Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Gay Marriage, the Full Faith and Credit Clause, and Guns

Since the Supreme Court struck down gay marriage bans some conservatives have been talking as if the Apocalypse had come. They're crying about judicial activism and states rights. But from a Constitutional and practical standpoint, it's impossible for the states to have different marriage laws.

States rights sounds like a good idea. Texas can have a speed limit of 90 mph, and New York can limit it to 70 mph. They have different environments and requirements: Texas is a big, empty, flat, arid wasteland with cities hundreds of miles apart. New York is crowded, hilly, and covered with trees that limit sight lines

But when you're in a state you must abide by that state's laws. Texans can't drive 90 mph when they're in New York, right?

So why should a gay couple from New York moving to Texas expect to stay married? Why can't Texas split them up and take away their kids if Texans can't stand the idea of two men or two women being married?

Because the Constitution says so. The Full Faith and Credit Clause (Article IV, Section 1) requires that each state recognize the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state. Texas must recognize companies incorporated in New York, as well as New York marriages, divorces, adoptions, etc.

Furthermore, the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees equal protection under the law. That means that in states where gay marriage is legal, gay couples must be granted the same rights and privileges as heterosexual couples. That means every couple must have all the same rights of inheritance, tax laws, child custody, and so on.

These two clauses come into play because Americans move all the time. Every year about 12% of Americans move. About 2% of Americans move between states. In 2013 that was 7 million people.

And that's where the idea of states having different definitions of marriage falls apart. If a gay couple moves to Texas they have to be treated the same as a heterosexual couple who made the same move. Texas must treat both couples equally -- they can't take away the gay couple's children or deny gay spouses inheritance or hospital visitation rights. It must be this way, because people move so frequently it would total chaos if states had veto power over other states' marriages and court decisions.

For example, the marriage age with either parental and/or court consent for girls in Georgia, Hawaii, Missouri, Mississippi is 15. In New York, Pennsylvania and Texas it's 14, in New Hampshire it's 13, in Massachusetts it's 12, and in California there's no minimum (eww!). If states didn't have to recognize the marriage laws of other states, an 18-year-old Texas man could be arrested for statutory rape if he had sex with his 14-year-old wife in most other states in the Union.

Furthermore, if states had total autonomy over marriage law, Louisiana could outlaw divorce, then charge divorcees from other states with bigamy if they remarried in Louisiana.

If conservatives want their marriages and divorces to be recognized in other states (and conservatives get divorced a lot), then gay marriages have to be recognized in all other states.

And if gay marriage is legal in any state, then it has to be recognized in all states. And since it was already here to stay in most states, it must be legal in all states.

Conservatives are all for states rights, except when they're against them: at the same time conservative states were refusing to recognize gay marriages from other states, their members of Congress were trying to pass a law that would force states to recognize concealed-carry gun permits from other states.

In fact, some conservatives are already citing last week's gay marriage ruling to claim that they have a Constitutional right to carry a gun in public. It's a bogus argument. 

But it's creepy that some gun nuts are so wedded to their guns that they actually think they're wedded to their guns.

Hating Black People


Tragedy as boy, 3, dies after shooting himself in the head with loaded pistol he found in a closet 

After the death of his son, Brian Holbrook backed the right to bear arms in a Facebook post. He said 'I have nothing wrong with guns, I will still support the Second Amendment [sic]. 'All I ask is that everyone please, please safety first... lock it up and put it out of reach of anyone that has no business being around a gun especially kids. 'Gun safety people! My boy would still be here if it was put away like it should have been.'

But you didn't and he is dead. And YOU should be held accountable. The law should be changed so that every time this happens, the fucking moronic parents are charged with homicide and have to serve a mandatory minimum of 25 years.

These are the #loserswithguns the Gun Cult defends every single day.

5 Years Of Conservatives Wrongly Declaring 'The End Of Obamacare'

Monday, June 29, 2015

Comes with a free "I am a fucking idiot" T-shirt.

NBC To Trump: Buh Bye!

NBCUniversal cuts ties with Donald Trump

Man, I love the free market:)

And I believe that Mr. Trump is polling second in the GOP presidential race for 2016. I guess we know now the maturity level of the base!!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Good Question (s)

Are We Still Yammering About Whether the Civil War Was About Slavery? Really?

Are we still arguing about whether the Civil War was really fought over slavery? Seriously? What's next? The Holocaust was really about Jews overstaying their tourist visas? The Inquisition was a scientific exploration of the limits of the human body? The Romans were genuinely curious about whether a man could kill a hungry lion? The Bataan death march was a controlled trial of different brands of army boots? WTF?


Saturday, June 27, 2015

A Change is Gonna Come

Regular readers will note that as of today Markadelphia is no more. In keeping with the changes already in place with the comments section, this site has been renamed in order to move away from a personality based site to a general political discussion forum where ideas are at the forefront, not the people who write about them.

