Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Virus of Republican Ignorance

Eric Alterman has a pointed post on Alternet about the virus of GOP ignorance and the role that the mainstream media plays in spreading it.

Happy Thanksgiving, Unless You're a Far-Right Islamophobe

Happy Thanksgiving to all men and women of good disposition.

And to all far-Right Islamophobes, may you choke on halal turkey. :-) Pamela Geller, Frank Gaffney: That includes especially you.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

News Flash from the Republican Debate on National Security

What national security issue do you worry about that nobody is asking about, either here or in any of the debates so far?

Rick Santorum: The spread of Socialism.
Ron Paul: Overreacting to non-existent threats and starting new wars.
Hermann Cain: Cyber-attacks
Mitt Romney: Latin America (and Socialism)
Rick Perry: Communist China
Newt Gingrich: Electromagnetic pulse attacks, WMDs in American cities, cyber-attacks.
Michele Bachmann: Who the fuck knows? Al Shabaab?
John Huntsmann: Joblessness and lack of opportunity, debt, lack of faith in our institutions

News flash for Republican presidential aspirants: Neglect the growing fury of jobless Americans at your peril. You are going to have to deal with them on a national security level long before a terrorist with a briefcase nuke plants it up your ass. It seems Huntsman and Perry are the only ones who are even remotely attuned to the gravity of the situation.

News Flash for Republican Candidates

Michele Bachmann: It's the UniTED States, not the UniNED States. Hermann Cain: It's killed not keeled. Rick Perry: It's nuke-lear not new-cool-ar. I'm sure I missed a few, but if I have to live through another ten debates, I'm not saying you need to master your language, just pronounce it properly. Thank you. Oh, yes! It's pundit, not pundint, pundant, or pendant. Again, thank you.

Paul Krugman's Perfect Take Down of Newt Gingrich

Krugman, on ABC's This Week With Christiane Amanpour: "Newt [...] is the stupid man's idea of what a smart person sounds like." Classic.

No Persons In Their Right Mind

While my "love" for Democrats (with a few notable exceptions) is close to hitting the nadir, no middle-class Americans in their right mind can vote for a Republican. Period. I repeat. No middle-class Americans can vote for a Republican. I say this after watching all but one of the presidential Republican debates.

But I don't just mean the Republicans running for president, the sanest and most principled of whom is Ron Paul (and that's all anyone needs to know). I mean any Republican, for any office. Including Blue Dog Democrats. Period.

Why? Because Republicans stand in antithesis to everything that is in the interest of the 99% of Americans (even if, apparently, about 50% of voting Americans don't know it). Read the previous post, David Michael Green Is At His Very Angriest Best

David Michael Green Is At His Very Angriest Best

Read We Are Not Your Human Resources, David Michael Green's latest rant on The Regressive Antidote blog.

Here's a taste of it:
Our solutions no longer reside, if they ever did, in the ballot box. The Republicans are a sheer criminal enterprise, whose entire function is to redistribute wealth from the rest of us to already wealthy elites. But the Democrats are actually worse, because they do exactly the same thing, while trading on the party’s past reputation for representing the public interest. For my money (which, along with yours, is precisely what is at stake), Obama and Clinton and their ilk in Congress have betrayed me and the country more than, say, any of the Dicks – Cheney, Armey or Nixon. You expect the asshole kid on the playground to live up to his reputation. It hurts a lot more when your best friend is the one sticking in the knife.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

On The NBA Lockout

Though I have nothing intelligent to say about the NBA lockout, I can still recognize an intelligent article about it by someone else. Enter Bill Simmons's Business Vs. Personal.

Writes Simmons: "We were coming off of one of the top-five NBA seasons ever, now it's November, the league isn't playing … and nobody really cared. Imagine the outrage if pro football disappeared for an entire month. Where's the clamoring for regular season pro basketball?"

Though I like basketball, I'm really in the "and nobody really cared" camp. After reading Simmons's take on the whole debacle, I'll admit my interest has been aroused..

I Don't Know How To Do It

I don't know how to do it, and I don't think anyone knows how to either, but until money is out of politics for good we are going to get the Congress that money wants us to get (it's a must read).

