Thursday, August 30, 2012

Back to the "just crazy" series!

I know, totally random stuff, but this illustrates perfectly how nuts the Republican Party has gotten and how totally batshit insane common members of the national party think they can get without being called on it.

This involves the statements made by Pat Rogers, a member of the RNC's Executive Committee regarding the Governor of New Mexico's attendance at an annual state-tribal leaders summit (which attendance is required by law):
“The state is going to hell,” Rogers, who is a member of the GOP executive committee and is currently in Tampa for the RNC convention, wrote in a June 8 email released by Progress Now New Mexico. Former Republican gubernatorial candidate Col. Allen Weh “would not have dishonored Col Custer in this manner,” he wrote.
First of all, I thought Custer's highest attained rank was General, but what the heck, this guy is going to reach back to the Indian Wars to support his side and try to put down his Party's opponents?

What ever happened to current events and issues?

When we say these wingnuts are living on a planet called Wingnutia, we aren't kidding.  Nobody on Earth gives a damn about insulting people that way, and in fact see it as an extreme form of racism.

Do we really want people who think like this in charge of our government?  At any level?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

An Open Answer to Lou Pritchett's Open Letter to Obama has a page confirming the correct attribution of that open letter to Lou Pritchett.

Here's my answer to Lou.

1.  If you know nothing about Obama, you haven't been paying attention, just listening to Fox News.
2.  He paid for his Ivy League education with student loans, he's mentioned that on the stump, both this year, and when he first ran. (and he's released his tax returns, so we DO know where he makes his money.)
3.  Yes, he did grow up in America, as much as many kids do today - more Than Mitt Romney's dad did!  Hawaii IS America, as is Kansas.  Mexico isn't.
4.  Ryan has never run a company, nor met a payroll, yet Romney has him a heartbeat away from being President if he wins.  So?  Obama has three and a half years experience AT BEING PRESIDENT!!
5.  Romney has never had any military experience, nor has Ryan, so what is so important about Obama's lack?
6.  Radical extremists?  You've been watching too much Fox News.  Those are lies.
7.  He has NEVER blamed America.  More Fox News lies.
8.  What's so scary about a safety net for the poor?  Or decent regulation protecting us from predatory business?  Sorry, that's a fail.
9.  Obama has repeatedly supported American capitalism, including supporting GM, which is now returning a CAPITALIST style profit to taxpayers for the STOCK we bought to support GM.  Fail again.
10.  Regulation is not extortion.
11.  "Wild and irresponsible spending"?   How's about tax cuts for the rich with NOTHING to pay for them?  THAT'S wild and irresponsible spending!!  Adding to the debt to the tune of BILLIONS of dollars, that's wild and irresponsible!
12.  Obama has tried to sit down with the Republicans for three and a half years, yet they have refused to listen in return, constantly obstructing everything Obama has tried to do, including passing measures which have traditionally been bipartisan in the past, to no avail.  Sorry, this one's on the Republicans - AGAIN.
13.  Omnipotent?  I'd like some of that weed, please.  Must be good stuff.
14.  Free pass?  You mean the one Fox News gives every Republican, who all refuse to talk to regular journalists because they won't ask easy questions?
15.  Demonize, yes, because those idiots demonize themselves, every time they open their garbage mouths.  PROVE one time Obama has tried to shut one of those windbags up.  Just once.  Lies, again.
16.  Governing IS, in a sense, controlling.  You don't know what the hell you're talking about.  Typical businessman!  Projecting much from the Republicans' platform?
17.  If Obama wins, you'll be safer than I will if Romney were to win.

This man is a tool of the rich, lying to try to scare the Republican base into voting against their own interests.  EVERY ONE of the above are lies or gross distortions designed to scare you, the voter.

Don't let the rich bastards out there get the better of you.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Imprecatory Prayer. Never could pronounce it...

... but I know it means someone wants something evil done to someone else.

They just don't have the guts to do it themselves, and they want to be able to blame the victim.  After all, if their god does this bad thing to Obama, obviously, he had it coming, didn't he?

Even if you asked god for it, right?  So, god will just do this for you?  Like some supernatural hit squad?  Is there some web site where you sign up?  Or do you just pick a victim and ask?

Are there any criteria for whom you can pick?  Can just anybody ask for this, or are there some criteria for how pious you've got to be in order for it to work?

Personally, you've got to be pretty sick to ask for this in the first place, and in the second, you've got to be some kind of moral coward.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Atheism +

This post has been coming for a while.  I’ve had to think about it and see how it shook out elsewhere.

That elsewhere is at Freethought Blogs, where a number of bloggers have been working out a new idea - Atheism+.

I think I’ll let Jen McCreight of Blag Hag say it first:

It’s time for a new wave of atheism, just like there were different waves of feminism. I’d argue that it’s already happened before. The “first wave” of atheism were the traditional philosophers, freethinkers, and academics. Then came the second wave of “New Atheists” like Dawkins and Hitchens, whose trademark was their unabashed public criticism of religion. Now it’s time for a third wave – a wave that isn’t just a bunch of “middle-class, white, cisgender, heterosexual, able-bodied men” patting themselves on the back for debunking homeopathy for the 983258th time or thinking up yet another great zinger to use against Young Earth Creationists. It’s time for a wave that cares about how religion affects everyone and that applies skepticism to everything, including social issues like sexism, racism, politics, poverty, and crime. We can criticize religion and irrational thinking just as unabashedly and just as publicly, but we need to stop exempting ourselves from that criticism.

This says perfectly what has been bothering me about our movement for a while.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a white, middle-aged+ cis-gendered male of the middle class - exactly what the atheist movement has been aiming at for a while, and yeah, I’m comfortable with that.  But then again, I’m not comfortable with that in that I can see the missing people.  White, middle aged, cis-gendered males can’t do it alone.  I’d love to think we could, but that’s a pipe dream.  We need others, we need everybody who doesn’t believe to pitch in and show the population of this country that atheists aren’t boogy men coming to steal your children.  There have been, and this is more than adequately illustrated on Freethought Blogs, elements of our movement who have shown themselves to be bigoted, blind and hateful when it comes to women’s issues, LBGT issues and other issues of social justice.

It’s as if their male privilege is somehow being threatened if others join us in expanding this movement in defeating the dark side.

I don’t get that.  My citizenship isn’t threatened by powerful women.  It isn’t threatened by my wife having equal privileges to mine, and my “maleness” isn’t diminished by either that or gay marriage.  My own marriage is just fine, thank-you-very-much and wasn’t bothered in the least when Maryland legalized gays getting married to each other.

I am not bothered by Trans folks living their lives as they wish, and living as the sex they think is the right one.  It doesn’t diminish my own sexual life nor my picture of myself or my relationship with my wife.  Same with Bi folk.
I am not bothered by people of other ethnicities as they live their lives, and in fact, I feel my life has been enriched by the contact I have had with people of all these different types in the last 25 years since I moved here from Texas.  My outlook on life has been enlarged considerably and I have learned much of value from that contact.

