"United we stand, divided we fall." So much for THAT motto.

Preface: In keeping with a good friend's resolution to begin using retaliatory argot as a means to respond to conservative media, I have decided I shall join him. Hence, I shall refer to republicans as “lambs”. Given the right's attachment to religion, “sheeple” isn't quite the word I want. My atheist father used to quote an old saying his Southern Baptist father taught him: “I am Jesus' little lamb, yes, by Jesus Christ I am.” Lambs. Never mind the “led to slaughter” reference – that's a given.

I have decided to read everything I can about The Bluegrass State's latest political oddity, Rand Paul.

Not just another wingnut; he appears to be The Wingnut, latest in a long line of candidates for Bizarre Voice of the Right that we've all been waiting for. By “we” I mean dems and pubs alike, for no political agenda can exist without sides, and there are an awful lot of goddamn sides to the GOP lately.

Rand Paul seems to be a good replacement for The Oily One, Sarah Palin, for the position of Divider. The Republican party has been trampled like a ant's nest by divisiveness lately, and seems diligent enough in it's efforts to pull the covers over it's fringes, especially given the outbreak of the teabagger movement's predisposition to carry their message in particularly idiotic fashion. Besides, every time The Oily One opens her mouth something peculiar comes out of it which causes “her” party to shake it's head like a parent observing a wayward child. The nasal babble she produces sells books, though.

Rand Paul seemed at first to be a classic clown in this very mold. His hysterically sputtering debut with Rachel Maddow didn't likely earn him big points with the GOP, where it's best to hate black, gay, atheist, or educated people in private, all the better to look tolerant. His reaction to that fiasco lately, to whack his whole staff and begin to remold himself, is possibly too little too late...but then again, I wonder.

This guy has something Sarah Palin lacks. He has something a lot of politicians – thinly veiled criminals all, in my book – are missing.

I suspect he has true resolve.

That's what I said about Bambam when he was campaigning and it still looked like Hillary was going to trounce him: “this Obama guy has resolve.” A true believer. One without lack of conviction. General confidence in things.

Rand Paul is unknown to me: he may be a hillbilly nitwit, perhaps educated no further than the third grade, or maybe psychotically deranged; but if any of these is true it is possibly equally irrelevant. Had The Oily One been more cautious about her relentlessly insipid palaver she'd be more widely considered a keeper by the lambs, sure, but were she in possession of actual resolution and focus she could say “drill, baby, drill” and tap dance gaily away without it becoming that tiring but highly functional buzzword for her enemies. John McCain, himself a man of some resolve, barfed up a Beach Boys remix of “bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran” and doddered away unscathed, despite the queer dumbassedness of it all.

Rand Paul seems to have resolve in spades, I think. Not that I think that's a good thing. His comment, “I see that Christianity and values is the basis of our society” is, frankly, terrifying to behold; not just because it is patently and obviously untrue, but because it is clear he believes it completely, as if he sees the modern world through the dismal haze wrought of the smoke of Southern Presbyterian hellfire and brimstone.

While it should be remembered that men and women of resolve can do amazing things, not all amazing things are good things, and this little guy has an obviously Jesus-fueled “theonomic” (I believe I will learn to love the sickening irony of that new word) agenda which, while not the most popular, is fairly easy to for the lambs to digest, and even easier to spit violently at their opposition.

The future will be written by committee. In Texas.

Difficulty is the excuse history never accepts.
- Edward R. Murrow

It is troublesome to think that anyone would take what is known as historical truth – truth being a slippery word and all that, but still something which is verifiable and non-dynamic in nature as viewed from a historical context – and defy it, defile it, or just sweep it away for the sake of convenience.

Troublesome. Or flagrant imbecility.

To this point, I give you Texas. A maverick kind of place, always making a turn East when everyone else turns West, North, or South; constantly making noises about seceding from the union; a place where people tend to ignore what's written in legal terms and just shoot people who break the law; the North American death penalty theme park; a place where people, from my limited experience due to visits, are sometimes really as nice as rumor has it. That is, unless they get mad at you, and then it's a bullet to the head or lethal injection, but that's a silly digression: I have been in a Texas bar in the company of locals who bought me beer because “You're Californian? Well hell, I always wanted to learn to surf, and the waves here in the gulf ain't shit. Ever had Shiner Bock?”

That's pretty nice.

Do I have to assume, however, that they are all stupid as well? I mean, tarring the entire state with one brush is never a good idea, but I just have to wonder: who the bloody fucking hell thinks it's a good idea to rewrite history?

From the AP: “The partisan board has amended or watered down the teaching of the civil rights movement, slavery, America's relationship with the U.N. and hundreds of other items. ... They dictate how political events and figures will be taught to some 4.8 million schoolchildren in Texas and beyond for the next decade.”

The term “watered down” implied a little over-editorializing and I'll ignore that. The term “amended”, though, is a fighting word. As in amended history. Really.

Now I want to say that I understand that people want to view history in easy to digest black and white tones, or sort it out – especially in textbooks – to hit the high spots and gloss over the trivial, or seemingly trivial, stuff. During my illustrious career as a high school failure I was educated with a history book which mentioned not a single word about the Korean conflict. Nothing. Zip. Zero. WWII to Viet Nam, which was recent enough, I suspected later, to be unavoidably memorable, thus impossible to wash off. Korea was a throwaway war, and we only had 600 pages, so...

