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The Mormon Meme, plus the Mitt Romney documentary you won’t see on American television
04:52 pm



Considering how negative the presidential campaign has already become this year—going back to the GOP primary when Newt Gingrich landed a hell of a blow to Mitt Romney’s glass jaw with that hilarious and skull-fucking “When Mitt Romney Came to Town” film—it’s surprising to me that the “800lb Mormon elephant in the room” hasn’t become more front and center by now. I’d have thought that shoe would have already dropped.

I’m sure that Democrats would love to be able to paint Romney’s kooky faith as a 19th century Scientology—if the shoe fits, wear it!—but so far they don’t seem to have the stomach for what would be considered a low blow and gutter politics. You could argue that fair’s fair and that the GOP has spent the last four years zealously and feverishly painting Obama as a Muslim Communist from Kenya and as “the other,” but hey, that’s just Democrats for you.

No matter, someone’s going to do it for them, anyways and the Internet seems to be revving up for it, too. It’s a matter of days, probably, and not weeks, before all manner of Mormon memes start making their way all across the Internet. I kept waiting and watching for that moment to happen, but I think it can be said with assurance that it’s on the way, or underway already. The rumblings are there, let’s just say.

How long will it take before “#WhatMormonsBelieve” becomes a trending topic on Twitter or this video ends up on the reddit homepage with this title: “ENDLESS. CELESTIAL. SEX. What Mormons believe!”?

Not long, I’d wager.

To the majority of Americans, let’s face it, the Mormon belief system is a little hard to swallow. Nutty sounding? Yeah, that, too! And it’s not that I don’t find all religions suspect, it’s just that we don’t have actual legal records of Jesus or Mohamed being arrested for being con men, unlike Mormon founder prophet Joseph Smith. The average American doesn’t have that clear of an idea of what Mormonism is all about—-“clean cut white people, like the Osmonds; they have a big choir in like a tabernacle or someplace real big”—would seem to sum it up adequately for those of us who have never stepped foot in Utah—but if they did, of course, it would blow their everlovin’ minds.

Why hasn’t a journalist laid a rhetorical trap for Mitt Romney asking him first to say, politely affirm the seriousness of his faith. Check. Then lobbing him an innocuous question about the Book of Mormon and would reading it be of benefit to Christians maybe? Wait for the answer and then go in for the fucking kill, innocently asking Romney “Oh, yeah, can you explain to me that stuff in the Book of Mormon about the differences between black people and white people, because I didn’t really understand that bit? And what would the Book of Mormon have to say about someone of mixed race heritage, like President Obama, for instance? That whole Lamanite/Nephite thing he’s got going on. Does he truly understand Nephite culture, do you think, Governor Romney?”

It would be so easy to ask this, or a wide variety of similar enough “Mormon gotcha questions.” Cue another deer in the headlights moment for Mittens

Cue many!

(And did you see the footage of him reacting to the “Wimp Factor” Newsweek cover over the weekend? PRICELESS!).

Below, BBC documentary The Mormon Candidate. No one would say this is a balanced view of Mormons, but it sure is fascinating.

After the jump, What Mormons Believe...

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Save the NHS: The real message of the London 2012 Olympic Games opening ceremony
04:15 pm

Class War
Current Events


Congratulations to Danny Boyle, Frank Cottrell Boyce, and the thousands of people (volunteers, builders, technicians, caterers, nurses, doctors, dancers, singers, musicians, actors, etc) involved in London 2012’s opening Olympic Ceremony. You all did a grand job.

For me the real and most important message of the ceremony is the one above. Health care is a right. No one can help being ill, and no one should ever be denied access to free health care.

In 1948,  the Labour Party established the National Health Service in Britain, offering free healthcare at the point of use to all of its citizens.

Today, tthere are many countries across the world with universal health care coverage (including Germany, Canada, Australia, Italy, Spain, Ireland, Russia, etc, etc), but it is said the NHS is the largest and oldest single-payer health care system in the world, funded primarily by taxation.

However, over the past few decades, successive governments, both Conservative and Labour, have pared down the services available to the public, and now the NHS, as it is known and loved by the British public, is set to be destroyed by the present Tory government.

To stop this happening we need to write to the Prime MInister David Cameron, and your Members of Parliament, demanding that the government rethinks its plans and listens to the people they are supposed to serve.

