Archive for the 'Anti-Intellectualism' Category

13
Jun
09

Sarah Palin Has the Political IQ of a Gnat: Why blaming the media won’t work

Preface: I have no idea what Palin’s political ambitions are. Perhaps she just wants to host a daytime television talk show. And maybe she just wants to make sure that any male born in her family has a name that starts with T and R. I don’t know. But just in case, on the slim chance that she does want to win a national election or even follow in Michael Steele’s trailblazing footsteps to become head of the RNC, I have to write this blog.

At most, Sarah Palin will just be the mascot of the Right Wing Repubs. Nothing more. A great fundraiser she is – and that’s nothing to sneeze at since most political parties raise the bulk of their funds from their base (and corporations who’s asses they are kissing).

Here’s why. She, her husband, her handlers and her political team are as dumb as a box of rocks. The blame-the-media strategy does not work. First of all, the majority of voters can see through the ridiculous facade that a politician is somehow a victim of the media. It didn’t work for the Clinton’s – yes, Bill had higher approval numbers than Bush (who wouldn’t even if he were being compared to Satan), but the country was tired enough of the Politician vs. Media fight to elect the genius governor of our glorious state of Texas for president.

She still hasn’t given up her “double standard” line when it comes to the media and right vs. left. She told Matt Lauer that Obama declared families off limits during the campaign, so no one touched his. I would pay good money for one of these interviewers to ask Palin if she thinks Obama would have been elected had one of his daughters become an unwed teenage mother. What if Michelle had had a previous addiction to prescription medicine as did Cindy McCain. There’s no way Obama would have been close to a presidential ticket if he had been known to use a governership as a persona

l ATM like Huckabee or committed complete 180’s between elections as with Romney in his governor race and then in his bid to become president. Obama was held to a much higher standard and he prevailed. Palin’s cry of foul is ingeniuine and rings hollow.

And now she has become a card-carrying participator in silly season in this manufactured feud with David Letterman. The man tells edgy jokes that approach the inappropriate boundry FOR A LIVING. All this talk of boycotting Letterman by Draft Sarah is so inane because of the fact that none of the people who would consider Draft Sarah anything but an organization of crack smokers wouldn’t watch Letterman in the first place.zazzle.com

Secondly, a good politician would put out a statement “blah, blah, blah, the joke demeans women, blah, blah, blah..” and move on. A smart politican wouldn’t engage a COMEDIAN WHO HOSTS A TELEVISION SHOW. Like they say: you don’t fight down. She just looks like a moron even addressing it personally, and then her lower IQ allows her to say things like, “Hey maybe he couldn’t be trusted because Willow’s had enough of these types of comments, and maybe Willow would want to react it him in a way that maybe would catch off guard.” Are you fucking kidding me? Seriously, they need a Special Ed class for politicians of her lack of caliber. Really, go read every issue of Newsweek from the last year and then maybe, just maybe she’ll be informed enough to move up to politics for second graders.

Basically, there are a few qualities American voters tend to hone in on when in the “decider” booth. One of them is strength. Playing the victim is a major turnoff when a broad spectrum of voters are involved, as they would be in a national election. Blaming the media just makes Sarah look like a weak, bitchy shrew – which is how many people saw Hillary in the 90’s. No one ever succeeded in recent elections with the “Poor me” syndrome. Voters don’t care if the media is rough on politicians. At all. A candidate has to rise above the petty noise and stay above it. Sarah just looks like a pig in mud. And that won’t win elections.

So, the next time Palin wants to go on national television and say,

Here’s the problem, Matt – the double standard that has been applied here. One, let’s talk politically, the double standard. First, remember in the campaign, Barack Obama said the family’s off-limits – you don’t talk about my family. And the candidate who must be obeyed – everybody adhered to that and left his family. They haven’t done that on the other side of the ticket, and it has continued to this day. So that’s a political double standard. But here again, the double standard when it comes to acceptance of a celebrity being able to get way with a disparaging comment that does erode a young girl’s self-esteem and does contribute to some of the problems that we have in society.

someone on her team better get fired. And they need to draw a stick figure with big red lips and say “That’s you.” Then they need to draw a puppy and say, “That’s your political dream.” Then they need to draw the stick figure shooting the puppy and say, “That’s what you’re doing when you engage in this kindergarten, sandlot fight with the media. It doesn’t work. It never has. It never will.” Maybe then she’ll get it. But probably not.

Remember, America just had one shit-fer-brains for a president. We’re not looking for another one. Well, most of us aren’t.

30
May
09

Christian Guilt

If you have read my blog, you know my answer.

But the WordPress Dashboard let me to a stellar post today, “Losing my religion. Why I recently walked away from Christianity” by the BEattitude. It is always  refreshing to read accounts of new non-believers. And, man, did the blog’s attention generate quite a bit of discussion. I had to engage, as you would well expect – and can see my comments by CNTRL-Fing “Political Mpressions.” My comments aren’t that great or original, but I just couln’t help myself.

The comment BEattitude made, however, that really struck a chord with me was the pronouncement of a great weight having been lifted off his shoulders upon leaving the religion. Another blogger, Leaving Religion, commented on the guilt they felt while a Christian.

Not all Christian, or religious, experiences are alike – but, I have to say that these two comments expressed results of Christianity I felt quite clearly as well. Upon decided, once and for all, that I did not believe that Christ was my lord and savior or that the Bible was divine in any way, the guilt that I didn’t know I had even been harboring all those years evaporated. It felt wonderful to be out from under such a dark cloud.

What guilt? The guilt from not reading my bible enough, proselytizing enough, guilt if I cussed, watched a rated R movie, didn’t treat my body like a vessel, had lustful thoughts, disrespected my parent, missed church, didn’t pray before a meal. You name it and it makes you feel guilty if you don’t do it or if you do do it depending on the sin or naughty deed.

So many things that are natural human behavior are wrong in Christianity, and most organized religions. That’s how religions operate: by control. If a religious leader can convince you that various normal behaviors are intolerable and you believe this, it is easier for this religion to maintain its dominance because it weakens the tendency for independent judgment and independent thought. If a group adheres to a strict code of conduct, it make the group more intact and less likely to have defectors than if everyone in the group is able to do what they want willy-nilly. Control the mind and judgment, and you control the people.

It was the most wonderful, liberating experience of my life to denounce Christianity, rivaled only by a small few life-changing experiences I’ve had the privilege to undergo.

One last thought, if you don’t have the inclination to read many of the comments beneath BEattitude’s post, I’ll give you a taste of a common theme among Christian responses: many of them feel or think that because BEattitude turned away from Christianity, he:

  • Never knew God, in the first place.
  • Was never truly Christian in the first place. “Wasn’t a real Christian before.”

As a former Christian, I find these comments abhorrent and unseemly. It is very typical of Christians (the vast majority of whom are quite un-Christlike) to judge how Christian or Christlike another is. Everyone’s relationship with religion is different. Simply because someone turned away from the faith does not mean they were not as “good” a Christian as another. No one is in a position to judge anyway.

Christians like to tell themselves that non-believers do not know Christ or God like they do. This a false notion, merely used for comforting purposes. We have known what they know, felt what they felt, witnessed the “miracles” they witnessed and prayed like they prayed. We believed. Yes, we have turned away because we have chosen to make decisions based on evidence and reality.

All these accusations against former Christians merely reveals the threat present Christians feel when coming into contact with one who has rejected what they themselves believe.

Phew, I need a beer after all this god talk!

30
May
09

OK Congressman Enters Rehab – Big Whoop

This is not news. Here’s why:

**First off, let me issue a preliminary notice that I’m not belittling alcoholism or addiction. I’m way too big a fan of Intervention to shit on those cash cows.

But this guy, Repub Rep John Sullivan, is from Oklahoma. Because I had the misfortune of committing some heinous crime in a past life, the flying spaghetti monster decided to make me pay penance by sending my husband and I to live in Oklahoma City. We didn’t even make it two years. Yah, it ranked high on the severe suckage scale.

Anyhoo, what we noticed there is that over half the people you meet are reformed alcoholics. They drank way too much in college, did a stint in rehab and are now in some holier-than-thou club that celebrates each other in between church events. It’s crazy.

Oklahomans have a very dysfunctional relationship with alcohol, which results in labeling typical college-age boozing and binge drinking as alcoholism. Like most people, all these kids really needed to do was time to grow up, wait for the judgment area of the brain to finish developing and they’d be as close to the straight and narrow as they were going to get. The state overreacts to everything that might somehow contradict the teachings of baby jesus – some state lawmakers tried to prevent Richard Dawkins, renound athiest author, from speaking about evolution during the OU’s Darwin Week 2009.

Obviously, this GOP congressperson is older than college kids – but, still, in Oklahoma, being a recovered alcoholic is somehow a badge of honor in this bible belt beatdown state.

So, I have three reactions when I see reports that the GOP dude is entering Betty Ford: who cares? it isn’t even news. and it’s so dumb, i have to blog about it.

26
May
09

Namby-Pamby ‘Bout Gitmo Detainees

It’s perfectly acceptable for the Senate to shoot down funding for the removal of the Gitmo POWs if there is no plan in place for the aforementioned approval. I’m down with that.

All this NIMBY shite, however, regarding the detainees is right-wing/media overblown hoopla. Remember the summer of shark attacks? And then there was the media storm about steroids in baseball. The Terry Schaivo saga. And on and on and on. The media fixates on an issue, turning it into a much bigger monster than it actually is.

And the right-wingers want to ride this one all the the way to the 2010 elections. “The liberals want to let the terrorists run loose on American soil! The liberals want to let the terrorists go so they can attack us again!” God, all the needles it would take to pop all those gasbags full of hot air.

First of all, it has been quite common for the United States to hold prisoners of war inside U.S. territory. Really, peeps, it’s no big whoop. I would willingly pit any of the Gitmo POWs against the vast majority of inmates incarcerated in the U.S. in some steel cage death match with all my money on the American criminal. Damn straight.

The U.S. penal system, as well as its legal system, is well-equipped to deal with these men – ALL of them, even the real bad ones.

I challenge the media to profile each of these detainees individually. You see, grouping them together is marketing trickery to conjure images of these men far worse than they actually are. Remember, children, the best decisions are made with an over-abundance of information. So, let’s find out who these men are and then we’ll see if you’re still so scared of these rag-tag boogeymen.

Do they want to harm Americans? Yes. Are they “evil”? Sure.

But this is the freaking United States of America and if you think we can’t handle a few religious extremists caught in combat who have no access to military technology even close to many third world countries, let alone the U.S. than there is a severe plague of underestimation of U.S. fortitude.

And the Right. For fuck’s sake, they are ridiculous. All their bravado, all their gun-waving, dick-jousting, big man rhetoric, evaporates at the mere thought of some weakened, slipper-wearing men with beards being held in a super-max in Colorado. It’s pathetic.

