I have been asked several times to say something about religion. Am I a believer? Well, kinda. I'm not a believer in religion per se. I believe there is a power greater than myself, but I'm not going so far as to call that power by a name. To me the naming of such a power trivializes it.
In my days as a Philosophy Major, I quizzed myself extensively regarding this issue. Is there, or is there not a god? And if so, who or what is h/she? Did God create man or visa versa? I pondered these issues as I also pondered my Mormon upbringing. The more I pondered, the more confusing it got. There are many arguments for and against the existence of God and some of them are pretty logical. For instance, in the plus column, there's this goodie: you can put all the parts to a vacuum cleaner in a closet and it won't assemble itself. Seems pretty logical right? That's one of the arguments in favor for there being a Creator...someone to put the universe [similarly the human race] together and that someone was God. The opposing view is that comparing God to a Vacuum Cleaner engineer is ridiculous and not worth debating. There are many such arguments regarding this issue and the more you get into it the more you begin to realize there is only one reason that you can believe ...
FAITH. A five letter word that drives skeptics crazy. Faith is indescribable and undefinable. If you've got it, you can't defend it...logically. If you don't have it, the same holds true. I have faith that my car will start when I get in it. I have no proof that it will. I just have faith that the darned thing will start. But what if it doesn't? What then happens to my faith? Is it shaken? Yes. It definitely is shaken and the same holds true when a God-believer witnesses some heinous crime or natural disaster. How can you justify a benevolent God allowing such a thing to happen and saying "It's just God's Will" doesn't cut it. You cannot know God's will...because h/she's a God forgodsake! How can you possibly understand His/Her will? It's like a poor person trying to understand the thoughts of a rich man. While you may have some things in common with a rich man, you cannot possibly understand his thoughts concerning finances. To the rich man, money is no object...something which a poor man cannot conceive.
For me, religion is a personal bias. You either think your religion is viable or you don't. To be a Mormon, for instance, you must believe Joseph Smith is a prophet, if you don't you can be a Mormon...or at least not a very good one. If you are a Catholic, you must believe you cannot actually talk to God person to person, but must have an interceder like the mother Mary to talk for you. If you are Muslim, you have to believe Mohammed was a prophet, if you don't, well .... you get the picture.
I wasn't a good Mormon...perhaps not a Mormon at all. I simply did not and can not look at Joseph Smith and say that kid is/was a prophet of any kind. Research has shown that both he and his father were con men in the 1830s. They would go around to farmers saying they could devine gold on their property and for a fee they would dig it up for the farmer. Then they would dig some holes, find no gold and take off with the farmer's money. Knowing that and then thinking about the so-called "Golden Tablets" which nobody has ever seen that ol' JS dug up and then translated into the Book of Mormon, well, sounds like a con to me, a brilliant one as it turns out, but a con nonetheless.
So, I guess we could safely say I'm an agnostic: Definition: agnostic, a person who holds that the existence of the ultimate cause, as God, and the essential nature of things are unknown and unknowable, or that human knowledge is limited to experience.
This is not to say I don't believe there is a Power out there that controls the universe, I just don't know what it is. My dinky mind cannot wrap itself around the concept of GOD.
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Attempts to control digital communication
See my attempts at logic in red...jb
Morsi of Egypt reminds me of President Obama when he goes around [funny turn of phrase "goes around congress?" I don't think so.] Congress using the presidential executive order. Just look at his use of the different government departments in the new laws and regulations he and his staff are implementing. Margaret, the president seldom sets foot in the Congressional Building...neither him nor the vice president.
[Executive orders by President: Barack Obama = 140, George W. Bush = 291, Bill Clinton = 364, George H. Bush = 166, Ronald Reagan = 381, Jimmy Carter = 320] Truth be told a whole bunch of executive orders have been doled out by both Republicans and Democrats. Don't blame Obama he's doing his job that we elected him to do.]
Here are some reasons for giving an executive order:
Presidents typically issue executive orders for one of these purposes:
1. Operational management of the executive branch
2. Operational management of federal agencies or officials
3. To carry out statutory or constitutional presidential responsibilities
In 1970, President Richard Nixon used this executive order to establish a new federal agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, under the Department of Commerce.
Shortly after the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, directing the interment of more than 120,000 Japanese Americans, many of whom were U.S. citizens.
In reaction to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, President George W. Bush issued this executive order combining over 40 federal law enforcement agencies and creating the Cabinet-level Department of Homeland Security.
As one of his first official actions President Obama issued an executive order that some claimed allowed him to hide his personal records - like his birth certificate - from the public. In fact, the order had a very different goal.