Another Open Letter to President Obama

Dear President Obama:

If the Super Committee on Deficit Reduction fails to do the work that it was assigned to do, will you finally become convinced that Congress has reached a complete stalemate, because the two parties (one in particular) are unable or unwilling to cede any ground to their opponents? And, more importantly, will you then make a stand on behalf of the American people and veto any bill which does not include an increase in revenues financed by tax increases on the wealthy individuals and entities, those who make it their daily business to look for new ways to lower their own taxes, and evade their responsibilities as good citizens of this nation? Or will you continue to be an accomplice, willing or unwilling it does not matter, of a system which is designed to stick it to hard-working middle-class and poor Americans?

I am still looking forward to the day when your uplifting speeches actually translate into comparable policies, a la FDR.

You can still become what you promised you would be for the hundreds of millions of suffering Americans, in spite of all the pressures that you are subjected to to maintain an indefensible status quo.


Watch This (UPDATED)

UPDATE: So I was wrong. For now.
Sam Stein of the Huffington Post reports that there may be a deal in the making to exclude the Pentagon from the automatic sequestration that would be triggered if the so-called Super Committee (on deficit reduction) fails to reach an agreement by the coming Wednesday. If a deal is reached to exclude the Pentagon, you can bet your first-born's life that it will be yet another cave-in by Democrats. In other words, Democrats will get nothing in return, but they will accept to save the Pentagon from cuts because they are afraid to lose a huge constituency, the military, in the 2012 elections.

Democrats will publicly reason that there can be no partisan disagreement that the Pentagon's budget should not be sacrificed, without granting the same grace to the lives of the many hard-working, retired, or unemployed Americans who will suffer because of the cuts that will be made to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

And, in the ultimate mockery of the intelligence of thinking Americans, they will also reason, publicly or secretly, that by caving in they are protecting the interests of America because taking a principle stand might make them the minority party in both branches of Congress and contribute to losing the White House to a Republican. All of this while never asking the question: What good can come of a party that never takes a principled stand for its core constituencies in the name of self-preservation? Who needs it? I am increasingly convinced that the Democratic party is inching closer and closer to the apex of total uselessness.

Watch what happens on Wednesday, if you don't believe me.

Hope, After All

As an uplifting companion to my previous post, titled Sad and Outrageous, I offer this clip from last week's Countdown with Keith Olbermann.

Please spread the words of this wise, clear-minded 84 year-old.

Outrageous and Sad.

I was going to post this as a comment on Douglas Groothuis's Facebook page, but I decided against it. Not because I am afraid of the consequences, but because I did not want to start a long, pointless tirade against me by a few of Douglas's hundreds of friends. While I have no ambition and no delusion to pose as a teacher or a professor, I do hope that Douglas finds this post here and that he learns something good from it.

On his Facebook page, Groothuis-- who is a professor of philosophy at Denver Seminary--recommended Mark Levin article with the following title: Mark Levin on Occupy: ‘What are these pieces of crap contributing to society?’ Levin is known for his hateful commentaries against all things liberal and I am not linking to his post because I do not want to foster undeserved publicity for him and his hateful thoughts. 

Occupy, of course, is short for Occupy Wall Street, the protest movement which for the last two months has brought the issue of how big financial institutions have brought economies all around the world to their knees, without any of them paying the price for their actions. One of his Facebook friends posted the following response: "My son, a gainfully employed New Yorker, marched on Thursday. We are all made in the image of God and we've all have fallen short. People are not pieces of crap." Another wrote ‎"Pieces of crap, huh That's not what my theological anthropology says." And I wrote: "Merry Christmas to Doug and Mark Levin, too." That's it. On the other hand, Groothuis's recommendation earned 3 "Likes", but I am sure that number will rise before long.

The fact that Groothuis has chosen to recommend the link without so much as a disclaimer about the title can only be taken to mean that he endorses not only Levin's message but the way it was phrased as well. And that would be no surprise, since Groothuis is not new to these attacks on OWS protesters. A few weeks ago he made a comment to the effect that Tea Partiers are better dressed and smell better than OWS protesters.

