Archive for the 'Issues' category

With A Different Set of Values Our World Could Have Been Different

Dec 31 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues

Part 2 in a series. Read the first part here

Profit is one measure of worth, but it is not the only measure.

It could have been different. That’s how I ended my last piece about how our whole culture has realigned itself to Wall Street and its values over the last 30 years. But profit is not the only measure of worth. What would the last thirty years have been like if we had not been oriented toward profit, short-term returns, privatization, and creating new ways to make money by handling money?

You can’t answer that question simply by eliminating Wall Street’s poor moral values. Bad revolutions throw off the values of their oppressors and then fall into chaos because the revolutionaries never agreed on what the new values should be.

The founders understood this. They didn’t try to base a stable government on opposition to unfair taxes. They had a philosophical foundation (Declaration of Independence) and a legal foundation (the Constitution, without which the free states would have splintered).

So if I’m going to talk about how history could have been different under a different set of values, I better have some alternate values in mind.

And I do.

I start with a philosophical foundation just as our founders did. Here are just two points:

People Over Profits, Community Over Company. This says that a nation’s success is not just GDP; success is when everyone who is able has the opportunity to contribute to and benefit from that GDP.  Company practices that hurt citizens, such as polluting, profiteering, and outsourcing to cheap-labor countries, are simply not allowed. Note that this doesn’t mean that people come first or that people have the right to destroy everything else for their own benefit. It means that business and industry should exist in service of people, not the other way around.

Embrace Short, Medium, and Long-Term Goals. This is something life coaches teach as part of the foundation of personal fulfillment. By having personal short, medium, and long-term goals, you get the good feeling of accomplishment on a regular basis and you always have the good feeling of working toward something. When a community has short, medium, and long-term goals, it creates a tighter community and a greater sense of belonging and accomplishment in community goals. Members can proudly point and say both “look what we have done” and “look what we are building together.”

Already you can imagine how just these two principles would make the world much different, but let’s consider how different priorities over the last 30 years might have yielded different outcomes in just one area, job and compensation distribution. This is a high-level overview, but it is possible, sustainable, and consistent with human nature.

-Fewer people would work on Wall Street, and there would be no Wall Street cultural domination. In practical terms, there would be more people in teaching, urban planning, manufacturing, to name a few, plus assorted financial jobs that bring more benefit to the public than managing a hedge fund (which is to say nearly any financial job).

-High prestige only goes so far. Embracing people and community also means paying more to those, like teachers, who are doing more to directly benefit the public. It might be by straight wage (since teachers are already government employees) or it might be a wage supplement or tax credit on behalf of the public to certain people to make these jobs attractive in true measure of their worth to the public.

-The economy would be constructed and incented in a way to favor jobs that add value. In practical terms, the many new computer, internet, and electronics companies that started here would have stayed here, but the dotcom bubble would have happened anyway because that was based on where people thought value would be. (Gambling in the market is a problem outside the scope of the two points we’re discussing, but I’ll cover that later.)

-Long-term planning means managing the job skills of the national workforce. The ROTC offers education incentives to join the military. Why not offer incentives to enter fields where anticipated future need is more than current enrollment? With such foresight, we might have had enough nurses and geriatric specialists for today’s aging boomers. Job skills would be distributed better overall.

-Some jobs may generate a lot of money but not contribute commensurately to the public good. Much of this money would go back into the community. For example, entertainment money would support arts and entertainment programs that enrich communities but don’t generate money. Sports money would enrich public transportation, schools, after-school programs, etc. Both would support injured/disabled members, including retraining for other jobs. Both sports and entertainment/arts would be viewed as solid career choices, but neither would be viewed as the lottery ticket they are now.

-A few jobs do more harm than good. They persist because they generate money. Those jobs would disappear. I won’t try to enumerate these since some will be social judgment calls (for example, the tobacco industry).   More jobs become harmful because too many people are doing them, the equivalent of a job bubble. Some jobs would be transformed, along with their respective industries.

But for every job that goes away, more would be created and supported by the repurposed economy. This article focused on how things would be rearranged based on different objectives. The next article will look at things that do not exist today but might if we had taken a different road 30 years ago.

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West Wing Weekly Round-Up Dec 31, 2010

Dec 31 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, White House

Image by Pete Souza, Chief Official White House Photographer and Director of the White House Photography Office

West Wing Weekly Round-Up

From the West Wing, we have the mailbag edition of the West Wing Week, President Obama used the recess to appointed six nominees to fill key administration posts that have been left vacant for an extended period of time, signed some bills and made the world a bit safer. Not bad for being on vacation, Mr President.

