Thursday, February 23, 2012

Oh please

Marvelous Mitt must be desperate to have something scary to say to distract Republicans from the religious wedge issues the public is getting tired of. He'd rather not talk about religion anyway and he needs of course, to distract from the dumb things he keeps saying. So he's had to come up with something dumber, if not quite original.

Remember when Darth Cheney told us in solemn tones that "Obama will be tested" and that there would be an onslaught of terrorist attacks should we be so foolish as to elect him; that candy-ass, ultra-liberal crypto-pacifist, watermelon stealing coward? Well Republicans may not remember, but we all know the result - more terrorists killed than ever and that includes Osama bin Laden. I think he's passed the test.

No, he didn't take our guns, he didn't make capitalism or Christianity illegal, he didn't appoint Jesse Jackson as Secretary of State and he didn't give us a huge middle class tax increase or a confiscatory corporate tax rate. He didn't institute Sharia law. In fact he's usually done the opposite of what the Chicken Littles have been squawking about for 4 years now.

So a return to objective reality not being possible when your entire platform and your strongest base are pickled in delusion and ignorance, what option does he have but to go nuclear? That's right, if we re-elect the president, the world will be blown up in a nuclear holocaust says Mr. Bluster of the plastic face.
" If I’m president, that will not happen. If we re-elect Barack Obama it will.”
I couldn't make this shit up, but then, I couldn't make this Mitt up. I couldn't vote for him either.

“Ahmadinejad having fissile material that he can give to Hezbollah, Hamas, and that they can bring into Latin America, and that they can potentially bring across the border into the United States to let off dirty bombs here — or more sophisticated bombs here.”

Sure Mitt, Just like Saddam Hussein's nuclear weapons were potentially going to be smuggled into Peoria in a briefcase even though he had none, nor the means to make them, and we had to blow a few trillion and kill nearly a million to wipe him out -- and why is Obama going to get us into a nuclear war? Why, says make it up as you go along Mitt, because he hasn't been threatening to blow Iran off the surface of the planet for even thinking about it and possibly because according to the Secretary of Defense, Iran hasn't been doing much more than thinking and blustering about building one.

"Potentially." It's such a great word to weave a plot around. Potentially I'm an NBA linebacker who writes music like Mozart and travels the world in his magic submarine fighting for justice. Is Romney potentially a President? Oh please.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Plan B From Outer Space

It's hard to observe the growing and comical chaos in the GOP without thinking of B movie icon Ed Wood and his Plan 9 From Outer Space, wherein space aliens resurrect dead humans as zombies and vampires to stop evil men from creating the 'Solaranite' bomb. With the Republican circus trying to breathe life into mouldering, uncouth candidates reciting ancient and eldritch formulae to fight the evil Bill of Rights, secularism and the Obama Bomb, it's harder and harder to avoid the suspicion that this is only a movie.

With the economy showing signs of recovery and the ability to substantiate the hysterical portraits of Obama as a Kenyan Communist, Indonesian Socialist ally of big banks, Wall Street and the World Caliphate fading, the GOP must feel like Ed Wood trying to piece together a movie with $273.50 left in the checking account and an unwritten plot. The rising star candidate and the great white hope is making such a fuss about the need for a gospel-based theocracy with sex by permission only that any platform they can cobble together at this point would be so far beyond city limits and so rickety it can't support itself much less a coherent and discernable political position.

Whispers are being heard, writes today, about coming up with a new candidate for the GOP ticket and ditching the Chameleon, the Worm and the cut-rate Rasputin. Finding any brand new candidate with any potential of being passed of as sane or decent (if not quite qualified) is remote, as the Tea Party element and the Holy Rollers simply won't accept him any more than they did Huntsman. The rest of the black-hearted Plutocrats aren't going to support Ron Paul and even if they could bring back Reagan from the dead, he wouldn't pass muster as a Conservative in today's party. Who ya gonna call?

The prospect of an open convention with desperate delegates acting like football hooligans in Tampa this August must have Republican strategists doubled over with cramps trying to come up with a plan B before the Grand Old Barrel goes over the falls in November.

