Harold Hill, Esq.

Any drone that has ever toiled away in insurance defense or appellate work is only too familiar with the following scenario:

Partner hands you an utter shit salad of a case:  Claimant successfully sues/sued for injuries for which your client is clearly and unequivocally liable and has absolutely no serious defense in fact or in law. Partner now tells you to draft responsive pleadings/responsive appellate briefs – a task that is fraught with peril, given that if one sticks to the actual facts of the case and applies the actual law, your response is likely to incur the wrath of the judge and result in sanctions.

I was in this position approximately eleventy billion times over the course of my mini-career as an associate. After a while, you actually learn how to analyze a set of facts and law to find the tiniest snag so that you can pick it open and blow it up, conflate it into something favorable to you, and then use semantics, tone, and rhetoric to guide your reader/listener to a conclusion that you are unquestionably correct, even though the law, facts, reality, and common sense would dictate otherwise.

I actually developed some serious skills in crafting viable arguments in the face of such factual/legal paucity. And yes, I actually won a few times. More than a few. I can’t tell you how proud I was to be the Queen of Pulling It Out Of My Ass.

So believe me when I say, I know the difference between an argument grounded in reality and an argument grounded in ‘holy shit I can’t be wrong because I told the client I could win this and now I’m totally fucked and this whole argument is bullshit and I should just admit I was wrong but there is no way in hell I am going to do that so I suppose I will just bellow even louder in the hopes that people think that I *must* be right because if I weren’t I would have shut up long long ago.’

This, readers, would be the latter:

Sarah Palin: Extreme Enviros: Drill, Baby, Drill in ANWR – Now Do You Get It?

Sarah Palin’s Notes  Yesterday at 3:17pm

This is a message to extreme “environmentalists” who hypocritically protest domestic energy production offshore and onshore. There is nothing “clean and green” about your efforts. Look, here’s the deal: when you lock up our land, you outsource jobs and opportunity away from America and into foreign countries that are making us beholden to them. Some of these countries don’t like America. Some of these countries don’t care for planet earth like we do – as evidenced by our stricter environmental standards.

With your nonsensical efforts to lock up safer drilling areas, all you’re doing is outsourcing energy development, which makes us more controlled by foreign countries, less safe, and less prosperous on a dirtier planet. Your hypocrisy is showing. You’re not preventing environmental hazards; you’re outsourcing them and making drilling more dangerous.

Extreme deep water drilling is not the preferred choice to meet our country’s energy needs, but your protests and lawsuits and lies about onshore and shallow water drilling have locked up safer areas. It’s catching up with you. The tragic, unprecedented deep water Gulf oil spill proves it.

We need permission to drill in safer areas, including the uninhabited arctic land of ANWR. It takes just a tiny footprint – equivalent to the size of LA’s airport – to tap America’s rich and plentiful oil and gas up north. ANWR’s drilling footprint is like a postage stamp on a football field.

But it’s not just ANWR; it’s our Petroleum Reserve, too. As Governor Sean Parnell noted today in the Wall Street Journal:

“Federal agencies are also now blocking oil development in the National Petroleum Reserve—Alaska.

Although familiar with ANWR, most Americans are less likely to know about NPR-A and how vital it is to our energy security. Given recent developments, it’s time to elevate the position this area holds in our national discourse.

NPR-A, a 23 million acre stretch of Alaska’s North Slope, was set aside by President Warren Harding in 1923 for the specific purpose of supplying our country and military with oil and gas. Since 1976 it has been administered by the Department of the Interior, and since 1980 it has been theoretically open for development. The most recent estimates indicate that it holds 12 billion barrels of oil and 73 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

In addition to containing enormous hydrocarbons, NPR-A is very close to the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, which means that there would be relatively little additional infrastructure needed to bring this new oil to our domestic market.

But even here, progress has been stalled.”

Radical environmentalists: you are damaging the planet with your efforts to lock up safer drilling areas. There’s nothing clean and green about your misguided, nonsensical radicalism, and Americans are on to you as we question your true motives.

