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!

No nursing home for me, I'm going to the Holiday Inn!

With the cost for nursing home care averaging about $188 per day, there is, it seems, a better way to live when we get old and feeble.

Call your local Holiday Inn.  By combining a long-term stay discount with a senior discount, the cost comes to $59.23 a night for two people.  Breakfast is included and if you're lucky you'll find a Holiday Inn that offers a "happy hour" in the afternoon.  That leaves $128.77 a day for lunch and dinner in any restaurant you wish, for room service, laundry, gratuities or special TV movies.

Not only so, but Holiday Inn provides a spa, a swimming pool, a workout room, a lounge and a washer-dryer, etc.

Most Holiday Inns offer free toothpaste and razors and hair dryers, and all have free soap and shampoo.  Five dollars in tips a day will have the entire staff scrambling to help you.

They'll treat you like a customer or guest, not like a patient.

Out front is a city bus stop and seniors ride free.  A handicap bus will also pick you up (if you fake a decent limp).  To meet other nice people, call for a church bus on Sundays.

If you desire a change of scenery, take the airport shuttle and eat at one of the restaurants there.  While you're at the airport, fly somewhere.  (Otherwise, the cash keeps building up!)

It takes months to get into a decent nursing home.  Holiday Inn will take your reservation today!  And you're not stuck in one place forever - you can move from Inn to Inn, from city to city.  Want to see Hawaii?  You'll find Holiday Inns there, too!

TV broken?  Light bulbs need changing  Need a mattress replaced?  No problem.  They fix everything and apologize for the inconvenience.

The Inn has a night security person and daily room service.  The maid checks to see if you are okay.  If not, they'll call an ambulance ... or the undertaker.  If you fall and break a hip, Medicare will be happy to pay for the hip and Holiday Inn will upgrade you to a suite for the rest of your life.

And you don't need to worry about what to do if your family comes to visit.  Holiday Inn is a great place for a family mini-vacation and the grandkids can use the pool and other facilities.

What else could one ask for?

Now, if I could only find their number...

h/t to my friend, Sylvia, for this entertaining essay.

Colbert on how the shutdown is just a game

American Jesus tv) trailer

What the movie exposes is the truth that in the American religious community life goes on as if the Enlightenment had never taken place. A look at the so-called Creation Museum proves this. In what other place on earth could millions of visitors approve the obliterating rewriting of science and conclude that the world is 6000 years old and that dinosaurs coexisted with humans? In what other country is foreign policy hostage to a literal belief in events leading to the so-called return of Christ?
For the people who wonder why American foreign policy seems insane at times one answer to their questions about America is this movie. At the heart of the superpower that leads the world are many leaders who believe in cartoonish myths. American Jesus is a brilliant warning about where these cartoon characters will take us all unless challenged.

And yet American Jesus takes a compassionate look at many religious people of good will who find meaning and beauty in their spiritual faith. The movie is a tribute to them as well as a subtle warning about the political and religious leaders who seek to manipulate sincere faith for their own enrichment or worse, to gain power.

The price of a scoop is that I'm ahead of the review curve. The movie isn't out yet. I've begged the filmmakers to get this movie in front of the legions of Americans and non-Americans who will be astonished by its scope and sensitivity. But there's a protocol in securing the best possible distribution. That process is just beginning with the premiere in Woodstock.

Meanwhile, there's the website which the producers will be expanding in the coming weeks. While American Jesus is in its festival run, tune in to the website for what I trust will be screenings near you, and so you can keep track of the commercial release soon to follow.

Then, when you get the chance, WATCH THIS MOVIE!

Frank Schaeffer is a writer and New York Times bestselling author. His new book about American religious delusion is And God Said, "Billy!" It has just been published and is available in print and on Kindle on Amazon and from Barnes and Nobel on NOOK.

The above was excerpted from a longer blog post by Frank Schaeffer and appeared in The Huffington Post here.

From Daily Kos - Thingis you gotta believe to be a Republican today

* Sending racy Tweets and pictures of yourself to a woman you aren't married to is a much more serious crime than being a "pro-life" congressman who makes your wife and your mistress get abortions.

