Monday, December 24, 2012

Great Bores of the Modern Age: A 2012 Catalog

During the year now ending, the following people, parties and institutions (in no particular order of self-importance or malign influence, and in varying degrees from comical to murderous) have proven themselves to be utterly delusional, increasingly impotent and irrelevant, waging rear-guard battles against a functioning society and a peacable world. They are defending a moral and political order which will continue to erode, change, and finally shed them.

1. "Crazy Wayne" LaPierre
"If it's crazy to call for armed [police] officers in our schools to protect our children, then call me crazy. I think the American people think it's crazy not to do it. It's the one thing that would keep people safe." Huffington Post, 12/23/2012

 2. Pope Benedict XVI, "Cavalleria Vaticana"
"The pope pressed his opposition to gay marriage Friday, denouncing what he described as people eschewing their God-given gender identities to suit their sexual choices – and destroying the very 'essence of the human creature' in the process." (Huffington Post, 12/21/2012)

(Update, January 1, 2013): HuffPost reports that in the Pope's New Year's Day speech, he "denounced the prevalence of a selfish and individualistic mindset which also finds expression in an unregulated capitalism, various forms of terrorism and criminality." How can you fault someone entirely who recognizes the eqivalence between those three modes of human endeavor?)

3. Antonin Scalia, Time's Man of the Year, 1542
"The death penalty? Give me a break. It's easy. . . . Homosexual sodomy? Come on. For two hundred years, it was criminal in every state." When a 2003 Texas sodomy law was struck down Scalia nearly went postal, claiming that this would cause "a massive disruption of the social order," equivalent to legalizing bestiality and incest, disruption of the social order being by its very nature, in the jurist's view, illegal, or unconstitutional, or messy at the very least, like suffragism, or trade unionism, or atheism.

"It [the Constitution] isn't a living document. It's dead, dead, dead, dead."

"In the 1960s, Nino Scalia would’ve ended up teaching at Notre Dame law school (where he belonged) — a crackpot speaker on a marginal rubber-chicken circuit that mainstream America could have blissfully ignored, instead of sitting on the highest court in the land imposing his 16th-century will on the rest of us." (Michael Tomasky, The Daily Beast)

4. Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu, the Lion of Zion
"Israel pushed ahead with aggressive new settlement building . . . , brushing aside a growing chorus of international opposition, including criticism by its Western allies, that the move threatened to destroy the peace process with the Palestinians.

"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel seemed unbowed by the growing criticism. He told the ambassadors from several Asian nations on Wednesday that his government would continue to build across Jerusalem — as did its predecessors. 'Jerusalem has been the capital of the Jewish people for 3,000 years,' Mr. Netanyahu said, according to a statement released by his office." (New York Times, 12/19/2012)

5. Vladimir Putin, the Gazprom Queen
"Putin has repeatedly supported the sentence against Pussy Riot. Three of the band's members – Maria Alyokhina, Nadia Tolokonnikova, and Yekaterina Samutsevich – were sentenced to two years in prison in August for singing an anti-Putin "punk prayer" inside a Moscow cathedral. Samutsevich was later given a suspended sentence and released."  (The Guardian, 11/16/2012)

". . . [I]nnovative cultures don’t do things like throw the punk band Pussy Riot into prison for two years for performing a “punk prayer” in a cathedral. That sends a bad signal to all freethinkers."  (Thomas Friedman, New York Times, 12/18/2012)

6. Bashar al-Assad, the Syrial Killer
"Ecuador's president, Rafael Correa, has already shown he's not afraid to offer shelter to a controversial figure, by granting political asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Correa this month said he would be willing to consider extending the same protection to Assad. 'Any person who requests asylum in Ecuador, we will consider as a human being whose basic rights we must respect.' Israel's Haaretz newspaper has reported that Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al-Miqdad has visited Ecuador, Venezuela, and Cuba in recent weeks, to discuss the possibility of granting refuge to Assad, his family, and his inner circle." (The Week, 12/17/2012)

7. Grover Norquist, the Bathtub Killer
"There was a time when almost every single elected Republican in Washington and even state capitals would sign Norquist’s anti-tax pledge, which binds elected officials to a promise not to raise taxes under any circumstance. As recently as last year’s negotiations over the debt ceiling, Norquist had fealty from a majority in the House of Representatives . . . . Those who violate his pledge could long expect to face attack ads aimed at unseating them, bankrolled by Norquist’s massive war chest. Americans for Tax Reform spent almost $16 million on independent expenditure ads in 2012. Crossing the group has always increased the likelihood of a primary challenge.

"But times are changing. . . . Norquist faces an unprecedented rear-guard attack as the congressional GOP fractures on the tax issue. Last year, there were 238 members of the House and 41 members of the Senate who had signed Norquist’s pledge. This year, there are just 217 in the House — one shy from the 218 needed for a majority — and 39 in the Senate, an all-time low. . . . [W]hile Norquist claims his army is 219 strong in the House, two of those members have since disavowed Norquist’s pledge." ("Is It Game Over For Norquist?"  Salon, 11/14/2012)

8. The Republican Party (BYOB)
"What force can change it—can stop Republicans from being ideological saboteurs and convert at least a workable minority of them into people interested in governing rather than sabotage? With the failed Plan B vote, we have reached the undeniable crisis point. Actually we’ve been at a crisis point for years, but this is really the all-upper-case Undeniable Crisis Point. They are a direct threat to the economy, which could slip back into recession next year if the government doesn’t, well, govern. They are an ongoing, at this point almost mundane, threat to democracy, subverting and preventing progress the American people clearly desire across a number of fronts. They have to be stopped, and the only people who can really stop them are corporate titans and Wall Streeters, who surely now are finally beginning to see that America’s problem is not Barack Obama and his alleged 'socialism,' but a political party that has become psychologically incapable of operating within the American political system." (Michael Tomasky, The Daily Beast, 12/23/2012)

Scared? We ain't scared. We're all white.

9. John "My Fellow Prisoners" McCain

by Donkey Hotey

10. Donald "The Donald" Trump

Mouth agape, "badger" hair style, bad nose job, cheesy tie - no caricature could match the original. Oh what the hell, let's give it a try . . .

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