– Sarah Palin

Ahhh, clever work, Ms. Palin (or should I say, Nameless Peon Whose Thankless Job It Is To Manage Sarah Palin’s Facebook Page). I see you have chosen my favorite weapon – the ‘I Know You Are But What Am I?’ nunchucks.  “Extreme enviros” are actually out to destroy the environment – such delicious irony! Oooo – and the exquisite (if ubiquitous) knife in the gut accusation of being unAmerican.  “Using semantics, tone, and rhetoric to guide your reader,” indeed.

So, well played Nameless Peon Whose Thankless Job It Is To Manage Sarah Palin’s Facebook Page. And don’t worry about being out of work when Ms. Palin’s crazypants float off into the rainbow sherbet sunset of lost dreams – you have a bright future ahead of you in appellate insurance defense.

Not Helping...

If/Then FAIL

I am guessing that Amazon didn’t score very high on the SATs, based on the following email it sent me early this morning:

Dear Amazon.com Customer,

As someone who has purchased or rated Lego Rock Band, you might like to know that The Bachelor: The Videogame will be released on June 8, 2010.  You can pre-order yours by following the link below.

The Bachelor: The Videogame The Bachelor Videogame
Warner Bros

Price: $29.99

Release Date: June 8, 2010

Platform: Nintendo Wii

Product Description
The quest for love doesn’t have to end after the show’s final rose. Now, you can experience the excitement of the TV show in your very own adventure and compete for the affections of The Bachelor or The Bachelorette! It’s up to you to make an impression that will leave your suitor with only one option…to offer you the final rose!

“As you have purchased Lego Rock Band, logic clearly dictates that you or perhaps the 10 year old boy for whom you bought Lego Rock Band must also be foaming at the mouth to play a video game based on a reality show where a bunch of crazy drunk whores fight over a giant douchenozzle…”

I am Number 1 at Glenn Beck Crying!

Just wanted to let you know that “glenn beck crying” has been in the top 3 Google search terms leading people to my blog for 217 days IN A ROW.  And check this shit out – if you go to Google and search “glenn beck crying,” I am number one!  Yay SFL!

So, for all of you people who can’t get enough, this is for you…

My blog makes Glenn Beck cry.

I Enjoy Being a Girl

So, a conservative female friend forwarded the following picture to me today. The subject line read: Why Republican Men Are Happier.

The Married Women's Property Act Passed in 1948

Thoughts?

Here are my thoughts.  I remember when I was a little girl and I learned about Sandra Day O’Connor. I remember reading that she was the first woman on the Supreme Court. And that just blew my young mind. She was the first woman – but the Court had been around for so long. I remember being confused by this. When I got older, I read about how she graduated third in her class at Stanford Law school, but that after she graduated, law firms would only interview her for secretary positions. And again, I was confused. Why would people think that she was worth less just because she was a woman?  Hadn’t she proven otherwise?

Despite my confusion, I never questioned what *I* could do. I believed – without question – that it wasn’t like that anymore. I believed that things were better now; that merit outweighed ignorant bias. That we valued intellect and ability more than superficial things. That if you just worked hard and were smart and good at your job, you would be valued. That’s what we were told, right?

Many years later, now a lawyer myself, I would be forced to admit that things were not as I had thought. Superficial things matter more. And if you want to overcome those superficial things and succeed on the merits, you have to have more drive and more bravery and thicker skin than I could ever have. You would have to be willing to always work harder than the others, to swallow your pride, to get used to being left out of things, to pretend that it didn’t bother you when your bosses ignored your successes while celebrating others’, to force a laugh when they talked about your legs/tits/ass, and to smile and nod your way through every joke and leer for shittier assignments and higher scrutiny.

And for what? To move “up” to a more elite group of people that ignore your opinions and look down on your work? I knew early on I wasn’t willing to do that. I wasn’t willing to give up so much of myself to be a part of something that had nothing of me in it.

So when I see things like this, joke or not, all I can think is that we really have gone nowhere. Smart women are mocked for being unattractive while people like Carrie Prejean are lauded as “brave.” What has Carrie Prejean done to make things substantively better for anyone?

I’ve accepted the fact that society is what it is – and that, no matter what people want to tell you, women are simply not valued the same as men.  Just saying things are “equal” doesn’t make it so. Fight all I want, I can’t change that. I can’t change millions of minds and all the things that reinforce thoughts like those behind this email. All I can do is raise my kids to know that it is utter bullshit.

