September 30, 2011

Hey, Mitch Daniels, perhaps you should have thought of fiscal issues when you worked for Bush

Incredibly frustrating interview on NPR with Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels. This little news blurb only focuses on the ponzi scheme crap, but the bigger issue is that he is suggesting that this is a watershed year where Americans can rethink Medicare if Republicans are strong enough. Because, of course, we are in a bad financial situation.

Yeah, I get that, but one of my biggest frustrations right now is the Republicans who drove us into the fucking ditch now complaining about fiscal responsibility. Since they are fond of the house economy metaphor, it is like the home owner deciding--after purchasing the house--to purposefully cut his income by 50%, but then telling the bank, "hey, I can't afford this house, and it is your fault."

Or as I told a very annoying Republican the other day, the scenario is a bit like this: our city is on fire, and the Republicans don't want to talk about blame because blame is besides the point--it is political gamesmanship--unless, of course, the blame is Obama or Clinton. After all, both the Fire Dept and the Arsonist are equally to blame. But no, we should not talk about blame, but talk about the fire that we refuse to put out. No, we can't put out the fire, because we can't afford to put it out, and the only way we can put out the fire is to take money from the widows and orphans or the terrorists win. But we should talk to the arsonists to see what they think, because their ideas are better anyway. Sure there are some extremists in the arsonist party, but so with the Fire dept. Sure, the Arsonists are led by their extremists, but the Fire Dept has Maxine Waters. And Obama may not really be a Christian. But we can't raise taxes to fight the fire, because that will just punish the fire producers. And we can't really trust the Fire Department, the Arsonists say, because they know--they used to run it and they refused to put out fires. Proves that the Fire Department is inept. Duh.

Yeah, I know that all sounds ridiculous, but no more so than what passes for Republican thought these days. It is depressing.

September 21, 2011

Georgia about to execute and innocent man

By all accounts, at the very least, there is more than reasonable doubt about his guilt.

Which reminds me of the very clear truth that American Christians only believe the Bible when it serves their political beliefs. That passage Monk pointed us to in Exodus suggests that God would be very angry with the execution of an innocent man, yet I see no hand-wringing from the right. No fears that they might be aiding and abetting an injustice. No, from my conservative friends, all I hear is the morality, or Biblical support for the death penalty.


I love Elizabeth Warren

Just check how clearly and nicely she points out the obscenity of the "class warfare" nonsense.

September 20, 2011


Not surprising, but disappointing. I have a conversation ongoing with a few conservative Christians through Facebook, and I am rather amazed at their lack of knowledge. One told me that feeding the poor was a "suggestion" but the real issue was getting them to Jesus.

No word about what to do to the poor people who have already converted. I guess they are good.

The other spouted Fox News talking points on everything from taxation rates, to welfare, to government ineptitude. This, from a guy who "ministers" to college students. Is it too much to ask that they at least have their facts straight?

Evidently. Jesus doesn't require attention to detail. Just fervency.


September 16, 2011

Michele Bachmann is not just a liar, she is an irresponsible bitch!

Maybe I am the only one hung up this. Maybe I am the only one who somehow is trying to make sense of people who claim the Bible as their guide and then do unspeakable things. And not just in their weakness, but on purpose and without apology.

For me, this latest by Michele Bachmann is the most irresponsible callous and cynical thing she could possibly do. To make political points, she spread lies about Gardosil and then refuses to even consider what she did. There is something unbelievable about someone this hateful to put forward a completely anecdotal story about some woman with a retardation side effect, and then say, "the American people can make up their own mind." No, you fucktard, you are asking the American people to elect you to the highest office, and you don't just get to throw around such accusations. You don't get to cause parents to not vaccinate their kids and possibly open them to serious illness down the road, SIMPLY BECAUSE YOU ARE A CONNIVING BITCH.

But it is all good. God told her to run, and he doesn't do bad stuff. Obviously everyone here can see this shit for what it is. Too bad the entire Republican party has decided to abdicate such responsibility and take the risk that a soul-less moron like this could one day be President. Fuck that.

September 15, 2011

Faith? Or Gullibility?

Leighton, as he often does, made a very insightful comment on the blog post about Rick Perry as some kind of "super christian" (my words, btw).
It's not just that the U.S. Christian experience doesn't require deep thinking. It also discourages even basic situational awareness and wariness of being manipulated, almost to the point where gullibility is considered a spiritual virtue.
The first part, we have talked about at length here. The deep thinking theologians of the past are gone from most American Christian's lives, to be replaced by Max Lucado and the Purpose Driven Life, or Prayer of Jabez. Those people may be genuine in their faith, I really don't know. But their approach is paper thin, and easily understood, which further leads to the idea that Christianity is easy and apparent.

