Archive for: January, 2011

Rush Limbaugh Claims You Can Catch a Disease by Sleeping With an Illegal Alien

Jan 31 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

On his radio show today, claimed that people can catch diseases from illegal aliens. Limbaugh asked, “Has the CDC ever published a story about the dangers of catching diseases when you sleep with illegal aliens?”

Here is the audio via Media Matters:

Limbaugh said, “Alright so I guess we can assume here global warming, more people are going to die, because more people are going to sleep with their pets. It’s a risk folks. It’s a risk that all of you must take. Has the CDC ever published a story about the dangers of catching diseases when you sleep with illegal aliens? I mean. No, I am not comparing them to pets. I just wondered. If you get diseases from sleeping with people and animals and so forth, what are these studies, and the hilarious thing is, they call me a fear monger, and they’ve got all these clowns out there writing all these stories about you’re going to die tomorrow if you do something entirely normal, and for which this no evidence that anyone ever died. Have you ever seen on the death certificate died because he slept with Fido? Haven’t seen it.”

One of Limbaugh’s favorite forms of racist attack is to phrase the slur as a question, so that he can claim that he wasn’t attacking anyone. He was just wondering out loud. The idea that a person can catch a disease by sleeping with someone who is in the country illegally is straight up racism out of the last century. A person’s citizenship status has no relevance to whether or not they carry disease. Rush was trying to advance the stereotype that all Mexicans are dirty, which of course, is not true.

There are plenty of American citizens who anyone can catch a disease by sleeping with. In 2009, there were over 300,000 cases of Gonorrhea, over 13,000 cases of Syphilis, and over 1.2 million cases of Chlamydia. It is a pretty safe bet that the vast majority of those who were infected were infected by legal residents of the United States. The reason why the CDC doesn’t study the possibility of catching a disease from a legal resident versus an illegal immigrant is because there is no difference. Citizenship or residency does not make a person cleaner or more disease free.

Right wing media has been spreading the lie for years that Hispanic illegal immigrants are bringing diseases into the US. The reality is that studies in states like Utah show disease rates declining among Hispanic populations. Rush Limbaugh and anti-immigration groups are fear mongering about diseases and illegal aliens to whip up hatred of Hispanics. This is pure racism, and Limbaugh deserves to be called out on it.

Image courtesy of the snarkwire

21 responses so far

Note to Fox News: George W. Bush Banned Incandescent Light Bulbs

Jan 31 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

On Fox News’ Fox and Friends today Stuart Varney called Republican Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn a hero for trying to get rid of the “ban on incandescent light bulbs.” There are two problems with this statement. The light bulbs aren’t banned, and the phase out was actually a Republican idea that was signed into law by George W. Bush in 2007.

Here is the video of Varney from Media Matters:

While promoting his own show Varney said, “We have Ambassador John Bolton on the Egypt situation. We’ve got Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn who is trying to get rid of that ban on incandescent light bulbs. She’s our hero.”

In those few seconds, Fox News managed to push the false talking point that incandescent light bulbs are banned, and also portrayed a Republican as a hero for trying to get rid of the “ban.” However, incandescent light bulbs are not banned. The use of the term band creates a false image of big government making the light bulbs illegal to own. The truth is that Energy independence and Security Act of 2007 increased the efficiency standards for light bulbs by 30% from 2012-2014. The new energy standards begin with 100 watt bulbs in 2012, and end with 45 watt bulbs in 2014. There is also a list of exempt bulb types that includes appliance lamps, rough service bulbs, 3-way, colored lamps, and plant lights. In 2020 a second set efficiency raising standards will take effect.

It is not going to be illegal to own incandescent bulbs. No one is going to come to your house and take them away, or put you in jail for owning them. There is no ban. America is simply moving to a more efficient light bulb. You will still be able incandescent bulbs for uses that are exempt from the new standards.

Here’s the real kicker. The Energy Independence and National Security Act was signed into law, not by the “nanny state loving socialist Obama,” but by Republican free market champion George W. Bush. When President Bush signed the bill into law on December 19, 2007, he praised the energy efficiency standards, “The bill also includes revisions to improve energy efficiency in lighting and appliances. It adopts elements of the executive order I signed requiring federal agencies to lead by example in efficiency and renewable energy use.”

This bill came into being as the legislative response to George W. Bush’s Twenty in Ten challenge during his 2007 State of the Union. In the address, Bush called on the United States to improve fuel economy, and increase alternative fuels. His goal was to cut gasoline consumption by 20% in 10 years. All of the current right wing outrage over light bulbs is due to a proposal by their own Republican president. It was their idea. Instead of trying to pass this plan off as Democratic big government, they need to look in the mirror. If they don’t like the new bulbs, they should be blaming themselves, not Obama or the Democrats.

It is typical that Fox News would try to frame Republicans as fighting the heroic fight against big government, without telling their viewers that they themselves created the big government that they are now so outraged about, so the next time you come across a right winger who is moaning about the light bulb ban, let them know that could have all the incandescent bulbs that they wanted if they would not have voted for Republican George W. Bush, the energy efficient light bulb president.

