Texas politicians are overwhelmingly Conservative and Republican, which as a liberal often makes me feel like an alien in my own state, despite being born and raised here. In looking at the candidates running for office in Texas, I stumbled upon some propaganda against them. Specifically, Wayne Christian and Todd Staples. Continue reading
I sometimes do wish there was a hell, but I also think that hell could not be hot enough for some rank hypocrites out there! For example:
One of the most hilarious videos I’ve ever seen is this:
In only 1 1/2 minutes, this caller spits out plenty of bullcrap. What is really ironic is that there is also so much bullcrap out there that is Republican party dogma, such as that President Obama is a Socialist, that socialism is bad for America, that Obamacare must be repealed, that ultra-high military spending is good for Americans instead of spending more on our infrastructure, and that keeping taxes low on the rich helps our economy. ALL of those claims are baseless too! So why tolerate any of it? Just because a lie is popular does not make it any less false!
Gerrymandering is the unethical process by which one party which is currently dominant in a state attempts to maintain its dominance by drawing districts for state legislators or Congressmen to favor that party and its candidates. It is the very antithesis of democracy, in which the people are to elect their leaders and representatives; instead, in gerrymandering, the representatives choose what people they want to have voting for them. This allows certain extremist nutcases like Rep. Michelle Bachmann to be elected over and over again without fear of losing their seats to a more moderate opposing candidate.
Illustrated in that Wikipedia entry are some particular examples of gerrymandering, but the most obvious one of all seems to be:
I have come up with an idea on how to identify gerrymandered districts.
Using the circle and the point indicating its center, I propose that any district that touches at least three points 45 degrees apart from each other and also contains the point at the center of the circle may be considered a fairly drawn district. By this test, the 4th Congressional District in Illinois would certainly not qualify. Nor would:
All those districts should be opposed. I would lobby for a bill to be passed by Congress and in every state legislature mandating my standard for all congressional and state legislative districts. I would also ask for the federal courts to intervene. Indeed, I would strongly recommend that only federal courts, not state legislatures, be allowed to draw districts. Otherwise, it is like the fox guarding the hen-house.
- COLUMN – Gerrymandering lies at the root of our political dysfunction (hollandsentinel.com)
- NBC: Time to End Gerrymandering So ‘Ridiculous’ Republicans Stop Getting Elected (newsbusters.org)
- The Difference Between Democratic Congressional Districts And Republican Ones In One Chart (businessinsider.com)
- Why do politicians gerrymander? (economist.com)
- A Visual Demonstration of the Absurdity of Gerrymandering (academeblog.org)
To Barack Obama, the President of the United States of America:
The Affordable Care Act is the LAW OF THE LAND, passed by both Houses of Congress (yes, even the Republican controlled House of Representatives), signed by you, and affirmed as constitutional by the U. S. Supreme Court. Therefore, attempts by Republicans in Congress to DEFUND what is federal law is criminal behavior, just as disobedience to any other law is criminal behavior. We should allow no exceptions here. By engaging in criminal behavior, the Republicans sitting in Congress, even going so far as to shut down the government rather allow what is federal law to be funded have forfeited their right to be representatives of the people, like anyone else who commits a federal crime. I call upon you, as the elected Chief Executive of the United States, to direct the Department of Justice to issue arrest warrants against every Republican in Congress and charge them all with CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT SEDITION! END THE GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN BY REMOVING THE ONES RESPONSIBLE FROM OFFICE NOW!
Dale Husband, the Honorable Skeptic
- Obama: ‘I will not give in to reckless demands’ (myfox8.com)
- US government shutdown: Barack Obama is presiding over the end of America’s superpower status (blogs.telegraph.co.uk)
- Barack Obama, Congressional leaders deadlock remains (dnaindia.com)
August 3, 2013
To the concerned citizens of the United States of America,
The Republicans in the House of Representatives have tried 40 times to repeal Obamacare and 39 times they have failed. They will always fail as long as the Democrats have a majority in the Senate and Obama, or any other Democrat, is President. So why do they bother? If anyone else was caught wasting as much time at their jobs as the Republicans have, they would be fired. So the obvious solution is to vote at least some of the Republicans out of the House next year.
The truth is that the Republicans are living on borrowed time. It is a given that they will never capture the Presidency again; George W. Bush will be the last Republican ever to hold it. But once Obamacare is fully implemented and its benefits become obvious, the insane opposition the Republicans have shown to it will cause them to never be able to hold a majority in either chamber of Congress and their status as a major party in the United States will be finished.
If you really want limited government, vote for Libertarians. Most of them are not hypocrites. They are indeed the only true followers of the U S Constitution left. No, not even the “Tea Party” bigots among Republicans. The Tea Party was just another right-wing scam to get votes from people who were scared out of their wits by the election of a black man to the Presidency. Ironically, I think Obama has not been liberal enough and that we need to push government even more to the left over the next few decades.
Indeed, if we were true to the ideals of the Declaration of Independence (“we hold there truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights…..”) there would be absolutely NO place in American politics for Conservatism. Why? Because Conservatism by its very nature is based on trying to maintain some sort of social inequality; some traditionally privileged class seeking to maintain its exalted status as opposed to some other disadvantaged class. It could be rich vs. poor, whites vs. blacks, men vs. women, Christians vs. non-Christians, or heterosexuals vs. homosexuals. Conservatism works by constantly appealing to the irrational prejudices of those who are in power and seek to keep the power to themselves rather than share power with those who do not have it. Both the Democrats in the late 19th Century and the Republicans in the late 20th Century to today were infested by Conservatism.