Another aspect are the many bills that have been trying to be passed in one way or another for government to curtail, put limits on, have all access to our electronic devices, e-mail, computers, etc., without cause or going through judicial process. They say it’s for the good of the nation.
So, what you are saying, in effect, is that the government should have no say in what goes over the internet and there should be no limits on content or purpose of the internet's messages [curtailing some of the stuff on the internet might just be good for this nation...but I'm in favor of free speech no matter how odious]. Right? Somehow I think you don't understand how government works. Here's a short history lesson regarding executive orders and congressional bill passing.
Step 1: A Bill Is Born
Anyone may draft a bill; however, only members of Congress can introduce legislation, and, by doing so, become the sponsor(s). The president, a member of the cabinet or the head of a federal agency can also propose legislation, although a member of Congress must introduce it.
Step 2: Committee Action
As soon as a bill is introduced, it is referred to a committee. At this point the bill is examined carefully and its chances for passage are first determined. If the committee does not act on a bill, the bill is effectively "dead."
Step 3: Subcommittee Review
Often, bills are referred to a subcommittee for study and hearings. Hearings provide the opportunity to put on the record the views of the executive branch, experts, other public officials and supporters, and opponents of the legislation.
Step 4: Mark up
When the hearings are completed, the subcommittee may meet to "mark up" the bill; that is, make changes and amendments prior to recommending the bill to the full committee. If a subcommittee votes not to report legislation to the full committee, the bill dies. If the committee votes for the bill, it is sent to the floor.
Step 5: Committee Action to Report a Bill
After receiving a subcommittee's report on a bill the full committee votes on its recommendation to the House or Senate. This procedure is called "ordering a bill reported."
Step 6: Voting
After the debate and the approval of any amendments, the bill is passed or defeated by the members voting.
Step 7: Referral to Other Chamber
When the House or Senate passes a bill, it is referred to the other chamber, where it usually follows the same route through committee and floor action. This chamber may approve the bill as received, reject it, ignore it, or change it.
Step 8: Conference Committee Action
Photo of conferees meeting When the actions of the other chamber significantly alter the bill, a conference committee is formed to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate versions. If the conferees are unable to reach agreement, the legislation dies. If agreement is reached, a conference report is prepared describing the committee members' recommendations for changes. Both the House and Senate must approve the conference report.
Step 9: Final Action
After both the House and Senate have approved a bill in identical form, it is sent to the president. If the president approves of the legislation, he signs it and it becomes law. Or, if the president takes no action for ten days, while Congress is in session, it automatically becomes law.If the president opposes the bill he can veto it; or if he takes no action after the Congress has adjourned its second session, it is a "pocket veto" and the legislation dies.
Step 10: Overriding a Veto
If the president vetoes a bill, Congress may attempt to "override the veto." If both the Senate and the House pass the bill by a two-thirds majority, the president's veto is overruled and the bill becomes a law.
But I question for whose good. Which department of government will use it? If you notice, it’s never been for you but the control of you. Will President Obama use his executive power to make this happen?
You remind me of that anarchist who is robbed, then calls the police. If the police take longer than expected to respond, the anarchist cries foul. But wait a minute, aren't you the one who wants government entirely out of our lives? So what if the cops don't come at all, isn't that what you want? We, the people, hire the president of the United States to make EXECUTIVE DECISIONS and then complain when he does? Don't you find that a bit ironic?
I think all news media should show cause and effects of these regulations to every person: man, woman and child. Last would be the phone numbers, addresses, etc., of government departments that we can express ourselves directly to.
Other than ending a sentence with a preposition [a grammatical no-no], the news media does report government departments and names of senators and congressmen in your local paper. You can find them on the internet also. Have you tried? You can actually write the POTUS himself: The President [Dear Mr. President], The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20500.My final thought is we the people should have due diligence or we might just find our freedoms more curtailed because of our compliance, and then freedom — no more!
You do have a point here...an actual valid one. I suggest you take your own advise. next time you post something, research it first. What you've done is spout opinion and not facts. You sound like Fox News -- I hate to call 'em this -- reporters. Our government has been around for 236 years, and in that time, there have been thousands of bills passed and 27 amendments to the [supposed perfect] Constitution. Everyone of those amendments and bills have had to go through a rigorous process before enacted. And yet, there's one more check, the Supreme Court of the United States of America. If all else fails, they are there to make sure constitutional law is obeyed.