Nikto has been contributing a great deal to this site and gets more hits than me anyway so it's way past time that a change was made to truly make it a site for both of us (as well as John Waxey if he ever stops digging for artifacts long enough to share his wisdom). We have a few other people in mind that may end up being contributors as well in the future.

This won't be the the only change. We're planning on implementing some design changes as well as different types of content in addition to the regular posts that 300-600 of you enjoy every day. We got close to 1,000 hits in a 24 hour period after the two big SCOTUS decisions this week and I think that's pretty amazing. Thank you very much!!

So, what is "Zombie Politics?" Well, we clearly have been having the same political discussions in this country from day one. Sometimes that's a good thing and sometimes that's a bad thing. Either way, we here at Zombie Politics will be talking about it!!

What A Week!

What a fantastic week for Barack Obama, Democrats and liberals everywhere. The Affordable Care Act is marriage is the law of the land...the trade bill is about to be signed by the president...Confederate flags finally coming down...and this speech....


The reaction from conservatives has largely been the typical adolescent furor. This, however, caught my eye...

Huckabee and Santorum Sign On with Minister Who Wants To Set Himself on Fire Over LGBT Rights a fantastic example of how conservatives in this country are really no different than Islamic extremists (see: American Taliban). If I were in Homeland Security, I'd keep an extra eye on the right wing groups for the next few weeks and possibly in perpetuity.

Because our country is finally moving in the right direction and the mouth foamers are likely not going to stand for it. Given that they throw a good hump into their gun collection every day, I'd wager that more than a few of them are going to act up violently, as was the case with Dylan Roof.

Maybe we'll get lucky and they'll accidentally shoot each other:)

The Not So White House

Friday, June 26, 2015

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Pants on Fire!

Ever had some old,m conservative uncle in your family foam at the mouth about how the Civil War wasn't really about slavery? What follows is invariably a giant pile of wacky, ideological nonsense.

The fine folks at Politifact recently tackled this very same issue and ruled it PANTS ON FIRE.

The erratic anti-feminist and purposefully politically incorrect Gavin McInnes added his take on the Confederate flag controversy. McInnes, a frequent Fox News guest, tweeted to more than 50,000 followers on June 23, 2015, that the Confederate flag should continue to fly. Why? Because, "The Civil War wasn't about slavery," he wrote. "It was about secession." In a companion tweet, McInnes said anyone, like Northerners, who think the Civil War was about slavery should go to Google. "Look it up," said McInnes, who was born in England and grew up in Canada. 

So we did.

And what did they find?

We typed in "causes of the Civil War." The first hit was which told us, "The burning issue that led to the disruption of the union, however, was the debate over the future of slavery. That dispute led to secession, and secession brought about a war in which the Northern and Western states and territories fought to preserve the Union, and the South fought to establish Southern independence as a new confederation of states under its own constitution." The second link on Google was to PBS and its History Detectives series. There we read, "What led to the outbreak of the bloodiest conflict in the history of North America? A common explanation is that the Civil War was fought over the moral issue of slavery. In fact, it was the economics of slavery and political control of that system that was central to the conflict." No. 3 on the Google hit parade was That page offered five main reasons and the first one was "Economic and social differences between the North and the South." And what were those differences? 

Well, slavery.

The fourth link on Google was from the Civil War Preservation Trust. The trust wrote "The Civil War was the culmination of a series of confrontations concerning the institution of slavery." 

Perhaps they should have been directed to those sites which tell the (ahem) real story. You know that ones I'm talking about, right? They all have the same common, unspoken theme: I can't face the ugliness in my own ideology so I'm going to blame the victim and redirect. 

Of course, the internet can be wrong so Politifact reached out to some experts on the Civil War.

Eric Foner, professor of history at Columbia University, used the words of secessionists themselves as proof of their intentions. "Read South Carolina's Declaration of the causes of secession," Foner said. "It is all about protecting slavery." Indeed, the first sentence refers to slaveholding states, and throughout, the institution of slavery is the pivot point around which all else turns. Historian Stephanie McCurry at the University of Pennsylvania points to Mississippi’s declaration of secession. Sentence two begins, "Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery." 

So just to be clear: Slavery led to secession, which led to the Civil War.

Of course, we here on this blog know how the conservative brain works. The more facts they get, the worse they get and we all get to experience the backfire effect. My advice is to simply chuckle and say, "Sure, Unc...anything you say."

A Blow To Right Wing Bloggers and Commenters Everywhere

The Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favor of the subsidies for the Affordable Care Act 6-3.  

“It is implausible that Congress meant the Act to operate in this manner,” the majority of the justices wrote. “Congress made the guaranteed issue and community rating requirements applicable in every State in the Nation. But those requirements only work when combined with the coverage requirement and the tax credits. So it stands to reason that Congress meant for those provisions to apply in every state as well.”

In short, stop with the adolescent wordsmithing.

This ruling illustrates what adults in reality think of right wing blog arguments and comments, essentially the plaintiff's case. They rejected it utterly.