I believe I am a better citizen and a smarter voter because of the contact I have had with all of the people of different kinds, types and persuasions both in the meat world and online.

Which is why I want the atheist movement to begin to move beyond simple opposition to religion.  I have written a fair amount on the harm religion does to society, and I still believe that such opposition is necessary and as important as ever.

But we also need to directly oppose that harm, and work towards social justice for all people, because as an atheist, I not only oppose religion, but I oppose the attitudes religion brings to social issues that cause that harm.

I want to bring a better educational system to everybody, regardless of social strata and geography, because education is the linchpin to a better society.  I want to make the justice system better, because that directly affects the minority groups most negatively affected by a dysfunctional system.  I want to push for social equality for all, regardless of ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identification or biological dysfunction.

I want this because such social equality brings with it economic success and with economic success for the individual comes economic success for the entire country!  The more we can afford as individuals, the more our economy can afford to take care of the disadvantaged, and the fewer of them there will be.

Much has been made over at FreeThought Blogs about the “divisiveness” of the “+” part of Atheism+.  I don’t see it that way, I see it more as an addition that can attract more people than it may repel.

In other words, if this idea attracts you, then welcome!  If not, that’s ok too, go find a group that does, and we both can go on opposing the harm religions are doing to our society.  Each in our own way.

I urge you to go read Jen’s post, and her followup post Atheism+.

There are others who have pitched in and added their own thoughts, and you should read them, too.  In the meantime, think about this:

We are…

Atheists plus we care about social justice,
Atheists plus we support women’s rights,
Atheists plus we protest racism,
Atheists plus we fight homophobia and transphobia,
Atheists plus we use critical thinking and skepticism.

Plus, a cool logo!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Something different - and uplifting!

Norway is a small to mid-sized European country of approximately 4.7 million people.  79% of the population lives in an urban setting.

The World Fact Book says the following about Norway’s history:
Two centuries of Viking raids into Europe tapered off following the adoption of Christianity by King Olav TRYGGVASON in 994. Conversion of the Norwegian kingdom occurred over the next several decades. In 1397, Norway was absorbed into a union with Denmark that lasted more than four centuries. In 1814, Norwegians resisted the cession of their country to Sweden and adopted a new constitution. Sweden then invaded Norway but agreed to let Norway keep its constitution in return for accepting the union under a Swedish king. Rising nationalism throughout the 19th century led to a 1905 referendum granting Norway independence. Although Norway remained neutral in World War I, it suffered heavy losses to its shipping. Norway proclaimed its neutrality at the outset of World War II, but was nonetheless occupied for five years by Nazi Germany (1940-45). In 1949, neutrality was abandoned and Norway became a member of NATO. Discovery of oil and gas in adjacent waters in the late 1960s boosted Norway's economic fortunes. In referenda held in 1972 and 1994, Norway rejected joining the EU. Key domestic issues include immigration and integration of ethnic minorities, maintaining the country's extensive social safety net with an aging population, and preserving economic competitiveness.
Pretty dry stuff, huh?  Hidden among those dry words is a history replete with violence, betrayal, conquest and defeat.  It didn’t even mention the fact that their Viking ancestors almost conquered the British Isles and barely alludes to the fact that they terrorized the whole of Europe as far south as the Mediterranean for those two centuries!

And yet, today, the Norwegians are known world-wide as a peaceful people of good repute.

Which was why the horrendous shooting last year so shocked the world.  How could such evil come from such a peaceful people?  And how would they react?  To Americans, this kind of thing has, unfortunately, become an almost yearly thing, and we react schizophrenically.  Many of us want to hang the bastard and the rest just want it to go away.

Well, folks, courtesy of the German TV channel Deutsche Welle, I give you a most notable news story about the Norwegian shooting and the trial of Anders Behring Breivik.

This story is brought to you by Deutsche Welle, NOT an American news source.  It is in english, but I want you to see the tangible difference in how the news is presented and the story told from American sources.

It is in several different parts, told at different times, but it all tells the story of a most remarkable country reacting to what is to it, a most remarkable occurrence.

Here are the links:   (I’ll wait until you’ve finished, please come back here after reading this for more thoughts.)

Finished?  Pretty incredible, isn’t it?   Could that kind of scenario ever play out here?  Would this country ever accept such a short sentence for such a horrific crime?

Probably not.

But think about this:

For a country which terrorized the whole of Europe as a pagan force of berserker warriors and almost conquered England, they’ve come a long way.

How much of Norway is Christian?

Recent poll results for Norway give this breakdown when it comes to religious beliefs.

29 percent believe in a god or deity
23 percent believe in a higher power without being certain of what
26 percent don't believe in God or higher powers
22 percent have doubts

No matter how you slice it, Norway is not a Christian nation.

How does that affect Norwegian society?

The Global Peace Index rates Norway the most peaceful country in the world. The Human Development Index, a comparative measure of life expectancy, literacy, education and standard of living, has ranked Norway No. 1 every year for the last five years.

Norway has the second highest GDP per capita in the world, an unemployment rate below 2 percent, and average hourly wages among the world's highest.

Not bad for a bunch of socialists!

I want to make this perfectly clear:

This reaction, documented in the three stories I linked to, is astonishing in how it clearly shows how reason and a lack of religious policy making has resulted in a country whose reaction to such a terrible crime was to lock the guy up for only 21 years.

Over and over again, you hear the victims (and families of dead victims) say things you’d never hear in this country, forgiving things, things which show a strength of character by wanting to move on and forward, to get past the horror and build a better country.  No argument about gun control, no calls for the death penalty, no “lock em up for life” calls, either.  Few religious references in the statements of the victims.

In short, a complete trust in the democratic institutions and laws which they expect to deal with the situation.

Almost to a person, interviewees want to move past Breivik, to get on with their lives and try to see how they can improve their country so this can’t happen again.

In short, as sane a reaction as one could hope for, and one which shows a country with a strength of character to rival anything the US could show.  (After all, a substantial portion of some States in this country can brag of Norwegian ancestors!)

THIS is what I want our country to look like.

In a few days, Hopefully, DW will post a video of a show (In Focus) they aired on the 18th, before the verdict, which clearly shows much of what I’d like you to see.  Once they post it, I’ll link to it so you can see it - it is in English, and it will blow your mind.

I promise.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Something else despicable, again.

This one comes to you courtesy of the Democratic Party of New York in Albany.

