Chaos Theory Edition: A Pro-Life Murderer, Sugar-Free Cookies, Octomom, and Cheney Hates On Himself

Posted in General by TBartine on June 5, 2009 No Comments yet

It’s that time again…my bookmarks have been piling up, and it has been a VERY eventful week, so here’s our latest installment of “Chaos Theory:” An end-of-week wrap up of all the news that’s fit to print…and some other bits just too strange to pass up on…

THE TILLER MURDER:

  • Brief recap: Dr. George Tiller of Kansas was well known amongst anti-abortion groups, as he was one of the few doctors in America willing to perform late-term abortion procedures. So on Sunday, while Dr. Tiller was performing usher duties at his church…Scott Roeder, an anti-abortion extremist, walked up and shot him in cold blood. The reactions (continue reading below) have been as interesting and revealing as the event itself.
  • Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin responded extremely appropriately…while at the same time missing the point entirely. She decried Tiller’s murder, and compared it to the recent murder of a military recruiter, emphasizing that both events show that extremism and violence are not the way to affect change or to advance one’s beliefs. Palin stated: “I feel sorrow for the Tiller family. I respect the sanctity of life and the tragedy that took place today in Kansas clearly violates respect for life. This murder also damages the positive message of life, for the unborn, and for those living. Ask yourself, ‘What will those who have not yet decided personally where they stand on this issue take away from today’s event in Kansas?’ Regardless of my strong objection to Dr. Tiller’s abortion practices, violence is never an answer in advancing the pro-life message.” Of course…she’s right. However, she fails to realize that she is, in fact, part of the problem…in advancing her right-wing agenda, Sarah and others like her OFTEN resort to the use of hateful, inflammatory, and extreme rhetoric. They play off people’s passions, their fears, and sometimes their ignorance…and they portray those of the opposing viewpoints as “evil,” or, “dangerous,” or even, “people who must be stopped, by any means.” And then…some person like Tiller’s murderer hears their message and acts on it.
  • Author Frank Schaeffer examines the accountability for Tiller’s death that extends well beyond the actual pulling of a trigger. Schaeffer spent much of his life as a right-wing, anti-abortion zealot…and he describes all too well how Tiller’s blood wound up on the hands of many evangelicals, conservative pundits, and “pro-life” movement leaders.
  • As if on cue, Bill O’Reilly stepped forward to make sure we know that he regrets NONE of the things he has said over the years about Dr. Tiller…like when he said the doctor was guilty of “Nazi stuff,” or when he compared the doctor to NAMBLA and Al Qaeda. MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann pointed out that O’Reilly and his remarks were irresponsible when they were made, they are still irresponsible now, and at worst…they represent the incendiary, fanatical speech that drives incendiary, fanatical men to do terrible things. Olbermann called for people to stop watching the FOX network, “not so much a boycott here as a quarantine.” And now O’Reilly (most likely more in response to a phone call from the FOX Legal Department, than from Olbermann’s criticism) is doing exactly what he said he would not: he’s “backpedaling” and saying that he was just “reporting” and the things he said about Dr. Tiller weren’t his words…he was just repeating what others were saying for “informational” purposes. Coward.
  • Some people helped Tiller’s killer, not just with language meant to incite him and compel him on towards murderous action…but through ACTUAL ASSISTANCE. The group Operation Rescue, as you might guess a powerful anti-abortion group, actually assisted Tiller’s killer with information about the doctor’s court dates…so he could stalk Tiller.
  • Oh…and the killer himself…Scott Roeder…would like to know why he is being treated like a criminal. You see…so many politicians, anti-abortion activists, right-wing pundits, and other public, conservative extremists have been telling Roeder for years that Tiller was “pure evil” and “like a nazi or a terrorist” and that he should be “stopped before he can murder any more babies“…Roeder keeps waiting for someone to thank him, or pin a medal on his chest. Palin/O’Reilly/Limbaugh/Hannity/Beck/Others – when will you learn that your “entertaining” ranting…is more than just ignorant…it does more than just pander to people’s baser urges…it can be dangerous.