Please share the above picture and get involved through Keep Our NHS Public.

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Millionaires don’t have germs: A bizarre tale of Mitt Romney and the little people
06:14 pm

Class War
Stupid or Evil?


Of course it’s hearsay, but there’s a Mitt Romney story on the Patriot Boy blog that is so ridiculous, weird and hilarious that it falls into the category of “you can’t possibly make this shit up.” It’s got to be the funniest Mitt Romney story I’ve heard, yet. Still, as insane as this story is, I have faith that Mitt will eventually top it…

This anecdote involves Thurston Howell III Mitt Romney’s tipping habits—or lack thereof—and it took place at a Seattle’s Best Coffee located in a Borders bookstore in the wealthy enclave of Provo Canyon, Utah. The story is told by Bryan Young, the editor of Big Shiny Robots and the brother of one of the employees who was there when it happened:

One day in 2010 the baristas were surprised to see Mitt Romney and his wife come to the counter.

Since they’re both Mormon, neither ordered a coffee drink. They each ordered a hot chocolate and took them… without tipping. It seemed odd for someone so wealthy not to tip, but no one thought of it as a big deal. Baristas usually make less than minimum wage and make their living on tips. I understand that it’s not worth Bill Gates’ time to pick up a hundred dollar bill, but Mr. Millionaire couldn’t dump his change in the tip jar?

The man was out of touch…

...only they didn’t know just how out of touch he was until later.

Romney spent some time in the coffee shop as his wife browsed through books before they were called to leave.

On their way out, Anne throws away her half-consumed hot chocolate, but Mitt approaches the counter. “I know you guys can’t sell this again, but I was wondering if one of you guys wanted the rest of my hot chocolate.”

“No thanks,” one of the other baristas told him, wondering if this was some sort of bizarre joke.

“I don’t want to waste it, there’s still plenty left, it’s still perfectly good…”

According to my brother, Romney seemed genuinely confused by their refusal. His hot chocolate was so good he didn’t want to waste it, but it wasn’t so good that it was worth tipping those who made it. “I think the important part of this story isn’t the tipping,” my brother explained. “It’s that he doesn’t understand that everyone else is throwing their unused drinks away because they understand that it’s against social norms. His germs are on it, but somehow, in his mind, his millionaire saliva is good enough that it shouldn’t bother a barista of the serving class.”

Via reddit/r/politics

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
On Fire! Amazon’s Jeff Bezos pledges $2.5 Million to support marriage equality
06:00 pm



Although same sex marriage was legalized in Washington by the state’s legislature back in February, opponents of the new law were able to get a referendum on the ballet to put the matter before voters and were raising considerably more cash than pro-gay rights groups. Were being the operative word, Via The New York Times:

Jeff Bezos, the billionaire founder of, and his wife, MacKenzie, have agreed to donate $2.5 million to help pass a same-sex marriage referendum in Washington State, instantly becoming among the largest financial backers of gay marriage rights in the country.

With the gift, the couple have doubled the money available to the proponents of Referendum 74, which would legalize same-sex marriage in the state by affirming a law that passed the Legislature this year. Courts or lawmakers have declared gay marriage legal in six other states, but backers of such measures have never succeeded at the ballot box.

Proponents of the effort in Washington State called it a game-changing gift that gives them a fighting chance in November.

“To get this from a straight, married couple sends a powerful message that marriage is seen as a fundamental question of fairness,” Zach Silk, the campaign manager for Washington United for Marriage, said Thursday in an interview.

Mr. Bezos, who founded in 1994 in Seattle and remains its president, now tops a growing list of heterosexual business executives who are replacing wealthy gay people as the some of the biggest donors to the movement behind same-sex marriage and equality for gay men and lesbians. Bill Gates and Steven A. Ballmer of Microsoft each gave $100,000 to the referendum campaign, according to its officials.

But with the seven-figure gift, Mr. Bezos — a famously private executive who runs a $48 billion-a-year retail empire — has now set the bar even higher.

How this came about is interesting: On Sunday, Jennifer Cast, a mother of four children, one of Amazon’s very first hires—and a lesbian—wrote a very personal email to Mr. Bezos pointedly hitting up her former boss for between $100,000 and $200,000 to fight the referendum.