* Michelle Bachmann, Louie Gohmert, Alan West, Todd Akin, Joe Walsh, Ted Cruz, and Steve Stockman are intelligent, rational human beings.

* You decry your party's reputation as "the stupid party" while approving legislation to have creationism taught in science class.

* Willard Mitt Romney lost the election because he wasn't conservative enough.

* The fact that business leaders can throw hundreds of millions of dollars at Karl Rove and other SuperPACs to try and buy the election doesn't mean they can also afford to pay their employees living wages with good benefits.

* Obamacare is the reason your hours are being cut and your pay is not going up; the CEO's $15 million bonus has nothing to do with it.

* Gun ownership is a right. Heath care is a privilege. If a kids die because of treatable cancer or a nutcase gunning them down, oh well.

* You support drug testing of welfare recipients, but oppose criminal background checks and mental health screening of gun buyers.

* The First Amendment shouldn't apply to TV, radio, video games, or the Internet because those things didn't exist in 1787. The Second Amendment applies to automatic rifles and anti-personnel ammunition even though those things didn't exist in 1787.

* You scream for federal disaster aid when your state catches fire or drowns in a hurricane, but when it happens somewhere else in the country you vote against federal disaster aid.

* A guy who once shot his friend in the face, possibly while being roaring drunk at the time, has the moral authority to speak out in opposition to gun control.

* Germany gets more sunlight than California.

* $250,000 a year is "poor", but the federal minimum wage is too high.

* Actually allowing black people to vote is "racial entitlement"

* You're a Birther who likes the idea of Ted Cruz running for President.

Thanks to Daily Kos.

Rachel Maddow - GOP came to power seeking government shutdown

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Monday, October 7, 2013

Our Government Crisis

The word, "crisis," is often used by folks in the media to refer to the current government shutdown. It's a word filled with feverish fear indicating a disaster at hand or soon to arrive. It also tends to represent a situation developing outside of the usual controls.

A tornado or a hurricane are crises. Katrine was one hell of a big crisis! The attack by terrorists on 9/11/2001 was a crisis. A crisis is something to avoid at all costs if at all possible. The government shutdown is certainly a crisis in the sense it is a disaster at hand and a prelude to an even large disaster to come. It is not a crisis in the sense that it was wrought by circumstances or persons out of the usual controls. 

The government shutdown is A MANUFACTURED CRISIS! Lest there are normal folk or media personalities (can't really call them "reporters" anymore for they do not investigate but simply parrot whatever they are told) who still hang on to the belief or perpetuate the nonsense that "both parties are responsible" for this so-called crisis, let us be very clear: This is solely the doing of the Republicans in the House of Representatives who seem to be under the spell of a group of far-right nogoodniks who care not for their oath of office or their country but live only to serve some deranged ideology which comes more from Ayn Rand than James Madison.

These traitors (and I use that word deliberately, for they have failed to keep their sworn oath, and it is now clear they are publicly working to undermine the system of government set forth in our Constitution), who appear to actually believe their own lies and misconstructions, are bent on destroying the good faith and credit of these United States in order to achieve some short-term political goal, although even they are not sure of what that goal is.

They dislike the Affordable Care Act, which many millions of Americans have never heard of and know only as Obamacare.  They have shown they will do literally anything to dismantle the ACA and "bring Obama down" (a promise made by Boehner and McConnell just 5 short years ago!).

Because the ACA, in its present form, is based on a similar health care proposal put out a few years ago by the increasingly ultra-conservative Heritage Institute and became the basis for Romney's signature healthcare law when he was governor of Massachusetts, this willingness to create financial havoc on a global scale in order to do away with what was a Republican plan makes no sense.

But their demand to dismantle the ACA makes no sense in another sense. The ACA is the law, duly passed by Congress, signed by the president, given Constitutional authority by the Supreme Court. In our country, we do not, via some sort of fiat, do away with laws of the land. We do not obey and or follow the laws we like and disobey or ignore the laws we don't like. If there is a law we feel is unfair for some reason or another, there are Constitutional methods of amending or negating that law. We do not use extortion to get our way! 