Combine this with the likely ruling striking down gay marriage bans and our country is really looking a heckuva lot better these days!

Choosing Our Heritage

Before pretty much everyone in the South decided that it was time to take down the Confederate flag, there was a lot of hemming and hawing in the immediate aftermath of Dylann Roof's terrorist attack on a church in Charleston, SC.

Initially many southern politicians defended the flag as "their heritage." Many, like Lindsey Graham, the senator from South Carolina, said that the flag "is part of who we are."

No. That is not who we are. That flag is who our ancestors were.

And even though half my ancestors didn't come to this country until the 20th century, I can still say we. My maternal grandfather was from Tennessee and I'm related to General Stonewall Jackson.

We are not our fathers -- we own neither their victories nor their sins. We can only learn from their mistakes and preserve their successes. The idea that our heritage -- our ancestry -- defines who we are is an antiquated, stupid, racist misconception. We define who we are by what we say and what we do.

As Americans we're all equal. We're supposed to make our own way in the world and not leech off our ancestors' reputations. As Americans we pick our own heritage -- we're not stuck with whatever random traits our genetics gave us.

Sometimes people carry this idea to ridiculous extremes, as in the case of Rachel Dolezal. She claimed the heritage of African Americans. It sounds weird, but it's no different than every Republican from Ted Cruz to Bobby Jindal claiming the heritage of Ronald Reagan. The only thing Dolezal really did wrong was lie about it.

If you have white skin, no one can just assume you're intolerant and racist. If you have brown skin, no one can just assume you're lazy and stupid. You can't choose your skin color. But if you choose the Confederate flag as your emblem, you're claiming a heritage of disunion, racism and oppression.

That choice is key: being able to define who we are is our real American heritage.

Warning Labels

Just got this in an email...

Two issues here, racism, and the proliferation of gun culture and acceptance of gun deaths. I am far more concerned how we are growing a new crop of racial bigots than I am with ISIS. As for guns, 30,000 people a year die here in gun violence. This simply (with a few notable exceptions) doesn't happen in other developed nations. If ISIS were killing even a tiny percentage of that 30k in the US...we would lose our minds. This doesn't even register with the American public.

It doesn't register with them because the "liberal" media (especially Hollywood) are ammosexuals. If they reported on the Gun Cult the same way they report on ISIL, it would be a much different situation.

The Tax Revenue Zombie Lie Rises Again

It amuses me to no end when zombie lies rise again. Check this out.

GOP strategist Christie: Tax revenues rose after Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003

Once again...

What we found is Christie is carefully picking his starting and end points to make the most dramatic comparison. Changing the timeframe makes all the difference, as we’ll show you.


The Tax Policy Center, a joint project of two academic centers the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, summarized the CBO numbers. This chart based on the center’s table shows revenues initially falling, not rising.

In short, federal revenues were below 2000 levels (after adjusting for inflation) until 2006. They outpaced fiscal year 2000 collections for a bit, then fell again in 2008. The same pattern roughly holds if you use 2001 as the starting point. What’s that all mean? When you adjust for inflation, the 47 percent revenue growth from 2003 to 2007 becomes 28 percent. And if you start the clock in 2001, revenue growth drops to 4 percent. By 2009, of course, the numbers look even worse. Here’s another way to look at it, using data from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Over Bush’s two full terms, federal revenues dropped 13 percent.

Christie’s statement has some superficial accuracy but a more complete picture shows that he has omitted many details that would lead to a different conclusion. We rate this claim Mostly False.

Superficial accuracy pretty much sums it up!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Very Tired of Idiots

Many in Nation Tired of Explaining Things to Idiots

Of the many obvious things that people are sick and tired of trying to get through the skulls of stupid people, the fact that climate change will cause catastrophic habitat destruction and devastating extinctions tops the list, with a majority saying that they will no longer bother trying to explain this to cretins. 

Coming in a close second, statistical proof that gun control has reduced gun deaths in countries around the world is something that a significant number of those polled have given up attempting to break down for morons. 

Finally, a majority said that trying to make idiots understand why a flag that symbolizes bigotry and hatred has no business flying over a state capitol only makes the person attempting to explain this want to put his or her fist through a wall.


An Unbroken Line from Jefferson Davis to George F. Will

Ta-Nehisi Coates has a long article that discusses the origins of the Civil War. It consists mostly of quotes from Southern politicians who justified slavery as being necessary for civilization and even white equality. 

Coates' point is that the Confederate flag is undeniably the emblem of slavery and is why it should be taken down. 

But reading these quotes makes it clear that the political philosophy and economic theory of pro-slavery secessionist Southerners have been directly adopted by modern conservative "thinkers" and corporate elites in the United States.

