And now for Something Completely Different…

by JC

This open thread is dedicated to the incredible perseverance and diligence shown by goof, lizard, Mark T. and PogoPossum last week on my thread the rise of the conservative party. Have at it boys! And if anybody else has something they’d like to gab about, this thread is for you.


  1. Actually, I think one of them did a cut and run.

  2. problembear

    hate to interrupt the conspiracy appendage measuring fest going on here but at this moment the house is about to take away the means for a woman to choose an abortion by denying women the ability to pay for it with any health insurance under the health care reform bill ammendment by stupak.

    history is being made today and this instant with debate going on today in congress re: the health care plan. it would behoove all americans interested in preserving personal liberty to follow it on c-span or check in with commenters on twitter to stay abreast of developments. the sausage is being made now. conspiracy theories do not apply here. the far right is imposing its beliefs on millions of women and restricting their liberties. right now.

    • JC

      HuffPo has a nice blow-by-blow that I’ve been following. I had to turn off C-SPAN. Drove me nuts. and Obama’s (non)press conference this AM was one of the most uninspiring speaking moments of his presidency. Looked like he had been constipated for about a week and was headed for an enema.

      So if anyone wants to take a break from the House debate, head on over to Wulfgar!’s place, as he has a most delightful piece on “How the Zombocalypse Begins.” Saturday Night Live should hire these guys to play the Obamas!

      “Fox News is thriller… It’s a fright…”

    • goof houlihan

      Well, since nobody’s gonna have any kind of insurance but this once all our private health insurance is mandated away, it’s an effective ban on abortions for all but those who can just pay cash.

      Get ready for more of this. The politicization of our choices about health care. Life prolonging procedures, immunizations, drug choices, we will all line up at the health care kollectiv for our placebo.

      • problembear

        it just keeps getting worse the more that democrats listen to the failed ideas of the republicans. now that all of the republicans in congress and 64 democrats have stripped women of their right to obtain medical coverage for a choice that should be their own to make.

        women who can pay for it will be alright thoug. this will only endanger women who are poor. another victory for the glorious GOP tonight in their policy of making sure those who cannot afford health insurance are denied.

        • problembear

          health care reform passes the house 220-215. now it is up to the senate. time for obama to step up and make this bill as good as it can be.

          republicans managed to insert an ammendment at the last minute that takes away the rights of poor women to obtain coverage for their right to choose. we must pluck that out in conference.
          the battle continues.

          • Big Swede

            Your right pb, if you going to have multiple abortions, at least someone else should pay for them.

            >>Of the abortions reported in 1999 to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 26.2% of women who aborted had experienced one previous abortion; 11.2% had two previous abortions, and 7.5% had three or more previous abortions.<<

          • JC

            “at least someone else should pay for them.”

            Takes two to tango, Swedie.

            You suggesting that the father should be located and made to pay his fair share?

            Or are you just being tongue-in-cheek saying that women bear all the responsibility and cost when they become pregnant, yet choose an abortion?

            Either way you’re taking an archaic approach here. I suppose you’d rather women just shut up and go barefoot in the kitchen.

          • Big Swede

            Actually, I was thinking about all those discarded female fetuses that would never go barefoot, in the kitchen or anywhere else.

    • Lizard

      appendage measuring fest? really?

      • problembear

        sorry lizard. bears have little patience for convoluted arguments regarding theories when life gets real for so many right now….

        but i know you know this all too well.

        • Lizard

          my convoluted arguments and your personal interest stories go hand in hand, pb.

          i don’t talk here about the work i do for a reason, but if you were to ask j-girl she could tell you. i see every day how difficult it’s getting, and i’m starting to figure out why the way we’re going about changing things isn’t working.

  3. Lizard

    just to clarify a few inaccuracies from pogo’s last comment in the closed thread (sorry for helping to hijack it, JC) i do not operate any conspiracy websites, i did not call anyone any names, nor am i a liberal.

    i’ll weigh in on aliens a little later, since pogo seemed so very interested for a response, but right now dinner is ready, and i gotta go.