First, in this special edition of West Wing Week, we look back over the last year, watch the President sign a law getting those loud TV ads under control, and find out the answers to a couple burning questions (pay attention if you have student loans) from the mailbag:

And I should add that even though your President is in Hawaii, he’s getting loads done. On December 29, 2010 he signed: The Omnibus Trade Act of 2010 which extends the Andean Trade Preference Act Trade Adjustment Assistance, To require the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to fully insure Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts which provides for permanent Federal deposit insurance coverage for Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts, the interest earned on which is used by States to support legal aid for low-income individuals and the Helping Heroes Keep Their Homes Act which extends enhanced protections for service members relating to mortgages and mortgage foreclosures through December 31, 2012.

Here’s the President’s statement on Removal of HEU from Ukraine:

“I congratulate President Yanukovych on the recent shipment of highly enriched uranium from Ukraine for secure disposal in Russia, which advances a top priority for my administration and for global security. This action brings us all one step closer to securing all vulnerable nuclear materials, as President Yanukovych and I and 45 other world leaders pledged to do this April at the Nuclear Security Summit. The low enriched uranium and nuclear safety equipment provided to Ukraine in connection with this shipment will support Ukraine’s development of safe and secure nuclear energy. These actions represent continued Ukrainian leadership in making sure that nuclear weapons never fall into the hands of a terrorist, and working toward a world without nuclear weapons.”

Pete Souza, Chief Official White House Photographer and Director of the White House Photography Office, has his year in pictures up; beautiful photography. A must see.

Well done, Mr President. Happy New Year everyone.

4 responses so far

The Ten Commandments Resurface as the Personhood Amendment

Dec 31 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party

Take a good look: this is the Constitution of the future

Okay, I admit this is really not news. The entire Christian fundamentalist movement(s) has as its goal “restoring” a Biblical society that never existed and basically turning back the clock to the “good old days” when the Church could punish with fiery death anyone who disagreed with it.

What the AFA has done is to promote a comprehensive agenda for this return. Supporters call it a “Personhood Amendment” which is a very positive-sounding name for something that is positively medieval in construction and intent. After all, these Christofascists aren’t really all that interested in persons if they’re gay, or Muslim, or pagan, or feminist. A lot of people, if the AFA and its cohorts on the religious right had its way, would lose their personhood.

The personhood amendment was already tried in Colorado. Amendment 62, “would have banned abortion, many forms of birth control and embryonic stem cell research in the state.”

They have managed to get the Personhood Amendment on the ballot in Mississippi for 2011 to coincide with the gubernatorial elections. According to, “two prior efforts in 2005 and 2007 failed to win enough support to get the question before voters.” It reads as follows:

Be it Enacted by the People of the State of Mississippi: SECTION 1. Article III of the constitution of the state of Mississippi is hearby amended BY THE ADDITION OF A NEW SECTION TO READ: Section 33. Person defined. As used in this Article III of the state constitution, “The term ‘person’ or ‘persons’ shall include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning or the functional equivalent thereof.” This initiative shall not require any additional revenue for implementation.

One problem is that the state’s Constitution doesn’t allow voter referendums to alter the Bill of Rights (maybe they should start calling it the Bill of Restrictions – or better, the Ten Commandments). Not at all certain how they intend to get through that except by pulling a “Dubya” and simply ignoring the Constitution. One happy coincidence for these medieval advocates: the American Family Association (AFA) is headquartered in Mississippi.

Matt Friedeman of the AFA’s American Family Radio said that if the proposal succeeds in 2011, he hopes it would lead the way to the criminalization of abortion across the country:

“So what we’re hoping for here is that one of these initiatives will be taken all the way to the Supreme Court and they’ll have to decide at that point what to do with it. And hopefully at that juncture we have a pro-life majority, and you never know from year to year to year what’s gonna happen there, but we hope we have a pro-life majority and we hope the day comes when Roe v. Wade is wiped off the books and we can go back to the states. Maybe even, if God would allow, to get a pro-life amendment for the whole country.”

Bryan Fischer used the opportunity to push his usual violations of the Constitution and his vision of a medieval-style theocracy:

“One of the things we look for from our political leaders is we want to see them work to align the public policy of our country with the standards of the word of God, that’s what we want, we want an alignment. We’re not talking about a theocracy where the clergy rules this country; we’re talking about statesmen, both men and women, who are committed as a matter of moral conviction to align the public policy of the United States with the word of God.”

This is not just a move to ban abortion and overturn Roe vs. Wade but an attack on science and on the Constitution. It is also a violation of the Constitution because it promotes the viewpoint of a specific religion. It is the insistence at the heart of these amendments that a Christian viewpoint be the only relevant viewpoint that is the most objectionable. Most of these people, if polled, would likely react violently to any suggestion that Islamic principles govern the process; so why should Christian principles be seen as any less objectionable?
If you go to a site like you find the following rationale:

Throughout the history of the Church the doctrinal teaching of the “Sanctity of Life” (Genesis 1:26-27) has been the belief that Man is created Imago Dei (Latin: in the image of God) and therefore has worth at all stages of life. This is the bedrock of Western civilization’s understanding and practice of human dignity.