For example, here's an excerpt of the statement of Mississippi justifying secession:
[A] blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization
Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery—the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization.
Jefferson Davis believed that without slavery, equality among white men was impossible:
[E]quality ... cannot exist where white men fill the position here occupied by the servile race.
— Jefferson Davis
You too know, that among us, white men have an equality resulting form a presence of a lower caste, which cannot exist where white men fill the position here occupied by the servile race. The mechanic who comes among us, employing the less intellectual labor of the African, takes the position which only a master-workman occupies where all the mechanics are white, and therefore it is that our mechanics hold their position of absolute equality among us.
Many southern "gentlemen" held slaves in particular and working people in general in utter contempt (from the Muscogee Herald):
Free Society! we sicken at the name. What is it but a conglomeration of greasy mechanics, filthy operatives, small-fisted farmers, and moon-struck theorists? All the Northern men and especially the New England States are devoid of society fitted for well-bred gentlemen. The prevailing class one meet with is that of mechanics struggling to be genteel, and small farmers who do their own drudgery, and yet are hardly fit for association with a Southern gentleman's body servant. This is your free society which Northern hordes are trying to extend into Kansas.
This last was a reaction to the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which would allow the voters in the two new territories to decide whether slavery would be allowed. People like Jesse James flooded into Kansas and Nebraska to influence the outcome of the slavery vote. Southerners wanted slavery to spread to new states and dreaded the outcome of new territories voting down slavery.

How many poor white Southerners fought for the Confederate Army because Jefferson Davis told them that if blacks were freed from slavery, poor whites would become the slaves?
The wealthy upper classes of the South considered themselves the real Americans, the well-bred, genteel Anglo-Saxon nobility of the United States. They despised a free society. They thought of the vast "northern hordes" as inferior, a lower caste, a servile race, greasy mechanics and filthy farmers.

That is the heritage the Confederate battle flag represents. How many poor white Southerners fought for the Confederate Army because Jefferson Davis told poor whites that if blacks were freed from slavery, whites would become the slaves? Were the men who fought in the Confederate Army fighting to preserve slavery simply to avoid being forced into slavery themselves?

The idea that there must be masters and there must be slaves appears to persist in the South to this day. The best way to do this is to minimize the political and economic power of workers, which means busting unions. If workers are unorganized and intimidated, you can pay them slave wages. That's why "right to work" laws were first enacted in former slave-holding states and have effectively destroyed private-sector unions there. Such laws have slowly spread to northern states as Scott Walker and other northern politicians have been co-opted by corporate elites like the Koch brothers.

Many corporate execs espouse the same slave-holding mindset as Jefferson Davis: the only thing that matters is profit. Today's Republican Party falls in line, parroting the narrative that maximizing the wealth of a few individuals and cutting their taxes will benefit the country much more than paying the people who actually do all the work a living wage.

But union busting still wasn't good enough for corporate America: even non-unionized Americans make too much damned money. So corporate America ships jobs off to other countries.

That brings us to the present day, when in March George Will told us proudly that income inequality is a good thing. Will is making exactly the same argument the well-bred gentlemen of the South: slaves are necessary for commerce and civilization. Will casts this in the light of shipping jobs off to Vietnam, where surrogate slaves perform the "drudgery" of manufacturing cheap shoes and plasma TVs for the United States. But it's just the same argument Jefferson Davis and well-bred Southern aristocrats used a century and a half ago.

Back then southern plantation owners needed African slaves to maintain their wealth and power. Today, corporate America needs wage slaves to maintain their stock bonuses and profit margins.

We had a Civil War to disabuse Southern slave holders of their quaint notions about "civilization and commerce." As more and more Americans fall into poverty -- especially white Americans in the South -- notions in board rooms will need similar adjustments.

There's some evidence that corporate America is beginning to understand how untenable growing income inequality is (note Walmart's increase to their minimum wage).

Let's hope they don't dawdle too long.

Feel Safe Yet?

Monday, June 22, 2015

Following the Money

A lot of Republicans had a hard time calling for the removal of the Confederate battle flag from South Carolina's capitol in the aftermath of the terrorist attack in Charleston, even as it became more and more obvious that Roof's motivations were linked to glorification of the Confederacy, white supremacy and slavery. 

Most said that taking the battle flag down was something that people should "begin discussing," though some -- like Mitt Romney, to his credit -- did quickly call for its banishment to the ash heap of history.

The question is, how can anyone possibly defend the Confederate flag, especially in light of the horrors of slavery and the treacheries of the Civil War that it invokes?

The answer's obvious: money.

It turns out that Republicans get a lot of money -- and votes -- from racists. The Guardian looked into this:
The leader of a rightwing group that Dylann Roof allegedly credits with helping to radicalise him against black people before the Charleston church massacre has donated tens of thousands of dollars to Republicans such as presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Rick Santorum.

