Dildonacht on Highway 35: One dead One wounded

January 27, 2016

Late yesterday afternoon, the FBI and Oregon State Police intercepted a small group of the radical right-wing terrorists, who had taken over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, as they were driving to John Day, OR to attend a community meeting. Gunshots were exchanged. Robert LaVoy Finnicum, 54. is dead. Ryan Bundy sustained a non life-threatening gunshot wound to his arm. Four others, including his brother Ammon Bundy, were arrested. The other three are Ryan Payne, 32, of Anaconda, Mont., Brian Cavalier, 44, of Bunkerville, Nevada and Shawna J. Cox, 59, of Kanab, Utah.

The Washington Post is reporting,

A sixth person involved in the occupation, Joseph Donald O’Shaughnessy of Cottonwood, Ariz., was arrested about an hour and a half after the initial confrontation. Shortly after that, a seventh person — Peter Santilli of Cincinnati, who is known for live streaming refuge events — was arrested in Burns, the seat of Harney County where the refuge is located.

Meanwhile, Jon Eric Ritzheimer, 32, a key leader of the armed occupation, surrendered to police in Arizona on a conspiracy charge Tuesday, the FBI said.

Ritzheimer, who serves as the inspiration for the title, is the man in the video asking people to stop sending sex toys to the wannabe revolutionaries. He also is the guy who organized the armed anti-Muslim rallies in Phoenix, AZ.

Eight people are in federal custody charged with conspiracy to impede federal officers through the use of force, intimidation or threats.

A group of the self-described patriots remains entrenched at the wildlife refuge. The FBI and Oregon State Police are reportedly surrounding the place, possibly with intent to arrest more people. If they are smart, they will surrender. The rest should leave or face arrest and possibly worse.

Later today, possibly this morning, the people in federal custody in Oregon will appear in court for an initial appearance before a United States Magistrate Judge who will review the complaint and attached affidavit regarding the factual basis for probable cause, advise them of their rights, including the right to remain silent and be represented by counsel, and appoint counsel at public expense for those who cannot afford counsel. The judge will find probable cause and all of them will be detained without bail for a detention/preliminary hearing at which time the government will request that they be denied bail pending the outcome of the case. I am expecting that all of them will be detained without bail because they are charged with a crime of violence and they were armed when arrested.

You can reasonably expect that within a month or so a federal grand jury will return an indictment that will include additional charges. The conspiracy charge is just a way to hold them pending the comprehensive indictment coming down the road.

Basically, these defendants buried themselves in a mountain of social-media evidence.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, so to speak, U.S. Attorney Bill Williams, Greg Bretzing (the FBI special agent in charge of the case) and Harney County Sheriff David Ward will be holding a news conference this morning.


Schadenfreude in Houston

January 26, 2016

A Houston grand jury convened last year to investigate Planned Parenthood for selling aborted human fetuses for profit concluded its investigation yesterday by indicting David Daleiden, the antiabortion zealot who created the Center for Medical Progress and Sandra Merritt his associate who assisted him in an undercover scheme to videotape Planned Parenthood officials allegedly agreeing to sell fetuses for profit, which is prohibited by law.

The videos were heavily edited.
.
The grand jury did not indict Planned Parenthood or any of its officials, which is consistent with the organization’s claim that it never sold fetuses for profit. Instead, they donated them to organizations for scientific research charging a minimal fee to cover their costs. The organization has since stopped collecting that fee.

The New York Times is reporting,

The record-tampering charges accused Mr. Daleiden and Ms. Merritt of making and presenting fake California driver’s licenses, with the intent to defraud, for their April meeting at Planned Parenthood in Houston.

The LA Times is reporting,

He also was indicted on a misdemeanor count that is related to soliciting the purchase of human organs, according to a statement from Harris County Dist. Atty. Devon Anderson (a Republican, I might add, who was appointed by former Texas Gov. Rick Perry).

Schadenfreude: a feeling of enjoyment that comes from seeing or hearing about the troubles of other people. : enjoyment obtained from the troubles of others. German, from Schaden damage + Freude joy.

How sweet it is.


Genocide in Flint

January 24, 2016

If you believe that people generally intend the natural and probable consequences of their acts, you have to seriously consider the possibility that Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and his cohorts intended to commit genocide in Flint.

As anyone who has chemically treated swimming pool water can affirm:

When you add Chlorine (CL) to water (H2O) in order to kill microbes, you create HCL, which is hydrochloric acid. Since it’s not a good idea to go swimming in vats of acid as any damn fool knows, you have to add a base to neutralize the acid. When I managed a couple of public swimming pools back in the 60s, we used to add soda ash to the water to increase the pH to 7.0, which is the neutral balance-point between acid and base.

We checked the pH every hour with a simple portable color-test kit and added soda ash to increase the pH if it were below 7.0. We kept a written record of each hourly result and how much soda ash we added.

When the idiots in Flint decided not to add an anti-corrosive agent (i.e., a base) to the water supply they were disinfecting with chlorine, they converted the water into an acid that caused skin rashes and dissolved the inner surface of the pipes, releasing lead into the water supply.

