Archive for: June, 2011

Tom Morello Brings Down the House Rocking For Solidarity

Jun 30 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

The Night Watchman rocks the 28th International Brotherhood of Teamsters Convention. This is Tom friggin’ Morello. It’s NSFW, it will remind you of your roots and if after you listen to the entire thing, you aren’t ready to storm the streets and demand a government OF THE WORKING PEOPLE BY THE WORKING PEOPLE AND FOR THE WORKING PEOPLE, why the hell not?

Tom sings the censored version of “This Land is Our Land” and wraps up by getting the Teamsters up on stage for the Worldwide Rebel Song.

Video courtesy of Teamsters Nation:

Don’t let Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, and the rest of the fighters do this alone. Stand up, people! Be heard! It’s time to get radical about our rights, because they are coming for us all. Not just the workers, not just women, not just minorities – they are coming for the entire middle class, right after they’re done picking the bones of the impoverished, the elderly and the disabled. Join your brothers and sisters, and remember, this land is OUR land.

ENOUGH!

4 responses so far

Michele Bachmann Is A National Disgrace

Jun 30 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

The level of American discourse seems to always find a new way to decline, bringing to mind the old joke: “It has reached rock bottom. And begun to dig!” Our latest tool of decay? The congresswoman from Minnesota. 

Michele Bachmann, now finally in a spotlight large enough satiate her ego, has managed in recent days to not only scuttle her chance of being taken seriously by anyone with command of historical facts or logic, but has managed to make a mockery of our political process, harming our national image.

She is in fact such a catastrophe of a public figure that she has the potential to rival Bush in terms of sheer national embarrassment.

This is not only the case because she can’t seem to go thirty seconds on television without lying, but that she embodies the worst caricature that the citizens in other countries have about Americans: That we are uneducated, gun-toting, religious fundamentalists who claim prophetic access to god and could not tell a bad idea from a rocking chair.

The nuclear codes, you might jest, could be given to someone who actually feels called by god to do this, that, and the other. It would be handing world peace into the hands of a messianic zealot, who most certainly has read the Book of Revelation.

Back to topic, how is Bachmann’s making a laughingstock of herself negative for the United State’s image abroad? Because our politics are a important enough that they are watched, and closely, by every other country with a functioning news media. That means that our political happenings are in fact reported, less of course than at home, but with great regularity, and in a variety of mediums. And who is front and center? Bachmann. She’s the type of person that reasonable people have nightmares about.

And she’s doing well. It’s almost scary, looking at her poll numbers. This person has a shot? I’m not going to go into a laundry list of her lies right now because we see a new one daily, and you don’t need extra horrified chuckles today. By the way, don’t call them gaffes. They aren’t. Bachmann doesn’t make the occasional mistake; that would be excusable. She is a pathological falsehood propagator who can’t make it four sentences without uttering something incorrect.

Even more, she stands behind her wrong statements. Again, and again, even when proven wrong on the air. It’s the Bachmann two-step: Lie, and then blame Obama.

Her qualities that make her a media darling here in the United States of course have the same draw to the foreign press: She is not unattractive, she’s fiery, and she is a perfect television presence. That and her quotability make her a print favorite. Let’s just take a single UK newspaper for reference. Here, at this link, is a list of recent Bachmann coverage by the Guardian. It goes on and on, and will certainly only expand in the coming months as her fundraising prowess and evangelical credentials boost her in the early primaries, allowing her ample room to cram her foot so far down her throat that we all gag.

And the rest of the world will hear about it. They will hear how Bachmann is a real, honest to goodness Presidential contender. Yes, our Bachmann is certified, and certifiable. Just how does it make our country look that we could allow such a flagrant theocrat to make it into our houses of Congress? It’s past cringe-worthy, it’s a simply disgrace.

God forbid she wins the primary. Then we would have Barack, an intellectual, up against a person who seems to claim that her ability to home-make (23 children!) is a credential for managing the world’s leading government. Well done America, you shouldn’t be trusted with scissors. Those are for grownups.

Let’s hope that Bachmann manages to say something so egregious that it scuttles her campaign. If that is, in fact, possible. Not that she isn’t entertaining, but I would like to tell the rest of the globe that we don’t elect the delusional to run our show.

The contrast among the Republicans is beautiful: You can either have Romney, who has literally left behind his entire political grounding and is now an utter ideological fabrication, or Bachmann, whose elevator certainly does not reach the top floor.

For the good of America, she has to go.

29 responses so far

Herman Cain Wants EPA Victims in His Administration

Jun 30 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

Drink your poisoned water like good little boys and girls

Corporations don’t care about people; they care about profits. Neither do the Republicans, who are, after all, loyal corporate employees. They don’t care if you have a job or if you are fairly compensated for your work or if you have adequate benefits; they care only about the bottom line. The board of directors doesn’t report to the public (neither, arguably, do Republican legislators); they report to the stockholders. If profits are made, all is good. These days, even if profits aren’t made, all is good, at least for the CEO and his top cronies, who receive obscene amounts of money in pay and benefits even if they drive the company into bankruptcy or insolvency.