Earl Holt has given $65,000 to Republican campaign funds in recent years while inflammatory remarks – including that black people were “the laziest, stupidest and most criminally-inclined race in the history of the world” – were posted online in his name.
Holt has since 2012 contributed $8,500 to Cruz, the Texas senator running for the Republican presidential nomination, and his Jobs, Growth and Freedom Fund political action committee, according to Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings. On some filings Holt’s occupation was listed as “slumlord”.
And it's not just presidents: Holt spent his cash affecting election outcomes across the country:
Holt has also distributed tens of thousands in campaign contributions among prominent Republicans in congress, such as Representative Steve King of Iowa ($2,000), Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas ($1,500) and Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona ($1,000). He also gave $3,200 to the former Minnesota congresswoman and presidential candidate Michele Bachmann.
Holt's website and its focus on the fiction of "huge numbers" of heretofore unknown black-on-white murders was what radicalized Roof.  Curiously, the signal event that started Roof down this path was the murder of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman.

What?! you say. How can that be? Well, following the lead of Fox News, in which whites and Christians are always the victim no matter who gets killed, racists like Holt twisted the killing of a black teenager walking home in the rain into a call to action for white supremacists. Roof's impressionable young mind was warped by Holt's propaganda, just like young Somali Americans whose minds are warped by Al Qaeda and ISIS propaganda on the Internet.

The constant refrain of conservatives is always, "We're the victims! We're the victims!" even when whites kill blacks. To distract from the injustice of Trayvon Martin's murder, racists like Holt manufactured a phony scandal that sucked Dylann Roof in.

Fox News and Republicans like Cruz, Bachmann, King, and Cotton all jumped on the Zimmerman bandwagon, repeat the same stupid chant, knowing that it's what angry racists in the South want to hear. It wasn't the exact same tune that Holt was pushing, but it was an accompanying melody, a sort of racist-light counterpoint that lent mainstream credibility to Holt's ridiculous claims.

Now, Republicans and most of their supporters in former slave holding states don't openly advocate the radical racist agenda of Holt and his ilk. But they use the code words and the dog whistles that let racists like Holt and Roof know where their sympathies really lie. They push policies in Congress -- privatizing Social Security and Medicare, cutting welfare, repealing the ACA -- that are calculated with the express intent to do maximal harm to minorities. This agenda was clearly described by Paul Krugman just today:
Only one former member of the Confederacy has expanded Medicaid, and while a few Northern states are also part of the movement, more than 80 percent of the population in Medicaid-refusing America lives in states that practiced slavery before the Civil War.

And it’s not just health reform: a history of slavery is a strong predictor of everything from gun control (or rather its absence), to low minimum wages and hostility to unions, to tax policy.

These policies are intended to keep black and other minorities on the lowest economic rungs of society. The downside is that with increasing income inequality, much of it due to jobs shipped overseas and union busting, more and more white Americans are falling into the same trap. But to Holt, that's a good thing: the poorer whites become, the more scared and pissed-off they get.

Holt wants white kids like Roof, now facing the same dismal prospects that blacks have faced for the last 150 years, to blame blacks for their problems. It's an easy sell in the South, where racism is always bubbling below the surface.

Now Cruz and the other Republicans are falling over themselves to return Holt's donations. But it's a sham. They'll keep the millions of dollars of donors who are smarter than Holt and don't put their racist rants online, couching them in gentler terms like "combating voter fraud," "states rights," "balanced budgets" and "tax reform" that have the ultimate goal of crushing minorities.

But everyone still knows who's calling the shots in the Republican Party.

Let Them Live On Their Own

Today, I'm wondering why the GOP candidates for president are hedging on the Confederate flag still being flown in South Carolina. Could it be because their base is filled with old, white southern racists? Nah, that can't be it. It must just be me and my bias against them:)

In objective reality, they simply can't face the negative aspects (see: racism, prejudice, bigotry) of the people in their base and the core tenets of their ideology. They should face it and consider what it's like for black people who live in Charleston (and other places in the South) who have to see the confederate flag every day when they go to work. Or drive on a road named after a Confederate general who fought to keep them in human bondage.

The fact that we are even still debating this makes me fucking sick to my stomach. The South is filled with racist assholes like Dylan Roof who have a profound warped sense of reality. Take a look at this photo of Roof from trip to a Confederate museum.

One of the slaves is fucking SMILING? Yes, that's right. They were all really happy and comfortable during the time as slaves.

I've really had enough of these assholes. They hate the federal government? Great. Kick them out and let them live on their own.

Political Preachers

It shouldn't be surprising to anyone that Michele Bachmann is fleecing people, similar to an evangelical preacher, to pay off debt from living a lavish lifestyle. Stupid people are always willing to part with their money, eh?

I think what's kind of surprising is that her donors don't seem to have noticed that she doesn't hold public office anymore. They are still giving her money as if she is some sort of candidate. Is this the future of failed GOP candidates? Just begin to ask people for donations so they can continue on with their private club memberships and pricey dinners?

Well, they do love themselves some aristocracy...

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Do These Pictures Clear Things Up about Dylann Roof?

Through Internet sleuthing the New York Times and other outlets have reported on Dylann Roof's white supremacist web site, The Last Rhodesian, and a trove of pictures of Roof apparently in his back yard and at various slave plantations and Confederate landmarks.