The Republicans today have caved in so deeply to bigotry that they are not even capable of representing the real needs of the people anymore; they are controlled by giant corporations that have been holding most of our economy hostage for decades and own media outlets like FOX News to lie to the American people constantly. These same corporations that outsourced so much of our manufacturing to China, but blame illegal immigrants for taking jobs from real Americans. Those same corporations that make vast profits from wars overseas and a military budget at least six times greater than that of any other nation while causing us to drown in public debt. Hypocrites! They are the real parasites and traitors to our nation, not welfare recipients or those who dare to blow the whistle on the corruption and abuses of our government!
So let us destroy the Republican Party! The madness must end!
Dale Husband, the Honorable Skeptic
In the end, Sanford won by nine points, 54 percent to 45 percent, according to the Associated Press’s tally.
In remarks at a victory rally Tuesday night, Sanford tipped his cap to Colbert Busch and her team for a “well-run race.” But the campaign, he said, “was based on two very different ideas on what ought to come next in Washington.”
Sanford also sounded a spiritual note in his address, thanking “god’s role in all of this,” and calling himself an “imperfect man” who was “saved by god’s grace.”
Oh sure, involve God’s grace and you can recover from anything, even things that should guarantee that you never hold public office again! Blasphemous prick!
This is the home state of pro-slavery advocate John C. Calhoun, who threatened to lead his state in a secession from the Union in the 1830s. This is the state that actually was the first to secede from the Union in 1860, starting the Civil War. This is the state that was the home of racist hypocrite Strom Thurmond. This is the state that has now taken back another hypocrite. Ethics and honor mean nothing to the people of this state, it seems. All they care about is being bigoted against non-whites and liberals. After nearly 200 years of arrogance and stupidity, they have learned NOTHING!
Maybe we should EXPEL South Carolina from the Union now?
The right of the people to bear arms, as stated in the Second Amendment, does not mean any idiot should be allowed to have a deadly weapon, just as one that is an incompetent driver should not have a driver’s license. At least cars can be used for things that do not hurt anyone, unlike guns.
Wife accidentally kills husband during gun lesson: Police
Check out this nonsense on the official U.S. Libertarian Party website. I will post the original statements in red and my responses in green.
Tuesday, January 1, 2013
A Libertarian’s New Year’s Resolutions
Last week, the people of the United States dodged a bullet by re-electing Barack Obama to the Presidency rather than accept a hypocritical plutocrat as his successor. Also, some of the strongest advocates for social Conservatism among Republicans went down to defeat in many races. At least two states legalized gay marriage by popular vote, something unheard of until this year, and also marijuana for medicinal and/or recreational purposes was legalized in several states.
And next year it will get even more hilarious to behold, because somehow the Republicans, despise losing several seats in the House of Representatives, still held on to control of that body. And they are about to face a most upsetting challenge.
Puerto Ricans favor statehood for first time
(CNN) — In an overshadowed Election Day contest, Puerto Ricans voted in favor of statehood in a nonbinding referendum, marking the first time such an initiative garnered a majority.
Puerto Ricans were asked about their desires in two parts. First, by a 54% to 46% margin, voters rejected their current status as a U.S. commonwealth. In a separate question, 61% chose statehood as the alternative, compared with 33% for the semi-autonomous “sovereign free association” and 6% for outright independence.
While the results may be an indicator of what Puerto Ricans want, statehood will not be possible without congressional action in Washington, something that is not guaranteed.
Indeed, given their dwindling power in society, the Republicans that still dominate the House may decide to reject Puerto Rico’s bid for statehood, because as a state it is most likely to send two Democratic Senators and several Democratic Representatives to Congress. But if they do this, it will only enrage millions of Hispanic voters all across America. They are already rejecting the Republican Party by a wide margin because of the illegal immigration issue and this will only harden their rejection. The result may be the Republicans finally losing control of the House in 2014. Then when Puerto Rico DOES become a state and sends those additional Democrats to Congress (and can also cast electoral votes in the 2016 Presidental election) then politically the Republicans will be finished as a viable party.
I can hardly wait to see them go down!
George McGovern, the liberal Democratic Senator who ran for President of the United States in 1972 and ended up losing badly to Richard Nixon, died on October 21, 2012. Two days later, a blog entry was written about him. But is also revealing about the conservative mindset that defeated McGovern and has been a problem for liberals ever since.
I grew up in a family of conservative Democrats who were increasingly at odds with their party, and who mostly abandoned it on election day in November of 1972 to vote for Nixon. They voted for the crook: it was important. None of them liked McGovern’s politics, a dislike that overshadowed anything they felt about him as a man. His personality was lost in the distaste for his political positions.
Indeed, most of the former supporters of Democrats among southern whites would eventually become Republicans. As many of them might have said, “I did not leave the party, the party left me.” But that was because racism is wrong and should have been abandoned in the 1970s by any person with a sense of right and wrong. The stubborn opposition among Conservatives to Barack Obama to this day seems to stem from a racism that is no longer openly expressed by many of them but is still simmering just beneath the surface.