Besides being misleading (human life was valued before Christianity) the statement is also demonstrably false. Christians slaughtered human beings of all ages with happy abandon for nearly 2000 years before the European Enlightenment freed the Western World of some of the Church’s darker practices – big killers too, like crusades, inquisitions, and witch-burnings – you know,  real pro-life activities.

Les Riely, sponsor of the Mississippi amendment, revealingly says,

Isaiah 59 tells us that ,’ the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear’ so we first give all praise and honor to our Lord Jesus Christ for hearing our prayers and giving us the victory in this round.

It’s Jesus this, Jesus that. Jesus isn’t in the Constitution. Neither is Christianity, neither are the Ten Commandments.

It’s a little late now to try to convince us you really do value life. Did you really have to kill millions to make that point? If all life is sacred, why do women have to die to save a fetus if her life is endangered by her pregnancy? That would have been the effect of the “life-loving” Colorado amendment.

There is no reason at all once you cast aside Christian insistence on being considered “True Religion” and the concomitant assertion that only their viewpoint is valid, which is exactly the determination government is not permitted to make according to the Constitution.

It is not as if Christians are being told they cannot be Christians, or hold firm to their religious convictions. No one is forcing Christians to have sex outside of marriage, or to have abortions, or to marry a person of the same sex, or to accept stem cell treatment. If you don’t believe it’s right, don’t do it. You have that right. But you positively do not have the right to force these beliefs on others by legislating them into law. The Constitution forbids this. The Constitution is about granting and defending rights; the Ten Commandments are about restricting them. Let’s not confuse them.

19 responses so far

Federal Court Says Murkowski In, Miller Out

Dec 30 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party

I wrote the other day about Joe Miller’s refusal to accept defeat in his race against Lisa Murkowski, who was the victim of a Palin-Tea Party Express ambush before the primary. She came back strong in a write-in campaign and edged Joe Miller in the general election.

Murkowski had the grace to accept defeat in the primary. Joe Miller hasn’t been able to demonstrate he even knows what grace is, let alone intends to demonstrate it. It’s not for lack of opportunity:

Joe just lost out on his federal case – the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out his lawsuit on Tuesday, just a week after the Alaska Supreme Court did the same. The federal judge said Miller hadn’t raised any federal issues and that he would not second guess the Alaska Supreme Court. Take that, Sarah Palin! You brought in out-of-state money to beat Lisa Murkowski but the much-hated federal government won’t interfere in what is the state’s business.

How that must hurt.

Miller of course, is still whining:

“I am disappointed with the federal court’s ruling today. The U.S. Constitution’s Elections Clause presented the most significant constitutional issue. Specifically, should the courts be required to follow the legislature’s standard for the selection of U.S. senators or create their own? My legal team believes that the clear language of the Election Clause as well as precedent support our claims. Thus, we are evaluating the ruling and determining what our next step should be.”

Miller can always appeal. But that won’t stop Lisa Murkowski from taking her seat in the 112th Congress on January 5 because the federal judge lifted the hold on the certification of the election.

It’s a done deal. Only Joe Miller seems unaware of it.

Miller beat Murkowski in the August GOP primary but lost to her in the November election. The Alaska Supreme Court ruled against him. A federal judge has ruled against him. More importantly, the people of Alaska ruled against him by casting more ballots for Lisa Murkowski.

Murkowski told the Anchorage Daily News

“This is pretty great news. It means that I can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that next week Alaska will have two senators in the United States Senate and there would not be any lapse that could have happened had certification been held up very much longer.”

She has reason to be happy.

“I have had a bottle of champagne in just about every refrigerator where I have visited over this Christmas holiday, and I haven’t been able to release that cork yet.”

What Miller will do is anyone’s guess. Unlike one of Palin’s other favorites, he’s an employable individual, being an attorney and all, and won’t have to steal from his campaign funds to get by, or form a pac to give himself a paycheck. Even so, he really wanted that seat and he shows no signs of giving up trying to find a way to weasel it out of the winner’s hands.

I suggested last time Miller hold man up. I won’t suggest any of us hold our breaths.

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The GOP’s Anti-Constitutional Amendment

Dec 28 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party

What does the Republican Party stand for? They claim fiscal conservatism but this is demonstrably untrue, as the history of the past half-century demonstrates. They talk a lot about social conservatism but sex, drug, and prostitution scandals are no more a stranger to Republicans than to Democrats. They claim to represent the voice of the people but seem unconcerned about what the people want. They talk about the evils of pork but embrace earmarks with both hands, or want to “re-define” them so they can have them while speaking out against them. They talk about the sanctity of the Constitution but when they know anything about it at all (which is seldom enough) they oppose it at every turn. They talk about America right or wrong but if they oppose the Constitution, can they really claim to support America?

The GOP has become increasingly parasitical over the past decade and it has done a better job of enriching its individual members than running the country. Two wars, the economy in the tank, and no answers but more of the same.