Image courtesy of Moonbattery

15 responses so far

Why Do Extremist Christian Republicans Treat Women Like Property?

Jan 31 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

In Saturday’s analysis of the new Republican “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” bill that redefines rape as something other than sex without permission, there was confusion as to why it is an assault on women. There was passionate reaction that attempted to frame the issue from a biological standpoint and not a women’s rights issue. Obviously, the original position that women should not be forced to do anything with their body they don’t want to fell on bible-drunk ears. The article was not about whether a fetus is a baby (it is NOT), but about Christo-Republicans’ attempts at controlling women.

It is a modern phenomenon to call a fetus a human being. Up until the last 100 years or so, newborns were not named or baptized because the infant mortality rate was such that most did not live past birth. It was a fairly standard practice to expect infants to die before they reached 6 months of age, but even that point is not relevant to this discussion. Regardless the passionate fundamentalist Christian arguments, a fetus is not a human being until it breathes. A fetus cannot survive outside of the womb and it is only because of science and medical advancements that infants live past one year. Interestingly, the same Christians who deny scientific evidence of global climate change use science to defend their position that women must be forced to give birth; even if they were raped.

The AFA that sponsors the personhood movement and labels a zygote a human is a Catholic-sponsored organization that supports calling birth control murder because they feel interrupting the fertilization process is akin to murder, and is why Catholics traditionally cannot use any contraceptive devices to prevent conception. The logic is that stopping a sperm cell from fertilizing a woman’s ovary is stopping the creation of life. It is a twisted tactic to produce more adherents for the Catholic church, and if it pleases its members, that is their choice. However, when Christian legislators make laws to force women to carry a fetus to term, it is tyranny.

For the past couple of days, Christians have claimed that women cannot control their own body, and their argument is that a fetus is not a part of a woman’s body; therefore women who have an abortion are murderers. That argument is from a position of bible-induced psychosis, and whether it is examined on its surface or fully researched by experts, it is the stupidest remark a human could possible make. Even if one concedes that a fetus laughs, cries, jokes, discusses quantum physics or just floats in the uterus, it is without question part of a woman’s body. Perhaps the Christo-Crazies who make those statements have never looked at a pregnant female to see the distended stomach where the fetus resides, and unless they believe a stork dropped the full-grown infant in the crib, they know a fetus is part of a woman’s body.

The point of the article was two-fold; first, Christo-Republicans are redefining rape as something other than the accepted norm of having sex with a woman against their will, and second, no man or woman has the right to dictate to a woman how they treat their own body. Several different Christo-Crazies claimed they did not want to control women or tell them what to do with their bodies – except that they had to give birth; even if they were raped. Forcing women to give birth against their will stems from the Christian Stone Age mythological rule book. The same book by the way, that instructs its disciples to refrain from judging others or doing god’s work for him. If it is a sin for a woman to have an abortion, it is between the woman and the Christo-Crazies’ air-fairy.

The Christo-Crazies refer to a fetus as a baby as a ploy meant to dehumanize women who decide to abort their pregnancy. In the local newspaper, there are frequent obituaries that claim still-born fetuses smiled at the parents and laughed at their jokes with “sparking” blue eyes and precious giggles. Of course there is hurt and despair when a young mother miscarries, but that glob of rotting matter did not smile, giggle, or love its parents because it was dead.  Call it a coping mechanism or just wishful thinking, but a miscarriage is the woman’s body rejecting the fetus that is, after all, a parasite on the mother. Without the mother, the fetus does not exist. The mother however, can exist without the fetus and live a normal lifespan of 70 to 80 years.

This whole discussion is ridiculous because it is a woman’s decision whether to give birth or not. No man, woman, Republican, or Democrat has the right to tell a woman what to do with their body. It doesn’t matter if the argument comes from the bible, folklore, or Christo-Republicans in congress. Republicans can redefine as many terms as they like and Christo-Crazies can cite scripture and invoke their air-fairy as often as they like; women do not have to succumb to the wishes of anyone. The Christo-Republicans and their supporters are worse than fundamentalist Muslim extremists because at least the extremist Muslims have integrity of purpose and are up front about their anger and outrage. Christo-Crazies on the other hand, smile sweetly, praise peace and love, then condemn women to little more than slave-status and demand obedience without question.

It is disheartening that women are still treated as property by Christians in Congress and the general population. It is a mystery why any woman votes for Christo-Republicans who hate them and dictate how they treat their own body, or tell them to allow a man to impregnate them. The issue is simple; no-one has the right to tell a woman what they can or cannot do with their own body! Christo-Crazies can say a fetus is not part of a woman’s body or that a fetus can explain quantum physics, but those arguments are nonsense. It is good to quote President Obama when he said, “Just because you say it, doesn’t make it true.” Religious fanatics do not understand that women have choices because they do not want to understand, and decent human beings are sick and tired of Christo-Crazies telling women to be subservient. If they want to return to the Stone Age and beat their women with clubs, then go; but leave 21st century women alone or their will be a reckoning they cannot possibly fathom and it will not come from Jeezo or any other air-fairy. It will come from secular man and it will not be pleasant.

