Saturday, November 17, 2012

Ted Cruz - another Republican Wingnut from Texas

[Photo from]

Ted Cruz.  Remember that name.  He's Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann in pants.  He's from Texas.  He graduated from Harvard Law, "Magna cum laude," works for a prestigious law firm, was Solicitor General of Texas, and is now heading to Congress as the senator-elect from the Lone Star State.

Ted Cruz.  You'll be hearing more of him and from him.
He's a self-righteous ideologue who is very smart yet dumb as doggie doo!  He's another blot upon the historic canvas that is the United States Senate.

Ted Cruz.  He's in the news.  Today.  He gave a speech yesterday at the annual conference of the Federalist Society.  In his speech he blamed Romney's electoral loss on the fact that conservatives didn't present their case properly to the electorate, and so Romney had to shift his views to align more closely with President Obama's views.

Hey, that's what he said!

Cruz thought Romney did pretty well in the first debate, giving the conservative view with forcefulness, explaining the difference between the conservative view and the liberal view.  But between the first debate and the third debate, says Cruz, something happened.
"[...] inevitably, there are these mandarins of politics, who give the voice:  Don't show any contrasts.  Don't rock the boat.'  So by the third debate, I'm pretty certain Mitt Romney actually French-kissed Barack Obama."

Whoa!  Think about that for a minute.  What is it with these conservatives and their obsession with sex?  Who would say such a thing?  What kind of mind would come up with such an analogy?

"...Romney actually French-kissed Barack Obama"?  Yes, that's what Ted Cruz said.  Is Ted Cruz sexually confused?  In the closet?  Hiding his real self?

I dunno.  But you have to admit that is one hell of a strange thing to say, even if, as Ted Cruz claims, he was joking.

Ted Cruz will take his seat in the U.S. Senate and will remind us again and again that there must be something in the water in Texas that softens brains and destroys common sense and skews moral and ethical values.

Ted Cruz, of course, claims to be right up there on top of the hill - shining a beacon of light to a morally- and ethically-compromised world.  That's another problem with the extreme right (I hate to use the word, "conservative," and Ted Cruz in the same sentence, as he's not so much conservative as he is an extremist of the lowest order).   The extreme right never is able to perceive that their morality and their ethics stink to high heaven.

Ted Cruz and the conservative view:

* No abortions.
* Favors a partial birth abortion ban.
* Businesses and corporations can deny insuring birth control.
* It's one or the other:  federal spending or free markets and liberty
* Opposes gay marriage and gay pride parades
* Marriage is between one man and one woman - the foundation of society
* Educational decisions should be made at the local level
* Opposes moratorium on offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico
* Believes "Cap-and-trade has no impact on global temperature."
* We should explore proven energy reserves
* Democrats are trying to make the American people dependent on the government
* Loves the 10th amendment as he thinks it allows states to ignore the Feds
* Believes voters should be required to show photo ID because of all the voter fraud
* Federal agencies should be audited to reform or eliminate them
* Is opposed to "unreasonable and burdensome gun restrictions"
* Has vowed to repeal Obamacare (He would throw his body in front of a train to stop Obamacare.)  Does anyone have a train to donate to the cause?
* Wants to "save" Medicare by raising eligibility age
* Opposes the TSA and the National Defense Authorization Act (Patriot Act)
* Strongly urges strengthening the military
* Opposes giving a path to citizenship for 1.65 million illegals in Texas
* Give police more power to question people re their immigration status
* Strengthen border security; build a wall; triple the size of the Border Patrol
* Believes extending unemployment benefits creates more joblessness.
* Defends placing the Ten Commandments in public buildings and the words, "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance.
* We should raise the retirement age.
* Younger workers should be forced into a personal savings system
* Adopt a single-rate tax system
* Repeal tax hikes in capital gains and death taxes
* Believes government checks create dependency
* Opposes same-sex domestic partnership benefits
* Favors strongly teacher-led prayer in public schools
* Is a strong believer in the death penalty
* Is in favor of the "3-strikes your out" sentencing laws
* Supports an absolute right to gun ownership
* Very much against federal funding for health coverage
* Supports privatizing Social Security
* Supports vouchers allowing public funds to be used for private schools
* Opposes alternatives to coal and oil

In his speech to the Federalist Society, Cruz also said that "centrist strategies were doomed to fail Republicans, who should instead focus on a simple motto:  'Our ideas work.  Theirs don't.'"

Remember what I said earlier about Cruz and his cohorts being divorced from reality?  Which ideas are those that work?   Maybe the ones that came from George W. Bush?  Yeah, they worked!

We wrote about this guy before here.

[Note:  The information in this post came from Politico and]

Note to Tea Party People

I read this somewhere recently:

Tea Parties are for little girls and Mad Hatters!

[Photo used with the permission of:]

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Illogic of Debate by Art Woodstone

I want to express my appreciation to Art Woodstone for this fine essay!

John T. Reed:  "Some people will, on the slightest provocation, fire off a statement or paragraph that contains three, four, five, or six different, intellectually-dishonest arguments in a matter of seconds," writes John T. Reed, a West Pointer, a football coach, and above all a purist.  "Alan Colmes who regularly appears on Fox News is one of them."

So is Mitt Romney.  He was dishonest throughout the months of his campaign for the presidency, and now that he has lost, embitterment has made him more dishonest than before.  Nothing proves that more strikingly than the excuse he offered the other day for losing the election.  His opponent, Mr. Obama, he said, bought the election by offering gifts to the poor.  Romney's audacity is emboldened by the knowledge that millions of right-wing sympathizers, as embittered as he that the billion dollars they expended failed to "buy" the defeat of the black man in the Oval Office.