Then there is the little issue of secessionism. Cloaked in talk of the Tenth Amendment, we could still hear the seditious talk of “Second Amendment” remedies and an extreme interpretation of States Rights that can only mean secessionism – though the word itself has been mentioned a time or two. Secession: how American is that?

The federal government established by the Constitution has become the Great Satan in Republican terminology. The federal government is out to get us; it is taking away our rights. But the Constitution was written to curb the rights-stealing behavior of local government, those same state legislatures now complaining most stridently about it. Any surprise there?

The problem is the Constitution itself. It says something Republicans don’t want it to say. It says everyone is equal before the law. In an age of reactionary white Christian privilege, this is most inconvenient. The Constitutionally established federal government is there to protect our rights – and to protect us from ourselves – the “excesses of democracy” to use an 18th century term for the problem.

That leaves the GOP in a bit of a bind, trying to seem pro-America while being anti-America. The Constitution as it exists has to go. Some have proposed repeal of all amendments, which is of course an absurdity since the first ten (the Bill of Rights) were attached to the Constitution by the same people who wrote and ratified the Constitution. It was, of course, understood that other amendments were likely and indeed, would prove necessary. The Founding Fathers knew they could not look far enough into the future to make a static document.

Yet Republicans insist on reinterpreting history to mean that the original Constitution should stand as written – though of course, they like the Second Amendment and the Tenth. How those are somehow holy and others profane – the 16th, for example, which authorized a federal income tax, or the 17th, which allowed for direct election of senators, taking it away from the states, or even the 19th, which gave women the vote) is unclear. We don’t all get what we want. The framers of the Constitution did not. James Madison, who right or wrongly came to be known as the Father of the Constitution, did not.

Now some Republicans are proposing a constitutional amendment like none we have ever seen, a sort of anti-constitutional amendment, one that would permit the states the Constitution was intended to curb and force into line, to ignore the Constitution by voting to overturn any act of Congress.

It was first proposed by a Georgetown law professor, Randy E. Barnett, in 2009 as a means of “redressing the imbalance of power between state and federal power.” Legislative leaders in 12 states support it (Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, South Carolina, Texas and Utah, and Virginia); Eric Cantor, the incoming House Majority Leader, backs it.

There are two ways this can be made to happen:

  1. Both houses of Congress must pass it;
  2. It can be proposed at a convention called by Congress if 2/3 of the states petition for it.

If either of these conditions obtain, three-quarters (thirty eight) of the states must then approve the amendment.

Eric Cantor puts the case for the amendment thusly:

“Washington has grown far too large and has become far too intrusive, reaching into nearly every aspect of our lives. Massive expenditures like the stimulus, unconstitutional mandates like the takeover of health care and intrusions into the private sector like the auto bailouts have threatened the very core of the American free market. The repeal amendment would provide a check on the ever-expanding federal government, protect against Congressional overreach and get the government working for the people again, not the other way around.”

What Cantor chooses to ignore is the danger of those local “excesses of democracy” feared by the Constitution’s framers, notably, James Madison. A local government can be as intrusive as a federal and can trample rights just as thoroughly. The Constitution is designed to secure our rights even if local majorities favor stripping us of them. Look, for example, at Proposition 8 in California. The State of California might vote to take away the constitutionally-guaranteed rights of a particular group (usually a minority of course, ethnic, religious, gender, etc) but the Constitution says that you can’t do that.

The Constitution is not the enemy and therefore, the federal government is not the enemy. True, any government can be oppressive, but Republican rhetoric does not recognize this possibility. They have made the federal government the enemy when the real threat to our liberty comes from the same source feared by the framers of the Constitution. They recognized the need for a strong central government, the same strong central government the GOP now wants to dismantle in order to apparently return to the days of the Articles of Confederation when the states functioned as independent nations as separated divided by conflicting local interests.

Our government functions on a system of checks and balances. The states already have a check on excesses of the federal government: it’s called Congress, the members of which are all elected by the people of the individual states to represent their interests.

When States get to chose which laws they will obey and not obey, the United States will have come to an end. They already get a say in the process when they elect their representatives to Congress. That is how it was meant to be, and it has worked for over two-hundred years. Ironically, groups that support this “repeal amendment” (Barnett calls it a “federalism amendment”) claim to want to “restore the Constitution” when what they are proposing is exactly the opposite. It is time to recognize the GOP for what it is: the forces of anarchy, the same that nearly destroyed us from 1861-65, threatening to tear our nation apart.

7 responses so far

Republican Support for Sarah Palin Plunging in Polls

Dec 28 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party, White House

Sarah Palin fares badly in latest poll

Happy New Year, America. Your country is recovering its sanity.