Image: weebabygirl.com

36 responses so far

Tim Pawlenty’s State of Delusion

Jan 31 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

Tim Pawlenty

The State of the Union address has come and gone and with it an incoherent response by Tea Party Caucus leader Michele Bachmann. Like Bachmann, Tim Pawlenty, Minnesota’s 39th governor (who did not seek re-election in 2010) is a a potential presidential candidate in 2012 and a Tea Partier – meaning he likes loony, right-wing positions just to the right of the slippery slope.

And he’s not afraid, like other noted Tea Partiers Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann, to say some really, egregiously stupid things. Like in his interview with Christianity Today. Given the timing, perhaps we can call that his “State of Delusion” address.

Like this stupid thing, that America was “founded under God.”

Your book encourages Christians to be involved in public issues. At what point might Christians rely too much on political solutions to current problems?

I started with the perspective of someone who says that faith is separate from public law and public service; it really isn’t. We have, as a country, a founding perspective that we’re founded under God; our founding documents reference and acknowledge God, and acknowledge that our rights and privileges come from our Creator.

Um, Tim, when did that happen? Have you read the Declaration of Independence, which refers not to your god but to “Nature’s God” – a Deistic term, or maybe the Constitution? We know Palin and Bachmann are constitutional experts, so maybe you are too? Nah that won’t work either. The Constitution doesn’t mention ANY god, not yours nor anyone else’s.

Jefferson Attacked as an infidel with the Constitution being snatched out of his hands by the American eagle at the behest of God (upper right)

It’s kind of funny, really, that this politically neutral language of the Declaration of Independence, “Nature’s God” and “Creator” (both used by Deists) are the very same language which today would be eschewed as “politically correct” by fundamentalists. Can you imagine them missing an opportunity to say “Jesus” and “Holy Spirit”? Palin, at least, can’t open her mouth without “Holy Spirit” making an appearance, yet, hypocritically, they hail these terms as irrefutable evidence that our founders were fundamentalists like them (never mind that the evangelicals of the day despised Jefferson as an infidel – see image above).

Perhaps, Tim, when you actually read the Declaration of Independence you will turn your thoughts to Thomas Jefferson, who later wrote a version of the New Testament with all the miracles taken out? Yeah, Tim, they call it the Jefferson Bible. No miracles, no divinity for Jesus, no resurrection. Not much Christianity there; it is in fact a denunciation of Christianity dating all the way back to Paul of Tarsus. Not only did Jefferson not put your god into the Constitution, he took him out of the Bible (You can read the entire Jefferson Bible here)

Tim says he’s a Christian but like all fundies he seems to have a strange and unhealthy attachment to the Old Testament. He also tries to sound all moderate by repeating Abraham Lincoln.

“If I make a faith-related comment, I usually quote from the Bible, often from the Old Testament,” he told Christianity Today. “I remind people that our country is founded under God, and the founders thought that was an important perspective. I watch my tone so I don’t get judgmental or angry about issues. I try to express myself in ways that are measured and appropriate and hopefully civil and positive. Lastly, I try not to say that God is on my side, but I strive to be on God’s side.”

Given the Old Testament is all about being judgmental (and wiping out everybody who takes a different position) Pawlenty’s words are interesting. If I were interviewing the former governor, I’d be asking him how he reconciles the two, and why if he is a Christian and not a Jew, he doesn’t quote from the New Testament.

And I might ask why he and other fundamentalist-types hate the New Testament so much that they quote only from the Old.

Like with this Q&A: where is Jesus’ sense of forgiveness and love? All we see is Old Testament style exclusion:

Some conservative groups have decided to opt out of CPAC because of its inclusion of the group GOProud. Where are the fault lines in the Republican Party on social issues—what are issues the party can’t compromise on?

We can’t ask people to compromise core values. On matters of core values, you can’t ask and shouldn’t expect people to compromise. These values are of such a core nature that it’s not realistic or fair to ask people to set them aside. Most conservatives, including me, have strong views on a variety of issues. I’ve been pro-life my whole life. I’ve been in favor of traditional marriage. It’s not just something you can toss to the side or throw out the window.

So though Pawlenty claims that he is both a fiscal and a moral conservative, when asked what issues the party can’t compromise on, he goes right to moral issues as “core” values. You can see where his priorities lay.

When asked “Is that any indication that evangelicals are rising to leadership in the party?” Pawlenty answered,

Yes, and I also think it’s an affirmation of these people feeling a sense that they have something to offer because of who they are and what they believe, the values that they have and how they line up with the values of the country.

But perhaps the most damning testimony from Pawlenty comes in reference to Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann:

You seem to get comparisons to Palin and Rep. Michelle Bachmann.

