June 30, 2010

Today, I told off a lazy car salesman who parked in a handicapped zone

Today has been a decent day, but it started out rough. Streak (the dog) has had a bit of a rough time of late. Well, it is hard to see, because his eyes are great as is his appetite and enthusiasm. But his back hips no longer flex as they did, and so he has slipped a few times on the hardwood floors. We have him on a canine anti-inflammatory, and I think that helps a lot, but he is still 13 or so.

This morning, I woke up from bad dreams and watched Streak limp around a bit. I decided to head to Starbucks to give him a break and let him nap. After writing inside, I went outside to read a bit. Sitting out there, I watched this large truck back into the nearest handicapped spot after which two young (ish) men in dress slacks and ties walked into the store. I kept telling myself to ignore it. I told myself that there was some handicap that was not readily visible and this was legit.

But my mood was a dark one, and I had to check it out. I moved to a table closer to the (still) idling vehicle. The back tags said something about being a used car and a "dealer." When the two guys came out with trays loaded with iced drinks, I had to ask.

"Are you a car dealer?" I asked.

Mr. Smarm glanced at me and said, "yes, I am." He came over and shook my hand and told me where he worked. I asked why he was parked in the handicapped zone. He said it was because he and his buddy had to carry "like, 13 drinks" for their coworkers. I pointed out that the handicapped zone was not for that purpose. He then asked if I was handicapped. I said no, I was just a concerned human. He then pointed to the empty handicapped spot next to his truck. I said, those spots weren't for that purpose.

He then asked me if I was a cop. I told him again, those spaces weren't for that purpose. And that I would make sure no one I knew would buy anything from him. That part is a hollow threat, as I have forgotten where the asshole works.

This is all related to my sense that we have a an empathy gap. If you can't think of someone else, of course, you think, hey that spot is open and I am not staying. As if that is really the issue. If someone drove up who needed the spot, it wouldn't matter, would it? But more, it just says that the world is made for me, and everyone better just get out of my way.

Reminds me of this Tim O'Brien song:

Streak seems ok tonight. A little sore and still 13. Part of it is just age and that is just the deal. We are going to get a few more rugs for him to minimize his slipping.

June 28, 2010

What if we don't know what we don't know?

Actually a truism, I think. There is an amazing amount of information that we don't know and don't even know about. The challenge for all of us is to see our abilities and our knowledge in some context. This fascinating article on a phenomenon where people don't even know they are paralyzed expands to ask how people can operate in a certain amount of cluelessness. Does a truly inept person, for example, know they are inept? Is it possible that they are oblivious to even that?

I think this speaks to a lot of our blind spots. Reading this, I thought of a lot of things. I thought of people like Sarah Palin, who seem to be oblivious to their mental inadequacy. I thought about biases, including the confirmation bias. I thought about modern conservatism seeming to embrace the mid level performer and bad mouthing someone who exhibits excellence. And I thought about my own limitations as a thinker, historian, and teacher. What do I miss clearly because it is just outside my vision? What do I not know, and not realize that I don't know it?

I will say this about my graduate experience. I think many people with a Phd end up as arrogant asses. I am not exactly sure how that happens, in all honesty. I don't know how you can study and focus on one area and then on one small aspect of that one area, and clearly know that you have not read all or seen even close to all of the information on that specialized area. How do you do that and become arrogant? With each exploration, you find a wealth of information that you cannot help but gain some perspective. Of course, that isn't true, as we all know.

Anyway, an interesting series.

June 26, 2010

Republicans and gays

Michael Tomasky chimes in on Mike Huckabee using the phrase "ick factor" to describe gay sex, and notes that the person Huckabee claims originated the phrase not only did not do so, but actually was identifying people who exhibit "projective disgust:"
projective disgust has its origin in a discomfort with one's own body and its messier animal aspects, including sexuality, and that, in a defense mechanism, disgust is then projected outward onto vulnerable groups who are characterized as hyperphysical and hypersexual.
In other words, people like Huckabee.


Benen notes that Thomas Sowell's op-ed comparing Obama's approach to BP with Hitler has not bothered many on the right. We talked about Gohmert before, but the former half-term Alaskan Governor has endorsed the view as well. She is such a deep thinker, isn't she?

The Tea Party is not serious about policy

None of the Tea Partiers are. Rand Paul wants to build a border fence that is electric and underground. Steve Benen wondered how we would get the illegals to wear the shock collars that work so well with some dogs. :)

But again, the conservative right has given us a crazy candidate who cannot and should not govern. Sharon Angle in Nevada is another.