The Right doesn’t even think the U.S. legal system – that so many Americans have died for – is capable of dispersing justice to these criminals.

Well, they may hope to win elections with this load of crap. But I, for one, am taking a stand on the side of U.S. strength and might. We can handle these guys. And any notion that we can’t is assinine politicking – from the Democrats as well as the Republicans.

15
May
09

News You Should Know 05.15.09

This Friday afternoon, there were a number of news stories that caught my attention. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time to write an entire, fleshed out blog on each of them.

  1. Pulitzer Prize winners. I know this is from last month, but I recently took a look at this year’s Pulitzer winners and found many quite worth the squiz:
    1. Alexandra Berzon of the Las Vegas Sun on higher death rates among construction workers on the Strip due to lax regulation enforcement.
    2. David Barstow of The NYT on the utilization of generals by the Pentagon to sell the Iraq War. (Pt. 1 and Pt. 2)
    3. Ryan Gabrielson and Paul Giblin of the East Valley Tribune reveal how a popular (and over-zealous) sheriff’s focus on illegal immigration resulted in the endangerment of investications of violent crimes and other areas of public safety. I still see that sheriff all over TV.
    4. St. Petersburg Times for Politifact (they completely deserve this one).
    5. Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post for his coverage of the 2008 election. This surprise me. Dont’ get me wrong, I love Eugene, but I’m not quite sure how his comentary was better than, say, E.J. Dionne’s. Eugene still rocks and congratulations to him.
    6. Steve Breen of the San Diego Union-Tribune for his editorial cartooning. Example:
    7. Damon Winter of The NYT for his photography of Obama’s presidential campaign. A great series and really worth the look.
  2. Texas and other states charging victims for rape kits. This is appalling – it reduces the number of women willing to pursue the arrest and conviction of their perpetrator. If a murder victim’s family had to pay for the evidence to be collected at the murder scene, the country would be in an uproar. Remember when I say there are areas where the U.S. needs improving? This is one of them.
  3. THIS IS BIG. The ACLU is suing to challenge a patent Myriad Genetics on two human genes linked to breast and ovarian cancers.“Knowledge about our own bodies and the ability to make decisions about our health care are some of our most personal and fundamental rights,” said ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero. “The government should not be granting private entities control over something as personal and basic to who we are as our genes.”
  4. The Texas Senate passed a bill weakening eminenet domain laws and forcing the government to operate much more transparently when attempting to seize private property. Yee-Haw!! Now, get with it, House, and let’s get this signed into law! I hope eminent domain reform is progressing in other states as well.
14
May
09

Conventional Warfare – A Misnomer

This week, in their defense of Dick Cheney’s naked parade, his minions have defended the use of “enhanced interrogation methods” by saying they were a response to the unconventional warfare posed by Islamic terrorists. (well, they don’t say Islamic terrorists, because that is no longer PC – but that’s who they are referring to).

Our short-memoried society considers “conventional warfare” battles in which all sides wear uniforms designating their loyalty, avoid injuring civilians as much as possible, behave gentlemanly during negotiations, have clear delineations between good and evil, and are only fought because one baddie decided to invade one goodie.

I’m simplifying, I realize, but only in an effort to illustrate the naiveté of isolated Americans regarding warfare. Our idea of military combat is as far from the norm – bastardized by erroneous and fantastical historical tales, the refusal of the government to provide honest details of war to keep the public’s distaste to a minimum, and the perpetuation of the myth that the U.S. government always makes good decisions for the benefit of the American public. The blatant lack of honesty of everyone from storytellers and revisionist historians to the executive administrations past and present have whitewashed Americans’ view of war. To the detriment of all involved.

How Americans Think of War

What We Americans Consider Conventional Warfare

War is ugly and gruesome and what we consider unconventional is actually much more typical combat.

The vast majority of war over the last 40,000 years has included various levels of torture, rape, the killing of women and children, the enslavement of the losing side by the victors, and no uniforms of which to speak.

During the Vietnam War, U.S. soldiers found it quite difficult to tell which “gook” was with us and which was against. That we would find warfare any different in Afghanistan or Iraq is appallingly uninformed.

Most warfare has been fought by any means necessary, yet the utilization of suicide bombers or twin engine jets surprises Americans. These tactics are much more along the norms of warfare than our Disney notions of WWI and WWII. The claiming of the U.S. territory by whites from Native Americans included genocide, rape and arbitrary killing. In “conventional war,” crops, land, and homes are put to flame and waterways poisoned. Horses and livestock are slaughtered. And on, and on, and on.

The desire to increase power is the largest motivator of war. Throughout history, chiefs and leaders of state wanted to expand their territory, causing them to take what isn’t theirs. However, to be content with what is yours and nothing else is to lay in wait for the greedy eyes of an enemy.

Now that the statehood of most territory on Earth, save for Antarctica, has been decided, war is largely launched because of irrational actors and thirst for power and results in the subjugation of weak people or a brazen offensive against a perceived enemy. Al Qaeda wants a theocratic, Muslim world and how better to achieve this result than attacking the most powerful defender of the free world? George W. Bush saw what he perceived as his father’s failings at the end of the first Iraq War, as well as the opportunity to spread democracy in the Middle East, and launched an offensive he was not prepared for and did not fully understand. In Sierre Leone, during battles for the control of diamond minds, thousands upon thousands of women and children had their arms cut off at the elbow and boys high on cocaine killed their familes and raped women with the ends of their guns.

Realities of Conventional War

Realities of Conventional War

WWI and WWII were horrific in their own right, but were as unconventional as warfare gets. During WWI, occurrences of opposing sides playing soccer games between trenches  are well-documented. WWII had a clear, easily identifiable leader with atrocious strategies and ambitions. The fact that we consider these two events “normal” clearly reveals our lack of understanding of military history. Perhaps if we grow up and can realign our perceptions closer to reality, we can have a more substantial and successful discussion of what we consider acceptable behaviors in wartime.

If Americans understood the realities of war, if they could see into the future the results of the invasion of Iraq, they would never have permitted these men – Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz, men who have never been battle-tested (a few draft-dodgers in there), never known what it felt like to kill another person or see the enemy face-to-face – to launch us into this misquided and ill-considered war.

I understand the outcry against torture, and support much of it. But the fact that the American people can be so outraged over actions against a few and then remain silent while our bombardments in Af-Pak result in the deaths of scores of civilians – mothers, babies, schoolchildren – is media-driven and reprehensible.

13
May
09

Dick Cheney: Opinion Compilation

My opinion for Dick Cheney really needs no description. He is a vile, megalomaniacal, right-wing zealot with no capability of reasonable contemplation or consideration for any other strategy than full-throttle, “Either join me or get outta my way!” This country is infinitesimally better off now that the old man is sidelined.

That said, how wonderful it is that the black-pace-makered, sinister posterboy pokes his head above the muck and mire long enough to remind everyone why Obama won on Nov. 4 before returning to his panic room to watch Fox until he perceives yet another indignity that needs addressing.

The left is like a kid in a candy store when Dick’s thin lips part to reveal his jutted lower jaw and antediluvian, borderline-schizo views. We sit aglow in front of our television screens asking, Does it get any better than this? It could, I suppose, but it most likely will not. Only Bush on his knees in tears, arms stretched to the sky, crying, “Why, oh why, Baby Jesus, am I so hated when all I did is what you tole me to do?” That would be awesome.

Three commentators offered their opinions regarding the latest Dick Cheney tomfoolery and I couldn’t have put it any better than they did:

Andrew Sullivan of The Atlantic:

I don’t know how else to interpret his obviously self-destructive grandstanding this weekend. But think of the long view for a moment. Here is a former vice-president, who enjoyed unprecedented power for eight long, long years. No veep ever wielded power like he did in the long history of American government. In the months after 9/11, he swept all Congressional resistance away, exerted total executive power, wielded a military and paramilitary apparatus far mightier than all its rivals combined and mightier than any power in history, tapped any phone he wanted, claimed the right to torture any suspect he wanted (and followed through with thousands, from Bagram to Abu Ghraib) and was able to print and borrow money with impunity to finance all of it without a worry in the world. But even after all that, he cannot tolerate a few months of someone else, duly elected, having a chance to govern the country with a decent interval of grace.

Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post:

This is the crux of Cheney’s “argument,” and I put the word in quotation marks because it isn’t really a valid argument at all. After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the Bush administration approved programs and methods that previously would have been considered illegal or unacceptable: arbitrary and indefinite detention of terrorism suspects, waterboarding and other abusive interrogation methods, secret CIA prisons, unprecedented electronic surveillance. Since 2001, there have been no new attacks on what the Bush administration creepily called the “homeland.” Therefore, everything that was done in the name of preventing new attacks was justified.

The fallacy lies in the fact that it is impossible for Cheney to prove that anti-terrorism methods within the bounds of U.S. law and tradition would have failed to prevent new attacks. Nor, for that matter, can Cheney demonstrate that torture and other abuses were particularly effective.

[…]

Given a choice between a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and secretary of state who has given to his nation a lifetime of exemplary public service or an entertainer who brags about how much money he makes from bombast and bluster, Cheney would go with the gasbag. This is advice that’s supposed to help the Republican Party?

Maureen Dowd from The New York Times:

In 2002, when Bush Junior was ramping up to his war against Saddam, Al Gore made a speech trying to slow down that war resolution, pointing out that pivoting from Osama to Saddam for no reason, initiating “pre-emptive” war, and blowing off our allies would undermine the war on terror. Charles Krauthammer called Gore’s speech “a disgrace.” Michael Kelly, his fellow Washington Post columnist, called it “vile” and “contemptible.” Newt Gingrich said that the former vice president asserting that W. was making America less safe was “well outside the mark of an appropriate debate.”

[…]

The man who never talked is now the man who won’t shut up. The man who wouldn’t list his office in the federal jobs directory, who had the vice president’s residence blocked on Google Earth, who went to the Supreme Court to keep from revealing which energy executives helped him write the nation’s energy policy, is now endlessly yelping about how President Obama is holding back documents that should be made public.

Cheney, who had five deferments himself to get out of going to Vietnam, would rather follow a blowhard entertainer who has had three divorces and a drug problem (who also avoided Vietnam) than a four-star general who spent his life serving his country.

[…]

He has no coherent foreign policy viewpoint. He still doesn’t fathom that his brutish invasion of Iraq unbalanced that part of the world, empowered Iran and was a force multiplier for Muslims who hate America. He left our ports unsecured, our food supply unsafe, the Taliban rising and Osama on the loose. No matter if or when terrorists attack here — and they’re on their own timetable, not a partisan red/blue state timetable — Cheney will be deemed the primary one who made America more vulnerable.

W.’s dark surrogate father is trying to pull the G.O.P. into a black hole of zealotry, just as the sensible brother who lost his future to the scamp brother is trying to get his career back on track.

