Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Jewish Version of the Night Before Christmas

This came from a friend of mine who got it from a friend of his.  I do not know the author of the piece, but thought it was wonderful in light of the right-wing's nonsensical "War Against Christmas." 

It's even more meaningful if you know anything about southeast Florida, or in particular, the city of Boca Raton.

The Jewish Version of the Night Before Christmas

T ‘was the night before Christmas
Down here in Boca.
I was sitting in Starbucks,
Drinking my Mocha.
I know we’re all Jewish,
But was wondering still
If Santa would come here
And give us a thrill.
On my way home
No Christmas lights did I see
On the houses, the windows,
Not even the trees.
What a strange feeling,
Not a decoration in sight.
Was it really December
Or a warm summer night?
I drove past the deli,
There were lines out the door.
People were waiting
For corn beef and more.
The restaurants were busy,
Christmas dinners not planned
Never, not here
We’re in Boca Land.
At home all was quiet.
I left out Kosher wine
In case Santa came to Boca
For the very first time.
Snoozing came easy
To me Christmas eve.
I wasn’t waiting for presents
To be left under a tree
I could hope all I want
I could fuss and then see
If Santa would make time
For little old me.
Then all of a sudden
He pulled up in his Jag
With a sack full of presents
Each sporting a tag.
Oy Bloomies, Oy Saks,
Oy Niemans and more.
He knows where to shop,
He frequents my stores!
He looked for the rye bread,
The coleslaw and deli.
He came to Boca first
To fill up his belly.
“I have a long night ahead
I want you to know.
From Boca I leave
For the North and the snow.”
He stayed for a while
He chatted and ate,
Then he left in a flash
Before it got late.
What a great night
I thought with a sigh.
That jolly old Santa
Is a really nice guy.
As I cleared off the table
I heard with delight

Friday, December 11, 2015

Marion County, Florida Sheriff Wants YOU To Carry A Gun!

[Photo of Sheriff Blair from]

The sheriff of Marion County, Florida, Chris Blair, "is urging residents who have gun permits to carry their weapons."

Here's his rationale:  It's dangerous out there.  We live in an era with "a level of violence and hatred ... that we have never seen before."

Of course he wants only those gun nuts "who carry firearms responsibly and are confident in their abilities," to handle their weapons to actually stick them in their pants, for they "can -- and should -- be our first line of defense in an active shooter situation."

This is all bullshit!

The argument about the right to carry guns has gone from stupid to horrendous. First of all, the Constitution does not give every Tom, Dick, and Mary the right to carry any weapon they choose.

It is very clear that only those members of a State Militia in a time of crisis can have weapons and that "right" is to be closely regulated.  That's what the Constitution says.  The NRA has become so extreme and so successful with their propaganda that even our Supreme Court is bamboozled by their unhistorical interpretation of the Second Amendment.

Be that as it may, to think that the people I meet on the street might be carrying loaded weapons which are made specifically for the purpose of killing other people, is scary to the nth degree!  In fact, I know very few people who I would trust with a loaded water pistol in their pocket much less a real gun!

Another statistic that might set your shorts to twitching is that about one in ten of our citizens are mentally ill.  And a whole lot more are merely neurotic.  Do you want those people walking around your local mall with guns at hand?

Sheriff Blair teaches a "concealed weapons" course and implies that taking such a course provides the gun carrier wannbe with the necessary resources to "bring the fight to the attacker ... [and] help save lives."

What a crock.  A concealed weapons course includes a few lectures and a few minutes on a shooting range.  An "active shooter situation" is another world and would bring most people to their knees crying for their Mommy, whether they were carrying a concealed weapon or not.  

Furthermore, just about every day we read about a "responsible" gun owner shooting a friend to death or shooting herself in the foot.  My uncle Carl was a "responsible" gun owner and he put a hole in Grandma's kitchen while cleaning one of his rifles.

It takes a lot of work and very close attention to be a responsible gun owner and that is best left to the professionals that we hire to protect us from domestic enemies, and to the military who are in charge of keeping us safe from foreign nasties.

Finally, I cannot think of any mass shooting in recent memory where people carrying concealed weapons made any difference whatsoever nor can I recall any "active shooter" situation where a concealed weapons carrier had a chance of stopping the shooting.  Take for example, the mass shooting in the Colorado theater of a few years ago.  Can you imagine what horror might have ensued if a bunch of folks pulled out their concealed weapons and began shooting into the darkness?

When a person walks into a place of business only to pull out an automatic weapon and begins spraying the room, you could have a tank in your pocket and it wouldn't do you any good.

So why would Sheriff Blair suggest such a patently stupid proposal?  It must be political.  He's a Republican.  The Republican Party belongs to the NRA.  A Republican in good standing cannot be allowed to say anything negative about NRA policy, which is basically to put a gun or guns in the hands of every man, woman and child in the world.

Sheriff Blair's suggestion has little or nothing to do with making our community safer!  It is painfully obvious that such a policy creates many more chances for gun violence, death and misery!

What we desperately need these days are leaders who are not bought and paid for by the NRA, who are not unconscious right wing nut cases, who have at least a modicum of common sense.

You would hope the local sheriff would be one of those kinds of leader.  That's not the case in Marion County, Florida.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

"We made it on our own" ... with lots of government help!" - Mr. Ben Carson

On Mystical Experiences & Belief in God

"Mystical experiences are not ineffable."  [Ineffable = Beyond expression; indescribable or unspeakable."]  By downregulating posterior-medial-frontal-cortex activity via transcranial magnetic stimulation, an interdisciplinary team reduced subjects' belief in God."

Or, to put it more simply, scientists, by manipulating the brain, can make it so we don't believe in God so much.  I would love to test this out on several thousand fundamentalist Christians and several thousand extremist Muslims.

--- Harper's Magazine / "Findings," p. 96 / December 2015

Touching Ted Cruz Family Moments Brought To You By SuperPACs

Oh wow, these moments are so awkward it makes you wonder if Ted Cruz's family needs a professional producer to show them how to hug him. Gawker: Thanks to the (few) rules governing campaign Super PACs, candidates aren't technically allowed to coordinate with them. Which means candidates can't technically feed them hours and hours of raw…

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Ben Carson - A Diatribe on a Moron

It is impossible to refrain from mocking, deriding, and otherwise slapping down Mr. Ben Carson.  He invites disdain.  His heart expands by blowing smoke up the asses of the Republican base.  It is possible he's some kind of Manchurian Candidate - someone who is so far out in space mentally, that in the end even Jeb Bush or Rubio would look good. 

But I don't think so.  It may be as simple as he's using his candidacy to sell books.  We know from his previous connection with a grifter that he'll jump at a chance to make money.

The clue to understanding Carson, I think, is to realize he is a 7th Day Adventist. I know there is no religious test for political office and that candidates can hold some pretty strange religious beliefs, but in Carson's case, you need to consider his religion in order to understand that man.