One Vito J. Lopez, the Brooklyn Democratic Assemblyman, has been stripped of his committee chairmanship, his seniority rights and has had his staff reduced in number and is enjoined from employing interns under 21 years of age, all as a result of having been seen to have sexually harassed two young female interns on his staff.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Manhattan Democrat, said that the Assembly’s ethics committee had unanimously found allegations of both verbal and physical harassment to be credible. 
“There were multiple incidents of unwelcome physical conduct toward one complainant, wherein you put your hand on her leg, she removed your hand, and you then put your hand between her upper thighs, putting your hand as far up between her legs as you could go,” Mr. Silver wrote, describing the committee’s findings. 
He also said, “There was pervasive unwelcome verbal conduct by you toward both complainants from early June 2012 until the time they made complaints of sexual harassment in mid-July 2012, including repeated comments about their physical appearance, their bodies, their attire, and their private relationships.” 
He said that Mr. Lopez “required” one of the women to travel with him to Atlantic City last month, where he attempted to kiss her, and that “she struggled to fend you off before you stopped, and that on the drive back from Atlantic City you again put your hand between her legs.”
 It is refreshing to see that a Democratic dominated elected body is capable of taking such harsh action in response to the complaints of staffers as powerless as your typical intern.  Also, the imposition of sexual harassment training not only on the Assemblyman but on his staff as well, bodes well for the future.

Perhaps this will help to bring this issue to better public awareness.

Not to mention help a few people realize that the Democratic Party doesn't only smack down Republicans who cross this line.  Sexual harassment is wrong, no matter who does it or where it happens.

Despicable, to say the least.

I and others on the left have long seen Fox News as an organ of political propaganda for the right wing.  Were I so inclined, I could research this and give you chapter and verse, with multiple items to prove their long history of lies.

But why do that, now that I've proof that the bastards have no sense of patriotism or loyalty at all?

I'm sure by now, you've all heard about the Navy Seal that's broken the code of silence and written a book about that raid, and how he has tried to protect his identity by using a pseudonym.

What you may not have noticed is that Fox News has revealed his real name!  Yes, you heard that right - the news outlet which excoriated Gawker's John Cook for trying to uncover the identity of a CIA agent involved in the raid, has itself done the same thing.  Only they didn't "try", they actually did it!

Fox News posted this in their article in 2011:

“You seem to have not noticed that they took great pains to make sure his face wasn't in the shot and he was never identified by name,” Myrna Minkoff wrote, when another commenter challenged her criticism of the Gawker post. 
Other commenters chimed in.  
“Sure it'll put him, his friends, and his family in danger regardless of whether or not he's actually the guy, but it'll generate some pageviews and advertiser revenue, and that's the IMPORTANT thing, right?” wrote someone using the name “dgoat.” 
“You should still be ashamed of yourselves.”

Yeah, Fox, you should!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

I'm sick!

Picked up a virus somewhere and got a rash.  Doctor said to take it easy for a few days - all I wanna do is sleep anyway.

See you guys on the other side of this thing...


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

This is turning into a series!

The tag on this and other stories has been "Just Plain Crazy".  But, dang, it's turning into a daggone series!

This one's out of, of all places, Lubbock, Texas!  A judge is asking for a 1.7 cent tax hike, in part because he wants 7 more deputies to reduce deputy fatigue, but get this, he also wants seasoned officers behind him, in case of civil unrest.

Why?  Because when Obama get re-elected, he'll turn over sovereignty to the UN, which will spark civil war, whereupon Obama will send in UN Troops!

You gotta listen to this nut bag:

Yes, extremism is the new Republican normal.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Really, this is why....

My Cyberdaughter has figured it out:  why the Republicans are doing what they are doing - Akin gave it away.

There's illegitimate rape, right?  If you get "illegitimately raped", it didn't happen, so if you get pregnant, tough cookies.

And, as we have all been so brilliantly reminded by Rep. Akin, women never get pregnant when they are legitimately raped, right?

So, you're off the hook, right?

Not so fast!  Remember why you don't get pregnant?  Because your body shuts that down!

Now, remember that "personhood amendment" the Republicans are putting in their platform?

If you get legitimately raped and your body shuts that down, YOU'RE A MURDERESS!!!  You KILLED that zyg...I mean..fet...I mean baby!  So you're going to prison!

So, after that, who's going to report a rape, right?  So the FBI can just take that line out of their crime report, and - voila!  No more rape!

Brilliant!  Dang, those Republicans are great crime fighters, aren't they?

(Shhhhh! Don't say that!)

Well, it looks like Todd Akin has decided to stay in the race.  Congratulations, Senator McCaskill, your chances of winning just more than doubled!

The Republican reaction to this has been a real, live, sit-down, popcorn worthy game show.

First, Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association doubled down on the Stupid the other day.

"We do not believe it serves the national interest for Congressman Todd Akin to stay in this race," said the statement by Sen. Roy Blunt and former senators Danforth, Bond, John Ashcroft and Jim Talent. "The issues at stake are too big, and this election is simply too important. The right decision is to step aside."
"We continue to hope that Congressman Akin will do the right thing for the values he holds dear, but there should be no mistake -- if he continues with this misguided campaign, it will be without the support and resources of the NRSC," said a statement by communications director Brian Walsh." 
 His decision won support from the Missouri Republican Assembly, which issued a statement urging the party to back Akin in the battle against McCaskill. 
"The Republican leadership needs to grow a spine and disallow the Democrats, who always support their candidates even when they are wrong, to dictate our stance," the group's statement said. "... While Todd may have been indiscreet in his word choice, he was not wrong in his facts. Todd can win despite this misstep. All Republicans will lose if they continue throwing their candidates under the bus because of a poor word choice."
 Additionally, Family Research Council's Connie Mackey is also defending Akin.
"This is another case of 'gotcha politics' against a conservative leader. Todd Akin has a long and distinguished record of defending women, children and families..."
 So, why the mixed messages?  Can't they make up their minds?

Oh, they have!
“Faithful to the ‘self-evident’ truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.”
That's a draft of the 2012 Republican Party Platform due to be accepted next week in Tampa.   (emphasis mine)

So, why aren't they just supporting the man, since his position is completely in line with the Party Platform?

Because the marginally more intelligent of the Republicans out there realize that the American people have already made up their minds about abortion, and they are on the wrong side.  So, they know that Akin's comments, while reflecting not only the Party Platform, but the considered opinions of such religious luminaries as Bryan Fischer, are complete and utter poison to Republicans' chances of winning this election.

So, really, they'd just rather this whole thing disappear down a rabbit hole.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Backup, Backup, Backup! The latest in backup plans...

I guess everybody'd got to have a fall back, just in case things don't quite go as planned - or the way your god promised...

The latest grisly backup plan comes out of - where else - Virginia!

A Republican newsletter in Virginia, known as “The Constitutional Conservatives”, published in March by the Greene County, Virginia Republican Committee, is openly calling for violently overthrowing the duly elected government of the United States should Democrats still be in charge.