TORTURE – THE SEEMINGLY ENDLESS DEBATE WITH THE MOST OBVIOUS OF CONCLUSIONS:

  • The argument is not going the way conservatives would like it to go. The guy who the right-wing has said we should all be listening to on “all-things-military“…has just declared his support for Obama. General David Petraeus has gone on record that Obama is right to close Gitmo, and right to end the use of torture. Erich “Mancow” Muller, a rabidly conservative Chicago radio host, had long said that waterboarding wasn’t torture…until he was waterboarded, and six seconds later confessed that it is torture and so much worse than he imagined. He would later tell FOX’s Sean Hannity (another waterboarding-skeptic) that Hannity is, in fact, wrong…and that the practice should not be allowed. Former Bush Administration Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge…said that former Veep Cheney is wrong, and that President Obama HAS NOT made America less safe. Retired Marine Gen. James Jones, the current national security advisor, agreed that Cheney is very wrong…the U.S. is actually MORE safe, and it was practices of the Bush/Cheney years that made us LESS safe. What’s the world coming to…even CHENEY disagrees with CHENEY: he recently admitted, contrary to years of his own lies, that there was never ANY evidence that Iraq had ANY involvement with 9/11.
  • Former interrogator Matthew Alexander threw in his two cents, that Cheney is ALSO wrong about the efficacy of torture…and this guy would know, having overseen THOUSANDS of interrogations, and he says: TORTURE DOESN’T WORK. This point was driven home later in the week when it was revealed that suspected terrorist Abu Jandal didn’t talk under coercive measures…but as a diabetic, he was very moved when his captors gave him some sugar-free cookies. He was so moved that he opened up and gave them credible information.
  • Then next time you are going to argue that “Americans are smarter than people think“…I want you to consider two things. First, a recent poll shows that half of Americans still think torture is justifiable. That means half the people in this country still don’t understand that torture is proven ineffective, is in clear violation of federal law and international treaty, and is immoral from any religious or cultural perspective. Second…some Americans are actually concerned about closing Gitmo, because they are worried about having the detainees in prisons on U.S. soil…supermax prisons that nobody has ever escaped from…prisons that hold men and women who are much crazier and more dangerous that most of the detainees…prisons that, as this author points out, are much tougher and “less cushy” than Gitmo!

POLITICIANS BEHAVING BADLY:

  • U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal, a Republican candidate for governor of Georgia, wants to end the policy of granting citizenship automatically to babies born in the U.S. He claims that it was perfectly “ok” for his ancestors to jump across the pond so that we could be graced with his presence…but that there should have been some sort of “expiration date” on that offer. Representative…it’s one of the cornerstones of this country…you know, the whole “melting pot” and “nation of immigrants” thing? For those Americans who somehow think their immigrant ancestors are better than today’s immigrants…think again.
  • As if we needed more proof that Senate Leader Harry Reid has no backbone…he has issued a statement on why he didn’t support funding for the president’s order to close to Gitmo…he says he was afraid of appearing “too liberal.” Would someone please explain to this man how this whole thing works? For Christ’s sake, Reid…you are the Senate leader of the political party that represents “progressive ideals“…your party is the same party as the president’s…you both, and your Democrat compatriots, have been give the VAST MANDATE of the American people. Let’s worry a bit more about getting done what we sent you there to do…and a bit less about looking “liberal.”
  • This was the best piece of political theater all week…really…watch ALL of it. Roland Burris was appointed by Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich AFTER Blagojevich came to face charges of trying to sell the Senate seat. Burris said he never offered any money to the governor…but now, released wiretaps indicate otherwise. Burris’ defense? He says that he “didn’t mean it” when he said he would give money to Blago for the seat. Watch Chris Matthews of Hardball toying with Burris’ pathetic rationalizations, like a cat playing with an injured bird…
  • Remember when I said that Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal might want to consider the political implications of turning down his state’s stimulus money, in a state with so much poverty and economic need? Well…we’ll just call this the chickens coming home to roost…
  • THANK YOU FOR THE HONESTY: Rob Portman, a Republican Senate candidate in Ohio would like all of us to know…the GOP…really doesn’t have any position on healthcare. That is all.