Herman Cain, a former CEO himself (Godfather’s Pizza), is of course most interested in upping corporate profits. His latest rant is “the abuses of the EPA.” The EPA, established as its name – Environmental Protection Agency – would suggest, to protect the environment, was stripped of that mandate by the Bush Administration, which claimed the EPA didn’t have that right at all. Herman Cain has decided that the EPA is some sort of renegade outfit bent on destroying the American economy by unfairly picking on your friendly neighborhood corporation.

Somehow, if a federal agency does what it is mandated to do, it is abusing its power.

Cain wants to find “victims” of the EPA so he can give them jobs in his administration:

“Whenever science does not back up a regulation, it’s gone, that’s the idea. If you have been abused by the EPA you are a candidate for this commission. We need to stand up average Americans and job creators and we need to get government back in check.”

Get the government in check. And of course, Cain isn’t talking about actual science. He is using a tried and true Republican euphemism for corporate-approved science.

Not the out of control corporations who want to deprive us of collective bargaining rights, fair pay, benefits,  and then pollute our air and drinking water on top of it all.

They don’t want to protect the environment. They want to plunder it – and the American people – to line their pockets. But according to American Electric Power Chairman Michael G. Morris:

“We will have to prematurely shut down nearly 25 percent of our current coal-fueled generating capacity, cut hundreds of good power plant jobs, and invest billions of dollars in capital to retire, retrofit and replace coal-fueled power plants. The sudden increase in electricity rates and impacts on state economies will be significant at a time when people and states are still struggling.”

It will also pollute our water supplies with mercury. Bizarrely, Kevin Mooney, at the American Spectator, suggests that

The historical connection between radical environmentalism and communism may not be bad theme for Cain to pick up. Adam Bitely, an editor with Net Right Daily unpackages the history here in great detail.

Say what? The problem is, of course, that no such connection exists. Isn’t this the communist regime that is guilty of some of the most egregious environmental disasters of the past century? Communism doesn’t care about the environment; the environment was for communism as it is for American conservatism: something to be plundered. Let’s take a look at Adam Bitely’s “evidence” that Cain is supposed to make so much use of:

Not only is April 22 Earth Day, it is also the Birthday of Vladimir Lenin and the National Day of Communism in the U.S.S.R..

Oh no! Are you kidding? So because these two dates are identical, one must automatically be associated with the other? Seriously? According to Bitely’s logic, if you were born on April 20th then you have to be a Nazi, because that’s Hitler’s birthday.

His argument doesn’t get any better, sorry to say. He cites Alexander Marriot from an article in (you guessed it) Capitalism Magazine:

Think of the parallels between Lenin and environmentalists. Lenin once said that, “It is true that liberty is precious; so precious that it must be carefully rationed.” Environmentalists second this wholeheartedly when they restrict the ownership and control of private property through the guise of saving the environment. The Endangered Species Act is used voluminously to take the property of anyone if an endangered species is living on it. President Clinton cordoned off thousands upon thousands of acres of land in the form of national parks with the alleged concern of saving the natural resources thereon from development. The federal government now controls nearly forty percent of all land in the continental United States. Lenin’s goal was to destroy private property and this goal is obviously shared by environmentalists (emphasis in the original).

Let’s try to sort this out. Because Lenin said “It is true that liberty is precious; so precious that it must be carefully rationed,” environmentalists have a lot in common with communists? How about my freedom to breathe clean air and drink unpolluted water? Corporations aren’t trying to “carefully ration” my liberty?

Bitely’s argument is a woefully pathetic one. He asserts that environmentalists want to “restrict the ownership and control of private property through the guide of saving the environment” but he offers no proof of this, and everything which follows is based on this assertion. The idea that the creation of national parks is a method by which the Obama administration and environmentalists can destroy private property is absurd.

Perhaps he doesn’t realize that many Republican presidents have set aside lands for National Parks. After all, it was a Republican president – Ulysses S. Grant – who established the first national park – Yellowstone – and a Republican president – Herbert Hoover – who established the National Park System. Does Bitely mean to say that Grant and Hoover were communists? Or perhaps Republican President Theodore Roosevelt, who defended Yellowstone National Park from commercial development? Roosevelt also established Pelican Island Bird Reservation in order to protect shorebirds from extinction. PBS details his accomplishments:

Year by year, act by act, proclamation by proclamation, Roosevelt built his natural empire. In Alaska, he created the Tongass and the Chugach forest reserves. In Hawaii, he set several small islands aside as the Hawaiian Islands Bird Reservation. Everywhere, it seemed, TR added acreage. Mount Olympus in Washington State. Lake Malheur in Oregon. Culebra Island in Puerto Rico. Mosquito Inlet in Florida. And perhaps his greatest achievement-Grand Canyon National Monument in Arizona.