With an inability to field a credible candidate so late in the game, the voters are going to have to reconsider a blind allegiance to a party that can't run itself much less a complex 21st century superpower.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sex. Lies and Santorum

"He is imposing his values on the Christian church. He can categorize those values anyway he wants. I’m not going to,”
lied Republican candidate Rick Santorum to an assemblage of Tea Bag idiots immediately after having categorized President Obama's "values" and his "agenda"as being
“not about you. It’s not about your quality of life. It’s not about your jobs. It’s about some phony ideal. Some phony theology. Oh, not a theology based on the Bible. A different theology,”

Yes, some phony ideal is on the agenda. A phony ideal involving liberty, Democracy and a constitution that never mentions God or gods or scriptures of any religion and declares that there shall be no religion in government. Science is a phony ideal to sanctimonious Santorum too because we all know that Senators Jesus, Mary and Joseph agree with the oil companies and that the president's job, as 'Rick' told the 'baggers, is to keep gas prices down (and the subsidies up, no doubt.)

No sir, all that Washington, Jefferson and Madison secular prattle is phony and if we're looking for full employment, a decent quality of life and personal liberty you must turn to The Christian Scriptures which forbid us to charge interest on a loan or obtain a divorce or marry whom we will or even to enjoy sex when it isn't only for making babies. Some churches I won't mention have interpreted it to demand a king chosen of God rather than an elected government, but don't bother Rick with that. It's already on his agenda.

So why is this sex-fearing, woman hating, half-witted fake theologian; this lame-brained Longinus and meretricious medievalist mewling about theology while pronouncing Ernulphian maledictions on what he pretends are President Obama's values, cursing them one by one? Because theological statements don't have to be true, you see; don't have to be supported by evidence and are easily and frequently used to do horrible things to people. Cognitively impaired, confused and historically ignorant "conservatives" seem pre-lubricated to receive ecclesiastical wisdom without discomfort and Faith invents facts as well as it rejects them to the despair of brother Ockham.

So Obama, who thinks a Harvard Law degree makes him as good as a white. Christian man, agrees with Justice Scalia that religious freedom does not legalize acts done in the name of religion and yet, conservatives still want to shove the notion that he's a radical, Liberal, Christian-hating Sodomite Commie up the national hoo-ha and true to form, the 'baggers assume the position and take it.

How can any curse suffice?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Virginia, the Rape Me State

Sic Semper Tyrannus is the motto of the State of Virginia, but as with any matters involving Republicans, a government is not a tyranny if it subjugates individual liberty to the prejudices and perverted morals of the Religious Right. I read over at The Impolitic that Virginia passed a law last week forcing any woman seeking a legal abortion to have an ultrasound examination. For those who don't know, this means that for a pregnancy in the first trimester, she must, by law, have a probe inserted into her vagina and maneuvered around by a technician until an ultrasound image satisfactory to the state is produced. As Libby points out, without that state mandate, this meets a general description of rape.

It doesn't take much to imagine the feelings, for example, of a 14 year old rape victim being violated a second time by the accursed state that murdered Lincoln and had no reservations about taking children from their mothers and selling them -- or raping those mothers for that matter. It's a state that talks a lot about Jesus and distrusts those who don't. It's a state wherein people tend to like Rick Santorum and others who have a lot to say about what consenting adults can do with what and with which and to whom -- and talk about Jesus and small government a lot.

Keep in mind, this is not an examination done for a medical reason. It's not done to protect the public from a disease or to protect the woman to whom it's being done. It's not something that one can opt out of. It's an act of intimidation and a deliberate act of humiliation. It was passed because of the religious objections of men who were elected to represent everyone, but instead represent preachers and priests -- and in a state that has just decided that a single cell has civil rights but a breathing female of child bearing age has not, can't we be excused for wondering whether these "conservatives" will either ban contraception soon or require some other humiliating procedure before allowing it?

Can't I be excused for seeing this insane drive to bring back the horrors of medieval Europe in high-tech form to a nation that was formed by repugnance for it as anything at all but Conservative?

