Friday, November 30, 2012

Imprecatory Prayer, Redux - one more time!


Somehow, I had this crazy thought that perhaps after the election, the crazy would kind of fade away.

I'm a dreamer, aren't I?

On November 24th, a gas explosion leveled a strip club in Boston.  Fortunately, the gas company, Fire Department and Police had already been called and workers had evacuated the block while they waited for the building to vent when the explosion occurred.  The blast leveled the building completely, but because of the evacuation, the building was empty - nobody associated with the building was killed or injured.

Unfortunately, 18 first responders, including gas workers, firefighters, police, and others were injured, some badly enough to be transported to the hospital.  A number of nearby buildings were severely damaged, and a large hole was punched into the street in front of the building.

Ok so far?  Nothing particularly crazy about that story, now is there?  Just wait, it gets better.

Enter Scott Lively and the Scott Lively Ministries.  Apparently, Mr. Scott is a big, big opponent of the local red light scene in town, and has been busily making sure that everybody - especially god - knows it.

On his web page, the one entitled Scott Lively Ministries appropriately enough, he published a post on the same day that the explosion occurred, claiming credit for the explosion that leveled the strip club.

No, he didn't admit involvement in arson, nor did he claim to have paid some arsonist to set up the explosion or to blow up the building - he claimed that he had prayed for god to destroy the strip clubs in town, and the explosion was god's answer to his imprecatory prayer.
I believe this was the hand of God at work in answer to our prayers.  We are giving Him all the glory and praise for this occurrence, since it is only by His power that any of our prayers can have any effect.  We also thank God that no one was seriously injured in this blast, though it was enormous.
 Nobody was seriously injured, huh?  But 18 people were transported to the hospital, numerous buildings adjacent to the strip club were severely damaged and the publicly funded and maintained street in front of the building had a huge hole punched out of it.  Lots of people were injured economically, many who will most likely miss some work days, some who may be scarred for life - fire injuries do that, you know.

And all this jerk can do is say nobody got seriously injured.

He is willing, no, he is proud, to claim responsibility for this disaster, and asks once again, for his followers to pray again, and he posts another prayer for them to repeat.  This man is clearly acting like a sociopath.  He shows no empathy, no sense of right or wrong, and he has allowed his very ethical framework to be skewed and twisted out of all proportion in order to further the worship of his god.

This is not merely crazy, this is mentally unstable activity, it is disgusting and way beyond alarming.  By his own admission, he willing to ask that a power he trusts and believes in to harm others in order to advance his fantasy.  He is willing to claim that it was his prayer that caused the explosion and that he is willing to do it again and again and again, until everything he opposes is destroyed.

Oh, he covers his ass by noting that he isn't asking for the people to be harmed, but when people - unrelated to the activities he is opposed to - are injured, his reply is that "at least nobody was seriously injured".

He may as well have lit a fuse, because he has demonstrated clear intent to do harm.  He has demonstrated a clear lack of remorse and a clear lack of concern for the safety of the public or innocent bystanders in his maniacal campaign to rid his city of what he believes are immoral influences.  He has set himself up as the moral conscience of the city in a plain state of arrogance and hubris that he has made clear is his duty because of his own belief.  Not because of a shared belief, but because he has determined the right and wrong of the situation.

He covers himself, as usual for such cretins, by claiming that it is god who makes that determination.

But it is his prayer, by his own admission, that he believes caused this disaster.  A prayer he decided to pray, and one he determined should be one  that would ask for harm to occur.  It wasn't good enough to ask god to turn the hearts of his opponents.  It wasn't enough for him to ask god to turn the hearts and minds of the people of Boston so they would vote to turn these "dens of iniquity" out by law.

No.  It had to include actual, real harm.  Destruction.  Harm that could endanger the innocent and harm property belonging to people with no connection to the "guilty".

The depths of depravity, coldness and sociopathic lack of empathy to these actions are hard to understand.

Damn hard.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


Sometimes I get to thinking.   Yes, that's dangerous, and my bank account finds the nearest offsite ATM to hide behind.  But not tonight.

Tonight, I am remembering a site or a post somewhere I saw recently that talked about the Universe and how it was, we now think, started from basically nothing.

That alone is an astonishing thought - that this whole big universe, stem to stern, 13 something billion light years across, untold numbers of billions of tons of matter, suns, nebulae, gasses, and planets began from a single speck of...nothing.  In a flash, all of a sudden there it was, expanding at nearly the speed of light and over the next thirteen something billion years, it developed all of those things we read about and see up in the sky at night.  Stars, untold numbers of them spinning around in galaxies of equally untold numbers, being born, aging and dying in often spectacular explosions, the light reaching out over the cosmos, feebly lighting up our night for a few brief weeks before they fade into the star's equivalent of senility and old age or collapse into a black hole.