When Cheney was in the first Bush administration, he was odd man out. Poppy, James Baker, Brent Scowcroft and Colin Powell corralled Cheney’s “Genghis Khan” side, as it was known, and his “rough streak.” Cheney didn’t care for Powell even then.

Keep it coming, Dick Cheney; this is gold, I tell ya, GOLD!!

12
May
09

Miss California – A Perfect Christian Specimen

I haven’t wanted to post about the Miss California scandal because I haven’t thought it newsworthy. There are so many issues much more deserving of the spotlight – the Congressional deal regarding credit industry legislation, rape victims across the country have to pay for their own rape kits, Sen. Vitter was holding up Obama’s FEMA appointee until some effective opposition advertising ahead of his 2010 reelection attempt, and more.

Miss Cali Pre-Boob Job

Furthermore,the vast majority of Americans couldn’t care less about beauty pageants until a topless photo of one of the contestants emerges. And now we want to have an opinion over whether this girl should keep her crown? It’s ridiculous.

Sure, she’s hypocritical. Most (ahem, all. okay, not all) Christians are. It’s okay for them to be “imperfect,” yet they want the rest of us to abide by specific biblical doctrine of their choosing. The Bible says not to alter your body, yet Miss California convinced the Miss California Pageant organization to pay for her chest “enhancement.”

And that’s what Christians have to understand. Our boisterous opposition to them has less to do with their belief system and much more with their ubiquitous hypocrisy. Show me a Christian and I’ll show you a person who does not fully abide by Biblical tenants. They pick and choose. And good for them – it’s a ridiculous book impossible to follow. But, most Christians don’t allow for the rest of us to disavow it’s tenants as well. It’s a classic case of “do as I say, not as I do.”

I love you Jeezus!!

We’re not telling Christians to stop going to church and stop praying. And there are plenty of religious inclusions in government that violate church and state doctrine that we might disagree with, but don’t hugely protest. We’re not telling them how to live their lives. We’re simply telling them to get out of ours.

Miss California has every right to speak her mind without some pageant judge acting as though his testicles were in a vice. He shouldn’t have asked the question if he wasn’t prepared to witness an answer he doesn’t like with grace. This is the Miss USA Pageant, not The Birdcage.

I support Miss Cali keeping her crown – just as I support her getting titty implants or lip injections or fake tans  and posing topless and being as false and unchristlike as she wants. She’s a great example of a typical Christian. Perfect spokesperson for the group. Let her do her thing.

But let us do ours.

And, for the record, I thought I’d let everyone know that Miss USA is Kristen Dalton from North Carolina. Uh…Congrats.

04
May
09

Conservative and Liberal Southerners Face-Off With Mutual Awesomeness. UPDATED

A conservative blogger, Essence of America, asked me to join in a spirited discussion (see comment section of this blog about douchebag Rick Perry) during which we both present our views of various issues. Because Essence’s commentary style is one of irreverent, foul-language appreciating flavors, I thought we’d be a perfect match. That and his personal insults make me laugh really hard on the inside. I’m a sucker for people with a sense of humor who aren’t too sensitive and offended easily.

Essence launched the discussion with his take on a number of topics presented below. My responses are below his comments. After he reads my responses and responds, I’ll paste those in. Enjoy (it’s crazy long, by the way, so I hope you’re at work and bored):

And so it begins. I’ll start this magnificent dialogue between us by briefly addressing each of your points. Then we’ll go from there.

CHURCH AND CHRISTIANITY

ESSENCE OF AMERICA:

Have you ever been kicked out of a church because your family, as foster parents, was taking care of black children for an adoption agency? Did people who call themselves Christians ever threaten you because they didn’t like the way your dad preached? Have you ever had a cross burned in your yard and been called nigger lover? Have church members ever stood in your front yard and record your conversations in some ill-advised attempt to set you up for a fall?

If anyone is pissed off about what church has become, it’s me. You have no idea. I’ve struggled for years with this, having to balance my love of God against my bitterness for His church.

But it’s the church’s fault. Denominational theology is more important to them than Christ’s teachings. If you attend a Baptist church, you are taught to believe this or that. If you attend a Methodist church, you are taught something else. If you go to a Presbyterian church, it’s one way, and if you attend a Pentecostal church or non-denominational one, it’s something else. And don’t even get me started on Catholicism or those other branch-off churches I consider to be cultic.

I will say I have been more comfortable in the non-denominational church, where people of all backgrounds and races are generally welcomed and the focus is on worship, not theology.

Still, I don’t like going anymore. It feels fake to me, like people are not there for the right reasons. So if anyone understands how you feel about church and her people, it’s me. We’ll talk more about that later.

POLITICAL MPRESSIONS:

First of all, I don’t use the N-word. Seriously, the word doesn’t belong to white people – especially white men. Even if you’re not using it against anyone. The word belongs to the black people and they can decide amongst themselves what to do with it. It’s like “cunt” with women. That word belongs to women unless you live in Australia, where it’s practically a term of affection men use with each other. Here, I don’t think men should use it – but I’ll be blue in the face before my husband decides to abide by this tenant. The cunt.

Okay, church and Christianity. Sure, they are separate things to a degree – but I do believe the church is by-product of the use of religion for power. Christianity was created by men for political reasons. Most tribes and cultures throughout history have had religions. Almost everything in the Bible is borrowed from previously-established religions (for example, Zoroastrianism). Many of these tribes were organized with the caste-system and the only ways to rise above your birth station was by entering the military or the priesthood. Priests were extremely powerful, so it was a naturally beckoning to many the ambitious soul. The creation of Christianity was a natural example of this tradition. Furthermore, the human race has always sought explanations for its existence and the world around it and religion has largely fulfilled that whole (though quite erroneously) until science was capable of offering a much better, evidence-based enlightenment.

Also, Jesus almost definitely did not exist as the tales in the Bible tell. First of all, the gospels don’t even agree on the facts of his life. Secondly, Jesus, as the Bible describes, almost certainly would have gained much more attention outside other cultures and we would see writings about him in other cultures. And this is not the case.

Furthermore, we live in world that rewards good decision-making. If you’re a junkie, you’ll most likely die. If you commit crimes, you’ll most likely end up in jail. If you treat people poorly, you’ll most likely end up alone or hated. Now, according to Christianity, we have two choices to make: believe in this man as lord and savior, without evidence, to receive eternal salvation OR evaluate the information and evidence, of which there is none other than this book written by men, refuse to accept the divinity of Jesus and find yourself blistering in eternal hellfire.

Why would God create a world in which evidence-based, informative and judicial decision-making is rewarded and them condemn those that would use such an exemplary decision-making process to Satan’s lair? It makes no sense. Any reasonable, objective, un-brainwashed person could recognize this. That and almost everything in the Bible can be debunked. Get with the program. As Christianity spread, it usurped the traditions of the locals to better convert them. Most religions of the time did the same. Christmas and Easter were not originally Christian holidays. They are now. And isn’t the Corporatocracy of America quite the benefactor?

Religion is and always has been a tool used to control people. Power is one of the primary ambitions of man and both religion and the church feed this. Churches are business institutions and the people that erect them are hungry for power, money, and adoration and the Bible (which describes a God of Abraham I would never follow) paves the way for these charlatan monkeys (ahem, Joel Osteen). They decry homosexuality and abortion (which the Bible barely mention) while living obese and rich (which the Bible soundly renounces) lifestyles. Ridonkulous. How funny that Miss California would discuss the sanctity of marriage while ignoring the sanctity of her body (which the Bible says to leave unaltered) by allowing the California Pageant people to pay for her boob job. Wow. Makes me want to sign right up.

Phew, let me take a breath as I get off my soapbox.

UPDATED –

ESSENCE OF AMERICA:

You couldn’t be more wrong, Mpressions, about the Christ. And I’ve got news for you, my friend, you’re not going to be receptive to the opposing argument with such a hardened heart. I could debate theology with you all day long and get nowhere. I could tell you what He has done in my life and in the lives of other believers I know. I could tell you about the miracles I’ve witnessed in not only my life but in others as well. I could share the Gospel with you, unconditionally, for as long as you’d listen. But it’s not going to change your heart. Only God can do that.

I’ll just drop a link for you and let you know I’m here if you want to talk about it. I’ll pray for you and hope you won’t just dismiss this: http://www.ucgstp.org/lit/gn/gn053/bibletrue.htm

POLITICAL MPRESSIONS:

It’s true you won’t get anywhere debating religion with me. Just try and remember that the majority of us atheists and agnostics (at least those of us over 30) were once religious, and probably Christian. We use to have those same stories of what Jesus did in our lives and tales of miracles we witnessed firsthand. We were there. So, those stories would most likely reveal no new revelations. Trust me, we’ve heard it and said it all before. And I like to think of it not as a hardened heart, but an open mind.

CONSERVATIVES AND LIBERALS

ESSENCE OF AMERICA :

I know what you’re saying, and I know the difference in terminology. I am a Republican politically and a conservative socially. In just about every way possible, you’re going to get a right-winger with me. I can attribute much of that to my upbringing, and I’m not ashamed of it.

As a member of the GOP, I am not a blind supporter. I don’t go gently into that good night. When my party is wrong, it’s wrong. I did vote for and supported President Bush. But I did not like every single thing he did. I can think for myself and talk for myself. The fact remains, though, I am on the right side of the aisle and it always will be that way – unless, of course, my fellow right-wingers lose their damned minds and they do go gently into that good night. If that happns, I might just have to take over the party myself.

POLITICAL IMPRESSIONS:

Haha. I soooo encourage you to take over the party yourself at this moment. It’s a rotting ship. I was never too conservative, but I was a Republican in my younger days (which weren’t that long ago). I would have voted for W. if I wasn’t lazy about getting my absentee ballot in (I was in Australia at the time). But, I was a government major and then a geopolitical analyst and after really observing the results of Republican ideology, I had to jump off the bandwagon.

And I would never accuse  you of being a blind supporter, but you must remember that most of liberals – definitely the ones that comment on my site – are well-informed as well. Hell, I’m pro-death penalty, I eat meat, I drive an SUV. But, you see, Democrats tend to be a coalition with many diverging groups. The Republicans have morphed into an ideology-driven borg that refuses to allow members who do not tow the line. That will be their kiss of death if they do not somehow overcome their tendency to simply “fall in line.”

And you say you will always be on the right side of the line. I define that as being loyal to the label. You should strive to be on the right side of truth and policy rather than actually care about political labels or colors. I call myself Independent because money-hungry bastards who call themselves politicians inhabit both parties. I care more about policy than party.

