged the United Nations,' Mr. Obama said, to cheers from world leaders and delegates in the cavernous hall. 'We have paid our bills' - a direct reference to the former administration's practice of withholding some payment due the world body while it pressed for changes there."

    The simple fact that an American president had to stand before that world body and apologize, to all intents and purposes, for the last American president is a stinging humiliation for this country, but the sad fact is that it had to be done.

7 Fascinating Filmmakers to Follow on Twitter

BY Thomas Clifford

Think today's filmmakers are stuck behind the camera? Or the edit room?

Think again.

Many filmmakers are harnessing the power of the web to tell another side of the story– their story. 

Readers enjoyed my earlier post, "7 Interesting Storytellers to Follow on Twitter," so let's continue this series with some interesting filmmakers.

Keeping in the spirit of Twitter, the following "tweets" are 140 characters or less.

7 Fascinating Filmmakers to Follow on Twitter

1. Errol Morris @errolmorris
The Oscar-winning director of 'Fog of War" often tweets zen-like koans. Witty and always thought-provoking.

2. Michael Moore @MMFlint
Yes- the Academy-Award winning filmmaker is on Twitter. Currently promoting his new documentary, "Capitalism: A Love Story."

3. David Lynch  @David_Lynch
Mixes "transcendental" tweets with updates about his new storytelling project, @InterviewProj. Pioneering personal stories for the web. 

4. Bluedot Productions @bluedot_
Game changers. Really. These "quantum activist" filmmakers are creating "quantum leaps" in documentary films.

5. PBS Point of View @povdocs
Beyond promoting POV documentaries, watch for tweets on interviews and educational resources.

6.  Frank Kelly
The filmmaker behind the "140 Project." 140 filmmakers from 140 countries captured 140 seconds of unedited footage. Truly fascinating.

7. Peter Marshall @bcfilmmaker
Veteran filmmaker/workshop teacher/social media proponent. Tweets often & covers the intersection of traditional filmmaking with new media.

Hello, congress?

A Overview of the MERP Model for Marijuana Re-Legalization

What if I told you that there was a piece of legislation that would:

(1) Defund all of the Mexican, Islamic and other drug cartels.
(2) Defund all of the local drug gangs
(3) Cripple the movement toward a centralized Globalist Government
(4) Reclaim the liberties lost in the wake of 911

And what if I told you that this legislation would minimally add 26.6 Billion dollars in revenue to the US economy: without the imposition of any further taxation on the American people? And furthermore what if I told you that this legislation could be implemented world wide, yielding similar benefits throughout the planet?

Wouldn't you be interested in learning more about it? Well then, please take a seat and watch this entire video, because I'm going to describe what that legislation would look like. And I will also begin to map out a strategy that could implement this legislation before the end of 2009.

Let me be absolutely clear why I am producing this series of videos. The primary purpose of this series of videos is to provide a global strategy to Re-Legalize Marijuana Worldwide in 2009. In this second video I will be giving a thorough overview of the only true solution to ending the War on Marijuana: the MERP Model.

Since the first part of this series premiered on February 2nd, 2009 it has been viewed by over 2,000 people in over 20 different countries. For those that can't read English I provide transcripts of each video, which can be viewed in any of 40 languages.

I encourage you to distribute this link throughout the planet so that we can win our first battle against the Globalists, by implementing the MERP Model of Marijuana Re-Legalization Worldwide before 2009 ends. It already appears that this is going viral across the internet and the support for the MERP Model has been overwhelming.

In the first video I made it clear that neither Obama nor Congress have any intention to Re-Legalize Marijuana without concerted pressure from the American public. I then recommended 5 steps that groups and individuals could take to begin pressuring our representatives to specifically implement the MERP Model of Re-Legalization.

In this video I will give an overview of the MERP Model

What is the MERP Model?

MERP is really a one syllable contraction of the acronym MRPP which is short for the "Marijuana Re-Legalization Policy Project." For brevity I will be using MERP from this point forward.

The MERP Model for Marijuana Re-Legalization is elegant in its simplicity and can be succinctly described as follows:

"The MERP model of Marijuana Re-Legalization would minimally allow non-commercial cultivation of unlimited numbers of plants, by adults above the age of 18, without any form of government taxation, regulation or other interference." 

Under the MERP Model both Marijuana Cultivation and Consumption are to be held as inalienable, sacred rights.  MERP does not preclude the issuance of commercial licensing and taxation as long as such laws do not interfere with the aforementioned protections for personal cultivation and consumption.  The structure of the MERP Model assures (1)  the destruction of the Drug Cartels, (2) free access to Medical Marijuana and (3) a counterbalance to the loss of personal liberties following the destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001.

The MERP Model is really not significantly different than the way we allow US citizens to produce beer and wine within our homes. Home beer and wine production is neither taxed nor is it regulated. And many activists need to be weaned from this false notion that the government should get to tax everything. If they don't tax your tomatoes or your beer, why should they be allowed to tax your Cannabis?

Facebook forced to yank Obama kill poll

The US Secret Service is trying to identify the people who launched an online poll at Facebook asking whether US President Barack Obama should be assassinated.

Facebook on Monday shot down the user-generated poll, which was titled "Should Obama be killed?" and offered answer choices of yes, no, maybe, and "If he cuts my health care."

"Once we found out about it, we worked with Facebook to have it removed," Secret Service spokesman Malcolm Wiley told AFP.

"We are certainly investigating; just like we would with any threat case."

More than 750 Facebook users had reportedly cast votes by the time the poll was yanked from the wildly popular online social networking community.

