Archive for the 'politics' Category

03
Jul
14

If Quakers and Jehovah’s Witnesses Had Petitioned the Supreme’s

Dear IRS,

I am a lifelong member of a religious order that counts pacifism among the tenants of our faith. This not because we do not love our country, but because we feel the Bible clearly shows (based on our interpretation) that human life belongs to God and taking a human life, for any reason, is an abomination. Even supporting the mechanism to take a life indirectly is considered a sin. So strongly do we hold this belief that we will not serve on juries where the death penalty is a possibility—again, not because we don’t feel some people are worthy of death, but because we feel that decision belongs to God and we will have sinned if we take it upon ourselves.

We are also taught that it is important to obey the laws of whatever land we live in. This means that if we go against those laws, for instance refusing military service during a draft, we must willingly subject ourselves to the legal punishment proscribed by law.

It was with some relief, then, that I heard about the Hobby Lobby decision by the Supreme Court which makes it clear that laws can be subjectively applied to suit religious beliefs. Based on my clearly held religious convictions, I demand to be reimbursed for any portion of my tax payments for the past 36 years that have gone to support the US military in missions that have resulted in loss of life. This violation of my beliefs has created an undue burden for my conscience, which can finally be rectified thanks to the Supreme Court’s decision that federal laws do not apply to people of faith.

If possible, can you provide line item data to indicate how many lives were lost and how they were lost. Just like Hobby Lobby, I demand the right to pick and choose what forms of state-sponsored murder I will support.  Since I don’t object to ALL military loss of life—just loss of life from active military actions, I will still cover friendly fire incidents and unfortunate accidents through my tax contributions–for now.

I would appreciate your attention to this matter immediately, as I am very busy combing through federal laws to see what else I may be exempt from.

Thank you

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29
Aug
10

Glenn Beck is Restoring Honor With a Chalkboard and Tears

Oh Lordy.  We have really gone down the rabbit hole as a country when Glenn Beck (Glenn freaking Beck, he of the crocodile tears and narcissistic hypochondria) is the standard by which we measure honor.

I think this whole situation illustrates why liberals generally don’t do as good a job as the right in dealing with demagogues. If the left had the same strategic (nasty) vision as the right, we would have no reservations about starting an internecine war within the ranks of the self-identified Evangelical Christians who follow Beck. A few well-placed talking points like, ‘Don’t Mormons have an entirely different interpretation of the role of Christ believing he is just one of many equally important saints? That doesn’t really seem to fit with our beliefs about our Lord and Savior, does it? I mean, I don’t know for sure and I’m not suggesting anything…just saying, is all.”

We could get out a chalkboard or even just a large highlighted index card (I think Fox has extras) and draw a diagram of the rise of the Anti-Christ, pointing out the the prophecy states believers would be deceived into believing he was an ‘angel of light.’ With a few simple chalk lines, we could demonstrate that those who consider themselves ‘believers’ were never fooled by the Kenyan usurper and never thought of him as an angel of light. Therefore, it is unlikely he is the Anti-Christ of prophecy. Many, though, have been convinced that a so-called ‘Christian’ from a suspect sect with a radically different view of Christ is the great leader, the angel of light, they’ve been looking for (remember, facts are not important here—our target audience doesn’t care about them and is too stupid to know the difference).

Of course, I’m not saying Beck is the Anti-Christ. Just that, according to our foolproof chalkboard logic, he totally fits the prophecy and it is good to be aware not just of pseudo-Muslims in our midst, but also potential blond, weepy Anti-Christs. It’s just that IF Beck is the Anti-Christ, which I am not saying he is—just that he totally fits the prophecy—and IF we ignore it, we will be ‘stabbing our Lord and Savior in the heart,’ something that Sarah Palin warned us not to do.

I know, I know. Good liberals would be appalled at the notion of using a person’s religion in such an unjust and obnoxious way to beat these bozos at their own game, i.e. turn their own screeching, angry mob against them. This is the difference between us and them and it is why they succeed through sheer lack of moral dignity. Difficult as it is to watch over and over again, I guess the losers in this game of guilt by innuendo and deceit actually are the winners.