“I hope you will not have a building of any kind, not a summer cottage, a hotel, or anything else, to mar the wonderful grandeur, sublimity, the great loneliness and beauty of the cañon,” Roosevelt said at a speech at the Grand Canyon in 1903. Under the auspices of the Antiquities Act, he signed the Grand Canyon National Monument into being on January 11, 1908. It was the 11th such monument he had created to date. He would create 18 in all, among them Montezuma Castle, Arizona; Gila Cliff Dwelling, New Mexico; Devil’s Tower, Wyoming; and Muir Woods, California.

Apparently, a great many of our presidents (and capitalist leaders) have been unwitting communists. I wonder what makes President Obama different from Grant, Hoover, and Roosevelt other than he’s a Democrat and he’s black.

Never mind that the corporations aren’t creating more jobs. They aren’t. They’re shipping them overseas. Or like the Koch brothers, even as their profits increase exponentially, lay off workers rather than hiring new ones. Republicans love to talk about jobs but they have yet to create one. It’s all a code word to make the rich richer, because that’s the pay the GOP really cares about, coming as it does from their true employers – the corporations.

9 responses so far

Limbaugh Claims The Dow Is Up Because Mark Halperin Called Obama A Dick

Jun 30 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

On his radio show today, Rush Limbaugh tried to connect the positive gains in the Dow to Mark Halperin calling Obama kind of a dick on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.

Here is the audio via Media Matters:

Limbaugh said, “Well, you go on MSNBC, Mark Halperin went on the Scarborough show. You heard about this? You haven’t heard about this? Stock market loves it. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 145 points today because of this.” Limbaugh then played the audio Halperin calling Obama kind of a dick, and said, “Mark Halperin on MSNBC this morning on the Scarborough show. Everybody’s gigging this, folks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up. The NASDAQ is up 33. The DJI is up 145. The S&P is up 12. Everybody’s out there 143 now for the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Play it again. Everybody’s talking about it, because everybody thought the same thing.”

According to Rush Limbaugh, simply calling the President of the United States a dick caused the financial markets to go up. For a more reality based explanation of why the markets are up, we turn to the Globe Investor’s Market Blog,

Stocks remained sharply higher in midday trading on Thursday, with investors welcoming developments in the Greek debt crisis and a better-than-expected reading on business activity in the Chicago area.

The gains put both indexes on track to post their fourth consecutive day of gains, as earlier concerns about a potential default by Greece have given way to upbeat news – in particular, the passage of a Greek austerity budget and a response by German and French banks to roll over Greek bonds.

Financial markets aren’t moved by insults directed at the President of the United States. This may be hard for the boy in the radio bubble to believe, but many people regardless of ideology found Halperin’s comment inappropriate. It was disrespectful to the office of the presidency. It was inappropriate for morning show television, and it was an inappropriate editorial comment from a supposed mainstream media journalist.

The rest of Limbaugh’s six plus minute rant was more of the same old stuff. Limbaugh claiming that anyone who would have called George W. Bush a dick on television would have been praised as a hero. Limbaugh doing his poor me shtick while he was bemoaning the criticism he got for calling Obama a jackass. Limbaugh also showed his cleverness by using the word dick as many times as he could, Dick Nixon, Dick Cheney, Dick Obama etc.

Mark Halperin’s douchebaggery can’t move the financial markets. Limbaugh tried to turn this into Halperin speaking for America. An anti-Obama wave is sweeping the country, and it has even lifted the markets.

To those who pay attention, Mark Halperin has always been a righty trying to hide behind fake neutrality. Halperin didn’t speak for America. All he did today was out himself as another right wing Obama basher.

The only thing lamer than Halperin’s meaningless insult towards Obama was Rush Limbaugh trying to tie the market gains to his childish political “analysis.”

The markets are up because there is good news about Greece. That’s reality.

But in Limbaughland Mark Halperin’s words can move mountains or at least markets, and reality need never apply.

17 responses so far

Exposed: Wisconsin GOP Senate Candidate’s Long History of Violence Against Women

Jun 30 2011 Published by under Uncategorized


David VanderLeest, Republican Candidate for Wisconsin State Senate

This really shouldn’t surprise us, seeing as the GOP has been acting like criminals in Wisconsin and elsewhere, and as a national party has made it sort of cool to hire and run men who abuse their wives and use prostitutes and generally act like two year olds with no impulse control. But still….