[A comparison to] Sarah Palin, of course, is a compliment. She’s a force of nature, she’s kind of in a league of her own when it comes to attention and the media’s focus on her so far. I don’t know if she’s going to run or not, but I think she’s a remarkable leader. I know Congresswoman Bachmann, I campaigned for her, I consider her a friend and I have a positive and good relationship with her as well. Voters will have to choose the style of who they want representing the party as a nominee.

Really?

With all due respect, it’s difficult not to see such comparisons as a mill-stone around your neck. While sane Republicans are distancing themselves from Palin (and after Bachmann’s incoherent response to President Obama and her general nuttiness they should do the same with her) but Pawlenty is marrying himself to their cause, marching in lockstep.

Maybe they will all go off that slippery slope together and out of our collective misery.

13 responses so far

Goldman Sachs Still Rewarding Failure

Jan 31 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein

The recent history of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is hardly the stuff of an American fairy tale; more of a Grimm Brothers nightmare. We like to think in America that success brings rewards and that failure, well, doesn’t. It doesn’t work that way on Wall Street, as we all learned to our disgust in 2008 (and since).

The management of this particular company, to use the vernacular, “screwed the pooch,” or rather the American people and their own shareholders. CNNMoney looks at the year they had:

  • Profits plunged
  • Shareholders doled out $550 to settle a fraud investigation
  • Stock ended the year almost where it began (just a tad below, actually)
  • At Goldman, profit tumbled 38% from a year ago in 2010, on a 13% revenue decline.

Not a great year by any means. Not really the performance you’d think deserves a reward. Well, no surprise, Goldman Sachs disagrees.

For running their company into the ground and as a reward for their part in destroying the economic hopes of millions of Americans – oh and greedily gobbling up billions of dollars in bailout loans in 2008 and 2009 ($12.9 billion – the largest recipient of funds from AIG – $4.3 billion of which went straight to foreign banks) – CNN Money reports Goldman Sachs has done the following:

  • Goldman said in a filing Friday afternoon that CEO Lloyd Blankfein will make $2 million this year, and his top lieutenants will each make $1.85 million. Top Goldman brass had been making $600,000 annually in salary since the firm’s 1999 initial public offering.
  • All 470 of Goldman’s partners will get higher salaries.
  • The top five officers will also get $12.6 million each in bonuses, paid in restricted shares that can’t be sold for five years. That’s up from $9 million each last year.

The pay increases to Blankfein, Chief Operating Officer Gary Cohn, Chief Financial Officer David Viniar and Vice Chairmen Michael Evans and John Weinberg triples their salaries. The pay increase will be effective January 1. The filing gave no reason for the raises.

Jail sentences would have been fairer, don’t you think? At the least, as CNNMoney points out, “You might be tempted to nix raises or withhold bonuses to send a responsible message about linking pay to performance. But if so, you wouldn’t be Goldman Sachs (GS).”

Hard to disagree with CNNMoney’s response: “Is this a great country or what?”

The LATimes reports that “Median total compensation for big public company CEOs was $7.5 million in 2009, according to Equilar, while median U.S. household income is closer to about $50,000.”

Yeah, all that wealth is really trickling down isn’t it? And the Republicans want to keep giving these guys breaks because it’s the wealthy who are the true victims of the Recession.

If that’s victim-hood, I’m sure more than a few Americans can be found who’d be willing to volunteer to share their hardships.

This doesn’t bode well for the future. We don’t need to see a repeat of the federal deregulation of Wall Street when so soon after the Great Recession, which for millions of Americans is still having a deleterious effect. If already companies like Goldman Sachs are marching toward a return to obscene bonuses for their chief executives, what further abuses can Americans expect?

CNNMoney concludes that

It is early yet to say that will be the case here. Even with the raises, Goldman’s 2011 payouts stand to be just a fraction of the go-go days, when Blankfein, president Gary Cohn and finance chief David Viniar each regularly racked up $40 million or more in bonuses and stock awards in a given year.

But already in 2009 the New York Times was asking, “Is the huge compensation pool at Goldman Sachs a sign that the financial industry is stabilizing or that its bankers have returned to bad practices?”

It’s a good question, and in light of the Republican victories in 2010, hopes for 2012, and their avowed agenda, the answer is one we should fear all the more.

4 responses so far

Saturday Night Live Mocks Michele Bachmann’s SOTU Response

Jan 30 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

This week’s Saturday Night Live opened with a funny send up of Michele Bachmann’s attempted Tea Party response to the State of the Union, watch as Michele looks at the wrong camera and suffers a wide variety of technical difficulties, and prop malfunctions.

Here is the video from NBC:

After numerous jokes about Bachmann’s visual aids and technical problems, the best joke came at the conclusion, “So let me just conclude by saying I realize how much the American people are sacrificing during these troubled economic times. We Republicans get it, and we want you to know we’re doing some belt tightening of our own. For example, this presentation you just saw was done on reduced budget. I’m not kidding. We didn’t even hire a professional director, seriously, or a trained graphic designer, and here’s something else my makeup was done by a child. As God as my witness, she’s five years old.”