The traitors in the House of representatives are extortionists and thus very, very dangerous to our system. This shutdown is not merely a financial fiasco but a political disaster and shows in no uncertain terms how far our government has fallen. It also means that we have a serious breakdown in the hinterland. Our country is filled with ignorant and stupid people who voted in the representatives responsible for the crisis!

President Obama cannot give in to the demands of these traitors for he would lose his dignity and authority and make a mockery of the presidency. Even more serious, extortionists never quit. If they are successful in one case they will continue their extortion. Tomorrow there will be another law these traitors do not like and again will use their power to shutdown the government to achieve their goal of say, dismantling the Environmental Protection Agency.

The more I think about this the more I believe the word, "traitor," is an apt name. We might even add "terrorist" for tonight in this great land, thousands of families will have a parent recently unemployed; some will go hungry, others will be unable to pay their rent; more people will suffer the dread of not knowing what terror tomorrow will bring them at the hands of these traitors and terrorists in Washington!

Some final thoughts:  this is a manufactured crisis. It is not something that happened to us but rather was created by persons who are supposed to represent our best interests.  Yet it does the exact opposite! It is a needless exercise in political pique!

Secondly, the Republicans don't give a rat's ass about the people of this country, no matter how many tears Mr. Boehner manufactures to make us think so. They don't care about healthcare; they don't care about the 47% or the 99%! They're afraid that if the pending provisions of the ACA take effect they are done for because the people will realize the Republicans have sold them a bill of goods about Obamacare!

So, we can only conclude other more sinister forces are at work.  You will note that most of the teapot crackpots involved in manufacturing this so-called crisis come from the deep South and Texas! These are areas where racism is the norm not the exception. These areas remain pockets of unrepentant Confederates who have yet to concede the Civil War is over and who cannot abide the thought of a black man in the White House!

But because racism is everywhere, Obama remains a problem in every area where the people refuse to believe that when Jesus said "love your neighbor as yourself," he meant black or brown neighbors, too.

And we must not forget that these areas of our country are also where the schools are least effective. Texas, for example, is at the bottom of almost every educational scale. Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, are also bottom feeders! In other words, ignorance reigns.  In these states many folks reject science and live by mythologies -  evolution is inconceivable, Adam and Eve were real people, they are god's chillun and the rest of the world are heathens and thus, suspect.

Ignorance breeds stupidity. Stupid people elect stupid representatives. That's why the state of Georgia elected a Republican member of the House of Representatives who had the unmitigated gall to stand up and say "You lie!" to the president of the United States!  But even Minnesota has enough stupids to elect Michele Bachmann!   There are too many stupids everywhere!

For the moment, it seems the stupids are in control. But they need not be. There are still a few Republicans who sense that the cliff looming ahead is not going to lead to a perfect view but a disastrous fall. The crisis, being created, can be easily and quickly dismantled if the few intelligent and responsible adults left in Congress can gather the courage to do what is right. The crisis is not necessary.

The Democrats are not responsible. President Obama is not responsible.

The crisis we call the government shutdown derives directly from Republicans in the House of Representatives. They are the problem. Perhaps the people will wake up and make sure they are never re-elected to any public office again.

The Golden Dawn Murder Case - by Greg Palast

The Golden Dawn Murder Case
Larry Summers and the New Fascism

By Greg Palast for Truthout
Monday, 7 October 2013

On September 18, hip-hop artist Pavlos Fyssas, a.k.a. Killah P, was stabbed outside a bar in Keratsini, Greece.

Larry Summers has an air-tight alibi.  But I don't believe it.

Larry didn’t hold the knife:  The confessed killer is some twisted member of Golden Dawn, a political party made up of skin-head freaks, anti-immigrant fear-mongers, anti-Muslim/ anti-Semitic/ anti-Albanian sociopaths and ultra-patriot fruitcakes.  Think of it as the Tea Party goes Greek.

Following Fyssas’ killing, other groups of dangerous psychopathic misfits, namely the European Union and Greece’s governing coalition, moved to ban Golden Dawn.