But it is that second part that has me thinking. I know many, many, many people of faith, and consider myself one. But I have seen an increasing amount of this kind of gullibility masquerading as faith. We see it in our political figures all the time. But I think it has to do with the increasing emphasis on the "personal relationship" and a sharp decrease in both critical thinking and accountability. When it is all about the personal relationship, then when someone says, "God told me this" who can disagree? Who can say? And in fact, speaking to Leighton's point, questioning that is not a virtue, or about accountability, but rather discouraged. Those kind of pronouncements are meant to be greeted with nodding heads and "amens." Which has given us George Bush telling us that God told him to invade Iraq, and everyone in the GOP platform assuring us that God is their bestest buddy and the one from which they get all their insight and values. Like killing people. Or mocking the poor.

As a kid, I loved Louis L'Amour books, and probably read all of them multiple times. Cheesy, but fun, and in that vein, one of the characters was fond of saying, "Trust in the Lord, but keep your powder dry." The metaphor of taking care of what you could, while maintaining some faith in something bigger than yourself has always made sense to me. Because I don't want to dismiss completely the supernatural nor the issue of faith in the people around me. There are too many I respect who can speak to elements of that. But surely the critical thinking and groundedness has a place too.

Does God heal? I have no clue. I haven't ever seen it, but in the mode of our current language, any medical turnaround would be deemed God's healing. Any rational explanation is immediately dismissed. And in fact, as we have talked about here, faith is simply inserted in areas where the rational and logical explanation is unwelcome. Don't like evolution? That's ok. You can just insert faith instead and talk about what you believe or don't believe.

Does God communicate directly to people? I have no idea. He doesn't to me, but I am not so arrogant to assume that I am the norm. But I do know this. I can't even count the times that someone has said "God led me to this" that turned out to be a bad idea. But you can't question those callings or "words" from God, and seemingly, you can't even follow up after and just fess up that it wasn't God at all, but the little "me" that wanted to do that.

Because what passes for faith now is starting to really piss me off. It is the kind of faith that has millions of Christians sitting on their hands (or worse) while their representatives demonize the poor, celebrate the deaths of others, defend torture, and brag about destroying God's creation. If conservative Christianity can't see through that?

September 14, 2011

Perry as super Christian

Just read this and felt like returning to my Saturday night puke-fest. Unbelievable. This is what I just sent a friend as an email, and it works as an angry blog post too:
This arrogant, cruel, and often stupid person is selling himself the same way all Republicans now sell themselves--as a good Christian man in relationship with God. And you know what? As long as he doesn't raise people's taxes, have sex with an intern, nor institute a draft, the evangelical crowd (if history is any guide) will accept that as good enough. Which is why the Christian experience has been so cheapened, that it can be simply turned into a greeting card, t-shirt, or bumper sticker. No deep thinking needed. Oh and of course, no one will check to see if he is actually treating people like a Christian. That is the wonderful thing about this. It is like a free pass. As long as you can shout Jesus loud enough, and invoke enough little churchy phrases, that constitutes a close personal relationship with God.

Sally Kern as member of IndigNation

Fred Clark nails it again, I think, in this brilliant piece: The IndigNation, defending bullies and the martyr Sally Kern | slacktivist. I have always tried to find a way to describe the victimhood of the right, but this is a better way of saying it.

Kern's arrogance at calling criticism of her "stoning" is really interesting, and speaks to another trend that I find very troubling in the far right--the complete unwillingness to admit error. Bush couldn't do it. Palin can't even conceptualize the idea, and it seems that Romney can only admit error when it was the right thing to do--like providing healthcare. I was thinking about that with regard to the death penalty, and Rick Perry's horrible record of being the most deadly governor in history, or some such fact. This has included several that were questionable at best, including the story of Cameron Todd Willingham who was executed in 2004 based on some very questionable evidence. Questionable enough, at least, to provide more than credible questions to his conviction. After the execution, when people wanted to inquire, Perry shut down the investigation, and still claims that there is no evidence of innocence. Except there was.