John McCain, who lost to Obama four years earlier, proved he, too, is an embittered loser, hoping to feed off of the ignorance of the mainstream right in this country.  So intent is he on punishing Obama that in anticipation of her nomination to become Hillary's replacement as Secretary of State, he accused Susan Rice, Obama's ambassador to the United Nations, of lying about the events surrounding Benghazi when, in fact, it is all too apparent that she was reading information supplied by the CIA and had absolutely no hand in bringing about the tragic death of our American ambassador there.

Notice that there was no outcry against Colin Powell, Bush's guy, when he stood up in the UN and declared that there was plenty of proof of Weapons of Mass Destruction to merit making war against Iraq, a war that didn't cost a mere four American lives, but thousands.  Blindness is a convenient excuse for right-wing malevolence.

I refer for the umpteenth time to Leslie Gelb's unerring description of the right-wing mainstream, as consisting of unrepentant, savage, "fact-free fanatics."  Whoever among us expects that the vitriol and falsehoods flooding out of that quarter will cease now that the election is over is dangerously naive.  It is inadvisable to enter a room with open arms, thinking that the other guy, until now your declared enemy, is going to greet you with an open heart and open mind.

It's stunning to realize that they can't or -- to give Romney and McCain the tiniest bit of credit for recognizing the truth -- won't stop the war of lies.  I don't remember any other time in my life [not even during the war in Vietnam] that the atmosphere in America was this poisoned.

Take the petulant nonsense currently favored by the ultras who influence legislative thinking in twenty of our fifty states:  they threaten to secede from the Union.  Of course that won't happen but as my friend and editor, Lowell, asks, somewhat bemused, I think:  "How often have we had national movements to secede other than the Civil War?"

[If Texas, Mississippi and Alabama want to go it on their own, maybe we ought to let them, so long as they don't demand visas to cross their territory.  The rest of us can hit them with heavy import duties which should go some distance toward reducing the national debt!]

Bad jokes aside, naked hostility, arrogance and ignorance are common among true believers.  True believers make the best fanatics, and fanatics are blind to and angered by any fact that disturbs their convictions.  I live in the very midst of these people, the Tea Partyers, the Fox and Limbaugh lovers, the evangelical extremists, the turncoat Jews, as capable of bigotry as the worst redneck in the deep south, the priests.  Oh, the priests!  Some of them, fanatics like the pastor of Queen of Peace Roman Catholic Church just down the road, whose brightly-lit sign prior to election day admonished:  "Don't vote for the anti-Christ," the same priest who told parishioners at Sunday mass two days before November 6, "I'm not telling anyone how to vote.  You're free to vote for damnation if you choose."

I've met Americans who vow never to do that, and not all of them necessarily insist the world began with Adam and Eve, although all of them believe that the liberal conspiracy and lazy blacks, and latinos are the reasons America must be saved, with no regard for any decency other than the one they have contrived for their own comfort.

Houston, we have a solution

5-Point Guide To The Fiscal Showdown

We've been hearing a lot about the so-called "Fiscal Cliff" in recent days.  Many people are confused as to what it all means.

The following is the essence of an email sent to me by, a civic action group, the purpose of which is to inform the confused and uninformed or FAUX News informed as to the "Fiscal Cliff."

"Republicans, led by House Speaker John Boehner, want to scare Americans into accepting yet another extension of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% and deep cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.  So they've created a 'fiscal cliff' boogeyman.

"Unfortunately, if you're following the media story, you may believe Republican claims that the world's about to end.  But the only thing going off a cliff on December 31 is the ability of the Republicans to hold our economy hostage for the sake of the rich ...

"That's why we have to spread the truth, so that our friends and family don't fall for the Republican myth about the fiscal cliff.  We've put together a 5-point guide on what this fiscal showdown is really all about."

 1.  The "Fiscal Cliff" is A Myth.  As Paul Krugman put it, "The looming prospect of spending cuts and tax increases isn't a fiscal crisis.  It is, instead, a political crisis brought on by the G.O.P.'s attempts to take the economy hostage."  Republicans are manufacturing this crisis to pressure Democrats to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and accept painful cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

2.  The Bush Tax Cuts Finally End December 31.  If Congress does nothing, the ax will fall on all the Bush tax cuts on New Year's Eve.  Then, on January 1, the public pressure on John Boehner and House Republicans to extend the middle-class tax cuts (already passed by the Senate and waiting to be signed by President Obama) will become irresistible.  So the middle-class tax cut will eventually get renewed, and we'll have $823 billion more revenue from the top 2% to do great things with.

3.  The Sequester.  The sequester is another political creation, forced on Democrats by Republicans in exchange for lifting the debt ceiling last year to avoid crashing our economy.  It's a set of cuts (50% to a bloated military budget and 50% to important domestic programs) designed to make both Republicans and Democrats hate it so much that they'd never let it happen.  And the cuts can be reversed weeks or months into 2013 without causing damage.

4.  The Big Three.  Nothing happens to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits on January 1--unless Republicans force painful cuts to beneficiaries in exchange for tax increases on the wealthy, which are going to happen anyway if Congress does NOTHING.  So, there's literally no reason benefit cuts should be part of the discussion right now.