It is his religious beliefs that define his weirdness, his implausible world view, his immunity to science and fact and truth.  The 7th Day cult was built on the beliefs of a rather strange woman, Ellen G. White, who was hit in the head with a rock when she was young, which might explain her numerous "visions."  Ellen White believed that every word in the Bible is true, that only a certain number of folks would reach heaven, that God demands his followers to obey the Sabbath.  

It's curious, though, why Adventists want to claim that particular facet of the Hebrew faith and ignore all the other commands of the Hebrew god.  

Consistency has never been at the heart of Adventism and thus Carson can hold a variety of beliefs without shame or fear of contradiction; he can deny science and he can make stupid claims about the world (which he often denies making) and feel justified in this dichotomy because to be an Adventist requires you to undergo a mental lobotomy!  

This brain surgeon is a moron.  

And no one has said it better than my friend, William Kendall, in a post titled "The Odd Case of the Sleepy Candidate," here.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Visions of a Young Ben Carson

Thanks to William Kendall, who blogs here.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Turning Water Into Wine

Now, if he could only turn the clowns in the Republican contest for the White House into normal, intelligent people!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Carson And Jesus: Best Buds

Wow. Just wow. I understand the notion of the personal relationship with God, even though I'm an atheist -- however, I find that my reaction to this sort of thing is colored less by my lack of religious belief than by the fact that I live in New York, where a lot of people work…

Monday, October 5, 2015

Pope Francis Visits The Sick

Our thanks to William Kendall for this photo.  Please check out William's blog, "Speak of the Devil," here.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Jeb! and Oregon

News Item 1:

Nine people were shot to death at a community college in Oregon. Some were young students. Parents were also killed. One victim was a professor. It appears the shooter was an unhappy young man. Multiple weapons were found at the scene.

The Response of Jeb! Bush:

"Stuff happens."  

And we don't need any more gun control laws. 

News Item 2:

We are averaging one mass shooting a day in the U.S. in 2015.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Pope Francis - A Gentle Old Man

In essence, nothing much has changed in the Roman Catholic Church.  From its inception the Roman Catholic church has claimed all authority for itself.  The Pope, being the Vicar of Christ and the mouthpiece of the Christian god, has access to the truth for all time.  And when he speaks "ex cathedra," he cannot err.  He is infallible.

Additionally, the Pope rules not just the many millions of Catholics around the world, but he is the temporal ruler of the Vatican, which is a political state. It even has an ambassador.  And we send our ambassador to the Vatican; for what purpose I do not know.  Some 50 years ago, this was an huge issue because of our notion of church v. state.  Many felt we had no business sending an ambassador to a religious cult.  We did it anyway.

Thus, it should not be surprising when political robots such as Scalia and Santorum and other "devout" Catholics conclude that their religious doctrine trumps our Constitution.  For that is what the Roman Church teaches and that is what it has taught throughout its too-long life; nothing trumps Catholic dogma.

Down through history, the Roman church has been as much a political institution as a religious one.  And in every place where it had enough power, it demanded obedience to its doctrines and policies.  Nothing has changed, in spite of the "sweet" face of Francis.

I really hoped things would change under Francis.  But nothing has; nothing of substance.  Francis has, as some say, brought a breath of fresh air into the church, especially when arguing the church has spent too much times on issues having to do with sexuality.

But despite the efforts of Pope Francis to slightly alter the church's emphases, the Roman Church still considers women as lesser than men, to be 2nd-class citizens by disallowing them from participating in the priestly work of the church.  Women's orders remain under the thumb of the pope and Francis, as we have seen, is perfectly capable of putting Catholic women in their place if they start questioning the system.

Nothing has changed.  Homosexuality is still considered a deviation and an abomination.  The church continues to move slowly on priestly sexual predators.  Ordination in Roman Catholic theology confers a special blessing which is not and never will be, available to the laity.  Those ordained gain a special status in the sight of god which can never be taken away.

And much Catholic theology drips of ancient mysteries and cultish practices.  The Mass continues to be said in churches around the world and the people participating truly believe that their god demands blood sacrifice for their sins, and that when the priest says a few "magic" words the wafer and wine become the physical flesh and blood of the long dead mythical Jesus and that by eating and drinking said flesh and wine they will be saved from hell forever.

I really hoped things would change, but that was a false hope.  Francis has come and gone and is now back in Rome. Prior to leaving, however, it is said he met privately with our homemade piece of Kentucky piety, Kim Davis, following which he made an incredibly anti-American statement.  Roman Catholics, said his highness, may be justified in not doing their jobs if their job involves activities contrary to Catholic doctrine.  In other words, Kim Davis, just got a papal blessing for her refusal to do her job.

[The above paragraph needs to be clarified and modified.  Evidently, Pope Francis did not meet privately with Ms. Davis, but with a group of people, and at no time addressed her particular situation as a county clerk in Kentucky.]

Whatever comes of this eventually, one thing needs to be said very clearly to every public servant:  YOUR PERSONAL BELIEFS DO NOT TRUMP THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION!  And if you find yourself in such a situation, you must resign immediately!

If Pope Francis said what he was initially reported to have said, he is wrong.  But we must understand that the Roman church is not a democratic institution.  The Pope is an authoritarian figure, heading up a non-democratic structure and ruling via Canon Law.  Nevertheless he as well as his followers in this country should respect our Constitution and democratic procedures.

This is true because the U.S. is a secular country.  While our citizens believe in wide variety of deities, we as a country are not subject to any of them.  Our founding fathers made that clear.  We believe in the Constitution.  Our laws are based upon the Constitution.  We do not allow discrimination.  While people are free to engage in whatever religious activities their little hearts desire, they cannot use their religious beliefs to deny other citizens their rights.  A landlord cannot deny an apartment to Sikh people because he/she does not like the Sikh religion.

If there is conflict between a person's religious beliefs and the U.S. Constitution, the Constitution wins every time, which is a good thing because the Constitution guarantees the right to hold a religious faith in the first place.  Thus, while a Roman Catholic like John F. Kennedy, could be president he could not command obedience to Catholic doctrine.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Kim Davis Explained in Four Easy Steps

Thanks to my friend, 
William Kendall, 
for these photos.

William blogs at 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Trump: What's the Deal?

An old documentary film on The Donald which he worked hard to suppress. Read all about it at Crooks and Liars here.

Palin and the Iran Nuclear Agreement

This is from Daily Kos.

At a rally held to foment opposition for any nuclear arms deal with Iran, Sarah Palin gave a speech.  This is, in part, what she said:

"So up there in Alaska, across the way Russia," Sarah Palin said. "You know there is a name for this taking advantage of America. There is a Russian name for that. And it is called 'fortushka.' And that means Obama's window of opportunity. So as Obama leads from behind the skirt of his right-hand man, Valerie Jarrett, then it's up to Congress to close that window. He may propose. You dispose, Congress. You gotta be in it to win it because we want peace. With unapologetic mighty red, white, and blue, will have peace."

Rachel Maddow, among others, is trying to determine what these words mean, if anything.

