Sadly we live in a culture where saying it is so makes it so. If you hear something enough times, it must be true, critical thinking be damned. It would be nice if news editors (do they still exist?) would learn this. The case in point is the birther nonsense. It was noted (NYT) that the one network who talked more about the birther conspiracy and debunked it was MSNBC, yet the belief grew. The only conclusion you can draw is that when you put someone with outrageous and erroneous allegations on TV and debate them, it lends credence to their position for a large portion of the viewing audience. Continuing to air ignorance and stupidity just spreads ignorance and stupidity to the unwashed masses (those who did not learn critical thinking and refuse to read). Donald Trump and his coverage is the case in point. Why cover him at all? Ratings people, ratings. And so goes the decline of a once a very great nation.
Posts tagged ‘Birthers’
Why? Once again the man of steel (actually badly dented tin) has capitulated to his attackers showing his weakness in actually responding to this dribble. And does he think this will end it? This will simply egg them on and we will see more birther bills and more Donald Trump interviews and more conspiracy theories. By giving in to these nuts he has just lowered the bar. What a moron.
Well it is still cold, there is snow on the ground, and work is at a virtual stop in the vineyard so I thought I would start a new post, WTF Fridays. This will not replace Vine/Wine Fridays, but in addition to. There is just so much material….
- People are mad as hell that Congress cannot resolve the budget issue. “Why can’t they just compromise.” Well if you are paying attention, compromise means the Democrats cave in after already giving away $33 billion in sorely needed spending and abandon woman’s rights. What did you expect when you elected the neanderthals from the Tea Party who are not about to compromise? You want compromise don’t elect people who campaign on being radicals and no compromise. WTF
- The Beltway media is tripping all over themselves to anoint Paul Ryan and his attack on Medicare as brave. Of course none of them actually read it or as James Kwak said (The Baseline Scenario). “Gag me.” The plan is a disaster and the numbers don’t add up. So, it is brave to show that you will throw out any pile garbage to see if it will stick? It solves nothing and makes the problem worse and the media is tripping over themselves to kiss Paul Ryan’s ass? WTF
- To show how stupid the Beltway media is, if the Democrats agree to a $38 billion cut in programs that benefit the working middle class and poor, they think this is compromise. Actually it is capitulation. Compromise would have been getting some new revenue from taxing corporations (reducing loop holes) or the wealthy along with some cuts. The Tea Party is on its way to defining government for all of us. This small minority is now in charge of the government. WTF
Note: The capitulation of the Democratic Party and President Obama was when they folded on the Bush Tax Cuts. They opened up the door to all that we are now seeing. Just another WTF moment from the spineless Democrats.
- The Tea Party likes to say that the people spoke in 2010 and they are only carrying out their mandate to gut government. That is not what the people really said. They said make it better because Obama has not. When the economy gets much worse due to all these cuts, it will be the Democrats fault right? WTF
- Obama and the Democrats are just amazed at the intransigence of the Republicans. Let’s see, they gave away the farm on every issue they took on, their starting negotiating position was what the Republicans wanted, and the economy did not get better. Now they are surprised that the Republicans won’t budge. They created this monster. WTF
- The media keeps covering Donald Trump’s birther binge. What should concern you is that this is nothing but entertainment. Trump is courting know-nothings in a bid to keep his face on People magazine. He is a cartoon character out of loony tunes. But with four-fifths of Republicans now doubting the President’s pedigree, this is really an act of terrorism. How can people be so unbelievably stupid. WTF
- I guess the most telling thing about our media is that they are now all about entertainment, and in that pursuit are dumbing down America. Prime example is that when they interview, say Donald Trump, Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, or some Tea Party Fruit Loop, they don’t challenge the absolute nonsense and misinfornation that is being put out there. They treat it as though it is serious discourse. No wonder Americans are so dumb. Real stories are coming from media sources that are outside the Beltway and have not been co-opted by their own incest with the politicians they are covering. WTF
- And for my finale, did you know that if we paid what other industrialized countries pay for health care, which might I add is full coverage for everyone and better results, there would not be a deficit. But we have to wipe out Medicare and turn everything over to the private sector right? WTF
When you really look at what the Republicans want to do, and you think it through (a leap of faith assumption for most Americans), it is lunacy, from the birthers, to flow down, to defunding government and transferring wealth to the rich, to expecting things to get better. You really have to think, WTF.