Now the U.N. wants to control our Internet! China, Russia and Iran are pushing for this! Check un.org. While you’re at it, look at their agenda 21. It’s an eye-opener.
So, let me get this straight, Agenda 21 is about becoming Eco-friendly, about cleaning up the atmosphere and stopping deforestation and finding more and better forms of clean energy. In general, Agenda 21 is about having a more clean environment. And you're against that, right? It has nothing to do with the internet! You must be a Glenn Beck fan. There's a guy that spouts statistics like he ACTUALLY understand them. This whole Agenda 21 problem is a non-problem. Are you satisfied that there is no global warming? That humanity itself is on the not brink of self-destruction? That's what Agenda 21 is about. It's about trying to save ourselves. You are against that? You think it's some great grand conspiracy to take away all our rights and privileges? You, my dear, have been duped. There is no grand conspiracy execept in the minds of the Tea Party folks and radical right-ers.
Margaret, I suggest you actually read Agenda 21, then write some more about it. Tell me where you find passages that are going to bring about the destruction of our country and rip up the internet: http://www.un.org/esa/dsd/agenda21/res_agenda21_00.shtml
Margaret Lee, Caldwell
Monday, November 26, 2012
Note: Highlights are mine and text in red also.
There’s something to be said for not interrupting your opponent when he is actively making a mistake. It is also generally frowned upon when we give “aid and comfort to the enemy.” So, why are progressives (and some moderate fiscal-conservative pundits) telling the GOP exactly where they went wrong?
One, I personally don’t see Republicans as a whole as “the enemy.” We disagree politically, but we are Americans and they are Americans. We are all in this together. Two, they have already been given all the information required not to make some elementary and easily-avoided errors, and I don’t see them paying more attention to me (or other progressives writing about the topic) than they gave people who ostensibly belong to the same political persuasion. If they won’t listen to their close friends, why would they start listening to strangers?
The GOP made a lot of mistakes, and entire books can and will be written about them in days to come. There are some mistakes more glaring than others, however.
FROM LORELEI: After Biden kicked ass in the Veep Debate, some conservatives were posting stuff like, “Sorry to burst your bubble, but Republicans see it differently.” Well, the GOP see a lot of things differently, and it doesn’t make them right.
It’s members of the GOP who think it is OK to parse “kinds” of rape, making up nonsense phrases like “legitimate rape” and “forcible rape,” and to use their definitions as an excuse to deny someone medical care or legal recourse.
It’s members of the GOP who think stealing elections, voter disenfranchisement and voter ID laws, voter registration fraud, and True The Vote vigilante groups are all a good thing, and not Jim Crow 2.0.
It’s members of the GOP who hate science, denying evolution and Climate Change.
It’s members of the GOP who insist that the NAACP is “racist“…they probably do not understand what racism actually is.
It’s the GOP who have politicians saying “let Detroit go Bankrupt” and then taking credit for the revival of the auto industry, when not denying that there has been a revival.
It’s the GOP who have politicians creating a popular healthcare program and then turning around and hating it when it becomes “Obamacare.”
It’s the GOP who have politicians suggesting that the failing housing market needs to hit rock bottom, and blaming the poor for accepting fraudulent loans, then pretending it is to their credit when things get better.
It is the GOP pretending that Obama “promised” to lower unemployment statistics to under 8%, and using that as a cudgel to slam POTUS with for 43 straight months, and then who claim that the Bureau of Labor Statistics is making its numbers up when the unemployment rate dips to 7.8%.
It’s supporters of the GOP threatening to fire workers if they don’t vote for Romney.
It’s members of the GOP who fail to see the value of PBS, NPR, Pell Grants, museums, national parks, the Arts and other life-enhancing programs that supplement a decent education (which they aren’t keen on spending much money on, either).
It’s members of the GOP who think it is OK to erode the separation of Church and State (as long as you erode it in favor of Christians).
It’s the GOP who support things like Citizens United, calling corporations “people” and money “free speech.”
It’s the GOP who don’t care that FOX News viewers are the most misinformed about current events and politics.
It’s the GOP who think that Bush’s crappy policies and wild spending are irrelevant now that he has left office, but refer back to Lincoln and other historical political figures and try to claim their policies ARE relevant.
It’s the GOP who has members praising the idea of slavery as “not being so bad.”
It’s the GOP who hate the idea of Affirmative Action and civil rights, or who deny that discrimination even exists, and who think it should be okay for a businessperson to refuse to serve gay people or people of color if s/he chooses to.
It’s the GOP who claim that “white women voting for Obama is just like black people voting for the KKK.”
