Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Anthem - Leonard Cohen

Another Leonard Cohen song which is absolutely appropriate as we look forward to another year of chaos and wars.  In the midst of it all -  Ring the bells that still can ring!

The Voice- Sandy Hook Tribute "Hallelujah"

I found this moving tribute in an article by Frederick Clarkson on Talk 2 Action.  Mr. Clarkson speaks of Mike Huckabee's demagoguery related to the Sandy Hook shooting.  You may recall that Huckabee blamed, not the shooter, but our "society" which has banned his god from our public schools.  Such stupidity becomes ever more important in light of the fact Huckabee is again making noises that he thinks he should be president.

At the end of the song, each child was mentioned along with a note about what made them unique and special.

It is my understanding that this tribute was difficult as the participants kept breaking down in tears.

May 2015 bring us less guns, less killing, less stupidity!

You can read Mr. Clarkson's article here.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Playing "God of the Old Testament"

Cartoon by Bill Mutranowski.  Used with permission.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

More Wackos

Missouri State Representative, Rick Brattin (R), has proposed a bill “which would require a woman seeking an abortion to obtain notarized consent from the baby’s father, even if he is physically abusive toward her."
A woman would have to prove she suffered a “legitimate rape” to avoid getting a man’s consent for an abortion.

Brattin's bill probably won’t go anywhere but he’s proven once again the Missouri legislature has at least one scumbag.

Ted Nugent, who occupies a special place at the bottom of the barrel, called President Obama a “subhuman mongrel.”   Doesn't this wacko claim to love Jeebus?
Bill O’Reilly, that great American scholar who has a book ghost-written about every two weeks these days, has proclaimed that he has “won the “War on Christmas” again!  Why would he say that?  Well, he doesn’t know of one store that won’t allow employees to greet customers with “Merry Christmas.”

I never thought I would agree with the Donald about anything, but the other day he said “The last thing we need is another Bush in the White House.”  Of course we wouldn't want any Trump, either!

In Michigan, one Rick Jones (a Repugnican State Senator), is afraid Satan is going to win by “hijacking” Christmas.  Well, Mr. Jones is not going to let that happen, so after the Satan Temple got approval to put up a holiday display on the lawn of the State Capitol, Jones decided that he would put a Xtn nativity scene on the Capitol lawn, even it has to be erected and taken down every night.  It’s interesting how hard this Xtn legislator works to get an erection.

Rand Paul is trying to get the law changed or at least find some loophole so that he can run both for the Senate and the Presidency in 2016.  Isn’t it funny how these God-fearing Repugs just love the “law” until the law becomes an inconvenience?

The Jesus-loving gov of Ariz, Jan Brewer, issued an executive order blocking the state from giving driver licenses to young undocumented immigrants who are in line to get deportation relief from the Obama Administration.  Wouldn’t want these young folks to be able to get jobs and make enough money to survive, would we?  The Supremes, though, said she couldn’t do that.  Guess which of the Supremes voted against the kids:  Right!  Scalia, Thomas and Alito.

Blake Farenthold is just a downright dirty scumbag Republican Congressman from Texas.  He owns a website,, and is being sued by a former employee who claim she suffered from “gender discrimination and inappropriate sexual comments.”  He’s done many inappropriate things but the one that stands out is his telling a staffer he had wet dreams about her.

Charisma magazine calls him a Bible scholar.  Ha!  He’s just another fundy who can probably quote hundreds of verses from the Bible and not know what any of them really mean.  He’s the prez of the World Bible Society, and his name is F. Kenton Beshore, nicknamed Doc.  Back in the 1970s, the kook Hal Lindsey, predicted that Jesus would return within a biblical generation or about 40 years after 1948.  Beshore points out that that Jesus did not come back in 1988.  Really?  But the problem is that a biblical generation is actually 70-80 years, says Beshore, because of Psalm 90:10.  So, now, finally we’ve got the truth:  The 2nd coming will happen between 2018 and 2028.  But “Taking into account the seven-year Tribulation period, Beshore expects the rapture to occur sometime between now and 2021.”  Beshore is 86 and reported has 5 doctoral degrees in theology.  Whoopee.  A degree is only as good as where it comes from…what a crock this all is!

Rick Santorum is going to run for president again.  He says he’s an underdog and American loves underdogs and he’s prepared for a dogfight.  Sounds about right.  Woof!

Phyllis Schlafly, a nogoodnik who made her bones as an anti-feminist back in the good ol’ days of the John Birch Society, is a true wacko and a liar.  In a recent article for the Christian Post, she wrote “The Obama administration is now trying to outlaw single-sex classrooms, a practice that has been growing as parents and teachers see its good results.  That’s not true.  Some individual schools have tried this system with mixed results but Obama’s not involved in this discussion

John McCain, the failed presidential candidate, crook from the word go, and POW with questionable credentials, is pissed at the President because Sony.  It didn’t take him very long to blame Mr. Obama for the Sony hack; it resulted from “the Administration’s failure to deter our adversaries…”  Oh, and bomb, bomb, bomb Iran

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Pagan Xmas

Cartoon by Bill Mutranowski of Atheist Cartoons.  Used with permission.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Pentagon Bible Study

Cartoon by Bill Mutranowski of Atheist Cartoons.  Used with permission.

Good Tidings and Buy My Book - Sarah Palin

Laugh your heart out as she stumbles through her "War on Christmas" recitation!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Dunderheads and Duggars

Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar are an Arkansas (Tonitown) family too long on the farm.  They've got 19 kids at the moment and no one would be surprised if more aren't on the way.

Talk about a massive environmental footprint!  The kids are growing up, and doubtless most will get married and have their own massive families and oh dear god when will it end?

You have maybe heard about the Duggars before.  They've got their own reality show on TeeVee called - you guessed it - "19 Kids and Counting."  It's on the Learning Channel.  Boy is that an oxymoronic kind of situation.  Obviously, the Duggars haven't learned a damn thing.

Why would any couple in this day and age bring so many kids into the world?  What possible reason, other than transcendent insanity or sexual addiction would prompt such behavior?  Oh, maybe religion!

Back in April, Amanda Marcotte, in an article at The Daily Beast, "Sex Scandal Rocks the Duggars' Christian Patriarchy Movement," noted that the Duggars are part of "a fringe strain of fundamentalist Christianity dubbed the 'Christian patriarchy' or sometimes the 'Quiverfull' movement, and while there is a lot of internal diversity to the movement, they generally preach a combination of beliefs that run counter to mainstream America: absolute female submission, a ban on dating, homeschooling, a rejection of higher education for women, and shunning of contraception in favor of trying to have as many children as humanly possible."

Like many fundy Christians, they often hide their rabid ideology behind sweet smiles and pious blather.  That means, says Ms. Marcotte, that Michelle Duggar is "able to act like she's just like any other reality TV star, giving sex tips and sharing recipes.  Jim Bob has also been able to turn their fame into an opportunity to get political power, chumming around with presidential candidates and speaking at more mainstream conservative events."

All of this is a planned "charm offensive," claims Marcotte, that has "softened up resistance. ... The fact that Republicans have started to step up the anti-contraception rhetoric lately appears, in part, to be the result of this tiny group of extremists [sic] Christians putting a smiley face on absolutist anti-contraception sentiments."

Actually, these fundy goofballs are not following Jesus at all.  They may call themselves "Christians" but they have taken bits and pieces of the bible, and then twisted those to serve their own purposes to create a monstrous whirlpool of religious goofiness.  And because for so many people the word, Christian, denotes godliness and goodness, they're able to get away with promoting their nonsense as if it came from the Lord himself.

The Duggars come out of the same mold as the rest of the right wing fanatics - strip them of their "Christian" facade, and you'll find self-righteous bigots who are antigay, anti-abortion, anti-contraception, anti-gay marriage, anti-women, anti-public schools - basically just run-of-the-mill FAUX News followers.

It's their religion, though, that gets them into trouble.  In their belief system. women exist for the male leaders of the movement.  The job of women is to have as many children as possible.  Men, especially those in leadership positions, are patriarchs of the world and women must be subservient to them and obey them.

The Patriarchy movement also promotes the idea that personhood begins at the moment of conception, and opposes abortion for any reason.  One Duggar daughter, Jessa, has gone so far as to compare abortion to the Holocaust.

As far as religious affiliation goes, they claim to be “independent Baptists,” which means very little for religious kooks set up shop everyday in some corner of the universe and call themselves "Baptists," even though they disagree on every issue except baptism by immersion.

All the children are homeschooled, which, unfortunately means a ton of people are growing up ignorant and bigoted.  The Duggar children are also subject to very strict rules as to clothing and the people with whom they can associate.  Ms. Marcotte said dating is banned, but I think not.  I think after a certain age, one is allowed to date so long as their is a chaperone present.