June 25, 2010

Personal responsibility--and other things

Is a hallmark of conservative thought, no? And one I concur is important. People should be held accountable for their actions. But I am struck this week by the contrast between Joe Barton apologizing to BP and Republicans (and one Democrat) killing a bill that would actually help a lot of out of work people. Again.

While there is some anger at large banks and GM for their mismanagement, conservatives seem to focus their biggest expectation of personal responsibility on those at the bottom of the socio-economic scale. I don't get that.


One note on the Stanley MaChrystal firing. One major reason that I am shedding absolutely no tears about his firing (beyond his love of Bud Light with Lime--blech, and his open insubordination to the civilian leadership) is his prominent role in the coverup of Pat Tillman's death. I would love to see him pay a bigger price for that unconscionable cluster.


Speaking of taxes and money, I continue to be amazed that Republicans can only talk about tax cuts. Tax increases, especially on those at the top of the scale--are simply unthinkable. Even if that means cutting programs that legitimately help people. Probably because, as one of my conservative friends suggests, they believe that all of their money is earned only by their own labor. The system that allows that is just not respected.

But I am also reminded that we have raised taxes before, and cut some programs and found a way to improve our deficit and economy. In fact, George HW Bush will go down as the last reasonable Republican for agreeing to a budget deal that sunk his reelection bid. That is the reminder of how radical and how unhinged the Republican party has become. Working with Democrats and daring to raise taxes is the deal breaker. Torture and lying about war? Not a problem.


Enough of that. SOF and I are celebrating our 22 wedding anniversary today. We had a nice day watching soccer and going to lunch at our favorite Mexican restaurant. In a few minutes, we head out to have Indian food. As everyone realizes, she is a damn saint for putting up with me. If you think I rant on this blog.....

Hope everyone has a good Friday evening.

June 24, 2010

Stupid Republicans

No, not all Republicans are stupid. I would not argue that. But there are a great many, and their numbers in the GOP caucus in Washington is pretty shockingly high. And you might think I am about to link to Michelle Bachmann, or to Steve King--both of which say stupid stuff on a regular basis. Or perhaps any one of Georgia or South Carolina's GOP representatives.

No, this is from Texas Rep. Gohmert reading from an equally stupid Thomas Sowell op ed that suggests that the BP fund negotiated by Obama, is a step toward creating Nazi Germany right here in America. Says the idiot Gohmert: "and there are those today who are heard to say, what we need right now is for the President to be a dictator for a little while."

Seriously. And this is a guy who, as the blog notes, will get reelected without lifting a finger.


June 23, 2010

The conservative evangelical approach to public policy?

Seems to be to pray for God to fix human-caused problems and refuse to regulate humans.

But as Waldman notes, there is also a real problem with their theology and approach to public policy, and part of the reason it is so very hard for me to take conservative evangelicals serious:
One of the image problems religion has is that a lot of its biggest fans have a rather juvenile conception of God as a capricious and cruel being who needs to be begged to stop being so mean to us -- but can be persuaded to do so if we ask in the right way. After all, if we're praying to God to stop the oil spill, doesn't that mean God caused the oil spill in the first place? Or at least if he wanted to stop it, why didn't he do it right away, instead of befouling so much of his creation and ruining the livelihoods of so many people? And if this is all His Plan, who are we to ask him to change His Plan in the middle of things? Is he going to say, "It was my divine plan for this spill to continue for another month, but since you prayed ... oh, all right."

These are questions one would hope a child would begin to ask in Sunday school. But throwing up our hands because "man's efforts have been futile," then asking God to step in and solve our problems is probably not the best approach for government to take. Am I crazy to think that no matter how conservative you are, and no matter how religious you are, you might still agree with that?

June 19, 2010

Chris Mathews on the rise of the new rights

I am not a terribly big fan of Chris Matthews, but I recently found this good collection of the entire series and have been watching it today.

This clip (number 5 in the series) does a pretty good job of connecting these Tea Party idiots (sorry, but true) to the John Birchers and McCarthy.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

And some good good clips of how just horrible people like Glen Beck and other Republicans are in presenting information that is clearly false. Add Sarah Palin to this. Every time I hear her talk about her Christian faith, btw, I throw up in my mouth. This is someone who cheered on the racists during the 08 campaign, and this piece reminded me how horribly dishonest she was about healthcare.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Is Christianity under attack?