But there were two things that later rehabilitated him in my mind, and brought me to an appreciation of him that has stayed with me ever since. The first was seeing him speak when I was in college. He co-taught a class at the University of California, Santa Barbara in the early 1980′s. As part of that class he gave a lecture at Campbell Hall which my girlfriend (who was later to become my wife) and I went to see. The stereotypes that I had formed over the years were exploded when I saw a man who was incredibly intelligent, witty, and well-informed. This was not the political demon I had been raised to revile. We attended a number of lectures during my junior and senior years, and the three that stood out as truly outstanding were those by Gore Vidal, William F. Buckley, Jr., and George McGovern.
Indeed, ignorance and dishonesty seems to fuel both support for Conservative politics and condemnation of Liberalism.
The 35 missions that George McGovern flew were the maximum number a pilot could fly. After 35, you were done: They sent you home. Very few reached that number. When I read this, I thought back on his opposition to the Vietnam War, a position I strongly disagreed with as a very confident but fairly ignorant adolescent. It took on a completely different color. A man who flew 35 missions in a B-24 over Germany, I concluded, has won the right to say anything he wants to about war and he has earned the right to be listened to.
I would also add that in 2004 the same could have been said about Sen. John Kerry and his opposition to the Iraq War, having fought himself in the Vietnam War. And yet Kerry lost that election for the same reason McGovern lost in 1972: political bigotry and lies by Conservatives.
I have said before that the problem with liberals is not that they’re evil; the problem is that they are good, too good. They are so good they are a danger to themselves and others. As a true liberal, McGovern possessed the fault characteristic of his political tribe: he projected his goodness onto his fellow men and assumed that they would what he would do under the same circumstances.
I would answer that the problem with Conservatives is not that they are evil either, but that they are cynical: taking the corruption of mankind as a given, they assume that the only way to defeat their opponents is to embrace the corruption and use it to their advantage against those who are consistently honorable, perpetuating the cycle of abuse to the next generation instead of trying to make things better for all of us.
We forgive dead men for their badness. Can we forgive them for their goodness?
I do not want your forgiveness for liberals, sir! I want you to recognize that just as you were wrong about McGovern in the past, you are wrong about liberals even now and that the conservative perspective should be abandoned completely. Even Jesus himself would have expected you to return good for evil, as he taught, but that lesson has been totally lost on conservatives throughout history!
- George McGovern hailed as a man of principle – Boston Herald (news.bostonherald.com)
- George McGovern: A Conservative’s Appreciation (conservativeread.com)
To be honest, I did not watch for very long the Presidential debate last night, because I was quite sure I would only hear what I’d already heard a great many times from reading Facebook posts and articles in news sources, hearing personal comments from friends and relatives and seeing political ads on TV. Five minutes of the debate was all I could stand, because Obama compared his economy policies to that of President Clinton before him, which I already knew about. Neither candidate impressed me much.
I was therefore surprised to learn afterwards that most people thought Romney won the debate because he was more aggressive and charismatic than Obama, never mind that before Obama became President he was known for being quite charismatic. So what happened?
I could not care less how slick a person’s presentation may look or sound if it is full of nonsense or lies. You win a debate, in my view, by doing two things: Telling the truth consistently, and having a position that treats fairly the most people possible. And by that criteria, Obama is the superior candidate. If people vote for Romney and not Obama because one of them is better at the gift of gab, why not just elect someone like Hitler, who was one of the most dynamic speakers of the 20th Century?
- Winners and losers from the first presidential debate (washingtonpost.com)
- His Smile Said It All… (msdrocks.wordpress.com)
- Denver debate is a presidential wonkfest, send in the fact checkers (denverpost.com)
- The 10 Best Punchlines from the First Presidential Debate (complex.com)
- Lynn Parramore: Why the Pundits are Wrong About the Debate (huffingtonpost.com)
While the Democrats are firmly united under President Barack Obama, the Republican Party has been badly split among its Presidental candidates. After some of the loonier and less competent candidates have quit, there remain:
- Mitt Romney, a moderate with a genuine track record of success, but also a Mormon.
- Rick Santorum, an extremist appealing to the Religious Right bigots
- Newt Gingrinch, whose instant name recognition and deep well of experience is marred by his hypocrisy and public failures.
- Ron Paul, who professes libertarianism and a strict Constructionist view of the U S Constitution, but he is just too old to be a viable President. His son Rand Paul is a Senator and he might run for President later, and he is indentified with the Tea Party zealots.
Notice what all these current front runners have in common? THEY ARE ALL WHITE MEN! And that is really all the Republicans are appealing to these days, as well as Christian bigots. And these different candidates are engaged in a brutal fight for the nomination that is splitting the party up.
Four years ago, there was a simular fight between Hiliary Clinton and Barack Obama. Hiliary had a slight advantage because of her previous position as First Lady, while Obama was still only serving his first term as a Senator, so by all appearances Hiliary should have trounced Obama quickly. But in fact she did not, because blacks were so eagar to get one of their own as President that they pushed hard for him. Likewise, women wanting one of their own as President pushed hard for Hiliary. Blacks and liberal women are two of the Democratic Party’s strongest constituencies. The result was a battle that lasted for months and threated to severely damage the Democrats’ chances at winning in 2008. And yet in the end the Democrats were so determined to defeat the Republicans who had disgraced themselves so badly under Bush Jr that they were able to put aside their differences and win the election.
