Monday, December 23, 2013

The Fakirs of Duck Dynasty

The language is pretty raw but the message is important.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

House Republicans "12 Days of Congress"

This video courtesy of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Ethnic cleansing in the Middle East

Every once in awhile you might hear an ignorant person complain that Israel is guilty of "ethnic cleansing" in the Middle East.

Not so.  Over 1.5 million Arabs live in Israel.  Compare that with the number of Jews living in other countries shown on the map above.

Note:  Click on the map to enlarge it.

h/t to my friend, Bob Poris

Friday, December 13, 2013

Musings during the holiday season

     1.  Have you ever seen a real estate ad that said a house for sale was in a bad or
          deteriorating neighborhood?

  1. I've seen lots of articles lately about how stress can really mess you up. All those articles have created a lot of stress in my life!

  1. Why is it that Republicans in Congress are suddenly deeply concerned about the deficit when we heard nary a word from them when George W. Bush was waging wars with China's money?

  1. Did you ever notice that “gourmet” restaurants serve smaller portions of food that doesn't taste very good?

  1. Why is Ted Yoho (R-Fla) sponsoring a gun safety event instead of helping to create jobs in our county? And on the anniversary of the Newtown tragedy yet.

  1. Who are the Kardashians and why should we care?

  1. Could we please send Sarah Palin off into the woods where nobody would have to listen to her inane blather?

  1. Isn't it interesting that the “bipartisan” budget deal is built on the backs of the poor?

  1. Just read about a Ted Cruz coloring book. Some stupid people are buying it. I would buy it just for fun but I don't know which colors represent reprehensible, mean, greedy, unChristian, nasty, hateful, spiteful, and snobbish behavior.

  1. This morning an old man driving a hybrid car dashed into a parking space at the supermarket going the wrong way just as I was entering the space going the right way. He wouldn't move back to his proper space. Just because you're old doesn't mean you get a pass so you can be stupid and onery! [By the way, he spent most of his time in the store buying lottery tickets.]

  1. Some folks in my town want to build a baseball stadium to entice a minor-minor (NY Yankees) league team to relocate from another town in this state. The county commission thinks the county/city should pay for the stadium, i.e., the taxpayers. It will involve a half-cent tax. The New York Yankees have more money than god. Why should taxpayers build that flourishing enterprise a stadium? If day follows night, the team will leave in a year or two to another, more promising city and we'll be stuck with a monstrosity that sits vacant most of the time.

  1. Re the previous item: It's possible that the taxpayers will approve this half-cent tax for a baseball stadium. What would be the reaction if the politicos proposed a half-cent tax for new schools or to help pay teacher's salaries? As Santa would say, “Ho, ho, ho! No, no, no!”

  1. Please NEVER call my social security or Medicare an “entitlement.” That implies I did not earn it nor deserve it! Mitt Romney's paycheck can be called an entitlement for most of what he has comes from his family and the avoidance of taxes.

  1. We have another “battle of the cross.” In San Diego. On a hill at a veteran's memorial. Why do some people insist on flaunting their religious beliefs in the face of the rest of us? There's nothing wrong with a veteran's memorial but a cross remains a Christian symbol and disparages all non-Christian veterans. We have enough pagan religious icons in this country. A judge said “take it down.” Sort of. His decision will be appealed and Justice Scalia implied that if it hits the Supremes all will be well and the Christian symbol can stay on the hill. This is a Christian country, right?

  1. The Hawaii state health official who released President Obama's birth certificate was killed in a plane crash on Wednesday. She was the only one killed in the crash. Her name was Loretta Fuddy. A tragedy. Donald Trump, however, showing how much he cares about real people and those who loved Ms. Fuddy, implied that Obama's birth certificate was a fake and that Ms. Fuddy was implicated in forging the certificate and was killed to ensure her silence about the matter. Would it be too much to ask that the media not publish anything that comes from the sick mind of Mr. Trump?

  1. The city of Detroit has received judicial permission to move forward and cut the pensions of city retirees. The city of Detroit, while cutting pensions, plans to spend $444 million dollars to build a new hockey arena.  Is there a way to lock up the brainless turds that despoil our country?

  1. Some of our media people are really stupid. Many of those folks work for FAUX News. Not all, though. Just watch NBC and CNN, especially. One of the stupidest is Megyn Kelley of FAUX News. A woman wrote her that Santa did not have to have white skin. Well, Ms. Kelley knows damn well that Santa was white. And, for that matter, so was the other mythical guy, Jesus. Perhaps Ms. Kelley has been so indoctrinated at FAUX News that she thinks people can't have faith in a person of color. I mean, FAUX News constantly points out that President Obama, a man of color, is not worthy of praise or worship or even respect.  And it's too bad he should get a decent night's sleep!

  1. In Bullock County, Georgia, teachers were told they could not promote their Christian beliefs in the classroom or in their lessons or on their computers. A right-wing legal group complained that this violated the first-amendment rights of the teachers. Why do Christians insist on promoting their religion in the public sphere? A ban on such behavior does not deny anyone their first-amendment rights! Teachers who try to make little Christians out of their students are violating the United States Constitution. What's so hard to understand about that?

  1. Why do people driving cars with little Jesus fish attached drive 20 miles over the speed limit on the highways? Doing so makes them criminals.

  1. Finally, some tidbits from the latest issue of Harper's Magazine.

          • 942,000 U.S. fast-food workers receive federal and state aid.
          • The cost of this aid is more than $7,000,000,000.
          • 71 percent of Tea Party crackpots think Obama is destroying the country.
          • Cancer prevention gets a mere 11% of the NFL's pink breast-cancer awareness merchandise sales.

Merry Holidays!

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Republicans and Nelson Mandella - Once again on the wrong side of history

This, from the Huffington Post.

1986.  Congress put together a Comprehensive Anti-apartheid Act which was designed to show U.S. disapproval of apartheid in South Africa.  It had teeth which involved sanctions, among other things.

The bill passed Congress with bipartisan support.  The Republican Party, however, opposed the act, and it was vetoed by President Ronnie Reagan, the B-grade movie actor who somehow stumbled his way into the presidency.

Congress overrode the veto.

One of those who voted against the act was none other than Dick Cheney, then a Wyoming congressman.  Today, he maintains he did the right thing, that the African National Congress was a terrorist organization and Nelson Mandella was a terrorist.

In 2004, John Nichols, a Cheney historian, spoke to Mandella about Cheney's "record and worldview."  Nichols summed up Mandella's response this way:

He’s very blunt about it he says one of the many reasons why he fears Dick Cheney’s power in the United States, and Mandela does say, he understands that Cheney is effectively the President of the United States, he says, one of the many reasons that he fears Dick Cheney’s power is that in the late 1980’s when even prominent Republicans like Jack Kemp and Newt Gingrich were acknowledging the crime of Apartheid, Dick Cheney maintained the lie that the ANC was a terrorist organization and a fantasy that Nelson Mandela was a terrorist leader who deserved to be in jail. Frankly it begs very powerful question. If Dick Cheney’s judgment was that bad in the late 1980’s, why would we believe that it’s gotten any better in the early 21st century?

As we have discovered over the past several decades, Cheney's bad judgment and bad attitude and downright nastiness never has changed.  He's still the sniveling, creepy war criminal who should by all rights, be behind bars!

And the Republican Party continues it's long trek through time on the wrong side of history!

[Read the entire article at the Huffington Post, here.]

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Bill Maher zings Repugs who talk about "their" Kennedy

Bill Maher had a few words for the Republicans who still "get a lump in their throat" for "their Kennedy" Ronald Reagan during his New Rules segment this Friday night.
MAHER: Now, I don't know if all politics is local, but I do think all politics is tribal and just as some people are dog people and others are cat people, some have a chip in their brain to be Democrats and others to be Republicans. We have Kennedy, you have Reagan. We have marijuana, you have Metamucil.
We want gays in the military. You want them in the airport restroom. [...]
The one reason we looked uglier in the '80's, is because we were uglier. It was when the baby boomers, the generation that was supposed to be different, just gave up and sold out completely. Kennedy's time was the time of "Ask not what your country can do for you." Reagan's was the time of "Greed is good."
JFK was far from perfect, but he was a true wit and a sex machine and he knew how to wear a pair of shades. Reagan was an amiable square in a cowboy hat who had sex with a woman he called mommie.
Kennedy was James Bond. Reagan was Matlock.
Love him or hate him, we win. Republicans can call Reagan their Kennedy all they want, but it's like calling Miller High Life 'the champagne of beer. It's why calling someone your Kennedy will never really cut it, because our Kennedy, is Kennedy.