It’s the GOP who claim that people vote for Obama just because they “want “more free crap.”
It’s the GOP who think that millionaires and corporations need government money and hand-outs, but the poor and needy do not.
It’s the GOP who has nut factions like Birthers and Tea Partiers.
It’s the GOP who insists on supporting outdated fossil fuel-based energy sources while sneering at alternative ideas.
It’s the GOP who tried to legislate that rising sea levels be an off-limit topic.
It’s the GOP who opposed the Lily Ledbetter fair pay law, and who try to meddle in women‘s private medical decisions or oppose covering contraceptives with insurance while not blinking an eye that erectile dysfunction medication is covered.
It’s the GOP who keep trying to place Bible-based signs and displays in public (taxpayer-funded) or government buildings.
It’s the GOP who insist POTUS is a Kenyan Marxist Muslim Socialist Communist Atheist Manchurian Candidate Usurper-in-chief.
It’s the GOP who try to base their policies on both Ayn Rand and Jesus, despite the two having mutually exclusive values and ideas.
It’s the GOP who based their entire RNC theme on a comment from POTUS which was taken out of context, and who are airing similarly edited adverts that do not accurately reflect what was said or meant.
It’s the GOP who say things like “some girls rape easy.”
It’s the GOP who rally to deny gay people equal rights.
It’s the GOP who have some weird problem with feminists and think that treating women as equals makes your penis shrink.
It’s the GOP who has mouthpieces calling women “sluts.”
It’s the GOP who scoff at the idea that there is some kind of Republican War On Women.
It’s the GOP, especially the Tea Party wing, which is freaking out some of our staunchest allies world-wide.
It’s the GOP who caused the United States to suffer a revised (lower) credit rating from Standard and Poor’s.
It’s the GOP pushing abstinence-only sex ed, which is a failure.
It’s the GOP raising hell and blaming Obama whenever gas prices go up, while remaining oddly silent when they fall…even though speculation has a lot more to do with gas prices than anything any president does or doesn’t do.
It’s the GOP signing pledges written by and listening to advice from un-elected nutjobs like Grover Norquist.
It’s the GOP protesting social safety net programs, while Red States consume the bulk of all social safety net programs.
It’s the GOP running “shadow Democrat” puppet candidates to split votes or rig elections.
It’s the GOP who keep getting caught saying racist shit, or posting racist signs, or damaging or stealing yard signs.
It’s the GOP who insist humans and dinosaurs co-existed.
It’s the GOP who think Obama went on an “apology tour” that never existed, while ignoring Romney’s “insult and offend tour.”
It’s the GOP who are proposing policies that have been examined by, among others, the non-partisan Tax Policy Center, and pronounced “mathematically impossible” and unworkable.
It’s the GOP who refuse to pay attention to fact checkers.
It’s the GOP who have been gunning for Medicare since day one.
It’s the GOP who have been caught calling Obama a Socialist who wants to take away Medicare, the same program they seek to gut or destroy.
It’s the GOP who wants to privatize Social Security, ignoring that it is doing just fine as is, and that privatization of Social Security prior to the 2008 bank collapse would have ruined anyone relying on Social Security to survive.
It’s the GOP who resist raising the payroll tax ceiling (FICA) that funds Social Security, locking it at 97k/year (I’m told that this has been raised to a little over $1o6k/year, which is still nowhere near the proposed minimum of $200k/year that Dubya resisted adopting), instead of raising or eliminating it, because they feel it is unfair to the rich, who should pay the same into Social Security even if they earn millions a year as someone earning 97k a year (or, now, a hair more than $106k a year).
It’s the GOP blocking jobs bills, including veterans‘ jobs bills.
It’s the GOP who ignore legitimate polls conducted by professional polling organizations when they don’t go their way, while clinging to opinion polls hosted by conservative websites.
It’s the GOP who think ketchup and pizza are vegetables.
It’s the GOP who cry out for already-provided birth certificates (that no candidate has
ever had to provide before) while ignoring that their candidate is hiding his tax returns (that every candidate since George Romney has traditionally provided), and who think college transcripts (that no candidate has ever had to provide before, and which cannot
be shared freely with third parties due to federal law) are equal to tax returns.
It’s the GOP who think it is OK when their candidate is aggressive and lies, but cry foul when the Dem’s candidate is assertive, laughs, and tells the truth.
It’s the GOP who can’t figure out why it is wrong to impose your personal religious beliefs on everyone by making those beliefs into legislation.
It’s the GOP who do not understand HOW BABBY IS FORMED.
