Saturday, September 26, 2009

This week in batshit: a wingnut roundup

Four items to tease you with on this good Saturday. To start, we have what is perhaps the biggest “WTF?” moment I have had in a long time—and after this summer’s batshit insanity masquerading as grassroots protest and Glenn Beck caroming madly between conspiracy theories, that’s saying a lot. Then we have further evidence that Sarah Palin should seriously consider a voicebox-ectomy, a bizarre almost-visitor here on the Rock, and lastly a former Growing Pains star “fixes Darwin.”

Good times.

1. “I’m sorry, you haven’t paid your fees. I’m afraid we have no choice but to let your house burn.”

First there were the Birthers, those people who claim Obama wasn’t born in America. Then the Deathers, who maintain government-run health care will result in “death panels” deciding whether you get treatment or get to die. And then the Tenthers, a group that interprets the Tenth Amendment as meaning that individual states have the right to reject any law issuing from the federal government.

Now, apparently, we have the Flamers. No, they’re not gay Republicans or Calgary fans; they are a group dedicated to, and I quote, “The privatization of everything in America.” That’s right—EVERYTHING. And their nickname? It derives from their favourite project, which is the privatization of firefighting in the United States. Troy Conrad, president, says “I shouldn’t have to pay for your fire.” Firefighting, he maintains—like everything else—should be a for-profit business. “All we know,” he says, “is that the free market always works as long as it’s unregulated. Even if that means a lot of people have got to die, it’s still worth it, because unregulated free market is the way to go.”

Watch him explain his point:

I watched this twice through, trying to figure out if this was just an elaborate hoax. I’m still not entirely sure it’s not, but there seems to be evidence that it’s genuine. They even have their own website, called Angry Town Hall.

I couldn’t make this shit up if I tried.

What is perhaps weirdest about this for me is that one of the best arguments for U.S. government-run health care I read this summer, and one of the best debunking of the “socialist” accusation, was an op-ed piece pointing to government takeover of fire prevention in the mid-nineteenth century. Fire-fighting was, once upon a time, run on a private for-profit basis. The government finally stepped in because, besides the catastrophic damage that predictably occurred when fires raged in poor and hence unprofitable parts of cities, there were increasing numbers of suspicious fires occurring, as well as firemen standing idle until the property owners agreed to pay a much steeper fee.

2. Sarah Barracuda hits the lecture circuit

For an undisclosed fee probably in the hundreds of thousands, Sarah Palin delivered a talk to a group of investors in Hong Kong. Apparently, she spoke for about ninety minutes, the very thought of which makes my head hurt. I would pay a lot of money to not have to listen to her.

The lecture was closed to the media, but a few enterprising souls discreetly recorded it. I haven’t read the full transcript, but here’s a small sample of Palinese to make you nostalgic for the 2008 campaign trail:

"Personally, I’ve always been really interested in the ideas too about the land bridge. Ideas that maybe so long ago, had allowed Alaska to be physically connected to this part of our world so many years ago. My husband and my children, they’re part [unintelligible] Eskimo, Alaskan natives. They’re our first people, and the connection that may have brought ancestors from here to there is fascinating to me. Making our world seem a little bit smaller, more united, to consider that connection that allowed sharing of peoples and bloodlines and wildlife and flora and fauna, that connection to me is quite fascinating."

Ah, there’s the lyrical nonsense I’ve been missing. If only we could get William Shatner to do a spoken word performance of this one too.

The best part of the speech however was where she, with laserlike precision, identified the site and source of last year’s economic collapse: "I'm going to call it like I see it and I will share with you candidly a view right from Main Street, Main Street U.S.A. ... We got into this mess because of government interference in the first place. We're not interested in government fixes, we're interested in freedom.” Ah, I see. The meltdown happened because of overregulation.

Yes. Yes, this is truly the person Americans want representing them to the biggest creditor. Wise move. She should get together with the flamer guy. They would have a lot to talk about.

3. Put ‘im on Signal Hill, I says!

For a little while there, it looked like Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi was going to be stopping over in St. John’s for a night as his plane refuelled. Alas, it is no longer to be—he has cancelled all the reservations for his one-hundred-plus retinue. Why, I couldn’t say. It might have something to do with not wanting to be chastised by our foreign affairs minister, who was going to fly to St. John’s specifically to upbraid him for giving a hero’s welcome to the Lockerbie bomber.

My theory is that there was a problem with the tent. One of the interesting factoids that has surfaced this week while Qaddafi was in New York is that when travelling he brings his own Bedouin tent to sleep in. He had difficulty finding somewhere to pitch it in New York—apparently no one wanted him in their back yard—and there was discussion of where he would set up camp in St. John’s. As a friend of mine observed, “A tent? In Newfoundland in autumn? It’s like a ready-made CODCO skit."

I don’t think the cancellation was because of the planned rebuke. I think he just found out what the Newfoundland climate is.

The worst part of this saga is that I now have a mental image of Qaddafi pitching a tent, and that’s just not something I want in my head.

4. Darwin=Hitler. Who knew?

And lastly, everyone’s favourite child-actor-turned-evangelical Kirk Cameron is, with the assistance of his friend Ray Comfort (known as the Banana Man), publishing Darwin’s Origin of the Species and distributing it to students ... with a new fifty-page introduction, that is. This introduction outlines “the history of evolution, a timeline of Darwin’s life, Adolf Hitler’s undeniable connection with the theory, Darwin’s racism, his disdain for women, and Darwin’s thoughts on the existence of God.” Um, what? Hitler’s what with the what? Obviously, I need to get my hands on a copy of this. I have missed a crucial historical narrative apparently, in which Hitler travels back in time and forces Darwin to write Origin between his athetistic race-baiting and misogyny. So much I have still to learn.

Incidentally, the official Nazi line on evolution was that the Aryan race crashed fully formed on Earth frozen in a comet. But they were down with everyone else coming from apes. Which, when you think about it, totally confirms Kirk’s thesis.

That boy needs to learn about the logical fallacy called the “reduction ad Hitlerum.” But let him make his case himself:

I love the bit where he says, “All we want to do is present the opposing and correct view, without being censored ... which is exactly the case at present.” All I have to say to that is: Um, atheistic censor bureau? Can you please get your shit together? Obviously, you’re not doing a good enough job.


Miss Direction said...

Wow. The flamer movement has me speachless.

I really hope you make this a semi-regular feature on your Blog. Both informative and entertaining.

Tom Degan's Daily Rant said...

Imagine. Just imagine....

A Liberal Democrat goes over to COMMUNIST CHINA, criticizes the policies a sitting president - and gets paid (conservative estimate) a quarter-of-a-million big ones for his or her trouble.

Can you even fathom the stink the right wing crazies would make at such a scenario? It boggles the mind.

I love Sarah Palin. I honestly and truly hope she never, EVER goes away. To a committed Lefty such as yours truly, she's just the gift that keeps giving and giving and giving and giving and giving and giving....

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

Anonymous said...

Flamer Movement Is A Spoof

This "movement" is a spoof movement simular to "Billionaires for WealthCare" and got its start on Facebook with a group called "1 Million Strong Against our SOCIALIST Fire Departments". They are actively involved in doing such silly things as putting tea bags on fire hydrants.(

As far as Sarah Palin is concerned, lets all hope she runs as an independant in 2012.


Robert Emory

Amanda Gauthier said...

130 Yard Sales! Golly.

Anonymous said...

Holy shit.

The fire department group is NOT REAL.

What's wrong with you?