I have been reading and hearing a ton of excuses from the right as to why other people are to blame for the visual disaster that was Bachmann’s Tea Party Express response to the State of the Union. The consensus seems to be that Bachmann spent the entire address looking into the webcam, not the pool camera. It wasn’t a CNN camera, it was a pool cam. Why in the world were the cameras in two different places? They knew the address was being simulcast on television, so why weren’t both cameras in the same location?

Bachmann and the Tea Party Express made sure that they got a transcript of her remarks out to the media early in the day, so I find it hard to believe that they didn’t rehearse her response. Her response was so poorly done on a technical level that it deserved to be mocked by SNL. Any message that Bachmann may have been trying to convey to the American people was lost on viewers who sat there watching her and asking themselves, “What in hell is she looking at?”

This was a funny take on it by SNL, and by making the opening of Saturday Night Live, Michele Bachmann has taken her first steps towards being a national Republican joke on par with Sarah Palin.

14 responses so far

Hillary Clinton Shows Support For Egypt Protests By Not Endorsing Mubarak

Jan 30 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

Sec. of State Hillary Clinton was on Meet The Press today speaking about the crisis in Egypt. Sec. Clinton urged President Hosni Mubarak to move the nation towards democracy, but what was most important what we she didn’t say. At no point, did she endorse the Mubarak regime, or support the notion the Mubarak should remain in power.

Here is the video:

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Sec. Clinton began by the Egyptian government to implement democratic and economic reforms, “I think that, as we monitor it closely, we continue to urge the Egyptian government, as the United States has for 30 years, to respond to the legitimate aspirations of the Egyptian people and begin to take concrete steps to implement democratic and economic reform. At the same time, we recognize that we have to deal with the situation as it is. And we are heartened by what we hear from our contacts that at least thus far the army has been trying to bring a sense of order without violence. And we have to make a distinction, as they are attempting to do, between peaceful protesters whose aspirations need to be addressed, and then those who take advantage of such a situation for looting or other criminal activity. And we, we have a very clear message. Long-term stability rests on responding to the legitimate needs of the Egyptian people, and that is what we want to see happen.”

Clinton would not call the Mubarak regime stable, or say that he should stay in power, “You know, I’m not going to get into, you know, either/or choices. What we’re saying is that any efforts by this government to respond to the needs of their people, to take steps that will result in a peaceful, orderly transition to a democratic regime is what is in the best interests of everyone, including the current government.”

The Sec. of State stated that the decision on Egypt’s political future should be up to the people, “David, these, these issues are up to the Egyptian people, and they have to make these decisions. But our position is very clear. We have urged for 30 years that there be a vice president, and finally a vice president was announced just a day or two ago. So we have tried to, in our partnership with Egypt, to make the point over and over again about what will create a better pathway for the Egyptian people in terms of greater participation, with political reforms, and greater economic opportunity.”

Clinton suggested that regimes like the one in Egypt can’t survive in the 21st Century, “You know, I spoke about this very clearly in Doha, it, it seems like a long time ago, but, you know, just about two weeks ago, where I outlined that whatever was possible in the 20th century is no longer possible for regimes in the 21st century. The world is moving too fast. There is too much information. People’s aspirations and certainly the rise of middle classes throughout the world demand responsive participatory government. And that is what we expect to see happen.”

When pushed by David Gregory on whether or not the US would like to see Mubarak stay in power, Sec. Clinton said, “David, you cannot keep trying to put words in my mouth. I’ve never said that. I don’t intend to say that. I want the Egyptian people to have the chance to chart a new future. It needs to be an orderly, peaceful transition to real democracy, not faux democracy like the elections we saw in Iran two years ago, where you have one election 30 years ago and then the people just keep staying in power and become less and less responsive to their people. We want to see a real democracy that reflects the vibrancy of Egyptian society. And we believe that President Mubarak, his government, civil society, political activists, need to be part of a national dialogue to bring that about.”

What is most interesting about the interview is what Sec. Clinton didn’t say. She offered no support to Mubarak regime. It is clear that the Obama administration would like to see democracy take hold in Egypt, but unlike the Bush administration, they aren’t about to meddle with a nation’s right to self-determination. Those who claim that the administration should be vocally backing the protesters don’t understand the delicate geo-politics of the region. Much like in Iran, the Obama administration could undermine the pro-democracy efforts, and give Mubarak a reason to crack down on the protests if they openly got involved.

A further complication arises when Egypt’s strategic role as a U.S. ally is considered. The Americans have very few allies in the region, and by endorsing regime change, the Obama administration could push Mubarak away from democracy and towards a further consolidation of his own power. Heavy handed support of the protests could both cost the United States an ally, and thwart the movement towards democracy in Egypt.

Those on the left who are criticizing Obama’s response are in essence calling for the United States to inject itself into the domestic affairs of another country by use of the same philosophic principle that the Bush administration used to justify their regime change doctrine, the only difference is in the absence of U.S. military. If we as Americans believe in self-determination and democracy, then we must let the Egyptian people choose their own path.