It’s the GOP who pretend that the media has a “liberal bias.”
It’s the GOP who espouse trickle-down / horse & sparrow economics and coddle the rich while sneering at the poor.
It’s the GOP who think “papers please” laws are OK.
It’s the GOP who think privatizing prisons is a great idea.
It’s the GOP who think listening to our allies on any subject is weak.
It’s the GOP who think we care about what a bunch of chickenhawks have to say about starting new wars.
It’s the GOP who think we have too many police officers, fire-fighters, and teachers.
It’s the GOP who have tried privatizing social services like firefighting and policing, with devastating results (like burned-down homes).
It’s the GOP pushing the Welfare Queen myth and announcing that they don’t give a crap about 47% of the population.
It’s the GOP going on witch hunts for Muslims and Communists.
It’s the GOP fighting unions and increasing the minimum wage.
It’s the GOP who encourage going after peaceful protesters with live ammunition and pepper spray.
It’s the GOP who support ALEC-backed laws like Stand Your Ground and who try to portray victims like Trayvon Martin as thugs.
It’s the GOP suggesting that we raise the retirement age.
It’s the GOP fighting healthcare.
It’s the GOP who believe in “ex-gay” therapy, which denies science and has been proven to be a failure.
It’s the GOP being obstructionist and filibustering and vowing to make Obama a “one-term president” from day one.
It’s the GOP Photoshopping Obama into “witchdoctor” images and worse.
It’s the GOP who go around all butt-hurt and try to report websites, Facebook groups and individuals they disagree with.
It’s the GOP who propose we build a bigger wall between the US and Mexico and oppose the DREAM Act.
It’s the GOP who oppose even talking about gun ownership restrictions, and, in fact, recommend that every citizen be issued a Glock.
It’s the GOP who are forming groups specifically designed to harass people at polling sites.
It’s the GOP who attack fictional characters like Spongebob, The Lorax, Tinky-Winky, Dora the Explorer and Big Bird for “brainwashing” children.
It’s the GOP promoting the most clownish buffoons possible and pretending they are serious candidates for higher office.
It’s the GOP accusing non-partisan groups like the Tax Policy Center, NASA (and scientists in general), the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities of being partisan when facts do not concur with Republican talking points.
I could go on, but suffice it to say that I do not care one iota if the conservative world view once again fails to reflect reality or promotes bad ideas, or disagrees with my own worldview. They have a right to believe as they wish, but when they are wrong, as they often are, then I have a right to reject their nonsense. I am appalled every day to hear the amount of utter crap coming out of the mouths of some Republicans. They make the conservatives I know personally–who are good people–look bad by association, and I am utterly sick of it.
Sad but true: reality has a liberal bias. [Clinging To Nonsense: The GOP POV Is Usually Wrong And Thus Irrelevant 2012/10/13 By Lorelei]
1. Their “experts” are bad, and they should feel bad.
Listening to un-elected self-appointed experts is a serious problem for Republicans: Grover Norquist comes to mind. He came up with his “no-tax pledge” when he was a 12-year-old child, and apparently saw no need to revise it as an adult. His 12-year-old mind thought it was a great idea, and Norquist may possibly have never matured intellectually beyond that point.
This is a man who went on national television this week asserting that Romney lost because Obama called him a “poopyhead.” That actually happened. Republicans, Tea Partiers in particular, embraced Norquist’s pre-pubescent economic plan, and set about being obstructive asshats at every juncture. Again, American citizens never elected Norquist as a representative of their views. His ideas are roundly criticized (justifiably so) by people who just might know a little bit more about economics and tax policy than a 12-year-old ever did.
Even so, Republicans flocked to sign Norquist’s pledge, and, in doing so, demonstrated a lack of common sense.
2. They encourage, rather than stifle, their cranks, cretins, God-bothering Bible-thumpers and raging assholes
Ted Nugent is an aggressive, chickenhawk creep who has no background in politics, but feels free to opine about complex political issues, usually by screaming himself hoarse about phantom moochers. Victoria Jackson is a depressingly simple crank who clings to a Child’s First Bible worldview, where everything is simplified and illustrated with colorful cartoon drawings. There are probably hundreds of (mostly evangelical) religious leaders who openly defy the IRS’s rules about churches risking their tax-exempt status for meddling in politics, and they ignore the separation of church and state in order to threaten their flocks with hellfire and damnation if they don’t vote for the policies and candidates these religious leaders prefer. Donald Trump is a bloviating self-absorbed, self-promoting buffoon in a toupee who thinks he is much more important and useful than he actually is. Ann Coulter is arguably a smart cookie, but she values her status as a gadfly and proud jerk far too much to say anything useful about politics, instead relying on playground taunts and getting visibly desperate when her childish, pseudo-intellectual gibes are mostly ignored; she never apologizes for offensive things she says, perhaps sneering at the idea, as she seems to think that respect and tolerance are signs of weakness. Rush Limbaugh recently had the temerity to call Governor Chris Christie a “fat fool” (psychologists might call that “projection,” we can settle for “hypocritical”) and regularly manages to offend almost everyone with his rants.
