Friday, October 31, 2014
I know the world is only 6,000 years old
The theory of evolution is wrong
Dinosaurs and humans coexisted
Pumping toxic chemicals into the air, land and water is no big deal
I know more about women’s reproductive issues than women or doctors
Man-made climate change is a hoax
Too much taxpayer money is spent on bogus scientific research
Homosexuality is unnatural
Sometimes God punishes people through natural disasters
There is no other life in the universe
Noah could get all those animals on a boat because...God
Noah could get all those animals on a boat because...God
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
The headline for an article at Campaign for America’s Future says it all: “Polling Irony: People Think the Economy is Rigged; Trust the GOP to Fix It.” While the economy is not in great shape, it’s better than it was when George Bush left office and the deficit is down two-thirds from 2008, yet voters are still under the impression that the economy is worse now than it was under Bush.
Apparently Americans have been in a coma for the past six years. They seem to have no understanding of what’s happened in Washington D.C., of the Republican obstructionists in Congress who did everything in their power to make sure the economy did not improve under Obama. They shut down the freaking government, yet voters still think they will fix our broken economy.
And why can’t the Democrats get the very simple, straightforward message across to voters that Republicans in Congress are to blame for our current economic stagnation? What is so difficult about that? The facts are the facts, yet candidates can’t seem to articulate this argument in a way that resonates with voters.
Then there is the failure of the mainstream media to provide voters with a true picture of what has transpired in Washington since Obama took office. Afraid to offend viewers and lose ratings share, the networks offer up a slushy “he said, she said” analysis of politics that avoids any truth that might be construed as partisan.
I have to admit that the Republicans hatched a brilliantly simple plan right after Obama was elected and it has worked to perfection: Wreck the economy and blame it on the President. They bet that fickle, poorly informed voters would focus their anger and frustration on Obama, not Congress, and, unfortunately, they were right.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Yesterday The Nation published a list of the ten top donors to climate change deniers in Congress. It’s the usual suspects we’ve come to expect, the Koch’s, Exxon Mobile, General Electric, and assorted other villains.
The thing about this that I find most troubling is the absolute disregard the people who authorize these donations have for their own families. They clearly don’t care that they are condemning their children and grandchildren and great grandchildren to lives on a dangerously toxic and unpredictable planet. Everything that we are just beginning to experience now — rising sea levels, severe temperatures, droughts, ever more powerful storms, species of animals dying off — will only increase as the years go by. The only conclusion a person can come to is that money is more important to them than their families.
Let’s say you own a home and you have it inspected. The inspector tells you that termites have been eating at the foundation of the house, and that if you don’t have them exterminated soon, the house will eventually collapse. If you’re Charles Koch, not only do you refuse to have the pests exterminated because it’s too expensive, you then give the damaged house to your children in your will. What kind of human being would do that?
It’s difficult to fathom such greed and callousness. These people didn’t get where they are by being gullible idiots, so it’s impossible for me to believe that they don’t know climate change is real. They are cynical capitalists who worship money over everything else. They have no allegiance to a country, a religion, an ideology or even their own family. Money is their god, and it’s destroying the planet.
Monday, October 27, 2014
MINNEAPOLIS, MN — Drones and police helicopters filled the night sky over the modest ranch house in a Minneapolis suburb. Two armored vehicles were parked at either end of the block and dozens of SWAT team members crouched behind trees and shrubs, weapons pointed at the home of Jim and Tina Blaylock. According to a neighbor who wished to remain anonymous, he alerted police to what he called suspicious behavior exhibited by the Blaylocks.
“They’ve had their curtains drawn for three days now,” said the neighbor. “I’ve always had my concerns about them. See that lawn sign? It’s for a Democrat. And they’ve got a bumper sticker on their car that reads, “Practice Tolerance.” Might as well be flying the ISIS flag.”
When the Blaylock’s failed to respond to calls from the commander of the SWAT team to exit the house, shock grenades and tear gas were thrown in.
“See that?” added the neighbor. “Those are some hardcore terrorist SOBs.