By not endorsing Mubarak, Clinton was subtly endorsing the protests. The United States has made its desire for democracy in Egypt very clear. If the Obama administration wanted Mubarak to stay in power, they could have endorsed him and the incremental gestures of reform that he has offered, but they didn’t, and the message is obvious. In a very diplomatic manner the United States is urging the protesters to do what 30 years of international diplomacy has not, bring real reform to Egypt.

11 responses so far

Bill Maher Calls Out Right Wing Hypocrites Who Hate Obama But Love NFL Socialism

Jan 29 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

During his New Rules segment of his HBO program Real Time, Bill Maher used the Super Bowl to call out right wing hypocrites who hate President Obama for socialism, but love the most socialistic enterprise in America, the National Football League, “So you kind of have to laugh that the same angry white males who hate Obama because he is redistributing wealth, just love football, a sport that succeeds because it does just that.”

Here is the video:

After some great Super Bowl humor, Maher got to the economics lesson, “It’s no surprise that some 100 million Americans will watch the Super Bowl next week. That’s 40 million more than go to church on Christmas, suck on that Jesus. It’s also 85 million more than watch the last game of the World Series, and in that is an economic lesson for America, because football is built on an economic model of fairness and opportunity, and baseball is built on a model where the rich always win, and the poor usually have no chance. The World Series is like the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. You have to be a rich bitch to just to play, whereas the Super Bowl is like Tila Tequila, anybody can get in.”

Maher continued, “Or to put it another way, football is more like the Democratic philosophy. Democrats don’t want to eliminate capitalism or competition, but they would like it if some kids didn’t have to go to a crummy school in a rotten neighborhood, while others get to go to a great school and their dad gets them into Harvard because when that happens achieving the American Dream becomes. It is easy for some and just a fantasy for others. That’s why the NFL literally shares the wealth. TV is their biggest source of revenue, and they put it all in a big commie pot and split it 32 ways, because they don’t want anyone falling too far behind. That’s why the team that wins the Super Bowl in the next draft picks last, or what the Republicans would call punishing success.”

He then explained why baseball exemplifies the Republican philosophy, “Baseball, baseball on the other hand is exactly like the Republicans, and I don’t just mean it’s incredibly boring. I mean their economic theory is every man for himself. The small market Pittsburgh Steelers go to the Super Bowl more than anybody, but the Pittsburgh Pirates? Levi Johnston has sperm that will not grow up and live long enough to see the Pirates in a World Series. Their payroll is $40 million. The Yankees is $206 million. The Pirates have about as much chance of getting to the playoffs, as a poor black teenager from Newark has of becoming the CEO of Haliburton. That’s why people stop going to Pirate games in May, because if you’re not in the game, you become indifferent to the fate of the game, and maybe even get bitter, that’s what’s happening to the middle class in America.”

Maher concluded by pointing out the irony of the Obama haters loving the NFL, “So you kind of have to laugh that the same angry white males who hate Obama because he is redistributing wealth, just love football, a sport that succeeds because it does just that. To them, the NFL is American as hot dogs, apple pie, Chevrolet, and a second giant helping of apple pie, but then again, they think they’re macho because their sport is football, when honestly is there anything gayer than wearing another man’s shirt?”

The irony is quite delicious that the same Fox News watching crowd who decry Obama’s imaginary socialism will be glued to their televisions next Sunday watching an event that is the nation’s biggest tribute to the effectiveness of socialism. Under a system similar to baseball, the chances of a Steelers/Packers Super Bowl would be about the same as a Pirates/Royals World Series. Much like the Republicans, defenders of the baseball model will point to the exception to the norm. The year that Small Market Team X made the World Series, usually the Tampa Bay Rays.

This rationale ignores the systemic problem that this model causes for baseball and by extension the problems that the Republican economic theory causes for America. The reason why nobody watches the World Series in comparison to the Super Bowl is that their teams had no shot at making it to the World Series. When people don’t think they have a chance of making it to the top, they no longer care about outcome. Like the Republicans, baseball sells their version of the American Dream to small market teams, but they keep an economic system in place that makes the dream almost impossible to reach and maintain.

Much like what America is becoming, there is no middle class in baseball. There are haves and have nots. The NFL much like Democratic ideology appeals to so many Americans because it believes that those at the bottom should have the opportunity and chance to reach the top. Whether they get there or not is up to the individual, and their own efforts, but the path should not be closed off to them due to economic circumstances.

As we sit in living across America and enjoy the de facto national holiday that is the Super Bowl next Sunday, at some point you may want to lean over and remind your Obama hating friend/relative that they are enjoying a holiday that is a tribute to socialism. Ask yourself, if the NFL can succeed with rules and a system that creates opportunity for all, why can’t America? After all, isn’t opportunity for all what the American Dream is supposed to be about?