Yes, it’s true. After a rough two years of Palinitis stained by winning Politifacts’ Lie of Year award among other ignoble distinctions, it appears that even Republicans are mournfully unclenching their stubborn fists from around Palin’s star bursts. A new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted December 17-19 and it turns out that support for Ms Palin is nose-diving among Republicans. She has, in fact, lost 18% of her support since 2008 among Republicans. Sigh. Our country may be spared a civil war in 2012. Finally, the Republicans are doing something for America!

CNN Political Ticker reports:

“Among liberal Democrats, 85 percent say they want to see the party re-nominate Obama in 2012,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “Among moderate Democrats, his support is almost that high.”

In the battle for the GOP presidential nomination, the survey suggests Palin may have some work to do if she throws her hat in the ring. Only 49 percent of Republicans say that they are likely to support Sen. John McCain’s running mate in 2008 for the Republican nomination in 2012.

“That’s a huge 18-point drop since December of 2008, when two-thirds of GOPers said they were likely to support Palin. It also puts her well behind potential rivals Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney, and a bit behind Newt Gingrich as well,” adds Holland.”

Republicans’ dreams that Ronnie had come back to them in a skirt are dying a tedious, painful death, during which we are all being subjected to Palin’s media blitz until even the sight of her makes us weary. Palin refused to do the work necessary to be taken seriously and cashed in on her fame to make money and in doing so, she mismanaged her star power if she has political ambitions.

Oh, that’s right. I left out that OTHER part of the poll. President Obama enjoys a comfy 85% support from liberal Democrats and 78% of Democrats questioned in the poll want the President to run in 2012. Only 19% would like another nominee to replace the President.

Oh, dear. I’m glad I’m not anywhere near Wasilla right now. I’m afraid I can hear tin cans hitting a refrigerator from my kitchen window. And here the Conservatives for Palin were working so hard on their talking points about how Ms Palin had held elected office longer than President Obama (if you discounted his Presidency and included the City Council for Palin), because we all know how well the talking point of “executive experience” went over in 2008, why not try it again, even after the President has been…well…like the President for two years. Yes, this makes sense.

If you have any Republican friends with a Palin 2012 bumper sticker on their car, remember to be kind today. Dreams of the faithful die hard and Palin was hailed as the God chosen candidate for the evangelical right, so this has to hurt. I just can’t imagine how God can be so wrong, can you?

However, just because Republicans don’t like her doesn’t mean she can’t utilize the Tea Party to her advantage in the primaries and Ms Palin is known for working best with strong opposition from within her own Party, so there may be some hope to cling to here for the die hard Palin fans. I do hope someone assists them in their talking points, though, as re-litigating 2008 is not bound to be effective with any but the Kool-Aid drinkers.

Happy New Year, America. Looks like you might have managed to “take your country back” after all.

39 responses so far

Joe Miller Says He’ll Hold His Breath Until They Let Him Win

Dec 28 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party

Joe Miller and Lisa Murkowski

Fairbanks attorney and would-be totalitarian strongman Joe Miller apparently will not try to perform a citizens arrest on Lisa Murkowski. He will, however, take her to federal court for having the audacity to defeat him in the general election after losing the August 24 primary in a write-in campaign.

Never mind that it was the Tea Party that originally came in to steal Murkowski’s seat out from under her.

We all remember Karl Rove’s judgment:

“Absolutely no she can’t win. Under the law, you have to carefully spell the name exactly correct, now everyone go to your pencil and paper and write the name ‘Murkowski’ and see if you got it right.”

“No, she’s going to lose,” he said.

And Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) used a Tea Party fundraiser to call her a “big-tent hypocrite” and said she had betrayed the conservative cause.

Republican cannibalism at its best – or worst.

But she didn’t lose. She outraged the Tea Party by actually winning.

And what neither Karl Rove nor Joe Miller (nor, most certainly, Sarah Palin) reckoned on was the innate fairness of the process. The state Division of Elections established guidelines before counting even began that the voter’s intent had to count when writing-in a vote.

God forbid fairness should enter into the democratic process. “We can’t have that!” the Tea Party says.

So Miller lost fair and square. That’s not just a liberal writer saying that, it’s the Alaska Supreme Court, the law of the land. But that is Joe Miler’s whining lament: she cheated! Egads, people misspelled her name. Has she no shame claiming the victory?

The Alaskan Supreme Court ruled against him. The message from the voters was “You lost, Joe.” The message from the highest court in the state was the same: “You lost, Joe.”

“There are no remaining issues raised by Miller that prevent this election from being certified.”

But Joe claims that the sanctity of the election process is at stake. Meaning, he can’t possibly have lost. Perhaps God promised him a victory or something. After all, he promised one to Sarah Palin too on the eve of the ’08 Election Day.

Apparently, those nasty feds aren’t so nasty when Joe’s victory is at stake. To hell with the State of Alaska. What do the feds say? Does the Tea Party have no shame, throwing the state under the bus and trying to trump with the federal courts?

Did the world just turn upside down?