“We have before us a challenge to remove an ideologue unlike anything world history has ever witnessed or recognized. An individual who has come to power within a Nation which yields it’s strength over the entire world. An elected leader who shuns biblical praise, handicaps economic ability, disrespects the honor of earned military might. In the coming days and weeks  ~ we the people must come to grasp as a common force, our very soul’s, that our future as a sovereign nation is indeed at risk. If every single individual that you know, would contact 25 other individuals  ~ we can make a difference that will be heard across the Commonwealth and in Washington. The ultimate task for the people is to remain vigilant and aware  ~ that the government, their government is out of control, and this moment, this opportunity, must not be forsaken, must not escape us, for we shall not have any coarse but armed revolution should we fail with the power of the vote in November ~ This Republic cannot survive for 4 more years underneath this political socialist ideologue.”
Not for the first time, since that Senate candidate in Nevada,  Sharon Angle, advised Second Amendment Remedies if they failed in their efforts to get elected.

Last time I checked, no armed rebellion - yet.

Please, can we stop this shit now?  I get it, the man's half black - though the old die-hards still rate that as effectively black anyway - but this is the 21st century, folks.  You just can't turn back the clock - not if you like your iPhones, frozen TV dinners and Ted Haggard on the tube regularly.  If you turn back one thing, it all goes, since it takes a modern, technological society to get all that done.

You really need to let that rebellion thing go, too.  That was fine in the 18th century, when everybody and his brother had muskets, and privately held weapons were often more accurate than what the government issued its troops.

This days are gone forever, or haven't you noticed?  Yes, I know a lot of you gun nuts have AK-47s, but the government has the name and address of every one of you who have licenses to own machine guns, so you can write those off now.  I'd say that the Air Force can knock off most of the real nuts in short order, standing off with fuel air bombs that'll suck all the air out of your hard-dug bunkers in about ten seconds.

Besides, all that is beside the point.

What you are suggesting is treason.  Pure, unadulterated treason.

I took TWO oaths of office swearing to uphold the Constitution of the United States.  It wasn't an oath to a President, or a Congress, or to the People, of which I am one.

It was an oath to protect and defend that Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic, because that Constitution is OUR AGREEMENT to run this country according to a blueprint designed to give everybody an equal chance at a happy life.  You know, that pursuit of happiness thing you crow so much about in the Declaration of Independence?

The DOI is a document which severed ties with Great Britain.  TWO HUNDRED AND THIRTY SIX YEARS AGO! It's historic, yes, but its usefulness as a legal document is just that, historical.

The Constitution says NOTHING about allowing armed rebellion, in fact, it gives the government the power to suppress armed rebellion, and provides specifically for the crime of treason!

Put that in yer corned cob pipe and smoke it...

Obama may yet win, or he may lose.  We each have our 'druthers.  But you won't hear a single person of any note at all on the left espousing armed rebellion if Romney wins.

But, somehow, it's ok if the official newsletter of a County Republican Party tells its members to get ready to raise a ruckus.

What the fuck is wrong with you people?

Armed Rebellion - Pre-empted! Bryan Fischer doubles down on rape.

I was going to write about the Armed Rebellion thing in Virginia next, but that has gotten pre-empted by the super-religious idiot Bryan Fischer, who has doubled down on Akin's idiocy about women not getting pregnant from rape:

Fischer, the public face of the certified anti-gay hate group, American Family Association, said: 
“When you have a real, genuine rape, a case of forcible rape, a case of assault rape, where a woman has been violated against her will, through the use of physical force,” Fischer describes, adding “there’s a very delicate and complex mix of hormones that take place that are released in a woman’s body and if that gets interfered with it may make it impossible for her or difficult in that particular circumstance to conceive a child.”

Does this man have pretentious visions of being a medical doctor?  Or is this some version of a religious vision?  Because if it is either one, I'm not sure which one makes him crazier.  The article I linked to notes that 32,000 women get pregnant every year from rape.  That makes the man a liar as well as crazy.

Help like that, the Republicans don't need, but as far as I am concerned, I hope they get all of it they can stand...

To all you Republican ladies out there - are they crazy enough for you yet?  If not, what does it take?

That remark about rape was NOT a gaffe!

When that Republican idiot made that remark about "legitimate" rape and women not getting pregnant very often, he set himself up for major excoriation all over the map.  Even Republicans have begged him to resign the nomination. 

But he refuses.

However, other sources say his staff is preparing for just that.

One would note, however, that his statements were not accidental, and do not represent a gaffe:

This was not a gaffe. It reflects a policy position, and Akin — who is running to unseat Sen. Claire McCaskill — is not alone in advocating misogynistic views on rape. Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan co-sponsored the bill with Akin last year that introduced the term “forcible rape” into the political lexicon:
The story goes on the quote the following:

 Federal law prevents federal Medicaid funds and similar programs from paying for abortions. Yet the law also contains an exception for women who are raped. The bill Akin and Ryan cosponsored would have narrowed this exception, providing that only pregnancies arising from “forcible rape” may be terminated. Because the primary target of Akin and Ryan’s effort are Medicaid recipients — patients who are unlikely to be able to afford an abortion absent Medicaid funding — the likely impact of this bill would have been forcing many rape survivors to carry their rapist’s baby to term. Michelle Goldberg explains who Akin and Ryan would likely target: 
Under H.R. 3, only victims of “forcible rape” would qualify for federally funded abortions. Victims of statutory rape—say, a 13-year-old girl impregnated by a 30-year-old man—would be on their own. So would victims of incest if they’re over 18. And while “forcible rape” isn’t defined in the criminal code, the addition of the adjective seems certain to exclude acts of rape that don’t involve overt violence—say, cases where a woman is drugged or has a limited mental capacity. “It’s basically putting more restrictions on what was defined historically as rape,” says Keenan. 
Although a version of this bill passed the GOP-controlled House, the “forcible rape” language was eventually removed due to widespread public outcry. Paul Ryan, however, believes that the “forcible rape” language does not actually go far enough to force women to carry their rapist’s baby. Ryan believes that abortion should be illegal in all cases except for “cases in which a doctor deems an abortion necessary to save the mother’s life.” So rape survivors are out of luck.
So, how do you like the Republican VP pick now, ladies? Are his good looks enough to make you forget all this?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Yes, Religion Hurts. Again.

The last post about the idiot who thinks raped women have some magical ability to keep from getting pregnant is a perfect example of how religious thinking can and does do harm to society.

Why in the world, you’d ask, would a supposedly intelligent man say such a stupid thing?  I mean, he could ask a doctor if it’s right, couldn’t he?

Yes, but that would damage his world-view.

You see, women are inferior beings.  They lack the ability to think like men, and so instinctually cause men to do bad things like rape them.  It’s not really the men’s fault, you see, it’s the nature of women to entice men into doing bad things.  That’s why women need men to control them and keep them where they will be unable to negatively affect those poor men.

If women were able to think, and didn’t instinctively make men rape them, somehow, that would imply that men weren’t superior beings, and might, just might, mind you, be at fault for raping women.