Thanks to Heather at Crooks & Liars.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

A Letter to William Hague, British Foreign Secretary

I don't know whether or not William Hague, the British Foreign Secretary, is an anti-Semite.  Anti-Semitism, however, is alive and just as sick as ever, all over the world.  Unfortunately, it is growing in many European countries, particularly in Sweden and Norway where Jews are feeling both official and unofficial oppression.

If Mr. Hague is not an anti-Semite, he plays right into their hands by choosing Hamas over Israel.  Mr. Hague recently warned "Israel that if it sent troops into Gaza to confront Hamas" [even though Hamas has been sending death-by-rockets to Israel for years], Israel would risk "losing the sympathy of the international community."

I can't help but wonder what "international community" he's talking about.  Does he include Saudi Arabia, or Iran, or Iraq, or Yemen, or Syria, or Lebanon, or the United States?  It is interesting to note that although Mr. Hague has visited many countries around the world - from Japan to South Africa to Somolia to Syria - I can find no record of him visiting Israel.  Maybe he has stopped in Tel Aviv, but such a visit has not been publicized in the past several months.

Mr. Hague's statement about Israel losing the international community's "sympathy" did, however, raise the ire of a Jewish woman living in Britain.  On November 19, Mindy Wiesenberger, sent the following letter in response.  The letter has been published in many newspapers, including the "Times of Israel."

I'm proud to reprint it here for Ms. Wiesenberger speaks the truth which needs to be disseminated to as large an audience as possible.

Dear Mr. Hague,

You have stated that if Israel tries to defend its population through a ground offensive in Gaza, "it risks losing the sympathy of the international community."

Let me tell you something about the sympathy of the international community Mr. Hague.  My father was liberated from [the] Buchenwald concentration camp  in 1945, having lost his entire family but gaining the sympathy of the international community at the time.  After 6 million Jews had been annihilated at the hands of the Nazi regime, the international community had plenty of sympathy for the Jewish people.  There is always plenty of sympathy for victims.

Israel doesn't need the sympathy of the international community.  What it needs is to defend its citizens.

When, as a tiny country it gained its independence in 1948, it had to absorb 800,000 Jews who were thrown out of Arab lands in the Middle East, and it did so without fuss and with dignity giving them shelter and a place of security in which their children could grow up to become productive citizens.  When Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon and Syria tried to destroy Israel in 1948 and again in 1967 they took in hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Arabs, but did they give them dignity or shelter?  No, they left them to rot in refugee camps in order to maintain a symbol of grievance against Israel and use them as a political tool against the Jewish state.  What has arisen in those camps is a complicated situation, but it is what has led to Gaza today.

So don't lecture Israel on international sympathy Mr. Hague.  Not when Israel has just sent 120 truck loads of food into Gaza to feed the Palestinian people there, because their own leadership is more interested in using its population as human shields, launching rockets against Israel from within major civilian centers.

Don't lecture Israel on international sympathy Mr. Hague.  Not when the Palestinian media deliberately uses images of victims of the Syrian civil war and presents them as casualties in Gaza to gain international sympathy.

Go read your history books Mr. Hague, go see that since the beginning of the twentieth century all the Arabs wanted to do was destroy Israel.  Go look at the country of Israel now since the Jews have established a state there.  Go read what advances in science, medicine, biotechnology, agriculture and high-tech Israel has developed, and dedicated that knowledge to making the world a better place for humanity.  Can you imagine any other country that after 60 years of continuously being under attack could have achieved so much?

So Mr. Hague don't lecture Israel on international sympathy.  Israel will do whatever it takes to defend itself from outright attacks on its citizens, where it be from Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran or any other country or terrorist group that attacks it.

And if it loses the sympathy of the international community so be it.  We don't need the international community's sympathy.  We don't need another 6 million victims.

Rick Perry - An Empty Head

Thought you might want to see what an empty head looks like.  With hair.  Lots of hair. 

Thanksgiving Socialists

h/t Crooks & Liars

Sunday, November 17, 2013

At least we have health care!

Canada may not be perfect in every way and the citizens of Toronto have been deeply embarrassed by their mayor, but, dammit, at least they have health care!

Photo from Crooks & Liars.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Sarah Palin's description of the Tea Party healthcare plan

"The plan is to allow those things that had been proposed over many years to reform a health care system in America that certainly does need more help so that there's more competition, there's less tort reform threat, there's less trajectory of the cost increases? And those plans have been proposed over and over again. And what thwarts those plans? It's the far left. It's President Obama and his supporters who will not allow the Republicans to usher in free market, patient-centered, doctor-patient relationship links to reform health care!"

(From an interview with Matt Lauer as reported by the Huffington Post)

And yes, she really is that stupid!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Rachel Maddow catches Rand Paul plagiarizing!

The Shutdown Costs - brought to you by people who worry about the national debt

If you like this kind of thing, thank the Congressional Republicans, in particular Rand Paul and Ted Cruz.

And remember these folks who fuss and fume about our country's deficit have no problem finding money for war but not for the needs of our people.  While they continue to affirm tax cuts/breaks for the rich and their corporate friends, they work to balance the budget on the backs of the elderly, the poor and the infirm.  If they get their way, Social Security will be cut and privatized and Medicare will be but a dream, for the insurance companies will have free reign over our health care!

h/t to Bob Poris who had this to say:

Does anyone care? They made their point and the contributions rushed in. 24 billion dollars wasted is ok, unless Democrats do it.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

President Obama's act of grace after Sandy Hook

[Photo from The Journey to Rediscover]

What follows has been, until just recently, relatively unknown.  President Obama, in secret, went to Sandy Hook to meet with the parents whose lives were shattered beyond repair.

At the memorial service, he met with them, hugged them, talked to them, offered what words of comfort he could and he prayed with them.

From an article by Joshua Dubois here.

"I went downstairs to greet President Obama when he arrived, and I provided an overview of the situation. “Two families per classroom . . . The first is . . . and their child was . . . The second is . . . and their child was . . . We’ll tell you the rest as you go.”

The president took a deep breath and steeled himself, and went into the first classroom. And what happened next I’ll never forget.

Person after person received an engulfing hug from our commander in chief. He’d say, “Tell me about your son. . . . Tell me about your daughter,” and then hold pictures of the lost beloved as their parents described favorite foods, television shows, and the sound of their laughter. For the younger siblings of those who had passed away—many of them two, three, or four years old, too young to understand it all—the president would grab them and toss them, laughing, up into the air, and then hand them a box of White House M&M’s, which were always kept close at hand. In each room, I saw his eyes water, but he did not break.

And then the entire scene would repeat—for hours. Over and over and over again, through well over a hundred relatives of the fallen, each one equally broken, wrecked by the loss. After each classroom, we would go back into those fluorescent hallways and walk through the names of the coming families, and then the president would dive back in, like a soldier returning to a tour of duty in a worthy but wearing war.

We spent what felt like a lifetime in those classrooms, and every single person received the same tender treatment. The same hugs. The same looks, directly in their eyes. The same sincere offer of support and prayer."

The President does not talk about this.

Two things:

1)  I cannot imagine any Republican candidates for president in recent years doing the same thing and not advertising it for all the world's acclaim.

2)  Unfortunately, the hate that fills the minds of those on the right will see this as a callous attempt to divert attention from their delusion he is a Marxist/Muslim/Antichrist.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Dick Cheney, war criminal with a bad heart whines Obama didn't get bin Laden the right way - Cheney's way

The former Vice-President of the United States, went on a conservative radio talk show, puffed up his chest, within which is located a bad heart, and said that if he had been running things when the bin Laden operation was undertaken it would have been undertaken in a different way.  Nobody would have danced around and the details would remain hidden.

Is this funny or what?  The Bush-Cheney cabal couldn't have caught bin Laden if his head was handed to them on a plate!  They had 8 years to do it.  They didn't come close.  And now he has the gall to suggest that he could have and would have done it better.

Even funnier is Cheney whining that he and Bush never got credit for their part in the "puzzle."  They did the intel for many years and that's what allowed Obama to send in the troops and take credit for the kill instead of pointing to Bush and Cheney and saying "These two wonderful guys made it all happen!"