Why do the Tea Partiers keep pushing the birther thing? When you get right down to it, President Obama has been their best ally. He came into office with a mandate promising a real Progressive Agenda, and had he fought for it, we would not be where we are today. Instead he accommodated the conservative right, and everything he did accomplish was loaded down with so much conservative baggage to get one or two Republican votes that there was no way it could work. Instead of drawing a clear distinction between the conservatives and progressives, he has tainted progressive ideas and policies with his accommodations giving them ammunition that they don’t work.
As a result, things did not improve significantly enough in 2010 to prevent the Democratic debacle at the polls. The Republicans were dead and he brought them back to life by giving them credibility when he accommodated them and then implemented flawed policies that made Americans question Progressive ideas. When he capitulated on the Bush Tax cuts, he set up the Tea Party confrontation we are now witnessing. He is the best Trojan Horse they could have wished for. So why continue to try to prove he isn’t an American? If they are successful then maybe Joe Bidden or Hilary will take over and they will have to fight a real Progressive who might just draw a line in the sand. But of course he is a real American and we are stuck with him. Could he finally learn his lesson and get a spine? Not in my lifetime.
Note: I am not saying President Obama is a sleeper. I think his heart is in the right place, but his tactics suck and his goal, as with all politicians is to get re-elected not fix the country. He has confused winning elections to actually leading the country.
There was an article written by Sam Harris in the Huffington Post about how we are becoming the very rich and the poor and how our whole society is now structured to favor and transfer wealth to the wealthy. Yes, that Sam Harris who is a devout atheist and wrote two of my favorite books, The End of Faith, Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason and Letters to a Christian Nation. Sam was imploring the rich to show some Christian values.
No, the article was not anything about faith and the word Christian did not come up, but the idea of helping those less fortunate did (A New Year’s Resolution for the Rich). But that is not my point today. I will write tomorrow about how Charles Dickens’ world of poor and suffering is being revisited on us by the present crop of Republican “thinkers”, but today it got me thinking about faith and birthers
Warning! Warning! Old White Guy Thinking! Sam Harris, I believe, wrote probably the best work debunking the Bible and most religious belief. Not only did he demonstrate the ugliness of the Bible, its cruelty, its many authors, its revisions, its factual inaccuracies, and its many contradictions as the word of God, but he demonstrated how this kind of thinking (or not thinking) leads to many of the cruelties and injustices that we see today. He simply showed that a belief in God was totally irrational and not based upon any observable reality that could not be explained by other natural phenomena including the religious “experience”.
As an aside, there is a differentiation between religion as gospel and philosophy. The philosophy purported to be preached by Jesus, which we call Christianity, is one of many philosophies about how we should lead our lives and treat others. As a philosophy, it is subject to examination and adjustments as reality dictates. That is very different from a religion whose dogma is the word of God and is inviolate, the very antithesis of rational thought. Religions actually get more human when we pick and choose from what it is purported God dictated.
Okay, what does that have to do with birthers and faith? Well, if you enter into a reasoned discussion with a religious soul (note that surveys show that in the general population, atheists know much more about the Bible than believers), and you have your intellectual ducks in a row, you can demonstrate that their beliefs in the Bible are either misinformed, or contradicted by the Bible itself. When this complexity is thrown at them, they always fall back on faith. They just know. They look at you as that poor soul who just won’t let the light into your soul. Of course there is always the “Harvey” solution if you can’t brook a supreme being. One person’s dementia is another person’s salvation.
At any rate, faith in our society is a revered commodity and I am not just talking about religious faith. We hear stories all the time of some individual who faces insurmountable odds and somehow overcomes them to survive/be a success/overcome debilitating injuries, whatever. When asked how they managed to persevere, they just say they had faith they could do it, or faith in God.. Of course we don’t usually tell the much more common stories of all those who just had faith and failed, or quite simply examine the fact that they had no other options, but the point is that faith does have a revered status in our society, earned or not. But that got me thinking about the Birthers, those that believe President Obama is not a U.S. Citizen.