Several bursts of gunfire suddenly erupted, but the target turned out to be a Halloween decoration on the porch. The life-size scarecrow was wrestled to the ground and cuffed by team members after it failed to respond to repeated orders to show its hands, even though, as this reporter noted, it did not have hands.
As the battering ram was being prepared near the front door, a vehicle pulled up and stopped near the house. The man and woman exiting the car claimed to be the Blaylocks who said they had been out of town visiting relatives for the past three days. A member of the SWAT team, who later claimed he heard them shout, “Alahu Akbar,” shot Mr. Blaylock in the leg and knocked Mrs. Blaylock out with the butt of his rifle.
In a follow up to the incident, Homeland Security told the Star Tribune that Mr. Blaylock has been sent to GITMO and Mrs. Blaylock has been admitted to a psychiatric hospital in Nome, Alaska.
Thursday, October 23, 2014
Unfurl the banners. Sound the trumpets. Welcome to the Republic of Reagan, the world’s newest country. Comprising the former states of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, Reagan is dedicated to all that used to be good and beautiful about America — God, guns and guts. All white Christians are welcome. You others, there’s a line for you over there. Gays? Don’t bother. Here we wear our religion on our sleeves and our guns on our hips. All hail the Republic of Reagan.
This is the grandiose dream (nightmare?) of former Reagan aide Douglas MacKinnon who is promoting his new book, “The Secessionist States of America…the Blueprint for Creating a Traditionalist Country…Now.” Although MacKinnon insists the book is only an academic exercise, the dramatic and lengthy title alone leaves little doubt there is a lot of wishful thinking here. How hardcore traditionalist Christian would the new nation be? MacKinnon won’t allow Texas in because…immigrants. Perry and his minions will have to form their own country.
My response? I’m all for it. In fact, I wish it would happen. Despite the failures of boneheaded conservative economic and social policies instituted by the governors of Kansas and Wisconsin, voters in Red States still seem eager to hand Republicans the reins of government. Perhaps, just perhaps, if they witnessed the collapse of an entire country run by Republicans, it might start ringing some bells.
This is MacKinnon’s dream: In Reagan, everyone gets to carry a weapon anywhere. Christianity is the official religion. There’s no government welfare or safety net or social security and virtually all institutions and utilities are privately owned. Racism is condoned, being gay is illegal and women are second-class citizens. Only white males can vote or hold office. All media, from TV to movies to theatre, is strictly monitored and controlled by the central government. There are no unions, no minimum wage, no workplace safety rules, no food inspectors and no environmental protections. The government’s sole responsibility is the military, which is enormous.
Yes, it sounds like hell on earth, but this is what conservatives believe in. Let them have it. Give them the rope. Let them put their policies into action on a large scale so that the eventual crash is big enough, loud enough to wake up the slumbering masses. Some of you will claim that the above paragraph describes America today, but we’re not there, not yet at least, and perhaps the only way we won’t end up there is to allow conservatives to run their experiment somewhere else. Like the Republic of Reagan.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
This is something of an addendum to Monday’s blog post as I find more and more people realizing that Barack Obama has been mislabeled, mischaracterized and misidentified. Not only is the President clearly not a socialist or Marxist, he’s not even a Liberal (although I understand all of these terms are synonymous to conservatives).
In an essay by former Reagan administration domestic policy advisor Bruce Bartlett in the American Conservative magazine, he asserts that Obama “has governed as a moderate conservative.” From an aggressive and brutish foreign policy to his crackdown on national security leaks to his fiscal policies, Bartlett correctly notes that the President’s actions (as opposed to his words) have been to the right of center in almost every case.
Progressives and liberals were duped by a man who sounded liberal on the campaign trail, but who has much more in common with the hawkish Hillary Clinton, and in some cases George Bush, than actual liberals like Alan Grayson, Dennis Kucinich or Elizabeth Warren. It’s late in the game, but people are finally starting to see past the rhetoric to the true Barack Obama, and it ain’t a pretty sight. Sorry, Mr. Krugman.
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
There is fresh scientific evidence that the rate of global warming is accelerating faster than we imagined. A recent major study from New Scientists states that anthropogenic climate disruption (APD) is “worse than we thought” because it is happening “faster than we realized.” In other words, our failure as a global community to significantly reduce emissions of carbon dioxide is causing massive negative impacts on the air, water and earth of our planet.