So why can’t the Republicans do the same and thus win this year? Because the differences between the front-runners are trivial compared to their simularities, yet they fight bitterly. In addition, all of them are appealing to a core constituency, white males, who are no longer the overwhelmingly dominant segment of the American population, even though they are still slightly more privileged than those who are non-white and/or female. The fact that John McCain lost in 2008 to Obama should have showed the futility of continuing to appeal to a base that is growing impotent. But the Republicans have not learned how to grow and diversify, have they?
So keep losing, Republicans! In a few more decades your party will be irrelevant! Like the Ku Klux Klan is now.
- A growing enthusiasm gap on the right? (midwestaholic.wordpress.com)
- MSNBC/Wall Street Journal Poll: Republican Party and Its Presidential Candidates Hurt by Primary Season as Obama Rises (themoderatevoice.com)
- Ohio voters remain angry about Republican attacks on unions (dailykos.com)
Conservative media activist and trickster Andrew Breitbart died today at the age of 43. As far as I’m concerned, that was simply justice after all the contemptible lies he told using media manipulation to advance his right-wing agenda, which I see as itself dishonorable. He was even responsible for the unjustified downfall of ACORN shortly after Barack Obama became President, which ACORN had helped get elected.
I think we need to do what we can to either reestablish ACORN or replace it with a simular organization. I only regret that Breitbart will not live to see that happen. But there are plenty of other Republican bigots out there we can seek to punish! Their day of reckoning will come if we just have enough backbone to go after them and make them pay!
- Andrew Breitbart Confronts Occupy Crowd At CPAC, Demands They ‘Stop Raping People’ (mediaite.com)
- Say It Ain’t So! – Andrew Breitbart Loses It At Occupy Protesters (occupycyberspace.wordpress.com)
- Andrew Breitbart Goes to War against the left and its “Divide and Conquer” strategy (erickbrockway.com)
- Andrew Breitbart On Dinner With Bill Ayers: He’s ‘A Sociopath’ But A Great Chef (mediaite.com)
During the television broadcast of this years SuperBowl, former Congressman Pete Hoekstra had the gall to put out a ridiculous commercial attacking his opponent in the 2012 U. S. Senate race, Debbie Stabenow. It has since been removed from Hoekstra’s YouTube account.
Fortunately, another person made a copy of that video with an explanation for how stupid it really was:
Feel free to comment there.
Indeed, Republicans have actually been the biggest “spend it now” lunatics since Reagan was President. We had a chance to start paying off the U. S. public debt under Clinton, but Bush Jr ruined it with his absurd tax cuts for the rich! Pete Hoekstra is a LIAR!
Oh, and when he was a Congressman, and even Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, he committed some blunders which should have got him removed from that Committee, if not expelled from Congress outright!
Don’t allow this bastard to come anywhere near the U. S. Senate! We already had a disgusting racist, Jesse Helms, in the Senate for decades. We don’t need another!
The structure of the United Nations (UN) reflects the political realities shortly after World War II. Since that war ended nearly three generations ago, it’s time for a change in the UN, starting with its Security Council. Until such reforms are made, it will only be a laughingstock for decades to come.
There are five permanent members of that Council: The United States, Russia, France, Great Britain, and China. These have veto power over all Council decisions. I would recommend that the veto power within the Council be done away with; it only makes paralysis of the Council more likely than not. I would also recommend that Germany, Japan, India, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and Brazil be made permanent members of the Council, with at least 20 others subject to election. The number of nations on the Security Council must always be a prime number to prevent tie votes. Only the UN Secretary-General could veto a UN resolution, but his veto could still be overridden by a two-thirds majority vote of the Security Council. In any case, no single nation should have the power to veto a resolution, because as the chart above shows, the Soviet Union abused that power more than any other nation in the early years of the UN. One wonders how many innocent people died in wars or armed uprisings of one kind or another because of this.
- Reforming the UN Security Council? ¡Ay Dios Mio! (diplomaticscrutiny.com)
- Russia to veto Western-backed SC resolution on Syria (laaska.wordpress.com)
Liberty means nothing if you are starving, homeless and in rags. Remember that when some right-wing bigot shrieks about socialists taking away your rights. Since socialism is an ECONOMIC policy, it cannot take away ANY rights as defined in the U S Consitution. But a government under FASCISM will! Fascists WILL leave you to starve so you will give up your liberty; socialists will not!
Mitt Romney is shaping up to be the Republican front-runner for President. By all accounts and
appearances, he should be the ideal President candidate for conservatives: he is a successful businessman, he managed the state of Massachusetts as governor according to consistent conservative principles, and he even managed the Salt Lake City winter Olympics, making it a huge success.
There’s just one problem: he is a Mormon. And for members of the Religious Right, which is dominated by orthodox Christians, that can be a stumbling block. Of course, it would have been better for the credibility of the conservatives if they had never included the Religious Right; using religious matters to judge people and policies in our government violates the spirit if not the letter of church-state separation.
When I was a Baptist, there was a film shown at my church titled “The God Makers” which depicted Mormonism as a cult infested with pagan elements. This is ironic; Jews could say similar things about Christianity itself. Today, having rejected Christianity, I find those arguments about Mormonism pointless, but I do have my own reasons to oppose any political influence the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints may have:
Racism, homophobia, and whatever other forms of bigotry the Mormon Church may endorse should be eradicated from secular politics in America. Nobody who would take the Book of Mormon seriously as scripture should be trusted to run the world’s most powerful democracy. We should have some standards for truth, logic, and ethics from our leaders. Thus, I will never vote for a Mormon for President, even if he was not a Republican.