The Patriarchy movement has received some bad publicity of late due to allegations of child abuse and adultery.  One of the "leaders," Doug Phillips, president of Vision Forum Ministries, admitted to "a lengthy, inappropriate relationship with a woman" [not his wife] and resigned his presidency.  Eventually, Vision Forum Ministries went under.

Bill Gothard, the other main leader of the movement, who headed up an outfit called the "Institute in Basic Life Principles," also resigned his position not long ago after a number of allegations of sexual abuse by women working in the organization.

The Duggars are friends and close to both of these people.  Vision Forum "has used Michelle Duggar in their efforts to demonize contraception" ... and gave "her an award for 'Mother of the Year' because she had so many children.

Gothard's outfit has also been connected to the Duggars and the Duggars have attended many patriarchy events held by the Institute in Basic Life Principles. 

The Duggar story is indicative of the fact that people who are ignorant of Biblical scholarship can use the Bible to come up with a whole host of weird religious beliefs and claim that they are of God, when, in fact, they are merely are dangerous and stupid!

Or as one Swedish bishop once put it:  The Bible is the most dangerous book in the world.   Every evil cause on the face of the earth has been justified by the Bible!

And finally, the Duggars are not a nice, Christian family worth emulating.  They are smarmy religious freaks.  They teach nonsense.  Their beliefs border on insanity.  What they proclaim has nothing whatsoever to do with the Jesus of the Gospels! 

If you should accidentally tune in to their show on the Learning Channel, change the channel asap!

Click here to read the entirety of Ms. Marcotte's article at The Daily Beast.

Jeb Bush for president?

h/t to Daily Kos.

Weekly Address: America’s Resurgence is Real

There's a lot of good news here. Unfortunately, people who watch FAUX News won't be able to hear it.

RWW News: Gordon Klingenschmitt Says Americans Should Rely On God For He...

This is the clown who was recently elected to the Colorado State Legislature!

h/t to Mock, Paper, Scissors

The Rick Perry Building at Texas A&M

"Dumb" is a relative term.  At least in my family.  I've got lots of dumb relatives!  But, that's neither here nor there because I'm going to be writing about dumb politicians, one in particular.

It has become even more obvious in recent years that you need not be smart to be a politician.  You can be tall or short, fat or thin, hairy or bald, male or female (although it's easier to get elected if you're a male), educated or uneducated, and you can be smart or dumb as a cow pie.

I mention cow pies because Rick Perry, the erstwhile governor of the Lone Star State, came from the farm and knows all about cow pies.  I'd bet money he's stepped into many of them.  His shoes may still contain remnants of his farming days.

Some farmers are very intelligent, very smart.  I worked for a few of the smart ones when I was a kid.  Others are dumb as cow pies.  Perry is in the latter category.  Maybe he was farm-schooled?

He's got other problems, too.  He somehow contracted the religious right wing disease. And because of that he believes all kinds of crazy stuff like there is a god up in the sky who he can talk to and get directions from and the world as we know it was created 6,000 years ago, and everything in the Bible is the "word" of his God and true, true, true.

That's probably why Perry, in spite of the fact that he's a governor and governors are not supposed to endorse any religion, endorses the fundamentalist Christian religion, helps organize and attends prayer meetings and religious rallies, and loves to pray "in Jesus' name".

He also against gays, gay marriage, abortion.  He  just doesn't understand why public schools can't lead all the kiddos in prayers to his god.

Being a right winger, he thinks the Soviet Union is really bad.  Well, he might know by now there is no Soviet Union anymore, but he sure as hell hates Russia and that big bear, Putin. Like so many other Repugnican politicos he doubtless thinks President Obama is a Commie Muslim and Democrats are just Commies in disguise.  He's so far right that not long ago he suggested Texas might have to secede from the Union because the federal government was being mean and dictatorial (he neglected to mention that Texas receives more money from the feds than any other state).

Perry did go to college.  Texas A&M.  He didn't learn much.

Considering all of these things, I was surprised, no, devastated, to read that the Board of Regents at Texas A&M voted to name the "main academic building at A&M after Governor Perry."  (Full disclosure:  I am an Aggie!)

Perry said this gesture was "a great honor."

Oops.  The Regents, not being very smart themselves, forgot to take a gander at Perry's academic record.  Not so good.  He almost didn't graduate and strained to make a 2.5 grade average.  Yikes!

Students at A&M decided that they didn't want their main academic building named after a dumbass who barely graduated and to whom "academic" is a swear word.  So, over 7,000 of them signed a petition circulated by the student Senate asking the Board of Regents to reconsider their ill-conceived plan.

So, the board of Regents reconsidered.  Perry, hearing about the brouhaha, requested that the building not be named after him.  Heh, heh.  Maybe he's not so dumb, after all.

Well, yes he is.  He's currently under indictment for political chicanery.

h/t to Crooks and Liars.

Friday, December 19, 2014

What Would Jesus Do ... About the War on Christmas?

The other day I was talking to Jesus and I mentioned the "War on Christmas." He started laughing uproariously! "That Bill O'Reilly is such an idiot," he said. "And I can name another hundred idiots just like him. But they're really not worried about a 'War on Christmas,' they're just trying to get some publicity so more people will watch them and send them money.

 "Christmas isn't about me, anyway. And I sure as hell wasn't born on December 25! Some nutcases in the 4th century of the Common Era (notice I don't go for that B.C., Anno Domini stuff) took a bunch of different traditions and made up a winter holiday.

"Before that, in Rome, the people celebrated the birth of Mithras, who was born of a virgin in a cave on December 25, surrounded by shepherds. In fact, in Rome on Mithras Eve, the people held all kinds of wild parties in the streets with lots of Mitras carols and hymns to Mithras. I remember thinking it looked like fun.

'Then, that rascal Constantine came to power - and by the way, he didn't see any 'cross' in the sky, he just made that up to frighten his enemies - he ordered that a new religion called Christianity - and that wasn't about me, either - was to be the religion of the Empire.

'The poor Mithras believers had to change or be killed."

"That's interesting," I said. "But what would you have me tell my readers about this faux war on Christmas here and now?

And that's when he put this little poem in my head. As he left me, he said, "Tell them, Hanukkah is a lot more fun, anyway!"

Some say there's a war on Christmas.
Others say that's just not so!
Some say Santa's but a myth.
Some "Boo," and "Ho, ho, ho!"

Seems we've got ourselves a mess.
Folks are feeling sad and blue.
We should ask one little question,
What, you think, would Jesus do?

He'd not be seen at Wal-Mart stores,
Or walking up and down the mall.
He might go hiking in the woods,
To keep from climbing up the wall!

He might attend a jolly party,
And try to do the cha, cha, cha!
He wouldn't go to church, for sure.
He'd celebrate Hanukkah!

@ 2006 & 2014 by Lowell A. Anderson
All Rights Reserved

Palin sees Santa from her house

I wasn't planning to post this.  I mean why mess up a nice holiday season with a picture of the wacko from Wasilla?

But, the other evening, I met a woman from Wasilla.  She was very nice.  I made mention of you-know-who with what I suppose was a snarky look on my face.  The woman from Wasilla let me know she didn't agree with my assessment of the wacko.

So, I shut up.  I've got lots of things to do in the next week and arguing about Palin's nuttiness is not one of them.  Furthermore, that has to be a really "bad" Santa to let her get so close.

h/t to William at Ottawa Daily Photo for this photo!

Cuba - Republicans Hang On To Failed Policy

Another "gift" from Ybor City Stogie.  Thank you YCS!

Politics of Cuba: Florida, Florida, Florida! / Economy

h/t to Ybor City Stogie.

Do you think the GOP is out-of-touch with reality, stuck in age-old cliches that no longer have any meaning or value other than to tease their ignorant base into voting them, once again, into office where they fail miserably to do their job of governing?

Thursday, December 18, 2014

On Cuba, Obama and Conservative Hypocrisy

[Photo from The Famous People]

It's about time.  No, it's way past time!

What follows is from Shakesville:

"The United States and Cuba have agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations and open economic and travel ties, marking a historic shift in U.S. policy toward the communist island after a half-century of enmity dating back to the Cold War, American officials said Wednesday. The announcement came amid a series of sudden confidence-building measures between the longtime foes, including the release of American prisoner Alan Gross, as well as a swap for a U.S. intelligence asset held in Cuba and the freeing of three Cubans jailed in the U.S. Gross arrived at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington late Wednesday morning. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro were to separately address their nations around noon. The two leaders spoke by phone for more than 45 minutes Tuesday, the first substantive presidential-level discussion between the U.S. and Cuba since 1961."

Finally!  I have always thought our policy toward Cuba which evolved when we dropped support for the dictator Batista as he fled the land, and turned toward Castro only to dissavow him when his growing affinity for "Communism" became evident, was not only misplaced, but outright wrong!

And stupid!