Looking for good news? Don’t focus on the U.S. economy. Things are worse than most people realize. This article lays out the bad news in an easily digestible list. Just one of its tragic tidbits: According the New York Times, the “typical American household” is now worth 36 percent less than it was a decade ago.
This is real news that should greatly concern Americans, but what is the mainstream media focusing on? Ebola, a disease that has infected three U.S. citizens out of 317 million people. Is it a horrible, deadly disease? Yes. Should the average American be concerned about catching it? No. Does it make for blood curdling, alarmist headlines? Most definitely.
Once again the corporate media latches onto the latest shiny object while the real news is reported by a handful of liberal and progressive websites with limited readership. Americans are dangerously ill informed about what is really important, and that is by design. Reengineering to reduce toxic emissions will cost corporations a lot of money, even though doing nothing could cost us our planet. The callous indifference of the Koch’s and others to the damage they are causing is in my mind criminal and generations of future humans will pay the price. Same thing applies to the economy. Not doing anything about income equality and joblessness and the minimum wage means an escalating descent into the economic abyss of poverty and despair.
The question is: How long can the mainstream media keep the American people’s attention focused on the waterskiing squirrel and away from issues that really matter?
Monday, October 20, 2014
In today’s Salon, Frank Rich writes a lengthy rebuttal to Paul Krugman’s odd and counterintuitive Rolling Stone article lavishing praise on Obama’s presidency. Rich was an enthusiastic supporter of the Senator from Illinois when he ran for the nation’s top office in 2008, and tried to hold on to it through Obama’s early years, but, like many on the Left, he had to eventually succumb to reality. Obama has been a great disappointment. For me, all of Rich’s arguments boil down to a simple fact: Obama is not a leader.
For all of his oratorical skills, Obama simply could not or would not back up his words with action. Unlike another great orator, Martin Luther King, Jr., Obama talked the talk but didn’t walk the walk. He didn’t lead the march or galvanize the community or put his personal safety on the line for his beliefs. His words were intended to inspire, but his actions were consistently weak and ineffectual. Maybe we’ll learn from some tell all book in the future that Obama was surrounded by advisors who gave consistently bad advice, but if Obama is one thing, he’s intelligent. It’s just hard to imagine the man meekly taking orders from others, orders that he knew were wrong or mistaken.
As Rich points out, Obama had a real opportunity to move this country in a new direction during his first years in office, but instead he hedged and hawed, instituted half-measures and continued hoping for bipartisanship long after that ship had sailed. For reasons that still baffle me, right from the beginning he surrounded himself with Washington and Wall Street insiders, men and women who had no interest in the “change” he talked about in his campaign, and the results bear that out.
Being President of the United States can’t be easy, and turning a ship as large as this country in a new direction has to be daunting. The point that Rich makes and that I have made in the past, is that Obama never really tried. He never challenged Republicans in any meaningful way, never went to the American people to garner support, never stood his ground and fought for what was clearly right.
Obama’s opportunities as President have slipped away, despite Krugman’s late attempt to inject some energy into his administration. If predictions about the mid-term election prove true, he won’t be able to get anything through Congress and the bright torch of hope that has been dimming over the past six years will be permanently extinguished.
Sunday, October 19, 2014
Still unconvinced we’re living in the midst of an Orwellian nightmare? With the introduction of Apple’s new iPhone 6 that includes an improved encryption system, the FBI went on a whine-spree about how dangerous this was to national security that they couldn’t easily hack the phones. It culminated last week with an appearance by FBI Director James Comey at the Brookings Institute where he declared in a speech that Apple was creating an environment where America “…is no longer a country governed by the rule of law.”
It’s ridiculous to even have to point out this Orwellian double-speak to anyone over the age of five. Imagine, there are actually people out here who don’t think the government should be able to listen in on their conversations. They think that it might actually be against the law and unconstitutional. So a company does something to try and reassure a very nervous public that its phones are less likely to be bugged by the government, and the government reacts as if this is high treason.