UPDATED –

ESSENCE OF AMERICA:

You’re half right. I care more about my country than a label. But I’m a Republican for many reasons, not the least of which is this ideology stuff you’re so happy to condemn. For the anti-Republicans scattered chaotically across America – with deep concentrations of them on each coast and a few in the Midwest – people like me who hold sacred certain principles and American traditions are mere fucktards who cannot and will not tolerate the opinions of others. The fact I’ve taken the time to engage you is representative of my tolerance. The first time I visited your blog, I wanted to spit up in my mouth. I could not disagree more with you on just about everything on here. In fact, I’d go even further by saying your politics are what I hate so much about the left-wing machine (http://essenceofamerica.wordpress.com/2009/04/18/former-mccain-advisor-wants-gop-to-turn-left/).

But I am grateful for this opportunity, for your willingness to listen to what makes me who I am. You seem like a well-rounded person, even if you are so imperfect politically. Indeed, I can tolerate a liberal, despite the fact so many liberals think we conservatives are a bunch of hateful bigots who carry our Bibles everywhere while we go after homosexuals.

POLITICAL MPRESSIONS:

Political personal interactions are so different than responding to a group as a whole. And each side resents how the other side lumps the other into one homogeneous borg. I get that.

I don’t think liberals are all the same. Some are vegetarian, some prioritize inner-city development, some are staunch pacifists, some are environmental terrorists, some think women who stay at home are parasites on their husbands. I really belong to none of these groups. We’re quite different and more a coalition.

Republicans, while some might be socially liberal, tend to have a base that is of the same opinion. Pro-life, pro-gun, for small government, lower taxes, etc., etc. There is much more commonality among right wingers than left wingers. However, I know many the reasonable and lovely Republican, and many the nutjob, freako racist Republican.

Either way, we’ll never be happy reading what the other side has to say about our side. That said, if you can’t have a sense of humor about it, it’s just not worth it. Life is short and there are way too many fun Republicans for me to hold up a Do Not Enter sign when they approach. While I think it’s retarded not to be able to talk to people about politics and religion, I can wax and wane on beer and college sports for hours. We have to see what we have in common and stop being so offended all the time when people disagree with us.

PATRIOTISM

ESSENCE OF AMERICA:

I haven’t read your post about this yet, but just let me say I am patriotic, I do love my country, and I am a good person – though not perfect. I’m the kind who gets chills during the singing of the national anthem and seeing the American flag wave. I like a good war story. I enjoy talking to members of the U.S. armed forces. I think you can love your country but not like the direction it’s headed. I think you can disagree with or even hate what the president of the United States is doing and still be patriotic. And I think you can want a different kind of change without being hateful.

POLITICAL MPRESSIONS:

I agree that you can be patriotic and still disagree with the president. However, for chrissakes, we need to get off this crazy train where patriotism equals character. And we should not be judging how patriotic or NOT patriotic others are. It’s not a currency and I am soooo sick of the Right doing everything they can to seem patriotic in order to gain the upper hand of the debate.

I want to know how many of these people have lived outside of the U.S. so that they may compare it and know just how they actually feel about this country. I have lived outside of it twice – and hopefully will do so again – and can appreciate more than you could ever imagine. I have seen firsthand the differences in culture that allow me to appreciate my home. But the U.S. has a long way to go to claim the superiority all the Right award it. I would encourage all readers now to read a blog I have written in the past: How Great is the U.S.? It’s an eyeopener.

Patriotism also means having the courage to admit the faults of the U.S. and the areas in which our country can and should improve. Patriotism should not be used as a weapon and it is shameful that the Right does so repeatedly (and not John C. Holmes shameful, but Joseph McCarthy shameful).

UPDATED –

ESSENCE OF AMERICA:

To me, patriotism means actually loving your country – I mean loving it. Democrat or Republican, love of country must come first. Obviously, a person can love his country and recognize its faults while working to correct them. We would disagree, obviously, on what those faults are. To me, patriotism means serving honorably and bravely in the U.S. armed forces without regard to politics. My dad is a war veteran. I have other relatives and friends who have served. I believe no greater honor exists than wearing the American uniform.

It’s another story, however, to go abroad and insult your own country and apologize for its existence (http://essenceofamerica.wordpress.com/2009/04/03/obama-mocks-america-presidency-while-overseas/). I just can’t abide by that kind of idiocy.

POLITICAL MPRESSIONS:

I think all Americans love their country. And my love of my country is no one else’s business and isn’t for anyone else to judge. My worth is not how many flag’s I’m waving on the 4th of July. People who judge others’ patriotism can suck it as far as I’m concerned. I bet Jesus wouln’t walk around saying who’s patriotic and who isn’t. And many people can love and honor their country and do not have to join the armed forces – and I have a bit of military in my family as well.

First of all, almost anyone can join the Armed Forces. During Bush, they eased recruitment standards that allowed people with criminal histories and gang members. Now, I don’t give a shit if someone has the uniform on. If they kill, rob, or peddle drugs while, they are not honorable.

Also, sexual assault is rampant in the Armed Forces. A huge percentage of women in the military report being sexually assaulted. Many times these incidents are pushed under the rug and many a seemingly honorable young man in uniform has felt it his right to rape females. That is abhorrent and quite the opposite of honorable.

We can romanticize the Armed Forces all we want, but many join it because they have no other options or want a paycheck – not for the love of their country. This is reality and I’m not afraid to say it – not for all the right wing attacks that may come my way for stating what actually happens. I will not whitewash the military or act as though there are no bad apples.

I do appreciate what soldiers have done for this country and the sacrifice they make for us. My acknowledging problems in the military does not diminish that. And the Right’s refusal to discuss the military in a way that appears to diminish its greatness is the umbrella under which many of these dishonorable acts take place.

THIRD PARTIES

ESSENCE OF AMERICA:

I just don’t get them. I like to make fun of them precisely because of what I told you about my libertarian buddy. The guy is good people, but I never can grasp what he’s really about. I can’t even remember who he voted for in November. I do remember, though, how he kept talking about how he just might write himself in as president because no one he liked was on the ballot.

I just can’t respect that kind of thinking. Hell, I would have respected him more if he had voted for Obama. At least then I could understand the rationale.

POLITICAL MPRESSIONS:

I completely understand. On a theoretical level, I think a multi-party system would enhance the level of democracy in this country. In such a case, the two parties couldn’t hold the country by the balls and then cede all decision-making to the corporations. Under the multi-party system, you really would have a contest of quality candidates rather than a fundraising-a-thon. Many would argue that those who raise the most money were then supported by the most people, but when you look at Center for Responsive Politics numbers, you see just how entrenched companeis are in the fundraising process. Third and fourth and fifth parties would help alleviate this problem.

That said, if Nader hadn’t run, Gore would have won (despite all his douchiness) and we wouldn’t have had the atrocity of W. If we want the multiparty system and we want it to work, we’ll have to go through a painful process to earn it. And as for Libertarians – it’s a fad that has arisen in response to the inability of the Republicans to drop the religioners off at the nuthouse and regain competence. Once these old white guy Falwell-foll0wers die off, Republicans will return to prestige and Libertarianism will evaporate. Furthermore, the more I have discussions with Libertarians, the more I realize they really do not understand the results of the political ideology they espouse. I’m happy to see them on the playing field though. I will support the emergence of all viable third parties, even I don’t vote with them.

UPDATE –

ESSENCE OF AMERICA:

I believe mostly in the two-party system and its survival for the betterment of democracy in this country. It is my opinion, though, that third parties only serve to dilute elections and thus, are not worthy of any votes whatsoever.
POLITICAL MPRESSIONS:
I don’t think the two-party system is good for democracy at all. It gives us the choice of lesser of two evils. If we had five or six viable candidates for positions, we’d have better choices, fresher talent, speedier progress, and less wheeling-and-dealing.
At this point, for the majority of politicians, if they have the funds to run a great campaign, it doesn’t matter the quality of politician they are. As long as they are of the party the majority of their constituents are, they can be as unethical as they like.
The multi-party system would also help staunch the entrenchment of corporate interests as companies would have to more widely distribute their contributions (which should be illegal anyhow).
At this point, our two-party system intensifies the polarization of the country and increases the likelihood that the political will behave unethically at some point in their political career and that the politician with the most money is the most likely to win.

INTELLECTUALS AND THE DESIRE TO BE INTELLECTUAL

ESSENCE OF AMERICA:

I’ve been called “passionate” and “hardcore” and “crazy” about my politics and beliefs. So I do appreciate when someone of a varying opinion brings the same passion to an argument. I respect those types. I cannot, on the other hand, abide by people who believe in something but can’t explain why they believe that way.

About a year ago, I was hosting my own birthday party when the brother of my best friend started talking about his affection for Bill Clinton and other Dems. By this time, we both had plenty of drinks in us, and the argument became exceedingly spirited. People were laughing. We spent half an hour insulting each other, defending each other’s parties and beliefs, and threatening bodily harm to each other.

But when it was over, we shook hands, laughed it off, and got back to the business of celebrating life and freedom and America.

So, finally, here’s to an ongoing discussion about right-wingers and left-wingers and why we are so freaking different. Feel free to drop by essenceofamerica at any time to get your daily dose of conservative awesomeness. And if you ever decide to come to the other side, we’d be glad to have you!

“Cause God blessed Texas with His own hand
Brought down angels from the promised land
Gave ‘em a place where they could dance
If you wanna see heaven brother here’s your chance
I’ve been sent to spread the message
God blessed Texas”

POLITICAL MPRESSIONS:

Mkay. Good remarks. However, they had nothing to do with intellectualism. So, I’ll respond to your remarks and we can talk about intellectualism later.

I am completely with you about wanting to kick someone overboard when they can’t explain their political leanings. I was at my sister’s birthday party in the heart of a McCains-ville part of Houston when some of the peeps asked me about politics, knowing I was a lefty. They’re response was that they didn’t know enough to have a real discussion with me. Grossly pathetic – though I still like those people quite a bit on a character level. Plus they are great to party with.

Debate and discussion are the vessels of progress and we cannot shy away from them or simply have the goal of superiority. Through every interaction a lesson can be learned. I read right wing blogs and watch right wing televsion because not only can I learn something new, I can understand how others think. And that’s important in a Democracy.

Most of my family (extended, not immediate), and a great many of my friends are right wing and Republican and I would do anything for them. So, I’m not afraid to have a discussion. I’ll still like them afterward. You can’t be offended by disagreement or insist on political correctness because to do so impedes progress.

And that is some crazy “God Blessed Texas” shit.

I’ll just say that I love this state because sitting in an inner tube on a lake with a floating cooler of Lonestar and Willie Nelson playing in the background is seriously the most awesome activity ever. Ever.

I’ll just add here – and I will repeatedly in my blog forevermore – that Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin and El Paso ALL voted for Obama on Nov. 4, 2008. So, our little good ol’ boy Repubs better watch their asses.

