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An Irregular Column
for MRR 322, March 2010
by Mykel Board
I'm all for complaining about a worm because it's an ugly dirty little thing. But I don't believe in complaining about it because it might be a snake. --Brad Crandall
It hurt worse than a cactus dildo. My Chanukah present from my sister. A new vacuum cleaner. Just what I need. Really. My old one lost a filter. Whenever I used it, it spewed offal into the air, filling my lungs with 30 year old dust bunnies. I'd cough for a week. Chronic bronchitis.
So my sister gets me this new thing. Dirt Devil, it's called. “Powerful enough to suck up the deepest dirt.”
It takes me about 15 minutes to put it together and attach the hose and other equipment. I need to try it out. I unzip and pulled out my own equipment. From previous experience, I know that the obvious grease and insert is not nearly as much fun as vacuum tea-baggin'. Yowsah!
It works better on the right testicle... the left one hangs lower anyway. Vacuum induced equality, I say.
I go to http://tinyurl.com/3someok and get ready. In a few minutes, I've risen to 45 degrees. Then, pump it up a final five more degrees. Insert that ball. Step on the switch.
YOW!!! JESUS FUCKIN' CHRIST! Holy shit, is that thing strong! It feels like my tongue's been sucked down into my scrotum! I won't be able to walk for a week.
Cramped, I fall over into the bed and examine the injury. It looks like a bruised prune. I don't think I'll be going anywhere today. I can barely move.
I reach over to the night table and drag off a half-read magazine. I'll just lie here and read while my body resets my internal organs.
Check it out: The Utne Reader, a liberal journal I've often quoted in this column... the January 2010 issue.
I turn to an article called A Conspiracy of Hate. It's a reprint from Intelligence Report, a Nazi-baiting publication of the Southern Poverty Law Center. I wrote about those guys before (MRR 317). They want right-wingers banned from the military because they're too violent. Makes a lot of sense... huh? Military people shouldn't be violent, should they?
The article in the new issue conflates all kinds of right wingers on the flimsiest of evidence.. Militias are racist. Conspiracy theorists are Nazis. Gun owners are anti-Jewish. They all believe in the Protocols of The Elders of Zion, a notorious middle-ages fake document on the Jewish plan to take over the world. Oy.
Check out this quote from a typical anti-militia lefty, “The militia movement today believes in the conspiracy theory of the Protocols, even if some call it something else and never mention the Jews...” Huh?
What pisses me off most about this article are the flimsy connections the I.R. uses to show a vast violent right-wing conspiracy. Want a connection between the tax protesters who want an end to The Federal Reserve and violent racism? Check out this quote:
In March, a Spokane, Washington, man pleaded guilty to illegally possessing two grenade launchers, 54 grenades, 37 machine guns, eight silencers, and a variety of explosives. The man had an “End the Fed” bumper sticker on his vehicle.
That's right. He had a bumper sticker! That's the connection.
Jesus fuckin' Christ. I better watch my back, since who knows how many crimes are committed by people with BABY ON (Mykel) BOARD bumper stickers on their cars?
This rankles my dander so much I feel like canceling my Utne subscription. I sit up, but the pain in my groin knocks me back into a lying position. Good thing too. Because, unlike me at the moment, Utne has functioning balls. They follow this horrible article by a piece of brilliance from Reason Magazine, a publication of the U.S. Libertarian Party.
The title of the article is The Paranoid Center. It is so exactly right, that I'm tempted to reprint the whole thing, and call it my column. Unfortunately, it's too long (now THAT'S a phrase I rarely hear!), and a bit too dry. So I'll abridge it some here. Those interested can get the complete article at: http://tinyurl.com/reason-paranoid.
I do want to quote the first few original paragraphs though, because they lead to the meat of the article.
On June 10, 2009, an elderly man entered the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, raised a rifle, and opened fire, killing a security guard named Stephen Tyrone Johns. The killer was soon identified as James Wenneker von Brunn, an 88-year-old neo-Nazi. Von Brunn acted alone, but there was no shortage of voices eager to spread the blame for his crime. The murder was quickly linked, in a free-associative way, to the assassination 10 days earlier of the Kansas abortionist George Tiller. This, we were told, was a "pattern" of "rising right-wing violence."
More imaginative pundits tried to tie the two slayings to a smattering of other crimes, from an April shootout in Pittsburgh that killed three cops, to a year-old double murder at a Knoxville Unitarian church. The longest such list, assembled by the liberal blogger Sara Robinson, included nine diverse incidents linked only by the fact that the criminals all hailed from one corner or another of the paranoid right. One of the episodes involved a mentally disturbed anti-Semite who had stalked a former classmate for two years before killing her in May. "This is how terrorism begins," Robinson warned.
After this, the article goes on about various ways that lefties and their friends manufacture conspiracies from picking unrelated facts and grinding them together like I grind cholesterol- lowering turmeric with my coffee beans every morning. Okay that's to be expected. The right-wing does the same with lefty “crimes.”
A great band (mine) once wrote a song called Crassdriver about how the right and the left are pretty much the same. Both are totalitarian, and anti-sex. They're also both paranoid, seeing plots in every historical accident --like other paranoids see hidden threats in the pattern of sidewalk cracks.
So, say the lefties, the militias are a bunch of anti-Jewish (usually called anti-Semitic, but that term is as vague and misguided as Asian), fascist racists. Everybody knows that, right?
Not so fast. Robert H. Churchill, in a recent book about the militias says they are anti-government and anti-government inspired violence. (Remember Waco?) They are not particularly anti-Black or anti-Jew. He backs up his interpretation with lotsa quotes from militia figures. These include denunciations of the beating of Rodney King and the rape of Abner Louima, a Haitian man who New York police sodomized with a broomstick in 1997.