I have heard this for such a long time and am seriously curious what people think. James Dobson claims Christianity is under attack:
"'The country is in a great deal of trouble and I just felt like we needed to do something about it.'

Like many like-minded Christians, Dobson feels there is a growing attack against Christianity and efforts to eliminate all references to the Christian faith."

I don't see it. Perhaps it is because I live in a state that is virtually dominated by Christian evangelicals, I don't know. I see a lot of idiocy out there, but I don't see either a concerted effort to undermine Christianity, and certainly don't see Christianity fading.

I can see the argument that Christianity is more openly criticized when it does stupid and immoral stuff like supporting torture, but I don't see anyone destroying Christianity. Except Christians, of course.

Am I missing stuff?

June 17, 2010

Human action? Or Nature?

I actually think that far too many people, especially conservative evangelicals, write off too many events as some kind of "act of God," rather than a product of human choice. Today, Joe Barton famously apologized to the BP CEO in an attack on Obama--one that the rest of the Republican leadership didn't much care for. After all, it makes them the party defending BP. And outside their immense lobbying campaign, no one wants to be in that position.

But here is the funny thing. While talking about Barton's error, the house leadership referred to the spill as a "natural disaster." Really?

Reminds me of how people approached the collapsed bridge in Minnesota or even Katrina. Instead of seeing them as at least partially about failed choices, they wrote them off as "acts of God." In an "act of God" after all, figuring out who is to blame is a fool's errand. Certainly the hurricane was not human created, but the depleted marshes and wetlands, the poorly maintained levies, and the horrible response to those harmed by Katrina--those were all human choices.

Just an interesting look into the mind of many Republicans about their world.

Wealth and poverty in America

I still contend that the biggest lie Republicans have told the American people is the idea that they are over-taxed. Well, mostly. I still firmly believe that the tax cuts were more tax shifts, so in a sense, the people in the middle and lower classes have seen their overall tax burden climb, though most of that has come from sources other than federal income taxes. Further, of course, they have seen a reduction in services and subsidies that actually help people make it to the middle class. All, by the way, in the name of cutting taxes.

This morning, I read this very interesting article on income inequality in America, that includes a lot of great charts that display this trend quite well. Since 1979, the wealthy have seen their control of American resources climb while the poorest continue to lose ground.

I sent this to a conservative friend this morning and received a rant about liberal utopian ideas being dangerous for America, and a diatribe against welfare. More, of course, of how Republicans have won on the message. As if welfare was the only issue here. I can completely agree, mind you, that welfare can have a deleterious effect on the poor if all they get are government handouts. Dependency can be a real issue.

But in the middle of this rant--liberal ideas want to discourage work and savings, etc.--I was struck by the nonsensical nature of that argument. Over the last 30 years, conservatives have continually undermined the social safety net--all in the name of moral hazard. One would think that the poor would be pulling themselves up by their bootstraps as we speak?

Yeah, not so much. Because if liberalism is only about welfare, that would be reasonable. But if you look at what built the large middle class of the 1950s, you see far more than welfare and handouts. You see a government that subsidizes a lot of the costs that get people into the next level--but in all of those, the individuals have to work hard for them. No one can suggest with a straight face that the high taxes and subsidized education of the 50s discouraged entrepreneurialism.

Regardless, the numbers are still quite amazing. The rich have gotten amazing tax cuts, clamor for more, and continue to get unbelievably rich. Meanwhile, anyone who suggests that is wrong is accused of socialism, and many of the poor and working class Republicans defend the interests of the rich.


June 16, 2010

Republicans on race--revisited

Observers of the modern Republican party have noted that they are particularly sensitive to issues of race. They resent accusations of racism in their own caucus, but see race used against them when it is convenient. Iowa Rep Steve King has made news arguing that Obama is racist and favors blacks over whites. I am reminded of Jon Stewart's interview with candidate Obama when he asked him how his white side would vote in the booth. Every time someone from the right wing pops off, I remember the "one drop" rule from the American south. One drop of black blood makes you black, not white. Lest any of us forget, Homer Plessy, of the separate but equal case, was 1/8th black, and had to tell the train conductor that he was black to be arrested for being in the wrong car!

The problem for the Republicans is that they have moved since the 1970s toward a party that encourages white fears in the South in order to win races. They routinely make pilgramages through the south defending the Confederate flag, or defending Bob Jones University, or using the words "state's rights" as much as tehy can. John Ashcroft famously sucked up to White Supremacist organizations in the South, and he is far from the only one.