If I do my job as a mother correctly, the LAST thing on *my* daughter’s mind will be the happiness of Republican men.

Local WIN

Well folks…

When I clicked on the link, I was sure I’d found our next Burning Shame Award recipient. However, after peeping his mugshot and reading of his completely understandable defense, I totally changed my mind and realized that this story is, 100%, hands-down balls-out Local WIN.

Just. AWESOME.

A Church Hill man has been charged with indecent exposure after allegedly running nude through a Kingsport grocery store, wearing only a rubber mask on his face.

The man was arrested at a nearby Hardee’s, where he reportedly asked employees for clothing before hiding in the bathroom. Police say the suspect admitted to the incident, citing, “he was bored and didn’t have anything to do.”

A report from Kingsport police identifies the man as Daniel R. Lee, 22, of 612 East Main Boulevard, apartment A, Church Hill. He allegedly walked into the IGA grocery store, 3006 North John B. Dennis Highway, at about 9 p.m Friday.

Police say he was, “wearing only a rubber mask.”

Store personnel told police that Lee ran around the store exposing himself to several customer and employees. One member of the staff attempted to run Lee down as he left the store, but was unable to catch him.

However, according to the police report, the employee did nab a woman that accompanied Lee. She is identified as Katelyn M. Trent, 18, of 1849 1/2 Forest View Drive, Kingsport. She allegedly claimed Lee was her boyfriend.

The report says police located Lee in the bathroom of a nearby Hardee’s. Restaurant employees told police he entered, “wearing only an orange hoodie, ” and was, “attempting to cover himself up and asking for any piece of clothing.”

One male employee gave Lee a pair of basketball shorts, according to the report. Police found Lee in the bathroom, wearing the shorts and orange hoodie.

“Daniel advised me that he did run through the IGA nude because he was bored and didn’t have anything to do,” reads the officers report.

Lee was charged with indecent exposure, arrested and transported to the Kingsport jail.

So, Daniel R. Lee, this one’s for you, dude.

Hells YES

“… I Ain’t Holding Back Anymore!!”

Okay, so whenever we discuss examples of racism, bigotry, whathaveyou in the TEA movement, we are invariably told (a) that liberals/the MSM are making it up, (b) that these are just a few “bad apples” who don’t really represent what real TEAfolk stand for, (c) that liberals/the MSM are making much ado about nothing, and/or (d) that liberals/the MSM are the REAL racists/bigots/whathaveyou.

My point, as I have raised again and again, is how the non racists/bigots in the TEA movement can justify standing with such people?

Well, here is a bigger question:  How can ANYONE in the TEA movement condone acts of violence? As reported at length in the Charlottesville Daily Progress here, Federal and local authorities are investigating a severed gas line at the home of U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello’s brother, discovered the day after Tea Party activists posted the address online so opponents could “drop by” and “express their thanks” for Perriello’s vote in favor of health care reform. From the Daily Progress:

Two members of the conservative Tea Party groups in Danville and Lynchburg posted the home’s address online Monday, mistakenly believing it belonged to the congressman. The home actually belongs to Bo Perriello, the congressman’s older brother.

The local FBI field office and the Albemarle County fire marshal are investigating the incident. Police have stepped up patrols in the area as well.

Albemarle County spokeswoman Lee Catlin confirmed that county authorities are investigating an incident at Bo Perriello’s home in cooperation with the FBI, but she said she cannot comment on the specifics because it is an ongoing investigation.

“The Fire Marshal’s Office is conducting the investigation in cooperation with the FBI,” Catlin said. “While officials are not willing to characterize the exact nature of the incident because of the ongoing investigation, it did not involve an immediate threat to occupants of the residence. Officials are taking the incident very seriously and conducting a vigorous investigation. Additional details will be released as the investigation continues.”

M.A. Myers, a spokesman with the FBI’s Richmond field office, confirmed that the agency is “aware” of the severing of the gas line at Bo Perriello’s house.

“At this point, all I can really confirm is that we are aware of that situation,” he said.

Danville Tea Party leader Nigel Coleman was one of the two activists who posted Bo Perriello’s address online Monday.

