Archive for the “Fuzzy Thinking” Category

Examples of fuzzy thinking, illogic, absurdity, etc.

crying-babyPardon me, Dear Reader, for yet another largely off-topic post. A lot needs to be said right now — and I’m going to say it.

First of all, let’s clear the air over what happened at the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, VA. The rally hadn’t even formally begun before it became violent and police broke it up. Shortly after that, an angry white supremacist from Ohio drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing one and injuring 19 others (Archive.Is cached article). The driver reportedly had longstanding Nazi sympathies (cached). In other words, he was a card-carrying member of the “alt right” which had assembled in what is, basically, Thomas Jefferson’s hometown, to bluster and fume about the impending removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee from a city park (cached).

Shortly after, on Saturday, the Groper-in-Chief made some comments condemning the violence at that rally, which had mostly been planned for him, but he added (twice!) an additional “on many sides,” entirely on his own (cached). In other words, he was blaming both sides for the violence and death — which was definitely not the case. He took some heat for that, from his own party, even (cached)! On Monday afternoon, he read a perfunctory condemnation of white nationalists, which he thought would end the matter (cached). But the hubbub triggered by his initial equivocation and false equivalence didn’t die down.

So today, the Apricot Wonder met with some assembled reporters and proceeded to launch into a full-blown, ten-alarm, all-hands-on-deck infantile meltdown (cached).

That’s the only description that fits this fucking debacle. Really. It’s juvenile beyond words. Quoting any of it would be pointless, and give it more dignity than it deserves. If you feel the need to, you can watch it, courtesy of PBS News Hour, via Youtube (cached):

You can also read a transcript, courtesy of CNBC (cached). Some of the more salient points of the Groper’s raging shit-show, are:

  1. He refused to say when he would speak with Ms Heyer’s family, but twice mentioned nice things her mother had said about him
  2. He refused to say when he’d go to Charlottesville, but mentioned his house — and winery — there
  3. He refused to call the car attack “terrorism,” claiming he needed more “facts,” even though he never previously let “facts” get in the way of venting his spleen
  4. His answer to the problem of racism in the US was talking about jobs, and everyone making so much money that it would just die out … somehow
  5. He invented a new word, “alt-left,” and claimed that the car driver had been responding to them “charging” at the alt-right

Honestly, this is about as fucked up a situation as I’ve ever seen from Washington — and I’m someone who remembers the Watergate scandal.

Turning away from the walking trainwreck that is our Groper-in-Chief, I came across something else hideous — and yes, it had to come from the Right-wing’s house organ, of course (cached):

The leader of a Ku Klux Klan group based in North Carolina said he was “glad” that a woman died and others were injured after a man allegedly drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters Saturday at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va.…

Justin Moore, the leader of the Grand Dragon for the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, told WBTV’s Steve Crump in a voicemail that he was “glad” Heyer was killed and others were injured in the vehicle attack.

“I’m sorta glad that them people got hit and I’m glad that girl died,” Moore said. “They were a bunch of communists out there protesting against somebody’s freedom of speech, so it doesn’t bother me that they got hurt at all.”

Is this really what’s become of the United States of America? Can it really be that we have such an infantile president and people who actually think it’s justifiable to drive cars into crowds merely because of them have “communist flags”?

This country is fucked. Royally. Right up the goddamn ass.

Photo credit: Brandon Baunach, via Flickr.

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A vehicle plows into a group of protesters marching along 4th Street NE at the Downtown Mall in Charlottesville on the day of the Unite the Right rally on Saturday, August 12, 2017. Photo/Ryan M. Kelly/The Daily ProgressFolks, it sure looks as though the Civil War has broken out again! No sooner did I finish blogging about last night’s torch-carrying mob of sanctimonious Confederates in Charlottesville, VA, but as The Daily Progress reports, a second rally today (called “Unite the Right”) turned deadly (Archive.Is cached article):

Update: 3:30 p.m.

Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer says one person has died after a car plowed into a mass of Unite the Right counter-protesters.

“I am heartbroken that a life has been lost here. I urge all people of good will–go home,” he wrote.