The Republican party appears to be moving backward on race, either with the Hispanic vote or with African Americans. And Steve King is one of their worst spokesmen on this issue:
"As Adam Serwer explained yesterday, 'This is, of course, the same Steve King who has defended the Confederate flag, advocated for racial profiling, referred to the Congressional Black and Hispanic Caucuses as 'separatist groups,' and said that people in the Middle East would be 'dancing in the streets' if Obama was elected because of his middle name. He was also the only -- repeat -- only congressman to vote against recognizing the contributions of slaves in building the U.S. Capitol, where King now spends his time spewing this kind of nonsense.'"

Facebook follies, continued

I had a post in my head for a while roughly entitled, "in defense of Facebook." My initial interaction was rough, as you might recall. My regular friends and relatives were just fine. But then I ran into some of my old high school and college acquaintances, and things got a little weird.

Well, I realized a real benefit from Facebook, however, that was only tangentially connected to those brief and weird connections. I have friends on Facebook that have allowed me to connect to them in ways that I simply would not be able to do otherwise. One is the lovely wife of the Bootleg Blogger. Facebook has allowed us to communicate about life and music and have some really nice connections. Others are right here in town--people I knew before, but maybe not that well. Now I see them at Starbucks or at a concert in the park, and they come up and talk. We now kind of know each other, and that is a good thing.

But Facebook is starting to freak me out a little. My 30th high school reunion is coming up in a few years, and so some of my former classmates are organizing like crazy. Facebook is pretty good for that too, of course, in that it allows you to make new groups, find "friends of friends," and communicate easily to those people. So, over the last two weeks, I have been inundated with friend requests or friend suggestions. Some of those have been really weird. My high school senior yearbook is right next to my computer, because I have to look most of these requests up. I was starting to question my sanity or my brain function when some of those came through and my reaction was "who the hell is that?" I reminded myself that I graduated with some 360 students and can't be expected to remember them all. Or even most.

But then there are those I remember. One, as it turns out, is a Michael Jackson fanatic. Every profile picture she has is about the late singer. Another was the BMOC of our high school. Seeing his picture reminded me of how little I cared for him in high school. Why in holy hell do I want to reconnect to those people? What do I tell them?

But there are a few that I would like to see. Enough to make me travel to Colorado? Not sure at this point. Luckily, I don't have to make that decision right now and will try to table the conversation. And in the meantime, I may have to "hide" a few from that class. It may be the only way I can face Facebook.

June 13, 2010

The Bible and sex and the Bible and money

Noting that while he is often attacked for somehow not obeying the Bible enough, he has never been attacked by those people for being "glibly dismissive" of Luke 3:11. His broader point is something I have read many times before, that the bible has far more to say about poverty and wealth and more criticisms of wealth than it has to say about homosexuality. Yet, where do modern evangelicals focus their concerns?

This is from part 2 of a three part series. I recommend reading reading part one here and part three here.


Haven't really been gone, actually, but have not found time to blog over the last few days. Working on a lot of stuff around the house and have just been busy.

Yesterday, however, I went to a Coffee Party meeting. It was very informative about the state of the Democratic party in Oklahoma. Not necessarily encouraging, but informative. One of the more disturbing trends is the increasing radicalization of the Oklahoma conservatives. As if they could get more conservative, one would have thought a year or so ago. Now, after passing laws that make women seeking an abortion fill out a detailed questionnaire for the web, undergo an invasive vaginal ultrasound probe, and then listen to a detailed description of the fetus' health (because women are idiots, obviously), we are witnessing the reality of Tea Party-type politics right in real life.

And it doesn't end there, of course. Just the other day, one of our idiots pushed a bill that would mandate that Oklahoma judges not consider Sharia law when judging cases. Why, you ask?

Good question. Evidently Rex Duncan (idiot) believes that the measure is necessary as a ""preemptive strike" against "liberal judges" who want to "undermine those founding principles" of America."

Oh how I do love idiots who genuinely believe that liberals hate America and want to destroy it. Thought about that yesterday when the young woman reporting on the state of the Democratic party and liberal interests in the state was moving to San Diego to be with her Marine husband who is about to be deployed.

Yeah, we hate America. What idiots. Seriously. What idiots.

In other parts of the country, the Tea Party appears to be imploding somewhat. In Nevada, they nominated a completely nut job who believes that the proper response to the oil spill is less government interference. Seriously. She also appears to be against fluoridated water. Purity of essence, after all.