38 responses so far

No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act Changes The Definition of Rape

Jan 29 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

John Boehner said last week that eliminating federal funding for abortions is one of the Republicans highest priorities and right on schedule, Representative Chris Smith (R-N.J.) introduced a bill to stop the government from using taxpayer money to pay for abortions. The bill, “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” contains a provision that will rewrite the rules to radically change the definition of rape and incest. Under the federal rules in place since 1976, the only reason federal funds can be used for an abortion is in the case of rape, incest, or the health of the mother.

The rape exemption, under the new rules, will only be allowed in the case of forcible rape that Republicans are making harder to prove with new language to end the exemption all together. The new Republican majority is also including language in the bill that rewrites the definition of incest to further restrict abortions.

Republicans are also redefining rape so that statutory rape and date rape are not covered because under the new definitions, force is not a factor. What that means is if a 48-year-old-man impregnates an eleven-year-old girl, and is convicted of statutory rape, no Federal funds can be used to abort the pregnancy because the man did not “forcibly” rape the child. It is inconceivable that Republicans could be so heartless, but it gets worse.

If the eleven-year-old girl’s parents have a tax-exempt health savings plan, the parents would not be allowed to use their own money to pay to have the pregnancy aborted. Tax-exempt health savings are accounts that individuals pay into for pre-tax considerations, and can use the funds for any health issue that may come up. There is no federal money involved; it is a case where Republicans are dictating to individuals what they can use their own money for. Also under the Republican’s bill, the parents could not deduct as a medical expense any money they spend on aborting the child’s pregnancy; even if they pay cash out-of-pocket.

The anti-abortion crowd is pressuring Republican legislators into eliminating any reason for abortion whether Federal funds are used or not. A case of date-rape where a woman or girl is drugged and unconscious and raped is not considered rape because there was no force used; because they were incapacitated. The men who are making these laws apparently don’t think a woman can say no to sex, and want them physically assaulted before it is called rape. The language of the bill also doesn’t consider a case to be rape if the woman has limited mental capacity.

One of the co-chairs of the congressional pro-choice caucus, Representative Diana DeGette (D-Colo), said that, “The bill goes far beyond current law,” and that the re-definition of the rape exception “is only one element of an extreme bill.” Pro-abortion rights groups think the bill is a means of ending private health insurance coverage for abortion, and that the bill will have a dramatic effect on women, which is an understatement.

These forced-birth Republicans are using their religion to control women, and by redefining rape, have set women’s rights back generations. Redefining rape is a direct assault on all women, and a form of tyranny that rivals extremist Islam. By redefining rape to eliminate exemptions and control health insurance coverage, Republicans are dictating how citizens spend their own money. It is hypocritical of Republicans who want to repeal the health care mandate because it says all Americans must carry health insurance, but are telling women they cannot spend their own money to pay for abortions or carry a health insurance policy that includes abortion coverage whether they use the policy for an abortion or not.

The question for the hypocrites and bible-thumpers is; who are tyrants and who is stealing liberty? The Christian legislature is depriving women of their freedom to not be raped, and is imposing tyrannical rules on women. Christo-Republicans are not going to pay for the bastard’s health care, education, schooling or any of the financial burdens the raped woman will face for the 18 years she is responsible for the bastard.

The next step for forced-birth Christo-Republicans is to eliminate the exemption in case of the mother’s health. Will they claim that the woman has already lived 20, 30, or 40 years so it is acceptable to let the woman die to give the fetus an opportunity to live? Christo-Republicans will dictate which life is worth saving if they have the chance; especially if the fetus is male. It sounds extreme, but it is not far-fetched based on the misogynists in Congress and churches that hold women in such low esteem.

The Constitution forbids using religious dogma to make laws, but Christo-Republicans have as little regard for the Constitution as they do for women. Now that Christo-Republicans have a Supreme Court Justice who decided the Constitution does not guarantee equal rights for women, things will only get worse and the misogynists will ratchet up their tyranny against women.

According to the law, rape is one person having sex with another person against their will. Republicans who suck money and support from bible-thumping misogynists want to change the definition so a man can impregnate a woman with impunity and the woman must give birth to the bastard. Americans were outraged when Serbians conducted ethnic cleansing in Bosnia by raping women, and in fact, the global community intervened in Bosnia to stop the ethnic cleansing by rape and America played a key role in stopping the practice.

Now Republicans are condoning forced-birth and punishing the victims by changing the definition of rape. One can only wonder; if a Christo-Republican discovered their 11-year-old mentally-disabled daughter was raped, would they call it non-rape and force the child to have the bastard? Based on the Christo-Republicans’ hypocrisy, they would not. They would simply redefine a word to fit their purpose, and then go back to their tyranny against women. It is after all, the Christo-Republican way.

Image: objectifythis.com

31 responses so far

Eating the Meat of Idols? Say What?

Jan 29 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

More fear and panic brought to you by the Religious Right. And you thought you understood what made food healthy or unhealthy! But the meat of idols? Are you kidding me? This is one that would sound familiar to ancient peoples, only they’re all dead. Not to worry! The backwards looking Christian fundamentalist community won’t let any cause for fear mongering go to waste, particularly when it comes to Islam.