Just think, this moron had an actual chance of become our vice president!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Huckabee and Cruz to head to jail

If only that headline were true!  Unfortunately, they're heading to jail, not to be incarcerated, but to visit and share their wisdom and good wishes with Kim Davis, the serial-adulterer, super Christian, who believes, not in our Constitution which she swore to uphold, but in the "laws" of her Santa god in the sky who will reward her with an eternity in heaven if she obeys his will as spelled out in ancient Semitic documents.

At this point, this brouhaha is no longer about Kim Davis.  She's an elected official who refuses to do her job because she claims doing her job would violate her deeply-held personal beliefs.  This is about whether or not elected officials have to obey the Constitution and the laws of the land.

Even the 8th-graders that I taught would know that Ms. Davis is way off base.  This is a country governed by the Constitution and the laws that have derived from it.  One's personal beliefs, no matter how deeply felt, matter not at all.

Ms. Davis doesn't see it that way.  She thinks she's being persecuted for being a Christian.  Ms. Davis seems to have the mistaken impression that her Christian beliefs provide the foundation for her work as a county clerk.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Unfortunately, the two Republican president wannabees coming to visit her in jail, Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz, are of one mind with Ms. Davis.  Huckabee is a Southern Baptist preacher without a church but with the SBC mentality who disbelieves in separation of church and state and would argue that the U.S. is a Christian nation and God's laws therefore supersede the Constitution.  Huckabee, in the past, said he intends to take this country back for Jesus.  He has said that Ms. Davis should obey the law but "only if the law is right."

According to his definition, the law allowing gay marriage is wrong and therefore Ms. Davis is not beholden to it.

Do we want a Mike Huckabee in the White House.? God forbid!

Ted Cruz is as crazy as Huckabee.  Maybe more so.  Cruz has been anointed by the "Apostles" of his religious affiliation to be God's servant as president of the United States.  He is a "chosen one."  Just ask his father, a extremist Christian pastor.  Cruz, also, has little use for the Constitution.  For him, as for Huckabee, the Constitution is fine so long as it follows the "true" path of their religious beliefs.

Do we want a Ted Cruz in the White House?  All the gods forbid?

Update:  Huckabee and Cruz arrived just after Ms. Davis was ordered released from jail. 

One More Good Reason Not To Vote for The Donald

When asked, Trump said that he would indeed consider Sarah Palin for a job in his administration, should the craziness continue and he be elected.

Sarah Palin, who owns one of the weakest intellects known to humankind, is all agog.  "And please, Mr. Donald, sir, kin I be the boss of the energy department.  I'm not sure what they do there, but that department ain't needed, so I'll make disband it as soon as possible and maybe you'll have another job for me."

Palin the fed'ral guv'mint shouldn't be messing around with energy; that should be the responsibility of the states.

But the real reason she'd make a good head for that department is because of oil.  Alaska has lots of oil.  She knows Alaska has barrels and barrels of oil.  She's burned a lot of it shooting wolves from helicopters.  What other qualifications does she need?

Dick Cheney: Wrong then, wrong now!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Kentucky County Cluck Refuses to Issue Gay Marriage Licenses

Citing God as her ultimate authority, Rowan County clerk, Kim Davis, has steadfastly refused to issue licenses for gay marriages, even though the law instructs her to do so. 

Finally, a federal judge has ordered her to court.

Ms. Davis can believe in any kind of deity she wants.  She can believe in Zeus.  Or Osiris.  Or Allah.  Or Yahweh.  Or Jesus.  Or the Pope.  Or the Poop.  She has that right. 

But as an official governmental officer, paid by the taxpayers, she does not have the right to refuse to do her job because her teeny little brain tells her that her god thinks gay marriage is wrong. 

[What I find incomprehensible is the insistence that homosexuality is an "abomination," while these same people totally ignore all the other "sinners" out there committing other abominations.  By a more strict fundamentalist Christian standard, she'd have to refuse marriage licenses to about 99.9 % of the population.  And she herself would not qualify for a marriage license as you can bet she's screwed up somewhere along the line.]

It's all such crap and it's so stupid to have to mess around with these ignorant and bigoted people in 2015.  

I hate to see anyone go to jail, but if she continues to refuse to do her job, she should be impeached (no matter the cost involved), fined and given jail time.

So often these days, piddly-ass religious twerps use the "god" scam as a way to bless their own bigoted beliefs and undergird the little power that they think they have.   But that can't work in this country because this country is a secular country governed by the people, not by any god. 

Monday, August 31, 2015

The Ten Commandments- the basis of our laws and morals

Rick Scott gives hypocrisy a new name

Rick Scott, the hypocritical criminal governor of Florida is involved in auditing "Florida hospitals to ensure they haven’t committed Medicaid fraud. This comes from a governor whose tenure as CEO of Columbia/HCA hospitals led to the company being fined a then-record $1.7 billion for Medicaid and Medicare fraud. Scott pleaded the Fifth Amendment 75 times in a deposition to avoid discussing the case.
"On Aug. 3, Scott ordered audits on 29 hospitals that failed to meet an Aug. 1 deadline for providing information on their Medicaid contracts. As The Sun reported this week, he has now added another 100 hospitals — including North Florida Regional Medical Center and several run by the University of Florida — to the list because he was unsatisfied with their responses.

"Hospitals receiving public money should be scrutinized, but this seems like a politically motivated witch hunt. Scott has been on the warpath against hospitals since they sought state funding to supplement the federal aid lost due to the failure of Scott and the Legislature to expand Medicaid."

[From the Gainesville Sun].

h/t to Ybor Stogie

War Criminal

When you see this guy on TV talk shows and listen to all of his justifications as to why he was involved in leading the U.S. into an illegal and unjustified war and why he thinks torture is the cat's meow, remember that he is, without question, a war criminal, and should be in prison along with several others, including his boss!