It could end up saving Harry Reid's job, and polls show that the tea party is losing its luster nationally:
"It certainly doesn't help that the American mainstream is growing less impressed with the nascent right-wing initiative. The national Washington Post/ABC News poll has asked Americans if they have 'a favorable or unfavorable impression of the political movement known as the Tea Party.' Just three months ago, 41% had a favorable impression, while 39% had a negative one. Last week, the same poll found 36% with a favorable impression, and 50% with a negative one.

Kevin Drum summarized the problem nicely: 'Who could have predicted that a cranky, leaderless movement with no real goals and driven mostly by an inchoate sense of persecution, aggrievement, and Sarah Palin hero worship would eventually turn in on itself and splinter into a thousand embittered little pieces?'"

Unfortunately, that kind of reason is absent here in Oklahoma. As my friends noted yesterday, in any other state, the image of Mary Fallin (candidate for Governor) cheering on the Tea Party idiots would make her less attractive to the mainstream. But in Oklahoma, she can feature that as her message, and probably win pretty easily. We will undoubtedly get more wingnut legislation from these people.

June 8, 2010

Americans and torture

As political scientist Jonathan Bernstein notes, we are in a sad place now that Bush has openly endorsed and defended torture. Of course, for Bush and his defenders, all the torture is focused on KSM, and not on those who weren't actually 9-11 designers, and in many instances, were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

But Bernstein is actually addressing the GOP and suggests that it is hard to imagine a Republican nominee in 2012 who isn't a torture defender. I will take that further and make this prediction: the GOP nominee will openly defend torture, openly denounce evolution, openly dismiss climate change as a policy issue, openly call for more off-shore drilling, and will openly denounce any and all tax increases.

I could be wrong. I hope I am, actually, for the sake of the country. But I would be willing to put some money down on this.

The fact is that Bush's statement didn't even phase Republicans. They were more angered by Paul McCartney's joke about it being nice to have a President who knows what a "library is," than they were that their Christian President who said that Jesus was his favorite political philosophizer openly admitted to the public that he had authorized a torture technique that we have actually prosecuted in this country as a crime. Discussions with one of my evangelical friends leads me to believe that for many of them, torture in the abstract is wrong (and often associated with what happened to Jesus himself), but when it is focussed on some evil terrorist, those same evangelicals simply look away. As he said, they simply find it hard to have compassion for a terrorist.

There is a big part of your GOP base, after all, who heard Bush admit to torture and just simply looked away. The rest of the base is made up of people who have no problem with torture as an extension of power and exceptionalism. For them, this is a no-brainer. And then there are the principled actual "small government conservatives" who recognize that torture is the outcome of the government power power they fear. Unfortunately, for the GOP, those principled conservatives are relatively rare.

Instead, you have an awful lot of people who think that God is on our side so what we do is, by definition, ok when it is done to evil brown-skinned terrorists. And that is how you will get an open torture defender as GOP candidate in two years.

June 5, 2010

Saturday stuff

Yet another reason for us to really distrust the South--as a SC rep calls Obama and another candidate "rag heads" and says we "are at war over there." The candidate's father is from India.


The flotilla story continues to divide Americans. Liz Cheney criticized Obama for calling the deaths "tragic," which seems stupid even for her. And many have noted the confluence here of some liberal Jewish leaders with the sentiments expressed by conservative evangelicals--all defending Israel no matter what they do.

I understand why, well at least partly. I still find it odd that American evangelicals can make anti-Jewish jokes and even hold anti-Semitic views, but still see Israel as "their" country and heritage. I can't think of another example where people with no linguistic or ancestral connection to another country, but hold such strong opinions about their internal politics and pretend that they know what is best for that country. At least the far right in Florida dominating our Cuba policy are actually from Cuba.

June 4, 2010

Interesting discussion on the history of torture

Over at TNC's blog. And let me say, this is the kind of discussion that makes the internet worthwhile. If we had more of these, we might have a better republic.

But I digress. TNC is asking if torture is new, or if it is only new that we have a President who endorsed it. The best answer so far:

The crux is that America, in her founding documents and institutions, and in her public proclamations and claimed mores, has never done anything but condemn torture. Until now.

Prior to now, torture may have happened, but everyone involved would have the decency to try to deny that what happened was torture. If the evidence could not be denied, and the torturers were in positins of authority, professionals doing their duty would be expected to bring prosecutions or court-martials. Even the C.I.A. would try to deny or blame a "bad apple" in public, while he files would fall into a black hole and the Agency would disavow any knowledge of the individuals in question (handy, that).