5.  We Should Be Talking About Jobs.  The real crisis Americans want Congress to fix is getting people back to work.  And with just a fraction of that $823 billion from the wealthiest 2%, we could create jobs for more than 20,000 veterans and pay for the 300,000 teachers and 52,000 first responders, which our communities so desperately need.  That's not to mention jobs from investing in clean energy and our national infrastructure.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Secession and Division

We wish to thank a "Citizen of the Enlightened States of America" for what follows.  Unfortunately, we do not know his or her name.  So, we'll also thank our good friend, Bob Poris, for bringing this
article to our attention.

Dear Red States:

We are ticked off at your Neanderthal attitudes and politics and we've decided we're leaving.

We in New York intend to form our own country and we're taking the other Blue States with us.  In case you aren't aware, that includes California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and the rest of the Northeast.

We believe this split will be beneficial to the nation and especially to the people of the country of The Enlightened States of America (E.S.A.).

To sum up briefly:

1.  You get Texas, Oklahoma and all the slave states.

2.  We get stem cell research and the best beaches.

3.  We get Andrew Cuomo and Elizabeth Warren.  You get Bobby Jindal and Todd Akin.

4.  We get the Statue of Liberty.  You get Opryland.

5.  We get Intel and Microsoft.  You get WorldCom.

6.  We get Harvard.  You get Ole' Miss.

7.  We get 85 percent of America's venture capital and entrepreneurs.

8.  You get Alabama.

9.  We get two-thirds of the tax revenue.  You get to make the Red States pay their fair share.

10.  Since our aggregate divorce rate is 22 percent lower than the Christian Coalition's, we get a bunch of happy families.  You get a bunch of single moms.

11.  With the Blue States in hand we will have firm control of 80% of the country's fresh water, more than 90% of the pineapple and lettuce, 92% of the nation's fresh fruit, 95% of America's quality wines (you can serve French wine at state dinners), 90% of the high-tech industry, most the U.S. low-sulfur coal, all living redwoods, sequoias and condors, all the Ivy and Seven Sister schools plus Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Cal Tech and MIT.

12.  With Red States you will have to cope with 88% of all obese Americans and their projected health care costs, 92% of all U.S. mosquitoes, nearly 100% of the tornadoes, 90% of the hurricanes, and 99% of all Southern Baptists, virtually 100% of all televangelists, plus Rush Limbaugh, Bob Jones University, Clemson and the University of Georgia.

13.  We get Hollywood and Yosemite, thank you.

14.  Thirty-eight percent of people living in the Red States believe Jonah was actually swallowed by a whale, 62% believe life is sacred unless we're talking about the death penalty or gun laws, 44% say evolution is only a theory, 53% think that Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11, and 61% of you crazy bastards believe you are people with higher morals than we lefties.

15.  We're taking the good weed, too.  You can have that crap they grow in Mexico.


Citizens of the Enlightened States of America

In Custody

The following is reprinted with permission, courtesy of The Freethinker.

In Custody 

By Ophelia – September 24, 2012
Posted in: Featured

National Public Radio’s religious affairs reporter Barbara Bradley Hagerty did a story about the reactionary (not that she used that word) trend in the Catholic Church the other day. She spoke to the Bishop of Lincoln (Nebraska), who told her that when it comes to doctrines, the church is not a democracy.

 “These are not open to votes,” Bruskewitz said. “These are what God has revealed, and the custody of that revelation is of course in the possession of the Church.”

Bruskewitz said the Church can’t compromise its views just because the secular world doesn’t like them.

We’re numbed to that sort of thing by habit, so it seems more or less “normal”, even if wrong. It’s mistaken, but it’s our familiar local semi-comfortable version of mistaken, the non-exotic, European, Christmas and Easter one. It doesn’t seem as absurd, or childish, or primitive as it would if “God” were replaced by “Ouroboros”.

That’s unfortunate, because if the absurdity jumped out at everyone – a grown man, at the top of his profession, saying that “core doctrines” were “revealed” by a distant magical being and are in “the custody” of his organization and cannot be rejected or changed by mere humans – then fewer people would acquiesce.

Imagine someone in a position of dignity and authority – a politician, a judge, an academic, a diplomat, a Nobel laureate – saying that decisions about matters such as birth control and abortion and same-sex marriage are not for human beings to make, should not be based on what humans want and need, but are revealed by the Tooth Fairy, and in the custody of celibate male priests of the Tooth Fairy.

The impertinence, the outrageousness, the usurpation would be instantly and universally obvious. The Tooth Fairy! Are you kidding me?! The Tooth Fairy doesn’t get to decide what I’m allowed to do – it’s none of the Tooth Fairy’s business and by the way there is no Tooth Fairy.

 “God” is the same kind of counter as the Tooth Fairy, but we don’t hear the word the same way. Even atheists don’t, especially not at the level of unconscious processing. (This is part of the point of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I like to use proper names for the same purpose, much as rude people like to call the Queen Brenda or Betty. Call God Sally or Bill and things immediately look different.) It’s disconcerting, what an enormous head start theism is able to give itself with just a Holy Name endlessly repeated.

So take God out of it, along with Allah and Yahweh. Call it Terry, which is a unisex name. The core doctrines, which include birth control, the rights and responsibilities of women and men, choice in dying, choice in marriage, to name a few, were all “revealed” three thousand years ago by Terry. Terry is not available for consultation or petition. The revelation by Terry was a one- time event, and non-optional – not take it or leave it, but just take it. The Catholic Church has “the custody” of this revelation, and we human beings have no rights in the matter; we just have to obey.

It looks like a sour joke, but it’s exactly the situation according to the Bishop of Lincoln and the Vatican, and millions of people accept it and obey it.