But, in south Miami there is a contingent of anti-Castro Cubans and their descendants - many of whom were quite happy with Batista as they had become wealthy and powerful under his dictatorial regime, but lost it all when Castro came to power - who for years have fought every attempt to modify the U.S. position toward Cuba.

The U.S. position included open hostility, economic embargo, the discontinuation of diplomatic relations, and discouragement of any travel between the two countries or communication between Cubans in the U.S. and their families in Cuba.

One of the silliest actions was the ban on Cuban cigars!

Our position over these many years cemented Cuba's hatred for the U.S., created terrible economic hardship for much of Cuba's population, and gave our enemies around the world more ammunition to use against us.

Communism is a failed system.  We've known that from the beginning and it has failed over and over again.  That doesn't mean that every Communist country is going to become capitalistic and democratic overnight or ever.  China many never become a democratic society in the same way the US is a democratic society, but major changes have occurred there over the years so it is a much more open society and its economy has been modified to include some capitalistic characteristics.  It remains, however, a communist country!

But we haven't dared act on what we knew.  The anti-Commie neo-cons in this country are too strong and too numerous and what president or Congressperson doesn't want to be reelected?  The Miami Cuban bloc was always a threat to anyone who came out in favor of mitigating our stance on Cuba; in fact it was courting political death.

Jeb Bush, ex-governor of Florida, who made a mess out of that state, and now wants to be a another "Bush" president, criticized President Obama for restoring diplomatic ties with Cuba.   This is, he whined, a "dramatic overreach" of executive authority.

Jeb said "Cuba is a dictatorship with a disastrous human rights record, and now President Obama has rewarded those dictators."  It's going to hurt the Cuban people but help the "heinous Castro brothers."

Marco Rubio, the dim bulb Senator from the Miami area, who has lied in the past as to how his father came to this country from Cuba, implying he was fleeing persecution from a terrible regime when in fact he sailed to the U.S. in 1956 (before Castro) without incident, has also thrown in his two cents.  Obama's move, which rewards "the Castro regime," is inexplicable, saith Marco.  Furthermore, as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's Western Hemisphere subcommittee, he intends to "make every effort" to block Obama's normalization action.

Another wacko on the far right, Teddy Cruz, is also whining and complaining about Obama's "overreach," and Obama's flirtation with Communism, and is terribly pissed off to think that our President would reward terrible dictators like Fidel and Raul.

The hypocrisy is mind-boggling.  None of these people have bitched about our continuing support of dictators throughout Latin America or elsewhere.  So long as the U.S. could buy the dictators, they became our dictators and "good" guys because with enough money passing into their hands they would seek to protect American business interests in their countries.  The only time the conservatives in Congress gave a damn about a dictatorship anywhere was when the dictator stopped doing our bidding!

The Bush family really has no clothes.  They've been in bed with the Saudi rulers for many, many years because of a mutual interest in money and oil.  Anyone who thinks Geo. W. Buski led our troops off to die in Iraq was because of WMDs or the terrible Saddam is terribly misled. Bushki's Iraqi adventure was a way to guarantee that Iraqi oil went to the right place as dictated by Saudi Arabia!  Hell, Saddam, terrible dictator that he was, remained our friend for years and we basically armed his army, which, ironically, gave him the firepower he needed to at least resist our military incursions into his land after he fell out of our favor.

If there is any country with a worse record on human rights than Saudi Arabia, such country would be hard to find.  Some 50% of the Saudi population are treated as chattel without any of the rights we consider necessary for human and humane life - the Saudi women.  Yet Saudi remains on the A-list so far as the U.S. is concerned!

And China is no paragon of human rights, yet these conservative hucksters in the U.S. have no problem with our continuing diplomatic relations with that country.  They've even made it easier for American companies to flee to China to manufacture products which rake in huge profits when they're sold back in the United States.

Rubio's staff and the staff of another rabid anti-Castro Republican in South Florida, Ros-Lehtinen, went on a junket to China recently - a junket that included luxury hotels and visits to all the great tourist sites such as the Great Wall of China.  These junkets were paid for by the Chinese government and cost upwards of $10 grand per person!

Yet, when Jay Z and Beyonce traveled to Cuba on a U.S. Chamber trip, Rubio bashed them, saying it was "misguided and fraught with peril of becoming a propaganda coup for the Castro regime - to the detriment of America's strategic interest in protecting human rights around the world, as well as the Cuban people."

And that, Mr. Rubio, is hypocritical bullshit!  What fools are these conservative twits.  Everyone knows we support all kinds of dictators and always have.  Everyone knows Rubio's concern with "protecting human rights" is a display of hypocrisy that boggles the mind!

We cannot remake the world in our own image.  We've tried over and over again and we've failed miserably.  The fact is democracy is not in the future for much of the world.  We are learning that we must accept that and try to find a way to live amicably so we don't end up killing everyone on earth and destroying the planet in the process.

In an essay titled "Under Western Eyes" by John Gray in the November 2014 issue of Harper's magazine, he claims "All Western mainstream political parties and sections of opinion hold to a creed in which tyranny and empire are relics of the past, ethnic nationalism is fading away, and the rise of militant religion is a temporary aberration."

Unfortunately, that creed is a crock.  "The practical upshot" of this thinking "has been a type of evangelical democracy, and the principal legacy a litter of failed states."

And that's why, later in the essay, he comments "The West has yet to acknowledge the possibility that it is going to live with an authoritarian Russia indefinitely."  He might as well have said "Cuba" instead of Russia.  And we've lived with an authoritarian Cuba since 1960!  We've lived with other authoritarian states just as long or longer!

Thinking that given enough time, people in these states, seeing the advantages of democracy, are going to rise up and demand change is a false hope.  Gray refers to the American historian, Barbara Tuchman, who noted in her 1984 book, The March of Folly, that "many of history's catastrophes have been the result of hubristic policies that should have been known in advance to be unworkable or self-defeating.  Much that the West has done over the past quarter-century can be described in this way."

Certainly our policy toward Cuba can be so described.

My point is that had we treated Cuba, not as our enemy, but as our close neighbor (only 90 miles from Key West), worthy of recognition and a smidgen, at least, of respect, it is likely that we could have developed a positive relationship which would have benefited both countries, and created one hell of a lot less heartache for all concerned!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Pastor Dies After Singing About Being Healed

Please note that I'm not making light of this incident, nor am I mocking the pastor's faith.  I am, though, entranced by the IRONY involved.

Down through the years, I've known a number of people who believed desperately that their God could heal them or help them avoid certain diseases only to be seriously disappointed.  God either didn't hear their prayers or didn't care or couldn't get there on time.

This instance involves Gordon A. Humphrey, Jr., a pastor involved with a group named United Ministries which is, I believe, located in the Chicago area.  He enjoyed singing very much.

According to an article by Leonardo Blair at the Christian Post, Pastor Humphrey, who had just celebrated his 60th birthday, "bellowed melodiously from the pulpit that 'the Lord is good to me.. You healed my body.  You brought me back from death' as a choir harmoniously affirmed his lilting declarations."

Shortly thereafter, on a Sunday at the Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church of Chicago, Pastor Humphrey "began preaching a Christmas-themed message about 'hope in the manger' ... [and] sauntered through the lyrics of rapper Pharrell Williams' runaway hit song, "Happy."'"

Then he fell over dead.

Hanukkah - Dreidel - music video by Jewish a cappella group Shir Soul - ...

Steven Anderson is not a Christian

You maybe don't care much one way or another whether Steven Anderson is a Christian.  I don't, either.  But if you claimed Christianity as your faith and had a whit of understanding of what that means, you would be irate that this asshole makes the same claim you do

Anderson is well-known for his vitrol and shamelessness.  He's pastor of a weird little storefront Baptist church in Tempe, Arizona.  Ironically, it's called Faithful Word Baptist Church.  If there's anything Anderson is not is faithful to the Word.  He's also an example as to how the word, "Baptist," can mean just about anything these days.

Anderson is a homophobe, which is one problem.  He's also filled with hatred and bile which he wraps in the robes of what he thinks is "righteousness," but is, in fact, a sinkhole of evil. 

His latest rants involve Christians killing gays.  If only Christians would kill gay people, says Anderson, we could rid the world of AIDS.  And then he laughs. 

Funny thing is, in some ways, Anderson is a worse disease than AIDS!  At least we're working on a cure for AIDS.  There's no hope for Anderson.  He's made his pact with the devil and sold his soul and when push comes to shove he'll go the way of all the other deranged righteous that have plagued our world since Christianity began.

By any measure except his own, Steven Anderson fails the Christian test.  

Bush Reflux

Please click on cartoon to embiggen.

From Daily Kos.

Respecting Christmas

Cartoon by Bill Mutranowski of Atheist Cartoons; used with permission.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

What Christians Contributed to Xmas

Cartoon by Bill Mutranowski of Atheist Cartoons.  Used with permission.