How the elements of life come together after millions of years drifting through the void after being flung out into the darkness in the smashing explosion of the death of a star, only to develop

I am amazed by the manner in which these heavier elements - carbon, iron and so forth, dead matter from the interiors of stars, developed over millions of years into the stuff of life.  Life which has drifted, swum, crawled, wiggled and dragged itself out of the sea and through millions of years of evolutionary pressure through the process of natural selection, became human.

Became, among other things, me.

Ok, no, that's not me, but dang, it's pretty isn't it?  Kind of scary too.

Astronomy is beautiful, isn't it?  The beauty of how it all came together, not randomly, but in a very odd way, almost casually, but with increasing deliberateness.  The development of the earth's ecology, eventually, just seemed to demand that some creature would develop intelligence to deal with the pressures that its surroundings placed on its ability to survive.

In fact, it would seem that there are really more than one species that have developed intelligence - dolphins, elephants, any number of predators seem to have some measure of it as well, and finally, the hominids.  Don't discount dogs and cats, who have responded to thousands of years of domestication by matching fairly well with human behavior patterns.

I am constantly struck by the beauty of this earth and the many and varied life forms who inhabit it.  How life has expanded its habitats to include even the most hostile places on earth, whether that is the extremes of the Arctic or the blasting heat of underwater volcanic vents.

Many say that life just seems so perfect as it is, and call it a miracle, giving credit for that miracle to a god who supposedly did it all in just short of a week.

I say that science has given us the much better, much more fascinating truth - the truth of the long, amazing evolution of matter from the heat and chaos of the beginning to the elysian fields of the green, green hills of earth.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Crazy Christians in (where else?) Leesburg, Virginia.

This has been picked up by several of the big atheist blogs, so I guess I could mention it here - especially since it's so close to home.

A Loudoun County, Virginia member of the Board of Supervisors has weighed in on a long time controversy in Leesburg regarding the governing of the seasonal christmas displays on the Loudoun County Courthouse lawn.  This year, the BoS set some very stringent rules that are threatening to cut back on the number of displays local atheist groups can display there, and this particular member is a rabid theist (jewish, strangely enough) and had this to say about the local group, NOVA Atheists:

From the Washington Times:

While Mr. Wingrove has participated in courthouse lawn holiday decorations for years, he criticized this year’s Loudoun County-sponsored displays that can stand unattended — a Christmas tree, menorah and Santa with his sleigh — as promotion of specific religious beliefs and a violation of the separation of church and state. 
But Mr. Reid disagrees. 
“None of the religious organizations in the county have had any problem with what we’re doing,” he said. “It’s strictly this group of terrorists. They’re fanatics who basically want to stamp out religion in all public life and property.”

Terrorists?  Terrorists are trying to enforce the First Amendment against Religionists attempts to push their crap down our throats?  Really?  As for none of the religious groups in Loudoun Country objecting, why would they?  It isn't their displays which are being discriminated against!

Somewhat later, Mr. Reid was interviewed on local channel 4 (NBC):

Not exactly a sincere apology, is it?  Not exactly forced, but not very sincere, either.

This guy, and all of the other Supervisors, need an object lesson in the First Amendment.  This kind of behavior is reprehensible, childish and unAmerican.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Even if they're no longer with us, they're with somebody...

One of the more discouraging aspects of today's political scene, as cracked and crazy as it is, is the fact that, even if the nut bags get sidelined by the voters, they're still out there, and at some point, somebody is going to have to put up with them.

Case in point.

Brad Staats, 43, who describes himself as a 'family matters' conservative, ran for Tennessee's tenth District seat in Congress, and was soundly defeated 65-33 percent by Five-term Democrat incumbent Jim Cooper.

Staats, who made a name for himself by publicly displaying his gun on his Facebook page and taunting President Obama, was arrested early on Sunday morning at his home in Hermitage, Tennessee.
Police had received a phone call from his wife Bethany Staats, claiming that he had slapped her during a disagreement.  When they arrived, she displayed a marked cheek as a result.

He was was booked into Davidson County Jail at 3.39 am on Sunday, and was charged with one count of misdemeanor domestic assault, posted a $5,000 bond and was later released. A trial date was set for February 7, 2013.

Family values, huh?  Now, where have I heard that phrase before?

Oh!  I know!  That's the phrase which has been bandied about by republican after republican before they got caught banging the secretary or a gay hooker or arrested in an airport restroom stall for having a "wide stance"...

Give it up, folks.  Nobody with two brain cells to rub together believes that crap anymore, and the ones with just one are beginning to wonder.  Family values are just right wing dog whistle phrasing for keeping the wimmens at home, barefoot and preggers, bruised, battered and bewildered.