I’m unclear as to how losing an election fair and square violates the sanctity of the democratic process but then, I’ve never performed a citizens arrest on somebody who asked me a question.

For the record, this is Joe’s reasoning:

“After careful consideration and seeking the counsel of people whose opinion I respect and trust, I have decided that the federal case must go forward. The integrity of the election is vital and ultimately the rule of law must be our standard. Nevertheless, I have also decided to withdraw our opposition to the certification of the election, ensuring that Alaska will have its full delegation seated when the 112th Congress convenes next month.”

What a guy. Such a gesture of magnanimity!

There really wasn’t much magnanimity evident in Joe’s official protest. As his spokesman Randy DeSota said on Wednesday,

“We are disappointed the Alaska Supreme Court has ignored the plain text of Alaska law and allowed the Division of Elections to effectively amend the state election code without even giving the public an opportunity for notice and comment.”

Of course, the Alaskan Supreme Court made just that ruling, that state law had not been violated. End of story.

Not so, says Joe.

Of course, none of this surprises Lisa Murkowski, who has already been exposed to the limitless, mindless hate and nihilism of Tea Party politics. Her campaign fully expected Joe Miller to be a big crybaby.

Perhaps the most amusing aspect of this whole situation is that with or without the contested votes, Joe Miller has lost. Lisa Murkowski ended up with a lead of 10,328 votes.  Joe says 8,159 of those votes can’t count. Even without them, however, Lisa Murkowski still has a 2,169 vote lead.

There is a great deal wrong with this picture. There is the Republican betrayal of Lisa Murkowski later reinterpreted as a betrayal by Lisa Murkowski, another Sarah Palin demagogue who like Christine O’Donnell showed himself completely unequal to the office to which he sought election (a real chip off the old block), and then, when the people had spoken, when the State of Alaska had spoken, these Tea Party tenthers turn around and appeal to the hated feds to overturn the state. We’ll leave aside for the moment the sheer childishness of Miller’s position on this. What does he do for an encore? Hold his breath?

No, take your medicine Joe. In Palin-speak, find your cojones and man up. Vox populi: The people have spoken. Isn’t that supposed to be what the Tea Party is all about? But it isn’t, is it Joe? It’s not about what the people want: it’s about what you want, what Sarah Palin wants, what Christine O’Donnell wants – a free lunch.

13 responses so far

The U.S. Army – Instrument of Holy War

Dec 27 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues

Livonian Knights or the U.S. Army?

How can anyone forget the Tenth Crusade? Not in your history books? Look at recent history. Sure, the (numbered) crusades officially ended at Number IX in the 13th century and the so-called “northern crusades” in the 16th, but George W. Bush and his evangelical administration resurrected the whole idea and brought Christian holy war into the 21st century when he attacked Iraq.

The secular army of the secular United States government became the instrument of this holy war, and if Christian fundamentalists are out to get the rest of us in the civilian world, the military is a bigger (and easier) target. Our government and the bureaucracy which supports it is full of dominionist Christians who would like to see nothing better than a theocracy and the destruction of the modern liberal democracy brought into existence by our Founding Fathers and sustained by the secular document known as the United States Constitution.

We’ve been told that atheists are not really citizens; that only Christians are fit to hold public office – despite the Constitution’s mandate against religious tests; and that pagans, secularists and others are to blame for 9/11. Soldiers are far from immune to these same attacks, and this expectation has been well illustrated by the Air Force Academy’s (repeated) scandals regarding proselytizing by evangelical elements in that branch of the service; the Bush-era rejection of Wiccan pentacle gravestones; by Marine mass baptisms; military-sponsored Bible distributions in Afghanistan; and by the punishment of a group of soldiers who refused to attend a Christian musical concert.

An American soldier is increasingly expected to be a Christian crusader.

Welcome to the Kingdom of God, sponsored by the U.S. Army – it’s not just a job, it’s a holy war.

When did this happen? Neither spirituality nor Christian faith is on the list of army values; loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage are. The “Warrior Ethos” asserts

I will always place the mission first.

I will never accept defeat.

I will never quit.

I will never leave a fallen comrade.

I don’t see “I will be a Christian” anywhere on that list. You won’t find it in the Soldier’s Creed either. So what’s going on?

Sgt. Justin Griffith, an American soldiers serving at Fort Bragg, NC, last week revealed a mandatory U.S. Army survey called the “Soldier Fitness Tracker” which tracks a soldier’s fitness to serve. One would expect that the army would have certain requirements. After all, not everyone is cut out to be a soldier. We’d expect physical requirements in particular and a modicum of intelligence as well as some character.

But spirituality?

The Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program is supposed to “create an Army of balanced, healthy, self-confident Soldiers, Families, and Army civilians whose resilience and total fitness enables them to thrive in an era of high operational tempo and persistent conflict.”

AmericanAtheists offers a sampling of questions from the test:

Answer in terms of whether the statement describes how you actually live your life.