Bachmann, in her farewell address, preaches about Moses to the House of Non-Representatives

Haven't we had enough in this country of Ms. Bachmann, the mythical Moses and the Ten Commands? 

For some reason, Christians fundies get their undies all knotted up about the mythical Moses and the Ten Commands.  You'd think they'd get more excited about the legendary Jesus, whom they claim to worship and adore.  But nooooooo.

Michele Bachmann, who refuses to fade quietly away into a Minnesota snow drift, felt called upon to give a farewell rant in the House of Non-Representatives, during which she proclaimed that they were "lawgivers," they "make the laws."  That's not been the case lately.  They're supposed to make the laws but they've tended to neglect that obligation because for the last six years they've been too busy trying to beat up Obama and kill the laws they already made! 

For Bachmann, though, the most important lawgiver in all of American history is not to be found in the annals of the U.S. Congress, but in the Hebrew Bible.  The lawgiver was the mythical Moses.  The House of Non-Representatives, said Ms. Bachmann, is under the authority of Moses, "because he was chosen by God" and was "entrusted with the basis of all law" which, of course was the Ten Commands, according to this font of dumbness from the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

Many, if not most of the critical Biblical scholars today, agree that the figure of Moses in the Hebrew Bible is not an historical figure.  He's a myth or legend.  The story of the Exodus, the wandering in the desert for 40 years, the giving of the Ten Commands, are all mythical and have no basis in fact.  That doesn't necessarily mean there is nothing in the Hebrew Bible of value, but it does knock some of the piss and vinegar out of things like the Ten Commands.

As I've said before, I don't understand why fundy Christians get so worked up about the Ten Commands in the first place.  There are at least three versions in the Hebrew Bible and they all vary and even the version that fundys most cherish seems quite irrelevant to the political life of our country.

Consider the first command to honor the Lord your God.  You shall have no other gods before you, it says, [which means, of course, so far as the writer was concerned, there were many godly options but the Israelites were to chose Yahweh!].  What in the world does this have to do with the government of the U.S.A.?

I also like the one dissing graven images, i.e., pictures, sculptures, drawings, etc.  Somehow, this is never discssed; it's ignored totally - because it is totally irrelevant to anything!  But it remains one of the 10 commands to not make any graven images!

And should the government really concern itself with people who covet their neighbor's possessions?  That would be a pretty big job.

So, what the hell is this dingbat from the northland talking about?  How do these "laws" form the "basis of all law"?

They don't, of course, except in La-la-land which is another way of describing the mind of Ms. Bachmann - may she rest in peace.  When she gets back to Minnesota, she better hope that she doesn't fall in love with and worship a golden calf, 'cause God slew a bunch of the Israelites who made that mistake!  Over 3,000 of them.

Now, did you get the irony involved in Ms. Bachmann's praise of Moses and his "portrait"?  She's pointing to a "graven image" totally oblivious to the fact this is a violation of one of her precious Ten Commands!


Cartoon by Bill Mutranowski of Atheist Cartoons.  Used with permission.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Donald Trump - "Torture is rich!"

"Torture is rich!"

Nah, the Donald didn't say that.  He might have, but I just made it up.  He says lots of dumb things so it is kinda fitting.

Monday morning.  Trump shows up on Fox & Friends at FAUX News, pretty much as usual, to offer his opinion on a subject about which nobody gives a damn about what his opinion is!  But that's never stopped the Donald from being a dumbass before.

It's strange that Trump would continue to make a fool of himself.  I guess being that wealthy gives you a certain amount of security.  If nobody in the whole world loves you, you can still crawl into your cave and count your money.

But that's not going to happen to the Donald because there are all kinds of suck-ups who follow Trump around as if he's some sort of god just because he's filthy rich.  Golfers.  Sheesh.  They think Trump is the greatest thing since a hole-in-one.  He plays with all the big names, and the golf magazines crap in their collective pages every time he builds a new golf course over in China or Ireland or Mali. 

Torture.  Again, I can't imagine anyone in these United States of America who gives a damn about what Trump thinks about torture.  I mean, really, just watching him speak is torture.  But one thing about Trump - if there is any kind of an issue - he's got an opinion and will tell you what he thinks even if it's torture to listen to him.

That's what he did on Fox & Friends.  He prattled on about those bad, bad, Democrats, who released the report on torture.  Why our friends are going to laugh at us, he said, and the bad guys, well, they don't care 'cause they chop off heads.  And the American people may be upset about torture because they've forgotten about 9/11 and if anything like that happens again they'd all jump on the torture bandwagon. 

What I don't get is why he's concerned about the release of the report.  Everyone around the world knew what was going on anyway.  There wasn't much, if any, new information in the report as far as I've been able to determine.  It verified some things.  But we knew way back in the dark, dark days of Georgi W. Bushki that the CIA was rendering people to other countries in blacked-out airplanes with the tacit complicity of the leaders of those countries and that the CIA was not handing out ice cream cones!

Trump and others like him make no sense.  Unless of course, they think torture is a good thing and perfectly okay for the land of the free and the home of the brave.  But why fuss about the release of the report?

The real problem is the content!  The United States of America tortured people as a matter of course and the leadership of the United States of America blessed such projects even though torture is the absolute opposite of all this country stands for.  Not only so, but it did not one bit of good, in spite of what "Blackheart" Cheney says.

I guess, though, from the way Trump talks, he'd be just as happy if we chopped off a few heads.  I mean, the other guys do it!

The Dangerous David Lane and His Fundy Revolution

 [David Lane photo from RightWingWatch]

Once again, we've been warned.  The Christians are coming, the Christians are coming!  The battle is about to be joined.  Whose side will the mythical Jesus be on?

When I use the word, "Christian", in this essay, I'm speaking of a religious/political animal that bears almost no resemblance to the mythical Jesus of the Gospels.  These so-called Christians have a cross to bear and they're looking for a fight.  The "cross" is that the United States is a secular country and they believe it should be a theocracy of sorts, based upon their fundamentalist Christian notions of what is good and right and lawful.

Lest you think they are an empty threat, please read on.  There are literally thousands of religious leaders engaged in this project and millions of "believers" who are bamboozled every Sunday by the religious/political rhetoric of these religious leaders.  It's an army and it's ready to march.

The only good thing is that there are a lot of prima donnas involved and it is difficult to get them all to agree on any given subject.

Not long ago, a guy by name of David Lane, a 59-year old fundamentalist Christian political operative, spent about $1 million buckaroos to take 110 Christian pastors and evangelical leaders on a week-and-a-half-long wingding through Europe during which, according to an article at Real Clear Politics, they were "to celebrate the legacies of Pope John Paul II, Margaret Thatcher and Reagan."  Actually they ended up celebrating Ronnie's "legacy" back in the states at the Reagan Presidential Library.

Lane is a maverick with money, and operates an outfit called the American Renewal Project.  He's got some heavy financial backing to help him carry out his mission which is to "reestablish a Christian culture" in the United States.

In one interview, he whined, "It's evident we've lost the culture, and we've lost our heritage now.  I mean, with Obama, you've got red ink as far as the eye can see, homosexuals praying at the inauguration, 55 million babies dead."

Wow.  That damn Kenyan nogoodnik!  He's ruining the country!  He must be a Muslim disguised as a "liberal" Christian! 

Mike Huckabee, the Baptist preacher who clowns his way through a FAUX News show, was at the final meeting of this group and led the closing prayer, which went like this:

"God, you opened the opportunity for us to let this be a time for renewal, for healing, for rebirth in our own spirits and what it really means to be called to leadership ...", blah, blah, blah.  And then he said, "We pray that America can see again."

With this group it would be the blind leading the blind.  What culture did they lose?  When was America able to see?  What does any of that mean?  I wonder if they know or would agree?  I'm guessing they want to go back to some "golden" age, maybe the 1950s, when blacks knew their place and wouldn't dare aspire to the presidency; hell, it was like God intended when the Jim Crow laws worked.  And women stayed home, more or less, and gays hid deep in the closet, and we fought valiantly the Cold War against the godless Commies, when Christmas creches were in the town square, and schools started with the Lord's Prayer, and you could post the Ten Commandments on any damn courthouse you wanted to! 

But maybe a lot of us don't think those were the good ol' days.  Maybe most Americans don't want any part of that crap again.  Maybe the less religion we have in the government the better.

But Lane and his friends don't believe in separation of church and state.  "There's no truth to that," says Lane.  "The Constitution says the state is to keep out of the church, it doesn't say the church is to keep out of the state."  And "secularism, whatever that means, is being imposed upon all the poor hapless Christians against their will! 

Values, Lane believes, is what it's all about.  Right now, a small minority are running roughshod over the population and real values, the right values are ignored or fought.  "It's ... a spiritual battle," claims Lane, "If we are going to survive as a nation, we have to have a spiritual resurrection."