Since the birth of OWS, Groothuis has not missed a chance to take the worst possible examples offered by protesters and build negative generalization upon generalization of the movement's participants and their, admittedly, varied goals. At the same time, Groothuis likes to post about Christian apologetics and often quotes passages from the Bible on his page. What a curious mix of Christianity and contempt for fellow human beings.

Unfortunately Groothuis has some influence in Evangelical circles, often talks at Churches and public fora around Denver, and has a loyal following on Facebook, so his frequent posts decrying all opponents of conservative politics, and particularly President Obama, as socialists, un-American, unintelligent, hypocritical, deceitful, etc, carry some weight.

What never ceases to amaze me is that very few people call him out on the dissonance that exists between his avowed love of Christ and Christianity and his pedestrian rhetoric about anyone who has a different point of view. In doing what he does, and in how he does it, Groothuis trespasses the line that separates Christian advocacy and political indoctrination. You can be a credible advocate for Christianity or you can be a mouthpiece of the worst elements on the Right, but you cannot be both.

It is a shame that only few of his followers on Facebook attempt to show Groothuis what a sad, outrageous, and indefensible example of Christianity he offers, and that many of them choose to laud him and encourage him instead of calling him to use better judgement. Well, I am glad to be one who is willing to call him on the madness of his words, with the hope he will see the error of his ways.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Why The Founding Fathers Were Wiser Than You Know

"Ridiculous veneration for the Constitution of the United States." Those are the words of Sanford Levinson, constitutional scholar, who has written a wonderful book that I highly recommend, both to those who understand its greatness and its limits and--particularly--to those who regard it as a sacred document, on par with Scriptures.

The book is Constitutional Faith, and you should buy it and read it as soon as you can.

And by the way, I wrote a post almost 4 years ago wherein I made many of the points that Levinson makes about the Constitution.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Strange History of "Don't Ask Don't Tell"

I just finished viewing The Strange History of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" on HBO, a documentary about the long process that led to the repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell", the U.S. Military policy that relegated our gay and lesbian brother and sisters who serve in the military to the role of second-class soldiers. Sen. McCain and his efforts AGAINST the repeal were prominently featured.

I can only say two things about the Senator: How sad it is that a man who sacrificed as much as he did for this country would fail to see how his efforts against the repeal were an utter betrayal of American values. And, how lucky we are that he did not become president of this nation.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The God Delusion

I found this on Facebook:

Why I reject Atheism?
By xxxxxxxxxx · Wednesday, September 29, 2010 [name withheld to protect the author's privacy]
I prefer truth over falsehood.
I prefer reason over emotionalism.
I prefer substance over vacuity.
I prefer logic over absurdity.
I prefer sound argumentation over provocative assertions.
I prefer life over death.

Oh, dear!

In this person's diseased mind (because I am of the opinion that religious belief is truly a mental disorder), religion stands for truth, reason, substance, logic, sound argumentation, and life. Atheism, which is the rejection of the irrational, fantastic being(s), whose existence cannot be proven and whose influence on human affairs and nature is also impossible to prove, is false, emotional, vacuous, absurd, litigious thinking and, cherry on top, dead(ly).

This is the kind of "logic", "substance", "reason", "truth", "argumentation", and (sanctity of) "life" that we need to overcome if our species is to advance beyond our superstitious stage. Disheartening. But hey, the number of atheists is rising, so there is some hope at least.

Monday, November 07, 2011


Here's a report from the reputable Guttmacher Institute, showing that public funding contraception reduces unwanted pregnancies.

Of course, the United States is full of morons who think that abstinence education is the only solution to unwanted pregnancies, that we should not subsidize the lifestyle of poor "sluts" who "choose" to have sex, get pregnant and would seek an abortion, if state law allowed it. I also understand that Congress is full of callous, truly evil politicians who view abortion as the immortal wedge issue that can be applied to a stupid electorate every election to obtain the desired results; so these politicians cut public funding for reproductive care, in hopes that the "moral" divide between good Evangelicals and bad everyone else will play their advantage.

What I don't understand is how people of average intellect cannot see through the ploy of those who speak against abortion, and say they would like it to be banned, and also fight against access to contraceptive care. They are obviously not paladins of morality. They are just manipulative liars who care not one iota about women and their children and would say just about anything that people are dumb enough to believe to hold on to and expand their own power.
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