04
Aug
10

Circle of Strife: The Problem with Extremism

I am convinced that the continuum of political persuasion is not linear with the extremes being at opposite ends, but more of an open circle motif.  When you bring the two ends together to create the circle, the extreme left and the extreme right are right next to each other, two versions of the same mental deficiency.  An email my daughter received from a far left lady who owns the farm where she used to board her horses provides some evidence to support my theory.  My daughter and her fellow boarders made the decision to leave the barn because the owner was slipping deeper and deeper into spiritualistic nonsense, like claiming she could hear the trees cry when they needed to nail fencing to them or insisting that the horses were telling her (and/or the horse psychic she hired from time to time) that they didn’t want to be ridden.  When her bizarre beliefs actually threatened the health and welfare of the animals she claimed to be protecting  the remaining boarders decided they would have to leave. They worried, needlessly it appears, about her reaction and the loss of income she would sustain. Here are some excerpts from her email sent in response to their notice that they would be leaving:

  • “I knew you would be leaving perhaps before you did.  I was asked by spirit to call together a small group of friends who are healers, intuitives and psychics.  We have been getting together once a month. Although we are not yet certain why we were asked to form this group some incredible things have come to light. My own abilities to communicate with spirits and animals are growing quickly.  Some changes have to come for this land to be all that it can be and one of those changes is that it be a non-riding barn.  Although I would never have asked you to leave I knew that the universe would resolve this for everyone’s higher good. I am not 100% sure but I think Creekside is destined to be a rescue barn. Things are happening so fast that I just have to trust the universe and accept.”

Alrighty, then.  So here we have a self-identified liberal who, like her far right counterparts, abdicates her obligation to think and reason in favor of leaving decisions in the hands of an invisible spirit.  No doubt she would accept the wisdom of runes or other ancient inspired writings over observable fact every time, as well.  So let’s compare ideologies, shall we?

Far Right Far Left
Rely primarily or solely on guidance from an invisible spirit who is presumed to have supernatural wisdom X X
Believe that ancient sacred writings are more relevant to human experience than centuries of documented human experience X X
Consider themselves to be victims of persecution when their belief system is challenged X X
Are willing to allow real harm to accrue to others rather than compromise on their beliefs X X

Perhaps I was primed to take a new look at extremism because of this email, but a recent article by David Corn in Mother Jones (“Confessions of a Tea Party Casualty”) got me thinking about what I would do if the extreme left took over the Democratic party in the same way the extreme right has for Republicans.  The article consists of an interview with Bob Inglis, long-time Republican representative from South Carolina who, although boasting a 93%  lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union, failed to be conservative enough for his district.  His crimes? 1.) Encouraging his constituents to think for themselves and ‘turn Glenn Beck off,’ 2.) Pointing out that it was in poor taste, just generally rude and disrespectful of the office  for Joe Wilson to shout ‘you lie’ at the American president in public, and 3.) Suggesting that efforts to label Obama a socialist or to challenge his birth legitimacy were ignorant distractions that kept elected officials from addressing the real problems facing the country.   Every one of these sins provided proof to the extreme right that Inglis was, unforgivably, living in the real world of reason.  In refusing to accede to their faith-based belief system in favor of getting to work on actual problems that need actual real-life solutions, he invited the righteous wrath of those who would prefer to go to their graves, fingers in ears, believing a beloved set of lies rather than to ever acknowledge the hard issues facing the real world.

Just to reinforce the conservative bona fides of Bob Inglis, this was one of the guys who made it his mission to take down Bill Clinton, wasting (as he now acknowledges) time and taxpayer money on a conservative vendetta against a guy they just didn’t like.  In fairness, there is a lot to not like about Bill Clinton as a person, but that has nothing to do with his governance and using elected office and taxpayer money to pursue a personal take down is more slimy than anything Clinton did while in office.

Inglis bemoans the demagoguery, ‘poisonousness’ and ignorance of the Teabaggers and their de facto leader, Sarah Palin.  He  despairs for his party and his country and in being bold enough to publicly denounce the nonsense that is going on in Republican circles he managed to do what I thought was impossible: Make me feel kinda sorry for someone whose political tactics I despised during the Clinton years.   I found myself trying to ‘walk a mile in his shoes’ and wondered what would happen if reasonable Democrats faced a parallel situation in our own party which, thankfully, I think is highly unlikely.