Can’t have that, because god says men are superior and women were created from the man, so they have to be controlled by men.  The modern idea of women being equal and such is just the devil’s work.

Besides, this would expose the fact that evil happens and god can’t control it, or won’t control it or doesn’t care, or some weird combination of the three, thus isn’t omnipotent after all.  So the victim has to be at fault.

This is another example of the harm religion does to society, and I’ve written at least three other posts about the harm religion does in the past.  Here are links to those posts:

Go, read, and understand why religious influence in this country must be ejected from politics!  You will begin to understand where the Founders were coming from when they banished religion from Government using the First Amendment.

Republican Senate Nominee: Victims Of ‘Legitimate Rape’ Don’t Get Pregnant

(Sorry, stole the title straight from Talking Points Memo)

For those of you who have doubts about there being a war on women by the Republicans, here's more proof it exists:

“First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare,” Akin told KTVI-TV in an interview posted Sunday. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
Rep. Todd Akin, the Republican nominee for Senate in Missouri who is running against Sen. Claire McCaskill, is using this full on craziness to justify his opposition to abortion rights, even in cases of rape.

I picked up on this first at FreeThought Blogs, in Zingularity:

 He understands very little, obviously, outside of the comforting magic inherent in his Bronze-age mythology and flaky new age conservative wackiness . But I’ll bet you Akin’s small dollar campaign contributions spike because of this.

Magic, that's it!   Dang, why didn't I think of that?

Saturday, August 18, 2012

A Plea to the Republican masses.

I know there are some folks, with more specific education, smarter and more experienced in these matters than I , who have written a lot about why the working class has been wooed successfully by the Republicans, who are, conversely, completely in the pay of and in support of, the oligarchic masters of the political right.

They’ve managed to sell the working class on this economic ”theory” of trickle down economics, where, supposedly, the rich have all the money, and through some unmentioned, un-examined process, deign to create jobs for those of us unfortunate enough to not be independently wealthy.

This has got to be the most successful sales job since the National Socialists managed to sell the German people on the wholly made up fabrication that they gave a damn about the average German.

I am not an economist, I am not a political scientist, nor am I a politician or an experienced political activist.  I am just an average guy with a degree in Public Administration who has worked for the US Government for thirty eight (almost, as of next month) years.  I’ve worked at being a investigative Aide, a purchasing agent and as an IT specialist, and none of those jobs has endowed me with the kind of experience that should give anybody confidence in my ability as a political commentator.

What I am, is a reformed Republican, and for a lot of you, that should make you sit up and listen, if only for a few minutes.

There was a time when I bought that “trickle down” crap hook, line & sinker.  Cash on the barrelhead, and all that.  It just sounded good.  I also listened to it and bought it before I had any kind of university level classes on economics and and experience on how government finances work.

I had an instructor at the Brookhaven College in Dallas (where I earned a two year degree) who hated Reagan.  Hated the man with a venomous poison that seemed to eat him up inside.  He also had a mantra about government that rankled me to the core.

He used to say that government created nothing nor added to the economy, but only acted in a parasitic manner, lowering its GDP.

Yeah, I know, go figure.  I never managed to see how he held such antithetical views either, but he did.

Later, I went to the University of Texas at Dallas, where I earned my bachelor’s degree in Public Administration.

I learned a few things along the way.

One of which is, Government is NOT a parasite.  It is the ground upon which a successful society and economy stands.  (Which was Obama's point when he said that businesses "didn't build that".)

Look around the world.  Look at the third world, in which one finds numerous dictatorships, both personal and ideological.  What is one overriding characteristic one sees in those governments?

Uncertainty.  Oftentimes, instability as well, as opponents of those dictators try to overthrow them.

So, what does one see in those economies?  Low standards of living, high unemployment and few industries of real note, internationally speaking.

Look at Somalia.

No centralized government, tribal entities only.  Piracy is rampant, because there are NO businesses which are willing to do business in a country where there is no rule of law!  Thus, few jobs and few real ways to make a decent living except for piracy, which is actually a “business” set up by some tribes to bring in money to make themselves more powerful.  Really, it’s kind of traditional in Africa anyway in some cultures, one which goes back centuries.

Contrast that with Europe and the US.

Strong, central governments, a pattern of centralized regulation of business and social interactions which set a strong groundwork of enforced rules which allow business owners to know what to expect of others they may need to do business with.  A strong centralized organization which makes available a physical infrastructure of transportation upon which modern businesses depend to both get their goods to distant markets, and allow their workforce to get to work safely.  A strong judicial system which lays the groundwork for protecting their investments from both piracy, lawlessness and unscrupulous scoundrels who may wish to prey upon the honest business owner.

A diplomatic corp which has as one of its prime goals the opening of foreign markets to local goods and a strong military with the power to protect their interests overseas from foreigners with piratical tendencies, or at least diplomatic agreements and treaties which result in that protection.

Government is NOT parasitic.  It the ground upon which a successful society and economy are built which makes it strong and resilient against economic shocks which would sink a weaker nation into debt and recession from which it may take decades to recover otherwise.  (See Greece, for instance)

A direct example of what happens to countries with political instability worrying the financial markets was here for the world to see last summer, as Obama struggled with a Republican Party which was so set on holding the US economy hostage, that the US’ credit ratings were lowered for virtually the first time, costing us billions of dollars in additional interest payments.

Such is the cost of political instability.  Such is the value of a stable, strong central government!

Now, let’s let that sink in for a moment.  Just think about it.

What strikes you first?

What should strike you first is that the Tea Party Republicans, in direct contravention to their stated concern over the debt, cost us billions of dollars by a confrontational stance which was directly opposed even by their own party leadership.

So, now, why?

Why would any American of middle class or lower economic circumstances support a party which would use the stability of the US credit ratings as a hostage for their own political gain?  Are they really concerned with that debt?

No.  Paul Ryan’s budget would, according to the Congressional Budget Office, a non-partisan entity, add multiple trillions of dollars to the public debt, costing future generations billions and billions in additional interest payments added to future generations’ tax burden.

Does he say how he would pay for that additional spending?  No, he does not, but he adds to that debt by lowering taxes for the wealthiest people in the country, and adding to the tax burden of the middle and working classes.

That’s most of the rest of us, by the way.

That probably means you, since I doubt that there are any of the 1% reading my blog.

Am I telling the Republicans which may be reading this to abandon the Republican Party?

No, not permanently.  There is more than enough room for two parties, and indeed, at least two are required for the competition that makes a modern democracy work.

But it cannot work if one is dominated by religious ideologues who refuse to compromise and use legislative slight of hand to stymie and stop the levers of power from operating the way they should.

The Republicans had their run for eight years.  They blew it, with massive tax cuts, two unfunded wars, and an economic recession only exceeded by the Great Depression.  So, what do they do?  Do they try to regroup and recover, examining their policies for unpopular and unworkable things which need getting tossed and/or reworked?