Simply put, our government no longer believes that Americans have a right to privacy. The Constitution? Fuggetaboutit. We have secret courts that hand out secret rulings that say anything we want to do is okay. The unelected Deep State is not concerned with what Americans want or the rule of law, it’s sole concern is its own survival.
War is peace. Slavery is freedom. Ignorance is strength.
Friday, October 17, 2014
Forget ISIS. Forget ebola. The scariest headline of the day comes from the Huffington Post: “GOP Set to Seize the Senate?” or as Salon aptly puts it, “America’s Looming Freak Show.”
This situation is like those milliseconds before a car accident where you know the impact is inevitable but you can’t do a thing about it. After all of the gridlock, the government shutdowns, the partisan grandstanding, the anti-science, anti-logic rantings, the racist attacks on Obama, American voters seem hell-bent on doing it all again.
Any country that has a system that allows this to happen is seriously broken. Thanks to the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad Supreme Court decisions, the corporate media, and the Koch’s, conservative billionaires and companies are simply buying Congress for themselves. Democracy is for suckers.
How does all of this square with the fact that in poll after poll, the American people repeatedly rate Congress lower than Satan and rabid dogs. I DON’T KNOW! I have no idea why the polls tell us one thing and the people who actually vote tell us something completely different. And I don’t watch mainstream news shows much, but the evidence indicates they are doing a very bad job of providing their viewers with solid information on which they can make their voting decisions. And people are lazy. Many of them will make their choices based on who had the nastiest attack ad or who looks better draped in an American flag.
I know that compared to other political blogs, my readership is small, but I implore any Democrats who find themselves here to vote in the upcoming midterm elections. It matters. Having Republicans in control of both houses of Congress will be a godsend for Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and the late night shows, but it will be a nightmare for the rest of us.
Thursday, October 16, 2014
The Pentagon is going to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War by, as Salon writer Marjorie Cohn puts it, “…launching a $30 million program to rewrite and sanitize its history…” This includes a Pentagon sponsored website that attempts to reflect the era of the war with very scant mention of the massive anti-war protests in the U.S. and around the globe, and no mention of the many thousands of Vietnam veterans who voiced their objections to the war.
I am a Vietnam-era veteran. In a failed attempt to make the draft fairer, the Selective Service instituted the lottery system in 1969, where birthdates were drawn from a large vat. Of course my friends all had high numbers. I was number 12.
Terrified at my prospects, I reported to base camp at Fort Ord, California in May of 1972. Fortunately for me, it was the year they stopped sending soldiers to Vietnam, so my three years in the Army were spent in California and Germany.
Although I didn’t go to Vietnam, the mental and emotional toll of the war was all around me. Angry, scarred, tortured souls came back from the war to try and fit into society again. Probably the most successful ones were those who stayed in the military. Many others were lost to suicide, addiction and homelessness.
I doubt the Pentagon’s anniversary website will mention the fact that the impetus for our large scale entry into that war was based on a lie, just like Bush’s WMDs in Iraq. Sadly, our thirst for war has increased in the last 30 years and the government continues to drag our country into conflicts based on the sketchiest of pretexts.
The primary lesson of Vietnam, that sending Americans to fight and die in foreign lands to expand America’s geopolitical interests is almost always a bad idea, evaporated relatively quickly and we now find ourselves mired in the Middle East as we once were in Southeast Asia.
The 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War should be a time of reflection and soul searching by our government on the use of force as foreign policy, but they’re too busy dropping bombs and spying on citizens to take the time.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Yesterday’s New York Times investigative piece on chemical weapons found in Iraq is a bombshell of an article, but not for the reasons that many conservatives would have you believe.
As an article in today’s Salon and other publications point out, there are two very solid reasons why this revelation is not vindication for those who are crying, “Bush was right. Saddam did have chemical weapons.” The primary point to make is that the chemical weapons our military uncovered in Iraq were pre-1991, degraded chemical munitions that were buried during the Iraq-Iran war and forgotten about. These corroded weapons were not useable and definitely not part of an ongoing WMD program by the Iraqi government. Ironically, many of the weapons were built with the assistance of Western companies
The second point that should be clear to even the dimmest conservative pundit is that a number of these buried caches were found during our invasion of Iraq and after, yet there was not a peep about them from the Bush Administration. If they had found proof that Iraq actually had an active WMD program, don’t you imagine there would have been trumpets blaring and hearty rounds of “I told you so” from Bush and the right-wing media? The Pentagon has admitted that the chemical weapons they found, “Were not the WMDs we were looking for when we went in this time.”