Here are a series of illustrations I have made to demonstrate why capitalist economies that are supposed to be free markets inevitably degenerate into fascist-corporatist tyrannies that deprive the people of freedom of choice in the end.
Stage one: Here is a free market economy represented by dozens of small circles, each circle representing a small business. Of course, some of them are more successful than others, but no single business dominates the industry and there is plenty of competition. Note that three such businesses have been singled out and designated “A”, “B”, and “C”.
Stage two: After a period of time, many of the small businesses have collapsed and the remaining ones have tended to grow larger and more powerful. Companies “A” and “B” have merged and this soon enables the new company “AB” to becomes more powerful still, and it begins to crush its competitors.
Stage three: Another generation or so has passed. Now companies “AB” and “C” have merged together, forming an even more powerful union. Meanwhile, the forces of competition have served to eliminate most of the smaller companies we saw earlier. However, a new company, named “D” has been established, showing that at this time there is still room for innovation and diversity, which is the essence of freedom.
Stage four: Sadly, company “D” isn’t able to last long, and it is soon bought out and taken over, resulting in company “ABCD”, so powerful that it eventually forms a virtual monopoly, and other companies are at a total disadvantage and will never have a chance to rival what ABCD has gained.
There are four lies that “free market” advocates tell that need to be slammed down.
First, they claim that in a free market it would be a simple matter for people dissatisfied with a company to start and run one of their own. But in the present American system, the vast majority of new businesses that are established fail within a few years. The reason is simple: the already established and larger companies are always able to take advantage of their larger capital and the fact that people are already familiar with them to crush their new and smaller competition.
Second, it is not government action that creates corporatism out of free market economies. Rather, it is the already formed corporatism that prompts government to prop up failing giant corporations due to a recession. Why? Because if those corporations go out of business, millions of people would be thrown out of work, reducing economic activity further. That’s exactly why both Presidents Bush Jr and Obama chose to endorse corporate bailouts; if they had not, we would most likely be in a Second Great Depression now with even less competition than before as bankrupt companies are bought and taken over by bigger ones. A better policy would have been for government to prevent those corporations from growing so big in the first place……but then we wouldn’t have a free market.
Third, socialism or communism as envisioned by Karl Marx was not supposed to be a one-man dictatorship. Stalin and many of those who came after him were responsible for that perversion, not Marx himself. In reality, Marx wanted a collective rule that would actually be more like a democracy, with the workers (which he assumed would be the vast majority in any industrial economy) ruling through elections in both the government and the corporations. This was what would later make possible the gradual dissolving of the state leaving only the worker run companies. The reason “Communism” failed was because after the death of Lenin in 1924, real Communism was never tried. No one-man totalitarian state can be rightfully called Communist or Socialist. It’s Fascism instead!
Fourth, the whole point of democratic socialist, liberal, or progressive politics in industrialized countries is to prevent a disruptive revolution by the workers against the capitalists by gradually making reforms to keep the workers happy. By opposing them, Conservatives like Presidents Reagan and both Bushes, along with their Republican allies in Congress, were setting the stage for the actual long-term downfall of America through their idiotic short sighted policies to disempower labor unions and deregulate Big Business. This in turn, will actually INCREASE the likelihood of a real Communist revolution later! The repeated cycles of economic surges (which enrich those who are already wealthy) followed by recessions (which hurt the middle and working classes the most) can only weaken capitalism until it falls. The outsourcing of manufacturing by American companies to other countries like China for their cheap labor only delays this gradual breakdown, while threatening the independence of America. China’s lax labor, safety and trade policies have resulted in a great many inferior products being shipped over here. Meanwhile, millions of Americans can no longer get manufacturing jobs and end up with lower paying ones, locking them into dependence on Chinese goods. Thus American consumers are forced to keep buying the Chinese made products when they wear out.
Wake up, Americans! We need liberalism, socialism, and progressivism NOW. Free markets in a strict sense are a dream, never a reality that we can have forever.
Professor of History Juan Cole has written “10 Ways Arab Democracies Can Avoid American Mistakes“, in reference to the recent revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt. Let’s look at each of his suggestions, which will be in red, and my responses will be in blue.
As a lover of classical music for decades, I have been dismayed by its gradual decline in our society. In most record stores today (at least in north Texas), it is increasingly difficult to find a section of the store dedicated to classical music, or even new age music for that matter. Instead, I find our culture swamped constantly by rock, country, and even rap music. Not that there is anything necessarily wrong with those genres, since I listen to plenty of rock and even some country myself (indeed, I grew up only with country since that was all my parents would listen to). OK, I don’t like most rap. Want to call me elitist for that? Be my pest!
Read this outrageous story:
Blogger admits ‘Gay Girl in Damascus’ hoax
LONDON (AFP) – Rights campaigners reacted furiously after a US student based in Scotland unmasked himself as the author of the “Gay Girl in Damascus” blogs, which charted the security crackdown in Syria.
Tom MacMaster, a 40-year-old Edinburgh University masters student, admitted Sunday that he was “Amina Abdullah”, who had described “herself” as a Syrian political blogger.
The Abdullah character rose to fame with her reports on the pro-reform movement, posting as “an out Syrian lesbian’s thoughts on life, the universe and so on”.