As Amy Davidson lays out the case against the people who poisoned Flint’s water supply in her New Yorker article, The Contempt That Poisoned Flint’s Water, I cannot help but conclude that they knew what they were doing long before the story broke.

A brilliant neo-nazi type solution to reduce poverty in Flint.

A harsh accusation I realize, but how could Snyder and his cohorts not have known?

Michael Moore accused Snyder of genocide.

He is right, if Snyder is a person who intends the natural and probable consequences of his acts.

A thorough and complete investigation is necessary.


Jesus was an apocalyptic rabbi who did not believe in family values

January 21, 2016

Jesus was an apocalyptic rabbi who challenged authority and did not believe in family values. He was crucified for challenging authority and did not sacrifice himself to save humans for their sins.

From the Gospel of Thomas*:

Example 1

(55) Jesus said, “Whoever does not hate his father and his mother cannot become a disciple to me. And whoever does not hate his brothers and sisters and take up his cross in my way will not be worthy of me.”

Example 2

Jesus was speaking to a crowd in a public place that had gathered to hear him speak.

(99) The disciples said to him, “Your brothers and your mother are standing outside.”

He said to them, “Those here who do the will of my father are my brothers and my mother. It is they who will enter the kingdom of my father.”

Perhaps you thought he was all about peace?

Example 3

(16) Jesus said, “Men think, perhaps, that it is peace which I have come to cast upon the world. They do not know that it is dissension which I have come to cast upon the earth: fire, sword, and war. For there will be five in a house: three will be against two, and two against three, the father against the son, and the son against the father. And they will stand solitary.”

Dissension against whom?

Example 4

(63) Jesus said, “There was a rich man who had much money. He said, ‘I shall put my money to use so that I may sow, reap, plant, and fill my storehouse with produce, with the result that I shall lack nothing.’ Such were his intentions, but that same night he died. Let him who has ears hear.”

Example 5

(64) Jesus said, “A man had received visitors. And when he had prepared the dinner, he sent his servant to invite the guests.

He went to the first one and said to him, ‘My master invites you.’ He said, ‘I have claims against some merchants. They are coming to me this evening. I must go and give them my orders. I ask to be excused from the dinner.’

He went to another and said to him, ‘My master has invited you.’ He said to him, ‘I have just bought a house and am required for the day. I shall not have any spare time.’

He went to another and said to him, ‘My master invites you.’ He said to him, ‘My friend is going to get married, and I am to prepare the banquet. I shall not be able to come. I ask to be excused from the dinner.’

He went to another and said to him, ‘My master invites you.’ He said to him, ‘I have just bought a farm, and I am on my way to collect the rent. I shall not be able to come. I ask to be excused.’

The servant returned and said to his master, ‘Those whom you invited to the dinner have asked to be excused.’ The master said to his servant, ‘Go outside to the streets and bring back those whom you happen to meet, so that they may dine.’ Businessmen and merchants will not enter the places of my father.”

Example 6

(65) He said, “There was a good man who owned a vineyard. He leased it to tenant farmers so that they might work it and he might collect the produce from them. He sent his servant so that the tenants might give him the produce of the vineyard. They seized his servant and beat him, all but killing him. The servant went back and told his master. The master said, ‘Perhaps he did not recognize them.’ He sent another servant. The tenants beat this one as well. Then the owner sent his son and said, ‘Perhaps they will show respect to my son.’ Because the tenants knew that it was he who was the heir to the vineyard, they seized him and killed him. Let him who has ears hear.”

With whom did he identify?

Example 7

(54) Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor, for yours is the kingdom of heaven.”

Example 8

(58) Jesus said, “Blessed is the man who has suffered and found life.”

Example 9

(49) Jesus said, “Blessed are the solitary and elect, for you will find the kingdom. For you are from it, and to it you will return.”

________________________________

* The Gospel of Thomas consists of 114 sayings, in no readily apparent order, that are attributed to Jesus. The author identifies himself as Jude, Jesus’s identical twin brother. The book was written in Greek no later than the first half of second century, C.E., and it contains some sayings that are similar to but shorter than sayings found in the New Testament gospels. For this reason, many scholars believe that the author probably had not read the New Testament gospels and independently relied on sayings that probably go back to the historical Jesus.

The gospel was regarded as heretical and probably not included in the New Testament because it:

(1) does not mention the apostle Paul’s prescription for salvation (belief in Jesus’s crucifixion, death, physical resurrection and ascension), and

(2) contains language echoing the Gnostic belief that salvation comes from a spiritual resurrection based on knowing that we contain a divine spark and focusing our attention and identity on that spark. Indeed, the author assures the reader that,

These are the secret sayings which the living Jesus spoke and which Didymos** Judas Thomas*** wrote down.

(1) And he said, “Whoever finds the interpretation of these sayings will not experience death.”

(2) Jesus said, “Let him who seeks continue seeking until he finds. When he finds, he will become troubled. When he becomes troubled, he will be astonished, and he will rule over the All.”

(3) Jesus said, “If those who lead you say to you, ‘See, the kingdom is in the sky,’ then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, ‘It is in the sea,’ then the fish will precede you. Rather, the kingdom is inside of you, and it is outside of you. When you come to know yourselves, then you will become known, and you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the living father. But if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it is you who are that poverty.”