Sean Hannity has been wrong about almost everything; he is, to be kind, not a very bright man. Bill O’Reilly announced one night to an incredulous guest that “tides go in, tides go out, you can’t explain that.” Actually, a third grade science education explains that. Michael Savage may literally have some serious, un-medicated mental problems. Andrew Breitbart raged and screamed his way into a fatal and premature heart attack. Matt Drudge is a self-promoting jackass who has little use for accuracy or fairness in reporting. Dinesh D’Souza released one of the biggest fact-challenged cinematic piles of poop known to mankind, supposedly calling Obama’s character into question, and then got busted for adultery. Dick Morris is the world’s worst political pundit, and is wrong on an even more predictable and regular basis than Hannity. Glenn Beck is going to rant himself into an on-air aneurysm one day. As Democrat Barney Frank once said, progressives aren’t perfect, but conservatives are nuts!
Republicans seem to have no problem welcoming the intellectually feeble, offensive, and foul into their ranks. Many conservatives thought it was hilarious when Clint Eastwood rambled and ranted at an Invisible Obama on stage at the RNC; everyone else felt emotionally pained with empathy for the once-great elderly actor who was suddenly starring in a Simpsons parody sketch: Old Man Shouts At Chair.
There are smart, educated, thoughtful, articulate conservatives who can share Republican talking points with clarity and who are capable of constructively criticizing not only progressives, but also their own party members; folks like David Frum, Michael Steele, George Will, and David Brooks aren’t stupid people. Even conservative pundit Bill Kristol, who is frequently wrong about many things, is surprising everyone by being a voice of reason and telling his fellow Republicans to stop being stupid and stubborn because the Bush tax cuts for the 1% can and should expire.
Megyn Kelly, one of Fox News’ most popular talking heads, rolled her eyes so hard at Karl Rove after Rove steadfastly refused to believe Obama won re-election that viewers at home could almost hear her optic nerves twanging: Is this, Kelly asked Rove, some sort of Republican voodoo mathematics that you’re doing in your head to make yourself feel better?
One after another, Republican men–and a handful of women–stepped up and unapologetically said ignorant, offensive, appalling things about reproduction, abortion, birth control, rape and a woman’s right to make her own medical decisions without a vaginal probe, superfluous multiple ultrasounds, intrusive “counseling” and a Rape-ublican diktat being issued first. Republican women said women shouldn’t vote. Rush Limbaugh and other conservatives openly and enthusiastically called women “sluts.” Sarah Palin still thinks people care about her political opinions. Big name politicians (including Mitt Romney) even hung out and partied with an alleged serial rapist.
Why, then, do Republicans allow the braying jackass contingent of their party to out-bellow their intellectual spokespeople? Braying jackassery must hold more appeal to the base…and perhaps Republicans should ask themselves why that is. Do they want to cultivate a base that thrives on snide snark, messages of misogyny and homophobia, some not-very-subtle racist subtext, and, frankly, some alarmingly paranoid and fact-free fantasies…with the juiciest bones thrown to the pig-ignorant theocratic Paleoconservative Tealibangelical horde?
Is it really worth inviting absolutely every raging, ignorant dumbass into your political tent–in hopes of a few more votes for your politicians and policies–if the nutburgers and Troglodytes are just going to wind up kicking you out of it and taking over?
3. Republicans do not like–and thus refuse to believe–facts.
Fox News is regularly proven in study after study to leave its faithful viewers more misinformed than any other network; some random guy off the street who doesn’t own a TV, watch news programs or even pay much attention to politics is better-informed than a Fox News viewer. The frightening thing is that Republicans may have actually started to believe their own misinformation: Karl Rove’s shock when Obama won re-election seems to indicate that he really, truly did not know how it happened.
Republican Rep. Peter King announced that he was not interested in what fact-checkers had to say. Mitt Romney’s campaign staff spokesperson likewise said that they were not going to let fact-checkers influence their campaign decisions or messaging. Romney refused to bother to compose a concession speech, had a “President-Elect Romney” webpage set up and ready to go (and leaked before Election Day) and had planned an expensive fireworks display over the Boston Harbor to celebrate what he felt was a sure win.