And that brings me to the most disturbing revelation in the Times article. Not only were these weapons not “the WMDs we were looking for,” the Pentagon would not even acknowledge they were found at the time, and even went so far as to deny medical treatment for troops injured during the excavations. Instead of a ticker tape parade down Broadway celebrating the discovery of WMDs, the Pentagon was throwing a blanket over the operations and pretending the weapons didn’t even exist.
George Bush’s invasion of Iraq was a disaster that keeps on giving, and the more we learn about it, the clearer it becomes that this was the largest, and most costly, military blunder in U.S. history.
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Washington Post writer Paul Waldman ruminates in a column today on the different standards the mainstream press uses when evaluating the damage caused by gaffes made by Republican and Democratic candidates. He notes correctly that Democrats are held to a higher gaffe threshold than Republicans, and a minor slip for a Democrat will induce howling indignation among the pundit class whereas Republicans can drop crazy bombs all day long and there isn’t a whisper in the MSM. The author concludes that the media has become so numbed by Republicans saying insane things they simply ignore the stupid. I have a slightly different take.
My feeling is that Republicans are generally spared harsh MSM critiques because they are the party of useful, pliable dupes who can be counted on to do the bidding of America’s corporate elite. Our media is owned by a small cabal of corporations who depend on Republicans (and some Democrats) to push their goals and policies while in office. They know that many Republican politicians are crazy, but why should they care, as long as the nut job they own supports deregulation and low corporate taxes?
So for the most part, Republicans can get away with calling Obama a socialist or saying that local sheriffs should arrest people trying to institute the Affordable Care Act without much reaction from the MSM. It’s not because the MSM has grown calloused to the right’s crazy rants, but because Republicans play an important role in helping corporate America get the policies it wants.
Monday, October 13, 2014
This is very interesting to me. In an interview (with video) posted by the online zine Inquisitr, NASA chief Charles Bolden said of Mars, “It is the most likely planet in the solar system, um, that had life at one time…may have life now, and we feel can definitely sustain life.”
May have life now? This is a pretty eye-opening statement from the head guy of an organization that for more than half-a-century has publicly pooh-poohed the existence of UFOs and any possible evidence of extraterrestrial activity. It could be that events are taking place now that may be forcing NASA to reveal its once closely guarded secrets.
For one, Mars buffs with a whole lot more time on their hands than me have been scouring images coming back from the Mars Rover and finding some interesting oddities on the Red Planet. Officially, NASA routinely debunks these findings as weathered rocks or camera glitches, but some of them defy these standard rebuffs, and it may be that NASA knows at some point someone is going to find something conclusive of life.
Second, there have been several incidents of UFO sightings around the ISS recently, one in which a craft just starts to appear near the ISS and NASA instantly cuts the video feed. These sightings, and many others from around the world, may be getting too difficult and numerous for NASA to shrug off as space junk or camera glitches.
In UFO circles, the term “disclosure” is used to denote that time in the near or far future when governments finally disclose that yes, UFOs are a genuine phenomena and that we have been visited by beings from distant planets. As sophisticated video and photographic technology becomes more and more available to the average person, we are able to find and capture images that were at one time only within the capabilities of the world’s space agencies. That technology may be forcing NASAs hand.
Bolden may still walk back his comments in the days to come, but the fact that he made such remarks publicly could be a tentative first step in the government’s long overdue admission that we are not alone in the universe.
Friday, October 10, 2014
Pick the real ridiculous headline from this list of ridiculous headlines.
- Texas Governor Rick Perry says ISIS is preparing to attack the Alamo
- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un found herding yaks in Mongolia. “My life’s dream.”