I like this Jesus. I am not fond of family values and I believe my spirit is immortal. I do not believe in a physical resurrection of the dead and I do not believe Jesus sacrificed himself to save all human beings from being punished for their sins. He was crucified because he challenged authority.

The Gospel of Thomas was fortuitously discovered in 1947 at Nag Hammadi by an Egyptian camel driver named Muhammad Ali (no relation) and his companions who were searching for camel dung in a public dump site to use as fuel for fires.

**Didymos means twin in Greek

***Thomas means twin in Aramaic (the primary language Jesus spoke)


Immanentize The Eschaton: It’s Turtles All The Way Down

January 20, 2016

From Turbo Pascal 4.0/5.0, Walter Savitch introduces Chapter 14, “Problem solving Using Recursion,” with the following story.

After a lecture on cosmology and the structure of the solar system, William James was accosted by a little old lady.

“Your theory that the sun is the center of the solar system, and the earth is a ball which rotates around it has a very convincing ring to it, Mr James, but it’s wrong. I’ve a better theory,” said the little old lady.

“And what is that, Madam?” inquired James politely.

“That we live on a crust of earth which is on the back of a giant turtle.”

Not wishing to demolish this absurd little theory by bringing to bear the masses of scientific evidence he had at his command, James decided to gently dissuade his opponent by making her see some of the inadequacies of her position.

“If your theory is correct, madam,” he asked, “what does this turtle stand on?”

“You’re a very clever man, Mr. James, and that’s a very good question,” replied the little old lady, “but I have an answer to it. And it is this: the first turtle stands on the back of a second, far larger turtle, who stands directly under him.”

“But what does this second turtle stand on?” persisted James patiently.

To this the little old lady crowed triumphantly. “It’s no use, Mr. James, – it’s turtles all the way down.”

Bring on the clowns to immanentize the eschaton.

Behold:

Sarah Palin and Donald Trump


I Have A Dream

January 18, 2016

Timeless words worth listening to again today.

Watch and listen to the great man speak.

Happy Birthday to Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

On 28 August, 1963, Martin Luther King delivered his magnificent “I have a dream speech” on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. Below is the text of The Dream portion of his speech.

The dream

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed – we hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama little black boys and little black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I will go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.

With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day, this will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning: “My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.” And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.
Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.
Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!
Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California.
But not only that.
Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.
Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi, from every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: “Free at last! Free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”


Residents of Flint MI are victims of assault, manslaughter and extortion

January 16, 2016

Think Progress is reporting that residents of Flint, MI are being forced to pay for poisoned water and threatened with shut-offs if they do not pay, even if they only use the water to flush their toilets.

In 2011, Flint lawmakers imposed a rapid 35 percent increase in water rates, against a city law that requires utility hikes to be implemented gradually, and started issuing shutoff notices to those who were past due. A judge halted the shutoffs last summer, ordering the city to undo the increase and revise customers’ bills. But the shutoff notices resumed in November based on the prior rates, going out to about 1,800 past due households.

And while they were paused for the December holiday season, they have once again resumed this week. Finance Director Jody Lundquist could not tell Michigan Live how many notices are expected to be sent out in this round.

Even residents who aren’t behind, though, are frustrated that they’re still being billed for water they can’t even drink. “The city is still billing residents for the contaminated water being pumped to their homes and expecting immediate payment,” Sylvia Orduno of the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization explained in an email to ThinkProgress.

And the amounts demanded are quite high. In 2014, the Flint Journal reported that the average water and sewer bill in Flint was $140 a month. For anyone of limited means, that couldn’t come at a harder time. “The pace at which help is getting to residents is causing them further health consequences, suffering, and debt,” Orduno said. “Bottled water is an expensive alternative and requires constant, large supplies to meet the need.”

This policy is outrageous given that,

Concerns about the safety of the city’s drinking water began nearly as soon as it switched the source form Detroit to the Flint River, with residents complaining that it was cloudy, foul smelling, and bad tasting while potentially causing health problems. Officials kept insisting it was safe, however, despite a whistleblower’s claims that they knew of problems as early as July and may have rigged water tests to cover things up. In September, public research came out that linked the water switch to a significant increase in the levels of lead found in children’s bloodstreams.

Even as the crisis became clear, government was slow to react. Weeks after city officials declared a state of emergency, the state government did the same, and even then it took several days for bottled water to start getting handed out.

Now, 10 people have died from Legionnaires’ disease, potentially related to the water crisis. And the consequences of lead poisoning, particularly for children are life long and irreversible.

Extortion is a felony crime. Wikipedia defines it as follows,

Extortion (also called shakedown, outwrestling, and exaction) is a criminal offense of obtaining money, property, or services from a person, entity, individual or institution, through coercion.

In addition to killing people and lead-poisoning children for life, the City of Flint is threatening to cut-off water for waste purposes, if people don’t pay their water bills. That is assault, manslaughter and extortion.

Governor Rick Snyder and the Flint Finance Director Jody Lundquist deserve to spend the rest of their lives in prison.


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