One must point out that the spouses of men who own guns are something like five times more likely to get shot in case of domestic violence - and Mr. Staats bragged rather widely that he always carried that piece with him.

In this case, while the voters don't have to deal with this nutbag anymore, his wife does.

I am seriously wondering whether sending this guy back home was really a good idea.  I'm sure that his wife wishes he'd gone to DC.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Voter suppression, revisited.

Hey, there!  I'm back!

Florida was magnificent, the Cyberdaughter's new apartment rocks, and I'm rather glad to get back in the saddle of normality.

Speaking of Florida, there's a news story on the ThinkProgress site today about how some Florida Republicans have admitted that the voter "suppression" laws were, in fact, just that, and were aimed at Democrats and minorities.

Now, I'm not going to rant and rave over those laws, I've already done that, and Floridians have already shown their elected officials just what they think of them, by standing in lines of up to eight hours to vote.  So, consider that message delivered.

The message that still needs to be delivered is one aimed at Republican rank-and-filers everywhere.

Consider these quotes:

Wayne Bertsch, who handles local and legislative races for Republicans, said he knew targeting Democrats was the goal. “In the races I was involved in in 2008, when we started seeing the increase of turnout and the turnout operations that the Democrats were doing in early voting, it certainly sent a chill down our spines. And in 2008, it didn’t have the impact that we were afraid of. It got close, but it wasn’t the impact that they had this election cycle,” Bertsch said, referring to the fact that Democrats picked up seven legislative seats in Florida in 2012 despite the early voting limitations. 
Another GOP consultant, who did not want to be named, also confirmed that influential consultants to the Republican Party of Florida were intent on beating back Democratic turnout in early voting after 2008. 
[...]A GOP consultant who asked to remain anonymous out of fear of retribution said black voters were a concern. “I know that the cutting out of the Sunday before Election Day was one of their targets only because that’s a big day when the black churches organize themselves,” he said.

Now look at the bolded and underlined passages.  Read them carefully, then come back here and try to tell me that Republicans engaging in such anti-democratic (small -d, not partisan big D) activities aren't committing a direct assault on the American voting public, and thus, virtually committing treason.

It doesn't matter that their targets were of the opposing party, their action had the affect of making millions of Floridians either stand in line for hours to exercise their right to vote, but probably caused a lot of them to not even try.  I'd also bet that there were Republican Floridians who were affected too, so the accusation of it being an attack on democracy in general still stands.

Now, my question is the same one I posed before the election to Republicans who may accidentally read this post:

Is this really the Party you want to be associated with?  A Party which will violate, for partisan political gain, the very foundational principles upon which this country was founded?  Every single one of you claim to be proud of the Constitution, the Founders who wrote it and the values it enshrines.

So why do you continue to support a Party which continues to tarnish, if not outright shred, that document?  This Republican party isn't simply using those tactics to win, they are insulting, contaminating and defaming the very foundational values and principles they claim to love so dearly.

I cannot even begin to describe my feelings about this and how that behavior makes this country appear in the eyes of the world.

If it weren't also anti-democratic, I'd say that the Republican party doesn't deserve to hold office again.  It should be banned from participating in our democracy, but that would be even worse.

What would be appropriate is that the voters would simply stop supporting them altogether.

Now, don't get me wrong.  It isn't that I would like to simply destroy conservatism altogether.  No.

What we need is a Conservative Party which is realistic, which sees and understands the true feelings of the voters and doesn't try to manipulate them through a media filter like Fox News.  There are plenty of Conservative voters, and many of them hold their feelings honestly, and without rancor.  They do need someone to represent them and their interests - but they need someone who will do so honestly and without fooling them into thinking that they are a majority when they clearly are not.

The political tactics which must be used when one is a minority Party are vastly different from those used as a majority, and are as different as night and day from those of a Party which is trying desperately to remain a majority when it has clearly lost that status.

To continue to make the faithful think they are backed by a majority of Americans is a disservice to those faithful and are a vastly punishing disservice to the country as a whole.  The Republican party of today reminds me of an old man, at the top of a once vast and powerful company, trying hard to stay young, fooled by the yes-men at his beck and call into thinking that his teeth are his own, his hair piece is still attached by the roots and the glasses that let him see are just rose tinted sunglasses.  And the company he heads is still at the top of its game.

To continue this charade is to allow the Republican party to continue a slide into political obscurity which may take another ten years, but is as inexorable as the tides - or the Global Warming they so desperately try to deny.

Do that Party a favor - stop voting for them unless they change their tactics and realize that they live in the 21st century - and are no longer a majority Party.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sparse for a while!

My posts are going to be kind of sparse and chaotic for a while.  I'm getting a bunch of stuff together to take to my Cybernetic Daughter in Florida next week, so things'll be slow.