Over the weekend, Greece’s rulers arrested six members of Parliament who belong to Golden Dawn.  Apparently, Greece’s political leaders prefer democracy as defined by Egypt’s General Sisi to the precepts of Aristotle and Thomas Jefferson.

To my friends on the Greek Left:  It’s sickening to watch you cheer the arrest of Golden Dawn parliamentarians.

Mark my words:  You are next.

Listen up:

My investigation reveals that behind the banning of Golden Dawn, besides the usual European distaste for democracy, is something far more sinister:  the ruling parties are distracting the public from their own involvement in the crime.

The rise in violence and hate-crimes is no surprise. The official unemployment rate in Greece is 28%, and over 60% among young men.  No wonder desperate youths are wrapping batons in Greek flags and beating immigrants: When people are pressed to the wall, they hunt for their tormentors –– and too often find their fellow victims to blame.

Economic devastation breeds fascism.  In the 1930s, the hungry and angry sought relief in hyper-patriotism, racism and pogroms.  In the 1980s Reagan Recession in the USA, when factories shut down in the Midwest, the hopeless unemployed joined right-wing skinhead cults and went on a killing rampage –– beginning with the murder of Jewish journalist Alan Berg and ending with the bombing of a government building in Oklahoma, killing 168 people.

Vultures Over Athens

Golden Dawn is a symptom of the nation's illness, not its cause.  Unfortunately, the Brown-shirts go after easy targets –– Pakistanis, Gypsies, Africans, whoever is different and easy to whack.  It's a lot easier to stab a hip-hop rapper than it is to go after a hedge-fund shark.

The real culprits behind the suffering are well camouflaged.  So let me name some:  In Greece, we begin with billionaires Kenneth Dart and Paul “The Vulture” Singer.

Dart and Singer bought up Greek government bonds for pennies on the dollar.  While the holders of 97% of Greek bonds agreed to accept a loss of 75% of their value, Dart and Singer demanded several hundred percent more than they paid.  Then Dart and Singer threatened the dead-broke Greek government. If Greece did not pay this ransom, Dart and Singer would declare Greek bonds in default.  Every bank in Europe holding these government debts as reserve funds would face technical bankruptcy; the value of government bonds worldwide would implode in value and the entire hemisphere would face a new financial collapse.

It was financial terrorism, and the Greek government gave in.  It paid the full ransom demanded.  Dart grabbed over half a billion dollars ($513 million) from the Greek treasury –– and only the gods know how much Singer has pocketed.

[Get the full story on Singer the Vulture, read Billionaires & Ballot Bandits and Vultures' Picnic.]

How was this vulture food paid for?  With “austerity” — tightening a belt that’s already not much bigger than its buckle.  To pay Singer and Dart, the Greek government announced it would fire 15,000 workers.

What’s sick is that the ruling coalition (or misruling coalition) does not say this is to cover the payoffs to the vultures.  Rather, the government says it is the just punishment Greeks deserve for their "laziness and greed."  The victims’ punishment is called, “austerity.”

The Austerity Fairy Tale

My children often ask me, “Daddy, where does ‘austerity’ come from?”  And I tell them:

Once upon a time, there was a good fairy named John Maynard Keynes. He wanted to stop depressions, financial crises and suffering, so he conceived of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.  He said, When a nation’s foreign exchange earnings drop (say, if the price of oil rises or Greek tourism falls because its currency is over-valued), the countries taking the poor nations’ money, rich countries like Germany and the USA, would lend it back via the IMF.

By this rule, the rich lending to the poor, the world prospered and lived happily ever after … until the 1980s, when a wicked witch, known as the Iron Lady, and America’s gaga grandpa, Reagan of the Rich, insisted that the IMF and the World Bank beat poor nations with a stick called, “structural adjustment.”

Nations facing destitution because of higher oil costs, currency imbalance or predatory interest rate demands were “structurally adjusted.”  Structural adjustment is a cruel and debilitating potion of mass firings of public employees, cheap sell-offs of national assets and deregulation of corporate profiteering.  This ripping the wings off the better angels of government is called, “austerity.”