Cheney is one of those folks who know how to use the "Big Lie":   Just keep repeating the lie over and over again and eventually people will start believing it.  Just keep saying we did it right.  Iraq was necessary.  We had to kill Saddam Hussein.  We were forced to make a regime change.  We did it for the Iraqis' own good.  We went after the bad guys responsible for 9/11.  Hussein  had WMDs so we had no choice.

Maybe Cheney actually believes these things even if they have no connection with the truth, but I doubt that.  Bush and Cheney screwed up this country so badly that we've still not recovered and may never recover for they set in motion dark forces which spawned, among other things, an anti-government attitude which filtered down to the hoi polloi and, in my opinion, played a part in the emergence of the Tea Party teapot crackpots as well as the resurgence of the neo-Nazi and other anti-government militarists around the country.  They also put in place a tax structure that basically takes the rich out of the picture while the rest of us carry the burden on our backs.

Cheney is a little paranoid.  He says that lately he's been fearful that terrorists could kill him through an electrical device pointed at his heart.  That's just silly.  Cheney was and is one of the best friends the terrorists ever had.  His shenanigans as Vice President -  attacking the wrong people for 9/11 which basically destroyed the country of Iraq - brought renewed hope and strength to the Islamist terrorists.  Through the farcical Homeland Security Act, the terrorists reached one of their major goals which was to strike such a feeling of fear among our people we would gladly give up our freedoms to be "safe."  Witness the number of cameras on our street corners and the police departments outfitted in military regalia, all paid for by Homeland Security, and then re-read George Orwell's book, "1984."

Finally, Cheney is a war criminal.  He was part of that triumvirate which lied us into the war in Iraq.  Over 4,000 of our young men and women died as a result of their lies.  Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis died.  Our Iraq/Afghanistan veterans are committing suicide at a terrible rate and many thousands more sit in wheelchairs or hospital beds crippled for life.   


Cheney and Bush and Rumsfeld, along with several others, should have been tried for war crimes by an international tribunal.  Not only did they start an unnecessary war in preemptive fashion based upon facts they knew to be false, but they authorized, in violation of the Geneva Convention, the use of torture.

It is time, I think, that the media decline to interview or publish what this despicable man, with blood dripping from his hands and lies slithering through his lips, has to say about anything.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Saudi Arabia, the UN, and John McCain

Saudi Arabia, a monarchial dictatorship, a country with a legal system based upon Islam and the Quran, where freedom is just another word for whatever the royal family desires, has rejected a seat on the UN's Security Council, supposedly because the royals are frustrated that the UN and the US did not put an end to the war in Syria and has not yet bombed Iran.

By and large, the Gulf Arab states have backed the Saudi decision. Our Secretary of State, John Kerry, has met with the Saudi leadership to try to smooth things over, emphasizing the wonderful relationship between the two countries, blah, blah, blah. He did not mention that we buy barrels and barrels of Saudi oil and that the Saudi royals allow us to have a military base on their soil.

He also didn't mention that Saudi Arabia is the country that gave birth to all but one of the 9/11 bombers, and that Osama bin Laden was a favorite son among a whole family of bin Ladens and that the U.S. leadership has been in bed with the Saudi leadership for many years, large because some of our leaders, notably the Bush family has made several fortunes due to their ties with the Saudis.

Secretary Perry further failed to note that Saudi Arabia is a dictatorship where women are treated like chattel and where freedom of speech does not exist, and where torture is commonly used to punish those who disobey the Islamic moral code such as a female showing too much skin or merely being in a room with males unrelated to her.

It has been said by some that George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and all the other clowns who made up that cartel of war in 2003, attacked the wrong country. Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11. Saddam Hussein was a secular ruler who didn't give a damn about Islam or the Muslim religion. He was a dictator, true, but for many years he had been our dictator and received favors from the U.S. government for bowing to our foreign policy in the Middle East. Unfortunately, he did not have as much oil as the Saudis and the oil that he did have was desired by certain politicians, namely Bush and Cheney.

Actually, they didn't want the oil so much as they wanted to do the bidding of the Saudi royals who had been bribing them for years and the Saudis wanted the U.S. to do whatever was necessary so that Iraq's oil did not fall into the "wrong" hands, e.g. Iran. The closeness of the relationship between certain U.S. leaders and the Saudis was seen by the fact that one of George W. Bush's immediate actions following 9/11 was to order U.S. aircraft to pickup and fly home Saudi Arabian citizens from various places in our country!

Shortly thereafter George W. Bush preemptively declared war on Iraq, even though he did not have that right. He should have asked Congress to declare war on Saudi Arabia. The Saudi dictatorship was every bit as violent and merciless as Hussein's. But not only was oil involved. Bush needed to "right" the wrong that had been dealt daddy. He had some unfinished business in Iraq and so he made up stories about non-existent WMD's and the Cheney-Rumsfeld gang, up to their ears in this bloody endeavor, began to talk about regime change and how the people of Iraq would be throwing themselves at the feet of our armies in joy because we were bringing freedom and democracy to their benighted land.

It was all wrong, of course. None of it was true. Darker and more sinister forces were at work which were known at the time but our media is corporate-owned and dares not to tell the truth because they, too, have been compromised with threats of exclusion from the seats of power.

Now Saudi Arabia, in some kind of fit of piety, has refused a seat on the UN's Security Council. John McCain, who knows everything about everything, and is especially astute when it comes to war-mongering and walking in two piles of crap at the same time, says the Saudi pique is all Obama's fault. Well, isn't everything?  And our media, which never seems to get enough of this veteran non-hero, publishes whatever comes out of his mouth.

Do we really need the Saudis represented on the Security Council?  Saudi Arabia is an Arab dictatorship, run by a royal family which generally follows Islamic law and where freedom as we understand it, does not exist. Is Saudi Arabia really our friend when it comes to the Middle East? How many Jews, for example, live and work in Saudi Arabia? Perhaps it is time to rethink our relationship with this dictatorial country which raised the men who formed an al Qaeda group and brought to fruition the attack on the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001!

My good friend, Bob Poris, has some thoughts on this subject which I believe are most appropriate and make me wish he was walking the halls of power in this country instead of the numbnuts currently in Congress!

"I believe Obama should tell the Saudis to do whatever they think is in their best interest, as we should also do. We should remove our troops ASAP [from Saudi Arabia] and shift them to Israel and any other country that is willing to join us. The Saudis have a well-equipped army and air force [with planes and other equipment we have sold to them], as do other Arab nations.

If they are so concerned about Syria and other local problems in their area, they are free to do something about it. The U.S. is rarely welcome on Arab soil as soon as the major problem is resolved. This is a local problem, aggravated by a hatred of the Infidel nations' armed forces. If the Arab nations are not willing to handle it, we should not either.

We have an alternative. If Israel and other nations are willing to supply troops, money and influence - as Turkey has done on occasion - then, if military action is needed and in OUR interest, we can join with our true allies to achieve our objectives. I see no value in risking American lives when Arabs are available to resolve an internal problem.  When Arabs are killing each other over religious differences, the situation is only made worse when Infidels interfere.

As re the oil situation: We have sources of oil, other than Saudi Arabia, for our own use. We can stop exporting as much oil as we do. Israel and Africa now produce oil which is available to us. We could use our oil in Alaska for our own nation's needs, rather than exporting it elsewhere. We cannot be dependent on others forever! Perhaps now is the time to handle our own needs."

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Maybe Texas shouldn't's not all bad

[Photo of Wendy Davis, Democratic candidate for governor of Texas]

Generally speaking, the news out of Texas makes one's skin crawl and creates a great deal of nausea among educated, intelligent, moral and ethical people.  But there have been several indications which indicate that not everyone in Texas is an ignorant moron.

[The most obvious exceptions to this observation, of course, include the governor - some clown named Rick or Perry - and the Republicans in the state legislature and the Republican party as a whole and the teapot crackpots who are willing to lay down our lives for the sake of Mr. Cruz and his "sacred" mission of shutting down the United States government.]

Some, including Mr. Rick or Mr. Perry, have insinuated that Texas would be better off if it seceded from the Union and established itself as an independent country.  Considering the state of the State of Texas, I tend to think that isn't a bad idea.  It would be great fun to see these non-rocket scientists try to run a whole country when they can't even run the state!  The first thing they'd probably do is ask for "foreign aid" from the U.S. government to maintain their highways and their schools.  Texas, you see, gets about twice as much federal money as it sends to Washington in the form of taxes  or other revenue and has come to expect handouts from the federal government even as they whine about the federal government's deficit!