UPDATED –

ESSENCE OF AMERICA:

Yes, maybe I got off track with this one. But I dare say the country probably does not give one little shit about who Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, and El Paso go for in presidential elections. The state is still red (as are most states), as evidenced by the county-by-county election map of November 2008. As for Austin, that place is a hotbed for liberal activity, so it’s no surprise it went for The Blessed One.

POLITICAL MPRESSIONS:

So, true. Most of the country doesn’t care about these cities. I merely point it out because of the recent craziness of our governor and in rebuttal to recent Republican leadership statements that they are shoring up support in the South. They are, in fact, losing numbers – not strengthening them – down here. The only state that went more Republican in ’08 was Oklahoma. And there’s a very reasonable explanation for that that would take a while to write out, but I can offer it easily upon request.

WRAP-UP

ESSENCE OF AMERICA:
Meredith, you presented all the classic liberal arguments in this one. Well done! It’s a shame you went to the other side a few years ago, but I’m sure you were deceived like so many before and after you.

You’re welcome to rejoin us at any time. I mean, you display the charactistics of many conservatives in our country: You drive a truck (so do I, an American one); you listen to good music (I have many different tastes); you like to have a good time (nothing’s better than a cookout and many, many beers, if you ask me); and you are a spirited debater.

Touche!

By the way, I’ve never liked the word cunt. I believe it corrupts, rather disgustingly, what is supposed to be a glorious and essentially perfect part of the female form. To call it a cunt, or to call someone a cunt, can have an almost demoralizing effect on the sexual being, if said sexual being is a pansy, of course.

Nonetheless, the word is just no good. No good at all. And I despise it. Even women shouldn’t use it, a term of affection among them or not. Cunt. Well, fuck, that just doesn’t do it for me. Cunt. Just can’t get my mouth around it.

Ok. Sorry about that last part. I could not resist. Shame on me.

POLITICAL MPRESSIONS:

Hey! I presented all the classical liberal arguments? Perhaps I’m a classy liberal… Well, maybe not (I have a really, really impressive belch).

I appreciate the offer to return to the Right, I will however decline in the name of Progress. If one thing doesn’t work, you take a reasonable step at studying the problems and solutions and then make decisions. That’s what I’m about. Republican ideology is tried and failed and it’s time to move on.

That said, I very much enjoyed your participation in this debate. So much of this is more about discussion than our conclusions and we rock in this most important facet of American politics.

So funny your comments on the word “cunt.” You see, when this word first came into existence it meant vulva or vagina and was not offensive. Male-dominated cultures tend to alter words referring to the femine and make them offensive. In latin langauges, many bad things have are femine (war), while good things (money) are masculine. Think about how many derogatory words you can think of for women: bitch, cunt, whore, jezebel, slut, etc. And how many you can think of that deride men for their sexually liberal ways?

In my opinion, we need to take back the word “cunt” and many others that had reasonable beginnings and restore them to the previous grandeur. Will it happen? No bloody likely.

15
Apr
09

Tea Baggers – Disingenuous, Ignoramus Boobs

The blogosphere is alight today with opinion pieces denouncing these rube-magnet “Tea Parties.” Here’s another one.

cause bush told the truth!

cause bush told the truth!

First of all, much like a circus, these Tea Parties put on display for the rest of us to see, the imbecilic nature of Right Wing nutjobs. The ones who vote for their big biz Republican politicians who enact policy that directly injures their very constituents. Who is dumb enough to believe the Dick Armeys, Newt Gingriches, Limbaughs, Coulters, Hannitys, Glenn Becks, Michael Steeles, Rick Perrys, Mark Sanfords, Sarah Palins, Michelle Bachmanns, David Vitters? Who is dumb enough to be whipped into a gun-buying, revolution-shouting frenzy of inanity by this honorless Republican leadership? Go to a Tea Party tonight and find out.

DEFICIT

Here’s why these people are disingenuous: they are protesting government spending that would drive up the deficit. Well, their precious Reagan drove up the deficit, George H. W. Bush and his highly successful son drove up the deficit and nary a Tea Party was had. Where was the outrage? I remember a bunch of Right Wingers getting their panties in a bunch over the fact that Bill Clinton was sucked off by an intern, but did they ever congratulate him over balancing the budget? No. They don’t care about the deficit. They’re group-think idiots of the highest order.

They keep saying they don’t want our kids to inherit a huge deficit. Yet, they don’t give a shit if our kids inherit an environment raped by big business because we were to ignorant to switch to renewable energy when we had the chance. They don’t care if our kids inherit a country with semi-automatic weapons carpeting the countryside. They don’t care if our kids have affordable health care and access to decent medical attention. Their claims of concern for our kids is false and hollow and nauseating.

TAXES

And they’re complaining about taxes. Well, let’s see. Obama is instituting the broadest tax cut in history. And he’s only raising taxes of the wealthy to less than they were under Reagan. In fact, the GOP’s proposed budget again lowers taxes for the wealthy, increasing them for the lower and middle classes, according to this PDF put together by Citizens for Tax Justice. They also discovered that the GOP plan would cost $225 billion more than the Democratic plan.

These Right Wingers are also people calling for the U.S. to attack Iran, North Korea and launch a military operation in Somalia and off its coast – yet they don’t want to PAY for it. Funny how their buttboy Bush didn’t want to pay for his war of choice either – refusing to fund the soldiers on the battlefield appropriately and refusing to fund their care when they return home. Yet, the Bush administration sent billions of dollars to defense contractors who struck it rich while unable to account for millions, if not billions of dollars they received.

HYPOCRITES

We’re seeing calls for Revolution – for people to arm themselves as if to somehow thwart the government. How ridiculously hypocritical these white, racist conservatives are being! What if members of the left made these anti-government slogans? How unamerican we would be labeled –  how unpatriotic.

This is a lunatic fringe minority of the American demographic and they want to control the fates of the rest of us. They would rather overthrow the legally-elected government representing the views of the majority of this country. The election was a blowout – the American people spoke and were absolutely demanding a change in leadership and these crazy teabag freakos would attempt to undermine the very democracy innumerable people have shed their lives to give us. They seek to weaken the country and cheapen the government system that makes them so proud only when it serves their selfish purposes.

LIBERTY

How deep does these people’s inability to process logic and thought go? Consider their calls for liberty. Bush used illegal warrantless wiretapping on the American people (and most relevant journalists). Right Wingers were silent. Bush banished Habeas Corpus from the Constitution. The Right Wingers were silent.  Bush turned the Justice Department into a partisan death squad. Right Wingers were silent. The illegality of gays to marry inhibits the liberties of a vast number of Americans. Marijuana as never caused the death of a person, yet the liberty to smoke pot legally is almost non-existent. Women’s liberty to choose to end a pregnancy would be taken away if these conservos had their way.

The only liberty they want is to take away the rights and decisions of those who disagree with them. They would oppress the rest of us for their own, ignorant, baseless, uninformed reasons.

DOUCHEBAGS

This shade of political activist allows the terrorism of the rest of the country by easing the release of assault weapons onto our streets and into the hands of criminal elements both

yeah, and Bush wasnt? Jeez....

yeah, and Bush wasn't? Jeez....

domestic and outside our boarders. Their answer is that we should all arm ourselves, encouraging the possibility of gun battles in our neighborhoods.

These Tea Baggers do not understand the realities of their theories and the results of their lunacy. While their opinions on deregulation and taxation and government spending, etc. sound quite wonderful, they have unintended consequences and materialize in ways that damage this country’s economy, civil liberties and safety – as was illustrated so clearly under Bush.

The Tea Baggers had their chance. They controlled the White House and Congress for six of the last eight years and their policies tore this country asunder, taking it to the brink of collapse. This subgroup of political outliers would dictate liberties not only to the rest of Americans – but hang the rest of the world out to dry, attacking many without justification and at the same time arousing indignation that we sacrifice our “sovereignty” by abiding by U.N. Resolutions.

These people are idiots – the lowest common denominator of the uninformed. They are being used by people and leadership whose policies affect these “protestors” negatively in a significant way. Yet, time and time again, Republican “tax and deficit” lies – and the use of god, guns and gays – gets these turkeys hot to trot in an attempt to inhibit progress and improvement of this great nation.

It’s real cute, the mock revolution and display of boobery by the ‘baggers. I’m glad the rest of us can sit back and chuckle at the baffoonery without real fear their opinions will gain any traction. In my opinion, the best way to overcome this circus of ‘tards is to stay informed. Read,read,read. And remember the last eight years.

In short, take a hike, tea baggers. You don’t know what you’re talking about and the rest of us (ahem, the majority) don’t need or want you.

And I don’t want to hear any shit about the Tea Parties being Libertarian before being hijacked by the Right Wing wackos. This blog is meant for those hijackers. The tea bags are being funded by the Right Wing death squads and that’s why I’m responding so vehemently.

UPDATE 4.16.09: After looking at all the pics of these rallies, it was clear there were no minorities amongst the Tea Bag douchers. A klan-esque political movement of old, white people that is tasteless to minorities, gay people, non-believers and progressive women will go nowhere and gain bupkis. And Rove thinks this “movement is significant.” Um…right. He also referred to Democrats’ “tax and spend tendencies.” Why don’t we talk about how great the “no tax, but sill spend a lot” policies of the Republicans are? I guess it’s true. Right Wingism does rot the brain.

10
Apr
09

Why Bush, Cheney – and those damn Tea Partiers – Aren’t Smart

Forgive me for stating the obvious.

In the April issue of Real Simple magazine, science writer Jonah Lehrer pens an article entitled, “10 Ways to Be a Better Thinker.” It was quite interesting. My favorite was #5 – Take Long Showers, which says “moments of insight often arrive when you’re not aware that you’re thinking of the problem.” This is probably why my best blog ideas come to me right before I’m about to fall asleep and there’s no way in hell I’m getting out of bed. Suffer for my art? Please.

But #8 and #10 were the most interesting to me in terms of analyzing our political leaders, which I’m wont to do quite often. The eighth suggestion is to Study Your Mistakes, “One common trait of successful people is their willingness to focus on their fumbles.” And, on a similar note, Ten advises us to Think About Our Thinking, “Metacognition, as this is known, is a crucial skill. Many scientists argue that the best predictor of good judgment isn’t intelligence or experience; it’s the willingness to engage in introspection.”

These appear to be simple, basic concepts regarding the quality of thought. Yet, when you look at the majority of our political leaders, you will find a demographic either devoid of the capability of such improved mental activity or you find people simply unwilling to admit fault and self-analyze. So many of these dolts seem to have one speed of thought, with self-imposed blinders preventing them from the most important of decisions: how to change for the better.

We are witnesses to such blocks of immovable concrete when we see Republicans on television refusing to understand the realities and results of the decisions of the last eight years. They keep calling for lower taxation for the upper economic echelons and increased deregulation. There is absolutely no acknowledgment of fault or quality instances of introspection.