“I want to have the right to marry the love of my life and to let my children and grandchildren know their family is honored like a ‘real’ family,” Ms. Cast wrote. “We need help from straight people. To be very frank, we need help from wealthy straight people who care about us and who want to help us win.”

In an interview on Thursday night, Ms. Cast said she had no idea how Mr. Bezos would respond. Though she had worked closely with him when Amazon had only a few dozen employees, she left the company in 2001 and said she had never talked about same-sex marriage with him.

“We were chatting about the biz. We weren’t chatting about our lives,” she said, recalling her time at the company. “I never, ever in my life talked to him about gay marriage.”

It took Bezos two days to reply:

“Jen,” the e-mail said, “this is right for so many reasons. We’re in for $2.5 million. Jeff & MacKenzie.”

Right on, Jeff Bezos, and well done Jennifer Cast!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘Schoolhouse Rock’ updated for Generation Occupy
09:03 pm

Class War
The wrong side of history


Putlizer-prize winning cartoonist, Mark Fiore goes after the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in “ALEC Rock.”

This is how a bill becomes a law when the corporate class warriors of ALEC get behind it.

Produced by Mark Fiore, The ALEC Exposed Project and Alliance for a Better Utah.

Via Glen E. Friedman

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Global Crisis: the Convergence of Marx, Orwell and Kafka
11:47 am

Class War
The wrong side of history


A guest post from our esteemed, super-smart friend, Charles Hugh Smith, publisher of the Of Twos Minds blog and author of the new book, Resistance, Revolution, Liberation: A Model for Positive Change
The global crisis is best understood as the convergence of the modern trends identified by Marx, Orwell and Kafka. Let’s start with Franz Kafka, the writer (1883-1924) who most eloquently captured the systemic injustices of all powerful bureaucracies—the alienation experienced by the hapless citizen enmeshed in the bureaucratic web, petty officialdom’s mindless persecutions of the innocent, and the intrinsic absurdity of the centralized State best expressed in this phrase: “We expect errors, not justice.”

If this isn’t the most insightful summary of the Eurozone debacle, then what is? A lawyer by training and practice, Kafka understood that the the more powerful and entrenched the bureaucracy, the greater the collateral damage rained on the innocent, and the more extreme the perversion of justice.

The entire global financial system is Kafkaesque: the bureaucracies of the Central State have two intertwined goals: protect the financial Elites from the consequences of their parasitic predation, and protect their own power and perquisites.

While Marx understood the predatory, parasitic nature of Monopoly Capitalism, he did not anticipate the State’s partnering with Cartel/Crony Capitalism; in effect, the State has appropriated the appropriators, stripmining the citizenry to protect the financial sector from the consequences of their “business model” (leverage, fraud, embezzlement and the misrepresentation of risk). But the State doesn’t merely enable (“regulate”) the predation of financiers; it also stripmines the citizenry to fund its own expansion into every nook and cranny of civil society.

This is where Orwell enters the convergence, for the State masks its stripmining and power grab with deliciously Orwellian misdirections such as “the People’s Party,” “democratic socialism,” and so on.

Orwell understood the State’s ontological imperative is expansion, to the point where it controls every level of community, markets and society. Once the State escapes the control of the citizenry, it is free to exploit them in a parasitic predation that is the mirror-image of Monopoly capital. For what is the State but a monopoly of force, coercion, data manipulation and the regulation of private monopolies?

What is the EU bureaucracy in Brussels but the perfection of a stateless State?

As Kafka divined, centralized bureaucracy has the capacity for both Orwellian obfuscation (anyone read those 1,300-page Congressional bills other than those gaming the system for their private benefit?) and systemic avarice and injustice.

The convergence boils down to this: it would be impossible to loot this much wealth if the State didn’t exist to enforce the “rules” of parasitic predation. In China, the Elite’s looting proceeds along somewhat different rules from the looting of Europe and the U.S., but the end result is the same in all financialized, centrally managed economies: an expansive kleptocracy best understood as the convergence of Marx, Orwell and Kafka.

This has been a guest post from Charles Hugh Smith, publisher of the Of Twos Minds blog and author of the new book, Resistance, Revolution, Liberation: A Model for Positive Change

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Do Unto Others: Michele Bachmann’s brand of hateful McCarthyite Christianity

Frank Bruni took a much-deserved swipe at Michele Bachmann in the New York Times op ed pages this morning.