Furthermore, the country of Texas would undoubtedly be a real drag on the rest of the world.  The educational system is in tatters, its health care is dragging along the bottom rung, women are considered inferior and denied their basic human rights, and it is likely that those in power would demand that Texas be a "Christian" country.

You know what would happen then.  Uprising and revolt.  People accustomed to freedom in the U.S. of A. would be demonstrating, demanding their rights; they'd clamor for a new secular constitution.  They'd want schools that would teach their children something useful and not send them off to wander about the mountains of west Texas looking for Noah's ark!  They'd want their pharmacies to sell contraceptives because they wouldn't be able to feed their 12 children and some would demand that Roe v. Wade be adjudged the law of the land of Texas because women throughout the country were being butchered by back-alley abortionists.

All of these things would be denied by Ted Cruz who would have been anointed king by his father, Rafael and a Christian Zionist from San Antonio.  Before long the whole country would be in the toilet and we'd have to send Peace Corp workers and health care personnel  and legal beagles and bankers and philosophers and non-Christian psychiatrists, and just about every kind of resource available.  Hell, we might even have to send the Army to keep the Christians from slaughtering the rest of the folks!

So maybe Texas shouldn't secede.  There have been a couple of positive signs leaking out of the Lone Star State in recent days.

The word on the street is that publishers of science textbooks being considered for Texas public schools will not include the teaching of Creationism or its morbid cousin, Intelligent Design.  They will, instead, include material to help students understand the evolutionary process which is the bedrock of all science!

There are, of course, ways and means that the unevolved can use to try to get Creationism and Intelligent Design into the schools, but this refusal to include such crap in science textbooks is a good and hopeful sign.

The second positive sign has to do with a Republican judge from San Antonio who put out the word that he was resigning his position and leaving the Republican Party.  He plans to run for re-election as a Democrat because "he can no longer be part of a political party whose identity is based on hate, bigotry and destroying people's lives."

His name is Carlo R. Key.  He doesn't much like Ted Cruz or other politicians who further "their agenda or career by harming others."

Part of his resignation speech went like this:

"I cannot tolerate a political party that demeans Texans on their sexual orientation, the color of their skin or their economic status.  I will not be a member of a party in which hate speech elevates candidates for higher office rather than disqualifying them.  I cannot place my name of the ballot for a political party that is proud to destroy the lives of 100s or 1000s of federal workers over the vain attempt to repeal a law that will provide health care to millions of people throughout our country."

And finally, there's another positive sign:  Wendy Davis is running for governor of the State of Texas.  Ms. Davis is a Democrat, a state senator from Fort Worth and is not afraid to take on the nutcases in the state legislature.  She will, she says, "represent the working class and improve public education, economic development and health care [... in] Texas."  She especially wants to restore the $5 billion the Republicans in Austin cut from the public school budget!

You may remember that Senator Davis was the one who, in a 13-hour filibuster, fought against new restrictive abortion legislation.  In Texas, that took a lot of courage.  A lot. of. courage!

There may be hope for Texas yet.  Maybe.  

The Colbert Report - End of the Government Shutdown

How to make a FAUX News "expert" look really stupid!

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Ten Commandments - the basis of our laws and morals

Another gem from the NonStampCollector


Somehow, probably because I am not a Muslim and know little about the religion, I missed the holiday of Eid_al-Adha, which occurred on Oct. 15.

But I'm no longer totally ignorant thanks to my friend at the blog, Dwindling in Unbelief.

He explains that Eid al_Adha is when Muslims all over the world gather to celebrate Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son to Allah.  Part of this celebration involves the slaughter of animals. 

On this day, millions of animals around the world will have their throats slit to make Allah happy.

It is amazing, says my friend, that religion can create so much evil to please an imaginary god.

The Afforable Care Act and Hypocritical Republicans

Marco Rubio, a member of the U.S. Senate, elected to that august body by ignorant and angry Floridians, has publicly stated that he did not support the recent government shutdown, that he never wanted to shut down the government, that he was merely opposed to the Affordable Care Act.

Marco Rubio is a liar and a hypocrite!  On several well-documented occasions, Senator Rubio stated explicitly that he would vote to shut down the government in order to defund the ACA.  The Huffington Post has him cold:

"Rubio, along with Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Rand Paul (R-Ky), led the Senate-side GOP push for the government shutdown strategy.  Over the summer, Rubio refused to back any funding package for the federal government that would allow the health care law to go into effect.  Absent a funding bill, the government would be forced to shut down.

"'On this issue we're willing to fight no matter what the consequences, politically or otherwise [are].  If the issue is not Obamacare, I can't understand what issue it would be.  Rubio told conservative radio host Mark Levin in August,' "You cannot say you are against Obamacare if you are willing to vote for a law that funds it."'"

Rubio is one of several Republicans who have attempted to paint their perfidy in a color other than the blood red of suffering people who were hurt by the shutdown.

We have noted many times on this blog how lies and hypocrisy define the current GOP.  The ACA  set the stage for a whole new troupe of liars and hypocrites to act out their nonsense.

The June 24/July1, 2013 issue of The Nation tells the story by noting first that from the very beginning, even prior to Obama's signing of the Affordable Care Act, Republicans swore they would repeal it. 

The reason had to do with polls indicating the American people thought the health care law was a good thing and that they would become even more receptive to it when they "found out that the plan denounced as a 'monstrosity' by the National Republican Senatorial Committee would not trample on their liberties so much as help protect their health."

And that's why the Republicans of the U.S. House of Representatives have voted over and over again, nearly 40 times, to repeal Obamacare.  Well, it also had to do with the fact Obama is half-white.

So, these hypocritical Republicans have been hard at work in the darkness from day one!  They don't really believe the ACA is bad [I mean, c'mon, it was originally a Republican plan!], but they know they're dead meat if it works and they don't like our half-black president!

The Nation reports that "letters produced by a Freedom of Information Act request reveal that many of these same anti-Obamacare Republicans have solicited grants from the very program they claim to despise."

Paul Ryan is one anti-Obamacare hypocrite who, though he fought to have the ACA repealed, "sent a letter requesting ACA money for health clinics in his district..."  Kristi Noem, a right-wing Republican from South Dakota as well as Rob Portman (R-Ohio) also asked for ACA funds for their areas.  And both of them campaigned against the act and have worked hard to have it repealed.

"Though notably less transparent, the behavior of these GOP lawmakers parallels that of GOP governors like Arizona's Jan Brewer, who blast the president's health reform package while embracing the millions in Medicaid funds that it provides."

Here are some more names of people who have arduously worked for repeal of the ACA and spoken against it in public while at the same time asked for ACA monies for one reason or another:

Rep. David Valadao (R-CA), Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA), Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tx), Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Tx), Sens. Johnny Isakson and Saxy Chambliss, Republicans from Georgia, along with Mark Kirk of Illinois and Thad Cochran of Mississippi. 

There's also Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Il) who "congratulated a local non-profit for winning a Community Transformation grant, noting that the program will give 'people the tools to live healthier and longer lives.'"

Jerry Moran, the chair of the NRSC, "has hailed programs that exist because of it [the ACA)."  It's rather humorous, if sad, that "A picture posted on [his] official Facebook page shows the senator in a suit with a food on a shovel to break ground for the health clinic [the Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas]."

Kristi Postai, CEO of the CHC-SEK clinics said that the clinic's funding came from the ACA and Moran voted "No!"   

"Some of the letters obtained by The Nation are from lawmakers who are no longer in office," but whose hypocrisy spilled from the printed page, including Jerry Lewis, Bobby Schilling, Kay Baily Hutchinson and Robert Dold."

Then there is one Hal Rogers, a Republican congressman, who calls the ACA socialistic, but "wrote a letter asking for an Obamacare health clinic grant almost as soon as the money became available."

And finally, Bill Cassidy (R-La), has been in the forefront of the attempt to derail the ACA, but was happy to pose "at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for three school-based health centers" which received a $500,000 grant from the ACA.

My guess is there are many more Republicans in our Congress who have vociferously and poignantly claimed the Affordable Care Act would bring about the end of the world, while at the same time have tried to obtain benefits from the act which would benefit their constituents thus giving them credit when none was due.

Republican hypocrisy knows no bounds.  Republican legislators have learned well that they can tell big, bold lies over and over again because the mainstream media gives them a pass every time.  