I am a spiritual person.

My life has a lasting meaning.

I believe that in some way my life is closely connected to all humanity and all the world.

The job I am doing in the military has lasting meaning.

I believe there is a purpose for my life.

The author of that piece in AmericanAtheists got this analysis of her answers:

“Spiritual fitness is an area of possible difficulty for you. You may lack a sense of meaning and purpose in your life. At times, it is hard for you to make sense of what is happening to you and others around you. You may not feel connected to something larger than yourself. You may question your beliefs, principles, and values. Nevertheless, who you are and what you do matter. There are things to do to provide more meaning and purpose in your life. Improving your spiritual fitness should be an important goal. Change is possible, and the relevant self-development training modules will be helpful. If you need further help, please do not hesitate to seek out help from the people you care about and trust – strong people always do. Be patient in your development as it will take time to improve in this area. Still, persistence is key and you will improve here if you make this area a priority.”

It’s not just the LBGT community that has found itself unwanted by the military, but non-Christians as well.

Sane folks have taken notice of this absurd practice. One blogger who found himself in opposition to this testing, Al Stefanelli, has had his reaction go viral.

And we should take notice, all of us, to this flagrant and unconstitutional promotion of Christianity.

In the FortLeavenworthLamp of June 10, 2010, in an article titled “Spiritual fitness as important as physical fitness,” Chaplain (Maj.) Charles J. Atanasio tells us that

Physical fitness requires consistent training, a schedule, proper nutrition and rest. Spiritual fitness follows very similar principles. Spiritual fitness requires good habits. Spiritual fitness requires similar discipline and effort.

Spiritual fitness is a wonderful gift of God. For each of us to obtain spiritual fitness, we must invest in and commit to a consistent and faithful relationship with God.

Say what? First of all, what does one have to do with the other? And assuming you have spiritual fitness, there is no requirement that it have to do with Chaplain Atanasio’s god. There are other forms and sources of spiritual fitness, as your trusty Heathen author here asserts. Carl Sagan found spiritual sustenance in science, as he writes in his 1996 magnum opus, The Demon-Haunted World.

The oft-cited claim that there are no atheists in foxholes is false; there is no more need that soldiers be Christians than politicians be Christians. There is no demand that Americans trust in a god at all, Christian or otherwise. Religion does not make a soldier, as I earlier pointed out it neither causes nor cures societal ills, it does not cure criminal behavior, and it does not make an American.

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Shut Up Barbie: The New Feminism of the Far Left

Dec 26 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues

Shut Up Barbie: the New Feminism of the Far Left

Shut Up Barbie might remind you of Sarah Palin in her most immediate qualities: she, too, is sexy and cuddles up to big daddy for approval and attention but the super cool thing about Shut Up Barbie is that she isn’t ignorant! Yes, Shut Up Barbie comes with a book and she can talk well at parties. In other words, she’s the perfect companion for “liberal” Ken. She’s cute, she’s sassy, she’s smart, but she knows when to shut up.

Shut Up Barbie would never, for instance, get angry when her rights are laughed at. Oh, no! Shut Up Barbie joins in the with boys like a Big Girl when they dismiss and diminish in their smug, self-righteous tones why “this rape isn’t rape.” Shut Up Barbie knows that in order to get along, she’s got to go along – and no one likes an angry woman.

Anyway, isn’t this the new face of feminism? She’s happy! She’s sexy! She’ll dance on a pole for you and apparently, you can also too have sex with her while she sleeps and she’ll not utter a peep!

I tell you I’m so moved and impressed – who woulda thought that all it would take to take back the word feminism from all of the ugly connotations is giving up on your major principles! And the real win is that so long as you are willing to give up your sense of self and engage in the diminishment of your pals, the boys will trot you out to speak for them in order to them give pseudo fem cred.

Here’s where Shut Up Barbie and Sarah Palin meet: Both are in this for their own benefit, not the cause. Both know how to WIN and you don’t WIN by bucking the patriarchal kings who run things like cable shows that you might want to get your sleek hair on so you can purr about how awful it would be for good men to perhaps have to spend a few years in jail for rape, right after you shake your head that no, sex without a condom while a woman is sleeping is most certainly not rape. After all, she woke up eventually!

For an added bonus, Shut Up Barbie will speak in serious tones about the damage being done to a Hero’s reputation while at the same time, letting it slip her mind that she is damaging some women’s reputations along with the cause with sly references to set-ups and not real rape while in the background, “this is how you do it” plays as she uses her sublime beauty to sell this myth. Oh, the sexiness of it all! And the mens are so happy. This is a feminist they can get behind (har har, pun intended!)! They all agree, in this fight, the sexy one who agrees with them won!