According to Churchill:
The militias formed and grew as their members "came to the conclusion that the federalization and militarization of law enforcement had created a paramilitary culture of violence."
In other words, the militias are like you and me! They're anti-government, especially anti-government violence against the helpless.
And what about the Timothy McVeigh-style militia's own violence... like the Oklahoma bombing? It's like the Unibomber bombing, and exactly as representative of the movement. In fact, in at least three cases, police arrested fringe militiamen after other militia members got wind of their violent plans and called the cops.
Even more parallel to the left, the older right wingers didn't like the newer upstarts.
"They are not for the preservation of the white race," Aryan Nations chief Richard Butler complained. "They're actually traitors to the white race; they seek to integrate with blacks, Jews, and others."
Yeah, there are racists in the militias, but even as bigots sometimes appeared in militia circles, so did blacks, Hispanics, and Jews.
Ok, we can expect the left and right to mirror each other in paranoia and conspiracy theories. It's like two testicles, alternating on which hangs lower. But what of The Center? What's that got to do with them?
Well, The Department of Homeland Security (as paranoid center as you can get) issued a report about the dangers of the right. They said the right
...can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly anti-government, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.
The report said nothing about any actual danger from these groups. Isn't that what Homeland Security is supposed to do? Talk about security? Not ideology.
Much to their credit, the ACLU protested the report. They said it focused on ideology rather than any real violence. That made it a danger to free speech and free thought.
Most of the mainstream ignores this logic. It sees the right-wing rhetoric itself as dangerous, just like the mainstream saw the rhetoric of the sixties leftists as dangerous. And it's the mainstream that has the most guns. It's up to us to have more (uninjured) balls.
Says Jesse Walker, the Reason article's author: It's comforting to imagine that violence and paranoia belong only to the far left and right, and that we can protect ourselves from their effects by quarantining the extremists and vigilantly expelling anyone who seems to be bringing their ideas into the mainstream. But the center has its own varieties of violence and paranoia. And it's far more dangerous than anyone on the fringe, even the armed fringe, will ever be.
Yeah the rightists are pests (though sometimes they're correct), but they're not all dangerous. And there is no vast conspiracy of militias and Klansman, any more than there's a vast conspiracy of university bombers and Barack Obama. My right ball still hurts like hell, but that doesn't mean there is a giant corporate plot to render me childless. Come on! Get a grip!
-->Legalized Blackmail Dept: Website magazine reports the establishment of a new website: BadCustomer.com
Here, a merchant can report a fussy, non-paying, chargeback customer. That customer then gets listed on the site, which is free for merchants to use. They can use the customer list to deny “bad customers” credit.
Customers, of course, have a way to remove their names from the list. Just fork over $100 to the website.
-->What's good for the gander dept: In the UK, a heterosexual couple have been refused permission to register for a civil partnership.
Tom Freeman and Katherine Doyle said they want to challenge "discriminatory" UK laws which restrict civil partnerships to same-sex couples. They plan legal action after their application was denied in London. UK law permits only heterosexual couples to marry. Same-sex couples can form civil partnerships.
Couples in a civil partnership have the right to the same legal treatment as a married couple - including inheritance, pension, life assurance and maintenance rights. However civil partnerships can only be conducted by registrars, not members of the clergy, and the partnership cannot legally be called a "marriage".
Freeman said: "It would be lovely to formalize our relationship but we are completely turned off by the whole institution of marriage because it discriminates against gay people."
He added: "We think gay people should be able to have a standard marriage and straight people should be able to have a civil partnership."
Local gay groups support the couple.
-->Palindrome of the month dept: “Dennis and Edna dine,” said I, as Enid and Edna sinned.
-->Oxymoron of the month dept: From The Internet Oxymoron List: Religious tolerance.
-->It must be that part about rich people not getting into heaven dept: The Progressive reports that a group of U.S. conservatives, led by Andy Schlafly, son of the rabid Phyllis Schlafly, has proposed a rewrite of the New Testament. They want to get rid of its "liberal bias." The idea is to amend the King James version of the bible to include more "free market parables" and "the logic of hell."
Wasn't it the right-wingers who complained when The Beatles said they were "more popular than Jesus?" Now look who's talking about rewriting The Bible. Bigger than Jesus, I'd say.
--> Chainstore blues dept: While my longtime curse against Starbucks worked in forcing the java-giant to close 200 stores, I didn't expect people to actually pick up the gun and march en mass. I guess I don't keep up with the news.
Green Anarchy newspaper (I forgot who sent me this. Kyle?) reports that in 2002, police found two bombs in Dutch outlets of IKEA. It appeared to be an anti-corporate chain protest.
Could you imagine the chaos of the likes of Walmart if an explosive device were to be found there? They'd have to install airport bomb detectors and make the whole shopping experience even more unpleasant than it already is. Not that I'm advocating anything like that. Who me? Never!
-->My Kind of Terrorism dept: In Santa Cruz California, artists spray painted 65 SUVs with slogans including "No Blood for Oil," and "SUVs Suck."
I can imagine a few more creative sprayings like "The bigger the car, the smaller the dick." Or "Stupid Ugly Vehicle." But it's a start. Not that I'm advocating anything like that. Who me? Never!
-->My senility dept: During my Albanian trip, I learned how to say I want to kill you you motherfucker in Albanian: De të të vras o të qitsha nonën. I forgot to mention that last time. Email me for the details on how I happened to learn that phrase.
-->Shame on you Obama dept: The last website I want to talk about is probably the most important. It's ourbombs.com/striketracker.
Check it out and see what that asshole in the Whitehouse is doing to the people of Afghani and Paki -stan. For their own good, of course.