Birthers claim their belief is based upon the failure of President Obama to produce an original signed birth certificate, only the official one authorized for release to the public by the State of Hawaii. Enter newly elected Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie who wants to put an end to this nonsense by releasing (if he can find a legal way to avoid privacy laws) the original birth certificate with all the original information and signatures. His mistake is thinking this ultimate reality will inform the Birthers and make them go away. He fails to take into account their faith. They simply know it in their hearts (sound familiar?) and will invent another conspiracy theory to explain away the latest evidence. See, God does work in mysteries ways.
Apparently what this should teach us is that there are various levels for the utility of faith. Is faith an important quality that allows us to persevere in difficult situations or is it a tool to facilitate our denial of reality to be used to further our own self-interest. In some situations it can be what gets us through, and in others can be a highly negative force that enables us to ignore the reality that faces us with disastrous results. So which is it? Food for thought in 2011 where conservative faith, religious faith, and faith in American exceptionalism will all be in play in our political arena.
Well we have all seen the Birthers, you know, the nitwits who continue to challenge the citizenship of President Obama. What is shocking is that Republican Congressmen and women are pandering to this to these nuts. Is this how low they will go to hold on to their base and is this how crazy their base really is? The answer to that is yes and it is an indication of how far the Republican Party has fallen. But there is a very dark side to this pandering and that is that they may be enabling some nut case who believes this stuff and thinks the President should be removed by any means necessary. Much as the hate speech on conservative talk radio and from Bill O’Rilley undoubtedly egged on the killer of George Tiller, the doctor who performed legal late term abortions, this kind of pandering to nut jobs could be very dangerous for this country.
But what has really got my attention today was listening to the pundits talk about the political future of Sarah Palin. Some seemingly intelligent people thought she just needed some polishing. Their failure to grasp her lack of intellectual abilities or understanding of basic reasoning makes me wonder if they all have some form of brain defect. Now not all Republicans are so blinded as was evidenced by the David Frum and
Ann Coulter argument about her prospects (Huffington Post). But having said that, you have to wonder if Republicans truly are brain dead. Do they remember the disaster of the George Bush Presidency and he has a whole lot more horsepower than she does, which is not saying much? Throwing red meat to the faithful is not a platform to build a country on. And that is all she does.
If you don’t believe me, just listen to her farewell speech (Palin Farewell Speech). It didn’t make sense. She is neither coherent nor thoughtful, not to mention illogical. Just what we need in a leader, you betcha. So without further ado, here are some of her gems:
“And it is our men and women in uniform securing it, and we are facing tough challenges in America with some seeming to just be Hell bent maybe on tearing down our nation, perpetuating some pessimism, and suggesting American apologetics, suggesting perhaps that our best days were yesterdays.”
Just who would be the one tearing down the nation Sarah? Would that have been you when you tolerate the chants of kill him at your political rallies? President Obama is offering us hope and restoring our reputation overseas so what are you talking about? Oh, I get it, a strawman who the other brainless people you connect to can hate. Anybody know what American apologetics is?
“Democracy depends on you (news people), and that is why, that’s why our troops are willing to die for you. So, how ’bout in honor of the American soldier, ya quite makin’ things up. And don’t underestimate the wisdom of the people, and one other thing for the media, our new governor has a very nice family too, so leave his kids alone.”
I would bet a lot of money no one is fighting for news people. They may be fighting for freedom of the press. Then she wants them to quite making up stories. Would that be the Republicans in the House and Senate with their health care horror stories from Canada? How can she be for freedom of the press and then tell the press what is made up and what suits her? And then there is the family thing. Here is the woman who trotted out her family as a down home political ploy, but it is unfair if then the press really looks at them. Her real problem was that she can’t control them so we are back to her original conflict about freedom of the press and only reporting stories she approves of. My guess is nobody gives a damn about the new governor’s family as long as he doesn’t try to use them as political flack like you did.
“…because you’re going to see anti-hunting, anti-second amendment circuses from Hollywood and here’s how they do it. They use these delicate, tiny, very talented celebrity starlets, they use Alaska as a fundraising tool for their anti-second amendment causes. Stand strong, and remind them patriots will protect our guaranteed, individual right to bear arms, and by the way, Hollywood needs to know, we eat, therefore we hunt.”