The good fairy Keynes had warned about this evil potion, this snake oil called “austerity.”  Cutting government spending during a recession, he said, will only make things worse. 

And that’s what happened:  In every single case, the “adjusted” nations’ economies were devastated. 

Structural adjustment reached its cruel apotheosis in the early 1990s under the guidance of the World Bank’s Chief Economist, one Larry Summers.

But then, in 1997, Summers’ post was taken by Prof. Joseph Stiglitz.

In 2001, I met Stiglitz whom I’d heard was quietly expressing grave doubts about austerity and structural adjustment à la Summers.  He agreed to go public.  Over several hours of discussion, which I recorded for BBC TV, Stiglitz charged that IMF-imposed austerity was “ a little like the Middle Ages, when the patient died they would say well, we stopped the bloodletting too soon, he still had a little blood in him.”

Stiglitz detailed for me the ill effects of the “structural adjustment” demands, including “free” trade, which he likened to the Opium Wars; bank deregulation, which he found ludicrously dangerous; privatization, which Stiglitz called “briberization”; and budget-cutting austerity.

The budget cuts and free-market nostrums, Stiglitz told me, were as cruel as they were stupid.  And he said of those who profited off these IMF diktats, “They don’t care if people live or die.”

Stiglitz went on to win the Nobel Prize in economics for his skepticism of Markets über Alles.

So how, a decade after austerity, briberization and all their cruelties exposed and discredited, did Greece (and Spain and Portugal and too many others) end up under austerity’s bloody grip?

To begin with, in 2000, Larry Summers, as US Treasury Secretary, successfully demanded the World Bank fire Stiglitz and purged the Bank and IMF of austerity apostasy.

Why?  Austerity may fail the public, but it’s damn profitable for those on the inside.

All you need is a riot and a few dead bodies.

The IMF Riots
Among Stiglitz’ stunning revelations to me was his description of “the IMF riot.”  I showed him confidential World Bank and IMF plans for the nation of Ecuador. These included what seemed to be a warning to that nation’s finance minister that austerity could lead to violence in the streets, “social unrest” — which the World Bank recommended be crushed with “resolve”. In Ecuador, “resolve” meant tanks.

Did the IMF really write the riots into the plans?

Yes, Stiglitz said, matter-of-factly. “We had a name for it ‘The IMF Riot’”.
When a nation is “down and out, [the IMF] takes advantage and squeezes the last pound of blood out of them. They turn up the heat until, finally, the whole caldron blows up”.

And that’s what we’re seeing in Greece.  It began in May 2010, when some sick, misguided berserker set fire to a bank in Athens and killed four bank employees.  The killings did the trick:  the Left’s protests against insane austerity and banker gangsterism came to a halt.

Still, people could see that the austerity medicine was making Greece ill. So, they put their hopes in a new party, Syriza, which, from nowhere, became the second highest vote-getter in Greece by promising to oppose austerity.  Once in office, the faux-Left Syriza completely sold out its positions.

That leaves Golden Dawn, although diseased by racism and violently bent, it is the only one of Greece’s top four parties to stand firm against rabid austerity and the economy being chained like a beaten dog to Germany’s currency.

In 2010, the bank burning was used to discredit protests by the Left.  Today, once again, the Greek government, dancing on its hind legs, begging for a biscuit from German bankers, has used a murder as an excuse to outlaw the only major party dissenting from the austerity suicide pact.

I wish I could say that the reason Golden Dawn is being banned is because of the violent bend of its racist followers.  But that’s just not what’s going on here.

Dimitris Kazakis, the leader of Greece’s true progressive party, the United People’s Front (EPAM), has spoken out against Golden Dawn’s racist violence — and the greater danger of the bogus charges created to arrest members of Parliament.  He scolds Greeks, reminding them that this is how the military dictatorship seized power in 1967.

So, who are the real Fascists?

Fascism, as defined since the days of Il Duce, is the official combine of government and big business.  By that definition, Golden Dawn is the only non-Fascist party among Greece’s top four.  And that is why Golden Dawn has been targeted for elimination.

I hope my fellow progressives will excuse me for not applauding.

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For more by Greg Palast, click here.