I'll be in Florida for a week, so I'll be posting from my mobile app, and will try to put up some photos while I am gone!

Friday, November 09, 2012

Political Absurdities - or Are They Serious?

A lot of lefties (those of us who Voted For Obama)  have been highly amused sitting back (with popcorn) watching the right wing meltdown over the election results.  Even more amusing has been the parade of quotes showing how clueless many right wing pundits were about how close the election really wasn’t, beginning with Rove.  The video clips of his virtual meltdown on the air is one of the year’s highlights, as far as I’m concerned, and if anybody posts something really creative with it, they’ll be (in my opinion) in direct competition for the Internet version of an Emmy!

[Wait a minute while I wipe the tears of laughter from my eyes…]  Ok, got it.

Really, though, as amusing as I find the cluelessness to be on one level, the bare fact that so many right wing believers were so clueless is actually quite alarming.

Rachael Maddow had a very good monologue the other day about this, and I think the idea here bears repeating.

A good, healthy democracy depends on having a rousing competition of ideas and policies regarding the various ways and means for that entity to solve the problems every country inevitably faces.   Even a healthy, happy and well adjusted society will face stresses and strains from different issues and problems, some domestic and others with neighbors and competitors internationally.  Just as inevitably, the solutions for those stresses and strains will be different for each group striving to set national policy, depending on each groups’ point of view and political approach.

All of that is healthy, and normal.  Humans, once you put at least two of them together in a room, will have disagreements and arguments.  With each person that joins the discussion, the possibilities increase exponentially.

The whole idea is that as reasonable people, you can have a discussion and debate the issue along with the different solutions and out of those discussions and debates, decisions can be made on how to proceed.

The key word here is “reasonable”.

And if there is one thing the Republicans have failed to be in the last four years is reasonable.  Not only failed, but failed miserably, spectacularly and just plain bombed it.  That would be simply disappointing if that were the result of simple incompetence.  But the problem is that the failure of civility and reasonableness is deliberate.  It is the result of a combination of religious fervor and fundamentalist certainty of purpose that has eliminated any possibility of compromise.

I mean, if you are certain that god is on your side, compromising with anyone who disagrees with you is the same as compromising with the devil, isn’t it?  Since that is a sin, compromise is a sin, so you can’t compromise.

I know, I’m repeating myself.  I’ve written about this before, almost ad nauseum.  But this is the only thing that makes sense of what many people see as completely baffling.  I mean, how many times have you heard it?  “Why are they so crazy?  It’s almost like they’re living in an other world!”  Lots of us lefties get a kick out of saying that they live on a world called Wingnutia, or something similar.

But while that is funny, and amusing and entertaining, it fails to explain the real reason why the political atmosphere in the United States seems to be going off the rails over a thousand foot drop.

But realizing that this talk, the crazy stuff and the failure to see reality, is due to the fact that they really do see the world in another light, as if there really is this supernatural deity that sees all, knows all and nothing that happens isn’t part of his plan, including bad stuff, cause that’s the devil’s work, and the devil is part of his plan, too, explains a lot and makes the crazy stuff suddenly very very scary.

I hate to sound constantly negative and to be constantly drumming up this “conspiracy theory” about this religious group that plans to “take over the country”, but there really is this religious group that believes that there really is this supernatural deity that sees all, knows all and nothing that happens isn’t part of his plan, including bad stuff, cause that’s the devil’s work, and the devil is part of his plan, too, and it is scary because you and I, if we aren’t part of their group, are either working directly with the devil or are under the devil’s spell and are doing his work anyway - so we are all in trouble when they take over the country.  Or maybe they won’t and all this is just a real life horror movie gone bad.

No, all these political pundits aren’t part of the conspiracy, as much as I’d like to think they are.  They do take the side of these folks, cause those people, from the religious perspective of the far right wing, make themselves sound very very plausible to those extremists.  So the crazy talk just gets nuttier and nuttier and the politicians get more and more like religious fundamentalists and the fundies sound more and more like politicians until they don’t sound any different from each other.

So, while all this is scary and it does worry me, as they get nuttier and nuttier, at least at this point in time, that’s ok.  Let ‘em, I say, because for now, most of the more reasonable people capable of thinking for themselves are beginning to run away from them as fast as they can.  When they say these crazy things, you can almost see the moderate Republicans wince and take a deep breath, because they know that if this keeps up for any length of time, they will push their party to the fringes so far they won’t win another election for decades, if they don’t just fade away altogether.

I just wish it didn’t take so long for the fading process to work.  We've got a democracy to fix.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Election 2012 and the beginning of the rise of secular values.