We had Republicans who think scientific advancement and theory is all “lies from the pit of Hell” and have bizarre ideas about how human reproduction works. Two, Rep. Paul Broun and Rep. Todd Akin, served on the House Science Committee. Texas Republicans released a platform statement decrying “critical thinking” like that was a bad thing.
Teabaggers insist that President Obama is a fascist, socialist, Marxist, communist, atheist, Muslim, Kenyan, racist Nazi who knows nothing about the Constitution despite being a Constitutional Law scholar and head of the Harvard Law Review.
Republicans scoffed at poll-aggregators and statisticians who ran the numbers, by pretty much ignoring the brains at Princeton University (who had as much success with their research and predictions as did Nate Silver at his 538 blog) and other highly-educated experts and wonks, and focused on what they desperately wanted to believe: that polls, many (like Rasmussen and Gallup) which used flawed or outdated or skewed (towards Republicans) data and which measured popular vote trends and not electoral college vote stats (which actually elect presidents), were showing Romney and Obama in a tight race.
In truth, Romney was never even once projected to earn the necessary 270 electoral votes required to be elected. The convention didn’t give him a boost. He got a little bump after the first presidential debate, but that was as good as it ever got for Romney. Again, he never came close, not even for a minute, to being projected to get 270 electoral votes. And liberals knew that.
Sure, progressives were swept up in the “it’s so close” chit-chat a little bit, too, much of which was no doubt pushed by news networks hoping to keep viewers interested in the election and to boost ratings, but much more serious concern was directed at dozens of cases of Republicans doing their best to keep legitimate voters from voting, encouraging Democratic “ringers” to run to siphon votes away from their real opponent, or the possibility that electronic voting machines might be tampered with. Whether some of those concerns were reasonable or not, progressives weren’t worried about the statistics. It helped that they were going our way. Consistently.
It also helped that–thanks to Republicans deciding that facts weren’t really important to them–their candidate, Mitt Romney, told a whopping 900 lies in less than ten month’s time. He didn’t even try to hide it, and made sure to flip-flop on every political issue possible, while hiding most of his tax returns, his proposed policies and budget plans from public view. The GOP nominated a man who had no use for facts. This is something a political party does when it has contempt for the truth. It is not a winning strategy long-term. In fact, it failed to help Republicans win even in the short-term, as they got a royal shellacking at the polls on Election Day.
4. Insulting fellow Americans while demonstrating ignorance about fiscal issues
Republicans are supposed to be the “fiscally responsible” political party. Unfortunately, facts do not bear this assertion out. Republican administrations worsen our deficit. Republican presidents under-perform compared to Democratic presidents when you examine stats like number of jobs created and the unemployment rate, the health of the stock market, housing values, and overall economic growth.
Meanwhile, Republicans are still waffling about “takers and makers” and “job creators” and other right-wing bovine excrement. The idea is to engender inter-personal hostility between the middle-class and poor, and to direct it away from the wealthy and corporations, and it often works. The middle-class buys into right-wing talking points that blame the poor for our economic woes while corporate welfare in the form of tax shelters, subsidies and tax loopholes means we pay out approximately twice in corporate welfare than what we pay to help our fellow human beings.
Further, the Center for Budget Policy and Priorities is frank: 90% of all welfare goes to the elderly, the disabled (including veterans), dependent infants and children getting food assistance, people who are confined to institutions, survivors’ benefits (like what Paul Ryan and his mother received when he was a child), and the working poor (for instance, a large percentage of Wal*Mart employees are forced to apply for food assistance and other welfare programs to make ends meet because Wal*Mart is hostile to unions and pays as low an hourly wage as it can get away with; we would have fewer people relying on welfare assistance if corporations like Wal*Mart paid a living wage).
Listening to Republicans, though, they bad-mouth the poor, perpetuating the old and oft-debunked Welfare Queen stereotype, and encouraging people to be resentful of our poor and needy neighbors, and pretending that welfare recipients have a tolerable standard of living. In some ways, this is understandable. We, as human beings, make snap judgments about strangers, and may actually believe we have seen someone who appears to be taking advantage of welfare assistance (and maybe we have, on occasion, but the actions of one bad apple should not subject all the honest and genuinely needy to punishment and starvation). It is sad that these judgments tend to focus on minorities, especially as the average welfare recipient is a white, middle-class mom with two kids actively looking for work, and who is only on welfare rolls for about two years.