From “The Divine Miss M”:

What I find most fascinating about Michele Bachmann — and there are many, many more where she came from — is that she presents herself as a godly woman, humbly devoted to her Christian faith. I’d like to meet that god, and I’d like to understand that Christianity.

Does it call for smearing people on the basis of flimsy conspiracy theories? That’s what Bachmann just did to Huma Abedin, an aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, by essentially suggesting she might be a mole for the Muslim Brotherhood.

Does it endorse scaring young women away from immunizations that could spare them serious illness? Bachmann did that during her memorable presidential campaign, when she blithely drew an unsubstantiated link between a vaccine for the human papillomavirus and mental retardation.

Does it encourage gratuitously divisive condemnations of Barack Obama as “anti-American,” one of many incendiary phrases in her attacks against him in 2008? And does it compel a war against homosexuality waged with the language and illogic she uses?

She has said that gay men and lesbians are dysfunctional products of abuse and agents of “sexual anarchy,” and when the singer and songwriter Melissa Etheridge was battling breast cancer years ago, Bachmann helpfully chimed in: “This may be an opportunity for her now to be open to some spiritual things, now that she is suffering with that physical disease. She is a lesbian.”

Bachmann’s concept of Christian love brims with hate, and she has a deep satchel of stones to throw. From what kind of messiah did she learn that?

OUCH! Nicely put, Frank Bruni!

Bruni concludes by wondering if we should “start noting the difference between Christians of real compassion and those of exclusionary spite.”

Again: OUCH! There needs to be more like this. A flood of them to drown the stupid out.

And have you heard about the goofball Teabagger in Arizona, promising to launch a recall effort against Sen. John McCain for daring to defend Huma Abedin on the floor of the Senate? Even principled chivalry from a war hero gets no respect from these people?

From Huffington Post: “Wes Harris, Arizona Tea Party Leader, Seeks To Recall John McCain Over Huma Abedin Defense”:

Wes Harris, the founder and chairman of the Original North Phoenix Tea Party, now says McCain’s words have given him grounds to mount an effort to unseat the longtime senator.

In an interview with the Arizona Capitol Times, Harris called McCain an “embarrassment,” before laying out a variety of unapologetic anti-Islamic sentiments.

“Have you ever read the Quran? I suggest you do so, because anyone that is a Muslim is a threat to this country, and that’s a fact,” Harris told the Times. “There is no such thing as a moderate Muslim. If they are Muslim they have to follow the Quran. That’s their religion and that’s their doctrine.”

According to the Times, Harris believes Muslims are incapable of being loyal to the U.S., because he claims that their faith in Islam and the Quran trumps any other allegiance. He also apparently believes Muslims shouldn’t be able to serve in the State Department at all.

“Is [Abedin] a Muslim? Is she an active Muslim?” Harris asked the Times. “I rest my case. That’s all she needs to be.”

Did you feel your brain cells dying as you read that?

It smells like burning hair.

For good effect, Harris told Senator McCain:

“Go to hell, Senator, it’s time for you to take your final dirt nap.”

By now, even a life-long Republican like McCain is probably thinking “These people are fucking nuts” and his own sense of vanity (if nothing else) will probably see him distance himself more and more from his party’s most embarrassing and outspoken dimwits like Bachmann, Louie Gohmert and Steve King (King’s the asshole from Iowa gloating that he’s been able to monkey-wrench animal cruelty laws! HOORAY FOR ANIMAL CRUELTY. Wha???).

It’s obviously only a matter of time before McCain’s own daughter leaves the GOP.

And look at John Roberts. Does anyone really think he’s going to be more conservative after the insane hatred unleashed in his direction after the Obamacare ruling?

Forget Republican vs Democrat, or Liberal vs Conservative, what’s shaking out in America is more like Smart vs. Dumb.

This is what it’s coming down to, is it not?

The all-out total implosion of the Republican Party cult is something that is both nauseating on one level (it hurts to admit that we live in an Idiocracy cum oligarchy doesn’t it?) and hilariously funny on another. It’s getting really intense. The flailing form the right seems so much more frantic as the election year rolls on.