This creepy bullshit in Texas, though, isn't an attempt to abridge history: it is an attack on the truth, a rewording of well worn fact, and in the end it is clearly a goddamn Christian-based abomination for the sake of promoting an agenda.

And, moreover, it is an act of flagrant and disgusting cowardice.

I do not like to think about, say, Manzanar. Bleak and embarrassing period in the history of this country, and I like to think a lesson was learned from it, but like most kids educated in the 70's I was told Manzanar, Gila River; all the interment camps were clean, humane, safe, and humanitarian places. Later, history showed (and we were all told) they were filthy, abusive, and bloody awful, but “...not nearly as bad as the Nazi concentration camps,” and if that wasn't good enough we were all told the Japanese interred there were treated “...much better than American POW's were.”

True or false isn't the issue - lets face it: not much can be said in favor of Nazi concentration camps – but Americans need to be told Manzanar was “better” than Dachau? Was it? Was it not? Regardless, the comparison is stupid, irrelevant, and divisive: it happened, it was as bad as it was, and in the end the comparison doesn't matter.

And then, since any idiot (other than Hannity and Beck) knows better than to use the Nazi card, the “we treat our prisoners better than they treat their prisoners” argument is equally specious and stupid: we needn't compare, we should simply do the right thing or have it out...you know, like Abu Graib, right?

Whatever, history was used during my youth as a tool to carry the government's message: America is great, America is kind, America is good, except when we're not...in which case we are.

In hindsight, these examples are redolent of this putrid assholery in Texas to me: cowardice at it's best. Inconvenient truths (I'm not fond of Al Gore, but that phrase works well here) take explanation, and are best avoided altogether. The writings and history which is being putrefied in Texas school books and impede a movement's ability to call America a “Christian” nation (which it isn't) require explanations which the bible evidently does not easily overcome, therefore this pack of dim-witted, cowardly, and vile politico-religious fuckers opted to delete and rewrite those meddlesome snippets of history, rather than face it head on. It is the nature of the human animal, in the end, to cower in fear of that which can defeat us, to cover our eyes when there's a monster in the closet, to whistle past the graveyard.

Me, I want to think Texans in general are made of better stuff than that. Yippie-ki-yay, motherfuckers.

A ten second observation.

A quick question to Sarah Palin, BP, Tony Hayward, Bobby Jindal, Rush Limbaugh, pretty much the entire Tea Party and the vast majority of the tattered remains of the GOP:

So, how's that drilly-oily thing workin' out for ya?

Messing with the bull. Getting the horns. La di da.

Oh, Lars. What are you missing?

Lars Vilks is something of a hero to some: he's the Swedish artist that painted Mohammed's head on a dog in a political cartoon a few years back, then got threatened with death and worse from a fairly high percentage of the universe's Muslim population.

His take: that bit of political satire is free speech.

And so, having been the recipient of charming and cheerful death threats which culminated in one Coleen LaRose, “Jihad Jane, she calls herself, allegedly taking real steps to bring an untimely demise to Mr. Vilks, he decided to speak at Stockholm's Uppsala University on that vary topic: freedom of speech.

He was attacked, of course, within minutes by a few attendees, clearly upset Muslims. Security squirreled him away before real damage could be done to him, but the act has a lot of folks in an uproar: free speech, you know, is sacrosanct here in the States, and attempts to silence people's views are heavily frowned upon unless you are Fox News, in which case you get a Tea Party Magic Carpet Ride to stop people from saying pretty much anything you don't want them to.

My take? Well, what the fuck, Lars? In an interview with AP later he stated "This was the first time I've experienced a physical assault. It was a bit of a shock."

Seriously? Really?

Look – I am all for free speech despite the constant spew of racial hatred, political non-fact, and pretty much every goddamn word John Edwards or Glenn Beck have ever uttered, but here in reality land there is cause and effect: walk up to Mike Tyson and say “yo mamma's a fat hog!” and there is a good chance he's gonna clobber the shit you. Do NOT call Larry Craig or George Rekkers gay – they'll bring down the wrath of God, alongside their attorneys.

Don't say “retard” in front of Sarah Palin (unless you are being “satirical,” which means you must register Republican and abuse prescription drugs).

Actually, I take that back – by all means, DO all those things. And in that same spirit don't – DO NOT – portray Mohammed as a dog anywhere Muslims can see it. Or with a bomb for a turban. Or as a goddamn bear on a cartoon. There will be...repercussions.

This isn't about agreeing or disagreeing with Muslims, their faith, and their religious edicts about the portrayal of Mohammad as anything at all, much less a dog; nor is this actually about free speech. It's about poking someone in the eye with a stick – you want to start some shit, you'll get it started, sure enough. Question is - why do you need this particular shit, and are you ready for it, Lars?

Being me means hating religion's effects and what it does to otherwise good people. I have no quarrel with God, Mohammed, Jesus, Vishnu – I have complete disdain for the purveyors of these deities and the power they wield over their followers to do great harm despite their own human limitations.

I could give a flying fuck about Mohammed, or Jesus for that matter. But while I can snicker at the pictures and jokes which include them as targets, I wouldn't spread them around like so many mousetraps around the toes of the faithful, free speech or not, unless I wanted to start the shit. Lars may or may not have gotten what he deserved, but he got exactly what he should have expected, and they aren't done with him yet – the types of Muslims who are after his hide don't have a long history of forgiveness, and we've all seen they are sometimes adequate pilots.