Where is the outrage from actual conservatives? You know, those people who insist on a government too weak to do anything but leave us alone. I guess when those sentiments put them in a light that makes them seem too much like Liberals who designed a government that must leave us alone and respects the sanctity of our persons, our bodies, our homes and our rights, they scurry like roaches when the lights are switched on. They scurry because they're the same roaches who supported the horror of slavery, the obscenity of racism and are still at war with the rights of women and a government that protects them.

Conservatives, and this liberal, often decry the trend, falsely identified as Liberal, toward seeking safety by making the public helpless and dependent on authority, but it's in conservative strongholds like the secessionist states that we see just how much that obscene ecclesiastical tyranny has made the weakest and most vulnerable totally dependent upon the state in the most personal way. Small government my ass, it's the old Confederacy out of it's coffin like a putrefying zombie, its pockets filled with church money, corporate money, the money of tyrants staggering toward Washington to eat your freedom.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Mars needs women

It's an odd fact that, for some male astronauts like former Space Station resident Mike Barratt, spending 6 months without gravity produces changes in vision that often are irreversible. He went up nearsighted and needing glasses for distance and came down eagle eyed and needing reading glasses. His condition seems permanent. The phenomenon is under serious study at NASA which is concerned that the possibility of a long trip to Mars might just carry the risk of blindness. Just why it happens and whether or not it can be prevented may be, according to, the determining question as to "whether he or any other astronaut ever journeys into deep space or sets foot on other worlds."

Prolonged weightlessness causes papilledema -- a swelling of the optic nerve for about half the male astronauts, some of whom recover and others, like Barratt do not. Women seem to be immune. Of course another question that doesn't seem to be addressed here is why we don't just hire more female astronauts? Sometimes we obsess so much about a puzzling matter that we neglect to look at obvious alternatives.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Every sperm is a baby

It will always be impossible to convince all religious people that religion isn't the mother of religious fanaticism and of the self-righteousness that makes fanaticism so dangerous. In fact they may be right in that such ego disorders seem to be a general human failing, albeit one that so often finds a home in Churches, Mosques and Synagogues -- but that doesn't soften the fear that from the frustration believers in old religions feel about the implacable advance of what I like to call enlightenment, a movement will arise like movements in the past to overthrow an age of reason and science and relative freedom.

"any action in which a man ejaculates or otherwise deposits semen anywhere but in a woman’s vagina shall be interpreted and construed as an action against an unborn child.”

There seems to be nothing in that statement that might hint it did not originate in the 5th century before the Christian era and nothing to suggest that it wasn't a measure introduced by a Republican, but alas, neither is true. Oklahoma State Senator Constance Johnson is a Democrat and she has introduced an amendment to pending Senate Bill 1433, a typical "life begins at conception" bill, that says that the resulting fetus
“at every stage of development (has) all the rights, privileges, and immunities available to other persons, citizens, and residents of this state.”

Ms. Johnson wants to extend that right to a sperm cell, although apparently she thinks egg cells are exempt -- since otherwise not getting pregnant might also be as murderous as masturbation. Still, the "every sperm is a baby" bill doesn't have a chance, but apparently Rick Santorum does and probably for few other reasons than his own ridiculous positions on interfering with private lives in the name of small government and Big Religion. Santorum has attracted a plurality of Republican loonies in Missouri, Colorado and Minnesota.

It's hard to think that Rick has a real shot at the presidency, but you know, I've been looking at Costa Rica lately.

I'm generally very intolerant of the "both sides are equally bad" arguments that depend on fraudulent accounting and false equivalence to forgive the side with the preponderance of guilt, but Geez - what does it say about Oklahoma Democrats that she is allowed to speak for them?

Monday, February 06, 2012

Campaign logic

Argumentum ad ignorentiam: "appeal to ignorance" (where "ignorance" stands for: "lack of evidence to the contrary") Argument from ignorance may be used as a rationalization by a person who realizes that he has no reason for holding the belief that he does.

Argumentum ad Obaminem: special case of above or appeal to ignorance (where "ignorance" stands for: " all evidence to the contrary") May be used as a rationalization for libel or slander or accusation without evidence or most commonly: strongly contrary to all evidence or logic. An argument from authority in the absence of authority. Used frequently by Republican propagandists.