 It’s tragic, isn’t it? We’re such a promising species in many ways. We have a rocket ex- ploring the rings of Saturn – you can follow it on Twitter. We have poetry and music and art and architecture and bridges. We used to have the ancient mausoleums in Timbuktu and the Bamiyan Buddhas. We can explore and learn and create – but we have also come up with this horrible fraudulent way of imposing stupid rules that are treated as Terry-given and unchangeable. We create both poetry and tyranny. It’s enough to make a cat laugh.

 In a sense, it’s precisely this matter of being a promising species that motivates us to believe in a Terry. We’re promising because we want more – we want more than enough food to get us through today, safety from that predator over there, relief from this pain. We want bigger things. This makes us dissatisfied with such a temporary being as we are. All humans have short lives, no humans live enough centuries to make a major difference. How can such transient entities make good decisions about morality? We need someone who can take a longer view, a less selfish view.

The wish is understandable. The problem is that inventing one and treating it as holy is just more of the same, but disguised. Terry isn’t the desired better-than-human entity; Terry is just another human idea. Terry’s rules can be as selfish and self-interested as any other human rules, and they have a built-in clause that forbids correction. “These are not open to votes. These are what God has revealed.”

It’s possibly the most disastrous idea the species has ever had.

Yahweh's Amazing Test - by NonStampCollector

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Obamacare a winner! Go Jon Stewart!

[Please watch this entire video.  You will see Jon eviscerate the CEOs who whine about having to provide health care for their employees and who threaten to fire or lay-off people and jack up prices because of the additional cost of health care.]

I admit it.  I love health care!  I love the idea of health care and I love the reality of health care.  I do not understand that of all the industrialized, whoop-de-poop nations of the world, the United States does not provide universal health care for all of its citizens. 

Well, we do now.  Sort of.  It's called The Affordable Care Act.  Aka Obamacare.  It's OK.  It's better than nothing.  It's a start.  And it does not include "death panels," despite the constant delusional ravings of political morons like M. Bachmann and S. Palin.

The Affordable Care Act has some wonderful pieces to it.  Insurance companies can no longer deny healthcare because a person has "pre-existing conditions."  Isn't that a great phrase?  It means you were sick at one time and/or you are sick now so you have a "pre-existing condition".  Obamacare says you cannot be told to piss off if you want insurance.  Obamacare also allows your children to be covered under your policy until they finally graduate from college or get so old the college throws them out on the street.  Then they're on their own.

This isn't to say that Obamacare is perfect.  Far from it.  But it's a start, as we said.  Sometimes when you wake from a long nap (especially if you're an elderly person), you have to take baby steps in order to eventually resume a longer stride that gets you where you want to go more quickly.  So it is with Obamacare.  We've got more work to do.

The Republican Party has, by and large, been noted for its vociferous and rhetorically violent opposition to The Affordable Care Act.  Some guy by name of Romney - you may remember him - said if he was elected president he'd figure out a way to abolish Obamacare as soon as he took office even if it meant a bit of vodoo politics using those nasty Executive Decisions. 

Another guy, name of Ryan, who believes greed is good and money is great and greedy people with money are the best, approved whatever it was that Mr. Romney said.  Most every other Republican in the United States stood up and saluted and vowed they would fight healthcare for American citizens until they took their last breath.

Then something very wonderful and strange happened.  President Barack Obama was re-elected!  The Democrats increased their majority in the Senate.  They didn't do so well in the House, but the president received a mandate to get the job done which includes revising and improving the Affordable Care Act.  (This is an aside but if you want a bit of insight as to the Republican brain works, note that Paul Ryan - who's somehow thought of as some to be a bit of a genius, is not really very smart - said that Obama did not receive a mandate because the House remained in Republican hands!)

Obama received almost 3 million more popular votes than the bad guys and clobbered Mr. Romney in the Electoral College.  In other words, he has a mandate from a solid majority of Americans to do the work he promised to do, which includes a viable system of healthcare for all of our citizens.  We don't want to be known as the only country in the world that is so blase, so uncaring, so blind, so immune to the suffering of its citizens we can't even provide universal healthcare. 

ThinkProgress reported yesterday on a new Kaiser Family Foundation poll which showed clearly that most Americans do NOT want to repeal Obamacare.  Following the counting of the votes, "the number of Americans advocating for a full repeal of the health reform law dropped to an all-time low at just 33 percent --  compared to nearly half of Americans who would rather keep the law in place."

Some Republican leaders have found the Lord, too.  John Boehner, Speaker of the House, said that Obamacare is "the law of the land" and hinted that Congressional Republicans might want to rethink their opposition to the law.  That was a crack in the wall of recalcitrance and stupidity, but Boehner's office soon said, not so fast, we still are opposed to Obamacare.

No one said Republicans in Congress were very smart.  In fact, I'd guess on an intelligence test, they'd be lucky to be in the first percentile.  The people of the U.S. WANT healthcare.  And as ThinkProgress noted, the "declining support for repealing the health law is a blow to the anti-Obamacare candidates who poured over $20 million into advertisements attacking the Affordable Care Act during the 2012 election cycle.  On the other hand, at least six candidates in tight races across the country won ... after advocating for the health reform law throughout their campaigns."

Even the nogoodnik Republican governor of Florida, Rick Scott, who has been one of the biggest naysayers when it comes to Obamacare, is making noises indicating his opposition is mellowing.  He probably has seen the writing on the wall:  if he wants a future in politics he'd better get with the program!

This does not mean all is wine and roses.  Wisconsin, a state I used to have some respect for, has been invaded by teapot crackpots and has developed an entire cadre of ignorant fools who somehow got elected to the state legislature. 