Then last Tuesday someone claiming to be her cousin wrote on the website that Abdullah had been snatched off the street by three armed men and bundled into a car bearing a pro-government window sticker.
The report sparked a wave of alarm among her online followers. Supporters even set up a “Free Amina Abdullah” group on the social networking site Facebook, attracting nearly 15,000 followers.
MacMaster finally came clean in a posting on his blog Sunday, after doubts began to emerge as to whether Abdullah really was for real. He admitted that he was the sole author of the posts.
“I never expected this level of attention,” MacMaster wrote in an “Apology to readers” posted on the blog.
“While the narrative voice may have been fictional, the facts on this blog are true and not misleading as to the situation on the ground.
“I do not believe that I have harmed anyone — I feel that I have created an important voice for issues that I feel strongly about,” MacMaster added.
“I only hope that people pay as much attention to the people of the Middle East and their struggles in this year of revolutions.”
The Guardian newspaper said that in recent days, bloggers had uncovered evidence that pointed towards MacMaster and his wife Britta Froelicher.
MacMaster is a Middle East activist, while his wife is studying at Scotland’s St Andrews University for a doctorate in Syrian economic development.
In his apology, MacMaster said he had been touched by the reaction of readers.
But the revelation of the hoax has sparked fury among some former followers of the blog, particularly those who had been campaigning for Abdullah’s release.
“This just makes me so angry,” said one comment on the Facebook group set up to press for her release.
“The situation in Syria is too dire for this sort of gameplaying!”
“Time and effort was taken away from other vitally important news stories happening in Syria,” another contributor protested.
As an Honorable Skeptic, I took little notice of “Amina”, but find the case of someone pretending to be her intolerable! Now the voices of REAL Arab political activists, gay rights activists, and others communicating via the internet will be less likely to be taken seriously, for how do we know they are not fake? Tom McMaster (or perhaps I should call him McBastard) should immediately be arrested, tried and either heavily fined or imprisoned for fraud. If Amina had been a real person that McMaster had been impersonating, he would have been committing identity theft. How can making up and portraying a fictional person, but claimed to be real, be any better?
Indeed, one of my basic principles is that it is NEVER acceptable to do bad things for a good reason or cause. The long term credibility of the cause is more important than any possible short-term gains from the deception.
Incidentally, this relates somewhat to what Rep. Anthony Weiner did with his Twitter account and the aftermath of that incident. Putting a picture of your crotch publicly on Twitter, intending it to be a private message to a woman not your wife, is stupid, but it can be overlooked. What CANNOT be tolerated or ignored is that Weiner LIED afterwards about the matter, claiming that a hacker had broken into the Twitter account. He should be condemned for that and made to resign. Back in the 1990s, I was appalled at that Bill Clinton did, having affairs with women, including Monica Lewenski, and then lying to everyone about it. He should have resigned too. But I also recognize that the attempts by Republicans to get rid of him were self-serving as well, and they have had too many of their own scandals among themselves to be taken seriously when they condemn people like Clinton or Weiner.
Wikipedia has become so immensely successful and useful that it has caused others to create competition to it. Some delusional people with extreme political views have even created alternatives to it, in the interest of countering Wikipedia’s supposed “left-wing bias”. Thus we have things like the laughingstock known as Conservapedia, founded and run by Andrew Schlafly, son of Phyllis Schlafly.
That is bad. But this is WORSE!
Welcome to ClimateWikiThe Definitive Climate Change Encyclopedia
Global warming is a complicated issue. It’s easy to get confused by all the scientific arguments and conflicting claims. We created this site to help everyone from high school students to scientists working in the field to quickly find the latest and most reliable information on this important topic.
ClimateWiki is an encyclopedia of climate change research organized by topic. If you are new to the issue, consider reading the Introduction to Global Warming. If you are already well versed in the issue, search the Featured Categories in the search box to the right or use some of the other navigation tools on this page.
ClimateWiki is moderated and edited by The Heartland Institute, a free-market think tank with offices in Chicago and Washington, DC. Interested in becoming a contributor? Contact John Monaghan at email@example.com
What kind of an idiot would take such an openly biased source at face value?
Look at this:
“There is ample evidence that a warmer world is also a safer and healthier world, yet this fact is seldom mentioned in the debate over climate change. Economists can measure the impact of climate change on various measures of economic wellbeing and calculate, for example, the effect of warmer temperatures per-capita income, the price of food and other essentials, and even on life expectancy. They can also measure the loss of income and jobs that result from restricting access to inexpensive fossil fuels. “
Yeah, because the increasing spread of tropical diseases like malaria are very safe and healthy! NOT! Also, if this new web encyclopedia is really about climate, why mention economics at all? Need I also mention that since fossil fuels are non-renewable, the jobs they provide will eventually disappear anyway and as those resources become increasingly scarce, their price will skyrocket? We must break our dependence on fossil fuels before our world economies are broken in the next few centuries, whether or not we have to worry about climate change.
To show how worthless ClimateWiki really is, just look at this:
Vincent Gray has had a long career in research laboratories in the United Kingdom, France, Canada, New Zealand, and China. He has specialized in climate science for the past 17 years. He has been an expert reviewer for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Reports from the beginning and submitted 1,878 comments (16 percent of the total) on the 2007 report.