Oh where to start on this one. For some reason delicate, tiny, very talented celebrity starlets are very dangerous and are everywhere trying to stamp out hunting and take their guns away. I have never seen one, but I trust her on this one. Starlets are everywhere and you have to be wary. On the other hand are assault weapons necessary for hunting in Alaska, especially from helicopters? Apparently she doesn’t think people in Hollywood eat. I would be somewhat disturbed if we gave everyone in LA a gun so they could hunt. Oh, I forgot, they all have one and the usually “hunt” in liquor stores and 7/11s where the real food is.
“I resisted the stimulus package. I resisted the stimulus package and we have championed earmark reform, slashing earmark requests by 85% to break the cycle of dependency on a stifling, unsustainable federal agenda, and other states should follow this for their and for America’s stability. We don’t have to feel that we must beg an allowance from Washington, except to beg the allowance to be self-determined. See, to be self-sufficient, Alaska must be allowed to develop – to drill and build and climb, to fulfill statehood’s promise. At statehood we knew this.”
Oh, this one I truly love. Here is a state that gets back from the federal government $1.85 for every dollar they pay in. They are a welfare state and is why they wanted statehood. Without the federal government this state would be on its ass. Now here is the queen of cut taxes who is living on oil tax revenue and will sell her soul and rape the environment as long as she can keep it coming in. She was against the climate bill that would have actually helped her natural gas pipeline plan. So just exactly where does she stand on anything?
“Yes, America must look north to the future for security, for energy independence, for our strategic location on the globe. Alaska is the gate-keeper of the continent.”
There is not one analysis that says if we drilled all the oil in Alaska it would make a dent in our energy/oil dependence, and it would make our climate warming issue worse. As far as the gate-keeper stuff goes, we here in California have been overrun with Eskimos taking jobs away from hard working white people. Do they make this stuff up?
“Now, people who know me, and they know how much I love this state, some still are choosing not to hear why I made the decision to chart a new course to advance the state. And it should be so obvious to you. (indicating heckler) It is because I love Alaska this much, sir (at heckler) that I feel it is my duty to avoid the unproductive, typical, politics as usual, lame duck session in one’s last year in office. How does that benefit you? No, with this decision now, I will be able to fight even harder for you, for what is right, for truth. And I have never felt like you need a title to do that.”
I think she said I am quitting because I don’t want to face all the problems I have created. I want to go to the lower 48 and cash in while the cashing in is good. Because we all know that getting rich off stupid and gullible people is a Republican virtue and is the American thing to do. Money after all is the only measure of success and if I can continue to chuck read meat to morons while offering no coherent plans for our future, then that is God’s purpose for me. Besides I can even get more media attention, which of course I hate. I wonder if Ann Coulter is threatened by another Republican woman making less sense than she does?
If this is what the Republican Party think is something to admire and is Presidential material, then they have totally lost their way. If appealing to the base by attack and ridicule is more important than thoughtful alternative plans, then they are no longer a party, but a mob. And If the rest of us don’t see through her politics of the mean and spiteful, her language of exclusion, and her total lack of knowledge or intellectual curiosity about the larger world, then we are all in big trouble. Or maybe I am old and I don’t get the new way of speaking where you just throw in nouns, verbs, and adjectives with words that excite the base and it really doesn’t matter if it makes sense or not. If that is the case we are no longer a thinking nation. I will leave you with one of her opening paragraphs and if you figure out what it means, please let me know:
“And getting up here I say it is the best road trip in America soaring through nature’s finest show. Denali, the great one, soaring under the midnight sun. And then the extremes. In the winter time it’s the frozen road that is competing with the view of ice fogged frigid beauty, the cold though, doesn’t it split the Cheechakos from the Sourdoughs? And then in the summertime such extreme summertime about a hundred and fifty degrees hotter than just some months ago, than just some months from now, with fireweed blooming along the frost heaves and merciless rivers that are rushing and carving and reminding us that here, Mother Nature wins. It is as throughout all Alaska that big wild good life teeming along the road that is north to the future. That is what we get to see every day. Now what the rest of America gets to see along with us is in this last frontier there is hope and opportunity and there is country pride.”
And I thought there could not be a worse communicator than George Bush.