While the take away from this year's election is that the mix of power in Washington didn't change much, there is a little noticed but significant change that took place.  Some pople have noticed, but it has mostly been disguised as "getting rid of the crazy", since so many of the right wing idiots got their comeuppance through getting tossed out of office.

I speak of the rise of secular values.

Just look at these statistics:

1: Same-sex marriage won in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington. In Minnesota, a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage was overturned; in Maine and Maryland and Washington, same-sex marriage has been flat-out approved. This is the first time in United States history that same-sex marriage has been approved by popular vote: in the past, same-sex marriage has always won either through the legislature or the courts. 
2: The first openly gay United States Senator, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, has been elected. 
3: Marijuana was legalized in Colorado and Washington. And medical marijuana was legalized in Massachusetts. 
4: Open misogyny, rape apology, and hatred of female sexuality got trounced, as Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin, Richard “Rape Is Something That God Intended To Happen” Mourdock, Allen “We Are Not Going To Have Our Men Become Subservient” West, and Joe “Abortion Is Never Necessary to Save the Mother’s Life” Walsh… all got beat. 
5: Taxpayer support for churches lost in Florida. And it lost by a big-ass margin. 
6: The Republican strategy of trying to win elections by demonizing birth control, i.e. people who have sex for pleasure, went down in flames.
Greta said it well:

But there’s one conclusion that jumped out at me like a kangaroo last night:

In this election, secular values won big-time.

Don't get me wrong, as she noted, lots of Conservative Republicans still got elected.  The balance of power remains divided.

But the big news, divested of its cover, is still that secular values were preferred over religious values, the American people chose rather decisively that they preferred a man for President with a familiar, moderate religiosity and that they prefer that religious values stay out of our laws.

I can live with the moderate religiosity if we can keep religion out of the government.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012


I know that this post is going to go over the heads of most conservatives that even bother to read it, but here goes anyway.

If one looks at the Constitution of the United States, in Article II Section 1 Clause 4; Amendment XII; Amendment XXIII Section 1, you will find the process outlined by which these United States elect the President and Vice President.  We just finished the first part of that process, in which we choose the Electors.  In December, those worthies will then meet, as directed, and actually elect the President.

In accordance with that process, we are assured that the current incumbent of that office, Barrack Hussein Obama, has been re-elected to that self-same office for a second four year term.  His opponent, Mitt Romney, has conceded that President Obama’s election was legitimate and correct.

Face it, Obama won.  Legitimately won.  He didn’t cheat, he didn’t win in court, it didn’t have to go to the House for settlement.  and he was elected using the process outlined and specified in the Constitution you Conservatives love so much.

So, can we move on?

Look.  Somebody had to win.  I am sorry that your echo chamber prevented you from seeing the handwriting on the wall which was visible to anybody else with half a brain for the past week, and that the surprise shocked your fragile little brains quite out of kilter.

No, Obama didn’t cheat by defining Romney as some caricature of himself - Omaba merely pointed out the truth behind how Romney had defined himself during the primaries - it isn’t Obama’s fault that Romney had his etch-a-sketch working overtime to redo his image in the last weeks of the campaign instead of immediately after the primaries were over like any sane candidate of the past did.

Romney defined himself - early in the primaries - as a hard right conservative, and made a point of backing all of the most extremist positions possible, in order to endear himself to the Tea Party crowd.  It isn’t Obama’s fault that those positions are not what most Americans like nor admire, and it is a legitimate campaign tactic to point out to the Electorate that an opponent’s general campaign positions aren’t what he promised his Party faithful in the primaries.

Obviously, voters rejected those policies - or at least over half did.  Enough to allow Obama to win re-election.  Not only did they reject those policies, they rejected Romney’s lies and his empty rhetoric as well.  His Jeep job ads hurt him, not only in Ohio, but throughout the midwest where the auto industry is a big employer.  They hurt him because Americans don’t like a liar.  His refusal to show his tax returns hurt him, too. (Don’t, for goodness’ sake, bring up Obama’s college records - nobody gives a damn, and the college records of a man publicly known to have been the first black President of the Harvard Law Review can hardly show anything bad or embarrassing, so get over it.)

No, any further denials, rejections, wailing or gnashing of teeth will do you no good, and will surely just label you as childish and ignorant.

We’ve got a country that badly needs some expert attention from people devoted to bringing her back to prosperity, and that will not be served by people solely focused on partisan political goals.  Romney himself, in his concession speech, said it well when he told you to stop the partisan bickering and to cooperate with Democrats. Yes, he meant that for you, too!  It wasn’t a right wing dog whistle for letting the Democrats do the compromising while you stand your ground.  That won’t work this time.

Take a look at the demographics.

