How Exactly Does One Have a Bloodless Military Coup?

That’s just one of the mysteries of this NewsMax article by John L. Perry, outlining the wingnut wet dream of taking care of “the Obama Problem” with a military coup.

For those just joining us from their summer hibernation in a cave, “the Obama Problem” is that he’s black. This is never fully spelled out, not that it needs to be. There’s the usual rhetorical questions of what could instigate such a drastic action, but they are nothing more than concern trolling about loose nukes over Israel and Obama’s secret Muslim/Marxist agenda. The usual Right Wing projection of wishful thinking. “Don’t make me start a ‘bloodless’ coup!” they’re shouting, hoping that you will give them the thinnest excuse to take off their belt. And hay, if some patriot gets carried away and this peaceful military intervention (marines with feather dusters instead of M-16s?) turns chaotic and bloody, well, the tree of liberty, bloody fertilizer, etc., etc.

These would-be Red Dawn re-enactors had no problem with our failed wars and reckless foreign policy when the Boy King was in the hot seat but now that we have this problematic negro in command of our troops, well, there’s a BIG problem there. That Obama is doing decent work on our foreign policy is so far beside the point, it might as well be waving at it from the window of a passing car in the other lane, going the opposite direction.

My favorite part though, is this assertion:

Officers swear to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Unlike enlisted personnel, they do not swear to “obey the orders of the president of the United States.”

Well yeah, actually they kinda do. You see, the President is the Commander in Chief. Failure to obey his orders leads to a court martial at best and a short walk and a quick drop at worst. Attempting to overthrow the democratically elected leader of the country through military force would constitute treason. And I mean actual treason, not Liberal “treason” in the form of inconvenient facts as a counter argument against Right Wing fever dreams. Suggesting that we do so is sedition.

What is not a mystery though, is why NewsMax took down this little screed (as if anything can be hidden for long on the internet). One can only hope it was at the request of the Secret Service, who may have a few questions for Mr. Perry.

I know I Am But What Are You?

So, the aide to Rep Coburn (R- Flatland) stands up in front of a group of yahoos at the Values Voter Summit (a sort of swap meet for creationists and Birthers) and tells them that, “All pornography is homosexual pornography, because all pornography turns your sexual drive inwards.”

The argument, as near as I can translate it from crazy talk, is that porn makes you feel all tingly in your naughty parts and then you touch yourself and since it’s you touching the same sex (being yo) your gay! Hay, presto. I’ll just let Coburn’s chief of staff, Michael Schwartz tell it:

Schwartz then explained the side benefit of this finding—that if boys know pornography will make them gay, they’ll never touch it, taking advantage of what Schwartz sees as a natural homophobia. “And if you tell an 11-year-old boy about that, do you think he’s going to want to get a copy of Playboy?” he said. “I’m pretty sure he’ll lose interest. That’s the last thing he wants!”

Let that little knot of pretzel logic just unwind itself for a few moments. Because, for those of us still clinging to a thin sliver of sanity, there’s only one way to read this statement: that Schwartz is living inside the most transparent of closets. How do we know his? Because he’s a Republican. They only get this vocal about their pet subjects when they get under their skin. Ranting about the pure and righteous homophobia of 11 year old boys is just him trying really, really hard to keep that closet door shut good and tight.

Come 2012, the Republican platform will consist soley of saying, “I know you are but what am I?!”over and over.

The Ambasador from Zombieland

Zombieland is not a smart movie. But that’s not why anyone wants to see it — that would be to see Woody Harlson as a red neck zombie killer. In that regard, the movie is aces.

As zombie movies go, it’s more fun than most. The fimmakers know who their audience is and the theater we saw our sneak preview in was full of them. And I don’t mean to say it’s a bad movie, exactly. Sure, there are plot holes big enough to drive a hummer through and the rest of the plot is mostly fridge logic, but it is dumb fun and never pretends to be anything more.

One surprise is that there is far more character development in Zombieland than your standard zombie movie. Usually, the heroes of our zombie infested urban wasteland are sketches of characters, stereotypes that rarely stretch beyond their circumstances and usually end up doing something stereotypically dumb, which causes them to die, horribly. Our stereotypes in Zombieland stretch out of their cubbyhole characters a bit, and even drive most of the plot, which is a nice change of pace, even if it means the zombies end up as just incidental background noise for most of Act 2.

Our characters do make stupid decisions, most of them leading to the aformentioned plot holes, but they have a good time being stupid and flirting with the near certainty of grissly demise, and that’s all any of us can ask of a zombie movie.

Not The Tom Payne of Tibet

It’s been a while since Obama did anything I could applaud. it’s just too bad this is so inconsequential:

The Obama Administration may think its decision to cold shoulder the Dalai Lama on the Tibetan leader’s upcoming trip to Washington is smart politics. But if the leader of the free world doesn’t stand up for religious freedom, who will?

I fail to see how meeting with the deposed theocrat of a conquered nation is standing up for anything. The same people who think the Ayatollah of Iran is evil and the likes of Pat Robertson are backwards, dirty cocksuckers, give the Dalai Lama a pass, just because he’s a Buddhist. As if that somehow excuses the fact that, for the last 1500 years, he and his predecessors* have been the autocratic rulers of an absolute theocracy, using the local superstition to keep themselves in power.