Fox News and Republicans have been expressing confusion and uncertainty about what could have possibly motivated Roof to commit a terrorist attack on a bunch of old ladies in a church basement.

These pictures should answer that question:

In every Congress between 1995 and 2006 Republicans put forth "flag desecration" amendments. The last time it failed by a single vote.

And here's Dylann celebrating his Conferate heritage:

Here's Dylann celebrating his Southern pride with the Stars and Bars and a .45:

And here's Dylann showing his white supremacist and Nazi sympathies:

"1488" is white supremacist code for "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children. Heil Hitler!” The othala rune beneath that is another symbol used by white supremacists.

How representative is this young man of the citizens of Dixie who have "Southern pride" and speak fondly of their "Confederate heritage?" How far removed from Dylann Roof are the Tea Partyers who angrily shout about "taking our country back" from a black president? Or the secessionists in Texas, who fear the Army is set to invade them any day now and are itching for a rerun of the Civil War?

American conservatives have to stop waffling and call a spade a spade. They must stop exercising Republican partisan correctness. They must call these people out for continuing to honor the racist, anti-American, flag-burning traitors who caused the deadliest war in our history. 

If any flag should be burned, it's the Confederate battle flag that was still flying high over the capitol in South Carolina, while the American flag was at half-staff to honor the victims of Roof's terrorist massacre.

Climate Change Warrior

Let's just make today a climate change day!

Check out this piece from the New York Times.

Dr. Oreskes’s approach has been to dig deeply into the history of climate change denial, documenting its links to other episodes in which critics challenged a developing scientific consensus. Her core discovery, made with a co-author, Erik M. Conway, was twofold. They reported that dubious tactics had been used over decades to cast doubt on scientific findings relating to subjects like acid rain, the ozone shield, tobacco smoke and climate change. 

And most surprisingly, in each case, the tactics were employed by the same group of people. 

The central players were serious scientists who had major career triumphs during the Cold War, but in subsequent years apparently came to equate environmentalism with socialism, and government regulation with tyranny.

Hmm, those people sound awfully familiar...:)

It's both sad and devastating, but entirely understandable given their System 1 brain thinking, how easily manipulated people are by these actors.

The Caveat

In my previous post I said that my initial reaction was that I didn't think that gun laws could stop Dylann Roof's terrorist attack on the church in Charleston. But as I've considered it, I'm not so sure. Roof was on the cops' radar, and if he hadn't been white, things likely would have played out differently.

In particular:
Mr. Roof has had two previous brushes with the law, both in recent months, according to court records. In February, he attracted attention at the Columbiana Centre, a shopping mall, when, dressed all in black, he asked store employees “out of the ordinary questions” such as how many people were working and what time they would be leaving, according to a police report.
Clearly the cops suspected Roof was casing the mall for some sort of burglary or other nefarious activity. If he'd been black and caught doing this, what are the odds they would have just let him go on his way?

Buying a gun should require a license, practical testing and a rigorous background investigation. Roof's suspicious behavior at the mall is exactly the kind of thing that should show up on a criminal background check. The logical conclusion is that Roof was trying to buy a gun to commit a robbery.

That shouldn't prevent a person from getting a gun out of hand. But it should trigger a deeper investigation. They should talk to his family and friends. Had the authorities done that, they might have remarked upon his recent racist behavior. Had they checked him out on the Internet, they might have learned of his racist sympathies from his Facebook page, which might have led them to his Last Rhodesian white supremacist web site, where he divulged his racist plan to attack Charleston.

That level of investigation would cost money, of course. Which means a gun license would have to cost a fair amount of money. Which might have prevented Roof from getting a gun in the first place.

Admittedly, that's a lot of ifs. But as we already know, it's impossible to prevent all murders. But the higher the bar is for gun purchases, the fewer guns will be sold, especially to angry losers like Dylann Roof.

The only possible goal is to reduce the number of deaths without imposing undue burdens on the rest of society. Making sure that gun buyers aren't white supremacists planning to rob malls or murder old black ladies in church isn't an unreasonable burden.

Now, suppose Dylann Roof had been a Muslim. What do you think the cops' reaction at the mall would have been? A Muslim skulking around a mall, wearing black, asking questions about employees and closing times. They would instantly suspect he's preparing for a terrorist attack, looking to sneak into the mall after hours to plant a bomb. If they didn't arrest him for this on the spot, at a minimum they would have placed him on a watch list, which would have been flagged when he tried to buy a gun.

American conservatives are more than willing to allow the authorities to invade our privacy by x-raying us, rifling through our personal belongings and making us take off our god-damned shoes every time we board an airplane.

Yet somehow they think everyone in the country should have complete and untrammeled access to weapons of mass murder at their local gun stores. They can shoot up churches and schools and malls with impunity -- why would any terrorist bother with an airplane anymore?