No, they double down and just get crazier.

Their are two things which are making the political scene today poisonous and unworkable.

Money from the rich, unbridled and opaque.

Religion, crazy and unbridled by common sense and contaminated by politics.

YOU, the working class and middle class who have been voting Republican need to start voting for people who will throw the Tea Party bums out, they are doing you no favors.  The Independents are alarmed by them, and are likely to not vote for them at all in the General election.  I mean, come on!  When Republicans are so alarmed by their real prospects in the general election that they have to resort to voter suppression to win, that’s bad.  In more ways than one.

And we need to put people in the Supreme Court who will end this ridiculous charade of corporate money bags being people, and the only way to do that is to elect people who aren’t wedded to the religious and oligarchic moneybags.

The Republican Party needs to lose this election, and it needs to lose in a landslide - again.

YOU, the Republicans’ target population, need to start telling them to get back to governing and to stop pushing crazy, nutbag religion and kowtowing to the oligarchs.

I am not telling you to stop being conservative.  I am telling you to get back to being the Conservatives which made Reagan President.  You know Reagan couldn’t get elected dogcatcher in the Republican Party of today.

And that’s just wrong.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Is this man for real?

There are times when words fail.  Believe me when I say that for me, that is unusual.  Ask anyone who knows me well, and they'll tell you the same thing.  My mother should have been jailed for teaching me to talk, and my Senior english teacher should have been shot, alright?  That's how bad I am and how much I won't ever shut up.

But on this story, words just fail.

Why does anybody think this man is a decent christian?


Violence isn't a good political method, but some people think lying is.

The headquarters of the Family Research Council, a Christian anti-gay hate group, was attacked the other day. A gunman who apparently disagreed with their stance opened fire and wounded a security guard.

I read a number of lefty blogs and news sites. ALL of them mentioned this story in one way or another, and every one which did denounced the violence to one degree or another. Many of them unequivocally denounced the violence as bad and wrong and openly sympathized with either the guard or both the guard and the FRC - specifically because of the violence, and in spite of their political differences with that group.

The worst part is, that on Facebook tonight I saw a photo being shared around by a FB acquaintance of mine.

Not only is this a blatant lie, but it is a scurrilous attempt at painting the rest of the media as biased against the right wing. This is politics at its worst. The attacker was wrong, yes, terribly wrong, and has set his own cause back to a major degree and given his opponents a gift that they will exploit to the fullest and beyond.

This is the beyond part, by the way.

Any honest reading of the history of violence in this country will see clearly that in the last century violence has been largely perpetrated by right wing extremists towards left wing organizations or individuals they disagree with. Not exclusively by any means, but to a large degree.

Note here that I do not blame this on any organized effort. I don't have some conspiracy theory that there is some cabal of right wing extremists plotting to make their own extreme wing of nut bags do violent things. There IS a cabal of right wingers plotting to take over the country, probably at least two of them, but not violently. Strictly within the letter of the law, if not the spirit. But that is a digression.

There is a language of violence inherent in the language of the right wing, though. Note the things which were pointed out in the wake of the Gabby Giffords shooting, all of which used the language of "targeting" or images of shooting range targets or gunsights.

I guess the take home from this incident is that such language doesn't ONLY affect the right wing extremists. It affects the extremists of all stripes, including the lefties.

But the right wing would rather just lie about their opponent's actions and words instead of looking, again, at their own language of violence and division or simply condemning that violence.

I will, again, ask my right wing readers, is this really the way you want to win? Is lying about your opponents the right way to play the "game" of politics? Do you really want Republicans to win so badly that you are willing to condone a culture of lies and hatred to do it?

I am not talking about exaggerations and political polemics, that's part of the game. But blatant lies aren't, or should not be.


Good News Update (again)

Remember the Louisiana school forcing the girls to get pregnancy tests if they were suspected of being preggers?


Original story

Well, there is another update, and this one is good news.  Instead of bringing in the lawyers, the charter school has decided to just do the right thing and just stop breaking the law.  This came to me through Ed Brayton's blog, Dispatches from the Culture Wars today.

Go read it, it's good to see something end right for a change, instead of making lawyers rich.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Is the GOP really so crazy?

I've posted a few things here recently to show how nuts the Republicans have gotten. But are they so crazy? Or are they crazy like foxes?

If you are really interested in that question, ask a Republican - or at least one that has recently left the Party after spending the larger part of twenty years serving that Party in Congress.

Alternet has posted a "lightly edited" transcript of a discussion with Mike Lofgren. Here are a couple of samples:

Joshua Holland: ... Do you still identify yourself as a moderate conservative?
Mike Lofgren: Well, I would say that in today’s GOP, Ronald Reagan would be considered too moderate. After all, he pleaded with Congress to pass a clean debt relief bill when the deficit threatened to get out of hand. He passed several tax increases. So I think maybe the GOP has maybe passed me by.
JH: It seems to me, and it comes through very clearly in the book, that religious fundamentalism is by definition incompatible with democracy, because democracy requires some compromise. When you believe your position is the word of God and the other guy’s position is the work of Satan you can’t really meet in the middle, can you? How did this ideology play out when you were working on the Hill?
ML: You kind of saw that and it was one of the reasons that led me to retire from the Hill. In early 2011, I saw that this whole new infusion of Tea Party Republicans, particularly in the House, they were going to use the debt limit increase issue -- which had been passed without too much crisis something like 87 times previously since World War II -- use it to ransom the government of the United States

I hope this has whetted your appetite, now go and read the whole thing, or listen to the entire interview. (They've got a link)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


That's a powerful word.  It fueled several spankings from my Dad before I got the message.  Besides that, it has a way of helping people characterize others.

I remember, as a boy, watching the John Wayne movies, the Roy Rogers movies and TV shows and so forth, and I remember that one overriding theme in those movies was about honesty.  A man's word was his currency, literally.  There are, in the American heartland, places where business is still done on a handshake, on the basis of a person's (we include women now, you know) reputation as honest and forthright in their dealings with others.  Primary in this environment of trust is honesty.

The idea is that if one is going to be doing business with others, either professional or personal, it is expected that you will honestly represent yourself in word and deed, and if circumstances change, those changes will again, be honestly represented to those you are dealing with.  You will pay your bills, meet your obligations, and represent the dealings of others with you to third parties honestly as well.

There's a common misunderstanding in the United States regarding the Ten Commandments, that one of them deals with honesty, and forbids lying.  (Often mischaracterized as, "thou shalt not lie")

This isn't true.  The actual wording in many translations is, "Thou shalt not bear false witness", which has been sloppily colloquialized as "thou shalt not lie".