Argumentum ad Republican: A special pleading. It's only radical when Liberals like it or conversely: that argument doesn't apply to Republicans.

orget the Superbowl commercials or the half-time show. Forget football. The most entertaining event of Superbowl Sunday was Newt Gingrich trying to convince his audience that Barack Obama is at war with the Catholic Church. Parroting the sentiment that a secular government refusing to bow to ecclesiastical pressure as the secular constitution demands, is a declaration of war, Newt, Gingrich, appearing on NBC’s Meet the Press, Sunday, said the decision represented
“a radical Obama administration imposing secular rules on religion.”

Well I hate to bring it up, lest anyone esteem me to be needlessly argumentative, but all religious people and their organizations have always been subject to the secular law of the land and by constitutional law, none of us can be held to any religious restrictions, taboos or responsibilities by the government. You see, that's why we don't have laws about blasphemy and punishment for heretics. That's why we're not held to the Biblical command against eating Cheeseburgers or chitterlings or watching football on Sunday - or divorce which of course Newt knows as well -- just as we know by all evidence that Newt is the consummate opportunist and a veritable prince of duplicity.

Yes, of course people are very protective of their beliefs and rituals and practices and in our country as well as in most of the civilized world, they are allowed to be and protected in that right but that's only because there are no official religious laws and no special protection for church policies that do not comply with our secular laws and our rights and our protection from faith-based tyranny. Newt is following in the muddy footprints of those who continually argue against the religious neutrality and secular nature of our Republic in spite of all evidence and despite the law itself.

Please forgive me for stating the obvious and writing as if for a child, but we're talking about Newt Gingrich here and I may be talking to some who do indeed think the government should indeed take such a dim view of our personal liberty as to allow clergymen to deny us birth control or having music on Sunday or divorce or living where and with whom we please. In many places they did after all get away with that for years.

We're talking about Newt Gingrich here who, after playing with several religions in his effort to bed many women including his own high school teacher, presumes not only to speak for but to dictate Church dogma to Roman Catholics who in very large part do not agree with it.
"Every time you turn around secular government is closing in on and shrinking the rights of religious America,”
Said Newt -- who has turned around about 200 years too late. The right of "Religious America" to be the law of the land by diktat was eliminated by the first Amendment, if the rage against such tyranny by the Founding Fathers wasn't already enough to put a stop to it.

In fact, 98% -- nearly all American Catholic women who have sex have used "forbidden" birth control methods and a solid majority think the Church policy is wrong. I don't think they're going to back this flim-flam Lothario who while indulging in it himself, tried to impeach a president for extra-marital fellatio in any bid to have Washington embargo the local drug store in the name of religious "freedom." Not any more than they would have the government outlaw the kind of bed hopping, marital leapfrogging Gingrich is noted for even if they frown on it. Don't we wonder why Newt thinks Catholics are so damn stupid that they won't notice he's arguing both sides of the question?

Organized religion is about many things, but personal choice and freedom of thought has never been thought of highly, to say the least, by any of them. To have to explain to someone with a Doctorate and a writer of history books, something a slow schoolboy should know, that professed belief or membership in some religious group does not convey legal authority in the US is laughable, but of course Newt knows it. He knows a principle and constitutional law that's been around since our beginning isn't radical and it isn't about Obama. He knows he's a lair even if he doesn't know he's a disgrace. I think the voters know too.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Will the real Jesus please stand up?

“But for me as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus’s teaching that for unto whom much is given, much shall be required,”

Said the President of the United States to a nation fulsomely fond of telling us that not only were our founding fathers fundamentalist Christians, but that our laws are really a re-statement of the Bible and that we are a Nation under God -- whatever that's supposed to mean.