Today we find out that David VanderLeest, Wisconsin Republican state Senatorial recall challenger to the Democratic seat held by Sen. Dave Hansen of Green Bay, has been previously convicted of two misdemeanor counts, also arrested previously, and is now being investigated by the Oconto County Sheriff’s Department on another matter. Gee, he sounds perfect for the Wisconsin GOP. On David’s Facebook Page, he claims to be a pro-Israel Christian Tea Partier, member of the NRA, and credits himself with helping to restart the Republican Party of Brown County and also, “expose ACORN”. ACORN, as you probably recall, was never actually found guilty of anything, unlike David VanderLeest.

David was also recently quoted in the Wall Street Journal praising the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Judge Sumi’s void on the union busting bill. He said, “It shows that we played by the rules in this very controversial and polarizing process.” I’m not sure VanderLeest knows much about playing by the rules.

Here’s the criminal history of this would be senator, courtesy of the Wisconsin State Journal:

VanderLeest, a Green Bay wind farm developer with a history of other legal troubles, was convicted of two misdemeanor disorderly conduct charges in 2007 as part of a plea deal in Brown County Circuit Court. Also Wednesday, Democrats pointed to at least two other times – in 2006 and 2009 – when VanderLeest was arrested on domestic abuse allegations involving his ex-wife but was not convicted….

As part of the 2007 plea deal, VanderLeest avoided a felony charge of intimidating a witness and misdemeanor battery and bail-jumping charges. VanderLeest entered an Alford plea, which means he maintained his innocence but acknowledged there was enough evidence to convict him.

In the plea hearing, the judge in the case stressed VanderLeest had received leniency, according to a court transcript released by the Democratic Party.

“I’ll be very candid with you, you really have dodged a bullet here. I am quite satisfied, from having reviewed this, that the state would have had a good prospect for success on that felony file,” said Brown County Circuit Judge Kendall Kelley.

In other incidents, police reports show that in 2006, he pulled out a chunk of his ex-wife’s hair and threw her onto the kitchen floor to stop her from calling the police. Then there is another round of charges involving battery from 2009 that were dropped. His history reads like a typical domestic abuser’s history – multiple police reports, only a few pursued, restraining orders successfully obtained against him, a plea down to misdemeanor with a judge warning him that he got off easy, and the icing on the cake, he blames not himself, but his ex-wife, for his behavior.

He is now facing yet another probe into yet another incident that he claims is related to a restraining order his ex-wife did not get. Why anyone would be investigating him for a restraining order that does not exist is anyone’s guess, but this man hasn’t been accountable for his previous behavior, so why would he start now. VanderLeest claims on his campaign website to be “pro-life”, as well as being for the “constitutional carry of a firearm” (is he allowed to carry a firearm — really, Wisconsin?), and he is in full support of Governor Walker’s “collective bargaining law” (aka: union-busting law). In other words, VanderLeest epitomizes the conservative Republican male.

Gosh, it’s a too bad he’s not going in front of Justice Prosser of the alleged choking of a female justice and esteemed member of the Wisconsin Republican Party, but he does make perfect company for Republican state Senator Randy Hopper (R-Fond du Lac), the Wisconsin senator who’s facing recall. Hopper, you remember, no longer lives with his wife but rather with his girlfriend (who formerly worked for a Koch lobbyist) who, in the middle of the shared sacrifice turmoil, was given a cushy state job, and this came out just days after Hopper had blamed evil union thugs for not showing up at a parade with his wife. These boys, I’ll tell ya’.

If you don’t care about integrity, honesty, ethics, temperament, the rule of law, the democratic process, women’s rights, workers’ rights, children’s safety, or the economy, these guys are your men.

The recall election is set for July 16. VanderLeest gave this comment on his many brushes with the law, “This is a dirty bastard of a world, and you can print that.”

I’ll bet his ex-wife feels the same way, only she has been the actual victim of repeated assaults and so, has more reason to be bitter about this dirty bastard of a world. There is no more grotesque pathology than that of a perpetrator of great wrong against other another human being falsely wearing the victim mantle of self-pity, while never acknowledging the great harm they have caused. This pathology, sadly, renders him perfect for the Wisconsin Republican party.

VanderLeest has no one to blame but himself for his predicament, but I doubt you’ll ever hear him admit that, let alone issue a sincere apology for terrorizing his ex-wife. Best hope he does not get elected, because someone who can physically assault and terrorize the person he swore to love and cherish with nary a drop of regret is not someone whose character is fit for office. The Wisconsin Republican Party needs to denounce VanderLeest’s candidacy if they want to claim even the tiniest shred of dignity and honor, let alone family values.

We force penis tweeters to resign, but a man with a long history of domestic violence is a Republican candidate for the Wisconsin Senate.

25 responses so far

Is The Debt Ceiling Unconstitutional?

Jun 30 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

The GOP is not going to budge on tax increases for the very wealthy, even though it has been proven time and time again that tax cuts do not create jobs, they just increase dividend checks, profits and CEO salaries. The debt ceiling of the United States will be reached by approximately August 2nd, 2011, but the question to the congress is simple. Is the debt ceiling unconstitutional?