Gray has published widely on a variety of topics. His work on the climate includes The Greenhouse Delusion: A Critique of ‘Climate Change 2001.’ He was a visiting scholar at the Beijing Climate Center in 2006 and attended the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali.
I wrote about that bastard here:
But ClimateWiki goes even further than Conservapedia in making sure its claims are not challenged by anyone, at least not on site. When you click on what appears to be the discussion page on any entry and try to edit it, you get:
You do not have permission to edit this page, for the following reason:
The action you have requested is limited to users in the group: Users.
On other words, the Heartland Institute, which is supposed to champion a free market, censors this site by not allowing any critics to post anything on it! HYPOCRITES!!!
As much as I dislike the limits of the two-party system in the USA, it does have its benefits; it can grind extremist movements, both within the two major parties and outside them, to a halt, preventing them from gaining any power. We see clear evidence for that here [emphasis in these two articles below is mine]:
Democrat Kathy Hochul wins upstate New York race
BUFFALO, New York (Reuters) – Democrat Kathy Hochul drew on voter discontent over Republican plans to revamp Medicare to score an upset win on Tuesday in a special election to represent a conservative upstate New York congressional district.
Hochul defeated Republican Jane Corwin in a three-way race that also included self-described Tea Party candidate Jack Davis. The outcome did not affect Republican control of the House of Representatives.
“Tonight the voters were willing to look beyond the political labels and vote for a person, and vote for message that they believe in,” Hochul told cheering supporters minutes after taking a phone call from Corwin, a state assemblywoman.
“We can balance the budget the right way, and not on the backs of our seniors,” said Hochul, the Erie County clerk. “We had the issues on our side.”
Once expected to be a Republican landslide, the special congressional election tightened in the final days, with a spotlight trained on the national debate over the budget deficit, spending and Medicare — the government-run healthcare program for the elderly.
Corwin came under heavy attack from Hochul for backing a divisive budget plan put forth by Republicans in the House, and also saw Davis siphon away support.
National parties and outside groups poured money into the district, hoping to claim victory in the battle over cuts in spending and Medicare first proposed by House Republican Paul Ryan.
“Kathy Hochul’s victory tonight is a tribute to Democrats’ commitment to preserve and strengthen Medicare, create jobs, and grow our economy,” Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement.
“It sends a clear message that will echo nationwide: Republicans will be held accountable for their vote to end Medicare.”
Only two Democrats since World War Two have represented the heavily Republican 26th Congressional District, which covers a big area of western New York near Buffalo.
National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Sessions said in a statement that Corwin had to battle “two well-funded Democrats, including one masquerading under the Tea Party name.” The Tea Party is a conservative activist movement.
In a decisive victory Tuesday, Democrat Kathy Hochul defeated Republican Assemblywoman Jane Corwin, 47 percent to 43 percent, in a heavily GOP congressional district.
The House Republican budget plan authored by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., became a focal point in the election as Corwin defended her support for it and Hochul, the Erie County clerk, played up her opposition to the plan’s unpopular restructuring of Medicare for those 55 and younger.
Jack Davis, a wealthy businessman who poured more than $2 million into his campaign, ran as a third party candidate on the Tea Party label and emerged with 9 percent of the vote. He had run as a Democrat in previous attempts at this House seat, and his presence in this special election certainly helped what should have been a slam dunk for Republicans become a competitive contest in the closing weeks of the campaign.
After spending the last two years on the defensive over the stimulus, health care and cap and trade, Democrats seem to have found an opening to play some offense using the Ryan budget, specifically its proposal to shift Medicare from a system where the government directly reimburses doctors to one where subsidies are provided to seniors and payments are made through private insurance companies.
To give you a sense of this Republican slice of New York: John McCain defeated President Obama in this district, 52 percent to 46 percent, in 2008. And despite Andrew Cuomo’s 63-33 statewide trouncing of Carl Paladino in the governor’s race last year, Paladino won here with more than 60 percent of the vote. Former Rep. Chris Lee won the district with 73 percent of the vote in 2010, just a couple of months before his infamous shirtless photo emerged, which led to his resignation and Tuesday’s special election.
Appearantly in New York, candidates can win elections with just a plurality of the vote, rather than an outright majority. It is most likely that Corwin would have won a majority in a runoff election. I wouldn’t be surprized if Republicans in New York try to change the election procedures later.
It should be noted that even if Davis was a Democrat years ago, he would have had to run with a lot of conservative positions to be competitive in such a conservative district. MANY Democrats are indeed like that, unfortunately. Therefore, I doubt that Hochul is a Progressive. Pete Sessions’ remarks are an insult to the general political climate in that area.
In any case, it is clear that the “Tea Party” has become a laughingstock that is ruining the power and credibility of the Republican Party. The biggest mistake Republicans like Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, and others made was to try to draw these dissenters into the Republican camp. Likewise, the Tea Party leaders should have rejected the Republicans and instead drew millions of people into the membership of the Libertarian Party, which would then overthrow the Republican Party to become the Democrats’ main opposition. Because that didn’t happen, there will be no real change in government over the next decade or so. A great opportunity for long-term reform was destroyed by the desire for short term political convinience.