W. Bush says in Dead Certain, a great look at the man’s presidency by Robert Draper, that he HAD to believe that his decision to go into Iraq was correct. He would never allow himself to even consider the idea that perhaps the war had been a mistake. When you’re playing with thousands, perhaps over a million people’s lives, this attitude seems almost criminal for those with their fingers over the red button.

But that was the biggest criticism of Bush, wasn’t it? That the man wasn’t intellectually curious, probably due to the fact that he wasn’t introspective. His foot was on the accelerator regardless of whether there was a brick wall in his path or not (while the rest of us are in the back seat). It was only a “disappointment” that weapons of mass destruction weren’t found in Iraq. When asked what went wrong with Katrina, Bush immediately asks whether he should have landed Air Force One instead of simply flown over the area.

There is a grave, almost developmentally challenged inability by Bush to analyze situations in their totality or through the lenses of those with differing opinions. And his supporters have the same problem. Even now, many across the media’s various forms insist Iraq was a success and is now doing fine. Five soldiers died today in Mosul in a suicide truck bombing. There is widespread violence still and the region is extraordinarily unstable. Ask an Iraqi if they think the war was a success. It’s their country, after all. And these are real people! Over a million Iraqis have died since the war started and Bush talks about them like they’re little Lego men in one of his Lego forts. It’s despicable.

This lack of critical thinking skill is also what led Cheney to declare in May of 2005 that the Iraqi insurgency is in its last throes or that Obama is making us less safe because he is changing Bush’s policies. Cheney will never acknowledge that their administration’s policies allowed Iran’s influence and power to increase exponentially and caused an explosion in global hatred toward America.

People can disagree with Obama’s policies, as I do with some, all they want. But read the man’s books, look without prejudice at his decision-making process and you will see an increased capacity for deliberation, introspection, intellectual curiosity, consideration of mistakes, and appreciation for not only differing views, but everyone’s views. That’s why we elected him. Whatever you say about his policies, the man’s process is an ocean of improvement over our last commander in chief.

And all these little Tea Party shenanigans Fox seems to be orgasming over – the ones calling for the impeachment of Obama before he has even been in office 100 days – reveal how simple-minded the radical fringe of the Bush supporters are. None of them would give you a decent assessment regarding the mistake they made reelecting Bush. Nor would they be introspective enough to appreciate change or understand that the rest of us deserve a president who

This is what Im talking about. Reality has left the building.

This is what I'm talking about. Reality has left the building.

represents us as well. None of them would ever recognize that the policies they support, the ones that were instituted over the last eight years, have brought our country dishonor, ill-repute, economic woe and autocratic policies. They have committed a great harm and the rest of us have stood up and said no more.

I understand the pendulum swings politically. Right now, the Far Right Wing should have some dignity, grace and allow the rest of us – the majority of us (for now) – to institute the policies we believe will not only rescue us from this iniquitous past, but improve our now and our future. They should be a little introspective and come to grips with the fact that most of us do not agree with them, most of us support Obama at this point, and we have a right to resist the oppression they would impose.

08
Apr
09

Gay Marriage Update

What a freaking awesome time for progress! The Vermont Legislature overrode their dipshit governor’s veto of their bill to legalize gay marriage (and, Vermont, what’s the dealyo with electing such an ignoramus in the first place? I mean, I know I’m from Texas and haven’t a positive thing to say about our governor – but you’re VERMONT). And the Iowa State Supreme Court found that legislation defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman was unconstitutional:

A statute inconsistent with the Iowa Constitution must be declared void, even though it may be supported by strong and deep-seated traditional beliefs and popular opinion.

Civil libertarians around the country are as giddy as little girls  over these momentous occasions and what a bright spot they are after the resounding show of bigotry last November in California.

So, it was quite galling to watch a Mike Barnacle-hosted Hardball today on which Maggie Gallagher, of the National Organization for Marriage, issued the most ridiculous claims regarding the effects of gay marriage. First, allow me to post an ad NOM recently spent a cool 1.5 million bones to air in hopes that it would turn the tide of public sentiment against gay marriage:

Hello, McFly! Are you serious? Are you trying to dumb down the American people with this drivel?

One woman says she’s “afraid” of gay marriage. A man claims the gay marriagers want to bring the issue into their life. And another chick says her freedoms will be taken away.

And then Gallagher posited on Hardball that the bad thing about gay marriage is that our children will be taught they are wrong to hold on to their beliefs that gay marriage is wrong. And churches participating in legal adoptions will be unable to discriminate against same-sex couples. And churches in New Jersey that participate in the commercial real estate market by renting out space for marriages will have to rent them out for gay weddings.

If you are a regular reader, and even if you aren’t, you can imagine I have a few (more than, actually) choice words to answer these babblings of those…say it with me…on the WRONG side of history. It’s called progress. Look into it.

First of all, like most religioners, NOM is attacking gay marriage from the viewpoint that it will injure them somehow. They give little consideration to the feelings and rights of gay marriage. I have one question for them: WWJD, biotch? Their storied Jesus would have never allowed his opinions to dictate the lives of others. The Bible preaches FREE WILL. These people have a bastardized view of that which they hold up as their guide. Be kind. Think of others first. That’s what your Christ would do.

Secondly, NOM is trying to stir up fear and playing to the most base of human emotions to illicit a reactionary response rather than debate the issue on its merits. The Constitutions grants all Americans inalienable rights – including marriage. Negate that. Trying to scare people into a frenzy is no means to change society for the better or for the long term. It’s juvenile and, as we saw with the Bush administration, destined for failure.

Like the cute dude debating Gallagher said, if the churches want to participate in government-controlled activities, such as adoption and real estate, they should not complain when their religion-induced bigotry is called onto the mat and squashed like a fat mosquito. Gallagher kept complaining that those opposed to gay marriage are simply labeled as bigots and intimates their religious beliefs should not be labeled discriminatory.

Au contraire, ma soeur, religion has long served as the catalyst for bigoted, evil, discriminatory acts. It is the job – the duty – of those driving progress and propelling humanity forward to thwart those who would victimize others and then defend their actions with “religious ideology.” We no longer have room for such behavior in this society of free speech, widely available education and information.

I would encourage religioners to stop trying to keep everything the same. Change is inevitable. Progress will always tap you on the shoulder and show you the exit. Maybe not the nearest exit. But the eventual one.

And good riddance.

31
Mar
09

Atheist Billboards Going Up in DFW Area

I’m pretty pumped! Monday, the Coalition of Reason will unveiled two godless billboards along busy interstates in the DFW area:

godless-billboard

The Coalition of Reason has already launched the campaign, aimed at uniting non-believing groups, in Philadelphia and Denver.

I’m part of the leadership of the Fort Worth Free Thinkers and we are joining with the North Texas Church of Freethought, Metroplex Atheists, Dallas-Plano Atheists and more to form the DFW Coalition of Reason .

The reaction of the area will certainly be interesting as this is an obvious headquarters for Christocentric religiosity. You’d be surprised, however, to see how quickly our community of non-believers (athiests, agonstics, non-theists, rationalits, etc., etc.) is growing.

Certainly, I hope one of the results of this four-week media campaign is greater organization of non-believers so that our voice is heard amongst the cacophony of American diversity. For too long, we have allowed one specific lunatic fringe group to dominate politics and accepted culture in our society and that must stop. The pendulum is swinging away from those who would seek to imprison the rest of us with their beliefs. We will be the silent minority no more.

And speaking of minority, I’d like to remind everybody that religious unaffiliated is the fasted growing “religious” group in the U.S. Doesn’t that just give you a warm, cozy feeling inside?

If you’re in Texas and would like to find a group of non-believers in your area, visit this Texas Secular Network site for a list. Some groups are more stingently athiest and organized, but as for us Fort Worth Free Thinkers, we just like good beer and good conversation and rational thinking. Peace out.

26
Mar
09

The Problem With Ideology

Let me set the stage. During the last eight years of governance, the Republicans supported their party leader and the Democrats checked their spines at the Capitol doors whilst Bush and Cheney did their patent best to lead this country off a cliff. Almost all the Republicans I know refuse to defend Bush’s record and repeat over and over that they had no idea Bush would be such a wretched president. Disappointment knew no boundaries.

So you would think, after the last 8 years, there would at least be some shift in the Republican message – especially after the trouncing the majority of American voters gave them in the last election. But no, they are hanging on to their failed ideas and policy as though the last eight years were just a dream.

Why would they be so clueless? Why would they be so clinically in denial regarding not only the failure of their policies, but the fact that the majority of Americans wish to change course away from Right-wing lunacy? The answer: ideology, or the body of doctrine, myth, belief, etc.

The Republicans are a party of ideologues. Right-wing commentators are ideologues. Religious leaders are ideologues. Uneducated, anti-intellectuals are ideologues.

The problem with an ideologue is that they tend to focus on the theories inherent in their adopted ideology without regard given to potential or realized negative repercussions of said ideology. No matter what may occur because of the practice of that ideology, negative results are blamed on external factors and positive consequences are credited to the ideology. The ideology is never wrong.

Obviously, progress of humanity is determined by the species’ ability to learn and adapt. Actions tend to have positive or negative consequences and learning helps one to avoid negative consequences. Evidence and data are drawn upon in the decision-making process and thus, improve decisions and development.

Not with ideologues. Evidence and information are disregarded in strict adherence to the core, fundamental theory presented in the ideology. Reality has no weight, no bearing in the presence of ideology.

Here are some examples:

  • The gross misconduct of the financial sector was enabled by the freeing of the market by ideologue politicians. Despite the globalized economy, despite the proven nature of many men to serve his greed when times are ripe, despite every indicator of human behavior, free marketeers still believe that capitalism in its purest form (which is an impossibility) is the answer to all economic questions.
  • Abstinence-only education has been proven to increase teen pregnancy and abortion. Yet, pro-lifers insist that sex education, and the information such education  proffers, should be excluded from school curricula. Sex education = less abortions. Abstinence only = more abortions. Yet, their ideology prevents them from adopting the wiser of the two educational options.
  • U.S. guns laws are so lax, that 90 percent of the guns used in Mexico’s drug war, which is spilling across the southern U.S. borders, come from America. The selling of arms at gun shows is so unrestricted that even a drug cartel member could easily attend one of these conventions and purchase arms to take south. Yet, should one member of the national government even suggest limiting access to assault weapons – just assault weapons – the gun lobby goes ape shit. Obviously, the more the government limits access to arms, the fewer arms will be in the hands of criminals. But gun lobbyists are ideologues. Why the feel the need to allow every Tom, Dick and Harry to own an AK-47 is beyond me and the data that this policy endangers far more people than it protects is widespread. But ideology is strong and blinds people to the obvious effects of their decisions.
  • The legalization of marijuana would weaken drug cartels, increase the use of intensely beneficial hemp plant, help multitudes of medical patients, bolster the economy in certain geographic areas, increase efficacy of police forces and decrease prison populations. Marijuana overdoses, unlike those of alcohol, are unheard of. And the criminalization of marijuana has more to do with this country’s cotton lobby history that protecting its citizens. Yet an antiquated ideology regarding the substance prevents the majority of the population from recognizing the benefits of its legalization.