h/t to Crooks & Liars

The Teabagger Socialist-free Purity Test

I, ________________________, do solemnly swear to uphold the principles of a socialism-free society and heretofore pledge my word that I shall strictly adhere to the following:
I will complain about the destruction of 1st Amendment Rights in this country, while I am duly being allowed to exercise my 1st Amendment Rights.
I will complain about the destruction of my 2nd Amendment Rights in this country, while I am duly being allowed to exercise my 2nd Amendment rights by legally but brazenly brandishing unconcealed firearms in public.
I will fore-swear the time-honored principles of fairness, decency, and respect by screaming unintelligible platitudes regarding tyranny, Nazi-ism, and socialism at public town halls.  Also.
I pledge to eliminate all government intervention in my life.  I will abstain from the use of and participation in any socialist goods and services including but not limited to the following:
  • Social Security
  • Medicare/Medicaid
  • State Children’s Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP)
  • Police, Fire, and Emergency Services
  • US Postal Service
  • Roads and Highways
  • Air Travel (regulated by the socialist FAA)
  • The US Railway System
  • Public Subways and Metro Systems
  • Public Bus and Lightrail Systems
  • Rest Areas on Highways
  • Sidewalks
  • All Government-Funded Local/State Projects (e.g., see Iowa 2009 federal senate appropriations)
  • Public Water and Sewer Services (goodbye socialist toilet, shower, dishwasher, kitchen sink, outdoor hose!)
  • Public and State Universities and Colleges
  • Public Primary and Secondary Schools
  • Sesame Street
  • Publicly Funded Anti-Drug Use Education for Children
  • Public Museums
  • Libraries
  • Public Parks and Beaches
  • State and National Parks
  • Public Zoos
  • Unemployment Insurance
  • Municipal Garbage and Recycling Services
  • Treatment at Any Hospital or Clinic That Ever Received Funding From Local, State or Federal Government (pretty much all of them)
  • Medical Services and Medications That Were Created or Derived From Any Government Grant or Research Funding (again, pretty much all of them)
  • Socialist Byproducts of Government Investment Such as Duct Tape and Velcro (Nazi-NASA Inventions)
  • Use of the Internets, email, and networked computers, as the DoD's ARPANET was the basis for subsequent computer networking
  • Foodstuffs, Meats, Produce and Crops That Were Grown With, Fed With, Raised With or That Contain Inputs From Crops Grown With Government Subsidies
  • Clothing Made from Crops (e.g. cotton) That Were Grown With or That Contain Inputs From Government Subsidies
If a veteran of the government-run socialist US military, I will forego my VA benefits and insist on paying for my own medical care
I will not tour socialist government buildings like the Capitol in Washington, D.C.
I pledge to never take myself, my family, or my children on a tour of the following types of socialist locations, including but not limited to:
  • Smithsonian Museums such as the Air and Space Museum or Museum of American History
  • The socialist Washington, Lincoln, and Jefferson Monuments
  • The government-operated Statue of Liberty
  • The Grand Canyon
  • The socialist World War II and Vietnam Veterans Memorials
  • The government-run socialist-propaganda location known as Arlington National Cemetery
  • All other public-funded socialist sites, whether it be in my state or in Washington, DC
I will urge my Member of Congress and Senators to forego their government salary and government-provided healthcare.
I will oppose and condemn the government-funded and therefore socialist military of the United States of America.  
I will boycott the products of socialist defense contractors such as GE, Lockheed-Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, Raytheon, Humana, FedEx, General Motors, Honeywell, and hundreds of others that are paid by our socialist government to produce goods for our socialist army
I will protest socialist security departments such as the Pentagon, FBI, CIA, Department of Homeland Security, TSA, Department of Justice and their socialist employees
Upon reaching eligible retirement age, I will tear up my socialist Social Security checks.
         Upon reaching age 65, I will forego Medicare and pay for my own private health
         insurance until I die.      
_____________   _________________________
Signed       Printed Name/Town and State

Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Republican Party Rape Advisory Chart

attribution: Brainwrap
Thanks to Daily Kos for the above.

Bloviating Dumps in the Clown Car

I thought we had banned DDT a long time ago.  Well, we did, but not the political kind.  We still have Donald (Dump) Da Trump with us today.  And now this bloviating bully wants to be president of the United States because he's got all the answers and will make our country great again.

When Dump da Trump spoke to some folks in a football stadium down Mobile way, he got suddenly religious - Mobile is deep in the Bible Belt, ya know.  He said, looking out at the crowd, that now he knows how Billy Graham felt.   [Notice how in one sentence he brags about attracting as many people as Billy used to for his "crusades," and at the same time implying his message is as important or even more important than Billy's].  Da Dump then extended his religiosity by claiming he likes the Bible mostest of all the books he has yet to read.

In recent days a few TV personalities had the temerity to ask him how much he likes the Bible, and whether he likes the Old Testament better than the New Testament, and could he please quote some of his favorite Bible verses.  Well, da Dump had to think fast.  He looked like he wanted to fire someone.  His face turned redder and his hair began to sweat and it quickly became clear he knows next to nothing about the Bible; that he couldn't remember anything from the Bible; and he kinda likes both the Od and New testaments about the same.

A funny aside:  Da Dump was interviewed by Ms. Icansee Alaska herself, and she declared that it was unfair to ask him to name a favorite Bible verse.  I suppose she relates this to the time Katie Couric asked her which magazines and/or newspapers she read after bragging how she keeps up to date on current events, and she could not name one!

Da Dump says he's a Presbyterian Protestant.  That phrase is a giveaway.  It would be used only by someone who's unfamiliar with both Protestants and Presbyterians.  Then he claimed he attends the Marble Collegiate Church in New York City.  Marble Collegiate is NOT Presbyterian, though; it is affiliated with the Reformed Church in America and was the church of the famous Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, he of the positive thinking approach to life.

Marble Collegiate says da Dump is not a member. 

A prophet he is not, also.  He's been bloviating about how he's going to deport 11 million illegal immigrants but when pressed about how he will pay for it, he clearly has no idea.  One big problem with such a deportation is that it leaves you without people to harvest our fruits and veggies, a job that's been handled largely by immigrants from Mexico - legal and illegal. 

A Christian he is not.  He wants to excise the 14th Amendment from our Constitution which grants citizenship to everyone born in the United States.  He would, in a most unChristlike manner, uproot all of our illegal immigrant families, including their children who are citizens of the U.S., and send them lock, stock and barrel, back across the border.

And then, says da Dump, let's build a wall all along the border.   Wait, we've tried that.  It didn't work.  People climb over it, build tunnels under it, or blow holes through it.  We've also found it's incredibly expensive and again da Dump has no idea how he'd pay for it.

One might think da Dump's past, which is filled with failed marriages and bankrupt businesses and shady gambling casinos, would put off fundy Christians, but that does not seem to be the case.  For one thing fundy Christians really have no values worth speaking about.  When they talk about values they mean abortion should be abolished, gays should be put back in the closet and liberals should leave the country along with the immigrants.

So, da Dump's values or lack thereof bother them not at all.  If it looks like he can return our country to the 1940s or 1950s, well, I'm sure they think that is what Jesus would want to happen. 

That's why da Dump dares to join with da Cruz to headline a rally, the purpose of which is to show opposition to the nuclear agreement with Iran, a rally organized by Tea Pot crackpots (The Tea Party Patriots), the Center for Security Policy and the right-wing Zionist Organization of America to be held on Capitol Hill on September 9.

According to TPM, "The Center for Security Policy is an anti-Muslim think tank founded by former Reagan administration official Frank Gaffney, who often speaks about the threat of creeping Sharia Law and has accused Republican and Democratic officials alike of being Muslim Brotherhood plants in the U.S."  He also claimed at one point that President Obama had "slipped an Islamic crescent into a government logo."

Da Trump symbolizes how our political system has turned pathological.  It has become a dump where toxic fumes and gasses leak into the air to despoil all that with which they come into contact.

When a field of candidates, almost to a man (or woman), publicly disrespect our Constitution and our laws, we have sunk to a new low, we are in dire straits.  Perhaps its time to try another system, the British or Canadian parliamentary system, maybe.