“This is Rep. Thomas Stuart Price Perriello’s home address,” Coleman wrote Monday. “… I ain’t holding back anymore!!”

According to the Danville Register & Bee site, when Coleman learned that the address actually belonged to the congressman’s brother, he responded on a blog: “Do you mean I posted his brother’s address on my Facebook? Oh well, collateral damage.”

Coleman told The Daily Progress today that he is “shocked” and “almost speechless” at the possibility that someone would sever the propane line to Perriello’s brother’s house.

“I obviously condemn these actions,” he said. “I would hope that people aren’t thinking about doing anything crazy. We just wanted people to get close to the congressman and have their voices heard. Violence is not going to answer anything. I’m a little shocked and amazed.”

Coleman added that he is not certain that the incident is related to the posting of the home’s address. “Of course, we don’t know this is a related event,” he said.

Really? Coleman “a little shocked and amazed” that someone took him up on his suggestion? Are you fucking kidding me with this shit? Seriously – “Collateral Damage?” What brave new sort of asshole ARE you?

What the hell did you THINK would happen? At BEST, it never crossed your mind that what you were doing was clearly inciting angry and frustrated people to take action, action that very well could injure the people at THE ADDRESS YOU POSTED WITHOUT BOTHERING TO VERIFY WHO LIVED THERE.

At worst, you CLEARLY knew what you were doing, and now want to give us the coy, finger in the mouth “Oopsie! I’m a bad widdle boy!” schtick.

And I suppose now is when a bunch of apologists will flood out, claiming that (a) liberals/the MSM are making this up, (b) that these are just a few “bad apples” who don’t really represent what real TEAfolk stand for, (c) that liberals/the MSM are making much ado about nothing, and/or (d) that liberals/the MSM are the REAL terrorists.

…I’m waiting…

h/t to Mark Potok at the SPLC Blog (which will, I am sure, render MY whole post invalid to those who think that the SPLC is some sort of radical fringe group).

"Sorry I Cut Your Gas Line - I Thought You Were Someone Else" Scones

Burning Shame Award: Misogyny Loves Company

This week’s Burning Shame Award is a truly a tag-team effort and goes to Mr. Harvie Christian for his asinine comment to an asinine Letter to the Editor in the online edition of the KPT-TN written by one Charlton Rhinehart of Kingsport, Tennessee.  The letter, a lament on the the possible loss of DADT , is bad enough to garner the award one its own merit:

The military’s don’t ask, don’t tell policy is one of the last laws against gays to end. Originally, all states had laws against gays, some as much as the death penalty. But those days are done, and anyone who thinks we can still turn back is out of touch. However, what is destined to happen if allowed is that government will be promoting gays. At Capitol Park in Sacramento, Calif., a memorial reads, “In honor of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender veterans killed in action.” Why couldn’t a memorial for all veterans be suitable? We are not honoring their service, but their lifestyle. Many sinful acts are legal, but none are promoted by government yet. Gays will soon have government-backed holidays, scholarships and recognition. Homosexuals are not a minority deserving special treatment, but a group by choice. It is one thing to not discriminate against a lifestyle, but to promote is intolerable. Homosexuality will remain objectionable to much of America as long as there is freedom of religion. For government to go beyond tolerating to promoting would be devastating. But without serious opposition, it is destined for all America.

Rhinehart waxes rhapsodic for the good ol’ days, you know, when you could kill a gay.  And now, as if not being able to kill the gays isn’t bad enough, we might actually start giving them “special treatment.”  I presume by “special treatment,” he means not killing them. No – I am sorry, he means not discriminating against them. Because not discriminating against the Gays is the same as promoting them?  And by Jesus we have a God-given right to hate the Gays! WTFB? [“WTFB” = WTFbigot?  i just got tired of writing it out all the time].

So yes, the original letter is shitty enough. But then our man Harvie fucking takes it to the hoop of insane omniphobia.  He sees Rhinehart’s homophobia and religiously-justified hate and RAISES HIM A TRUCKLOAD OF MISOGYNY.  Check this shit out:

“What ever happened to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”? Just wondering.”