So, what is Lane doing to "reestablish a Christian culture" in the United States?  He's working to get 1,000 pastors to run for political office in 2016.  To this end, he's set up a meeting in January in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  Louisiana, is, or course, one of our most backward states and riddled with right-wing, anti-American Christians who believe it is their mission to walk all over our Constitution.  Governor Bobby Jindal is leading the charge in that sappy state.

Don't say you weren't warned:  Lane says, "Government is not going to save America.  Wall Street is not going to save America.  The Republican Party is not going to save America.  If America is going to be saved it will be done by Christian men and women restoring a Judeo-Christian culture to the country."  (The Washington Times)

Lane and others like him seldom, if ever, define what they mean by Judeo-Christian culture, but you can be sure they're not including the Judeo part - Jews or Jewish beliefs or Jewish practices in their definition!  You won't see Hanukkah displays next to Christmas creches in the public squares in their America! 

These are theocrats who wish to impose their own fundamentalist Christian version of things on the rest of the nation.  In order to "save" the nation.  Save the nation from what?  Kenyan presidents?  Liberals?  Atheists?  Humanists?  People who believe in evolution? Gays?  Poor people?  Sick people?  Old people?

It's all a bunch of crap but as Lane notes, correctly, there are 65 million to 85 million fundy Christians in this country who are as ignorant as a stump about the Bible and who believe everything their wacko pastors tell them, and will vote for Christian "values" and for "saving America," and "reclaiming our Christian culture," even though they have no clue as to what any of that means.

Don't be fooled, though.  This is a Republican movement.  You won't find many, if any, Democrats in Lane's camp.  And it's not about religion, it's about power and money.  It's about control of financial resources.  It's about the power to mpose their vapid and stupid religion on the rest of us!  Lane and the rest of these pastors, including Huckabee, are thoroughly corrupted by power and money and they dream at night of increasing both. 

Consider the name "Megachurch," from which many of these pastors lead.  Doesn't that stink of wealth and power. 

 Finally, compare all of Mr. Lane's efforts, the pastors who will crawl through the slime all the way to 2016, and those religious politicos who screech about "saving" America, with the lowly figure of Jesus, whose life was the absolute opposite of everything these people stand for.

According to the Gospel stories, this Jesus person came as a humble servant who rejected money, power and the trappings of government to show his Jewish brothers and sisters a better way; a way which involved giving up such things in order to find peace and joy and fulfillment through serving one's fellowman.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

God Wants Ben Carson To Be President!

George W. Bush said God wanted him to be president of the United States; lo, and behold, his wish came true!

Rick Santorum made noises that God wanted him to be President.  Rick Perry, currently governor of Texas, says much the same thing.  Mike Huckabee talks about God a lot, and he, too, might run for president.

Now we've got a medical doctor by name of Benjamin Carson who says he's just a pawn on God's chess board, or something like that.  When David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network asked ol' Ben if he was thinking of a political life, Ben said "God would have to grab him by the collar.  Has he felt the tug?

"I feel fingers," he saith to Mr. Broday..

Isn't that cute?

But which one will God choose?

Carson will never be president because he has zero political experience, he's a member of the 7th Day Adventist cult, he's not very bright when it comes to non-surgical matters, and he tends to shoot from the mouth before putting ammunition into his brain.

I hope the Repugs give him the nod, though, as it will make things much easier for the Dems.

Carson has written a couple of books, the most important being "Gifted Hands," which has also been made into a movie and tells his life story so familiar to so many already.  It's much like a soap opera.

Born poor, raised by a single mom in Detroit, he was headed down the wrong path.  He even tried to stab a kid with a knife but hit the kid's belt and thus no damage was done.  But lil' Ben went home, found a Bible, "gave his life to Jesus and asked the Lord to take away his violent temper."  Today, he claims, he just doesn't get angry.

Carson made his way through Yale, eventually ending up at Johns Hopkins University where he became the director of the Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery, among other things, and in 1987 became the first surgeon to successfully separate siamese twins conjoined at the back of the head.

Talk about a success story!

Unfortunately, such a story does not automatically translate into brilliance in other fields or political success.  A surgeon, no matter how gifted, does not necessarily have the wherewithal to become a good president, or a senator for that matter.  James Inhofe, an MD from Oklahoma sits in our Congress and calls climate change a hoax, for his god would never destroy the earth in such a manner; and Paul C. Broun of Georgia, who will be leaving Congress in January, is also an MD (a GYN, I believe) who is convinced that evolution is Satan's plot to send us all to hell.

Carson's belief that God wants him to be president may not be enough.  As a 7th Day Adventist, he holds to a literal interpretation of the Bible, affirming every word to be true.  Thus he believes in a 6-day creation which happened about 6,000 years ago and that God created all life on earth.  Carson rejects the theory of evolution.

"Evolution and creationism both require faith," he claims.  "It's just a matter of where you choose to place that faith."

Now that's just plain dumb.  Creationism requires one hell of a lot of faith for there is not one piece of evidence anywhere to verify it.  Evolution, on the other hand, is a theory that is verified in millions of ways every day, and "is the central principle that animates modern biology, uniting all biological fields under one theoretical tent, and which virtually all modern scientists agree is true." (Quote from Valerie Strauss at The Answer Sheet.)

When Carson was invited to deliver the commencement speech at Emory University, almost 500 faculty, students and alumni signed a letter of protest because of Carson's anti-science views and the fact that he has intimated that people who believe in evolution may lack ethics.

He claims he never said that, but what we're going to find as we look closer at this man is that he says a lot of things which he then claims he never said or his words were misinterpreted or too much emphasis was put on his words when he meant something different from what he said.  He doesn't make much sense.

He said, for example, "By believing we are the product of random acts, we eliminate morality and the basis of ethical behavior.  For if there is no such thing as moral authority, you can do anything you want.  You make everything relative, and there's no reason for any of our higher values."

Then, he backtracked, saying he never said that people who believe in evolution were unethical.  If you believe in God then it's easy to be ethical, but "People who believe in the survival of the fittest might have more difficulty deriving where their ethics come from.  A lot of evolutionists are very ethical people."

Huh?  He seems to want it both ways.  Believe in evolution and you're going to be a moral mess.  On the other hand "a lot of evolutionists are very ethical people."  Sorry, Ben, but you need to make up your mind.

In an interview with "Faith & Liberty," Carson spoke of his rejection of evolution "arguing that the science of evolution is a sign of humankind's arrogance and belief 'that they are so smart that if they can't explain how God did something, then it didn't happen, which of course means that they're God.  You don't need a God if you consider yourself capable of explaining everything.'"

Uh huh.

[Carson might profit from reading "God - The Failed Hypothesis," by the late Victor J. Stenger who brilliantly shows how science proves God does not exist.  The fact is, science can explain everything and we no longer need a god.]

Worse, though, is that Carson's belief system is based on false premises for which there is no evidence.  As the Emory protestors said:

"Dr. Carson argues that there is no evidence for evolution, that there are no transitional fossils that provide evidence for the evolution of humans from a common ancestor with other apes, that evolution is a wholly random process, and that life is too complex to have originated by the natural process of evolution.  All of these claims are incorrect. The evidence for evolution is overwhelming: ape-human transitional fossils are discovered at an ever increasing rate, and the processes by which organisms evolve new and more complex body plans are now known to be caused by relatively simple alterations of the expression of small numbers of developmental genes.  Our understanding of the evolutionary process has advanced our ability to develop animal models for disease, our ability to combat the spread of infectious disease and, in point of fact, the work of Dr. Carson himself is based on scientific advances fostered by an understanding of evolution."

Here's another example of his confusion:  He believes no one can know the age of the earth ... "carbon dating and all of these things really don't mean anything to a God who has the ability to create anything at any point in time."

That makes no sense.  The discussion isn't about what might mean something to his magic man in the sky.  We're talking about what might mean something to humans.  Evolution means something.  Creationism means nothing for it is unverifiable and is diametrically opposed to all of science!

It's really quite sad.  He's simply ignorant of what the theory of evolution is all about as evidenced by his comment about the complexity of the human brain and the human eyeball:  Those things, he says, prove that evolution is a "myth".  "Somebody says that came from a slime pit full of promiscuous chemicals?  I don't think so."

Perhaps if he went back to school and studied evolution, about which he obviously doesn't have a clue, he might change his tune.  Probably not, though, as religion tends to trump reality every time.

In this day and age, it would be insane to have a president who failed to accept the truth of evolution which is proven over and over again millions of times every day!

Perhaps that's why Dr. Carson, a believer in holy ghosts, can feel the fingers of god tugging him in the direction of the White House.  If you can discard evolution, which is verifiable, well you can believe in just about anything, verifiable or not.

Or, as someone else put it:  Carson may be a brilliant brain surgeon, "Yet he still holds a worldview so transparently in opposition to reality and suffused with Tea Party-esque delusions of socialism and social decay that it's truly stunning, sometimes, that he believes the things he's saying.  It's almost like Carson considers stupidity an innately Christian virtue, standing resolutely against all those eggheads working to turn America into a hedonistic hellhole."