Consider this:  Ernest J. King was a five-star admiral who served as Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Fleet and was the Chief of Naval Operations during WWII.  When 47 years old, at the Naval War College, he wrote a paper suggesting that the greatest weakness we have is our representative democracy.  "[...] our representative form of government has developed as to put a premium on mediocrity and to emphasize the defects of the electorate...[people think they know it all, people are concerned only for their own welfare, people are ignorant of our history, our foreign affairs, and are uninterested in such things] ..."

How a top admiral in our Navy could get by with penning such an anti-democratic and anti-American paper is beyond me.

But there is a disease that affects many of those who inhabit the top ranks of our military services.  It's a disease that infects them with permission to think they are gods of a sort, that they know what is best for the country; and it leads to a disease that allows them with ease to slip into the role of dictator.  I have experienced this in person.  The captain of a naval base or a ship is, in fact, a dictator.  He is to be obeyed at all times without question.  In some cases, that might work out for a time.  In my case, the captain was also crazy.  Eventually, he was relieved of his command and later drove his car off a cliff near San Francisco.  But it was a harrowing time between his arrival and his relief.

Listen to da Dump, to da Cruz, to da Bush, to da Santorum, to da Carson, to da Perry, etc., and ask yourself if you do not hear echoes of the Admiral's anti-democratic and thus anti-American sentiments hanging in the air around them.

The real danger is not that they are a bunch of clowns or fools on an errand.  The danger is that one of them might actually get elected. 

All is not lost, however.  Consider DDT, a terrible pesticide.  Thirty years ago, the brown pelican had become almost extinct because of the use of DDT.  But shortly after DDT has been banned, the brown pelican began making a comeback and today they are thriving across North America.

There is hope.

Note:  I don't care whether Dump da Trump ever reads the Bible or knows any verse in the Bible.  That's irrelevant to the presidency.  But if he's going to pander to the religious right nutcases, and parade his faux religiosity in public, then he needs to be called to account.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Israel, the U.S. and You!

Nigel, a knowledgeable friend of a friend, sent this letter.  He says he was sick of reading about U.S. aid to Israel from people who "were really nasty, misguided, and probably Anti-Semitic.  ...  

"Why," he wonders, "do the same idiots spout the same old lies and restate the same old B.S.?"

What follows is what one man wrote in defense of Israel and against the "nasty, misguided, and probably Anti-Semitic" people. 

 + + + +

Israel receives money to purchase U.S. weapons made by U.S. companies, including Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, L-3 Communications, etc. These are all U.S. Companies with U.S. employees and U.S. manufacturing footprints.

About 1/3 of the money from the U.S. to Israel goes directly back to the U.S. Treasury through taxes. The other 2/3 goes to companies which employ U.S. workers and are owned by U.S. taxpayers. 

All capital gains, share repurchases, and dividend payments are eventually taxed with proceeds again going to the U.S. Treasury. So it takes a bit of time, but all money provided to Israel for weapons/arms purchases comes back to the U.S. Treasury. 

Since the money comes back to the U.S. Treasury after earning a return, the U.S. taxpayer actually makes money on the whole transaction. For example, if Boeing earns a 10% return on all invested capital, the taxpayer receives the remaining 2/3 at 10% interest.

This is far higher than the U.S. government can earn investing in U.S. government bonds. So you can stop whining. There is a delay, but the U.S. taxpayer actually comes out ahead in the end.

Now what does the U.S. get in addition to the return of its money?

1) Israel keeps American scientists, engineers, and manufacturers employed. As King Obama cuts military spending, Israel picks up the slack so that American defense workers aren't fired and join the food stamp lines.  [Editorial note:  "King Obama" doesn't cut military spending and has not done so!  The Pentagon continues to dominate the U.S. budget  and will doubtless do so for the foreseeable future!]
2) Israel buys America's most sophisticated systems and weapons, which Israel always upgrades as Israel is the 2nd most important technical center in the world. Israel always informs the U.S. of these improvements, so the U.S. receives invaluable RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT for free. These improvements are often included in the weapons the U.S. employs at home and around the world to protect us. Not too shabby.

3) Israel is basically an extremely large and powerful U.S. military base. It would cost the U.S. 25x to run its own bases in the region if it tried to recreate Israel's footprint. The U.S. uses Israel as a first line defense against the Muslim terrorists including Iran and ISIS.
So from the U.S. taxpayers' prospective, the U.S. gets to outsource a very highly trained and skilled military on the cheap. And while the U.S. has military bases elsewhere in the Middle East, they are much smaller, very expensive to operate, aren't permanent, and aren't safe to house our most powerful weapons.
4) If the U.S. is ever attacked by Iran or other Muslim countries with missiles, the Iron Dome System (which Israel and the US. jointly developed) and other systems being developed will be used to shoot down those missiles. The system works so well because it has been extensively field tested to knock down the Hamas rockets.
What many Americans don't realize is that Israel has effectively become the 51st state. Nearly every S&P 500 company has an Israeli division. And a huge amount of Israeli technology is inside every smart phone, router, and computer. If you used your smart phone today to make a call or access the internet, you've used Israeli technology (lots of it in fact). 

Unlike China which just provides cheap labor and cheap manufacturing and then steals our technology, Israeli technology helps to make U.S. products and services better. From Apple to Intel to Facebook to Cisco, nearly every tech company shaping our world today and tomorrow has assets in Israel which benefit U.S. consumers and taxpayers. Without Israel, a major R&D center for the entire U.S. Fortune 500 would simply not exist.
Also, there is no Muslim country that would ever fight for the U.S. (air power and boots on the ground) in any significant way. The U.S. outsources the second best air force in the world for FREE. Why do I say free? Because the Israeli government provides the top shelf pilots, training exercises, and bases. Israel, by taking on Hamas and Hezbollah, has already been fighting (and bleeding) for U.S. interests. And if Iran were to ever to get close to attacking the U.S. with missiles, Israel would without delay attack on our behalf. That is meaningful and irreplaceable.
P.S. - Your life has probably already been saved by technology developed in Israel. Israeli doctors, scientists, and researchers are working at the bleeding edge of nearly every medical advancement. Moreover, just about every major American pharma, biotech, and medical device company employees Israelis for their superior skills and educations.
If you see a paralyzed American soldier walking with robotic limbs, that is Israeli technology. And if you or your family members have been sick in the past 10 years, they've been helped by Israeli medical innovations. 

Though the doctors treating you won't tell you (they probably won't even know), your life will likely be saved by some very smart Israelis working half-way around the world for the betterment of humankind.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Christian Fundies vs the Taliban

The following article comes from RightWingWatch.  I have changed just a few words:  where the interim dean used the word, "Christian," I substituted "Muslim."  Where she used the word, "God," I substituted the word, "Allah," and the word, "Scripture" was changed to "the Koran."

* * * *

Recently, Rena Lindevaldsen, Liberty University Law School's interim dean, delivered an address to students on the question "Do Government Officials Have Authority to Impose Their Morals on Others?"

Lindevaldsen's answer was a resounding "yes," provided that the morals being imposed are Muslim ones. But if the morals being imposed are not Muslim ones, then the answer is obviously "no." As she explained, "civil government only has the authority that Allah has established" and so "civil government, if it's acting rightfully within its authority, should be acting consistent with the Koran."