- Democrat wins conservative upstate New York race (guardian.co.uk)
- Democrats Win Special Election Thanks To Medicare And Phony Tea Party Candidate, But Mainly Phony Tea Party Candidate (rightwingnews.com)
- Hochul beats Corwin in NY-26 (timesunion.com)
I sometimes wonder why more and more people in the USA don’t convert to atheism, seeing what religious bigots do when allowed to run riot. If I were God, I would have struck down this one, Bradlee Dean, immediately for his opening prayer at the Minnesota State legislature. He said:
“I know this is a non-denominational prayer in this Chamber and it’s not about the Baptists and it’s not about the Catholics alone or the Lutherans or the Wesleyans. Or the Presbyterians the evangelicals or any other denomination but rather the head of the denomination and his name is Jesus. As every President up until 2008 has acknowledged. And we pray it. In Jesus’ name.” [Emphasis mine]
See for yourself!
In short, this was a swipe at Barack Obama, implying that he isn’t a Christian. Since it is common knowledge that Obama is a member of the United Church of Christ, that preacher just told a bald-faced lie while saying a prayer to God. And in my judgement, that makes him a blasphemer.
Even the Republican Speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives, Kurt Zellers, was offended, and he stated that Dean would be banned from ever appearing there again.
First, read this, if you haven’t yet done so:
Gee, I wish I’d written this brilliant comment!
#futhark 2011-04-24 16:46
Indeed! (Clap, clap clap, clap!)
As an Honorable Skeptic, I never assume that anyone or anything is infallible, not individuals like Keith Olbermann or Rachel Maddow nor websites like Politifact. So when there is an actual conflict between them, one must look at the actual facts to judge who or what is right. Facts, not ideology. FACTS, not personal preferences.
Look at this claim:
“Despite what you may have heard about Wisconsin’s finances, the state is on track to have a budget surplus this year.”
Rachel Maddow on Thursday, February 17th, 2011 in a segment on her television talk show
Here’s the bottom line:
There is fierce debate over the approach Walker took to address the short-term budget deficit. But there should be no debate on whether or not there is a shortfall. While not historically large, the shortfall in the current budget needed to be addressed in some fashion. Walker’s tax cuts will boost the size of the projected deficit in the next budget, but they’re not part of this problem and did not create it.
We rate Maddow’s take False.
The quote attributed to Maddow is indeed hers. But it was taken out of context.
Imagine my absolute shock when I saw this:
The United States spends over six times more on its military than China, which is the second largest military spender.
Scroll down to the chart titled Leading Foreign Holders of US Treasury Securities (November 2010). See which country holds more of our debt than any other? CHINA!
Why the hell are we spending so much on our military instead of paying down our debt??? This is a clear case of us doing something we don’t need to do, which actually puts us in greater danger. If China decides to force us to pay most of our debt immediately to it, all of our overbuilt military won’t amount to much. Our independence will be threatened anyway, due to the vast economic ties we have to China.
Which is why we should have listened to President Eisenhower, himself an army general and war hero, who warned us about the “military/industrial complex” before leaving office.
Eisenhower was, in my opinion, the last honorable Republican to hold the Presidency. All the others who came after him were IDIOTS AND HYPOCRITES!!!
Look at this article:
Egyptian reform leader calls for Mubarak to resign
CAIRO – Egypt’s most prominent democracy advocate took up a bullhorn Sunday and called for President Hosni Mubarak to resign, speaking to thousands of protesters who defied a curfew for a third night. Fighter jets streaked low overhead and police returned to the capital’s streets — high-profile displays of authority over a situation spiraling out of control.
Nobel Peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei’s appearance in Tahrir, or Liberation, Square underscored the jockeying for leadership of the mass protest movement that erupted seemingly out of nowhere in the past week to shake the Arab world’s most populous nation.
Asked if Washington supports Mubarak as Egypt’s leader, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton avoided a direct answer, telling Fox News: “We have been very clear that we want to see a transition to democracy, and we want to see the kind of steps taken that will bring that about.”
The outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, which wants to establish an Islamist state in Egypt, has made some statements that it was willing to let ElBaradei act as point man for the movement. But it also appeared to be moving for a more prominent role after lying low when the protests first erupted.
On Sunday evening, the presence of overtly pious Muslims in the square was conspicuous, suggesting a significant Brotherhood representation. Hundreds performed the sunset prayers. Veiled women prayed separately.
A senior Brotherhood leader, Essam el-Erian, told The Associated Press he was heading to Tahrir Square to meet with other opposition leaders. El-Erian told an Egyptian TV station that the Brotherhood is ready to contact the army for a dialogue, calling the military “the protector of the nation.”
Clinton suggested there were U.S. concerns over the possibility of the Brotherhood seizing direction of the movement. She warned against a takeover resembling the one in Iran, with a “small group that doesn’t represent the full diversity of Egyptian society” seizing control and imposing its ideological beliefs.
Indeed, if the Muslim Brotherhood does seize control of Egypt, it could easily become just as destructive to Egypt as the Taliban was to Afghanistan before it was overthrown in 2001.
The protesters should be supporting freedom, justice and peace. Any ideology that is based on religious bigotry is the antithesis of these ideals. The people of Iran replaced one tyrant, the Shah, with another, the Ayatollah Khomeini, in 1979, and now Iran’s government is a fraud, supported by rigged and phony elections.
We must also remember that Mubarak’s predecessor, Anwar El Sadat, was assassinated by army members opposed to peace with Israel. Most likely they were similar to the Muslim Brotherhood members in their political views.
I don’t care if one chooses to follow Islam as a personal religion, but I urge Muslims to stop trying to make it the basis of a government!