But what if?  What if those who espouse New Age dogma and advocate reliance on spirit voices for policy direction became the leading strident voices of the party (again, highly unlikely because the ritual practices that often go along with New Age spiritualism include imbibing ‘sensory enhancing’ substances that tend to make stridency all but impossible :-)).  What would I do?  I couldn’t in good faith support nonsense I felt to be endangering our country simply to stay loyal to a party, but neither could I jump ship to the other party simply because they were slightly less crazy (assuming their extreme faction was suitably contained–which it currently is not).  A philosophical shift of that magnitude would simply not be possible so I would be stuck, like Inglis, in ‘no-party’ land.

While I disagree with Bob Inglis on almost every issue of policy and would find it hard to ever trust him after the unseemly display that was the Clinton impeachment trial, I applaud him for having the cojones to call bullshit on teabagger nonsense despite knowing it would cost his career.  It is a brave politician these days who is actually willing to fight on issues rather than ideology.  If only the leadership of the party were equally brave.

*PS: In the Corn article, Inglis provides a chilling account of how deeply paranoia and mental illness penetrate the teabagger movement.  In this passage, he is describing a visit to a group of constituents who support the teabag movement. It should be required reading for independents and undecideds:

  • “I sat down, and they said on the back of your Social Security card, there’s a number. That number indicates the bank that bought you when you were born based on a projection of your life’s earnings, and you are collateral. We are all collateral for the banks. I have this look like, “What the heck are you talking about?” I’m trying to hide that look and look clueless. I figured clueless was better than argumentative. So they said, “You don’t know this?! You are a member of Congress, and you don’t know this?!” And I said, “Please forgive me. I’m just ignorant of these things.” And then of course, it turned into something about the Federal Reserve and the Bilderbergers and all that stuff. And now you have the feeling of anti-Semitism here coming in, mixing in. Wow.”

These are the ‘real Americans’ Palin would like to see run this country.

28
Feb
10

Seriously, How Embarrassing Is this?

Sarah Palin Bobblehead now on sale for the amazingly low price of your soul!  Self-esteem layaway available for those who qualify (must be paid up members of the NRA).

Sarah Palin Bobble, Babble, Bubblehead Doll

I guess it’s just a good thing Sarah Palin feels no shame or her life would be a daily morass of unbearable humiliation.

Still, it’s better than this little gem:

Sarah Palin "Feti" Ornament Complete with Guns and Ammo

26
Feb
10

confessions of a ‘dummercrat’

Not exactly sure how or why this comment was apropos of the article it appeared under, which was a Washington Post (very bland) news piece about the unexpected retirement of Palin’s loyal and often deceitfully vicious spokesperson, Meg Stapleton.  To support her favorite narcissist, Stapleton said some thoroughly nasty (and demonstrably untrue) things about a number of her fellow Alaskans–of both parties–hopefully rendering her unemployable in her adopted state (not very likely–she’s a rat and they always win the rat race).  However, her unprofessionalism is not even mentioned in this article and I don’t see any serious effort to slam Palin either.  Apparently some of her rabid followers are so accustomed to martyr mode, they are now unable to actually read.  Here is the delightful insight of one such follower, followed by my response:
From ‘marilyn80’

Yep,you betcha all you liberals,Obamacrats
and dimwit Dummercrats are soooo totally
afraid of Sarah Palin that you foam at the
mouth and rabidly attack her insanely!…
And that alone tells me that we need to
elect Sarah Palin our next President in
2012! Take back America for Americans,
Arrest,Deport All Illegal Aliens,Starting
With Barack Hussein Obama and his Illegal
Alien Court Ordered Deported Aunt To Kenya!