There are at least nine of them who have organized to try to ensure that Obamacare will never see the light of day in Wisconsin.  They are doing this by supporting a bill which "would arrest any federal officials who attempt to implement Obamacare in Wisconsin."

These mighty morons perhaps never got the word that the Supremes said the law passed consitutional muster.  One of them, Chris Kapenga "said he believes the health care law is unconstitutional..." and then went on to verbally confirm his stupidity by saying, "Just because Obama was re-elected does not mean he's above the constitution."

So, it ain't over yet.  Between legislators elected by the people to uphold the constitution who publicly flout that responsibility, to other groups of Tea Party teapot crackpots in some 20 states who think they want to secede from the Union, we'll have to put up with a lot of crapola before things settle down.

But, there are a lot of us who would say loudly and clearly to all of these political freaks:  you can do a lot of dumb things and pass a lot of moronic laws, but if you mess with my healthcare I will devote the rest of my life to making you pay dearly for your sins!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Christian fanatics and Obama

There is weeping all over the land, only you won't notice unless you belong to a Roman Catholic Church, a Mormon Temple, or one of the myriad fundamentalist Christian "churches" that fester and sicken our land with their poisonous claptrap about the president of these United States. These are the religious who believe Obama is evil and leading our nation into an abyss from which we may never recover.

The reaction of the Christian right to Obama's re-election is fascinating in its coherence despite being given voice by so many disparate groups. Catholics, Mormons and fundamentalist Protestants have come to Jesus through their confession of faith which has to do primarily with animosity toward gays and gay marriage, abortion for any reason, socialism (although that word is almost never defined), and a completely bogus charge that Obama is a threat to religious freedom, or worse, that the president wants to rid our land of any religion or religious activity.

 Billy Graham, 94 years old, is still preaching the same old stuff. I went to his rallies in Los Angeles when a youngster, mostly to make money selling the Los Angeles Times to Graham's patrons and converts. But I could hear him nontheless over the loudspeakers. His message hasn't changed. He's still a stark, raving fundamentalist who shouts "The bible says" as if it matters.

You will remember that while Graham did not explicitly endorse the Mormon, Romney, he might as well have, reminding his acolytes to vote for God's will, wink, wink, meaning, of course, that God didn't want that black socialist to continue in power.

According to an article by Stoyan Zaimov at, Graham now suggests we pray for the president because God wants us to do that. But we must also repent as a nation. "Only the Gospel," claims Graham, "God's Good News, has the power to change lives, heal hearts, and restore a nation." So, Billy has decided to foist another one of his evangelistic crusades upon us. Actually, it's his son, Franklin, who's going to lead this mission, "working with 'thousands of churches across every state in this country.'" Billy's hope is countenanced as a "passionate, heartfelt desire to see God change hearts and lives in every community in America." Rather mild stuff, except it's clear that Graham is saying God didn't want Obama and if we as a nation were more faithful to God's will, Romney would have won. We'd still have to pray for Romney, of course, because the Bible counsels us to do so, but the need would not be so urgent.

Franklin Graham, Billy's son, has neither the charisma nor the charm of his father.  He is a Christianist pit bull.  When the election dust had settled, Franklin rose to thunder his prediction that the United States is on a "path to destruction."  He was mostly pissed about the fact that more and more heterosexuals are accepting gay marriage.  "If we are allowed to go down tis road in the path that this president wants us to go down, I think it will be to our peril and to the destruction of this nation."  In a previous statement, Franklin claimed that because Obama had spoken in favor of gay marriage he had "shaken his fist at the same God who had created and defined marriage."

When I read statements like that I can't help but laugh because they are so utterly stupid.  God had nothing to say about marriage at all, even if you accept the biblical stories of Adam and Eve as mythically valid.  There is nothing about Adam and Eve getting married.  In fact, considering the evidence available in Genesis we would have to conclude that they lived in sin without benefit of clergy. 

Furthermore, the Hebrews were great purveyors of plural marriage.  The Mormons got that right.  All the old patriarchs had several wives and it is reported that merry old King Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines although I think those numbers, like statistics from FAUX news, are wildly inflated.   

You may not have heard of Dr. Michael L. Brown, a Jew who found Jesus and founded a ministry and has written several books extolling fundamentalist values which include hostility toward homosexuality and abortion, among other things.  "President Obama," says Brown in a recent column on his website, "is not a Christian because he supports gay equality and opposes the criminalization of abortion, and is 'more a disciple of Saul Alinsky that of Jesus.'"  Brown also claimed, hilariously, that Obama is not like Martin Luther King, Jr., because King was a unifier and Obama is a divider.

That's hilarious because anyone who lived through the 1960s in this country knows that King, at that time, was most certainly not seen by a majority as a unifier, but just the opposite.  King was despised and hated by millions of people.  Many claimed he had unnecessarily set whites against blacks and was creating turmoil and racial hatred and class warfare.

In other words, Brown is full of doggie-doo!

Then there's Matt Staver of whom we have written before.  This small-minded bigot, founder and and chairman of Liberty Counsel, a legal organization dedicated to tearing down the wall of separation of church and state, "is genuinely concerned about the soul of America following Tuesday's election."  Christians should be grieving, he says.  

Staver is most upset about the election because during this go-around, the American people knew what Obama was all about but voted for him anyway.  Americans "knew what they were voting for and they looked at evil and they adopted it."

Obama, says Staver, is the embodiment of evil. 

And Staver claims to be a Christian.  How do people get so screwed? 