Man got married and women were given equal rights. That is what happened to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness. To solve the unemployment in the United States all we have to do is insure the male workers are making sufficient salaries to support their families and send the woman back home where she should be working doing her job keeping the house clean, doing the everyday chores, and properly brining up her kids. If the women were taken out of the work force then all those jobs would become available to men and the unemployment problem would cease to exist. This is highly unlikely to happen though since women will never be satisfied in their God given role now that they have tasted the freedom to work outside their home and not take care of their kids. Why do we have so many messed up kids in the world today? Simply because motherhood has gone out the window. Women are willing to work for a lesser salary than men so the companies are happy to hire them and keep the salary’s of the men down. This feeds itself because the men do not make enough to support their families thus forcing the woman to go to work. It is all greed of the big companies and the owners of these big companies are generally conservatives. Now back to the original story about the promotion of homosexuality. That has been taking place since at least the late 60’s and early 70’s when gays were first encouraged to come out of the closet. I doubt the number of homosexuals has increased that much in percentage to heterosexual people but they just don’t live in day to day fear like they once were forced to. Being a homosexual is not a lifestyle choice. You are either born as a homosexual or you are not. Regardless of what lifestyle the homosexual lives he or she is still a homosexual. I would think that we should encourage homosexuals to be true to their lifestyle because then they would not reproduce and no reproduction should logically cut down on their numbers considerably. Homosexual men don’t go out looking for relations with straight men because in order for a relationship to develope between a straight man and a homosexual man the straight man would have to be sexually attracted to the gay man and by definition that would make the straight man gay. I would think that straight men would be more acceptable of gay men because by being gay the homosexual is not in competition for the females. Since Jesus never got married or had relations with a female and always surrounded himself with men and taught them to be fishers of men in today’s society he would be considered homosexual.

Strangely, Harvie goes on to acknowledge that homosexuality is not a choice, but then advocates to simply breed it out of existence.  Again, WTFB?

So Harvie and Charlton, our Burning Shame Award goes out to you. You ought to be ashamed.

The Lady's Not For Burning



Maybe I’m Just Not That Into You.

Dear Person Who Has Called My Office Seventeen Thousand Times Today:

I gather from the many, many messages that you have left that you are in need of legal services. Due to the excessive number of messages, and the fact that my caller ID shows that you called about every four minutes from 1:27 p.m. through 5:38 p.m., I assume you believe that you have some sort of emergency. Maybe you are concerned that I have somehow missed every one of your 873 calls. Or perhaps you have a fundamental misunderstanding of how the telephone works. Regardless, propriety compels a bit of candor and insight as to our particular situation.

First, if I am not in the office, I will not take your call. If you leave a message – and trust me, dear reader, a SINGLE message is truly all it takes – I will return your call as time and ability allow. If you have an emergency – well, I cannot help you. My office line is not a legal 911 and the particular number you called is unpublished. The truth of the matter is that anyone that calls needing “emergency” legal services from me is truly calling the wrong person. I am not that kind of a lawyer.

Second, I am neither inclined nor required to return every call that is made to my office. I run a small, boutique firm. I don’t advertise. I only take clients on referral and yes, I am very selective about what work I will take.  I do not do any criminal trial work whatsoever (and yes, failure to pay child support is technically criminal, which you should know if you are calling me from jail). I also do not do any domestic/family law work (and yes, failure to pay child support is also family law, which you should know if you are calling me from jail about a child support order).  So if you call and leave a garbled message about needing me to help you get out of jail for not paying child support, I will probably not call you back.

Additionally, if you are already calling me 5,495,692 times a day demanding I help you and I haven’t even met you yet, chances are I am not going to enjoy being your attorney. So most likely, I will talk to you and politely tell you I will not represent you. It’s not me; it’s you. While I do have a few clients who are somewhat high maintenance, I have worked with them for years OR I have other reasons that make the relationship worth it. But, generally speaking, I am not going to even have an intake discussion with someone who has already demonstrated an inability to respect the attorney/client relationship.

Third – and this apparently is not well-known – I am not required by any law or rule of ethics to provide legal services to everyone who demands such from me. For example, if you are upset because your landlord evicted you after he saw you naked and you think that is discrimination, I will most likely decline to work for you (real story). And no, despite what you saw on that t.v. show, I am not “required” to help you, you cannot have me arrested for not representing you, and I am certainly not going to “do you a favor” and just call the landlord and threaten him (also real story).