According to the Fourteenth Amendment Section 4,

“The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.”

Debts incurred for payment…shall not be questioned. This very sentence solidifies the fact that the United States in obligated to make its payments, no matter what, even if it means borrowing more money in order to meet those financial obligations.

Michael Abramowicz,a George Washington University law professor wrote in the Tulsa Law Journal (“Beyond Balanced Budgets, Fourteenth Amendment Style,” 33:2, Winter 1997, pp. 561-612), he concludes that any government action “making uncertain whether or not a debt will be honored is unconstitutional.”

“A debt does not become valid or invalid only at the moment payment is due. A debt’s validity may be assessed at any time, and a debt is valid only if the law provides that it will be honored. Therefore, a requirement that the government not question a debt’s validity does not kick in only once the time comes for the government to make a payment on the debt. Rather, the duty not to question is a continuous one.

If as a result of government actions, a debt will not be paid absent future governmental action, that debt is effectively invalid. The high level of generality recognizes that instead of referring to payment of debts, the Clause bans government action at any time that affects the validity of debt instruments…. Moreover, there is no such thing as a valid debt that will nonetheless not be honored, he states.

Bruce Bartlett, who happens to be a Reagan Administration official argues this fact brilliantly.

Bartlett writes this in the Fiscal Times,

This means that the very existence of the debt limit is unconstitutional because it calls into question the validity of the debt. So would any other provision of law. That is a key reason why Congress created a permanent appropriation for interest payments at the same time that the Fourteenth Amendment was debated. Previously, Congress had to pass annual appropriations for interest.

Seeing that this session of Congress was opened with the reading of the Constitution, I am assuming that they read this part of the 14th Amendment. Perhaps this was glazed over.

I am not condoning not making any cuts to our deficit and debt. In fact in a recent Reuters report, the War on Terror including the Iraq war has cost our Country up to 4.4 TRILLION dollars. Also the spending spree in the DoD to private manufacturers, like Boeing, is astronomical, sometimes reaching 177,000 PERCENT of the actual cost of material.

We need to decrease our debt in this Country, but not at the peril of programs that help create and sustain the middle class. Unfortunately the narrow minded Republicans in power cannot see beyond their own ideology of Arthur Laffer and Milton Freidman.

6 responses so far

Obama Attempts To Shame Republicans Into Negotiating Honestly

Jun 30 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

One of the features of negotiations is having two sides that are willing to make concessions in a trade-off scenario to come to a conclusion that satisfies both sides of the bargain. Whether it is hostage negotiations or the simple act of a retail purchase, each side must give something of value in order to complete a deal. The beauty of the two-party system in American politics is that even though the two parties are ideologically disparate, and in most cases, polar opposites of each other, they can, through compromise and sacrifice, come to the best decision for the country and all the American people.

However, for the past two-and-a-half years, there have been no compromises and Democrats have given everything to Republicans who take concessions from Democrats and tax dollars from the American people to repay the wealthy and the corporations they own. The current budget talks going on now in Washington are more of the same, with Republicans demanding Democrats go along with Draconian spending cuts, a Medicare privatization scam, and more tax breaks for corporations, the oil industry, and millionaires and billionaires; in return, Republicans are giving nothing except  more of Americans’ tax dollars to rich people.

Yesterday President Obama gave a press conference and chastised Republicans for not leading and being unwilling to compromise for a balanced approach to addressing the budget deficit and increasing the nation’s debt limit before the August 2nd deadline. President Obama’s simple message to congressional Republicans was to stand up and lead, and for a change, the president spoke in harsh terms condemning the GOP’s approach of “being in one week” and “out one week.” Obama challenged the recalcitrant Republicans to make compromises that are necessary for a truly balanced approach, and although the president was absolutely right, he forgets that when he addresses Republicans, he is talking to petulant, spoiled rich kids who have no intention of conceding or compromising on anything. Of particular note was the president’s assertion that Republicans in Congress were “irresponsible children unwilling to sacrifice their desire to score political points for the good of the country.” Republicans have no conceptual understanding of doing anything for the good of the country and that is the problem that is causing undue pain and suffering for 98% of Americans.

The president also expressed some misguided optimism that Republicans would eventually do the right thing, but if history is any indication, they will not concede their anti-tax stance because it is not in their nature to ever do the right thing by the American people. Although Obama expressed concern that Republicans are not willing to compromise their “no tax hikes for the wealthy” position, he gave Republicans credit they certainly do not deserve.  President Obama said, “A lot of people say a lot of things to satisfy their base or to get on cable news. Hopefully, leaders at a certain point rise to the occasion and do the right thing for the American people. That’s what I expect to happen this time. Call me naive, but my expectation is leaders are going to lead.” The Republican’s notion of leading is to hold the line on no tax increase for corporations, oil industry, or millionaires and billionaires, and to slash programs crucial to the well-being of the American people. The Republicans are holding the debt ceiling increase hostage in order to destroy Medicare, and they are unapologetic about their intentions to send the nation into default unless they are allowed to put seniors and the poor out on the streets with no available health care options.

Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the purveyor of death to America’s poor, middle class, and elderly sums up the entire Republican Party’s position in refusing to consider closing tax loopholes for the oil industry and corporations, or increasing taxes by 3% for 2% of the nation’s wealthiest people.  McConnell blamed Democrats for the lack of progress on negotiations by insisting on an increase in taxes. McConnell said, “So far, they’re saying that it’s essential. We think it’s a job-killing step that shouldn’t be taken, and Republicans are not interested in going in that direction.” What McConnell doesn’t say is that the tax increases will not affect 98% of Americans or that tax increases DO NOT kill jobs; never have and never will. In fact, during the Clinton Administration the tax rate for the wealthiest Americans was 3% higher than today and it was an unprecedented period of economic prosperity and job creation.

The tax increases Democrats are seeking are for the very wealthiest Americans making $250,000 a year for individuals, and closing tax loopholes for corporations and the oil industry who pay little or no tax on profits. President Obama said that, “I think it would be hard for Republicans to stand there and say the tax break for corporate jets is sufficiently important that we are not willing to come to the table and get a deal done.” The president is trying to shame the Republicans into making compromises on tax increases, but he fails to recognize that Republicans have no shame. Their consistent assertion that raising taxes will place undue pressure on the American people is laughable and nothing but more lies. Working class Americans do not make the kind of money to be affected by a tax increase on the wealthy. School teachers, police and firefighters, construction workers, or any American earning a living wage does not come close to the wealthy’s income bracket. According to the latest Census Bureau statistics, “The real median household income in 2009 was $49,777, not statistically different from the 2008 median.” That figure, $49,777, is for an entire household, and the Democrats are asking for a meager 3% increase for an individual making $250,000 per year and $500,000 for a two wage-earner household.

It was refreshing to see the President take Republicans to task for their refusal to compromise or negotiate a budget deal, but unfortunately, it will take more than a stern lecture. President Obama should hold weekly fireside chats during prime time on every television network when teabaggers and Republican supporters are sitting on their couches eating potato chips and swilling beer and soda to inform them of the facts about Republican’s lies and assertions. Republicans have not changed their talking points for 30 years about taxes killing jobs or that rewarding the wealthiest Americans will help the working class, and they will continue until the truth is beaten into their supporters greedy, thick, Neanderthal skulls. It is still supremely curious why any idiot making under $35,000 a year would fight tooth-and-nail to give wealthy people making a minimum of $250,000 for an individual more tax cuts. It is also unbelievable why teabaggers making Social Security retirement wages protest raising taxes on corporations and the oil industry that pay little or no taxes on billions of dollars in record profits every single quarter. However, conservatives are just not smart enough to think any issue through past the current sophistry they hear on Fox News or Rush Limbaugh’s radio show. In fact, it is so easy for Republican supporters to have Sean Hannity, Sarah Palin, or Michele Bachmann tell them what to think and how to vote that they will never think for themselves. They will still be scratching their heads in amazement when they are without food, shelter, or a job, but the good news is they won’t have Republicans telling them tax increases for the rich will kill jobs because a television will be a luxury they can ill-afford.

All the while, the wealthiest 2% of Americans will be rolling in the tax dollars we middle class Americans making $49,777 or less a year give them and laughing all the way to the bank with McConnell and his lying Republican blackmailers carrying their wheelbarrows full of cash that Democrats negotiated away to save America’s economy. No-one can say that President Obama didn’t try to shame Republicans into negotiating honestly or warn Americans of the impending doom, although there are those on the left who will try.

 

 

13 responses so far

The Politicus Pulse – June 30, 2011

Jun 30 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

Welcome to the Politicus Pulse. Here are the links you need to see to get your day started off right. Consider this a cup of coffee for your mind.

“Extend and Pretend” Continues in the Euro Zone (New Deal 2.0)

Markets are celebrating the triumph of an anti-labor, pro-capital agenda. But is social unrest the consequence?

A Little House of Secrets on the Great Plains (Reuters)

The secretive business havens of Cyprus and the Cayman Islands face a potent rival: Cheyenne, Wyoming.

How Big was the Big Man? (Salon)

“Too fucking big to die.” Bruce Springsteen remembers the great Clarence Clemons and their early interracial bromance.

The Unanswered Question Is, Why? (Creators)

Why are we still in Afghanistan, since OBL is dead?

Is Brazil’s Economic Boom a Bubble Ready to Burst? (BBC)

Brazil’s economy is expanding at a rapid rate, bringing the country a new confidence. But with growth comes problems.