Romney lost the majority of the votes from women, Latinos, Blacks, the under 30 crowd, and just about every other demographic that wasn’t white and male - by significant double digits in almost every case.  (and he didn’t get all of those, either.)  In the past, that one demographic - white - was enough.  Twenty-five years ago, 90% of the voting public was white, and women voted what their hubbies told them to.  That was more than sufficient to win just about any election.

Not any more.  In every Presidential election for the last twenty years at least, the percentage of voters which are white compared to the overall voting pool has declined by between two and four percent.  This election was no different, and this time, only 72% of the voters in this election were white.  That means that all of the others were much more significant in number than in the past.  That is what you call in statistics a trend, and it is moving sharply away from whites as a majority.

It also means that Republicans have a job to do before the next Presidential election:  decide what kind of Party they want.  Do they want one that continues to look like it does today - largely white, male and bigoted?  Or do they want one that is winning elections?

They can’t have both.  I’ll leave it to you, dear reader, to decide which of the cherished policies and principles of the Grand Old Party which will need to get dumped, but there is a house cleaning that will need to be done before Republicans put another of their own in the White House.

Instead of pointing fingers over who lost Romney, they’d better get started.

Hillary ain’t gonna wait.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Lady Liberty weeps.

As an American, I am embarrassed.

For decades, at least since World War II, this country has stood as an example to the world of what a democracy should be, of how people should be able to use the power of the ballot to determine their own future.

Millions of Americans have proudly worn their country’s uniform or worked for the civilian side of the government in service to that ideal.  Millions of us have taken an oath to preserve and protect the Constitution, which is the founding document that guarantees the rights of Americans to vote for a representative form of government meant to preserve, protect and defend the welfare of the people of this country.

In defiance of those principles and of those oaths, there are Americans today who are engaging in partisan political activities which undermine and violate not only the law, but the spirit of those principles and the very liberties which have made this country great.

This election, to these people, is so critical and they are so determined not to lose that they are willing to violate every principle, every value so bravely defended by so many of the fallen warriors of our past, dishonoring not only themselves, but the deaths of every American who has ever died in defense of those principles.

If you are one of those people, shame on you!  It doesn’t matter what your role many have been, even if all you did was hold the door for someone else who has been more central to the voter suppression and fraudulent activities, you are at fault.

If you are one of the principals, one of the architects of these shameful activities,  not only should you hang your head in shame, but you should be locked in old fashioned stocks for your fellow citizens to throw rotten eggs and veggies at and mock you as the low life cad you are.  You should be tarred and feathered and run out of this country on a rail.

Unfortunately, we can’t do those things in this country any more.  But we DO prosecute felonies, and the architects of this day’s voter suppression efforts should be put up on charges.  They should be stripped of their citizenship and forbidden to vote, to hold public office or to even put up a yard sign.

Sadly, little of this will ever happen.  A few may get prosecuted, like the poll worker accused of changing votes.  Penny ante stuff.  The electoral equivalent of pocket change.

The folks trying to change votes by the thousands or millions will never come to face the music.

Which is why I am embarrassed.   This is third world stuff.  The kind of shenanigans we have come to expect from tin horn dictators.

Come on, Republicans!  Stand up!  Face the voters proudly, stand your ground and make your case.  Sometimes, you will win, sometimes you will lose, but in the end, you must accept that the voters have spoken.  That is how our system was designed by the Founders you worship so.  It is how our ancestors have done it and how we were intended to do it.

By cheating, you not only cheapen yourself, but you tarnish your message and everybody who backs that message.  You shame the very name of this country and prevent us from standing in front of the rest of the world with our heads held high.

You cover us with mud.

Think about that - over two hundred and thirty five years of hard work, blood sweat and tears, and you destroy that good work in a single election.

Shame, shame on you!  You should weep with shame.

Instead, it is I who do.  I and Lady Liberty, we weep for shame.

Monday, November 05, 2012

More reasons to vote Democratic tomorrow.

This election has been, most people will agree, one of the most nasty and divisive of recent memory.  I think we’ve got to go back over a hundred years to the War between the States (Civil War, to you Yanks) to find one as divisive and full of anger as this one.

One question I’ve heard from the progressives I know has been, “Why?”  Why are the Conservatives so nasty, so bigoted, so angry and full of lies?  It isn’t an easy question.  I’d love to sit here between the keyboard and my chair and give you all a definitive answer, but if I could to that, I’d be making a lot more money somewhere else, and a lot more people would be reading this blog.  A lot of other people have written probably millions of words, many for TV, about this subject, and we are no wiser.

But I do want to bring some things to your attention that may help you see this election a bit clearer.

First, I believe that a little thing called Confirmation Bias is behind a lot of it.  A lot of people are being told things that confirms their internal biases and bigoted beliefs, and in spite of the goals of those doing the telling being diametrically opposed to their interests, those people are listening, because they are hearing things they want to hear.