Police have not yet confirmed the fatality.

This is all in the name of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, which the city of Charlottesville voted to remove from a public park. Latter-day Confederates and “alt rightists” — precious snowflakes that they are — decided this was the equivalent of a physical attack on their persons, and reacted with lawsuits, riots, violence, and now murder — i.e. a car having been driven into a crowd of counter-protestors.

As I’ve argued many times, Confederacy-worship is asinine, irrational, and stupid. The Confederacy lost the Civil War. In every conceivable way — militarily, economically, politically, diplomatically, administratively, societally — it was a failed state. It’s gone. Over. Finished. Done. Toast. Relegated to the dustbin of history. Confederate relics have only one place in the modern US, and that’s in fucking museums.

It’s time for angry Southerners (and other “alt rightists” from other parts of the country who’ve taken up their juvenile cause) to fucking grow the hell up, for the first time in their sniveling little lives, and get over the fact that their precious Confederacy is the failed state it was. I understand they like feeling like martyrs … but they’re inventing persecution which, in fact, does not exist. No one and nothing is harmed by the removal of a General Lee statue from a public park. No one! It literally cannot cause them any fucking damage … at all.

It’s time for Confederacy worship to end — period. End of discussion.

Photo credit: Ryan M. Kelly/The Daily Progress.

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The peasants are - well, you know! (via TV Tropes)It’s difficult to believe that, of all places, Charlottesville VA has become the latest Civil War battleground. This town is home to the University of Virginia, which was founded by several Founding Fathers, one of whom — Thomas Jefferson — was from the area. It’s generally a very progressive island within the sea of Virginia’s conservative interior. In fact, that may be why it has become a battle-zone. Some time ago, the city decided to take down some Confederate statues on city property … and today’s Confederates went berserk over that. Ever since, they’ve been raging and fuming about it. Apparently, taking down a statue is the same thing as physically attacking the poor little things.

This “controversy” has led to yet another literal “peasants with torches” moment. There was another such event last night, as Charlottesville’s Daily Progress reports, but unlike the one in May (which fizzled) this one was punctuated by violence (Archive.Is cached article):

Echoing the May 13 rally at the foot of Charlottesville’s Robert E. Lee statue, hundreds of torch-wielding white nationalists who are attending Saturday’s Unite the Right rally gathered at the University of Virginia and marched to the Rotunda, chanting, “You will not replace us.”

After the march, which began at UVa’s Nameless Field, reached the Rotunda, police later declared an unlawful assembly. Protesters and opponents alike reported being affected by pepper spray.

At the feet of a statue of Thomas Jefferson, fights began breaking out and some wielding tiki torches swung them at people. At least one person was arrested, and several people were treated at the scene for minor injuries.

The ralliers shouted many of the same chants at the May event, such as “blood and soil,” but this time, they declared that Charlottesville was their city now.

Yessirree Bob, dey’s not gonn’ let dem dere libruls take away deir Genrul Lee!

This Confederacy worship is asinine and juvenile, not to mention irrational and pointless. I’ll repeat here what I said back in May:

The way some Southerners venerate Confederates is, quite frankly, pathetic. It’s almost as though they aren’t aware the South lost the Civil War and they’re still fighting it … or wishing they could. It’s all very childish. The Confederacy, ultimately, was a failed attempt to break from the Union and establish a new state. Yes, folks, that’s right: It was a failure … militarily, economically, administratively, and in every other conceivable way. Continuing to worship it makes no sense at all. None! It’s all very childish, in fact.

Yes, I know all about the “Lost Cause of the Confederacy” trope, which holds that the Confederacy was a righteous, noble state defeated by insidious and unjust forces in the North. Far from being a failure, the Confederacy was right, and remains so to this day. All of that, of course, is rank bullshit … a steaming load heaped right out the back of the barn. But you can’t tell Southerners that. They’re not listening, at all, because telling them otherwise is a way of trying to demolish their “heritage” and wipe them all out. None of that is happening, of course, but they prefer to believe it is because it makes them feel better to feel downtrodden and put out.