We've determined that Ben Carson is not a viable candidate for the office of the presidency because he does not accept proven facts about reality, but relies on his fundamentalist Christian notions instead.

Let's turn now to some of his political beliefs and proclivities and pronouncements.  His god, as you might imagine, is ever present.  For example, Carson is hoping that God will get involved in our health care system and "expose the truth about Obamacare."  Carson claims that the Affordable Care Act will make people lose their health care - even though the reverse is true.  But ol' Ben has "prayed to God that he will expose even to people of low information what is going on."

In October of 2013, Carson compared the ACA to slavery.  The ACA was "the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery," and then said the law is "slavery, in a way."  Try telling that to the hundreds of thousands who now have health care and couldn't get it before the ACA.

One of the mantras promoted by our whiny Christian fundamentalists is that Christians are being terribly persecuted in the United States - even though the reverse is true.  Christians, says Carson, have "been bludgeoned into silence."  Not quite.  Every time you turn around they're busy promoting their fundy Christianity in the public square.  What is really happening is they are afraid of a pluralistic society and thus fight any attempt to deny their "right" to impose their religious beliefs on the rest of us.

Nazi Germany also enters the Carson conversation.  You know, of course, that the Obama administration is "turning America into Nazi Germany," and you also know that the President found his inspiration from Mein Kampf."  "There comes a time," Carson said, "when people with values simply have to stand up.  Think about Nazi Germany.  Most of those people did not believe in what Hitler was doing.  But did they speak up?  Did they stand up for what they believe in?  They did not, and you saw what happened."

I don't think Carson is historically correct here, either.

Note though, if you don't agree with Carson's religious and political stances, you don't have "values."  But if you have "values" then you need to "stand up" and run the president and Democrats out of the country!

He's expounded on those Nazi comparisons.  This country, he says, is "very much like Nazi Germany.  And I know you're not supposed to say 'Nazi Germany,' but I don't care about political correctness.  You know, you had a government using its tools to intimidate the population.  We now live in a society where people are afraid to say what they actually believe."

What?  This is pure nonsense.  Gibberish that could have come from Bachman or Palin.  They only difference is they don't have a M.D. after their name.

Here again we have a so-called Christian promoting lies.  He must know they are lies.  If he doesn't then he's either dumber and/or more evil than he appears to be!

Carson got his shorts in a knot when the U.S. Navy decided to remove Bibles from their Navy Lodge hotel rooms.  This was a terrible travesty he whined.  His mind is so screwed up that he thinks the absence of Christian Bibles in a military structure is actually the imposition of atheism on  people and thus a promotion of atheism.

And atheism, he says in just another religion.  Not.  It is the absence of religion; the absence of belief.

Moving right along.  He is warning we might not be able to have elections in 2016 because of anarchy.  Why?  Because ISIS; and the national debt, which he claims is "rapidly increasing," although the truth is that under Obama the national debt has been significantly reduced.  More lies by Mr. Carson.

Gay marriage.  He's against it.  Carson is afraid that "'neo-marxists' are trying to undermine the very bedrock of America's uniquely successful project by changing the definition of family.  He says, "My thoughts are that marriage is between a man and a woman.  It's a well-established fundamental pillar of society and no group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA, be they people who believe in beastiality, it doesn't matter what they are, they don't get to change the definition."

Make one wonder just how much of the Bible he has read, for it's quite clear that in the "good old days," men could have multiple wives even, and they could add on a few mistresses for good measure.

Seventh Day Adventist theology is quite strange.  The 7th Day folks believe that the U.S. will ally itself with the Roman Catholic Papacy and that alliance is going to take away the civil and religious liberties of Americans and other people all over the world.  It will force everyone to worship on Sunday (that's threatening to 7th Dayers, as they worship on Saturday).

All of this will culminate in a huge conflagration or apocalypse during which millions of people who refuse to agree to the order to worship on Sunday will be killed.  In fact, this is already beginning to happen!

I suppose Ben figures that if Mitt got a by with his Mormonism, he'll have no problem because it's very clear that Mormons are not Christians at all.

There's much more about Carson's religious views that are worthy of scrutiny but I'll save that for another time.  I think the next couple years will bring lots of laughs.

God has tugged at his collar and it looks like Carson will answer God's call to throw his hat in the presidential ring.  Ben and his wife are ready.  His wife, Candy Carson (that's really her name!) is well aware of what lies ahead, how people will "demonize" Ben as time goes by.  But they must do it because, she says, "Our country is going in a way that is different from what our founding fathers were thinking..."  And their Christian faith will see them through.

Conservative Christians glom onto Carson like a bug on a light.  And that's fascinating to me as I knew Christian conservatives back 40 years ago who thought that Adventism was a miserable cult and of the devil and Adventists weren't going to go to heaven!

But times have changed.  Boy have the changed.  When the fundys and the Catholics get together to promote each other's agendas, that's a whole new world.  So, good old Christian, Ben, says he relies on God.  In fact, God "directs" their lives.  "We recognize that we are instruments in the hand of God.  He is the one who really orchestrates all of this."  And fundamentalists of all stripes clap their hands and praise the Lord!

It is hard for me to think of a more elitist, prideful, bunch of BS; to think that of all the possible candidates in the world for the presidency of the United States, the god of the universe has selected this somewhat ignorant and foolish medical doctor for the job.

Chew on that for awhile.

Here's a few final tidbits that help define Dr. Carson.

1.  He believes the U.S of A. is a Judeo-Christian nation.  It says so on our coinage!
2.  Our debt is the big issue.  It's out-of-control.
3.  We should have a flat-tax; lower corporate tax rates, and create health savings accounts for everyone.
4.  President Obama is much like Vladimir Putin in that he just keeps doing whatever he wants to do because nobody's resisting him.  [This I thought especially funny and really stupid for the Congress of the United States has fought Obama tooth and nail for six years.  The Republicans in Congress have been very open about the fact they care nothing about doing their job, only about bringing Obama down.  How's that for resistance, Mr. Carson?]
5.  The president is doing unconstitutional things and Congress needs to get a "spine."
6.  Carson is praying to his god that he "show his power in a mighty way."  "We most definitely need a spiritual awakening.  Look at the direction we are going in.  Absolute absurdity."

There is indeed "absolute absurdity."  It is what best defines Dr. Benjamin Carson!

Finally, I would hope that the people of the United States remember what happened the last time they elected someone who said he talked to a mythical male in the sky and that mythical male wanted him to be president.

Of course, the mythical male was wrong.  It took the Supreme Court to hand old Bush the White House which he took of course, as a nod from God.

Christians Walk Out of Public Meeting Because of Atheist Invocation

This is funny but rather sad, too.  And I would not credit these people who walked out with being Christians.  Just the opposite.  Unfortunately, fundamentalist "Christianity" has devolved into a hateful, spiteful, intolerant religion in the U.S.

Those people branded "fundamentalists" have co-opted the religious space, demanding their particular take on superstition become accepted by all because, in their delusions, this is a "Christian" nation.

Religious freedom for them, as we see over and over again, means simply that they be allowed to foist their religious views on the rest of us.

h/t to Ybor City Stogie.

Christianity - The Urban Dictionary definition

Christianity, according to the Urban Dictionary, involves believing that ...

"...a cosmic Jewish zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree."

This definition quoted as a footnote in Bill Mutranowski's book, "You Bloggin' to Me?  How the Self Illusion Trolls Us and Why Skeptics Should Care."

Note:  Cartoon by Bill Mutranowski.  Used with permission.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Concern about torture misplaced says Christian writer

Recently I read of a study which indicated that beliefs often override facts. Fantasy overrides reality.  I'll be writing more about that later, but in this essay I'm aiming specifically at one so-called Christian who doesn't let his faith get in the way of his belief torture is a legitimate exercise!

His name is Mark D. Tooley.  He's a member of the United Methodist Church which at first I found hard to understand as the UMC is one of the more liberal mainline denominations.  But I soon discovered the Tooley is on a mission to "save" the UMC from itself.  He's working from the inside out.

And no wonder!  He was with the CIA for eight years.  I'd guess in those eight years he learned a lot about being a spook!  He learned nothing about being a follower of Jesus, which he claims to be.

Yesterday, an article of his appeared in The Christian Post, titled "Opposition to Torture Often 'Misplaced' By Christian Activists."

Mr. Tooley is not happy with the recent release of the U. S. Senate Intelligence Committee Democrat's report on torture ("enhanced interrogation techniques"). He claims (wrongly, I think) the debate about the EITs (enhanced interrogation techniques) involved is "primarily historical."

Critics of the report's release "argue that it over simplifies the moral issues, ignores the exigencies of the immediate threat after 9-11, and at this point only aids America's terrorist enemies with additional propaganda tools, possibly endangering American lives."