"Government's only just authority [is] derived from Allah and it's purpose is to protect those inalienable rights that we have been given, not to infringe them as we're seeing take place a lot in society today," Lindevaldsen said. "Whether it's zoning or taxes or marriage or abortion, in those issues, government doesn't have authority to say that these things are appropriate because they're contrary to the Koran."

* * * *

The point of this little exercise is to illustrate rather dramatically that rightwing Christian fundamentalists who insist on their way or the highway, who have convinced themselves this is a Christian nation, who are devoutly certain that their god demands his laws (as interpreted by fundamentalist rightwing Christians) become the law of the land, are no different in essence than Muslim fundamentalists/extremists!

And that, my friends, is why they're so dangerous.

There's more here

Jeb Bush's Vision is Eric Cantor's Vision

Eric Cantor, one of the most sloppy political philosophers in modern times, has endorsed Jeb Bush for president.  Evidently, Jeb's vision for the United States lines up with Eric's vision for the United States.

Here's what Cantor twitted:

"Governor Bush is a true conservative leader with a long-term vision for this country and the practical know-how to implement it," Cantor said in a statement. "After eight years of anemic growth and declining international relevance, America needs a president that can re-energize our nation and recapture our greatness – Jeb Bush is that man. I look forward to working closely with the governor and his team as they chart a course to the White House."

Okay, when you've stopped laughing, give that statement another read.  I've come to believe, founded on overwhelming evidence, that Eric Cantor is one of millions of Republicans who live in an alternate reality, or who believe that if they believe some thing with enough fervor it will become true, or who simply are incapable of perceiving the truth through the fog of their political power ambitions.

I mean, really, read this sentence again:  "...Bush is a true conservative leader with a long-term vision for this country and the practical know-how to implement it."  That is probably the biggest pile of hogwash I've read in a long time.  Jeb is thought to be the smart brother.  He's not.  G.W. Jr. is much smarter.  Jeb has no long-term vision for this country.  He can barely get from one day to the next.  And if past is prelude, watch out, because his long-term vision for Florida when he was governor was to privatize everything, break down the Constitutional barrier between church and state, ruin our public schools, and make his rich friends richer.

But even more bizarre is Cantor's statement that "After eight years of anemic growth and declining international relevance, America needs a president that can re-energize our nation and recapture our greatness."

We could write several pages about how Obama's economic program has saved the country from another Great Depression; how job growth has accelerated; how the deficit has shrunk; how millions of people without health care, now are covered under the Affordable Care Act; how we've repaired our relationships with world leaders and other countries which G.W. Bush managed to destroy; how we pulled back from the Middle East and at the same time finished our business with bin Laden, etc., etc.

Hmmm.  So why would Cantor or anyone want to go back to the economic "growth" we suffered through under Georgi W. Bushki, who bailed out everyone but the people who needed it, whose economic policies damn near destroyed our country, whose international shenanigans brought us nothing but heartache and death and the evolution of hatred as expressed by the resurgent 7th-century barbarians, ISIS?

If there are any right-wing Christians reading this, please get on your knees and pray to your god that Jeb's vision (which is Cantor's vision) never, ever gets put into play in the U.S. of A. 

Donald Trump has visions, too.  Actually, they're nightmares, and I don't agree with him about the time of day but once in awhile he makes me laugh, especially when he jabs people like Cantor for their stupidity.  When he heard that Cantor had endorsed Jeb, he said something to the effect, "Well, who cares?  Who wants the endorsement of a person who lost in one of the biggest Congressional upsets in history?"

As chief clown in the Republican wannabee Clown Car, Trump may yet bring down the Republican Party.

And that's a good thing.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Huckabee and Huckster

On the left:  Mike Huckabee:  Baptist preacher.  Teevee personality.  Presidential wannabee.  Homophobe.  Anti-Choice.  Faux Christian.  Close friend of Josh Duggar.

On the right:  Josh Duggar:  Member of infamous family of gadzillion children.  Right wing Christian spokesperson.  Homophobe.  Anti-Choice.  Child molester.  Has addiction to violent sex.   Faux Christian.  Close friend of Mike Huckabee.

Is this a great country or what?  

[Photo from Americablog, and Tengrain at Mock, Paper, Scissors/Flickr]

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Martin Luther should be excommunicated

[Photo from Wikipedia]

Some years back a Lutheran pastor friend of mine presented me with a gift.  I expressed my gratitude in an appropriate manner and put it on a shelf.  The gift was a small statue of the one Lutherans consider their founder and the closest thing in Lutheranism to a saint.

While this is neither here nor there, the statue is very well done and may have accrued some value.  I'll keep it a little longer.

Ask most Lutherans what they know about Martin Luther (1483 - 1546) and if you get anything at all it will consist of a few pious phrases about the great piety of Pastor Luther and how he began this thing called Protestantism, posting 95 theses on a church door, and that the Lutheran churches are named after him.

Ask many Lutheran pastors what they know about Martin Luther and based upon my experiences from years past, I'd guess you'd get comments very similar to those expressed by the laity.  Luther is spoken of in reverential terms, as worthy of emulation and adoration, and if by chance his shortcomings are mentioned, they are hushed over with some fanciful mental gymnastics which usually involve phrases such as "Well, he was a man of his time, and a man of his culture," which is used to excuse the fact that not only was he a raging anti-Semite, but ignorant of the Bible in the most profound sense, and filled with bile and hatred for those who disagreed with him.  Luther had no scientific leanings, but abhorred the use of reason as a means of determining the truth.  He believed in magic, in witches, and in evil spirits.

Martin Luther is known best for his notion of "salvation by grace, through faith" which he had stumbled upon while reading the New Testament.  It resonated mightily with him because he had always felt unworthy before God; that he could never live up to what God demanded of him.

Aha!  Here was his answer.  He didn't need to worry anymore.  All he needed was faith and God would accept him.  His "works"  --  those things he did or neglected to do --  didn't matter so much relative to his salvation status.

Then there's the story of him nailing his 95 theses to the church door in Wittenburg (the story may be more legendary than real.)  He opposed the Roman Catholic practice of granting "indulgences" for the payment of money and his "theses" were arguments against the practice.   An indulgence was thought important for it could take years off a person's time in purgatory.  Luther thought this practice could not be supported by scripture.

Maybe he was just looking for an out.  He was headstrong and willful and didn't bow easily to authority.  There were many other practices current in the Roman church which could not be found in Scripture to which could also have objected.  The notions of "mortal" as opposed to "venial" sins is not found in the Bible.  The idea that a priest can forgive sin is not found in the Bible; nor was the doctrine of purgatory.

Whatever, it was his belief in salvation by grace through faith, that became the core of his "protesting" system.

Certainly, Luther was a man of his time.  We cannot expect him to know of Biblical criticism, historical criticism, literary criticism.  He would have no knowledge that Paul's letters are the earliest books in the New Testament and that the Gospels come much later.  He would not know that a number of the books or letters attributed to Paul were not from his hand at all, but from other, unknown writers.