Fourth, I am not, under ANY circumstances, required to give out legal advice for free when you cold-call me. And just because “some other lawyer did” does not mean that I will. And it certainly does not mean that I have to. And no, swearing at me is not going to convince me. Perhaps you should contact that other lawyer.

The fact that I have a JD does not mean that I am required to dispense legal advice to you; nor does any ethical consideration require me to do so. In fact, as a rule, I NEVER give out legal advice on the phone to someone I have never met because I consider it unethically stupid and dangerous. My legal services are provided for pay and only in accordance with the terms of a properly executed Retention Agreement.

Lastly, I am not going to provide free legal services for you. Don’t even ask. And when I tell you my hourly rates and the required retainer, don’t try to bargain with me. My rates are very reasonable and my retainers are exceedingly fair. If you can’t pay the retainer, then you can’t pay me for my work, so I would be an idiot to do that work – end of story.

The fact that you may have heard that I did such&such for so&so has nothing to do with you. Perhaps this may sound a bit too callous, but I do too much work for free as it is and there are too many people out there who are legitimately in serious need of free or reduced cost legal services for me to waste time dickering over a 10K retainer with someone I know full well has the ability to pay.

We regret that we cannot help you at this time. Thank you for your interest in the SFL Law Firm. We wish you the best in your further endeavours.

Sincerely,

SFL

Cake of Regret

1 2 3 4 – Wait, What Exactly ARE You Fighting For?

I have posted several times about the fracturing of the Teabaggers disgruntled Libertarians self-proclaimed patriots angry mob Glenn Beck followers Crazy Palin Supporters Oath Keepers John Birch Society New Minutemen Ayn Rand Wankers TEA movement thing, as well as what I perceive to be the inherent problems of the “movement,” ranging from miseducation to willful hypocrisy to bigotry. One element, however, that I have not addressed very much is the apocalyptic hysteria.

Well friends, that time has come.

Yesterday’s New York Times contained a very interesting article on the TEAbaggery. And yes, after much internal debate, I have decided to refer collectively to the whole lot (lot = [Teabaggers disgruntled Libertarians self-proclaimed patriots angry mob Glenn Beck followers Crazy Palin Supporters Oath Keepers John Birch Society New Minutemen Ayn Rand Wankers TEA movement thing]) as TEAbaggery. They picked the name (no really Mom, they did) and I like it so there you go. Nomenclature aside, I have culled some of the more alarmist/jaw-dropping quotes from the article for us to discuss.

Who joins the TEAbaggery? Primarily people who are fed up and/or afraid and either don’t know or are unable to articulate why.  Also, a lack of prior education on government/politics/civics is good, as is a poor voting record.  Then the angry and fed up, either by divine luck or shrewd marketing, stumble upon the likes of Ron Paul and Glenn Beck. At this point, the proto-baggers receive an “Education” about what the Constitution *really* means and how those vague and ill-defined feelings of being shafted are *really* the pure spark of Constitutional Love.

The[ local TEAgroups] are frequently led by political neophytes who prize independence and tell strikingly similar stories of having been awakened by the recession. Their families upended by lost jobs, foreclosed homes and depleted retirement funds, they said they wanted to know why it happened and whom to blame.

That is often the point when Tea Party supporters say they began listening to Glenn Beck. With his guidance, they explored the Federalist Papers, exposés on the Federal Reserve, the work of Ayn Rand and George Orwell. Some went to constitutional seminars. Online, they discovered radical critiques of Washington on Web sites like ResistNet.com (“Home of the Patriotic Resistance”) and Infowars.com (“Because there is a war on for your mind.”).

Many describe emerging from their research as if reborn to a new reality. Some have gone so far as to stock up on ammunition, gold and survival food in anticipation of the worst. For others, though, transformation seems to amount to trying on a new ideological outfit — embracing the rhetoric and buying the books.

And this:

Most of the people [at a TEA gathering in WA state] had paid only passing attention to national politics in years past. “I voted twice and I failed political science twice,” said Darin Stevens, leader of the Spokane 9/12 Project.