And yes, yes, I know, the Chinese are evil bastards, invading sweet old Tibet, etc. Whatever. Being ruled by a nominally Communist dictatorship rather than a religious dictatorship is more of a lateral move. And it’s galling to listen to the Dalai Lama wander around aimlessly blathering about human rights when, if he had his way, he’d be back in Tibet, working to keep women as second class citizens and overlooking the abuse of children by monks. Lhasa never was the bastion of enlightenment the aging hippies made it out to be. It’s  just the Vatican of the Himalayas. For all his talk of peace and human rights, The Dalai Lama hasn’t really done anything but ask people to be nice, so that maybe, one day in a thousand generations, we’ll be better people. he could do more, but as a Buddhist, it’s against his religion to actually do anything that might be helpful.

While I’d like to see the people of Tibet become free, it won’t be because of the Free Tibet Movement, who seek to reinstall the Dalai Lama of Tibet become free, they need to do so by winning their independence (by force if necessary) and establishing a democracy. If they want to keep the Dalai Lama and his cadre of incestuous priests on hand as ceremonial fiure heads, that’s their business.

And sure, China has been mistreating Tibetans for quite some time, torturing monks and squashing demonstrations. They don’t get a pass either, and if it turns out that Obama is snubbing the Dalai Lama just to win brownie points with Beijing, I’ll be just as disappointed. I’d prefer to think Obama just has more important things to occupy his time than entertaining mystics.

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*Or, if you believe in reincarnation, the same man. What is worse, being ruled over by an endless parade of deluded self righteous men, or the same one repeatedly? Kind of a wash.

The Return of Caturday

Been a while since any pictures of Lucy and Rupert have been posted here and today, you’re in luck, because we have a rare occurrence of them being close enough to get in the same picture.

This was taken just after Rupert ran head first into the fence, while chasing a butterfly. Lucy is pretending she didn’t see, but did.

Cybermen with Italian Accents

Charlie Stross has found an odd turn of events in Italian Politics:

…transhumanism is going to influence the next century because, unless we are very unlucky indeed, the biotechnology, nanotechnology, and telecommunications industries are going to deliver goods that combine to fundamentally change the human condition. We’ve seen the tip of the iceberg so far: news stories like this would have been fodder for an SF story twenty or thirty years ago, and this video (playing pong! Using transcranial brain interfaces!) probably still is. But don’t be deceived: we’re entering strange territory.

And what particularly exercises me is the possibility that if we can alter the parameters of the human condition, we can arbitrarily define some people as being better than others — and can make them so.

Not all transhumanists have good intentions. Earlier I went on for a while about Italy, home of the Modernist movement in art and birthplace of Fascism. Italy’s currently in the grip of a wave of racism and neofascist vigilantism, presided over by an allegedly racist media mogul with a near-monopoly on broadcast media in that country.

So it’s probably not surprising that Italy is the source of a new political meme that I hadn’t heard of before this week: overhumanism:

“Italian overhumanism is heavily influenced by the “Nouvelle Droite”, a fringe political movement that emerged from the French neofascist microcosm in the late ’70s/early ’80s, and which attempted to bring far-right ideas into the mainstream by discarding the trappings of historical Fascism in order to convey a similar message in a less unpalatable form. In common with the Nouvelle Droite, it borrows heavily from the extreme left (anti-americanism, anti-clericalism, opposition to globalisation), and has adopted neopaganism as a religious stance. While affirming the importance of science in modern life, this hybrid offspring of neofascism also maintains more traditional far-right positions such as elitism, antiegalitarianism and an interest in ethnic identity that crosses into differentialist racism.”Did you get that? The fascists have noticed transhumanism, and decided that they like it.

For those not up on Transhumanism, this may seem a little baroque. Basically, your regular H+ folk want to use biotech and cybernetics to make biotailoring a unique form of self expression. In this day-dream future, we all get to be mutants, only cooler. Sort of like the Anti-borg. All the cool toys with none of the weird laser eyes and claws (unless you’re into that sort of thing). Interresting ideas, at least. But the Overhumans want to improve themselves and those who are worthy. With force, if they don’t volunteer for Upgrade. The others well, they aren’t too specific on those ends but, words like “Genocide” probably wander into the room, though wearing some technotrousers and sparkly shirts with LED lights. Basically, the Overhumans are Cybermen. With Italian accents.

As creepy as it is that real people think like fictional villains form Doctor Who, the writer in me can’t help but stare in perverse fascination.

At the very least, I think I found the villains for my next book…

Hypothetical Third Party Politics

For my next book, I need a third political party in the US.* Do I: 1) revive the Bull-Moose party, 2) elevate a current third party or 3) invent a new one? I’m leaning towards option one, the Bull-Moose party, as a moderate majority between the Social Democrats (who are actual liberals with a european-style social welfare platform) and a GOP full of lunatics and klansmen. The way I see it, the Bull-Moose Party would absorb the fiscally conservative but sane moderates from both the GOP and Dems, leaving the liberals to form a Social Democratic party while the GOP remains a marginal party full of crazies and racists (that is: unchanged). This would better dramatize the peculiar politics of America in the 21st century, without getting into the false dichotomy of left/right ideology. Any suggestions?

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*This is of course a science fiction novel. I don’t for a minute think a working three party model would ever take hold here in the real world, at least not without military intervention, possibly by the benevolent army of Canada, who sweep down from the North to save our asses after we immolate our entire infrastructure over fear that possessing running water and electricity is the foothold of Dread Socialism.