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Michele Bachmann - Lest we forget...

Michele Bachmann is not running for re-election.  Whether that has to do with the recent ethics complaint/investigation or not is irrelevant.  She's going to be gone.  Oh, happy day!

But while she may be the dumbest member of the House of Representatives, there are many others who follow in her footsteps.

It is possible that Ms. Bachmann will attempt to return to the political stage.  Any success she might have in such an endeavor would be a tragedy.

Lest we forget how ignorant and incompetent and unethical she is, we need, every so often, to review her past actions and statements.

A scientist visits a Creationist Museum

Another question to ask is why this Creationist joke of a "museum" was built partly with public monies.

Check it out here.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Where was Ted Cruz born?

"I was born in Canada, I swear!  Or maybe the U.S.  Okay it could have been the USSR."

In recent days, I have seen a lot of discussion on the Internet and other political blogs about the place of Ted Cruz's birth and whether or not he is a citizen of the United States.  We know he was, up until recently at least, a Canadian citizen because someone said he was born in Canada.  Hah!

Questions related to Cruz's birth and eligibility to become president of the United States are very important because they are very important.  Just ask President Obama. 

Let me tell you, though, there's more to the Ted Cruz story than meets the eye.  Or the foot, for that matter.  After giving the matter a great deal of thought, I wrote the following to a friend of mine to help him understand the problem we have with Mr. Cruz:

I have some evidence (locked safely away in a ... well, a safe) that Cruz was born, not in Canada as claimed, but in the Soviet Union and is really an alien.  His father, Rafael, was born in Cuba.  Ted says his mother was born in the U.S., but we really can't trust him because it's obvious his allegiance is with his Cuban father.  While it's true Rafael does not say much about Cuba, that's probably because he's secretly a close friend of Fidel and he doesn't want to rock the boat when Ted runs for president. 

I know that Ted has released his birth certificate, but I've found numerous errors on it and it just doesn't look like a real birth certificate.  I've also seen a birth certificate showing he was born in the Soviet Union, but that has somehow disappeared.  I'm pretty sure he's an alien.  You can tell because of his big head and the fact his eyes look very squeamish, and he jumps around a lot and waves his hands and he gets real nervous when people ask him about his father's relationship with Fidel and Raul. 

Has anyone seen his mother's birth certificate?  How do we know his mother wasn't Jewish?  It looks very much like she was a Russian Jewess.  Which helps us to understand why Rafael, who claims to be a Christianist fundy pastor, likes to run around with Jewish garments on and wearing a yarmulke.  Plus, I've seen him standing next to a huge menorah, and I know he plays the shofar.  Does that sound like a fundy protestant to you?  Furthermore, if he was born in Cuba he should have been a Roman Catholic but the only things he likes about the pope are the pope's views on abortion and gay marriage.  It's all very confusing but makes Ted's story much more suspicious.

I think it's becoming clearer every day that Ted is actually Protestant/Catholic/Jew [and maybe Muslim - we're checking that out!] and is working undercover for the Castro regime in order to become president of the U.S. and establish a Communist Christian/Jewish government with a Cuban constitution!  This is what the Dominionist movement is all about.  And after Ted becomes president he will be crowned King of the World.  Hallelujah!  Amen.  Hail to the Flying Spaghetti Monster.  Allah be praised.  Yea Vishnu. 

Fear and Loathing and the Future of Government

The Hollywood ideologue and right-wing conservative, "B" grade movie actor turned politician, known in some circles as "The Gipper," and elsewhere as Ronnie Reagan, liked to promote the notion that "government is not the solution, government is the problem."

Of course Reagan soon learned that he was wrong and the opposite was true! Government was not the problem but rather provided solutions for a number of problems we faced.  And because he also came to understand that taxes were necessary for government to function Reagan increased taxes big-time to the dismay of the hard-core right who to this day don't believe it!

And so they continue to verbalize that the government is the "problem," which, if true, means the best thing to do is either shut down the government or cut it off at the knees by denying it the funds to operate.  The Tea Party teapot crackpots who led the recent attempt at severing the government's ambulatory possibilities were doing nothing more than following the mantra of Lord Ronnie.  Who cares about fiscal responsibility?  The government wastes too much money as it is!  Who cares about the government meeting its financial obligations?  The deficit is too large and we must cut "entitlements" to force a reduction in the long-term deficit even if it means putting millions of our sick and elderly out in the mean streets.

The November 2013 issue of Harper's Magazine proffers an article, "The Anti-Economist - The Future Progressive," by Jeff Madrick, which argues that the current crop of Republicans and some Democrats "seek to prevent Washington from responding to change" as a way of shutting down the progressive philosophy that "change is a way of life, that society must work to ensure this change is for the better, and that government is the most important means of doing so."

[A disclaimer:  There are those huddling in the far right-wing of non-reality, such as Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz, who have no dog in the fight of progressive vs. regressive, change vs. the status quo.  The reason for that is they believe in a special and very personal interpretation of their holy book - a revelation - that Jesus is coming back very soon and all will be well, and/or that God will help them take dominion of the entire earth at which time all the wealth of the sinful will be transferred to the righteous.  In fact, Sarah and Ted have both been "anointed" as "Kings" to receive this transfer of wealth.]  The full story here.

Mr. Madrick is not speaking about these religious fundamentalists for they live in an alternate reality which makes sense only to themselves.  He's speaking of the majority of the Republican Party who understand change to be a bad thing and thus signed Grover Norquist's infamous "Taxpayer Protection Pledge."  They pledged never to increase taxes for any reason!  Madrick notes that "218 of 233 Republicans in the House and thirty-nine of forty-five in the Senate have signed the pledge, which means that nearly half of our federal legislators have actively chosen to limit their own options in responding to the nation's changing needs."

Why would they do that?  If the recent government shutdown has taught us anything it has taught us that the current crop of Republican naysayers care more about retaining their seats in the domain of power than about the country they have sworn an oath to preserve and protect.  Norquist, for some reason which I cannot fathom, seems to have the power of non-return.  Those who defy Mr. Norquist are likely to lose their next election.

And that raises the question as to who is really running this country?  But Norquist represents only one aspect of this problem.  The Tea Party, a minority in terms of numbers, also has the power of non-return.  Defy the Tea Party and you're going to be back on the farm, punching cows and chasing chickens!

But change is inevitable.  Change makes "ancient good uncouth," as says the old hymn.  Again from Mr. Madrick:  "Neither the federal government nor the state governments could have known in 1789, the year the Constitution was ratified, that they would one day finance canals and railroads, build schools and medical-research facilities, subsidize land-grant universities, develop vast municipal water systems, create a network of interstate highways, and provide a public pension system for the elderly and a safety net for the unemployed."

Republican conservatives either cannot understand this or refuse to understand it.  They speak of the Constitution as if it was never amended to meet changing conditions and new understandings.  Not only so, but because they deny the importance of government, they have also come to believe that the best way to meet the challenge of change is to leave the challenge in the hands of individuals, often referencing the "pioneers," who they claim struck out on their own and made their own way as if the government did not provide loans and land grants and railroads and mail service and armies to protect them. 

Madrick mentions President Obama's remark that "The first step in winning the future is encouraging American innovation."  [2011 State of the Union address].  Mr. Obama was correct and we can name many worthy American innovations developed over the past century.  But, as Madrick notes, "Our national reflex is to assume that most technological breakthroughs come from entrepreneurial giants and venture capitalists."  "I did it myself," is another Conservative mantra.  Re-read some of Mitt Romney's campaign speeches from the last presidential election if you doubt this.

Milton Friedman, say Madrick, has become for many Americans, the all-knowing economist.  In his book, Capitalism and Freedom, Friedman said "The great advances of civilization, whether in architecture, in industry or agriculture, have never come from centralized government."

Not so!  It's BS and Madrick tells us why:  "[...] the federal government--not merely through financial grants to private industry but through government research, vision, and risk-taking--has been the prime mover of innovation in America since World War II."

And speaking of the innovative push of government, Mariana Mazzucato, an economist from the University of Sussex, notes that government will take on risks that private concerns will not.  She says this is especially true as "to what are known as general-purpose technologies (GPTs), which include aviation and space transport, the Internet and telecomunnications, and certain types of mass-production systems."