NRA people don't seem to understand that lax gun laws they insist upon also allow Muslim terrorists to obtain guns easily -- just like the guns Abdul Malik Abdul Kareem provided the jihadists who were killed in the Muhammad cartoon ambush contest in Texas last month.

Toby Keith: Right and Wrong

Both sides of the gun control debate are weighing in on the terrorist attack on a Charleston church. Hillary Clinton called for "common-sense" gun control laws that keep weapons out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill. NRA board member Charles Cotton blamed the victim for voting against laws that would allow guns in churches. Country music star Toby Keith said stricter laws would have made no difference in the Charleston attack.

I tend to agree with Keith (though with a caveat in a second post). Dylann Roof bought a weapon legally, had no (serious) criminal record or history of mental illness. So there were no red flags that would have stopped him from getting a gun.

That means that we're always going to have some number of people who get guns legally who then use them to commit murder. As Keith points out, this happens even in countries like Norway, where strict gun laws are in place.

So, yeah. Some number of people are going to die each year in attacks like this, regardless of the gun laws.

Where the gun nuts are wrong is claiming that the Charleston terrorist attack could have been prevented by a policeman or armed citizens in the room. The hackneyed lie about guns making us safer.

You see, the bad guys don't play fair. They don't schedule a duel for high noon on Main Street in front of the saloon. They plan for weeks, lurking, practicing, skulking, shooting people in the back and gunning down old ladies while accusing them of "raping our women."

Had there been an armed cop in the room, Roof simply would have shot him first, probably in the back of the head. And then Roof would have another weapon.

Now, the NRA nuts will say: if everyone in the room had a gun Roof would have no chance.  Nope. Not true. Because a lot of people just freeze under stress.

When I was a kid I went into some sandstone caves with two of my friends, Bob and Randy. We were looking at the bins where mushrooms were grown when we heard a truck pull up. We peered out and saw some guys unloading junk. We threw open the door and ran like hell.

At least, Bob and I did. Randy froze. He just stood there stupidly gaping, while Bob and I bolted up a hill and into the woods. They grabbed Randy and called the cops. Bob and Randy got arrested, I skipped town and they didn't rat on me. Thus ended my illustrious criminal career...

When my wife was in high school she and a friend started to cross the street. A car came out of nowhere. My wife froze. Her friend grabbed her and pulled her out of the way. She could have been run down right then and there.

Freezing is a normal human reaction. It might be indecision. It might be a paralyzing fear. It might be emotional shock. In a situation like Charleston, it's probably all three, all at once.

So when people see someone get shot, a lot of them are going to freeze. There were several middle-aged and elderly ladies and men in that church in Charleston. All of them will freeze for several seconds at a minimum. In that time a practiced shooter with a semiautomatic pistol can easily fire 10-20 rounds.

They're going to stay frozen for varying times. Some will totally dissolve in an anxiety attack. Some will come out of it quickly and react. If they have a gun they'll draw it. The killer, who will have positioned himself so he can observe all his victims, will shoot the first one to move. And then the next one, and the next one. Even if they all have guns, they won't react simultaneously, allowing the shooter to deal with one target at a time.

But the idea that all of them will have guns close at hand is ludicrous. Six of the nine victims were women. Women typically keep everything in their purses, including guns. Women frequently don't keep their purses immediately at hand, especially when they're among friends and people they trust. Even men will frequently keep guns in their jacket pockets, which would be hung up on the coat rack.

Which means most of the people in the room, even they were packing heat that night, wouldn't have had their weapons on them when the shooting started.

But some of them might. Let's say the pastor whipped out the pistol from his waist band and started firing at the terrorist. He'd almost certainly miss, because he's emotionally distraught, not really very well trained, and -- this is true even for cops -- the vast majority of pistol shots fired in haste will miss.

And the terrorist, a stone-cold killer who can mercilessly gun down little old ladies without a second thought, will calmly turn and shoot the pastor. And then he'll have another weapon.

Since his targets won't all react simultaneously and scramble over to the coat rack where their guns are in their purses and jackets, the killer will have plenty of time to reload and shoot everyone in the room as they unfreeze, even if they had all brought guns to a bible study in a church basement.

When I first heard about this attack it vexed me that he could shoot so many people, pausing to reload several times, without anyone rushing him to stop him. How, I wondered, could they just stand by and let this happen?

But Roof had chosen his victims carefully. Observed them for an hour. He picked middle-aged and elderly people who knew would be easy to kill, lulled them into a sense of safety and then killed them in a blitz attack.

Roof's victims weren't like him at all. They weren't stone-cold killers. They don't want guns near them or their families. Even if they had firearms, most of them would hesitate to use them, because they wouldn't be familiar with them them, they're not used to the recoil or the noise, they're afraid of missing the target and hitting someone else. They think human life is sacred and think killing is wrong.

NRA people can't comprehend this. NRA people spend their every waking moment fantasizing about guns, practicing with them, psyching themselves into the mindset that human life is cheap, planning how to kill people they think are threatening them. They will trade someone else's life for theirs in a heartbeat. For them the ends justify the means: every man for himself.