It is harder for us to see corporations defrauding us, but there are corporations who make record profits and pay their CEOs ever-increasing salaries, but do not pay taxes, due to subsidies (mostly for fossil fuel industries and factory farms), and which off-shore American jobs to foreign countries where they can pay slave labor pennies per hour to do back-breaking drudge work. Corporations–and the wealthiest people in America–can afford to purchase lobbying power, and can throw a lot of money at people willing to pretend that the poor are America’s biggest financial problems. The poor consume very, very little of our nation’s budget.
Corporate welfare costs us twice as much as social welfare, but you rarely hear conservatives railing about how corporations and the rich are “takers”…no, they call them “makers,” pretending that they offer an overall benefit to us. This, even as they offshore jobs and duck taxes and demonize the voiceless hungry, sick and needy Americans who can’t survive without a hand up. A corporation denied welfare continues to turn a profit, pay big salaries, avoid taxes and ship jobs overseas; a human being denied welfare–because the poor are almost always the first to feel any financial pinch–might get sick and die.
What if we spent more on people and less on corporations? We spend the bulk of our budget on defense, actually, outspending other countries by a minimum of ten to one. The thing is, people are starting to hear the racist and classist dog whistle element of these talking points that attack the poor and suck up to the rich. More and more people are realizing that trickle-down / supply-side economics do not work. Republicans continue to insult the 99%, the 47%, the struggling, the poor, the working class, and implying that non-white people are sponging off of “us,” and whereas there will always be a resentful white audience for that kind of crap, it is dwindling. Perhaps we are starting to realize that we actually know some people on welfare and they are just as hard-working as we are. Perhaps we have even learned the lesson first hand, relying on food stamps to eat, even as we look for work every day or work one or more part-time jobs that do not pay a living wage.
Republicans are making a lot of mistakes, but demeaning minorities, the poor, the middle class and the working class, clinging to the comforting lies they like to hear within their conservative infobubble and raving over historical revisionists and comforting GOP-slanted polls while ignoring or arguing with facts or statistics they don’t like (Princeton stats wonks and Nate Silver’s 538 election predictions, the Bureau of Labor Statistics unemployment figures, the Congressional Budget Office stating flatly that supply-side economics is a failure and that the rich need to be taxed fairly, what Occupy Wall Street said were their issues and concerns versus right-wing talking points painting OWS as a bunch of jobless, unwashed hippies with no real message, evolution, reproductive science, climate change, demographics all come to mind), and shutting out their talented intellectuals while promoting the nutjobs and kooks all rank high on the GOP Faux Pas List.
If I had to narrow it down to one thing hurting Republicans, it is this: Absolute refusal to pay attention to facts that contradict what Republicans WANT to be true. They would rather cling to false information that appeals to their carefully-nurtured–but oh, so wrong!– opinions which are based on deliberate misinformation and propaganda campaigns. Republicans don’t want to hear it. They want to believe in the “liberal bias” of all media other than Fox News.
They want to believe that the United States was founded as a Christian country (and it wasn’t). They want to believe that the 1% create jobs, though they didn’t create any during the ten years they got a tax cut. They want to believe that Obama voters are predominately people of color, but the majority of Obama voters were white. They want to believe women’s bodies have ways to “shut that whole thing down” and not get pregnant when raped. They want to believe that insurance companies which cover Viagra and other erectile dysfunction treatment medication should not also cover birth control. They want to believe that there is a serious in-person voter fraud problem, when the real fraud is almost always revealed to be Republicans tampering with or discarding voter registration forms, telling people the wrong day and location to vote, trying to disenfranchise voters, suspicious malfunctions and problems with electronic voting machines, and so on.
Again, I could go on, but it comes down to Republicans kicking, screaming and having tantrums when confronted with facts and stats that do not conform to their cherished talking points. That’s why I don’t worry overmuch about sharing my point of view with conservatives. I know that the smart ones are already well aware of the problem, and despairing over the loud and stupid people infiltrating their political party.
The Republicans’ problem children will probably never read my opinion…but if they do, they will refuse to believe any of it is true. That’s why I’m not worried about “giving aid and comfort to the enemy.” Conservatives as a whole aren’t the “enemy,” and the Republicans who are the source of the problem aren’t going to have an epiphany based on anything I say or do. They will have to learn the hard way. Too bad the sensible conservatives are going to continue to get dragged along in the Fox-poisoned toxic wake of the dittoheads among them, at least for the conceivable future.