The meaning of the real phrase is about testimony in front of a magistrate, and this is attested to by many biblical scholars.  It is a critical rule in maintaining the integrity of a legal system.  If people are willing to lie to magistrates, that makes their job harder.  Of course, one can still argue that it still means not to lie in general, and that is a good point.

The problem is, too dang many folks don't seem to pay any attention to this idea, in either sense of the phrase.

Case in point, Rick Green.

Rick is a henchman of David Barton, the (in)famous christian "historian" who has been writing books, making speeches and generally making a pest of himself to real historians in his attempts to (mis)characterize the US as a historically christian nation.

Recently, Barton's latest book, which I will not promote here by naming it, has been dumped by his publisher for being too full of, well, lies.  the publisher didn't say that, exactly, so as not to get sued I am sure, but that is the point, as well documented by Chris Rodda.

Rick Green, on his blog, which I will also not promote here, mounted a challenge:
If you can show me specifics that back up the image created by the critics innuendo, I’ll post it right here for the world to see.
As the days wore on, it became obvious that Rick had no intention of doing any such thing, comments got stuck "in moderation" - especially Chris' comment, which addressed a specific case in Barton's book.

Soon, the comments by Chris' supporters, which she jokingly called "minions" (of which I am one) got to be so loud and persistent, he gave in, posted her comment and released the moderation from the page.  Her post about that scenario is here.

Then he posted another page, in which he said this in a subtitle:
Why the clanking cymbals and blathering nonsense of some critics does not answer my challenge for specific proof that any premise in David Barton’s book about Thomas Jefferson is inaccurate…
Further, he said this about Chris, specifically:
But since I did issue a challenge and ask for people to give me specifics, I am gladly recommending to you Ms. Rodda’s book because it is further evidence of EMPTY criticism that reminds me of clouds without rain. I’ll even provide a link here to her website, but I will not post her generalized accusations that have no actual evidence. If you read her book and in comparison to Barton’s book you are persuaded by her, then congrats to her! That’s the beauty of the arena of ideas! 
Chris devotes her time and efforts in a valiant effort to expose Barton's lies and deceit for what they are, and succeeds admirably, in a very scholarly, concise way.  Here, for your pleasure, is her actual response to his challenge, which Rick did NOT respond to, after the break.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Why are some christians afraid to read an opposing opinion?

I've run into this before, and saw it again tonight on my Facebook page.  One of my FB friends was rather incensed at my last post, which he/she interpreted as painting all christians with the same broad brush.

In his/her reply at one point, he/she reiterated what he/she's said before - that he/she refuses to read my blog, because it is such, I guess, "hateful" stuff.  I don't think he/she actually used that word but it was what he/she meant.  His/Her words this time were to the effect that he/she "can't open" my blog - as if his/her computer won't do it instead of that being his/her choice.

My reply to him/her was this:

If you've got a problem with some atheists, then talk about it. You might be surprised to find I agree with some of that, or maybe not. If you don't read what I say, you have no basis for arguing against me, do you? You are limiting your horizons by refusing to read opposing viewpoints. If you don't know what the other side is saying, you can't argue affectively.
If you are so afraid to read my posts, why is that? Are you fearful that you might find yourself seeing points that you might not be able to disagree with? If you are so averse to reading an opposing viewpoint, your faith must be weak.
Granted, there was some hyperbole and "pushiness" there, but I get impatient with folks who constantly post their own favored pictures and shared posts on FB that shout out their opinions, but refuse to defend them or to discuss their opinion - and furthermore, sometimes get angry when confronted with an opposing opinion that debunks their post.

That last is an amalgamation of several such things I've seen on FB, both on my own wall and in others' as well, so it isn't supposed to be about just one person.  But is happens, and the folks who do it are all, by their comments, christians or are defending christian viewpoints.

Now I don't have time tonight to give this what treatment it deserves, so maybe I'll address this later too.

But no matter who you are, whatever your beliefs, if you are going to broadcast them to the world, or to your online friends, you need to be prepared to defend or discuss them.  That's what social sites like Facebook are meant for.  Discussion, debate and argument.  It isn't an advertisement venue (well, not completely) meant to post billboards nobody is allowed to comment on.

If you simply post stuff and move on without comment or debate, it's tiring and obnoxious, and will never be instrumental in changing any minds.  Debate will make people think, and is always good to air opposing viewpoints with.  A place like Facebook  is, truly, the marketplace of ideas which the Founders imagined when they wrote the First Amendment!

It is an axiom of debate that a party who retreats before an obvious ending point has already lost the debate, and to refuse engagement at all is to advertise to all that your position has no merit and will not hold up to debate.  It is called losing by default, and exposes a weak argument or a lack of confidence in your position and its merits.

So, when you post something, or share something, be prepared to answer criticism.  I do it all the time, and so do others.  Don't get angry over honest criticism, den if it seems unfair.  Answer it!  Go on the offensive!  Cite facts and figures, use logic and reason to make your points.

There are a lot of good books about debate and how to avoid using logical fallacies.  I would suggest reading some of them and taking their suggestions to heart.

But in the end, if you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen!

A couple of shout-outs

First is the news that The Christian university Wheaton College in Illinois is one of those outraged religious colleges suing the Obama Administration over the Federal mandate to cover contraceptives.  But there is a twist:

Wheaton College, an evangelical liberal arts school in Illinois, asked a Washington, D.C. federal court on Wednesday for an emergency injunction against the Obama administration’s contraception coverage mandate because the rule forces the school to cover emergency contraception, which it believes causes abortions, or pay immediate fines.
But Wheaton’s health plan already covered emergency contraception when the mandate was announced, a spokesperson for its legal team told The Huffington Post, and tried to scramble to get rid of that coverage in order to qualify for the one-year reprieve President Barack Obama put in place for religious institutions that have moral objections to contraception.

Wait a minute, go back and read part of that again:

 But Wheaton’s health plan already covered emergency contraception when the mandate was announced...

Wait, wha...?

...and tried to scramble to get rid of that coverage in order to qualify for the one-year reprieve President Barack Obama put in place for religious institutions that have moral objections to contraception.
Hypocrisy, thy name is christian...

Second, I thought this piece by PZ Myer was a very good look at Paul Ryan:

The other appalling thing about Ryan is how much the media is puling about how smart he is, and calling him a brilliant policy wonk (also hammered on by Pierce). Ryan is a guy with a bachelor’s degree in economics whose entire career is defined by political gladhanding and devotion to far-right ideological nonsense. He’s not particularly well-qualified; a BA is a degree that gives you a general knowledge of the basics of a field, and it’s a good thing, but it does not turn you into an expert. Ryan’s degree in economics is worth about as much as Bobby Jindal’s degree in biology.
Plus, he quotes Krugman:

What [Saletan]’s doing – and what the whole Beltway media crowd has done – is to slot Ryan into a role someone is supposed to be playing in their political play, that of the thoughtful, serious conservative wonk. In reality, Ryan is nothing like that; he’s a hard-core conservative, with a voting record as far right as Michelle Bachman’s, who has shown no competence at all on the numbers thing.
What Ryan is good at is exploiting the willful gullibility of the Beltway media, using a soft-focus style to play into their desire to have a conservative wonk they can say nice things about. And apparently the trick still works.
 Yeah, tricks, that's all the Republicans have left.