And the mens all beam at Shut Up Barbie, because they want to believe themselves better than the conservative men who suck up Sarah Palin’s toe lint with all of its mommy dominatrix charm. They know they are superior to those morons. They pride themselves on finding “smart” women attractive. And all it took was finding a gorgeous Shut Up Barbie to conspire with them to show just how angry, wrong, and hysterical these “radical feminists” are who dared to ask that alleged rape victims not be blamed for what may be the agenda of some government officials.

Sadly, some evil radical feminists who actually thought they owned their own bodies and had some right to dignity and protection under the law got all “tizzied up” and took to twitter, causing said boys to have to make this all go away super fast. Shut Up Barbie was VERY helpful at this point, bringing a level of condescension heretofore unseen by a liberal woman to another liberal woman. And here you thought only Sarah Palin could hate on womens like that!

So what if the groupies of said hero, otherwise known as your fellow party members, engaged in death threats and nasty tweets generously employing language not fit to print about and to these angry feminists? Hello, these girls so deserved that for opening their mouths! Free speech, my friends, is not to be engaged in without permission and you must pick the right cause if you’re going to go out on a limb and start talking without permission. We care about your “thoughts” so long as they do not cause us any angst, get in our way, or make us think. I thought we covered that above. Do try to keep up.

And then of course we got the boys petulantly explaining to us all how “I know a rape victim so I would never be guilty of being a rape apologist”, which rings eerily like the Right Wing “I know a gay person and I like them but I don’t think they should have any rights. What’s your problem?” But shhhhhh! Don’t ask. Don’t tell.

Then, the angry mean horrible women who were insisting that their tweets be heard got a sort of acknowledgment from One Film Hero, while The Great Hero walked back his accusations from across the ocean and still another TV Hero was raged into at least considering that if rape happened that might be bad. I can’t understand why you keep insisting that these white men might know little about hate crimes or being a minority.

And they say progress is dead. Ladies, while it may appear that the white male leaders of your party have abandoned you, realize they are but the minority. Sure, they have all of the power, I mean, what kind of world would this be if you actually had equal power and representation? Ha-ha, surely your “tizzies” would make you unfit to lead. Goodness, you might even get mad at a man and try to take sexual revenge with your golden honey pot of irresistible nectar. Evil temptress!

Since some of you do it, all of you must be colored with this taint but don’t go thinking that you can apply that same logic in reverse! Just because some men rape women, don’t suggest all men rape women. Fine distinctions abound and it is incumbent upon you to realize that you must never be guilty of smearing a He Who Shall be Worshiped by requesting that your fellow party members do not smear alleged victims who never even wanted to have Hero charged in the first place. No, no, the thing to do is to toss out a few lines of smirk about how they still spoke to him after and we all know that no rape victim ever speaks to the rapist after, even though 70-80 percent of rapes occur among people who know each other and most of those go unreported so yes, they do speak to the rapist afterward and swallow their pain so they can go along to get along. But hush, now, that’s not real rape and you know it!

Anyway, girls, let Shut Up Barbie be lesson to you all. Good girls, especially liberal girls, know when to shut up. Any time you see the boys’ mouths movin’ and a hailin’ their recent cult hero, you best get out of the way and start baking some metaphorical bread to welcome their hero home, to your bed if you must, knowing as we do that all women love a good ride at any time if the man is famous. What ever you do, do not start nattering on about boring things like your rights. They get it! OK? They just do not want to hear about it. How hard is that to understand?

Oh, sweetie, you’re so much prettier when you smile. Come on, now….it’s just a joke about a broken condom! Didn’t you see her picture? Where’s your sense of humor? What’s an STD or two when we’re saving the world? Surely you don’t mind. The boys are lining up for them!

Well, if you’re going to be difficult you’re going to force us to tell you what Shut Up Barbie never forces us to tell her! Appearances of respect for your opinion are for SHOW and most certainly do not apply when you make the man uncomfortable. If you insist on speaking about dull things like the time you were raped but it wasn’t rape but it was sort of rape (we have determined the meaning of rape and it changes based up on who does it, ladies…so you really need to come to the party!) or how rape allegations should be discussed in the media and by our fellow party members when the boys are doing important things, you deserve all of the condescension dealt out by Shut Up Barbie.

They only haul you out at parties and events to appear like they stand for equal rights! How dare you assume they meant it. The liberals love you on Election Day, sweetie. It’s the rest of the time that they want you to shut up.

Smile, now.

Special Note to any rape victims reading: Being raped is not shameful and it’s not your fault. It is a crime to rape someone. It is not a crime to report rape; it is your choice and your right. Please don’t allow the disgraceful behavior of a few to frighten you into not seeking help. You have rights and your body belongs to you. Any person who honors you as a human being will not have sex with you when you are not fully engaged and/or if the conditions of permission have changed. For confidential support, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1.800.656.HOPE or go online to RAINN.

*Due to the high level of violations of terms of service in the comment section lately, all comments are being moderated before posted. Comment moderation is at the sole discretion of the moderators.

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