Apparently it doesn't mean that a man with an African father who can't be considered a "real"American or a "real" Christian and most assuredly not a "real" president can presume to have such values in a country in which they have almost always been honored in the breach. Why that boy must think he's not only as good as the rest of us to whom America was given, but he must think he's Jesus himself if he presumes to quote from the book that belongs to us as white people.
"Someone needs to remind the president that there was only one person who walked on water, and he did not occupy the Oval Office.”
said the reprehensible Orrin Hatch (Hypocrite-Utah) at the National Prayer Breakfast Thursday.

No Orrin, those Christian values you pretend to aren't any different than Muslim or Jewish values with respect to the love of justice and our fellow humans and mocking anyone for attempting to put them into action doesn't allow one to walk on water, even if one actually is Jesus of Nazareth. Walking on, wading through and bathing oneself in shit however makes you just another lump in the cesspool and whatever magic ceremony you perform or whatever special underwear you put on, you're an enemy of everything any good man stands for whether he be Jesus or Jefferson.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Memory and Irony

The jobless rate has declined to 8.3% according to the latest reports -- well below the Reagan rate and the lowest in three years after adding about a quarter million Jobs this January alone. That's a quarter of a million more in one month than were added under eight years of Republican flim-flam economics. The markets are booming, but we can be sure to hear nothing but sneer, snark, scoff and panicked pessimism from fact-free America and its electronic Svengali, Fox News.

I'm hesitant to make too much of it or to extrapolate too far, but unlike every Republican I talk to, I am willing to remember the Bush years when the air was full of nonsense about how Democrats were pessimists and Republicans were optimists and bullish on the economy. Of course it would be fun to mock the Fox News survey that gave "proof" that Liberals were trying to damage the vibrant economy with gloomy reports during the Bush years and of course the prophets of doom were quite right although not one of Fox's friends seems to remember, because after all, this is Obama's recession and Bush had nothing to do with it and the predictably dilatory nature of the trailing indicator -- the unemployment rate -- proves that it's all going to hell any time now.

A sense of irony would make fertile fields for all kinds of sardonic humor, since with the economy steadily improving, having already this year added more jobs than were added during the entire Bush administration (unless you want to count all the government jobs created by bloating the size and expense of our government,) they're still pretending the man who inherited this disaster caused it. But if there's any essence at all to American Conservatism, it must involve total blindness to the most glaring irony. They're still insisting that continuing what brought it on would end it quickly if only we'd have elected an empty headed beauty contest runner up and a doddering old man who couldn't remember his address but was sure the crash wasn't actually happening.

And while we're talking about irony, do we care to speculate about how many would have been lost if General Motors had disappeared and how many are working now that GM is again the worlds largest automaker? No, that investment is spending, while the massive expenses of Bush's prescription drug plan written by and for the drug companies increases as the population ages isn't even to be discussed -- and of course people are only getting older because of "that Obama's policies" hard as they are to discern. If I were a Republican you can damn well bet I'd be blind to the irony too as well as the outright dishonesty.

Things are looking at least a bit better of late and at a rate proportional to the improvement, the apocalyptic predictions increase. The Mayan end times, the Rapture, the death of the Dollar and the Zombie Apocalypse hold fewer horrors than are being predicted daily as the people who insist every time they hold the White House, that the government cannot create jobs and should not try, scream themselves hoarse nonetheless about jobs, jobs, jobs, dangling that elusive carrot in front of the desperate.

It's a hell of a thing to remember well, and that's why I'm sure amnesia, like ironic obtuseness is a necessary component of the conservative mind. It's a hell of a thing to be the only one to remember that "debt doesn't matter" was the keystone of Republican economics since Reagan and right up to the disaster of 2007 because tax breaks for the people who put all their windfalls into real estate, hedge funds and offshore accounts in Luxembourg, Liechtenstein and the Caymans would boost the economy so much, the debt would wither away in Marxist style.

Jobs, jobs, jobs and debt, debt debt in the relentless Republican ostinato like drumbeats in some dark jungle night, as though debt did very much matter and matter more than the ability to pay it off -- as though paying Bush's bills and saving the financial structure of our country with a far smaller amount of money than the shill for Goldman Sachs Bush used for a treasury secretary were an invitation to disaster rather than fiscal responsibility -- as though a three trillion dollar war to be payed for by magic; massive bailout packages without accountability and unprecedented spending weren't things the Democrats were howling helplessly about for 8 years.