Tooley also mentions that "Several former CIA directors reacted to the ... report with a Wall Street Journal op-ed defending enhanced interrogation."  Why is that not surprising?

In contrast, he quotes a "Liberal Episcopalisn" who in a "liturgy of atonement for enhanced interrogation", spoke of our security being based "not on threats of harm or weapons of war, but on the hope of God's love toward all people."

Methodist Mr. Tooley did not like that, just like he doesn't like to use the word, "torture."  So he said, "We can be confident in God's love for all people.  But until God sets forth the new heavens and new earth, temporal security will indeed require threats of harm or weapons of war."

Hmmm.  Obviously, Tooley doesn't trust his god to do his job.  So, it's back to the usual killing, maiming and torturing.

But Tooley continues to claim that torture (or EIT) "was a desperate attempt, with bipartisan support, to prevent another 9-11."  That's pretty much a crock.  And torture continued way past 9-11!  But here's where he really goes off the rails and his religion is shown to be bullshit, pure and simple:

"Even if immoral in full or in part ... the 39 captives subjected to it, one of whom reportedly died, should be seen in the larger context of 3000 killed on 9-11, tens of thousands subsequently killed in Afghanistan and Iraq, and several million killed in wars globally across the last 12 years..."

So, Tooley, says what the hell, a little torture is nothing compared to all the rest of the crap that's being going on ... which, he fails to mention, was instigated by the same people who have been doing the torturing!  These people started the wars, continued the wars, and tortured their enemies!

And finally, "The sustained zeal devoted by some religious groups against enhanced interrogation of 7-12 years ago seems at best misplaced energy better expended on today's global and more admirable victims of unalloyed torture.'

Once again, here's a Christian claimant insisting the ends justify the means.  It's OK if we torture a few people because the really bad guys are torturing people around the world.

Sorry, Mr. Tooley, I gave up on your Christian god a long time ago and people like you are one of the reasons.  It's the principle of the thing, you see, and you don't seem to have any principles.  Jesus said "Turn the other cheek," but you don't agree with that.  Jesus said "Love your neighbor as yourself," but you don't agree with that, either.  Jesus said, "Do not seek revenge, for revenge belongs to God," but you don't give a crap about what Jesus said.

You are first and foremost a political animal with certain political beliefs which trump not only your religion but reality.  We've seen how your religion is a scam and the reality is that EIT doesn't work and produced nothing worthwhile.

But that doesn't matter, anyway, because it is immoral and wrong and in spite of Justice Antonin Scalia's belief the Constitution doesn't have anything to say about torture (an unbelievably stupid statement in itself), it is against everything we stand for in this country!  It is not WHO we are, said President Obama!

Finally, I admit that there are times when we must defend ourselves against those who wish to destroy us.  That is different that making stuff up to justify the invasion and destruction of another country, killing hundreds of thousands in order to ensure that a neighboring country doesn't get the oil!

Self-defense is one thing and yes, it is necessary.  Torture is not self-defense and is indefensible on moral grounds.  It is mostly an act of revenge and seldom, if ever, produces the desired results.

Mr. Tooley, you need to turn in your Christian card.  You can't even use the word, "torture," but rather  your guilt forces you to a euphemism, "enhanced interrogation techniques"!

Scott Walker - Son of a Preacher Man - Damn!

Originally, I thought that the governor of Wisconsin, a guy named Scott Walker, and the son of a preacher man, made a gaffe while speaking to a group of Jewish folks.  Evidently I was wrong.  It appears the gaffe came at the end of a letter to a Wisconsin person of the Jewish persuasion.

Walker wrote, in closing, "Thanks again and Molotov."


It is likely he meant to write Mazel Tov.

Damn, damn, son of a preacher man, is Mr. Scott Walker.

From Crooks & Liars:  About a month ago Walker gave an interview to the Wall Street Journal in which he said, "My reading of the Bible finds plenty of reminders that it's better to teach someone to fish than to give them fish if they're able ... Caring for the poor isn't the same as taking money from the federal government to lock more people into Medicaid."


A blogger by name of Chris Walker (not related to ol' Scott) noted that Scott got mixed up (again).  He wasn't quoting the Bible - there's nothing in the Bible about teaching people to fish"  He was referring to a rather well-known Chinese proverb.

And as Chris pointed out, in the New Testament, Jesus actually does give people fish.  He and his disciples caught the fish and then they gave it to those who were hungry without asking anything in return!

So, Walker the despot, ignorant as he is, tries to use the Bible to justify his defiance of the Feds and his callous unwillingness to help poor people in the State of Wisconsin receive medical care which would cost the State of Wisconsin almost nothing!

Damn, damn, son of a preacher man, is Mr. Scott Walker.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Message from Congress: Screw You America!

Here we go again.  Congress is talking about shutting down the government.  A funding bill must be approved ASAP so that doesn't happen.  Same old, same old!

The last election cycle was a minor revelation.  The revelation wasn't that very few people voted.  That's not unusual in this so-called democracy.  Most people just don't give a damn or they're too damn dumb to understand the issues involved.  The "minor" revelation was that too many voters cannot distinguish between the good guys and the bad guys so when they vote, they vote in the same rascals or even worse rascals than we had before.

Considering some of the new people heading to Capitol Hill, the country doesn't have a chance!

To reiterate:  There's a new funding bill in progress, and it needs to be voted on soon to avoid shutting down the government again!

The Republicans are in charge of the House and while the Dems have a slight majority in the Senate (which will change come January), there are enough DINOS in the Senate to allow a lot of nasty things into this funding bill.

First of all, Citigroup was allowed to write a provision which will allow Wall Street to screw the country once more, big time.

Elizabeth Warren put it this way:  "Who does Congress work for?  Does it work for the millionaires, the billionaires, the giant companies with their armies of lobbyists and lawyers, or does it work for the people?"

(That's a rhetorical question and we've known for a long time it works for the rich and powerful.  The common folk are lucky to get a nod as to their presence once in awhile.)

"Now the House of Representatives is about to show the worst of government for the rich and powerful.  The House is about to vote on a budget deal, a deal negotiated behind closed doors that slips in a provision that would let derivatives traders on Wall Street gamble with taxpayer money and get bailed out by the government when their risky bets threaten to blow up our financial system."

This is exactly what led to the economic crash of 2008!

This funding bill also cuts the EPA's budget by $60 million which will allow the polluters to continue to spew their deadly emissions into our atmosphere and our waters!  The bill even bars "the EPA from regulating methane emissions from livestock production."  Methane - a powerful greenhouse gas - is what livestock emit when they fart and it accounts for 10% of U.S emissions.

There's another huge travesty buried in the proposal's pages:  It gives the "trustees" of pension accounts the right to "slash the benefits of already retired workers to shreds."  That's going to hurt a hell of a lot of people.

One gets a feel for those Congress really cares about in the provision that blocks the Transportation Department from issuing regulations that require truckers to get two nights sleep before starting a new work week.  Regulations cutting truckers' work weeks from 82 to 70 hours is also forbidden.

There's more but these are some of the more egregious pieces of the proposed budget.

And the message from Congress is clear:  Screw You, America!

America - Land of Liars and Torturers

I'm very sad this morning.  There is something very wrong with my country.  Evil is deeply ensconced here.  It is terrifying because it's evil disguised as "good," or "necessary," or "proper" by those running the show.

Although I was a bit too young to participate in WWII, the war was ever present.  I remember food rationing and gasoline rationing, air raid sirens, and blackouts.  I remember newsreels showing indescribable horrors on the various war fronts.  I remember "Rosie the Riveter," and "Lend-Lease," and Pearl Harbor.

Back then, however, I was proud of my country.  We were engaged in a fight for the right, in what was, at least in part, a moral exercise to excise the unspeakable and despicable terrors unleashed by the satanic Nazis, the godless Japanese, and the unconscionable Italians.

In later years, I became intrigued with all the events and ramifications of the Second World War.  I read extensively about the events that triggered the war, the people involved, and the battles which destroyed cities and countries.  The Holocaust and Nagasaki and Hiroshima were etched into my brain.

Germany and the Nazis became a special area of interest and as an historian I immersed myself in books and movies about Hitler and his rise to power and the Nazi machine which turned against its own people, especially the Jews, and how the Nazis used torture routinely to gain information or simply punish.  How could this happen in a so-called "Christian" country?  Then I learned maybe it happened because it was a "Christian" country.  Hitler, a Roman Catholic, used Martin Luther's book, "Against the Jews" as a blueprint for Jewish genocide!

I remember how horrified I was.  Torture, I believed and still do, is truly evil, of the devil, and in no way justifiable.  The end can never, ever justify the means when it comes to torture.  While I knew there were isolated instances when American troops in both the European and Pacific theaters were involved in torture, those instances were,  I believed, an aberration, not policy.