GAY RIGHTS (AND OTHER LESSONS WE SHOULD HAVE LEARNED BY NOW):

  • In an interesting turn of events, the lawyers who represented Bush and Gore in the 2000 election dispute, are now working togetherto fight for gay rights. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: it doesn’t matter your politics…your religion…your gender or race…if you look at gay rights as a purely LEGAL and CONSTITUTIONAL issue (which it IS), then the answer is OBVIOUS: it must be allowed. Ted Olson, George Bush’s former Solicitor General, explains his support HERE. Olson says: “It is our position in this case that Proposition 8, as upheld by the California Supreme Court, denies federal constitutional rights under the equal protection and due process clauses of the constitution. The constitution protects individuals’ basic rights that cannot be taken away by a vote. If the people of California had voted to ban interracial marriage, it would have been the responsibility of the courts to say that they cannot do that under the constitution. We believe that denying individuals in this category the right to lasting, loving relationships through marriage is a denial to them, on an impermissible basis, of the rights that the rest of us enjoy.
  • Just to remind us of our GLARING cultural double standard regarding gay people…Miss California Carrie Prejean (who because infamous for declaring her opposition to gay marriage during the Miss USA pageant) said she loves Adam Lambert and thinks he should have one American Idol. But that’s the way it is with so many Americans isn’t it? They love gay people as long as they are entertaining us with flamboyant behavior, irreverent sitcom humor, and singing and dancing…but out of the other side of their mouths they label gays as “immoral” and “disgusting”, and undeserving of the same rights that heterosexual people enjoy. Hypocrites.
  • President Obama has already made good on a number of promises…but his failure to take obvious and simple steps to aid gay people is causing some to stage protests at events where Obama is in attendance. I’ve said enough on the subject, Mr. President: place DODT on moratorium before you lose the respect of people who need your support and who, in a civil rights campaign, expect it.
  • You may have already seen the clips. Recently, NOM (National Organization for Marriage) released a new ad…showing how scared and confused children would be when faced with gay marriage. Perhaps they need to see this kid: Ethan McNamee, a third-grader from Denver, Colorado, staged his own gay rights rally…and showed what a simple, and easy-to-understand issue this really is. Good on you, Ethan.
  • I lost so much respect for Dick Cheney early on: despite having a daughter who was a lesbian, he stated in an interview that he would defer judgment on the subject of gay rights to the president. I thought, “what kind of father can’t just say, ‘I love my daughter…I want everything for her that she wants…I therefore have to disagree with the president.’?” Seriously…what a jackass. Well, recently Cheney softened his position, subtly changing to a position of “some states are changing things…and that’s the way it should be decided.” For this switch, FOX’s Shepard Smith criticized Cheney, calling the remarks a “cop out.” And you know what? In a way, Smith’s right. Cheney couldn’t say back then that he unconditionally loved and supported his daughter and her rights…and he can’t say it now. The best he can do is to switch from “kind of against it” to “kind of for it,” and that’s just not good enough for a father.

MISCELLANY:

  • Mary Kay Letourneau, the teacher who spent years in jail for having a sexual relationship with her sixth-grade student (who she later married…and had children with)…will be headlining a “Hot For Teacher” night at a Seattle nightclub. I’m not sure whether this makes me want to laugh or cry…
  • Oh yeah…you know how only AT&T subscribers can vote for American Idol by text message? Did you know that there is a nifty way to send huge blocks of text messages all at once? If you are a fan of American Idol contestant Kris Allen, and you attended one of several fan parties for Kris where AT&T representatives were present…then you might have been there when the AT&T folks handed out free phones and showed all the Kris Allen fans EXACTLY how to do that. Some are insisting that this means that Kris beat Adam unfairly in the final showdown, because of AT&T’s assistance to Kris’ fans…and some of us…just some of us…think that is probably the best thing that could have happened to Adam’s future career.
  • THIS JUST IN FROM CAPTAIN OBVIOUS: Nadya Suleman (aka Octomom, aka Clowncar) has been recorded saying that she used the leftover sperm from her first pregnancy without the donor’s permission…and that was wrong. Also…she said: “I screwed myself. I screwed up my life, I screwed up my kids’ lives. I have to put on this strong facade and I have to pretend like I don’t regret it.Really?

That’s all I’ve got…but what more could you want, really? Have a wonderful weekend…I’ll see you on Monday. We’ll be visiting Obama’s speech in Egypt…and the reactions for the conservative camp.