  4. Lizard

    #4 of pogo’s inspired numbered response reads:

    Mark and Lizard appear to equate religious beliefs with conspiracies. Interesting.

    as conspiracy culture goes mainstream, i think it’s fair to look at some of the big successes, like dan brown, who capitalized on an intriguing religious conspiracy about secret societies protecting the bloodline of jesus.

    interesting? well, it was certainly lucrative.

    the point of this previous statement–

    hardcore conspiracy theorists who become totally convinced that an all-encompassing conspiracy led by an all-powerful elite are basically just replacing god with groups like the freemasons and the illuminati.

    must have been too dense for pogo to grasp, so let me rephrase the point i was trying to make:

    religious fundamentalists believe they possess the exclusive answers to the big questions. conspiracy fundamentalists believe the same thing. the main difference is conspiracy fundamentalists are a relatively new breed, and they haven’t killed as many people to prove their answers are right, like jihadists and george bush.

    i was going to say something more lengthy about the birthers, since pogo mentioned them in both #5 and #7 of his response (like how i don’t think they’re crazy, just a little gullible, ignorant, and racist) but let’s just skip to aliens at area 51.

    i don’t know.

    but there’s a movie for kids coming out called planet 51, and based on my direct experience of personally seeing with my very own eyes the trailer, i can say, yes, there are aliens there, and the kids will eat it up.

    • Pogo did the classic “leaving for the weekend” duck and run, as if he has no access to computers outside his home. He took his shots and ran, baby, ran!

      I have participated in debates on the JFK assassination before, and do not do so anymore except in generalities, as the specifics are voluminous and it gets really tedious. Pogo said he duplicated Oswald’s feat of marksmanship. As Howard Cosell used to say, he’s got a scoop. He’s the first.

      But more generally, there is a strong parallel between religious faith and acceptance of official truth in matters such as JFK’s death: Both are a form of tribal wisdom handed down from elders. There is no basis in fact. Acceptance of religious beliefs requires that the wisdom handed down by authority questions shall not be questioned, no matter how absurd. It requires blind following. I was raised in a religious family, I know how it works. It was hard to overcome it, just as it is hard for people like Pogo to see outside the flow of official truth.

      And so it is no surprises that those who beleive in virgin births and men who walk on water also believe in magic bullets.

      • Lizard

        money, power, and a perpetual fight to control dwindling resources. really, that’s all it comes down to.

        Today we are in the midst of not just a recession but a terminal depression. Getting the banks to lend again so people can buy homes at what are still over-inflated prices or so they might compete with immigrants to get construction jobs through building of more useless office buildings or military bases is not a recovery. The “greening of America” is a myth. There is no resurgence of alternative energy investment or new public infrastructure apart from a few highway projects.

        American family farming is practically dead and is under a new assault from speculators who are undercutting prices and forcing foreclosures. The local manufacturing sector never came back after the calamitous decline produced by the Paul Volcker recession of 1979-1983, when interest rates were deliberately raised to over 20 percent to kill off family-owned businesses so that global corporations could step in and take over. Since then we had the “Reagan Revolution” when the banks took over the economy, the Clinton bubble of the 1990s which crashed in 2000, and the George W. Bush/Alan Greenspan housing bubble which blew up in 2008. Now Main Street lies shattered and shuttered as a result of the crimes and treacheries of the last 30 years.

        that cheery assessment is from an article by richard c. cook. the full article is here

        the federal reserve, as a private institution beyond the oversight reach of congress, relies on secrecy so that monetary policy can be set without public scrutiny. besides religion, there is no bigger scam than that.

        at a time when neo-classical economic theory needs to be taken out back and summarily shot, the fed is wholly devoted to propping up a financial sector responsible for a three decade assault on the middle class. and yes, it takes lots of boardroom conspiring to perpetuate this assault.

        if all that sounds too depressing, don’t worry. i firmly believe that in 2012 the aliens that built the pyramids will descend to save humanity from destroying itself :)

      • goof houlihan

        What I read here from you two are the robed and tonsured ravings of conspiratarian doctrine from the Church of Revealed Conspiracies. You’ve got arcane knowledge revealed only to a select few, while the rest of us will burn in the hell of ignorant normalcy. Instead of a flash of light, a burning bush, some golden leaved tomes, you’ve go the…INTERNET!