In recent years, however, it seems torture was policy!  We've known for some time that some of our country's leadership - the war criminal triad pictured above - our military and our spy machine, the CIA,  has engaged in torture either just for the hell of it or under the pretense of obtaining information.  We've also known for some time that torture does not work, that claims made by then Vice President Cheney that information derived from torture was vital and useful in the defeat of our enemies was a crock.

My first disappointment with President Obama was his decision not to charge the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld gang with war crimes.  The evidence was overwhelming. This triad of war criminals did not even bother denying their affinity for and and their use of torture!

Now, the so-called "torture report" has been released.  It verifies and confirms that the United States of America, the home of the brave and land of the free, engaged in multiple instances of torture as a matter of course, a matter of policy, over the past 14 years.

Mr. Obama has made a public statement that this is a terrible thing, the is "not who we are."

Unfortunately, Mr. Obama is wrong.  The evidence shows clearly this IS who we are.  And it breaks my heart.  FAUX News, the propaganda wing of the neocons and the whole of the Republican Party, Dick Cheney and officials of the CIA are not hanging their heads in shame begging to be forgiven for their dastardly deeds.

It's just the reverse.  They have gathered as a huge choir to tout the wonders and worthiness of torture.  Their voices ring across the land that torture is good and useful and it's not un-American but part of who we are!

Cheney lies as a matter of course; we've come to expect that.  He has a black heart and no moral compass whatsoever.  So when he defends the use of torture during the Bush regime, it's no surprise.

But it's still stomach-turning.  His words drench us like the flow from a broken sewer as he continues to lie over and over again.  Torture, in no instance, provided us with information that was useful in the defeat of our enemies.

Others follow his lead, including persons in and out of Congress.

And the CIA's leadership, bastards out-of-control and filled with bile, stroll out from the dark corners where they dwell, briefcases in hand, to defend the practice and their right to torture those they deem unsavory and a threat to the U.S. or themselves.

It's hard to believe.  This is my country?  This is the United States?  This is the land that I love?

Please tell me it's not so.  Please tell me it's all a bad dream!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Welcome to North Central Florida!

Thanks to Ybor City Stogie!

RWW News: Jindal Prayer Rally Welcome Message

Don't watch this unless you have a strong stomach.  This is a the freaking governor of Louisiana.  Who the hell does he think he is, the Pope?  Barf!

Rachel Maddow: Best Of Michele Bachmann FAILS

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Sam Harris, Islam and Israel

Recently, David Samuels interviewed Sam Harris in Venice Beach, California. Harris' first book, "The End of Faith," had an explosive impact in this country and while many considered it a much-needed breath of fresh air,  others, especially conservative Christians, thought it proved he was the antiChrist.

The discussion between Samuels and Harris covered a number of topics, but there was one area I thought most interesting, insightful and helpful in trying to make sense out of our world.

Harris emphasizes that beliefs matter.  What a person believes gives impetus to his or her actions.   He offers the example of a bus driver who believes in the power of prayer to the extent that from time to time he takes his hands off the wheel because Jesus is driving.  Such a person is dangerous.

For some reason some people have a hard time accepting that beliefs matter. Samuels asked how Harris would respond to those who agree with much of what he has "to say about God and science and religion" and yet "find themselves politically sympathetic to obscurantist and often violent political movements like Hezbollah, which have no interest whatsoever in reason and science or in protecting the rights of gays or women?"

Harris notes again that beliefs matter.  Religious beliefs matter.  Religious beliefs drive much of the violence in the world.  There is a hesitancy to criticize religion and a willingness to accept the religions' claim that their beliefs are sacrosanct and above criticism, even though the word, religion, applies to various groups that are sharply divided on most issues.  "Islam is a religion and Jainism is a religion and they have few things in common, but what they don't have in common is a commitment to nonviolence, which Jainism has in spades and Islam doesn't have in principle.  That's a difference worth noticing."

So, we should not speak of all religions or political movements driven by religion as being the same or of equal worth.  There are important, even crucial differences between them.

On to Islam.  One of today's "memes" ...  "is that terrorism ... has nothing in principle to do with the religion of Islam:  It's coming out of other things, economic inequality, political hopelessness, people have been victimized by the Israelis or somebody else or by the legacy of colonialism; there's nothing about the actual doctrine of Islam that accounts for it.  That is untrue."

Untrue or not, there are those who continue to stress a "moral parity claim, which obviously the Israelis suffer from the most.  The Israelis are confronting people who will blow themselves up to kill the maximum number of noncombatants and will even use their own children as human shields.  They'll launch their missiles from the edge of a hospital or a school so that any retaliation will produce the maximum number of innocent casualties.  And they do all this secure in the knowledge that their opponents are genuinely worried about killing innocent people.  It's the most cynical thing imaginable.  And yet within the moral discourse of the liberal West, the Israeli side looks like it's the most egregiously insensitive to the cost of the conflict."

Harris then references what he calls the "pathology of liberalism," by which he means the notion often adopted by [some] "liberals" that "everyone everywhere more or less wants the same thing and ignores the endless supply of people with no obvious political or economic grievance who are willing to devote their lives to jihad.  What you don't hear Jihadis saying, 'I was just so desperate, I just saw no way out [f]or me or my family, and it just seemed like the only thing I could do to express my rage at an unfair system."

That isn't what we hear at all.  Rather the jihadis speak specifically of going to the Islamic paradise if killed in their pursuit of violence.

"There are people who will use human shields on one side, and there are people who will be deterred by other people's use of human shields:  They're still worried about killing the children of their enemies.  Those are two very different groups of people."

For too long, says Harris, religion has gotten by with the claim it is above criticism.  "What religion has had up until this moment is a different set of rules that apply only to it, which is you have to respect my religious certainty even though I'm telling you I arrived at it irrationally."

We can apply this to fundamentalist Christianity in the United States which continues to insist that they be exempt from community laws, Constitutional laws and common standards in order to practice the "faith."  That's what the Hobby Lobby case was all about.  And when they are challenged as to their insouciance regarding the rights of others, they cry foul.

Harris, however, is concerned in this instance with Islam.  He argues that if you can demonstrate why the Quran is worthy of respect and deference, please do so.  But, "I've read the Quran several times and it's not that good.  In fact, it's conspicuously bad as a moral map, and a spiritual map.  You can wander blindfolded into a Barnes & Noble, and the first book you pick off the shelf will have more wisdom than the Quran.  The Quran is uniquely barren of wisdom relevant to the 21st century.  It's got a few good lines about patience and generosity, and the rest is just vilification of the infidel."

He could, and has, of course, said similar things about the Bible.  In an article entitled, "Why Don't I Criticize Israel?", he notes that "when we're talking about the consequences of irrational beliefs based on scripture, the Jews are the least of the least offenders.  [...]  But let me remind you that parts of the Hebrew Bible--books like Leviticus and Exodus and Deuteronomy--are the most repellent, the most sickeningly unethical documents to be found in any religion.  They're worse than the Koran.  They're worse than any part of the New Testament.  But the truth is, most Jews recognize this and don't take these texts seriously.  It's simply a fact that most Jews and most Israelis are not guided by scripture--and that's a very good thing."

In the United States, we have a number of theocrats who would, if they could, take over our government and remake it into a kind of Old Testament theocracy where violence would play a very important role.  They have told us this.  They have warned us.  The speak reverently of stoning those caught in adultery and executing gays.

These are dangerous people because of what they believe.  Their religion deserves to be criticized and mocked, not treated with respect!

Finally, in this article Harris speaks of the difference between Israel and Hamas. "The truth is that there is an obvious, undeniable, and hugely consequential moral difference between Israel and her enemies.  The Israelis are surrounded by people who have explicitly genocidal intentions toward them."  The charter of Hamas is explicitly genocidal, looking forward to the fulfillment of a Koranic prophesy when all Jews will be killed.

"The discourse in the Muslim world about Jews is utterly shocking.  Not only is there Holocaust denial--there's Holocaust denial that then asserts that we will do it for real if given the chance. [...]  There are children's shows in the Palestinian territories and elsewhere that teach five-year olds about the glories of martyrdom and about the necessity of killing Jews."

He goes on:  To appreciate the moral difference between Israel and her enemies, "you have to ask what each side would do if they had the power to do it."

We know what Israel would do, because while they have they power to kill everyone in Gaza at any time, they forgo that option.  On the other hand, the Palestinians "have told us what they would do.  They tell us they would commit genocide.  They tell us they will kill every Jew in Israel."

And that is a world of difference!  It is not a trivial difference.  And it's a difference that impacts all of us.  9/11 is an example.  "For the rest of our lives, and the lives of our children, we are going to be confronted by people who don't want to live peacefully in a secular, pluralistic world, because they are desperate to get to Paradise, and they are willing to destroy the very possibility of human happiness along the way.

"The truth is, we are all living in Israel.  It's just that some of us haven't realized it yet."

For more of Mr. Harris' writings, go to his website here.