My response:
“marilyn80,
It’s hard to know how to respond to such a well-thought out, cogent, articulate take- down of liberals, but let me try. As liberal ‘dummercrat,’ I personally am not afraid of Mrs. Palin. I am, however, afraid of the collective intellect of a country that could allow a person of such documented bad character, intellectual laziness and insignificant accomplishment rise to the level of serious contention for national office.  It is people who believe that making up junior-high worthy names for their opponents is a legitimate political strategy and who consider ‘common sense’ to be spitting out a slew of platitudes disconnected from any real facts about the issues facing this country that I fear.  It is the people who reject any form of serious discourse as ‘elitist’ and who demand proof of patriotism via shouting match; the ones who measure the value of a discussion by how often the terms ‘our freedoms’ and ‘our rights,’ (but never ‘our responsibilities as citizens’) are used–those are the people I fear. It is the people who arrogantly tout their citizenship rights while at the same time claiming to ‘hate’ the government of which they are citizens who frighten me. The people who will vocally proclaim the US government worthy of destruction without giving serious consideration to what that actually means–it is those people who cause me sleepless nights.  It is the people who want government out of health care for everyone else, but don’t want their Medicare or Social Security benefits touched, those whose love of this country extends only as far as what they can take from it, not what they can give back to it–those are the people who scare the shit out of me.  And it doesn’t matter whether they are ‘dummercrats,’ Teabagger’s or conservatives.  Wherever they might be found, it is the arrogantly selfish and ignorant who are the biggest threat to this country, not a single foolish woman from Alaska.
Palin is a symptom, not the disease. The disease is ill-informed hysteria masquerading as legitimate grievance (not that there aren’t legitimate grievances–it’s just that so far the angry self-centered Teabaggers with Palin as their de facto leader have not managed to get the facts of any of them right). The primary symptom is the apparent inability of grown adults to distinguish between complete silliness and the sober, serious, adult deliberation that will be required to get things back on track in this country. But, hey, calling me a dummercrat has really opened my eyes. How can anyone argue with the brilliance of a zinger like that?”

She seems a bit fixated on others foaming at the mouth, which is just a tad ironic. Maybe Marilyn IS 80 and her verbal vomit is a sign of incipient dementia. After all (and speaking for myself), we are not all destined to be sweet  little old ladies…

As for Mrs. Palin, as Ralph Waldo Emerson said “No change of circumstances can repair a defect in character.”

26
Feb
10

Palin: “Let the Free Market Fix Health Care”

Why is she so grumpy? At least SHE has health insurance.

After all, that’s worked so well up to this point. Wonder if she knows that the health insurance industry has an exemption from the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, so that they are not currently and never have operated in a “traditionally free market way of doing business in our economy?” They enjoy special rules that allow them to create monopolies and price-fix legally.  The exemption was supposed to expire in 1947, but effective lobbying has kept it in place. How else can you explain why the sole private insurer allowed to sell insurance in much of of the state of Michigan is able to propose a 56% rate hike?  In what other ‘traditional market-based’ economy would a company be able to pull that crap and get away with it?  They can do it because there are no other insurance options in much of Michigan (and even if there were, premium pricing would be legally fixed to benefit the insurer) so the population has no other choice–pay or be without insurance. Michigan is just the most outrageous example.  It is happening all over and the Republicans see no problem with this. This is no ‘invisible free hand of the market,’ this is straight up, in your face, very visible middle finger of the market aimed directly at the American people

14
Feb
10

“It’s Our Right to Live in a Cesspool”

So sayeth the brain trust known as the Utah House of Representatives.  Again, this a political hot button issue where both sides are fighting the wrong argument.  Whether you believe in global climate change or not, it is still hard to understand the pathological selfishness that would drive modern humans to consume and pollute until they leave a desiccated shell of a planet for future generations.  After all, even the lowliest animals know better than to shit where they eat.  Why is this concept so hard for us to grasp?  We fight tooth and nail for the right  to turn our home into a cesspool.  Does it really matter whether science can definitively prove global warming when the air and water we depend on for life is often so polluted it needs to be avoided?  Does the irony of a Utah citizen who couldn’t walk to the capital to witness the signing of a (pretentious, yet completely non-binding) resolution to remove all restrictions on carbon emissions due to the ‘faulty’ and false science of global warming because there were air quality advisories that required humans to stay indoors not about say it all?

If we insist on living like pigs we’re going to end up in a sty.  This would be bad enough if we alone suffered the consequences of our piggish behavior, but that is not the case. We are ruining the planet for future generations–something we simply do not have the right to do.   This is not about whether the Earth is getting warmer or not. This is about behaving like responsible, grown-up stewards of a lovely piece of property.  It’s time to call out the deniers for what they really are: Selfish, spoiled and lazy people who think they should be able to do whatever makes their short and most likely meaningless lives a wee bit more convenient regardless of the permanent damage it does to others around them.  Has this Earth ever had to face such an ignorant and boldly self-centered threat as industrialized modern humans?  It seems that many of these stellar citizens also claim to be Christians and it is not a stretch to assume that a good number of the Utah House of Representatives are members of the Mormon faith.   I wonder what they think the writer, who they contend was ‘inspired by God,’  meant in Rev. 11:18 where God promises to “destroy them which destroy the Earth?”  (King James version).




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