Conservative Christians are fond of quoting scripture when it helps their case. Verses condemning homosexuality are well known, and I have been told over and over that God "hates" homosexuality, and that is not up for debate. But as I have argued, it is amazing to me how many scripture verses on wealth, or poverty, or war and peace are equally as adamant as those on the OT on gays--but those are never read as absolutes. They are read with context and nuance and, ultimately, with the conclusion, "God didn't mean that being rich was a problem," or "God didn't really mean to love our enemies as ourselves" and surely "God didn't mean that if someone asks for our coat we should give them our shirt as well," because that would be welfare. As our friend Monk pointed out in the comments at ATK, the Bible is pretty strident about executing the innocent:
Exodus 23:6 "Do not deny justice to your poor people in their lawsuits. 7 Have nothing to do with a false charge10 and do not put an innocent11 or honest person to death,12 for I will not acquit the guilty. (NIV)

Funny how I have never heard that one before. Funny how that has never come up in conversation when invoking the scriptures to defend this institution. Sadly, I have had conversations with Christians where even the prospect of an innocent person being executed was not a deal breaker.

But imagine if all the scriptures were actually taken as seriously as the ones condemning homosexuality? Imagine the response to torture, or to cutting off funding for the disabled poor? Or perhaps, the Tea Party would have shuddered softly at the sound of the 200 plus executions rather than openly applauding. Or perhaps, even, if Rick Perry were half as devout as he claimed, he would have embraced the investigation into Willingham's execution as a chance to either exonerate the system, or provide an opportunity for asking forgiveness for failing God in this effort.

Yet, clearly, the only scripture verses that are really that sacred, are those that reinforce their pre-existing views. Because Perry and the Tea Party see the judicial system as flawed when it lets off someone like OJ Simpson, but without possibility of failure when it executes the huge numbers they run through their death chair. And not a thought seems to pass their mind that perhaps, perhaps, there is something worth checking out.

As many have noted, the states with the highest execution rates used to lead us in lynching. And I am afraid that the Tea Party crowd (as Monk again pointed out) that cheered Perry's execution record, is the same crowd that used to flock around the hanging black person for a picture.

That isn't Christian.

September 13, 2011

Jon Stewart brilliant yet again

What happens if you post a blog and no one reads?


Or perhaps we are just in a time when people are busy with work, families, etc. I know it has been a rough couple of days for me. I contracted some kind of stomach bug that showed itself with a vengeance late Saturday night. I don't think I have ever been that sick, and I am still feeling a little run over.

But reading the news doesn't help either. As I posted earlier, it is hard to find the words to describe the Tea Party assholes who cheerfully shout "yes" to the question "should we let an uninsured person die rather than pick up the tab?" The same type of people, I am sure, cheered Rick Perry's record number of executions. And, I am sure, these are the same idiots who bought Sarah Palin's "death panel" nonsense. Seems like they really weren't concerned about death panels after all, just wanted to make sure it was applied to people they don't like.

As many of my FB friends have noted, many of them, undoubtedly, see themselves as strong believers. That is just a reminder to Christian conservatives what they have lost by selling their faith to the person who shouts "jesus" the loudest.

Yeah, you get these misanthropes. Running for President. With a crowd cheering them on, just as that same crowd would have cheered a public lynching 100 years ago.

My sense is that my conservative friends see the Tea Party the same way they do Rush Limbaugh or Pat Robertson--as an idiot who is unfortunately on the same side of the party line as they are. Of course, they miss how it is these idiots who are shaping their party's policies. But they also miss how their other Republicans are working steadily to stop government from working so they can run on the claim that government doesn't work well.

It won't get better, I am afraid, until grownup Republicans who actually do believe in good governing and don't want people to die in the streets start taking responsibility for who they elect. If the nutjobs in your base nominate a right wing idiot, you don't have to vote for him or her simply because they have an R next to their name. And maybe, just maybe, this bullshit of skating by as a low information voter has to stop. The stakes are just too high.

Tea Party Debate Audience Cheers Idea Of Letting Sick Man Without Insurance Die (VIDEO) | Election 2012

Don't really have to say much more about the Tea Party do you? Than This following last week's cheering of Perry's record executions?

I used to wonder why people were so resistant to universal care of some sort and argued that we already had it in the most inefficient form possible--the emergency room. But that was all predicated on the idea that we were civilized and relatively human so that we would never just allow someone to die without trying to provide care--even if they could not afford it.

Turns out, the Tea Party has the answer. Screw them. Let them die.

And some have wondered why I have no respect for the Tea Party.