Increased military spending along with an amazing record of eliminating al Qaeda means Obama is "slashing the military." Allowing increased freedom to carry weapons means he's a "gun grabber." Arresting and deporting more illegal aliens than Bush means he's "pro-illegal." Giving most Americans a tax break means he raised taxes, and although every day I have to listen to some Republican blowhard telling me he hates "Obamas policies" not one has been able to come up with a policy that actually exists -- that glib trope having become nothing more than the password to the club they think every white man belongs to.

No, sure they don't remember nor do they see the irony. Like Janus, they look both forward and back to see the easiest way to slither away from accountability and as and if the economy slowly improves and the spectre of Depression recedes, they'll continue to boom and bellow and snicker and sneer without any memory of how they accused Democrats of "hating America" even though all those dire predictions we made for 8 years came true while none of theirs ever materialized.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

New Rules, Old Enemies

Heresy: from Greek αἵρεσις, which originally meant "choice."

Sometimes I think that without their preoccupation with the "sinfulness" of human sexuality, all Western religions and some others as well, would be unrecognizable. For a Secular Humanist like me, it's difficult to understand this because the allegedly universal and inescapable condition of being a 'sinner' from birth is entirely separate from the commission of acts that harm others or their property. Indeed, harming others and their property is often fulsomely praised as something done in service of some rather helpless or lazy deity who would, were he able to act on his own, punish people for their very thoughts and the unhistorical actions of mythological ancestors. To many and perhaps most, even thinking about sex can be a 'sin' almost on a par with having sex without clerical approval. To some, sex and sin are nearly synonymous. God help the government that lets us make our own choices.

Perhaps the action of a number of Roman Catholic bishops last weekend won't be much heeded by the congregations to whom it was directed, but the letter, read aloud from thousands of pulpits last Sunday told the faithful that President Obama has
“cast aside the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, denying to Catholics our Nation’s first and most fundamental freedom, that of religious liberty.”
Now how has he done that? Well, by asserting that freedom of religion does not include the freedom of religious organizations to illegally deprive others of their freedom: the freedom to plan whether or not and when to procreate, the freedom to choose.

Of course the sentiment isn't exclusively Roman; evangelicals and many others seem to make a lot of noise about the first amendment being a violation of the first amendment and of course again, such cognitive contradiction, to put it politely, is the rock upon which the edifice is built. But obviously the decision of the Administration to stand by the Affordable Care Act which requires virtually all private insurance policies to cover family planning -- including female contraceptives, essentially guaranteeing near universal access to birth control, is being sold as the precise opposite of what it is. To some Bishops at least the first amendment guarantees an infringement of civil rights by religious authority. The anti-establishment clause means the opposite of what it says and it's our God given right to have our lives limited by clergymen.
“People of faith cannot be made second class citizens. We are already joined by our brothers and sisters of all faiths and many others of good will in this important effort to regain our religious freedom. Our parents and grandparents did not come to these shores to help build America’s cities and towns, its infrastructure and institutions, its enterprise and culture, only to have their posterity stripped of their God given rights"
wrote Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted in one of the numerous letters, reeking of dishonesty, illogic and lust for power -- as if freedom of religion meant ecclesiastical tyranny embedded within civil government.

What's at issue is a provision that says that unless a religious organization hires its own members exclusively, those employees: janitors, gardeners, secretaries, are entitled as first class citizens to access to birth control through their health insurers. All other organizations, including non-profits run by religious groups that hire based upon non-discrimination policies, must enact the new rule by August 1, 2013.

Now, I'm sure to be accused of being all sorts of things, including a bigot and an arrogant Humanist, but since virtually all the Roman Catholics I know seem to have a healthy degree of skepticism about the virtuousness and infallibility of Church men, perhaps I shouldn't make too much of this desperate appeal to medieval mores, but there are plenty of people of faith who don't and religious, economic and social fundamentalism -- and the stupidity on which it thrives -- are no less dangerous than when Jefferson and Madison wrote about it.