Madrick expands on this theme.  Private industry hesitates to get involved in risky operations because "the funds needed are unusually large and the payoffs highly uncertain."  It takes the government.  "Organizations such as the National Institutes of Health, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (an early contributor to the development of the Internet), and the Small Business Research Program are indispensable to the advances---in green technology, nanotechnology, biotechnology, and pharmaceuticals, among many others---on which our economy relies."

I would add in another factor.  Private entities are generally profit-oriented.  Their concern is going to always be the almighty dollar.  We know how companies compromise themselves when that happens.  We know why we cannot (although we are because of financial cutbacks) allow the chicken industry to police itself.  To do so, is to put the entire population at risk.  The same is true in education and in the prison industry.  Today's anti-government conservatives are outsourcing our schools and our prisons.  And things are a mess in both cases as money continues to trump integrity and ethics.

This is precisely why proposals such as those coming from Bowles-Simpson, which would limit federal spending, are so "self-destructive."  The challenges of the future, indeed the challenges we face right now, especially in terms of climate change, are immense and to deal with them will require vast amounts of money.  Madrick quotes Mazzucato again:  "We live in an era in which the State is being cut back.  Public services are being outsourced, State budgets are being slashed, and fear rather than courage is determining many national strategies."

Here's the way it plays out:

Jesus is not coming back.  There is never going to be a "Rapture."  The transfer of wealth to the Kings who will reign over the Seven Dominions (a notion promoted by Pastor Rafael Cruz and his son, Ted) will not occur!  

The challenges are ours to face.  But we cannot even determine their magnitude by ourselves.  The fact is we are dependent upon government-funded research to define and then deal with these challenges.  Our hope is not found in some mythical religious nonsense, nor in a mythical Tea Party argument against "big government," but in a progressive move forward to do whatever it takes, which will invariably include providing the government with the necessary funds to assist in the development of technologies and resources.

One of the most immediate and important changes on the horizon has to do with the planet's warming climate.  The latest projections as to what is going to happen to the earth very soon are dire!  Many millions around the world will be permanently displaced as cities gradually sink under the rising waters.  It's "goodbye" New York, Miami, and hundreds of other coastal metropolises.  This catastrophe currently in the making is one example where we desperately need the government and all of its resources involved! 

[Read the entire article by Jeff Madrick in the November 2013 issue of Harper's Magazine, pp. 13-15.]

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Bil Maher on wingnuts Bachmann and Scalia

[Our thanks to Crooks & Liars.  The commentary below is by Heather.]

Bill Maher had a few words for wingnut Michele Bachmann and her counterpart on the Supreme Court, Antonin Scalia during his New Rules segment on Real Time this Friday evening, and I particularly enjoyed this bit on Bachmann:
And finally, New Rule, I know we can't establish a religious test for office, but if you believe we're living in the end times, like Michele Bachmann does, we get to take away the car keys. Yes, let Jesus take the wheel.
If you think the world is about to end, that's your right, but you don't get to vote on next year's budget, because it doesn't concern you!
Don't we wish. She's finally going to scurry out of office now that she's under investigation and might not have been reelected anyway, but not before she's got a chance to inflict more damage on the American public.

He wrapped things up by going after Scalia and his remarks about the devil being "a real person running around, getting people not to believe in god." As Maher noted, a lot of "reasonable people" see Bachmann as a "total lune, but Scalia as a serious intellectual, when actually, they're the exact same idiot." Maher cited some of Scalia's idiocy about the devil making pigs run off of cliffs before letting him have it.
MAHER: Pigs running off cliffs? Hey, leave the debt ceiling deniers out of this. And what is Justice Scalia's theory as to why we don't see the devil anymore? Is it the logical answer that fictions like the devil are in the Bible because it was written before the age of science, when humans didn't know where the sun went at night, and is obviously a reflection of mankind's thinking in his intellectual infancy?
Of course not! That makes sense. What Scalia said about the devil is, “He used to be all over the New Testament... What happened to him?... He got wilier.”
Motherf**ker! Of course! Wilier. He may be evil, but he's always looking to improve himself. Antonin Scalia once said that people like him, who adhere to a traditional belief, were “regarded as simple minded.” We are, he said, fools for Christ.
You know, whether you're fools for Christ, or coo coo for Cocoa Puffs, I really don't care why someone acts like a fool, just that they do and when they do, we keep them away from decision making.
It would be one thing if Mr. Scalia sold pizza for a living, but this is a man we go to to interpret our laws. It's like smelling a gas leak and calling an exorcist. Antonin Scalia put George Bush in the White House and he believes the devil went down to Georgia.  He gets to decide when life begins and he thinks evil is a person, you know, like a corporation.
Here's the problem with believing the devil exists. It means you see the world divided into teams of good and evil and suspect the wily one, may be on the side of them, and when you start seeing compromising with your opponent as a compromise with evil, well, there's your tea party. - Make a Donation to 2013 C&L Fundraiser

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

God's Amazing Forgiveness - or Not (by the NonStampCollector)

Priests and pastors as civilian contractors in our military

The United States Senate, under pressure from religious groups and true believers, has authorized a bill to allow military chaplains to work during the government shutdown.

Isn't this amazing?  We've got millions of families struggling to put food on the table, and these clowns worry about religious services being held in military units.  Let people starve, but don't keep our soldiers and sailors and flyboys from bowing to their particular gods!

Not only so, but did you know that the military also hires clergy as civilian contractors to serve the troops?

In direct violation of our Constitution, our military pays civilian religious types - priests and pastors - to do their thing with our military personnel.  We've long had chaplains who have served as military officers after being vetted by their religious group and the military, but since when did we hire Catholic priests and/or Protestant ministers as civilian contractors?

Actually, to create a Chaplain's Corps made up of commissioned officers in any military service is unconstitutional.  It cracks wide open the wall of separation of church and state.  (Worse yet, these days the military has become an arm of fundamentalist Christianity!  Check out the work of Mickey Weinstein here.)  Why should taxpayers fund religion in the military? 

Chaplains are unnecessary in any branch of the military service.  Military personnel can worship in any church anywhere in the world (there must be a gadzillion churches, temples, mosques available).  If personnel need to talk to a counselor, train regular officers in psychology or psychiatry or family counseling, or whatever.  Many military units (if not all) already have some sort of "morale" officer.

I was not aware that the military hired priests and pastors as civilian contractors to serve a particular military unit or station.  What a total waste of taxpayer's money!  And now one of them, a priest named Ray Leonard, has sued the government in order to provide Catholic services to people working at the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in Georgia.  Ft. Leonard was furloughed by the shutdown and he's not happy about that.  Why, he'd even volunteer his time but was told if he tried to provide masses he would be arrested.

Kings Bay, Georgia is located along Georgia's southeast coast - just north of Florida.  If it's like other places in Georgia, there must be 10,000 churches of various stripes within a 30-minute drive of the base.

So, two questions:  Why do they need a civilian contractor priest or any other clergy?  Let the personnel find a church to their liking in the area and worship to their heart's content.  Secondly, why does the base not have a regular chaplain present?  Military chaplains are supposed to be able to minister to ALL the personnel not just those of their own denomination.

Finally, remember, you and I pay for this nonsense!

[Read more about Army chaplains here).

Tea Party Teapot Crackpots and other Idiots

(Photo from the Boston Tea Party Historical Society)

Once upon a time a group of colonists dressed up as Native Americans dumped crates of tea into Boston Harbor. This was an act of vandalism pure and simple.

Today's Tea Party Teapot Crackpots, showing their lack of knowledge of American history, want to believe the tea dumping was an act of patriotism against high taxes.  Not so.

Another explanation would have us believe the tea dumping was a patriotic act to protest the fact that although the colonists paid taxes to the British Crown, they were not represented in Parliament. So they sang the old song, "No taxation without representation." Not so much.

It was on December 16, 1773, when these colonists/vandals desecrated English tea by tossing it into the dark waters. The tea belonged to the British East India Company, so by stealing and destroying the tea, the best that can be said of them is they were criminals/felons and quite stupid.

But wait, the Tea Act, which was supposedly the focus of the colonists anger, lowered the duty/tariff on British tea imported to the colonies.  So, the colonists couldn't have been angry about paying higher taxes and the old saw about "No taxation without representation" doesn't make a lot of sense.

What were they upset about?

Leland Gregory, in his book, Stupid American History, explains:

"Because once British tea was affordable, it would ruin America's lucrative trade in black-market tea, because three-fourths of the tea sold in America was smuggled in by John Hancock. Now the whole idea of dressing up like Indians makes sense, doesn't it?"