It’s time for these latter-day Confederates to grow the fuck up already, stop worshipping their precious (failed!) Confederacy, and act like real Americans, fercryinoutloud.

Photo credit: TV Tropes.

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Law enforcement officials investigate an explosion at the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minn., on Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017. Bloomington police Chief Jeff Potts said Saturday that investigators are trying to determine the cause of the blast. Authorities say the explosion damaged one room but it didn't hurt anyone. (David Joles, Star Tribune)The movement I’ve called “the Great Neocrusade” — made up of Religious Rightists who object to the existence of Islam, and want it abolished in the US and then eradicated from the planet — became violent quite some time ago, and it continues apace. As the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports, a Bloomington MN mosque was bombed early Saturday morning (Archive.Is cached article):

A blast caused by what the FBI called “an improvised explosive device” rocked a Bloomington Islamic center before dawn Saturday, just as a small group of Muslim worshipers had gathered for the day’s first round of prayers.

The blast was reported at 5:05 a.m. as about a dozen people gathered in a room nearby for morning prayers and jolted awake many residents of the neighborhood. Congregants and neighbors expressed relief that there were no injuries, but also reacted with shock and dismay.

As I’ve said many times in the past, I understand the motivation behind the Neocrusade. Really, I do. I get it. I know all about the September 11, 2001 attacks; the Fort Hood shooting; the Boston Marathon bombing; the shootings in San Bernardino and in an Orlando night club; not to mention the attacks in Paris; and many other terror attacks around the world. I know them. I do. Honest! Really, I get it. I know Islamist terror exists and that it has caused much mayhem and killed many. I definitely am not unaware of the danger posed by Islamofascism.

What I don’t see, is how bombing mosques in the US is a valid or useful response to Islamist terror. Truthfully, Americans are in much greater danger from mundane things like automobile accidents, drug overdoses, and violence at the hands of ordinary, everyday sociopaths and criminals, than they are from violent Islamist terrorists. Responding to the irrational, sanctimonious violence of some Muslims with yet more irrational, sanctimonious violence against all Muslims, simply will not help. If anything, it will make the situation worse.

Besides, most Neocrusaders are Christians, who’ve been explicitly ordered by the founder of their religion never to be violent:

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9)

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.” (Matthew 5:38-42)

Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword.” (Matthew 26:52)

“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either.” (Luke 6:27-29)

Christians are, quite simply, not allowed to be violent. And that includes in self-defense! I admit this kind of pacifism is a counterproductive and potentially perilous philosophy, but those are the words early Christians included in the scriptures they wrote, and which Christians today claim to venerate; making sense of them, and following them, are not my problem. Christians chose their religion, and should just fucking follow it, fercryinoutloud, instead of conjuring rationales for evading the clear instructions they’re supposed to obey.

Photo credit: David Joles, Star Tribune.

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Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers kneels on the sideline during the anthem prior to the game against the Dallas Cowboys on October 2, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)This might seem a bit off-topic for my blog, but it’s a sterling example of a common form of irrationality, and as such, is quite relevant. So here goes!

By now most of my readers have heard the controversy about NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who last year aroused the sanctimonious ire of football fans around the country by first sitting, and then kneeling, through the national anthem as it was played prior to the start of games (Archive.Is cached article). It’s not for me to say whether he ought to have done this or not — he said it was to protest the killings of blacks by white cops — but many fans were outraged that he would do something so horribly anti-American. He became a free agent at the end of the year, and now arguably has been blackballed by the NFL because of his protests (cached).

Even so, the guy is an experienced (if far from stellar) quarterback, and since this is such a crucial position, naturally some teams may have to consider signing him.

One of those, at the moment, is the Baltimore Ravens. The team faces a little uncertainty where their “franchise” quarterback, Joe Flacco, is concerned (cached). Thus, the Ravens’ coach and G.M. have considered hiring the “undesirable” Kaepernick (cached); but the team’s owner reportedly doesn’t want him signed (cached).

The Ravens have denied this report, as might be expected (cached).