From where I’m sitting, in the liberal stronghold of Hollywood, California, I’m thinking, hey, it can’t happen to a nicer bunch of flaming fucking assholes. A Republican Civil War would make my day, every day. So far Bachmann has shown no signs that the numerous denunciations of her latest stunt from fellow Republicans have slowed her “crusade” down even a little bit. I hope she keeps it up, with her pedal to the metal.

As a non-believer, and an avowed Marxist, I believe that, in the scheme of things, Michele Bachmann has a VERY SPECIAL ROLE TO PLAY.

She’s the best!!!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Legalize it: Libertarian Gary Johnson calls out Obama on cannabis hypocrisy
03:22 pm



Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson’s new advertisement calls out Obama and his hypocritical policies on marijuana. Johnson’s position finds him more in the mainstream of American opinion on the matter than either Obama or Mitt Romney, with over half of the country now favoring reform of cannabis laws

As Johnson and others have pointed out, had Obama been arrested and jailed when he was a smoking pot in his youth, he would not be President today.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Islamunism: Huma Abedin under NYPD watch after Bachmann’s dingbat conspiracy rants rile up weirdo
06:03 pm



Michele Bachmann’s delusional McCarthyite “Islamunists in the State Dept.” conspiracy theories are all fun and games until someone starts getting death threats…

Via The New York Post:

Police and federal officials have placed security around ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin, after a New Jersey man threatened her, law-enforcement sources said.

An individual, described as a Muslim man, made the unspecified threat after Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) last week claimed Abedin’s family had ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and asked for a probe to see if she is helping the Islamist organization.
The man was questioned by the NYPD and the State Department and has not been charged, sources said.

The GOP really needs to do something about this reckless, irresponsible train-wreck. To say nothing of the voters in her district!

If you’d like to donate some money to the Democratic challenger running against Michele Bachmann, MN hotel owner Jim Graves, you can do so here.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Sad clown Mitt Romney BUYS over 100,000 new Twitter followers!
06:00 pm

Class War
Stupid or Evil?


Money can’t buy you friends, but it can buy you new (nonexistent) Twitter followers. Just ask Thurston Howell III Mitt Romney!

Yep, it would appear that Mitt Romney’s startlingly inept presidential campaign is at it again. Today’s mishap? Buying up fake Twitter followers to give the appearance that Romney’s lackluster social media fortunes (at least in comparison to Obama’s over 17 million followers) might be turning around… but not just a few, a few football stadiums’ worth!

The Romney camp must be kinda new at this stuff. How else to explain how Romney saw his Twitter followers spike with over 100,000 new followers added within 24 hours (and not the 1000 to 5000 new followers Romney’s account normally gets)? His best day EVER was gaining about 9000 new followers in April. Peek You analyzed the Twitter accounts of the Republican presidential contenders in 2011, and found that only 26% of Mitt Romney’s followers were actual human beings! (Amusingly, 92% of Newt Gingrich’s followers were fake accounts.)

This is what you might call a statistical anomaly.

There are other ways to describe it, too, of course…

Via Little Green Footballs:

Check the number of followers, then watch as it increases by a hundred or so every time you reload the page. If you look at all these followers, they seem to have major trouble with spelling simple English words, have names that sometimes seem to be random assortments of syllables, and have no (or very few) followers themselves.

At the current rate, he’s adding about 10,000 followers every hour.

Strangely, a great many of Mitt Romney’s new followers, for some reason, have tweeted this gibberish:

“Lmao lucky there was no time left on the clock lol home boy dead hit dat half court shot”

Search for that word salad on Twitter and look who comes up. Some of these “people” haven’t tweeted even once since last year and yet TODAY they all just up and decided to fire up their moribund Twitter account, follow Thurston Mitt and then tweet inane shit like that?

Kids these days, right? Wasting their time on that Twitter, posting nonsense like “Lmao lucky there was no time left on the clock lol home boy dead hit dat half court shot” when they could be watching Internet porn or playing video games. I mean, what gives?

How ridiculously low-brow and stupid Romney’s Twitter followers seem to be would be alarming IF THESE PEOPLE REALLY EXISTED IN THE FIRST PLACE.

If you can’t even manage a fuckin’ Twitter account, or delegate better than THIS, how you gonna run a country, Thurston Mitt?

Meanwhile, against all evidence to the contrary (see chart below) the Romney campaign is denying that it purchased any Twitter followers!!!


Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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