Today’s Tune:

Summertime Blues – The Who

4 responses so far

The Biblical Contradictions of Republican Theology

Jun 30 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

Given the importance of the Bible to Republican political theology, I thought I would take a look at some of the contradictions contained within this supposedly empirical, scientific, and infallible book. The Bible is full of contradictions great and small. These contradictions are disturbing because Irenaeus assured us in the second century that “the scriptures are perfect because they were uttered by the Word of God and his Spirit.” Now granted, the Bible as we know it had not been assembled yet in Irenaeus’ time but fundamentalists continue to assure us that his guarantee remains valid.

Fundamentalists cannot admit to this lack of perfection; it is a violation of their faith in the Bible as the inerrant word of God. But the contradictions are there for all to see. Some will use the excuse that only a believer can understand the Bible. Intellectuals, they say, are the problem, including especially intellectual pastors ( listened to this discussion in a local restaurant a week or so back). Others will now argue them away by asserting that “These are not contradictions in substance.”[1] Of course, this is an entirely inaccurate assertion. Whether or not people is saved by Works or Faith seems like a substantive issue, doesn’t it? What is at stake is an eternity in heaven or hell, after all. And it dodges the issue: perfect means without contradictions.

This is the book they want us to live by, they want to legislate into the law of the land. How, exactly, is anyone to do that given it is such a mish-mash of contradictions?

The Creation Story

  • The Book of Genesis presents us with two mutually incompatible creation stories. From 1-2.4 we have the standard 7-day model with which we are all familiar. But from 2.4 on we are given an entirely new scenario, one which sees the creation of Adam and Eve (remember, they were already presumably created along with all the other men and women in 1.26, where he enjoined them to “be fruitful and multiply.” Of course, this turns out to be very bad advice indeed, since this is the sort of nonsense that gets them in trouble in the second story. As Robin Lane Fox observes, the second story “flatly contradicts the first.” In the second story, man precedes vegetation but in the first, vegetation appears at 1.12 while man only arrives at 1.26 – a neat trick. Remember too that the Garden of Eden exists only in the second story; it is not present in the first, an interesting omission.  Obviously, the two stories date from different times, but both before 400 BCE, after which date a third writer combined them into a single account. “Probably,” as Lane Fox concludes, “the two stories had become too well known for either to be excluded.”[2]
  • Just as someday, should Sarah Palin win in 2012, we will have two stories of Paul Revere, one where he warns the British and another where he warns the Patriots. Some future generation will be left to sort out that particular contradiction.

Will the Real Ten Commandments Please Stand Up?

  • Even the famous 10 Commandments so popular with Right Wing Christianity in America are not so cut and dried as people seem to think (including those self-same Right-wingers. The 10 Commandments are given twice, once at Exodus 20 and again at Deuteronomy 5. If that isn’t confusing enough, we are also presented with three mutually incompatible sets of laws (Exodus 20-23; Leviticus 11-27; Deuteronomy 12-26). In any case, as Lane Fox rightly observes, “There are not ten, and they are patently not original commands which were given to Moses by the mountain god of Sinai.” Though they may originally date from around the 10th century BCE, “the versions which we now read have been enlarged and varied and their final form may be as late as c. 550 BC.”[3]
  • So they’re putting revised Ten Commandments on our public buildings?

Jesus’ Birth

  • This is a big one. We are given two different events by which to date the birth of Jesus. Unfortunately, they are mutually contradictory; both cannot be true. The first is the account in Luke. Luke tells us that the Annunciation (the foretelling of Jesus’ birth) takes place in the reign of Herod (1:5), who died in 4 BCE (some scholars place his death a year earlier). Her pregnancy must have been of unusually long duration though because at 2:1 Luke tells us that Jesus was born when Quirinius took his census, which was 6 CE. Therefore Jesus was in Mary’s womb for a good 10 years, possibly 11! Matthew (2:1) tells us that Jesus was born “during the time of King Herod” and there is no mention of Quirinus. The simple problem is that the taxation could not have taken place during Herod’s reign because under Herod they were Jewish, not Roman citizens. If the taxation took place after Herod, a problem still remains, because Galilee was not part of the Roman province over which Quirinus oversaw the census. No Galilean would have been compelled to leave an independent Jewish tetrarchy in order to be taxed in an adjoining Roman province.[4] In the end, the very fact of these inconsistencies is testament to early Christian ignorance of the details of Jesus’ birth and of the relatively late date of their written accounts.

Appearance of the Risen Jesus

  • In 1 Cor 15:1f Paul gives his version of events. But in Luke 24:13 (and remember, Luke was an educated Greek speaker) Luke “shows a close similarity to the report of the appearance of the deified Romulus, Dion. Hal. II.63.3f, and Livy I.16.5f

The Last Supper

  • Mark 14:12 says that the Last Supper was the Passover Meal, or Pesher, but John 19:14 states that the meal occurred the day before Passover.