Look, this country has gotten more and more progressive over the last hundred years and a lot of people don’t like it.

This is, I think, a result of the lingering affects of the War Between the States.  I use that term deliberately, because to you Yankees, you don’t understand how that war still affects Southern attitudes.  Almost 700,000 people in this country, on both sides, either died or were maimed in that war.  Not a single Southern family didn’t either lose someone or know a friend or neighbor who did.  The ending of that war ended a way of life.  It turned the Southern States upside down and decimated an economy already ravaged by a long war.  The South endured the Reconstruction period, which is a kind and gentle term for a long and bitter military occupation.  There are parts of the South which have never recovered economically, due to the death of the Plantation system.  People who live there are poor and have been ever since.  The fact that a lot of them were before that war is of no consequence to emotions.  In Southern schools, including the one I attended in high school, Allen Military Academy, still teach that war as the War between the States, and not as a civil war.

[Note:  In that vein of reasoning, the Southern States did legally secede, by Act of Legislature, signed by Governors.  They then formed a new country, the Confederate States of America, with its own Legislature, Constitution, Courts and President.  It coined its own money and defended its borders with a uniformed army.  All things done by sovereign countries.  The war which resulted was also called the War of Northern Aggression, as the US invaded the South.  A civil war is fought by opposing factions for control of a single national entity, while the War Between the States was fought between two organized national entities.  One can argue as one wishes, but in the end, the victor writes the history, and the US obviously wished to send the message that secession was not a legal option.]

So, you see the point of why the South is and always has been in such an uproar - ever since the Civil War (I just flunked Texas History class - but that is obviously a shorter term), Conservatives have been fighting a rear-guard action, in constant retreat against the forces of Progressivism.

Blacks got freed, women gained more and more rights until they eventually got the vote, labor unions gained power and curtailed the power of the robber barons of the 19th century.  Followed by more and more labor rights - the 40 hour work week, vacation benefits, Federal PAID holidays, sick days off, health and life insurance, etc.  Yes, the Southern poor have benefited greatly by these, and would likely kill today to protect them IF they perceived that these rights and benefits were in jeopardy.

But they don’t, because those who would deny us those rights are lying to us.  They lie because they’d lose if they told the truth.  Like the Nazi Party would have lost those famous 1930‘s elections had they allowed the electorate of Germany to hear of their true intentions.

Don’t believe me?

Then go look at this.  Yeah, this page is aimed at Jewish voters, but read down to the bottom of the first page at the goals of one of the groups funding the American Majority, the Bradley Foundation.

" return the U.S. -- and the world -- to the days before governments began to regulate Big Business, before corporations were forced to make concessions to an organized labor force."

That group was named after Harry Bradley, a man who was also a co-founder of the John Birch Society alongside the Koch Brothers’ father.  Quite a lineage!

Quite a goal.

So tomorrow, before you go vote, think about those guys.  Think about their goals, which are not only to destroy the many progressive gains we have enjoyed for almost a century or more, but to bring us back to the early days of the 19th century.  They want to take away all the rights we’ve gained that make our society what it is today!

Not just women’s rights, but ALL our rights!  They want the Corporations to rule your life, to rule and control YOU!  Cradle to grave.  Back to 16 hour work days, six days a week, broken only by Sunday so you can go to church and feed that ugly monster again, just so it can keep you downtrodden and unable to resist.

If you think the Industrial Revolution in England before government regulation was invented was just peachy keen, then vote Republican tomorrow.

If you kinda-sorta like that vacation time, the paid time off holidays, the sick leave and health insurance along with those nice short 40 hour work weeks, then vote Democrat.

They’re the guys that earned those nice bennies for you in the first place.  I think they’re more likely to help you keep them in the future.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Imprecatory Prayer, redux.

[Whew!  I finally got all my neighbors' leaves out of my yard, now all I have to do is wait for my trees to drop their my yard, naturally.]

Remember my post, "Imprecatory Prayer. Again. Such Good Christians!" which I posted back on October 17th?  The one where Mikey Weinstein got a letter from an anonymous classmate trying to scare him from attending their class reunion from the Air Force Academy by quoting an imprecatory prayer for him to come to harm?

Well, Mikey has taken another group to court for posting an imprecatory prayer on a website, and the judge has ruled that imprecatory prayer is legal.