        But I can escape my fate! Just read these three hundred websites! Otherwise, someday I’m gonna wake up dead, and boy, then I’ll know how wrong I was about the Kennedy assassination! You sound just like the Freemen, we are all sheep and you stand apart from the nonsense of conventional wisdom. It’s “united states” without capital letters! All you need now is a little cabin in Eastern Montana.

        We’re the skeptics. You’re the keepers of the revelation. Get it straight. The world’s not simple, maybe, but slicing the fruitcake with Occam’s Razor always seems to reveal the nuts.

        • goof houlihan

          Yes, Lizard, look at the growth of government and government debt authority in that article’s time frame. Yet you advocate for more More MORE! Now you want the people in grey making all decisions about my personal health. You want “cap and trade”. You’re not fighting the conspiracy you fear. You’re hastening the apocalypse!

          Signed without prejudice, Teste meipso,

          goof, houlihan of the unincorporated united states, under g-d.

        • Lizard

          you misread me, goof. i do my best to remain skeptical as well. i don’t buy in to any “theory” all the way

          for example, even though i don’t necessarily think the govt is as sinister as some religious/conspiracist folk believe (precisely because it’s made up of mostly regular folk, which is why ohio election fraud didn’t happen, right?) i’m not willing to discount the possibility that elements within the govt wouldn’t blink a single tear at the leveling of an american city if it meant they could somehow profit from the result.

        • We simply possess unconventional minds, not driven by conformity, Lizard leaning right, me left. The thing to remember about JFK is that it doesn’t matter! Once I realized that it was just a perfect storm of no lasting import, I ceased to care who shot him.

          But it can act as a portal through which you can escape conventional thought patterns. In my case, it forced me to look honestly at Vietnam and Cuba, and the walls crumbled. American hisotry cannot stand much scrutiny.

          But I must warn you,goof, if you go there, there is no security to be had! And, you are constantly subject to ridicule by mediocre men of limited vision. But in the end, it’s not about conspiracy (though indeed powerful people and ordinary criminals often act in secret). It’s about the freedom to wander unimpeded by received wisdom. It’s invigorating. Or as JFK would say, inviguhating.

          What we are trying to tell you is that there is, if you are up to it, such a thing as freedom. It exists in the mind. Horse, water. Drink?

          • Lizard

            “American hisotry cannot stand much scrutiny.”

            i give that a resounding hell yeah!

            i remember listening to alternative radio hosted by david barsamian and hearing for the first time how the CIA subverted iran in 1953 by covertly ousting mossedegh.

            if we were more informed as a citizenry we could maybe understand the blowback when it happens, and adjust accordingly.

  5. goof houlihan

    Check out the cartoon, again. You’ll note the company YOU keep.

    Oh, and Lizard, I do like the article. But you’ve only offered more deficit spending and less reality.

    Require a balanced budget from our federal government, first. Start there, and you’ll find me much closer to your point of view. The debt really is the “sellout” in clear and unambiguous numbers.

    • Lizard

      what do you think about setting up a local currency, goof? might it not be prudent to start preparing for the worst if the wrong kind of federal government spending, like propping up wall street and escalating wars, continues unabated?

      i think it would be great if we could find ways to bridge local political divides so we can get things done on a local, pragmatic, sustainable scale if the economic reality is as bad as the sources i consult say it is.

      but it would require a level of maturity i’m not sure exists anymore.

  6. Pogo Possum

    Wow…….is this discussion still going on! Amazing!

    Mark and Lizard… you really need to turn off the computers and get out more. Life if too short.

    I still have to unpack and get ready for Monday so I will keep this short.

    First…….Mark, I didn’t think you would miss me so much. (“Pogo did the classic “leaving for the weekend” duck and run, as if he has no access to computers outside his home. He took his shots and ran, baby, ran!” A little reactionary and unfair don’t you think?

    Actually, I was out of town hunting with some friends. No electricity, no cell phones, no internet. Completely unplugged from the world. Very relaxing. You should try it sometime Mark. It might help you make that break through you have been trying to so hard to accomplish in therapy.

    J.C. – Nice cartoon. Seems to sum up all sides of the issue. You really do need to tell us where you find your material. It is good.