Much of what follows comes from Right Wing Watch.

Tony Perkins, who heads up the right-wing hate group known as the Family Research Council told a talk show host that this election reveals "symptoms of a deeper moral and spiritual problem that we're facing in our nation."  Janet Meffferd, of the talk show, is afraid America will not survive another Obama term and she is afraid that when she gets old the so-called "death panels" will kill her.  Something will, but it's more likely to be cancer than any non-existent death panels!

The sleazy Baptist preacher/pundit Mike Huckabee told Focus on the Family that Christian conservatives suffered a "'humiliating defeat' and must repent.  He also prayed for Christians to begin to change America and stop abortion rights and same-sex marriage."

Janet Porter, a rightwing fanatic from Faith 2 Action called the election a "pro-family ...  disaster" and put the blame on the media as well as "disobedient" Christians who "have idols of race, party and entitlements.

Another kook by name of Orson Scott Card, claimed the media covered up Obama's lies and his acting like the Nazis.  "Barack Obama is still a liar," said the card, Card, and to the media he said "you didn't change that, you merely hid it."  The media, he explained, did everything in their power to shut down the truthful Fox News as well as conservative talk radio.

Rick Green who is connected to WallBuilders, which is dedicated to developing a conservative fantasy history of our country and pushing their fantasy onto our public schools, put the blame for Obama's victory on the educational system for the U.S. "knowingly embracing socialism."  We must, says Green, "channel the spirit of the American Revolution to resist Obama."

A final example of fundamentalist perfidy, but one of the more egregious ones, has to do with a local Roman Catholic Church, located on a major roadway in my community which posted on their church sign a variety of "slogans" over the last several weeks before the election suggesting that Obama was the anti-Christ and that the faithful should vote for that other person.

There is much more of this crap, and I use that word intentionally, for it is crap.  In France, they'd call it "merde."  Fortunately, these are the people who got at least some of the crap beat out of them in the election.  For some time they'd been operating on the conviction that the majority of the people in this country agree with their pernicious, ignorant, hateful and abominable beliefs and attitudes and it is wonderful to discover they were delusional.

I've been around religious people - mostly Christians - all of my life.  I have never seen anything as dreadful and degrading as what passes for contemporary "evangelical" Christianity.  Evangel refers to good news.  They have no good news.  They spew hatred.  They tell lies with impunity.  The disrespect the Bible by foisting upon it their social and political views.  In their minds Jesus is a Republican capitalist who rewards his faithful with beaucoup bucks and all the "good" things this life has to offer and who, like them, see most people as "takers," not "producers," and thus unworthy of attention or assistance.   Nothing could be further from the truth!

They know not their Lord!  They are the vipers of which Jesus spoke.  And the best thing that has happened to this country in many years is that they got clobbered and Obama got re-elected. 


Monday, November 12, 2012

Secession Fever

"Hey, y'all, we shore don't like that black guy up thar in thet White House!  Let's git all our kind together and run the guy out of town!"

"Sorry, Bubba, thet ain't gonna work.  He's got all them military types and guns and tanks and stuff and we jest ain't got enuf firepower."

"Oh, damn, you are shore right!  Well, hell, we'll git our relatives and good Bible-believin' folks jest like us, you know white and all, and we'll secede jest like our wunnerful ancestors did awhiles back."

"Hey, Bubba, y'all got a great idea thar.  I'll git on the phone jest as soon as ah finish this here six-pack and jest as soon as I kin find someone who kin read and rite."

Word is out that a whole bunch of rednecks in several of our states (mostly southern) have filed secession petitions, whatever that means.  They want out.  They ain't gonna put up with another four years of this black commie, Muslim, socialist, Marxist, gun-hating, no good SOB of a president.

Never mind that secession petitions aren't legal and aren't worth the paper they're written on.  The Civil War settled that.  Maybe they think they can start another civil war; shoot at one of our warships off the coast of South Carolina.  I'll bet if you asked them why they want to secede, they wouldn't say anything bad about Obama other than he's running this country into the ground, but they'd start spewing crap about "states' rights" just like their "wunnerful ancestors" did 152 years ago.  These folks aren't the brightest bulbs in the chandelier, but they are racist to the core and mean as hell, and don't have a clue what this country is all about!

As we said, most of the people involved in this secession business are from southern states; like Texas, South Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, and Oklahoma.  This is the racist core of our country. 

But the Teapot Crackpots are involved and thus the nutcases have filed similar petitions in New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Montana, and even Oregon.  And those states contain lots of racists, too.

None of this is going anywhere.  It's a lot of noise about nothing.  Those involved are merely malcontents blowing off steam.  But there's a sinister aspect to the secession movement.  Much of it, as noted, is born of racism.  And it shows clearly we've still got a lot of citizens who are ignorant of our history, of our purpose and of our promise.

These people know nothing of patriotism, even though I'd guess they'd proudly wave their flags on Veterans Day and the Fourth of July while guzzling beer and chomping down hot dogs.  These are people who are not willing to live in a country where they cannot have the upper hand and control the "minorities" - blacks and Latinos and Hispanics and women!  They do not understand that a democracy can thrive only when the rights of the minorities are protected.  And they are scared to death that they will soon become a "minority," if that hasn't happened already!

They do not believe in Democracy or in striving for a more perfect union.  They are not patriots for patriotism has to do, not with waving flags, but helping these UNITED STATES live up to its ideals of democracy, inclusiveness, and freedom.  But the secessionists disgrace this country.  They demean the beacon of light represented by the Statue of Liberty.  They spit on our heritage and on all those who have fought to defend this country from its enemies.