But let’s be honest: If owner Steve Bisciotti has, in fact, expressed disapproval for Kaepernick’s hire, there’s good reason for it: As CBS Sports reports, the team’s fans are fiercely opposed to the unemployed quarterback (cached):

If the Ravens decide to sign Colin Kaepernick, it’s a decision that might not sit well with their fan base.

According to NFL.com’s Mike Silver, Ravens fans have spent the past 24 hours letting the team know that they don’t want Kaepernick in Baltimore….

If teams are afraid of fan backlash, the the reaction in Baltimore isn’t going to help things. Fans also had a similar reaction in New York. Back in May, Giants co-owner John Mara said that fans in New York threatened to boycott his team if they decided to sign Kaepernick [cached].

The irrationality of Baltimore Ravens fans getting their panties in bunches over the (possible) hiring of Kaepernick becomes obvious, when one considers this is the team that was home to linebacker Ray Lewis for over a decade and a half … much of that time after he’d been present for a double homicide in 2000 (cached). Yes, that’s right: A double homicide! Although he was never convicted of murder or manslaughter, he did plead guilty to obstruction of justice (since he’d lied to investigators), and he settled with survivors of the deceased (cached). Yet, the Ravens and their fans were saddened by his retirement following the 2012 season, and the team sold Ray Lewis tribute shirts at the time (cached). These folk, then, are the ones who can’t tolerate Colin Kaepernick being on their team after his protests. Wonderful people, no? I’d call them “raging hypocrites,” but that might give actual “raging hypocrites” a bad name.

By comparison with Lewis’s involvement in a double homicide, which doesn’t appear to have cost him the adoration of Ravens fans, their anger against the prospect of hiring Kaepernick makes no sense. In fact, the national outrage he kicked up is virtually incomprehensible. Whether or not one agrees with Kaepernick, makes no difference: This is the United States, for fuck’s sake, and he has a right to protest things if he wants to. Protests are not “anti-American.” They are, instead, “pro-American,” because in America, protests are permissible. The US has a very old tradition of protest, which goes back prior to the country’s founding. There’s nothing wrong with any protest in which no one is hurt and nothing is damaged. The same can’t be said of what Ray Lewis had been up to on the night of January 30, 2000 (cached).

Please note, I only mentioned Lewis here because he was a dearly-beloved Raven. The list of other well-loved NFL players who’ve engaged in all sorts of wrongdoing — including criminal offenses — is legion. Few of them stir up the kind of vicious rage that, to date, has prevented Kaepernick from being hired. The best example I can think of is Michael Vick, who appeared unhireable after serving a prison sentence for animal cruelty, and who also faced the nation’s ire … but even he wound up returning to the NFL (cached).

The kind of militant nationalism that has kept Colin Kaepernick from playing football merely because he sat and kneeled through the national anthem is simply bizarre, when compared with the fact that even convicted felons have been embraced by the league. It’s just that simple.

P.S. I’m aware that Kaepernick’s ability is disputable. He had a couple good seasons, but is certainly no star quarterback. Many teams will pass on him simply because they have no place for him, or because they don’t think he will succeed with them. Sometimes a player is just not good enough to stay in the NFL (Tim Tebow, anyone?) I get that. What’s less comprehensible is why the NFL could take back people like Vick — or Baltimore fans could embrace Lewis — when both were guilty of crimes; yet the NFL has virtually blackballed Kaepernick, and Ravens fans are nearly in revolt over him, when all he did was to sit and kneel through the national anthem.

Photo credit: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images, via CBS Boston.

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Minirock (Lack) Photo Model 1We all know that many Muslims don’t think much of women. In Saudi Arabia, they ramp their contempt for women up to another level, for instance by making it against the law for them to drive. A high-ranking Saudi jurist even lied about this, claiming — laughably — this is because driving harms women. But they also don’t think too much of men, either. I say that because one of the (many) burdens imposed on Saudi women is that they must wear elaborate clothing, intended to rob them of anything resembling a feminine shape, because Saudis don’t think men can handle seeing a woman who’s obviously a woman. They think men have no self-control, or something. I guess.