Today in these United States, the people pay lower taxes than most every other country in the world.  Many of our corporations and our very wealthy pay almost no taxes, and some, in fact, do pay no taxes.  They hide their profits in off-shore accounts or like General Electric, they hire hundreds of lawyers to do nothing except look for loopholes that the company can use to evade paying its fair share of taxes.

The Tea Party was hijacked early on by corporate interests, some funded and supported by the Koch brothers, although you wouldn't know that by their names.  For example, Americans for Prosperity has a "patriotic-sounding" name but is actually a well-funded Koch brothers enterprise which sows seeds of untruths and dissension in the country, especially when it comes to the Affordable Care Act.

Partly because so many folks attracted to the Tea Party are not highly educated and easily swayed by the waving of flags and by those racists who will never accept a half-white man in the White House, and by men in suits suggesting that the president may not have been born in the United States and is probably a secret Muslim, etc., and by such demagogues as Ted Cruz (probably one of the most dangerous men to surface in this country since Joe McCarthy), the Tea Party has been able to gain the allegiance of a surprising number of people in and out of government.

The name, Tea Party, is certainly misleading however.  Like the first tea party crackpots, they're not concerned so much with taxes (except to ensure that the rich pay as little as possible for they might also become rich some day) as it is to hijack the government to remold it into their fascist, totalitarian system which, from the rhetoric spewed by the likes of Sarah Palin, will be run according to faux Christian standards and be characterized by wars of vengeance and regime change.


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Teaching Fundamentalist Christianity in Public Schools

The teaching of fundamentalist Christianity in public schools is being promoted all over the United States. Funded by wealthy religious-right groups, fundy Christianists are angling to get their primitive and non-scientific agenda accepted in our public schools. Where they are unable to do that, they insist on setting up charter schools or private schools funded with public monies to accomplish their purposes. (Check out Louisiana, one of the most backward states in the nation, where this kind of thing has gained a lot of traction with the blessing of the governor and his minions in the legislature!)

One of the latest of these scams has come to fruition in another backward state, Kansas. According to Right Wing Watch, a group called Citizens for Objective Public Education has filed suit "contesting science standards in Kansas schools, arguing that lessons on evolution represent an unconstitutional establishment of religion."

Notice the Brave New World language: "Citizens for Objective Public Education." We have reached the time, foretold not so many years ago, when words come to mean the opposite of their traditional meaning; when language no longer clarifies but muddies the waters. These are not "citizens" involved so much as fundy Christianist groups with a lot of money and their agenda has nothing to do with "objective public education." Indeed, it is the opposite. The want the right to impose their particular religious views on every school child in the state of Kansas.

 As a former teacher, this is hard to believe. Evolution is no longer in question except by people who continue to hang on to old Semitic mythologies created by ancient ignorant desert tribesman. But even those tribesmen were not so ignorant as to take the creation stories literally. These were seen as paeans to the creator of the world, not scientific descriptions of how things came to be. They wouldn't know science from a kitchen appliance.

The people involved in this anti-education effort are fundamentalist Christians and that's an important point. Fundamentalists of any group are a danger and represent the most retrograde thinking. But millions of Christians have no problem with evolution. The Roman Catholic Church has no problem with evolution. Evolution, say these Christians, is simply God's way of creating life.

Evolution has been established for years; it is the foundation of all the sciences. It is the ONLY explanation that can be proven as to the origins of the earth. When scientists speak of the "theory" of evolution, they do not mean that it is not established or that it has yet to the shown to be true, but that it remains, as do all scientific endeavors, susceptible to change as we learn new things. It is based in reality not in theological fantasies!

It angers me that fundamentalist Christians become the benchmark for Christianity. Thus a conservative talk show host can say it's nuts to think public schools can teach evolution to Christian students. The only ones with a problem are fundamentalist Christianist activists who want the right to impose their religious nonsense to all students in the public schools. Most students from Christian homes have no problem with learning evolution.

And once again these right-wing nutcases twist language and its meaning. They argue that the state is teaching "religion" by teaching evolution and Christian students should not be indoctrinated by a state religion. Christian parents have the right "to direct the religious education of their children and a state interferes with that right when it seeks to promote an atheistic worldview."

What a load of crap. Evolution is not an atheistic worldview! But Creationism is an unreal, nonsensical, meaningless view of how things came to be; a crazy religious worldview! Fundy parents can teach such nonsense within the confines of their homes and their churches, but not in our public schools!

The group in Kansas is pushing for the courts to "at least enjoin the teaching of origin science in the primary school grades from kindergarten through the 8th grade."  

Hah! "Origin science" is code for Creationism which is not science, but religious mumbo-jumbo. From previous court cases this suit doesn't stand a chance in hell. We hope! We have enough stupids in the world and in our legislatures!

The "Esteemed" Ben Carson

The news item used the word, "esteemed," when referring to Ben Carson, M.D.  And it was an article on the Huffington Post yet.

Ben Carson is a neurosurgeon.  He's "retired" now but reportedly was an "excellent" neurosurgeon.  I have no reason to doubt that characterization.  However, as we have long known, medical doctors can be great at their jobs and know very little about anything else.  In fact, they can be really stupid about the real world!

[Consider the crackpot MD, Paul Broun (R-Ga), who said just recently and knowingly, "I'm a medical doctor" and Obamacare will "destroy everything we know."  Of course it will.  Healthcare always destroys "everything we know."  Everyone knows that!

Broun also told a church group that everything he had been taught about evolution and embryology and the Big Bang theory were "all lies straight from the pit of hell" and were intended to "keep me and all the folks who were taught that from understanding they need a savior."  (Broun "sits on a key congressional science advisory committee.") And you wonder why our Congress is so screwed up!]

Back to Dr. Carson.  At the 2013 Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C. (can you imagine a group less concerned with "values" that the people involved in this summit who would rather see people lose their jobs and starve and even die in the case of a pregnant woman who needed an abortion than provide them health care, or believe that gays and lesbians should be killed because the Bible says so, than the right-wing nutcases huddled together in this so-called "summit" ?), Carson said this:

"You know Obamacare is really I think the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery.  And it is in a way, it is slavery in a way, because it is making all of us subservient to the government, and it was never about health care.  It was about control."

In April of 2013, Carson also said that white liberals are "the most racist people there are."

It should also be noted that this "esteemed" doctor, in an appearance on FAUX News on March 26, "compared the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to bestiality and pedophilia."

Carson is a fundamentalist Christian.  Actually, his religion is even further off the wall than that; he belongs to the strange sect called Seventh-Day Adventism.  In this sect, the Bible is taken literally.  (Not really, they pick and choose like everyone else).  They worship on Saturday because God said to do that.  The leadership of the Adventists has, on several occasions, announced the end of the world.  But, darn, it didn't happen and all those good Adventists who sold their stuff and went to stand on a hill to wait for their "savior" were left in the lurch and had to start over.  But most of them just went on believing!

Now Carson may be a good neurosurgeon.  But he should not be "esteemed."  For one thing he was recently put on the payroll of FAUX News as a "contributor."  That's enough to disqualify the "esteemed" label.

Secondly, he's a liar.  Obamacare is all about health care!  It's about providing health care to millions of people in this country who have not been able to obtain insurance as well as leveling the playing field for millions of other people.  It's about stopping insurance companies from not insuring people with pre-existing conditions.

It's not perfect, but it sure as hell is NOT the "worst thing that's happened in this nation since slavery."  What idiot would make a statement like that?  Carson is not unintelligent, obviously, so we must assume that he knows that statement is blatantly false!  There must be other factors at work here.   And I know no "white liberals" that are racist. 

Carson may claim to be a Christian, but these comments disqualify him from that label, too, assuming that Christians wish to emulate the Jesus of the New Testament.  One cannot tell horrendous falsehoods about the president of the United States and millions of other people who care deeply for this country and still be acclaimed as "esteemed."  Nor can such a person claim the name of Jesus.

Carson has befouled his Christ and has joined the troop of people who passed by the beggar at the gate.  And you remember what Jesus had to say about their fate! 

Friday, October 11, 2013

The things that made the things for which there is no known maker

From the wonderful mind of the famous NonStampCollector.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Crazies in our midst

This post is about craziness and crazy people.  Please note the picture of the political badges made available at a Republican gathering in California.  Are these Republicans crazy?  Have they no shame?  