You may remember this bit of right-wing bigotry, the protest mounted by Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer against Campbell’s for making Halal soups in Canada. Like Kosher foods for Jews made in accordance with Jewish dietary laws, Halal foods are made in accordance with Islamic dietary laws. Geller claimed that Campbell’s was “doing the bidding” of the Muslim Brotherhood. After all, Muslims have no right to follow their dietary restrictions, right? I mean, we’ve already been told Islam is not really a religion.

Many of you will also be familiar with that insidious Internet parasite called WorldNetDaily, which is making a fuss about the food we eat in restaurants. It’s not safe you see. As perennial bigot Bryan Fischer warns, it might be food of “the demon-god-Allah.” So here we have Bryan Fischer allied with Mark Blitz of El Shaddai Ministries, is campaigning against all Halal foods.

According to World Net Daily:

When you bite into a delicious pizza, succulent sandwich or luscious lamb chops, are you possibly eating food that has been sacrificed to idols?

An outspoken American pastor says yes, and he’s sounding the alarm for Christians to be aware of the Islamic influence he calls “backdoor Shariah” now nibbling its way across the fruited plain.

At issue, says Mark Biltz of El Shaddai Ministries in Bonney Lake, Wash., is eating food that’s “halal,” in other words “lawful” or “permitted” for the Muslim diet.

Muslims join many Jews and some Christians in avoiding the consumption of certain animals such as pigs and birds of prey, but those of the Islamic faith also have their meat blessed in the name of their god, Allah.

“From the Christian standpoint, Allah would be an idol,” Biltz told WND.

And of course, WND as always is willing to make a buck off the deal.

What does the Bible REALLY say about what’s considered food and what isn’t? Find out, plus learn the spectacular destiny of mankind that’s rarely mentioned in church in this autographed No. 1 best-seller for just $4.95 today only!

There is literally nothing WND reports on that they don’t also profit from.

For the ancient Christians community it wasn’t about making a shekel, or a denarii, or whatever, it was a legitimate concern for them because you see in the ancient days, most urban folks didn’t get meat unless it was from sacrifices. A council held in Jerusalem, Acts tells us, came to the following decision (Acts 15:29):

You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.

Well they didn’t listen much to that, did they?

If you want more, you can consult Paul of Tarsus on the subject.  We find in 1 Corinthians 8:4–13:

Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat such food they think of it as having been sacrificed to an idol, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.

But it turns out there was more to it: the problem for Paul is that in eating this meat people might be tempted to lapse and return to temples and this was a legitimate worry, for it happened all the time: “Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak. For if anyone with a weak conscience sees you who have this knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, won’t he be emboldened to eat what has been sacrificed to idols?”

So set an example: “Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall.”

Just a little later, in 1 Corinthians 10:25–32 Paul reiteratesEat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, for, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.”

Well there you go, Pastor Blitz! But hold on! What’s this? “But if anyone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, both for the sake of the man who told you and for conscience’ sake— the other man’s conscience, I mean, not yours. For why should my freedom be judged by another’s conscience?” The problem here is not the meat itself, which is amoral but that to a person who has a weak conscience – a former pagan – this meat from pagan temples was spiritually defiled. Paul says it would be preferable to avoid meat rather than cause a believer to sin against his conscience.

Are we to take it then that this pagan meat is only a danger to those with weak consciences? It would seem so. What does that say about Blitz and Fischer and those Christians they are worried about with regards to this Halal meat? If they eat it they might lapse? Eat the meat and you turn into a Muslim or maybe a pagan?

And what about all that stuff Jesus said about the Jewish dietary restrictions being null and void?

Matthew 15:11 gets ignored here though it is often used to make that argument;

What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him ‘unclean,’ but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him ‘unclean.'”

Never mind that Jesus said he came to uphold the law (Matthew 5:17-20). But how about this?

Peter’s vision. You remember when Peter was sweating over having to meet a Gentile, Cornelius. No problem, God says to Peter in a vision.  The Jewish dietary prohibitions are overcome with the simple expedient of God telling Peter it was okay to eat anything he wanted (Acts 10:1-11:18), or so we’ve been told. So suddenly shellfish aren’t evil anymore, for example and a stoning is dodged.

But where pagan food was concerned, and now Islamic, the words of God mean suddenly nothing. Of course ,as WND tells us,

“Biltz stresses he’s not against halal food, halal stores or Muslims, but says “Christians may want to know that they’re eating halal food. It’s not so much a religious thing, but an awareness thing.”

No, he’s a swell guy: he just thinks their god is a dumb idol.

Look, it’s either one thing or another. Either it doesn’t matter what you eat or it does. You can’t pick and choose which laws are still laws; Jesus didn’t. They are interpreted and applied according to need, ignored when inconvenient. There is always room for more fear. If it’s not obvious, just dig a little. You can find something.

Speaking as a pagan, I can assure you it’s not anything I ate. It’s thinking like this.

My only question coming out of all this is, “Do you eat shellfish, Bryan Fischer?”

13 responses so far

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