Recently, one Saudi woman tested her country’s misogynistic legal system, as CNN reports, and will very likely pay a high price for it (WebCite cached version):

Police in Saudi Arabia have detained a woman who featured in a social media video wearing a miniskirt and a crop-top as she strolled through a Saudi city, according to a Saudi police statement.

The woman, who has been questioned by Riyadh police, told them that “the viral videos were published by an account attributed to her without her knowledge,” according to the statement. The statement adds that the woman’s case has been referred to the general prosecution department in the Saudi capital of Riyadh.

On Sunday, the spokesperson for the Presidency of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice — also known as the religious police — said the group was monitoring the issue and taking the “necessary steps” to address a viral video depicting a “girl in offensive clothing.”

Here’s the video of that “girl in offensive clothing”:

It’s long past time for Muslims, especially those in Saudi Arabia, to grow the fuck up already, get over their ridiculous hangups about the female body, and act like grown adults who’re capable of controlling themselves around women who actually look like women. It very literally cannot hurt people to see women as women. Fear of the female form is irrational and childish.

By the way, the official name for Saudi Arabia’s religious police, “Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice,” is precious … don’t you think? Almost straight out of 1984, no?

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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Evangelical supporters place hands on and pray with President Trump in the Oval Office of the White House. Photo courtesy of Johnnie Moore / via Religion News ServiceSigh. It was inevitable, I suppose. I mean, given the amount of trouble the Groper-in-Chief is now in — since his son single-handedly lifted the “Trump/Russia” scandal undeniably out of “fake news” territory (Archive.Is cached article) — you just knew he’d have to do something like this. The Groper-in-Chief obviously needed to make himself and his administration look respectable, at least to the folk who matter to him.

The way he did so, was equally obvious: As the Religion News Service explains, the Apricot Wonder invited a crowd of evangelical preachers to the Oval Office, to pray over him (cached):

President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence met with evangelical supporters this week as news was breaking about the president’s son’s connections with Russia during the 2016 campaign.

The supporters, including some who had been on Trump’s evangelical advisory board during the campaign, attended a daylong meeting Monday (July 10) scheduled by the Office of Public Liaison at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next door to the White House, said Johnnie Moore, who served as one of the campaign’s evangelical advisers.

Now, these sorts of group Oval Office visits are usually planned well in advance. This visit, however, was not:

The evangelicals did not know they would be meeting with the president ahead of time, he said. Nor did they discuss the unfolding Russian meddling story with him.

“At a certain point in the day we visited with the President and Vice President,” Moore told RNS in an email. “They just heard we were on the property and took time to say ‘hello.’”

So this nifty little visit was almost certainly a response to all the recent bad news. Of course, they disavowed any possible relationship between this visit and the raging scandal:

Asked if evangelical leaders are worried that people would consider their presence in the Oval Office an indication that they’re not concerned about the Russia-related controversies, Moore said: “Evangelicals consider it a responsibility and an honor to advise and pray for the administration.”

He said their prayers Monday and the meeting in general were “not at all” related to Russia.

“It was a normal meeting, like many other meetings we’ve had before,” he said.

Like nearly all of America’s Rightists, these pastors are fully in the Groper’s corner and aren’t concerned about anything:

At least one of the leaders in attendance later opined about connections between the Trump administration and Russia.

“Garbage,” tweeted Rodney Howard-Browne in response to a Washington Post tweet that said “White House thrust into chaos by revelations about meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and Russian lawyer.”

Richard Land, president of Southern Evangelical Seminary in Matthews, N.C., said the only mention of Russia he recalled during the meeting next door to the White House was “in a fashion dismissive of the mainline media.” He added: “I don’t think there was anybody in that room who has any remote suspicion that there was any collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians.”

Gee, how wonderful to see these supposed “men of God” so blithely unconcerned with immoral, unethical, and possibly illegal behavior on the part of their Dear Leader and his minions.

To be clear: These religious folk are after power, and have latched onto the president as their means to keep the power they have and acquire more. No wonder they swarmed him to “lay on hands” and pray for him. He’s their political meal-ticket.

Photo credit: Johnnie Moore, via Religion News Service.

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