There was, basically, a willful mythology about American virtue (the construction of which I will get into a little bit), but the point of the mythology was to hold people accountable to the ideal, because enforcing that ideal served our interests: powerful European states would treat us and ours better if we treated them well. Since we weren't generally in formally-declared wars with Natives, the laws of war weren't invoked as much, but every conflict the United States had with Britain and France and the Confederacy and Spain and Germany and Italy and Russia served our interests to legally assert that there were rules to prisoner conduct, and to explicitly adopt the higher moral ground. It served our troops, and supported our PR side of the conflict. The Union scored enormous support when Confederates massacred black troop captives - there was a powerful selfish interest to doing the right thing.

Where we have entered new historical territory isn't that Americans torturing people is new, or even the President secretly authorizing individual acts of torture is new. It is that the President and the Vice-President don't deny ordering activities that every international agent we have created and every relevant law we have passed defines as torture. They brag about it. And they do not expect to be held accountable to the rule of law for that brazen admission.

That is new. Historic. Horrifying - the State is now admitting, as the State, to the acceptability of the State officially torturing people for the common good.

June 3, 2010

Conservative opposition to tax increases is nonsensical

And, as Chait observes, denies some previous success by conservatives to achieve some conservative goals. In 1990, HW Bush made a deal with Democrats to cut spending and raise taxes. It was hardly a big tax increase, but it caused the right wing to freak and most likely lost Bush reelection. And the lesson learned?
"Since Bush's budget deal, not a single Republican member of Congress has agreed to raise taxes. It has been a stunning triumph of ideological discipline.

The funny thing is, Bush's deal worked. So did Bill Clinton's deficit reduction package three years later, which was structured along similar lines and overcame even more hysterical opposition from the right. It not only worked as intended, it represented possibly the single greatest triumph of domestic conservative policymaking of the postwar era."
Conservatives are still opposing any tax increase in the face of looming deficits, while the political will to cut the most expensive items simply doesn't exist. And further, even the Tea Party doesn't really want to cut those programs. They just want them to paid for with magic beans. Or, as Bruce Bartlett suggests, they really just want those government programs for themselves, and not for non-white people. Not that the Tea Party is racist or anything. No, not at all.

We are going to have to raise taxes. I am terrible at math and did poorly in the one accounting class I took in college, but even I know that. Republicans, however, will punish any Republican who dares suggest it. Because the Republican party has lost its freaking mind.

June 2, 2010

The Empathy Gap

Just returned from a fun weekend in San Antonio attending my neice's high school graduation. It was a whirlwind trip and a lot of time driving. We had a very nice time, including a great meal on the Riverwalk, and a memorable early morning with my niece and I taking my folks to the airport and then going to get donuts.

Back in Norman, and still resting up from the trip and the semester. I have been thinking about the concept of empathy, or that ability to put yourself in another person's shoes. My niece, btw, is someone who exemplifies that virtue. But I see a lot missing in the empathy area. Take the Miranda gutting ruling from the SCOTUS yesterday. I truly believe that the conservative approach to our world is incredibly lacking in empathy. There is no need to be worried about some defendant being grilled for hours on end without legal help--because only guilty people end up there. That could never happen to someone like me, right? As a friend said facetiously on Facebook, "if you are innocent, no need to worry."

I hear and have heard over the years a lot of talk about conservative Christians being under attack in this country. Seems like I have heard story after story over the last 20 years about the concerted liberal attack on Christians. Most of those stories turn out to not really be true, but the overall mentality of victimization seems to be constant.

But then I look at what they support, and I really believe they don't actually believe they are being attacked. If they did, I think they would see the world around them differently. Why, if you feared the government was after you, would you support less oversight for the police and government and fewer rules for the police? Wouldn't you look at torture and think, "hey, they could turn that on us, if they wanted." Or look at the Miranda ruling and think about how a liberal government might use those expanded police rules on anti-abortion protesters?

But they really don't believe the government is after them. They still think it works for them. So when torture is used, it is used only on non-Christians, and when interrogation rules are eased, it is only for use on guilty criminals and the poor. When Arizona starts asking for papers, it is only for those wetbacks. They really never believe that the government could be used against them.

So there are really two problems here. One is that they don't have a problem with the expansion of government power when it is applied to non-white, non-Christians. And the second is that they don't care what happens to those people.