I know that one should not casually call another person crazy.  Crazy means insane and that's a rather serious label to slap on someone without the authorization of the American Psychiatric Association, or the National Association of Pathological Psychologists.  

So, I won't do it.  The people mentioned below are crazy and I'm not saying that in a casual sense. I'm going to speak in a causal sense - they're crazy because they really are insane.

First off, Glenn Beck.  Mr. Beck may have been demoted from the FAUX Network to a gig as a "conservative radio host" but he's still a cocaine-addled nitwit.  He's just as crazy/insane as ever.  One of the signs of insanity is that facts and reality never impinge upon the worldview or opinions of the insane person.  Thus Beck goes off on a crazy rampage to try to prove that President Obama is a Muslim at the same time Mr. Obama is in church praying to Jesus for the salvation of Beck's soul.  Another of Beck's causes involves creating "factoids" that "prove" our founders founded a Christian nation, in spite of the fact that most of them were not Christians in any traditional sense and, except for a brief nod to the deity, they specifically avoided any mention of God, Christianity, Jesus or Billy Graham in our founding documents.

Beck's latest rampage, though, is a bit off-the-wall even for this former druggie.  You may have heard about the brouhaha at the WWII Memorial.  It was shut down because of the government shutdown.  Aha, said Beck, this is a sign and proves that Obama is getting ready to set up mass killings across the country.  Yes, it is a sign that Obama will lead a communist revolution which will leave millions dead.

Beck is crazy!

Rafael Cruz is the father of Ted so it isn't a big surprise to hear crazy talk coming out of his mouth.  Not so long ago, at a GOP rally in Colorado, Rafael (a right-wing fundy Christianist clergy), warned his listeners about the president.  "So Barack Obama said, 'If the winds shift, I will side with the Muslims.'"

Of course, Obama said no such thing, but reality is irrelevant to these crazy folk.   But Cruz went on creating factoids, much as does Mr. Beck.  He said that "55 million babies have been murdered by abortion since 1973.  At the other end, Obamacare, with denying care to the elderly, with care being rationed, with care being postponed for 12 to 18 months, with care being controlled by a group of bureaucrats, that on the basis of cost/benefit where you get a medical procedure or not, they're destroying our end of life.  As a matter of fact, one of the things in Obamacare is that the elderly, every five years you must have end-of-life counseling.  Translation:  suicide counseling!"

None of that is true and by telling these outrageous lies and for comparing Obama to Fidel Castro Rafael has denied his Lord and publicly rejected his faith and should resign any position in any Christian organization!

Rafael is crazy!

Rep. William O'Brien (R-NH) is about as unhinged as they come for he had the indecency to compare Obamacare "to the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, which made it illegal not to return runaway slaves to their owners."

How could he say something like that?  Well, he's batshit crazy and facts mean nothing to him.  Batshit crazy people make up historical facts.  Thus from the mouth of this nutcase:  "Just as the Fugitive Slave Act was an overreach by the federal government, so too we understand that Obamacare is an assault on the rights of individuals."

Where does stuff like this come from?  Inside the head of a crazy person.

William O'Brien is crazy!

Brenda Barton - Republican legislator from Arizona is also crazy.  Mr. Obama, she thinks, is like Hitler because he had the national parks shut down during the government shutdown.  "Someone," said Barton, "is paying the National Park Service thugs overtime for their efforts to carry out the order of De Fuhrer...where are our Constitutional Sheriffs who can revoke the Park Service Rangers authority to arrest???  Do we have any Sheriffs with a pair?"

Ms. Barton wrote on a Facebook post that she was "FURIOUS" when she heard the memorials in Washington, DC, were closed.  She said Obama held the country "in contempt" and charged that the president kept his "excessive staff" while hurting Americans.

In her own words:  "While the POTUS continues to punish the American people; he keeps open his golf course, he keeps open Camp David, and he retains his and his wife's excessive staff and stable of Czars!  I'll bet he has kept in service his 3 food tasters!!!"

Wow, a whole stable of Czars!

Brenda Barton is crazy!

Ted Yoho (R-FL) came out of nowhere to win election to the U.S. House of Representatives.  He is a veterinarian and represents the worst of the teapot crackpots.  He's crazy as a loon and stupid as well.  When asked about not raising the debt ceiling, Yoho said no problem.  If America defaults it would "bring stability to financial markets."  Not so, you yahoo!  What it will do is cause a terrible disruption in the financial markets.  But the crazy yahoo Yoho has no intention to vote to raise the debt limit.

Ted Yoho is crazy!

Steve King (R-Ia) is another batshit crazy wingnut who is noted for his wingnuttery.  About the shutdown, King said this:  "Even if there is a political price to pay ... we'll recover.  But we'll never recover from 'Obamacare.'"

What we may not recover from are people like Steve King.

Steve King is crazy!

Todd Rokita (R-IN) crawled out from the woodwork this week to sound off on the government shutdown.  He merely wants to be of assistance to his fellow Americans says he.  "We just want to help the American people to get through one of the most insidious laws created by man, that is Obamacare."

Insidious law, my ass!  Insuring 30 million Americans who currently have no health care is "insidious"?  Republicans like Rokita know they have nothing.  They haven't passed one significant piece of legislation in the past several years.  They have NO healthcare plan.  The Affordable Care Act offers some hope to the American people.  And either Rokita does not know that or he does know that and doesn't care.

I'd guess it's the latter.

Todd Rokita is crazy!

Rick Joyner, "Christian" Television host.  He's not a lawmaker, but Joyner pulls a lot of weight with the fundamentalist crazies in our country.  He believes that now is the time for a revolution of sorts.  It's time for the imposition of martial law in this country!

There is no hope for this country, says Joyner, because of all the dirty deeds done by the Muslim-in-chief, President Obama.  Democracy is "doomed" and because tyranny is upon us and "the Kingdom of God is coming" we need the Lord to impose marital law.  A god-led Christian coup is the answer!

I'm be writing more about this kook in the future, but for now, I'll just say:

Rick Joyner is crazy!

Michele Backmann (R-MN)  I've saved the worst for last, the craziest for the end.  When asked about the government shutdown Bachmann said she and the other Republicans in the House were "very excited."

"It's exactly what we wanted and we got it.!

In spite of the fact that 70% of the American people oppose the shutdown and blame Republicans like Bachmann for it, Bachmann thinks its a wonderful thing and that ultimately folks in the hinterland will see the light and correctly blame the Democrats and Mr. Obama and God will work a miracle and Obamacare will disappear.

But with Bachmann it always gets crazier.  She is feeling absolutely giddy because we are living in the "end times."  The proof she cites is to be found in the president's decision to support the rebels in Syria.  Bachmann believes the rebels are al-Qaeda terrorists.

"This happened," explained Ms. Goofy to Jan Markel, radio host of "Understanding the Times," "and as of today the United States is willingly, knowingly, intentionally sending arms to terrorists, now what this says to me, I'm a believer in Jesus Christ, as I look at the End Times scripture, this says to me that the leaf is on the fig tree and we are to understand the signs of the times, which is your ministry, we are to understand where we are in God's end times history.

"Rather than see this as a negative, we need to rejoice, Maranatha Come Lord Jesus, His day is at hand.  And so when we see up is down and right is called wrong, when this is happening, we were told this:  that these days would be as the days of Noah.  We are seeing that in our time.  Yes it gives us fear in some respects because we want the retirement that our parents enjoyed.  Well they will, if they know Jesus Christ."

If you've had first-hand experience with Christian fundies like Bachmann, you know how they can just prattle on and on and make absolutely no sense.  It doesn't matter, though, because it's rather like speaking in tongues:  you can't understand it but so long as the "right" words come out along with some Biblical references, it must mean something.

It doesn't mean anything other than these are ignorant fools who know nothing of scripture or what the scriptures are all about.  Bachmann uses the Bible to bolster her crazy beliefs rather than the other way around and while that's true of a lot of Christians, it's true of all fundamentalists.

Michele Bachmann is crazy!

These crazies are just the tip of the iceberg; ones that have been in the news the past few weeks.  Unfortunately, there are thousands more in charge of our governments.  We haven't even mentioned Ted Cruz or James Inhofe or Louis Gohmert or Rick Santorum or Sarah Palin, or just about everybody connected with FAUX News or Bill O'Reilly, or Rush Limbaugh, or David Vitter or ... well, fill in the blank with the name of any Republican or religious right nutcase.

Insanity rules!