Ideology hampers progress. It hampers positive change and forms a mental prison around those comforted by stale and erroneous memories. It is a crutch for the weak-minded and those afraid to recognize reality and make painful, unfair decisions that might improve circumstances and take us beyond that which holds us back.

Remember, if you were taught an ideology vehemently by your elders from the time you were an infant, and believe it with the entirety of your heart as an adult, without question  – it is probably wrong. And handicapping. And your insistence on holding on to this crutch, this blindfold, hurts all of us. Consider evidence, information, data, reality to the contrary.

Ideology thrives on the limiting of information and lack of education. Take North Korea, the Taliban, the FLDS, Jonestown, Bloods and Krypts, Branch Dividian, white supremacists, child-molesting priests. Strict adherence to ideology is and was the lifeblood of these cults, religions, predators.

That’s why Democracy is such a good system of government. By shining the light of information into dark corners and allowing people to think for themselves, educate themselves and separate themselves from the bounds of ideology, better discussions and debates are had and better decisions are made.

Good decisions are good simply because their results are constructive, not because they help prop up some useless ideology.

24
Feb
09

Presidents and Monkeys

As a white person, I didn’t know what to think at first of the furor regarding the NYPost cartoon monkefying Obama:

My first feeling were mixed. It is unacceptable to compare black people to monkeys in light of our country’s shameful history of doing so. But I also considered how many times I compared Bush to monkeys in this blog as well as in my overall thought of the man. For example, a simple google of “Bush monkey” will produce:

There are a lot, lot more.

Do I feel entitled enough to hang on to my right to compare presidents to apes in light of the fact that our current president is black? No, I don’t. The advancement of race relations is far more important to me and I say this as a person who relishes the frequency of offense amidst all our glorious free speech. And, when it came to comparing Bush to primates, I felt as though I were offending monkeys more than dope-in-chief anyhow.

Furthermore, I have found, especially in recent conversations, that demographic groups who have always been empowered (ahem, white males) find it very difficult to understand when certain groups (such as women) get pissed when empowered groups (white males) call them by offensive names (bitch, cunt, whore, etc.). At some point, words and comparisons don’t belong to you. I’ll never use the N-word. Ever. Certain offenses achieve necessary progress. Others reverse it. And that’s not my priority.

So, for the next four, hopefully eight if all goes well, years – let’s drop the monkey/president comparisons. We’re all intelligent enough to find better ways to express our views regarding Obama’s decisions and behavior anyway.

24
Feb
09

Ted Haggard – A Whole Lotta Dirty

Ted Haggard’s latest coming out party was interesting to watch – not interesting enough to watch in its entirety, but I caught snippets. He recently did the media rounds to promote Alexandra Pelosi’s recent HBO Documentary of him, “The Trials of Ted Harrard.”

After catching snippets of Haggard and his wife on Larry King and Oprah, I decided to watch the film. This was also after a few people in my Free Thinker group of peeps said they saw the documentary and “felt sorry for him.” My husband and I were galled by such a notion, but I also though Mission Accomplished. That’s exactly what Ted was hoping the documentary would do – drum up sympathy. That and make him some money cause it looks like brother be broke.

Observations:

  • The man is clearly gay. I know the Christian community loves to say he would be suffering from “same sex attraction” which is so out of touch with reality, it makes me throw up a little in my mouth. He basically has a neon sign on his forehead, “HOMOSEXUAL,” and his life will continue to suck ass as long as he fights his true identity. But, hey – it’s a free country, so fight away Haggard; just try to do it off the boob tube, ya know?
  • In one of the interviews, he discusses working with helpers to fix his gayness affliction and reveals that a friend of his father’s had a relationship of a sexual nature with him when he was 7, but he didn’t think it was abusive (it did cause him to wet the bed until middle school, however). He only realized it was abusive after these helpers told him it was.
    • Now, let’s recap. The man is over 50, has been the spiritual leader of thousands upon thousands of people for two decades and doesn’t know right away that a sexual relationship with a child is abusive. Problem anyone? HUGE, huge problem. Does this mean that he has engaged in relationships of a sexual nature with children? He only recently discovered such activity was wrong… And what if church members came to him for counseling because of an occurrence of child molestation. This man was wholly unqualified to guide them or help them in any way and, in fact, may have taken advantage of the situation.
    • This is one of those after school special moments where the viewer learns that the church is not the best place for counseling or psychotherapy of any kind. These people are not trained, licensed or professional. (That goes for “alleged” domestic abuser Chris Brown who said he was seeking counseling from his pastor. I hope it’s not the pastor in Georgia who beat the shit out of his wife, said the Devil made him do it and leads the church still today. Christ, religioners can be dumb)
  • Haggard admitted the church was a business and noted that, now, he’s bad for business. Well, hallelujah, slap yo momma! Finally. Let’s acknowledge here that churches are for-profit institutions that make many, many of their leaders rich off the moneys many of their congregation cannot afford to give. These should be taxable institutions and not protected by an unconstitutional government endorsement of them through tax-free status.
  • The church agreed to a settlement with Haggard as long as he left Colorado (for at least a year, but I don’t know how long in total). So instead of telling the church to go fuck themselves and that he was going to stay in his house for the sake of his kids, he drags them from place to place while he tries to find a job,which is difficult – apparently a 50 year-old pastor with no other experience isn’t qualified for many things in the “secular” world. It seems that if baby jesus was so benevolent and all-giving, he would have sent an angel to give Pastor Ted solid employment. For some reason, baby jesus didn’t. Weird.
    In the meantime, the children he has still in their adolescence must go with the vagabond family from place to place with no stability while their father focuses on rectifying his “homosexual issues.” If it were me, I would have sold the house, told the church to suck it and put down roots somewhere else in Colorado or near family and focused on the kids. Of course, I’m not some crazy jesus freak. And where is the extended family in all this? Are there no siblings, no grandparents or aunts or uncles to help the same-sex afflicted douchebag, his Olympic in denial housewife and their offspring?
  • While leader of his church, Haggard claimed Christians have the best sex lives and that he and his wife have sex every day – then looked to a couple of men standing near them and asked them the frequency of their sex lives. One man said every day and the other, not to be out-penised, said twice a day. On Oprah, his wife gushed how wonderful their sex life was. Are we spotting a theme? Perhaps a preoccupation with sex? Even if Haggard did have sex every day, the man is a performer and was probably trying to look like the best heterosexual husband he could in the best way he knew how. Boning his wife and boning her a lot. When will people learn that frequency is not an indication of sexual health? And, in fact, the bragging about it (and probably lying about it) ad nauseam is very indicative of a sexual or psychological problem.
  • Do I feel sorry for Ted Haggard? hmmm. soul-searching…soul-searching…
    • Short answer: No.
    • Long answer: Hell-to-the-no, chaka khan! The man is a victim of his own creation. He founded that bloody church and grew it into a monstrosity until he could suckle at its teat and feel comfortable enough to have a drug habit and homosexual relationships on the side.(BTW, did his wife ever get tested for STDs? If your man – or woman – is messing around, for the love of pete, get tested!)
      Christians are a famously intolerable group of people – remember the Inquisition? – and this is what happens when one of them faces adversity. If you make them look bad….EXILE! It’s not what jesus would do, but it’s what a Christian would do. All that love your neighbor and enemy shite is just a big load. Haggard created a monster and then was eaten by it. There are carbon copies all over the country, sad to say, and none of them will learn lessons from Haggard’s tale. Cause he’s an icky aberration that has no reflection on them. If you look in the faces of jesus’ followers, will you see him looking back? Does a bear shit in the woods? Wait a minute! I mean, does a bear shit in the city? Wait – forget it.
17
Feb
09

Proof God Does Support Gay Marriage

Remember when Jerry Falwell said to Pat Robertson on The 700 Club, regarding 9/11,

But, throwing God out successfully with the help of the federal court system, throwing God out of the public square, out of the schools. The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way — all of them who have tried to secularize America — I point the finger in their face and say “you helped this happen.”?

And remember when John Hagee said regarding Katrina,

All hurricanes are acts of God because God controls the heavens. I believe that New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God and they were recipients of the judgment of God for that.?

Well, if large-scale catastrophes are the result of the God of Abraham’s wrath and California is now in an economic free-fall and nearly out of money, this must be retribution for the only recent atrocity the state has committed: approving a legal ban on gay marriage.

It’s so clear! If California wants to overcome this economic Armageddon, their voters must quickly approve the court-upheld Constitutional legality of gay-marriage. Then baby jesus will be happy.

**Might I also suggest altering the state congressional process by which a budget or increase in taxes requires a 2/3 vote? That shit is jacked up.

16
Feb
09

Stimulus Debate Revealing Republicans To Be Out Of Touch Crackheads – But What’s New?

The ugly last few weeks of stimulus debate among our nation’s leadership has left one thing clear: Congress has essentially become a douchey, senior-citizen version of The Real World mixed with Laguna Beach. Seriously. We basically a geriatric high school with bitches galore  and those lame duck leaders have abdicated any sense of responsibility to the American citizen as they are solely focused on the next election – which is especially true in the case of the Republicans.

Anyone who has taken Psych 101 (me) has likely been watching with jaws on the floor the Right Wing Parade of crackhead after crackhead. Singular focus on electoral demographics has allowed them to form some insane force field of failed ideology divorcing almost the entire Republican leadership from reality. To repeat the words of John Judis in The New Republic, “Congressional Republicans either don’t know any economics or are willing to put the country at risk to advance their own party’s fortune.” I’d go with both.

In case you’ve been under a rock, here’s the deal, pickle. The country is hemorrhaging jobs – almost 5 million Americans are collecting unemployment benefits, which doesn’t include all the unemployed who are not collecting benefits, nor those who are underemployed because their hours have been cut. Temporary jobs – an indicator of economic health – have all but dried up. The wealth of the average American family is now less than it was in 2001. And the second wave of mortgage defaults is starting to hit the country, because option ARMS are beginning to hit their due dates for interest rate increases. AND, and – the country’s top intelligence officer says the global economic crisis poses a greater threat to U.S. stability than terrorism.

You got it? Good.

Now, what are the crackhead Republicans suggesting will fix this crisis? It they spend most of their whining about the lack bipartisanship (which is odd considering Bush only met with Dems 3 times during his administration and Limbaugh equates talking to Dems to talking to snakes…), hoping the president fails, attempting to obstruct any potential solution to the problem and creating fun, new, misleading terms like “generational theft.” Would you expect any different from a group of people who values the opinions of the likes of Newt Gingrich, Tom Delay, Joe the Plumber, and Rush Limbaugh? Right.