Until the recession, Mr. Stevens, 33, had poured his energies into his family and his business installing wireless networks. He had to lay off employees, and he struggled to pay credit cards, a home equity loan, even his taxes. “It hits you physically when you start getting the calls,” he said.

He discovered Glenn Beck, and began to think of Washington as a conspiracy to fleece the little guy. “I had no clue that my country was being taken from me,” Mr. Stevens explained. He could not understand why his progressive friends did not see what he saw.

But what *exactly* do they think is so wrong?  Well, depends on who is talking, apparently. And a lot of the “fear” seems to be grounded in fantasy and fearmongering.

At a recent meeting of the Sandpoint Tea Party, Mrs. Stout presided with brisk efficiency until a member interrupted with urgent news. Because of the stimulus bill, he insisted, private medical records were being shipped to federal bureaucrats. A woman said her doctor had told her the same thing. There were gasps of rage. Everyone already viewed health reform as a ruse to control their medical choices and drive them into the grip of insurance conglomerates. Debate erupted. Could state medical authorities intervene? Should they call Congress?

WorldNetDaily.com trumpets “exclusives” reporting that the Army is seeking “Internment/Resettlement” specialists. On ResistNet.com, bloggers warn that Mr. Obama is trying to convert Interpol, the international police organization, into his personal police force. They call on “fellow Patriots” to “grab their guns.”

People are more willing, he said, to imagine a government that would lock up political opponents, or ration health care with “death panels,” or fake global warming. And if global warming is a fraud, is it so crazy to wonder about a president’s birth certificate?

“People just do not trust any of this,” Mr. [Richard] Mack said. “It’s not just the fringe people anymore. These are just ordinary people — teachers, bankers, housewives.”

Well, what are they going to do about it? I don’t know that THEY really know.

Tea Party leaders say they know their complaints about shredded constitutional principles and excessive spending ring hollow to some, given their relative passivity through the Bush years. In some ways, though, their main answer — strict adherence to the Constitution — would comfort every card-carrying A.C.L.U. member.

But their vision of the federal government is frequently at odds with the one that both parties have constructed. Tea Party gatherings are full of people who say they would do away with the Federal Reserve, the federal income tax and countless agencies, not to mention bailouts and stimulus packages. Nor is it unusual to hear calls to eliminate Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. A remarkable number say this despite having recently lost jobs or health coverage. Some of the prescriptions they are debating — secession, tax boycotts, states “nullifying” federal laws, forming citizen militias — are outside the mainstream, too.

But it sure seems that the end goal is going to require a LOT of ammo.  Many people appear to be fear/hoping for an armed “rebellion” – a desire that is both created and fed in an extremely irresponsible manner by people who should know better.

Mr. Beck frequently echoes Patriot rhetoric, discussing the possible arrival of a “New World Order” and arguing that Mr. Obama is using a strategy of manufactured crisis to destroy the economy and pave the way for dictatorship.

Politicians courting the Tea Party movement are also alluding to Patriot dogma. At a Tea Party protest in Las Vegas, Joe Heck, a Republican running for Congress, blamed both the Democratic and Republican Parties for moving the country toward “socialistic tyranny.” In Texas, Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican seeking re-election, threw his support behind the state sovereignty movement. And in Indiana, Richard Behney, a Republican Senate candidate, told Tea Party supporters what he would do if the 2010 elections did not produce results to his liking: “I’m cleaning my guns and getting ready for the big show. And I’m serious about that, and I bet you are, too.”

When Friends for Liberty held its first public event, Mrs. Stout listened as Richard Mack, a former Arizona sheriff, brought 1,400 people to their feet with a speech about confronting a despotic federal government. Mrs. Stout said she felt as if she had been handed a road map to rebellion.

And when you have highly visible media darlings (Beck) or elected officials with the non-stop ranting.  IF YOU LISTEN TO ME AND REPEAT WHAT I SAY PEOPLE WILL THINK YOU ARE SMART AND PATRIOTIC AND COOL! RED DAWN IS COMING! SOCIALISM IS GOING TO GAY MARRY YOUR GRANDMOTHER TO ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS! GET READY TO SHOOT YOUR GUN BECAUSE THAT IS A SUPER COOL WAY TO BEHAVE AND TOTALLY JUSTIFIED BY THE CONSTITUTION AND WARRANTED BY THE FACTS! So is it really any surprise when people actually *believe* that Red Dawn is coming and they need to stockpile the weapons and canned goods? Or worse still, they believe based on what they have been told by these “authority” figures that it is perfectly acceptable to threaten violence against elected officials?