These secessionists are anti-American!  They hate their country.  They hate it so much they want to leave it. 

There's got to be an uninhabited island somewhere to which they could secede!  If they hate the U.S. and the majority of people in our land so much, let 'em go.  Let them have their own country, set up their own system of government, determine their own laws, and most importantly, let them establish an immigration policy that really works!

That should last about two weeks then they'd have their own civil war!

A state cannot secede from the Union.  But individuals sure as hell can.  I'll bet we'd have a rather large crowd gathered on our shores waving goodbye as they sailed away.  And then we could get about the business of fixing the U.S. of A. without further distraction! 

The Republican Nominee for President in 2016 is...

Thank goodness and all the gods that be that the election is over, that we've seen the last of the nasty television ads and can once again turn on the TV without some politician slyly telling us about the evil traits of his/her opponent.

The relief at an election concluded (except for Arizona which seems to have more ballots still uncounted than counted) is like taking a deep breath of fresh air.  Ahhhhh.

But is it really over?  I just read how people are already talking about and positioning themselves for 2016!  The pundits, too, are busily predicting who will or who will not run in four more years.  Arghhhh!  Perhaps we could do some governing before we start running?

Quesions are being asked.  Will Biden be the Democratic nominee?  Is Hillary going to go for the gold?  Chris Christie will surely be a top Republican contender.  Or maybe Huckabee, he of god and country (in that order) will give it another try.  The problem is that there isn't a Republican left in this country that would be worthy of the White House. 

If you differ, please name one.  Just don't say Michele Bachmann or Sarah Palin or Paul Ryan.  That would exclude you from polite conversation anywhere on earth. 

The hard truth is that Republicans don't seem to be much concerned as to the qualifications of those who run for public office.  Consider the group of would-be nominees from this last fiasco:  Huckabee was one, a lying, sleazy Southern Baptist preacher/pundit, nasty as a Florida gator; Ginrich threw his hat in the ring not knowing that he was a dead man so far as politics go; Santorum?  Please.  He's an ideologue in love with the Pope.  Ron Paul has a lot of noisy supporters, but his libertarianism is as nonsensical these days as is Communism.  Rick Perry faded early after he showed the world he didn't have a clue about much of anything except he didn't like the federal government giving Texas money unless they did and then he kept it.  Perry also loved Jesus and thought the government should sponsor prayer fests led by really whacked Pentecostals who are looking to take over the world for Haysus.

But I'm going to make a prediction.  I don't have any feel for who will end up being the Democratic nominee, although the Dems have a large group of competent and capable men and women any one of which would do a good job as the leader of the free world.

The Republicans, as we've said, are really out of ammo.  They were so desperate in this last contest they nominated Romney even though most of them didn't like him, thought him to be a hollow man, didn't trust him and didn't know anything about what he believed about anything.  Which makes sense because as we found out, Romney himself didn't know what he believed about anything. 

Here's the deal.  If you've read the latest crapola as to why the Republicans lost the election, you know a lot of it had to do with the Latino vote.  As I recall, about 70% of Latinos voted for Mr. Obama.  Which should have been no surprise.  The Repubs showed clearly they didn't care about the Latinos or what the Latinos cared about.  They were an anti-immigrant party, and their plan for immigration reform was essentially "Send the bastards back to where they came from!"

For some reason that didn't sit too well with Latinos or Hispanics.  And the Repubs lost the Latino vote big-time!

What can they do?  That's easy.  Put Jeb Bush up as their nominee.  Jeb is married to a Hispanic, he speaks Spanish and he's well thought of by people who don't know his record as governor in Florida.  Of course, Republicans think he was a great governor, but then they thought the same of Romney in Massachusetts.  The truth is much darker. 

Jeb is better-looking, younger and much smarter than his brother, Georgy.  He can talk a good game even though his game-plan is the same old tired "less taxes, more privatization, deregulate everything in sight; give public money to private religious schools, blah, blah, blah."

But most importantly, Jeb, who has insisted that he isn't going to run for public office again, is now making noises hinting he might, just possibly, if necessary, be open to the Republican nomination.  He probably figures if Romney could get nominated, just about anyone could.  He would be a formidable and very dangerous candidate.

But my bet is that Jeb Bush will be the Republican nominee in 2016.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

God arranged Obama's election

 [Thanks to Atheist Cartoons for the depiction above]

Obama was elected by God.  Or so says one Christian blogger in his article titled "In God We Trust."

It may be true that this blogger trusts in God.  Perhaps many of his Christians friends trust in God.  But it is too big a step to say, as does the motto on our money, "In God We Trust."  We, the people of this imperfect union, trust a lot of things, but we do not trust in God.  We trust in money, in ourselves and sometimes our families, our doctors, our clergy, our teachers, and not infrequently our friends; we don't have much trust in politicians, though.  But we know enough to be careful.

We learn quickly that we can't trust everyone or everything.  Some of us have learned we can't trust God, either.

The word, God, has a multitude of meanings.  If you took an average congregation of any religious group in this country and asked each member to describe the god in which they believed, you would have as many different descriptions as there were members.  Neither the clergy nor the theologians can agree on what the word "God" means.

Some people think of God as a magical human being; a human writ large; a Santa Claus figure - fatherly, kind, one who loves his children and wants them to be happy.  This god often is thought to reside "up" in the sky somewhere or "out" in space.

Usually it is considered possible to have a personal relationship with such a god.  You can be friends with this god.  You can pray to him or her and expect to be heard and that your prayers will be answered in one way of another.