- 216 attendees at the 2014 Food Safety Summit fall ill from contaminated chicken
- Typhoon heading for Japan is God’s punishment for “Hello Kitty” according to Pat Robertson
- “How can we win the War on Christmas if we don’t have drones?” asks Bill O’Reilly
- Congress to vote on instituting national “I hate science” day.
Thursday, October 09, 2014
Not long after the 1964 release of the Warren Commission Report, the official version of events surrounding the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963, questions started to be raised about the Report’s conclusions. As dissenting voices grew louder, the CIA coined the term “conspiracy theorists” and had its contacts in the media begin using the phrase to disparage doubters as nut jobs whose wacky theories were way out of the mainstream. It has proven to be one of the most successful propaganda operations in American history.
However, recent research is telling us a different story. Various studies are showing that there are many more people who accept so-called conspiracy theories than we are led to believe, and one 2013 research project at the University of Kent in the UK found that of the 2174 comments they collected, those who questioned the official accounts of events like the JFK assassination and 9/11 outnumbered the unquestioning group by more than two-to-one. Other studies have shown that those who accept the official versions of events tend to be more hostile and more dogmatic in their beliefs.
Victims of the CIA anti-conspiracy theory campaign can be found on the left as well as the right. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t understand how people like Rachel Maddow, who have made careers out of questioning politicians’ motives and government policies, can ridicule those who don’t accept the 9/11 Commissions findings.
There are, of course, conspiracy theorists who actually do belong in the wacko nut job column, people like Alex Jones and Glenn Beck, who see complex, sinister government plots behind every event that makes news headlines. Debunkers love to point these guys as typical conspiracy theorists when they are in fact, simply loony tunes with a megaphone who appeal to a very, very thin slice of the population.
Not every conspiracy theory proves to be real, and many are patently ridiculous, but that doesn’t mean we should be cowed by demeaning names into never questioning authority. I’d rather be called a conspiracy theorist than a blindly obedient tool of the government.
Wednesday, October 08, 2014
It’s no longer a nightmare scenario created by some doomsday futurist, but accepted policy among America’s political elites. In his latest article in The Intercept, Glenn Greenwald points out that it’s not merely blowhard pro-military Republicans who support the never-ending war strategy against terrorism, but many top Democrats as well, like Hillary Clinton, Leon Panetta and, of course, Obama. Endless war is the one area where the President can claim a bipartisan victory.
Money, notes Greenwald, is a major force behind our government’s perpetual war mentality, as military contractors reap billions in profits spilling blood in the sand. I also think that the situation we have created is like a poker game with no limits, forcing players to keep raising their bets. We need oil, terrorists live in areas where there is oil, we bomb the terrorists and innocent civilians, the people who survive our bombing become angry, more terrorists are created, we need oil…
As many others have pointed out, you can’t kill an idea with a bomb. As long as we continue doing what we’re doing, there will be new generations of terrorists seeking revenge against the West. Obama had his chance to break this insidious cycle, but for reasons we can only guess at, threw in the towel early on and surrendered to the political and profiteer’s voices calling for eternal war.
This is what America has become, a war mongering imperial power that keeps its citizens in constant fear, which allows it to both attack and replenish its enemies.
Tuesday, October 07, 2014
Ready for a new Crusade?
There is a rising chorus of voices among evangelical Christians calling for a war against Islam. Not a war against Islamic terrorists or even radical Muslims, but a holy crusade against the second largest religion on the planet.
A few days ago it was Michele Bachmann cheering for a holy war and now an article published in Charisma, a leading evangelical magazine, advocates the violent obliteration of Islam (It has since been taken down by the magazine).
These calls for genocide are appalling to most of us, but when you are convinced God is on your side, anything is possible. Just watch a beheading video, if you can.
It’s the twenty-first century, but we are still victims of our primitive urges, superstition and intense tribalism. My feeling is that as religion becomes less and less relevant in peoples’ lives, as is the current trajectory, those holding the most dogmatic religious views will become more unhinged and dangerous as they strive for relevancy. It’s happening in the Middle East (with America’s help, of course) and it’s happening among conservative Christian enclaves in the West.
The sad reality is that religious extremists, whether Christian or Muslim or Jewish, never see the extremist in the mirror.