Furthermore, Paul believed in seven heavens.  I've always been curious as to why that fact is supremely ignored by ancient and current theologians and religious historians.

What follows are some quotes which put into bold relief why it is correct to say Luther was a man of his time.  These were collected from his writings by the Freethought

Luther says:

"Idiots, the lame, the blind, the dumb, are men in whom the devils have established themselves: and all the physicians who heal these infirmities, as though they proceeded from natural causes, are ignorant blockheads."

"I myself saw and touched at Dessay, a child of this sort, which had no human parents, but had proceeded from the Devil.  He was twelve years old, and, in outward form, exactly resembled ordinary children."

"In Switzerland, on a high mountain, not far from Lucerne, there is a lake they call Pilate's Pond, which the Devil has fixed upon as one of the chief residences of his evil spirits...."

"The fool [Copernicus] wishes to reverse the entire science of astronomy.  But sacred scripture tells us that Joshua commanded the sun to stand still and not the earth."

"No gown worse becomes a woman that the desire to be wise."

"We may will lie with what seems to be a woman of flesh and blood, and yet all the time is only a devil in the shape of a woman."

"When I was a child there were many witches, and they bewitched both cattle and men, especially children."

"As to the common people, ... one has to be hard with them and see that they do their work and that under the threat of the sword and the law they comply with the observance of piety just as you chain up wild beasts."

"Some [demons] are also in the thick black clouds, which cause hail, lightning and thunder, and poison the air, the pastures and grounds."

"The winds are nothing else but good or bad spirits.  Hark! how the Devil is puffing and blowing..."

"A large number of deaf, crippled and blind people are afflicted solely through the malice of the demon.  And one must in no wise doubt that plagues, fevers and every sort of evil come from him."

"An earthly kingdom cannot exist without inequality of persons.  Some must be free, some serfs, some rulers, some subjects."

"I feel much freer now that I am certain the pope is the Antichrist."

Yes, Luther was a man of his time.  Not many today would agree with the sentiments expressed above (although there are some among us who probably agree too readily!).  For most of us, Luther speaks nonsense.  His words have no meaning.  We know that what he believes is simply not true in any sense.

So, when Luther speaks of deaf, crippled and blind people as if their afflictions were caused by a "demon" or the Devil, we cringe for we know he is full of shit.  (By the way, he was quite vulgar and often used the word, "shit," in his sermons).

So by what irrational strangulation of our mental faculties do we conclude on the one hand that his interpretation of the Bible is correct and should be a foundation stone of our faith (if we are Christians) but the rest of what he believed is pure shit?

If Luther's ideas about the world and the universe and people were full of shit, why does anyone give credence to his notion of "salvation by grace through faith."  What makes him "right" in this belief and not in his other beliefs, other than our wish that it is so?

If truth be told, this is a terrible doctrine that makes God into a horrible monster.  It means that a person who spends his or her life doing good, making the world a better place, saving lives, etc., but rejects Luther's notion of faith, will spend an eternity in torturous hell fire, whereas a Hitler, whose life is committed to killing many millions of people and destroying entire countries, can be welcomed at the Pearly Gates if, at his last breath, says "I believe.  I have faith in Luther's Christ."

What utter nonsense!

The title of this essay speaks of Luther being excommunicated.  That's nonsense, too.  The Christian church still reveres this corrupt and ignorant fool.  He belongs, he's one of them.

Termination of the Chosen People Contract

To:  Lord, our God, King of the Universe

From:  The Jews

Re:  Termination of Our Special Status as The Chosen People

As you are aware, the contract made between you (God) and Abraham is up for renewal, and this memorandum is to advise you that after, yes, those many millennia of consideration, we've decided not to renew.

We should point out immediately that there is nothing in writing, and contrary to popular beliefs, we have not really benefited too much from this arrangement.

If you go back to the early years of our arrangement, it definitely started off on the wrong footing.  Not only were Israel and Judea invaded almost every year, but we went to enormous expense to erect, not one but two Temples and they were both destroyed.  Of course, you know all this, but we feel it's a good thing to account for all the reasons we wish to terminate the contract.

After the Hittites, Assyrians, etc., not only were we beaten up almost daily, but then we were sold off as slaves to Egypt (of all countries), and really lost a few hundred years of development. 

Now we realize that you went to a great deal of trouble to send Moses to lead us out of Egypt; and those poor Egyptian buggers were smitten with all those plagues.  But, reflecting on those years, we are at a loss to understand why it took almost 40 years to make a trip that El Al now does in 45 minutes.

Also, while not appearing to be ungrateful, Moses did lead us to the left instead of to the right at Sinai:  To the only place in the Middle East without any oil, and with water that is controlled by Jordan and Syria.  Oy, if only he had stopped to ask directions.

OK, so mineral rights were not part of the deal, but then the Romans came and we were really up to our necks in dreck.  While it's true the Romans did give us water fit to drink, aqueducts, and baths, it was very disconcerting to walk down one of the vias, look up and see one of your friends or family nailed to a three-by-four looking for all the world like a sign post

Even one of our princes, Judah ben Hur, got caught up with Roman stuff and drove like a crazy man around the Coliseum!  It's a funny thing, but many people swore that Ben Hur had an uncanny resemblance to Moses -- go figure.

Then, of all things, one of our most up-and-coming carpenters (he did great work, real cheap) declared himself your son (there was nothing said like this about Abe) and before we knew what was what, a whole new religion sprang up.

To add insult to injury, we were dispersed all over the world two or three times while this new goy (oops, guy) really caught on.  We were truly sorry to hear that the Romans executed him like so many others, but -- and this will make you laugh -- once again we were blamed.

Couldn't someone else be chosen, maybe just once?

Now here's something we really don't understand.  That guy, Jesus Christ, really came into his own.  Millions of people revered and worshiped his name and scriptures - and still killed us by the millions.  They claimed we drank the blood of newborn infants, controlled the world banks, operated the world's media, etc.

Are we beginning to make our point here?

So let's fast forward a few hundred years to the Crusades.  Hoo boy!  Again, we were caught in the middle.  They, the lords and knights, came from all over Europe to smack the Arabs and open up the holy places, but before we knew what hit us, they were killing us along with everyone ese.

Every time a king or a pope was down in the opinion polls, they called for a Crusade or Holy War (today they're called a jihad), and went on a killing rampage in our land. 

So, you tested us a little here and there, but some bright cleric in Spain came up with the Inquisition.  We all thought it was a new game show, but once again we and quite a few others were used as firewood for a whole new street lighting arrangement in major Spanish cities. 

Alright, that ended after about a hundred years or so - in the great scheme of things not a long time.  But every time we settled down in one country or another, they kicked us out.  We wandered around a few hundred years or so but it never changed. 

Finally, we settled in a few countries but they insisted we all live in ghettos, while the Russians came up with progroms.  We all thought they made a spelling mistake and misspelled "programs," but we were dead wrong (very dead wrong).

Apparently, when there was nothing else to occupy their time, killing Jews was the thing to do. 