September 4, 2011

Republicans as a crazy criminal gang

Worth the read, from the very clear recognition that the Ayn Rand wing wants to completely undermine the social safety net, to the pro-war regardless of the consequences wing. Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult | Truthout. But my favorite line was a quote he pulled from someone else. Best description of the Republican party to date:
"Over the last four decades, the Republican Party has transformed from a loyal opposition into an insurrectionary party that flouts the law when it is in the majority and threatens disorder when it is the minority. It is the party of Watergate and Iran-Contra, but also of the government shutdown in 1995 and the impeachment trial of 1999.
This is the party that once was headed by Dwight Eisenhower, but now very willingly holds a gun to the American economy for its own agenda. Amazing.

September 2, 2011

Christian America

As Obama's poll numbers drop, I start to get nervous that we are looking at electing another idiot. And that has made me pretty angry at my conservative Christian friends. I know they are better people than this. I don't get why they can look at the current GOP's and their war on the poor, disabled, environment, women, etc. and not wince. I don't get why they can't look at Obama and see someone who is shockingly conservative--given all the rhetoric about his radicalism.

But mostly, I am increasingly angry at conservative Christians. In the last 30 years, they have made Christian America a theme, and have nearly required that their politicians be conservative Christians. Reminds me of two responses. One was Anglican, who used to respond to the Christian America with the very apt response, "so how Christian did we act?" The other was a paraphrase on Ghandi, who famously said, when asked what he thought of western civilization, that he thought it "would be a good idea."

But set aside the history of Indian removals, land theft, treaty violations. And let's forget slavery, child labor, and the invasion of Mexico--by our supposedly Christian ancestors. Let's just look at the last 30 years. Conservative Christians have taken over the Republican party and routinely push their faith in our halls of government. How has that worked out? Are we a more moral people? Are we better to the poor and needy? Are we more about peace and less about war? Do we value honesty and ethics more?

When I watch Palin, Bachmann, Perry--all the favorites of the religious right--I am stunned by their hostility to others, their derision toward anyone who disagrees. And I am stunned by their heartlessness. And none of those actions cause any problems among their conservative backers. Christians I know and respect just shrug off behavior that they would never tolerate in their own kids.

And what about policies? It is harder to get an abortion in this country, that is for sure. If that is good for you, then I guess you cheer it. I am not convinced. And we seem to see less nudity in films. More violence, but less nudity. If that is good for you, then woohoo.

What else have we accomplished? We have more kids in poverty. We have a growing obesity problem. And, as I noted, while we might not show breasts as much in film, we had a very popular television show that celebrated and defended torture. We have more people, in general, in poverty. We have stagnating wages and vast and growing income inequality. We have a healthcare situation where some parts of America are like a developing country in need of Doctors without Borders, but the religiously pious call healthcare reform "socialism." We easily bomb other countries, but do very little about famine in Africa. Ethnic cleansing and genocide barely make the news, but we were consumed for months about whether the President was, in fact, born in Hawaii. We have Christians who now, routinely, deny scientific evidence, not because they see flaws in the methodology, or data collection, but because they just don't like the conclusion and don't "believe" it to be true. And we have Christian conservatives cutting funding for the neediest of the needy while cutting taxes for the rich and powerful.

If that is Christianity, then I am confused.

September 1, 2011

Conservative Jesus Press conference

Washington, DC (AP) - After keeping a low profile, Conservative Jesus held his first public press conference early this morning to clarify the stances taken in his name. "WWJD? That was about me, so I thought I would be direct with the American people (who I prefer, naturally) about my beliefs. So many politicians like to claim to represent me (cough, cough, Obama), but only the conservative ones do," said CJ during his opening statement. A full transcript will be available later, but here are the highlights of CJ's policy, moral, and ethical beliefs.

--on climate change--"Humans can't be responsible because I am in charge. And there is no reason to stop making money to protect any part of my creation."

--on the poor and working class--"Snort. Those lazy people have gotten a free ride for far too long. Time for them to pay more in taxes. If they want government services like fire, police, and sanitation, time to step up and pay even more of their meager wealth."

--on political discourse--"Sure, I said a lot of things in the NT about treating people well, but that was only intended for your friends. You don't have to be respectful, honest, or anything to liberals."

--on the growing homeless--"Most of them are mentally ill."

--on the disabled poor--"Seriously? They want to stay alive? Ok, but don't ask the rich and powerful to do anything. Unless they want, of course, but I am not going to make them. As I often said, "Blessed are the rich and powerful because I like them SOOO much."

Conservative Jesus ended the press conference by praising Tea Party and Republican conservatives for holding to their principles of protecting the rich and powerful and demonizing the poor. "That is just how we did it in my day."