One local group represented at Liberty Lake was Arm in Arm, which aims to organize neighborhoods for possible civil strife by stockpiling food and survival gear, and forming armed neighborhood groups.

Also represented was Oath Keepers, whose members call themselves “guardians of the Republic.” Oath Keepers recruits military and law enforcement officials who are asked to disobey orders the group deems unconstitutional. These include orders to conduct warrantless searches, arrest Americans as unlawful enemy combatants or force civilians into “any form of detention camps.”

Gazing out at his overwhelmingly white audience, Mr. Mack felt the need to say, “This meeting is not racist.” Nor, he said, was it a call to insurrection. What is needed, he said, is “a whole army of sheriffs” marching on Washington to deliver an unambiguous warning: “Any violation of the Constitution we will consider a criminal offense.”

The crowd roared.

Not long ago, Mrs. Stout sent an e-mail message to her members under the subject line: “Revolution.” It linked to an article by Greg Evensen, a leader in the militia movement, titled “The Anatomy of an American Revolution,” that listed “grievances” he said “would justify a declaration of war against any criminal enterprise including that which is killing our nation from Washington, D.C.”

Mrs. Stout said she has begun to contemplate the possibility of “another civil war.” It is her deepest fear, she said. Yet she believes the stakes are that high. Basic freedoms are threatened, she said. Economic collapse, food shortages and civil unrest all seem imminent.

“I don’t see us being the ones to start it, but I would give up my life for my country,” Mrs. Stout said. She paused, considering her next words. “Peaceful means,” she continued, “are the best way of going about it. But sometimes you are not given a choice.”

Now, I will admit that I am not above mocking individual TEAbaggers, whether it be for their signage or their bigotry or whatever, but I have said all along that they are inexcusably being led to this insanity. My biggest problems with these shenanigoats are the irresponsible greedy fuckos who fan this crazy for their own commercial gain.

And don’t think for a second that what they are doing isn’t serious and seriously scary. In case you are not convinced, let me end with this quote:

As the [TEA] meeting ended, Carolyn L. Whaley, 76, held up her copy of the Constitution. She carries it everywhere, she explained, and she was prepared to lay down her life to protect it from the likes of Mr. Obama.  “I would not hesitate,” she said, perfectly calm.

You Misspelled "Glenn Beck"

I’ll Put My Cookies Where Your Mouth Is…

So, we’ve have seen the ‘Impeach Obama’ bumper stickers. Every time I see one, I am seized with the urge to tuck a mini-Constitution under the windshield. People understand that this is not England, right? Impeachment does not equal Vote of No Confidence. You can’t just demand the removal of an elected executive (or justice) because they offend thine eye.

Yet we see this over and over and over again. And for some, a bumper sticker just isn’t a large enough stage for the ignorance behind the sentiment.

Because I Said So!!!

You can read here about this expensive display of stupidity here, but I will break it on down for you.  This billboard is currently up along highway 41 in Oshkosh, WI and is under contract to stay up for 6 months at a cost of $1,000.00 per month. The sign was paid for by an unnamed company represented by one Tom Wroblewski. Mr. Wroblewski, when asked about the sign, informed talkingpointed that Washington politics are bad for small businesses (and let me point out that my very small business is doing just fine, thank you very much and STFU because you don’t talk for me). Which is nonresponsive enough, but isn’t the best part.

Wroblewski went on to say – here it comes – that despite the clear and unambiguous directive to IMPEACH OBAMA, he’s not suggesting Obama committed an impeachable offense.

Which leads me to throw down this tasty gauntlet.  If anyone can tell me, (1) with specificity and explicit references to the Constitution and (2) impeachment law and (3) based on ACTUAL REALLY REAL FACTS, exactly *why* Obama should be impeached, I will send you a batch of homemade cookies. You may choose the type – and yes, I will even put green jellybeans and judgment in them if you so elect.

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