Somehow, you’d think right wing leaders smart enough to reach national office would be able to acknowledge the reality of the situation and choose to address these issues with realistic proposals instead of ideology proven to not only fail, but worsen the country’s economic troubles. You’d be wrong. Repub leaders have decided – as though they live in bizarro world – that if they oppose the stimulus and the stimulus fails, they can ride it all the way to victory in 2010. How wonderful of them to lift their collective, wrinkled middle finger to the lower 95 percent of America’s economic class.

And just to appear as though someone told them if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the what? Problem!, they are attempting to present a few weak ass proposals of their own: corporate tax cuts, more tax cuts for the wealthy, and payroll tax cuts.

Let’s address these “ideas.” First of all, government spending stimulates the economy much faster than tax cuts. Remember how much tax cuts for the wealthy helped over the last 8 years? The wealth was hoarded at the top and did not trickle down. The top 400 wealthiest Americans doubled their wealth, the poverty class grew while the middle shrunk drastically and jobs dried up.

Next, let’s take a look at corporate taxes. Republicans love to wave their hands in the air, shouting about America’s record corporate tax cuts. As they well know, because of the myriad of loopholes in tax legislation, the majority of U.S. corporations do not pay federal taxes. Therefore, lessening the tax burden on businesses that don’t pay taxes anyway will have zippo improvements on the economy. Are you paying attention Hatch? McConnell? Cantor? Boehner? Or your heads too far up your ass to hear me?

And lastly, payroll taxes are a good idea – but not by themselves. As with the stimulus checks Bush sent out last year, Americans are saving or paying down debt with any extra buck that comes their way – not shopping. Without consumers spending, businesses cannot stay afloat, retain employees and no reduction in payroll taxes will reverse that trend.

Which leave job creation as the strongest ladder out of this quagmire. Yet, Republicans, cuddled in their failed ideology and refusing to acknowledge data, evidence and reason started harping on every little non-roads related portion of the stimulus bill. Condom distribution, for example, was one of their main target. Yet, condom makers, condom packagers, and companies who ship the condoms will be stimulated. I could answer in much the same way with every “earmark” the Republicans attacked with unhelpful rhetoric, like “porkulus.”

Paul Begala had a good idea in his address to South Carolina Gov. Sanford, who opposes the stimulus, “If Republican politicians are so deeply opposed to President Obama’s economic recovery plan, they should refuse to take the money. After all, if you think all that federal spending is damaging, there are easy ways to reduce it: Don’t take federal money.” We’ll see how many uneducated poor – or, as I like to call them, Limbaugh listeners – turn out to vote for Repubs in 2010 in the areas where they looked to corporate tax cuts to help them out of the economic rut.

Bush proved what a detriment it is to cloak decision-making in political ideology alone. Data, information, logic, evidence must be understood and solutions cannot simply stand on theory – especially after the data show that theory has already failed. It is a desperate shame Republican leadership only cares about election returns and refuses to learn the lessons of the past. It seems so elementary and yet they fail to grasp the most simplest of realities. I’m sure  Republicans willing to work with Democrats, like Crist, Snowe, Spector, Collins, and all the  mayors who are seeing the jobs dry up right before their eyes will probably do okay the next election go ’round.

But with each new report about massive layoffs – that are weekly now – most Republicans will find that the only thing they know how to do, obstruct, will begin to sour among those feeling the pinch. Which is everybody. The Right wingers thought they were getting a little traction by throwing mud in Obama’s eye – but reality is hard to overcome and the Republicans have no solutions to our national problems, no helpful manners, and are making no improvements. To say they are a party of the past is putting it kindly. And I’m hoping all their bitchy congress people fail out come the end of this term.

11
Feb
09

Gay Marriage: Can We Talk?

In this week’s edition of Newsweek’s “My Turn” column, Richard Mouw, president of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, describes how sad he was at the sight of an angry confrontation between demonstrators on both sides of the Prop. 8 decision. Mouw, a supporter of Prop. 8, introduces his column by asserting that his opposition to gay marriage doesn’t make him a religious fundamentalist. He ends the column with a call for  a more gentler approach to the debate and asks Can we Talk?

As a heterosexual who strongly supports gay rights, I accept his invitation.

Firstly, yes. We can talk. In fact, the gay people have been talking gently and calmly about marriage rights for years. Where have you been? As gay people find themselves increasingly marginalized in American society, used as pawns with which politicians pander to religious fundamentalists, is it not absurd for them to finally raise their voice and say, No More!!? Gay people have exerted all efforts calm and boisterous to claim that which is theirs under the Constitution. And only now that the oppression has become palpable – reached levels measurable by dollars – you ask to talk, Mr. Mouw.

Where were you a decade or five years ago? Most likely ensconced in your theological universe, comforted in the surety of your doctrine while other Americans were fighting for the freedoms. Now that the situation has come to a head in your geographical area do you wish to calm those whose rights you actively snuff.

Calm conversation has offered no answers to the gay community. They are not some group of aberrant miscreants who can be talked out of their identity. They cannot be convinced as a people to forgo their Constitution rights simply because the majority choose to oppress them. Gentle conversation is a noble idea, but the reality is that people live and die amidst all this talking you are calling for. We can talk quietly until your jesus comes to claim you, but progress awaits and it is known to happen under mostly painful, dramatic circumstances. Gays have tried talking and reasonable interaction for decades to no avail. Years of existence under the boot of the “moral majority” have given way to anger – and demonstration and protest are some of the most American mediums of expression. That it makes you uncomfortable is inconsequential.

What I dislike about the approach you take in your column toward the discussion table is that you assume your opinion matters. “As my fellow citizens in a pluralistic society, gays and lesbians have a right to ask me what my sincerely held convictions mean for how they pursue their way of lives.” Why would they? Or, better yet, why should they?

A gay marriage should involve only the two who are engaged in the relationship. It does not involve you, your church, or your god. You should live your life the way you choose – and be glad that most of us would also fight for your right to practice your religion freely. But leave other people’s lives to them as they do yours and stop assuming that merely because you have a vote, you have a right to determine the legal boundaries of other people’s relationships. You are not in the equation. No one should even care what your convictions mean for a gay person’s pursuit of happiness.

Furthermore, your opinion is based on a book that calls for people to sacrifice quality decision-making based on evidence in order to believe in a jealous, petty god so that they might inherit some undefinable heaven. That that same god would doom all decent decision-makers to an eternal hell is an incalculably ridiculous notion. That this would be the foundation of your opinion renders your judgment irrational at best. Belief in a book of fairy tales and myths does not make for sound and reasoned decision. No matter how calmly you talk.

One of the biggest problems I have with Christians is that they assume their bible tells them to assert biblical rules to govern the rest of us. It does not. If Christians choose to use the bible as a template for their lives – and even the best cannot do so without “sinning” – that is their right. This does make them a religious fundamentalist, including you, Mr. Mouw.

The bible, however, does not dictate laws for those of us who do not adhere to belief in its divinity. Personally, I think it’s full of crack-pot, misogynist, unnatural, oppressive stories. I would never dream of attaching my “soul” to this ugly tome.

At the end of the day, Mr. Mouw, you are too late. Your chance for considerate – sympathetic? – and calm discussion has passed. I see from your picture you are old. And perhaps you will die content in your belief that a tenant of your fallible religion still holds legal dominance over a group of your fellow Americans. At 31, I will probably live to see this unconstitutional religious dominance broken – more likely sooner than later. What a party that will be!

Lastly, I would ask you what would your jesus do? I’ve read the stories and understand Christians claim to try to be christ-like. Would Jesus deny happiness to those who seek to privately better their lives – people who harm no others by establishing their own families as they freely see fit? I highly doubt it. If Christians cannot be christ-like, why should they expect the rest of us to be?

04
Feb
09

Israel/Palestine – Clusterfuck from God

I don’t understand conflict between Israel and Palestine. Just don’t get it. There are a thousand points of merit between both debate teams and, I have to say, that my overall impression doesn’t not fall on the side of favor of Israel. Here’s my simple take. Judge me if you like, but I’m an American trying to make sense of a seemingly irrational conflict that makes me want to slap all participating parties with a thin, wooden yardstick and yell, “Snap out of it!” (ten points to anyone who can site the actress and the movie from which that quotation originates… well, five because it’s damn easy. it’s, like, Tommy Boy easy)

In a massive, indefensible oversimplification of the issue, here’s my take:

Israel – I recognize the Jewish people have been relentlessly persecuted throughout history in almost every corner of habitation they attempted to settle long term. Having reached a frustration of biblical proportions, this massive group of people somehow came to a united decision over a few decades to return to the land they claim given to them by God. Why God would put a bunch of Arabs in the land Jews feel they’re entitled to, who knows? Maybe it’s a cosmic practical joke. I wouldn’t put it past the God of Abraham. If he’ll stick a living man in a whale for three days, I’m sure he his pranks have heartless, limitless possibilities.

Palestine – The Palestinians have now found themselves on the persecuted side of demography, pushed out of their lands, barred from their holy places, relegated behind mountainous hurdles preventing them from establishing a decent livelihood. Not unacquainted with violence, the Palestinians have, thus, resorted to civilian attacks (ahem, terrorism), rockets, bombs, and many other vehicles of death and destruction as a method to retain a place at the discussion table regarding their territory. So far they’ve been unsuccessful. Imagine that.

Because the fates of our countries are inextricably linked, Israel is given a green light far too often for many of their oppressive policies. And I find that American media is disappointingly pro-Israel. 60 Minutes, however, aired a fantastic piece Jan. 25 regarding the current state and possible future of the conflict and I highly recommend viewing the piece in its entirety. It deserves an award. As, I have not figured out how to embed CBS video on this wordpress blog, I’m providing both the link to the CBS site and the video of it posted on youtube.

Link to CBS report and video: Time Running Out For A Two-State Solution?

Or you can watch it here:

My only problem with the report is that Bob Simon did not ask the Jewish Settler Mayor in the West Bank about the issue of apartheid, the idea that they are pushing people out who were born on those lands and how can a people who faced the sharp end of oppression for centuries can now commit the same atrocities of their former oppressors. There’s a sick “history repeats itself” theme here. I would have pushed the woman for greater clarification, hopefully delving deep enough to find some sympathetic echoes in her soul.

My basic conclusion is that when your domestic and foreign policy is based on the words of a mythical god that no one else recognizes, reason and logic and common sense have no room to improve decision-making. As the rest of the world slowly awakens from its religious dark days, theocratic Israel (and theocratic Muslims) will find fewer and fewer friends willing to buttress their outrageous actions of state.

While I am anxious to hear more views on this topic, it is one of those touchy issues where all relevant voices are shouting too loud to either listen or be heard. It’s basically a clusterfuck that will break and harden hearts for years and years to come.




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