Sunday, August 12, 2012


That’s a big word. Only five letters, but it carries a much heavier weight.

Trust is something that cannot be demanded, it cannot be coerced.  It is one thing, like respect, that must be earned.

I am not surprised, but am dismayed, that we cannot trust our country’s leaders.  Not a single man, woman, or Party can be trusted to carry out the responsibilities of the weighty offices we have entrusted them with.  How can I say that?

Because they’ve failed to earn my trust - by shirking their responsibilities.

Republicans have turned from a Party with basically American values into an Ayn Rand look-alike with purely selfish motives, devoted to the rich while trying to tell us they give a damn, all the while promoting policies which will inflate the deficit and the debt on the backs of the poor.

The Democrats have allowed themselves to be dragged towards the right and have failed to defend their own values, all the while embracing more and more conservative values while telling us that they give a damn.  Their cowardice in the face of Republican determination and lies has been epic in proportion, all the while continuing to prostitute themselves before the alter of the politics of money.

Admiral Hyman G. Rickover, USN, Ret., known as the Father of the Nuclear Navy, had this to say about responsibility:
Responsibility is a unique concept... You may share it with others, but your portion is not diminished. You may delegate it, but it is still with you... If responsibility is rightfully yours, no evasion, or ignorance or passing the blame can shift the burden to someone else. Unless you can point your finger at the man who is responsible when something goes wrong, then you have never had anyone really responsible.
Politicians have failed, in the last decades, to take responsibility for either their actions or their failures.  Both Parties have allowed a quest for power to corrupt their basic values and kept them from maintaining a statesman-like demeanor in carrying out their public responsibilities.

Now, today, we have an election in which we have to choose between them, and if we choose wrong, we are all well and truly screwed.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I am not trying to set up some false equivalency between the two.

While the Democrats have failed utterly to show enough courage of their convictions to allow me to trust that they will truly take the leftward turn I really think this country needs, it is the Republican Party which truly frightens me.

In the 2010 election, they ran on the mantra of “jobs, jobs, jobs”.  Yet, as soon as they got power, they dropped any pretense of giving a damn about jobs and focused on either social issues near and dear to their hearts, or on helping Obama fail - and with him, the economy too.  This year, they’ve waffled between a weak, fluttering call for jobs, distracted by a continued call for those social issues, watered down by fake concern for the debt while proposing “solutions” which do nothing more than enlarge the debt.

In short, they couldn’t be less trustworthy even if they’d tried to be less trustworthy!

These days, the phrase, “Trust me!” couldn’t be more like the cynical call of the carnie barker, drawing the gullible into the side show to see the tattooed lady or the two-headed calf.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Black Knight, Japanese Willow style

After posting that last item this morning, I went outside to do some yard work, and while chopping stuff, I thought about what Ed said the other day about reading too much of that crazy stuff.  Ed's right! It's time to take a break!

So, while chopping stuff down today, we got to the side patio, where there has been a rather faithful, and pretty, Japanese Willow, shown below.

That was shot around 2008, when the tree was at it's peak.  It was about ten years old, I'd say.  Not really a tree, we had forced it into that shape, where it gave nice shade for years.

Well, the poor tree had gotten rotten in the trunk, and it was time for it to go.  So, I advanced with my saw and clippers, chopping and sawing, while the poor thing cried its defiance!  Limb after limb fell to my cruel steel!

After a bit, I ran out of trash cans to put the severed limbs into, so I had to quit.

As I walked back to the workshop, saw and clippers in hand, I could hear it cry,
"Come back, you coward, it's only a sap wound!!"
 Sorry about that...couldn't resist.

If you can’t beat ‘em, cheat ‘em.

Well, Romney picked Paul Ryan for his running mate today.  Whoop-de-do.  

Actually, I am somewhat interested in the pick, because I think the man does not bring votes in from where he’ll really need them - the undecided 6-8% in the middle who haven’t made up their minds.

Which brings up Romney’s biggest problem in my mind:  Once you’ve locked in the base, how do you attract the folks in the middle to get you over the top to win?

It goes like this.

Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans have enough votes, by themselves, even if every possible member of either party got out and voted, to win the Presidency in the General Election.  They need the swingers in the middle, the Independents.  So every Presidential election in recent memory has been about those swing votes in the swing States.

Here, it gets complicated, because of the voter demographics, different State rules on elections, etc.  But the Republicans have decided, this election, to cut to the chase.

In recent years it has become plain for all to see that the country's demographics for the future, in the persons of the younger generation, are moving in the direction of progressive policies and away from conservatism.  Fewer and fewer younger folks are voting Republican.

So, the Republican leadership has thought, how do we offset that new demographic?

The answer they’ve come up with should scare you silly.  They’ve decided not to offset the larger numbers of progressive voters, they’ve just decided to simply keep them away from the polls.

I mean, geez, if the other side can’t even cast a vote, you don’t need the swing voters, you can win on your own and claim victory on your own terms!  The pollsters will obviously point to the lower number of Democratic voters, the higher number of Republican voters, and let the viewer take away the obvious in-between-the-lines answer they want you to make, that Democratic policies are less popular!

Be afraid, folks, be very afraid!  The Republicans have decided to take a page from the past - if you can’t win on equal terms, cheat.

If there is any one thing which defines the modern Republican Party, it has been their willingness to lie and cheat to win elections.  In 2010 it was all about the jobs, but once they got into power, it was all about social issues and keeping the economy down so Obama would lose in 2012.

My advice for voters in general this election?  Whatever the Republicans say, start looking for what they’ve got hidden behind their backs, because they ain’t speakin’ the truth.

I would ask you, any one of you, whatever your political persuasion, to ask yourself one question:

Do I, if my side wins this election, want to be able to say they just won?  Or do I want to be able to say they won because they actually won the votes?

Think about that before you pull the lever.  Do you want to support a party which is willing to violate the very American value of fair play?   If they’ll violate that, what else will they do?

Can you trust a party which will cheat to win power?  Don’t sit there and tell me they didn’t break any laws.  Changing the laws to suit yourself isn’t fair and you know it.  Not at this level and this widespread a manner.

I wouldn’t want the Democrats to win that way, and I don’t want the Republicans to do it that way either, it is a direct violation of every value I was taught growing up and it is a violation of every value the Republican Party has supported in the past.  You know damn well that if the Democrats were doing this, the Republicans would be standing up and squealing like stuck pigs, and rightfully so!

The leadership of that party frighten me.  Seriously frighten me, I say.

And they should frighten the whole country.