This god is thought to desire worship and adoration.  Thus, we have churches with set rituals to allow worship and adoration to happen.  In some cases, the ritual includes magical words which are believed to change reality.  The Roman Catholic Church espouses a doctrine called transubstantiation which means that when a priest says certain words over crackers and wine, those earthly elements actually change into the physical body and blood of the Jesus of the Gospels.

It is also true that Christians generally believe in just one god, but they say he has three different aspects or essences or persons.  It's all very confusing and makes very little sense to people living in the 21st century.  We're talking about the doctrine of the Trinity - God, the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.  There are three persons but only one god.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Or maybe smoke your pipe first and then you'll better be able to understand it.

A quick summary:  People all over the world believe in a god or gods.  But what they believe is vastly different, and often contradictory.  Even within one particular religion, you will find a wide variety of ideas as to what the god is like.

It is true that most Christians believe that their trinitarian God is active in the world and is able to influence people and events either directly or indirectly.  That is the whole point of most prayers - to get God's attention and to ask him/her to intervene in one way or another.

Which brings me back to the article I first mentioned, "In God We Trust."  The author, Shayes, said he did not want either Obama or Romney as president.  "I don't think President Obama did a good job ... and therefore, I don't believe he deserves a chance at a second term."  He didn't mention any specifics as to what Obama did or did not do, however.

He continued:  "To be completely honest, I don't think either candidate really deserves to be in office, but I would rather try someone new than continue with a candidate who has lived up to very little that he promised us four years ago."

Many of us would and could argue quite effectively against such reasoning, but that's not what this essay is about.  The essence of what he has to say comes next:

"The thing I've had to continually remind myself over the last couple of weeks and since casting my vote yesterday is that God is in control."  It may be true, he says, that the people voted Mr. Obama into office, but "the One who really has complete control over who is leading the United States or any other country is not us, but God.  You can call it cheesy, you can call it ridiculous, but it's Biblical truth."

Shayes quotes several Bible passages which he thinks bolsters his theological position.  "The fact of the matter is," says Shayes, "God is sovereign.  He knows what He's doing.  He places specific rulers in charge of countries at specific times in history for purposes that sometimes only He knows."

Oh boy.  So President Obama was really gifted a second term because God wanted him to serve another four years as president of the United States.  That is Biblical truth!  God manipulated the election and allowed Romney, his entourage and the entire Republican party to go through all kinds of trials and tribulations the last couple of years just for the hell of it.  Obama was his favorite all along.

And that must mean he doesn't care much for Mormons.  It must mean he's not pleased with the extremist Christian fundys in our midst.  And God must love Obamacare.

Is that a good deal or what?

But there's a slight problem with this notion that God is manipulating countries and politicians all over the world.  According to Shayes, God put Stalin in office, and Hitler in charge of Germany and set up Franco as dictator of Spain, and the goofball in Iran, and the dictator Salazar in Portugal, etc.

That means God's responsible for the Holocaust; for the millions slaughtered under Stalin in the former Soviet Union, for all those killed under Mao and his regime in China. 

Shayes goes further and quotes Paul in the epistle of Romans (Chapter 13:1-5) to prove his point that we (Christians) are obliged to respect and obey those put in authority over us for they have been placed there by God.

"Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.  The authorities that exist have been established by God.  Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves."

This is a good lesson as to why we should be very careful if we seek guidance from the Bible.  There is a lot of nonsense in the Bible.  That's where fundamentalists get all hung up.  If you believe every word is of God and true, you must do a variety of mental gymnastics to make any sense at all.

But this one you can't get around.  For if you believe God establishes dictators and presidents and other rulers in countries, you must somehow account for all the evil rulers and dictators and presidents we've seen down through the centuries.

And that would make God complicit in all the evil that has been wrought on the human race by "authorities" from the beginning of time!  And you can't say "his ways are not our ways" or he does this "for reasons only he understands."  Most human beings are quite capable of identifying evil when they see it.  And if this passage from Paul's letter to the Romans is true, who would ever want to believe in a god who was more of a devil than the devil herself?

Romans is one of the earliest "books" in the New Testament, and was probably written in the 50s or early 60s.  The situation had grown very tense.  Rebellion was in the air.  Rome was edgy and had no compunction about ruthlessly stiffling any opposition in its outlying territories.  In this passage, Paul is writing for the Roman authorities as much as to the Christians in Rome.  He's letting the authorities know the Christians are not a threat and telling the Christians to cool it, to avoid giving the authorities any reason to send in the troops.

In other words, Paul (in a letter!) wrote a particular group of words for a particular group at a particular time.  What he said was never intended as timeless truth or the "word" of God for all people of all times.

In his final section, Shayes argues that because God has placed Obama in a position of authority, Christians should respect him.  If "we rebel against our president, or disrespect him ... we are rebelling against and disrespecting God because, whether we understand the reasoning or not, God has put President Obama into office for another term..."

While I think we should offer Mr. Obama our respect, and that as a people we should work together to solve the problems we face in this country, that is not because any deity chose him for the office.  God did not "put President Obama into office for another term."  Obama was able to obtain sufficient electoral votes to retain his office, and coincidentally, received a majority of the popular vote.  God was not in the voting booth pulling levers, punching cards, or filling in little boxes.  We, the people, did that.

Such a God as Shayes believes in is a fantasy.  It's not enough to say "this is Biblical truth."  As we've seen if what Paul writes in Romans is true, God is a monster unworthy of our attention or worship or trust or anything else.