Now comes the really tough noogies.  We were doing quite well, thank you, in a small European county called Germany, when some house painter wrote a book, said a few things that caught on and became their leader!  Oh boy, what a bad day that was for us -- your Chosen People (by now, you must be getting the drift of this email?)

We really didn't know where you were in the earth years 1933 to 1945.  We know everyone needs a break now and then, even the Lord God Almighty needs some time off.

But when we needed you most, you were never around.  You are probably aware of this, but if you have forgotten, over six million of your Chosen People, along with millions unchosen others were murdered in cold blood.  They even made lampshades out of our skins!

Look, we don't want to dwell on the past, but it gets even worse.

Here we are, it's 1948, and millions of us are displaced again, when you really pull a fast one.  We finally get our own land back!  Yes, after all these years, you arrange for us to go back.

Then all the Arab countries immediately declare war on us.  We have to tell you that sometimes your sense of humour eludes us.

So, with all the wars, and we're now in a new century, but nothing's changed.  We keep getting blown up, hijacked and kidnapped.  We have no peace whatsoever.

Enough is enough!  We hope you understand that nothing's forever (except you, of course), and we respectfully would like to pull out of our verbal agreement vis a vis being your Chosen People.

Look, sometimes things work out, sometimes they don't.  Let's be friends over the next few eons and see what happens. 

Meanwhile, how about this idea?  We're sure you recall that Abraham had a whole other family from Ismael (the ones who got the oil).  How about making them your chosen people for a few thousand years?

Respectfully yours,

The Jews

[Author unknown.  Hat tip to Bob Poris.]

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Michele Bachmann, Ignorance, and the End Times

Why anyone would give a rat's ass what Michele Bachmann thinks about anything these days is a foul mystery.  Unfortunately, there are many people in the U.S. who are as screwed up as is Ms. Bachmann.  Steeped in ignorance and paganism, they tear the Bible to shreds as they attempt to give credence to their political religiosity.

Most all of these people despise President Obama.  These are the "birthers," the ones who call him a Muslim, a socialist, a Marxist, or worse.  But all of that is merely to disguise their racism.  They hate Obama because he is only half-Caucasian, or more importantly from their point of view, half-Black.

Bachmann's pronouncements become "news" because she is not alone.  The United States, during the years that I've been alive, has become a nation of pious, pompous ignoramuses - people who vote for the totally unqualified, George W. Bush for example; people who think Mr. Trump would be a good president; people who ignore Ben Carson's inane nonsense; people who would vote for Christy, or Santorum, or Jeb Bush, or Mario, or any other of the creepy-crawlies who have lined up to seek the golden ring.  There are millions of Bachmanns by other names!

Just recently, Bachmann did an interview on a Christian right-wing radio program.  Bachmann has a history of warning that Obama's actions are going to bring about the "end times."  If he plays a round of golf, takes a walk on the beach, or reads a book, Bachmann will find a reason (and a Biblical passage) to "prove" these actions are the catalyst for the "end times."

Ironically, scientists have recently concluded that there will, indeed, be an "end times."  But it has nothing to do with pagan prophecy or deluded ex-Congresspersons, or Israel, or the U.S., or Russia, or Slovakia.  Scientists have determined the universe is dying.  It won't happen for eons, but the death throes have begun!  

Bachmann and her minions, however, worry not about the universe for their world is encompassed by the small empty areas of their brains.  As reported by Right Wing Watch, in this radio interview, Bachmann proclaimed that the Iran nuclear agreement is "proof" that we're living in the "end times."  The vote by the United Nations Security Council was "the most important national security event of my lifetime" and a fulfillment of Zechariah 12:3 where the prophet sees the nations of the world uniting against Israel, says this moron.

She went on to say, proving again how dense she is, that God would use "heaven's armies," which includes "groups like AIPAC to defeat the deal in Congress and in doing so 'prove to the world His power and His strength.'"

If God's going to defeat the deal, then the "end times" must certainly be delayed or postponed.  So we won't be living in the "end times."  Consistency has never been one of Bachmann's strong suits. 

It's all nonsense, of course.  Bachmann is neither Jew nor Christian.  Maybe she's Paulinian.  Her religion is light years away from what Jesus taught.

Zechariah, along with Haggai and Malachi, constitute a triad - the last of Israel's prophets.  The book of Zechariah derives in part from "the early years of the reign of Darius I (522-486 BCE)."  It is concerned with "the restoration of community in the Persian period ... and legitimizes the rebuilding of the Temple."  It emphasizes repentance and urges the people to follow God's will so they can "avoid the fate of their ancestors."

It looks forward to an "ideal future in which the remnant of Israel will grow and prosper, Jerusalem will take its proper place, the Temple will become the focal point of worship for the entire world, and the kingship of the Lord [Yahweh, not Jesus] will be recognized by all nations."

Zechariah is not about the "end times" or the "Rapture."  It's about "future glory" for Zion.  The prophet sees much turmoil, a "cosmic upheaval" even, which will result in a new Jerusalem.

But there's more.  Many scholars are quite certain that originally, the book of Zechariah included only chapters 1-8, and that at a later time, the rest - chapters 9-14 - were added to give the book its current arrangement.  Each of these two sections are by different authors and the latter chapters derive from the Hellenistic period

While Christians early on interpreted certain messianic passages as applying to their Christ, they did so wrongly and do so wrongly today.  The writers of Zechariah knew not of Jesus or any other particular messianic figure.  And while many in the rabbinic community felt these texts may have referred to a messianic time of the future -a time when the Lord (Yahweh) would rule and Jerusalem would be the center of the world - this messianic time was not thought to be, in any sense, the "end times" but the beginning of a new time!

Zechariah chapter 12 begins with a poem which is a prophetic "word of the Lord":

"The utterance of the Lord,
Who stretched out the skies
And made firm the earth,
And created man's breath within him:

Behold, I will make Jerusalem a bowl of reeling for the peoples all around.  Judah shall be caught up in the siege upon Jerusalem... [verse 3] when all the nations of the earth gather against her."

But this again has nothing to do with the "end times" and in fact, will be a joyous time, for the Lord says, "I will make Jerusalem a stone for all the peoples to lift; all who lift it shall injure themselves."  There's more along those lines but the end result is that those who fight against Jerusalem will be "devoured" and "Jerusalem shall continue on its site, in Jerusalem."

None of this has anything whatsoever to do with current events, or the United States, or Iran, or Canada, or Turkey, or Iraq, or Syria, or Greece, or Obama, or the United Nations, or nuclear war or my cat, Cleopatra!

The UN Security Council vote does not fulfill "the prophecy of Zechariah."  

God and "heaven's armies" (e.g. AIPAC) will not be used by God to defeat the Iran deal in Congress.

Ignorant flakes like Bachmann and all the other non-Christian con artists - Mike Huckabee, Pat Robertson, Jim Bakker, Rick Perry, Jindal, Jeb, Santorum, etc. - are, well, full of crap!  They massacre the Bible and especially the prophets for their own misguided and sick political ideologies.

You may safely ignore anything and everything they have to say.