    Lizard, I do owe you an apology. I glanced through the earlier dialogue and you are correct. With the minor exception of a little shot (“. . . while the other side (yours) is just stupidly sneering”) you were a perfect gentleman. I was wrong to associate your behavior with Mark T’s. It was very careless of me and I again apologize.

    Regarding the comment about the conspiracy web site……you gave a link to this one ( as if it were yours. It’s not yours? If is isn’t it is certainly near and dear to your heart
    Finally, you say you aren’t a liberal? Are you sure? You sure had me fooled. Still do.

    Problem Bear………( “. . . appendage measuring fest” ). Very clever. I like it. You do have a way of summing things up nicely. I really do need to read more of what you write.

    Goof……..( “What I read here from you two are the robed and tonsured ravings of conspiratarian doctrine from the Church of Revealed Conspiracies.) Damn, you write well. You are truely an artist with words. I am jealous. I knew I should have taken more writing courses in college. Keep it up.

    Time to leave and get ready for Monday. Or, as Mark T. would say…….”do a cut and run.” Enjoy the evening.

    • Lizard

      i agree, turning off computers and unplugging is very necessary in maintaining general mental health, although i find it curious that part of your “criticism” includes the sourcing websites. i also mentioned an author, gary webb, who wrote a book about the CIA’s involvement in the drug trade. is referring to book’s more legitimate?

      as for the liberal designation, no, i don’t identify myself as a liberal, but i do believe the govt has a critical regulatory role to play in keeping the private sector honest. you could say that socially i’m liberal, and with health care reform i think it’s pretty obvious that profit undermines care, but i also believe in a certain degree of fiscal conservatism, especially when it comes to no-bid war contracts and the despicable privatization of war.

      • Gary Webb presents an interesting case … drug laws in this country are normally just a tool for law enforcement to control minorities. Webb turned on the CIA, and using evidence that was undisputed and available on the public record, to construct a story about a pipeline that the CIA was running to move cocaine from its sources into the California markets.

        If he wrote only about the local dealers and market, he might have won a Pulitzer. Because he toyed with power, he was demoted, and eventually quit his job in disgust. Later, he committed suicide.

        What was the CIA doing running drugs? Was it a rogue operation? Certain elements within that very large agency were funneling weapons to terrorists in Central America. Congress had cut off their source of funds. They, like all drug dealers, did it for the money.

  7. Gentlemen gentlemen! Way too much fun.

    First, problem bear, you’re actually a woman, and people here think you’re a guy. How long are you going to let this go on?

    Pogo – you’re on top of everything, which means you didn’t actually go hunting (your brain wouldn’t recover from the drunk until Monday morning). You cut and ran.

    Also Pogo, you haven’t a clue how much some us want to disassociate ourselves from “liberals” and at the same time rebel against everything you stand for. Get away from talk radio now and then. It’s a big world, different continents and everything.

    And finally, two of you now, a “liberal” (Jay Stevens) and a right winger, have taken great pains to tell JC what a nice guy he is and how much they appreciate hsi comments. I’m sensing conspiracy. From this I gather that JC has mastered the art of sounding reasonable without ever saying anything. He’s a liberal, would you not say?

  8. ladybug

    And I was hoping for a rousing debate about the real anthrax killer and explosives residue at the 9/11 site. Or the CIA heroin trade, base construction boondoggles and/or petro-pipelines in Afghanistan.

  9. Pogo Possum

    Here is something new to discuss.

    Monday’s ceremonies in Berlin marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall is noted by the glaring absence of the President of the United States. Obama sent Hillary (US Secretary of State) in his place.

    While Obama the candidate was eager to visit Berlin during his campaign, and Obama the President of the United States had plenty of time to roam the globe on his world wide apology tour, and even found time to venture across the pond to unsuccessfully fight for Chicago’s bid for the Olympics, he doesn’t seem to have time to stand with other world leaders to celebrate an event that changed modern history.

    His refusal to attend this historic event is an embarassment to a generation of people who helped bring down this symbol of Soviet totalitarianism and alter the course of history.

  10. Pogo Possum

    I can understand how that may have come up in a strategy session, J.C. but it is still a poor decision. All presidents are compared with their predecessors.

    His notable absence sends a poor signal to our European (and especially our eastern European) allies.

    Maybe the Nobel Peace Prize for doing nothing went to his head.

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