"This is sick and sad," a Facebook user with the screen name Cocoa Fly said in a posting as the poll fuelled passionate online exchanges at the website.

"All of this anti-Obama rage is pure racism."

Fat troublemakers

400 Pages In Four Months

That's Sarah Palin's achievement for Jonathan Burnham, who runs the marketing company, Harper Collins. Several questions naturally arise. Did she actually write those 400 pages? Please. Her peregrinations in the  couple of months since she quit her "day-job" do not exactly reflect a period of personal reflection and diligence. She wrote that book as thoroughly as she wrote her speech in Hong Kong. The book was written by a hardcore Christianist; the speech by a hardcore neocon. She remains the hood ornament for a marketing campaign that now passes for the conservative movement.

The title itself lets us know that if anyone harbored any doubts about her own view of that disastrous campaign, she is immensely proud of it.

And by "it", I mean her refusal to cooperate with the McCain campaign, hijacking it for her own delusions of grandeur, generating immense drama and refusing to answer salient questions. Someone in her position with a decent sense of perspective and self-knowledge might have said no to John McCain in August of 2008. Or taken the pick as an opportunity to get boned up on policy. But we see now that she came to see her nomination as an entrepreneurial opportunity - for wealth, fame and irresponsibility. The notion of public service, divorced from reality show culture, clearly bored her and bores her still. She has now found her niche.

But why the rush? It couldn't be that she's trying to beat any other account of her bizarre career and surreal private life, could it?

Gaddafi interpreter can’t take it anymore

by Iron Knee

The translator broke down during Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's speech at the UN, shouting into his live microphone "I just can't take it any more" in Arabic.

Ironically, the translator was one supplied by Gaddafi, who refused to use the regular UN interpreters. Those who have translated for Gaddafi in the past empathized with the frustration of his interpreter:

He's not exactly the most lucid speaker. "It's not just that what he's saying is illogical, but the way he's saying it is bizarre.

UN rules normally limit the time a translator does live translation to 40 minutes, but Gaddafi's translator broke down after 75 minutes. Another translator immediately took over, translating the final 20 minutes, but even he was given the following day off to recuperate.

Einstein says...

A Genius Exception for Rape

XX Factor: the blog

By Elizabeth Wurtzel is a complicated old joke, not worth telling, but to partially paraphrase the punch line: The difference between heaven and hell is that in hell, the Swiss are the lovers and the French run everything, and in heaven, the French are the lovers and the Swiss run everything.

Obviously, this conclusion has been thrown into question by the botched Polanski pick-up, proving that the Swiss are not really the best stewards of swift order and that the French have some very odd ideas about the art of love, or whatever you want to call it. The joke does not make mention of the United States, but I have a suggestion: In heaven, the Americans are the keepers of justice, and in hell, the Americans are ... the keepers of justice. Because if you are hauled into court in this country, as the Polanski brouhaha displays, it is both the best of times and the worst of times. Right now I cannot even imagine how it will all turn out, but since justice is meted out so unevenly anyway, I wonder if inherent in Scorsese et al.'s defense of Polanski isn't the suggestion that there ought to be a genius exception to the rule of law—that is, if you are a great artist, what's a little rape on the side?

Notwithstanding the due process concerns that the Polanski case raises—which are for legal scholars, not Hollywood directors, to quibble with—if we excuse Polanski from punishment, aren't we really saying that his life is more valuable than the life of a 13-year-old girl's just because he happened to direct Rosemary's Baby? Taking that to its logical extreme, we have to assume that Bob Dylan can never go to jail, even if he rapes a teenager or two, and that Picasso could not have served time for whatever felonies he might have committed in his brazen lifetime, and—well, I could go on. Where would we draw the line? Does Leonard Cohen qualify? Neil Diamond? Sues Yahoo To Reveal Blogger's Identity

By Chris Walters is one of those online companies that offers a free trial, and then attempts to enroll its customers in a $30/month subscription service. Now they're suing Yahoo in an attempt to reveal an anonymous blogger who quoted a Reuters article when criticizing the service, and who pointed out that Freescore is owned by a company with a reputation for billing customers without permission.

You may have seen Ben Stein hawking on your TV in recent months. (It's why he was fired from the New York Times in August, in fact, because of a perceived conflict of interest.) It's no different from any other "free" credit report nonsense out there in that after a short trial period—7 days in this case—you have to pay for what you can get for free once a year from The company exists to lure in people who don't mind paying unnecessary fees, as well as people who don't read fine print, as well as those who do read fine print but forget to cancel within that 7 day window. is even more obnoxious in that it will charge you $1 to access your "free" initial results; the fine print says that if you choose to cancel within 7 days, "remember to ask for a refund of your $1 processing fee."

For those reasons, Reuters blogger Felix Salmon called Stein a "predatory bait-and-switch merchant" in July, and someone called "Flâneur de fraude" added to the claim in a blog post, where he showed that Freescore is ultimately owned by Vertrue Inc., a company that has a BBB rating of "F", mostly due to complaints that Vertrue's various membership companies enrolled customers without their knowledge or permission.

Somehow, that spurred Freescore to retaliate with legal action. But what's weird is although they're making a lot of noise about defamation and trade libel, and they've filed a suit with Yahoo to get Flâneur's real name revealed, they haven't actually argued that anything Flâneur posted was false. They haven't even gone after Felix Salmon, the original blogger at Reuters.

So is planning on suing Flâneur if they can find out her real name? If so, for what? As you can see from her blog post, the original content she added to the story was all about tracing ownership and pointing out the history of complaints against Freescore's parent company.

A Politician's Prayer