The Origins of the Law

  • In Exodus we learn that God gave the law to the Jews directly. But Paul in Galatians (3:19) asserts that the law came not from God but through angelic intermediaries. This is obviously another substantive contradiction, since Paul’s argument was designed to show that the Law was unimportant. If, however, Paul was wrong and the Law was handed down to the Jews directly from the hand of YHWH, then it would seem inopportune, not to say unwise (to say the least) to disregard it. After all, according to Paul then, the 10 Commandments really aren’t all that important, are they?

The Parousia

  • In 1 Thessalonians Paul says that Jesus is coming back right away. His return is expected at any time. But in 2 Thessalonians this has changed to “other things have to happen first” (2:1-12). What happened? Obviously, the Parousia didn’t.
  • In 1 Corinthians and also in 2 Corinthians, Paul argues that the resurrection has not already occurred (cf. Rom 6:1-6) but in Ephesians, a letter not considered by scholars to be genuine, Paul argues that they have already experienced the spiritual resurrection and are already “sitting in the heavenly places.” This poses no problems for liberal scholars willing to admit one letter is a forgery, but how do apologists reconcile the fact that one must be wrong if both texts represent the inerrant word of God?
  • And if it’s already occurred, why are people sweating Jesus’ return? Isn’t a strong pro-Israel policy kinda unnecessary then?

Paul’s Theology and Means of Salvation

  • In Acts 13:16-42 Christ’s death leads to forgiveness of sins. But in Paul’s epistles what we learn is that Christ’s death provides atonement for sins (a sacrifice made for the sins of others – “this atonement purchased a right standing before God” But forgiveness is being let off the hook altogether for something you’ve done, no requirements of payment. In Acts, sacrifice is required for forgiveness of the debt because this is Luke’s explanation for why Jesus had to die. Christ’s death here is an occasion for repentance. This is not the same as atonement, and this is an important theological problem indeed, not just a matter of peripheral details. [5] This is yet another of those substantive contradictions that are not supposed to exist, and a rather important one at that.

Paul’s Devotion to Jewish Law

  • Acts 21-22 and 28:17 shows that charges against Paul are trumped up. Paul has done nothing contrary to the Law. But in 1 Cor 9:21 and 2:11-14 we see that Paul could live like  Jew or a Gentile yet attacks Cephas for not living like a Gentile. In Gal 2:21 Paul tells us that if the Law is necessary, then Jesus died in vain.  So why today are fundamentalists pushing the law down our throats? Was Paul, who supposedly talked to Jesus, a liar? Or did his source (Jesus) not know what he was talking about?

Faith versus Works

  • In Galatians Paul writes “For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is (any longer) in force, but rather Faith working by love. You were running well. Who stopped you, that you did not obey the Truth?” (5:6-7). In Galatians he speaks of his freedom from the Law and of Law as slavery (2:4-5). In Corinthians he writes again about his freedom from the Law, comparing himself to a runner in a race (1 Cor 9:24-26). In 1 Cor 8:7-11 and 9:22 he characterizes those who obey the Law as “weak”.  Yet James says, “For whoever shall keep the whole Law, but stumbles on one (small point), shall be guilty (of breaking) it all (2:10). And most tellingly: “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that – and shudder’ (James 2.14-19) and at 2:26, “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.”
  • Both cannot be right, both Paul and James. Who is to be believed? Or will it be recognized finally that these are two entirely different theologies, Pauline Christianity and Judaism? This is the “Mother of All” substantive contradictions and for very obvious reasons. How is a Christian to get to heaven? Of necessity one of them must be wrong, and that doorway, if chosen, leads not to heaven but to eternal damnation.


[1] Kreeft & Tacelli (1994), 215, who fail to mention any of these substantive errors in their meager collection.

[2] Robin Lane Fox, The Unauthorized Version: Truth and Fiction in the Bible (NY: Vintage Books, 1991), 15-23.

[3] Robin Lane Fox (1991), 53-54.

[4] Herod’s death is dated by an eclipse of the moon dated to 12-13 March, 4 BCE. The date of the census is known from Josephus, Ant. 18.1 and from Cassius Dio (find citation), and there is nowhere any record of an “empire-wide” census such as that described in Luke. The Feast of the Annunciation is celebrated in Christianity on March 25.

[5] Ehrman, Peter, Paul and Mary Magdalene, 143-144.

 

 

 

 

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New York Greets Scott Walker With Union Chants and Giant Rats

Jun 30 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

Your late night snack: New York greets Scott Walker with giant, inflatable rats and some Union spirit.

They chanted:

They got bailed out, we got sold out!

Scott Walker’s not welcome here!

What’s disgusting? Union busting!

When I say Recall, you say Walker!

Everywhere we go, people want to know who we are, so we tell them, we are the middle class, the mighty mighty middle class!

Whose House? Our House!

Whose Streets? Our Streets!

Who’s got the power? We got the power!

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