District Court Judge Martin Hoffman on Monday dismissed a lawsuit brought by Mikey Weinstein against a former Navy chaplain who he said used "curse" prayers like those in Psalm 109 to incite others to harm the Jewish agnostic and founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation and his family.
Hoffman said there was no evidence that the prayers by Gordon Klingenschmitt, who had been endorsed for the Navy chaplaincy by the Dallas-based Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches, were connected to threats made against Weinstein and his family or damage done to his property.
Weeelll, I can somewhat understand that reasoning, but listen to this:
"I praise God for religious freedom because the judge declared it's OK to pray imprecatory prayers and quote Psalm 109," Klingenschmitt said after the ruling, according to The Dallas Morning News. Psalm 109 calls for the death of an opponent and curses on his widow and children, among other things. 
 Emphasis mine.

He praises his god for religious freedom, while he and others are working as hard as they can to end that religious freedom, which comes not from his god, but from the Constitution they hate so much they want to end its most important protections.  I'm getting a headache just trying to follow the logic in that sentence.

While the prayer may not have been connected by evidence to the damage and threats, it is by nature, an imprecation for damage and threats to occur, and its intent is to do harm.  The utterer of that prayer believes, by his own admission, that his god will hear his prayer and cause the intended damage and, possibly, death, by divine action.  Thus, the intent of the prayer is to cause harm.  One can also argue, cynically, that the utterer of that prayer knows full well that his god will not answer that prayer - but he also knows that for him to utter a wish for a man causing his religious movement such mischief to himself come to harm is an open incitement for others of that movement to take action and cause the harm to become reality.  So, the reality of that "prayer" is that, regardless of the source of the harm, the intent of the prayer is to cause that harm to occur.

Now, were that prayer to be uttered in private, I believe it is covered by the First Amendment.  You've got every right to ask your god to protect you by bringing your enemies down.  It doesn't say a lot for your character, but you do have that absolute right.

But to post that prayer on a web site for all the world to see, though mostly your followers, and especially if that prayer contains specific wishes for harm to come to a particular person and his family, then I believe it crosses a line from private prayer (and thus protected religious conduct) to public incitement of violence, which is not.

One can create a prayer that is generalized to ask your god to cause your enemies such grief as to end their attempts to frustrate your own goals.   That is an accepted and generally used type of prayer.  It doesn't wish specific harm to particular individuals, nor a particular kind of harm to even one group.  It kind of leaves the specifics to the god being appealed to, which is generally accepted as ok.

But to pray to your god to cause a very specific kind of harm (and appealing to the bible verse they did is very specific indeed) to a very specific person and his family is well beyond the pale of accepted behavior.

And for that person posting the prayer to publicly gloat over that legal victory tells us all just exactly what kind of person he is, and what kind of movement he belongs to.

Oh, and did I mention that the movement involved is a Dominionist group?

Yeah, that's what kind of people they are.

Friday, November 02, 2012

PACs and Endorsers – The Money Behind the 2012 GOP ReBiblican Candidates Online!

The Kryptonite Project is at it again, their lists just don't stop!

This the other list you've been waiting for, the one that explains to you who those names are you keep seeing behind the money.

It isn’t enough to share the candidates running for office as GOP ReBiblicans, it is also necessary to give you the list of some of the money behind them. Money talks. It buys your way in through the doors of power and authority, and we witness it every election year. So, just who is buying our elections and speaking with louder voices than the collective citizenry could ever have? Have you ever wondered just who your representative is beholden to and just where some of these flagrantly discriminatory pieces of legislation were given birth?
Go visit this web site - their efforts this year to inform us have been outstanding and unflagging!  Share their URL and pass the word as far and as wide as you can!

Thursday, November 01, 2012

2012 Voter Guide of GOP ReBiblican Candidates for State Governor & Lt. Governor now online!

I'm a bit late with this, but the Kryptonite Project now has the 2012 Voter Guide of GOP ReBiblican Candidates for State Governor & Lt. Governor online now.

This entire project is a wonderful resource, and they deserve all the publicity they can get.  Besides, the information is vital to intelligent voters.

So, now, go and see if your Governor or Lt. Governor is on that list!

There are currently twelve states that will be electing Governors and Lt. Governors in 2012. Just as the Congressional races are of the utmost importance to preserving our freedoms and the core values of a democratic society, the state elections are equally as crucial.
We have all witnessed the unparalleled drama that is being carried out across this country with the war being waged against women, reproductive rights, birth control, etc., as well as the draconian laws being enacted against immigrants, people of color, and those simply seeking to marry the person they love. We have fought the battles against Personhood Laws, Ultra-Sound and Sonogram Legislation, the Defense of Marriage Act, Anti-Sharia Law Legislation, racial profiling laws and voter ID laws. All of which were introduced and supported by ultra-right wing Rebiblicans who are attempting to run their theocratic agenda’s from the halls of power.
Below is a list of just such Rebiblicans who are running in state elections for either Governor or Lt. Governor. Vote your conscience – vote with your ballot and your wallets – but, above all, vote informed.