In short, NRA people think just like Dylann Roof.

Normal people don't want to spend their lives obsessing about guns and death. They just want to carry on with without having to live in constant fear.

Roof and his ilk know that. That's why they do what they do: they want to ratchet up the fear, the distrust and the hatred. They want blacks to react violently and angrily to this act of terrorism, in order to perpetuate the white supremacist dream of resegregating this country.

The Pope On Climate Change

Like me, Pope Francis is a "fake" Christian, according to conservatives. He spends his time worrying about the poor, not judging gay people, and preaching the evils of inequality (see also, the works of Jesus Christ).  Now that he has embraced the objective reality of climate change and what is causing it, he's gone full on commie pinko bastard!

"Those who possess more resources and economic or political power seem mostly to be concerned with masking the problems or concealing their symptoms," Francis wrote of the impact of climate change in the encyclical titled "Laudato Si," or "Praise Be."

He called on humanity to collectively acknowledge a "sense of responsibility for our fellow men and women upon which all civil society is founded." And he wrote that climate change "represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day."

Francis said that developing countries, as the biggest producers of harmful greenhouse gasses, owe the poorer nations a debt. "The developed countries ought to help pay this debt by significantly limiting their consumption of nonrenewable energy and by assisting poorer countries to support policies and programs of sustainable development."

In one particularly blunt passage, Francis writes: "The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth. In many parts of the planet, the elderly lament that once beautiful landscapes are now covered with rubbish. ... Frequently no measures are taken until after people's health has been irreversibly affected."

Actually, the pile of filth also extends to the conservative platform on climate change with the party of responsibility taking none of it.

The Sanctity of Marriage

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Shoulda Got A Gun

Power and Loss of Control

An excellent summation of the Gun Cult...

Everyone is going to have a different answer. I'm no exception. In my opinion, i believe it all boils down to "power-hunger". Whether you agree with me or not, guns give people a false sense of power. Taking guns away means taking power away. Nobody debates car ownership because nobody derives any feeling of power or control or authority when driving. Half the people i know,who own a car, hate driving. Find me one person,who owns a firearm, that hates shooting. A car and a gun are obviously 2 totally different things. Sure both can be used as a weapon. But only 1 of them IS a weapon. 

People like having the feeling of god at their fingertips. People who are avid gunners, are the ones who proudly show off how enthusiastic they are when it comes to gun ownership. How many people do you know, walk around with shirts and hats that advertise General Motors,Daimler-Benz,or Volkswagen? But how many people do you know who wear clothing that says NRA,or has pictures of guns? I see people all the time with tattoos that depict a skeleton gang member holding a gun. 

Guns make people ,who own them,feel powerful and more control. That control is what they're fighting to retain.

And they are thinking with their System 1 brain which is largely emotional.

You'll Never Take The White House Again

Starting at about 6:25...


If A Tree Falls...

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Whole Hate Crime Bugaboo

People (and by people, I largely mean conservatives) seem to get so irate about the category of crimes known as hate crimes. Why? I think a big part of it is they can't accept the negative aspects of their own personal ideology (racism, prejudice, bigotry) so they blame the victim. More importantly, they have a profound lack of understanding of how the law works.

There are a variety of categories of what constitutes murder. This is also true of stealing. Yet they don't seem to have a problem with any of these. Each of these laws illustrate how complicated the law can be as it responds to the uniqueness of various criminal acts. Hate crimes is merely another category that offers a more muscular prosecutorial punch. If someone breaks into an NAACP chapter, for example, and writes "Niggers, we will kill you" all over the walls, without hate crime laws, they would be charged with a couple of petty crimes and maybe terroristic threats. With them in place, the punishment is far worse and it should be because we have zero tolerance for this sort of behavior in our culture today.

So, as we learn more of the Charleston shooting and hear more about hate crimes, we are likely to hear adolescent assholes foam at the mouth about hate crimes and how they are all gay and shit. Ask them if they have the same feelings about the hundreds of laws regarding theft:)

Fox News Claims to Be the Victim in Charleston

For years Fox News has taken up the mantle of defending Christianity from the devils on the doorstep. They invented the pretend war on Christmas. They portray the requirement that for-profit corporations pay for birth control is a terrible burden and the most extreme violation of religious freedom. Fox New contributor Mike Huckabee claims gay marriage will lead to the criminalization of Christianity. And on and on.

Two days ago a white supremacist assassinated a black state senator in Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, one of the oldest black churches in the country. That day, June 17th, was the 193rd anniversary of a slave revolt planned by the church's founder, Denmark Vesey. Vesey and five slaves were hanged after a secret trial, and 30 other slaves were tried and executed in short order, all in secret.

When Dylann Roof killed those nine African Americans he said, “I have to do it. You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.” He said this as he was shooting six black women, one of whom was 87 years old!

Before the shooting he talked to an acquaintance:
Joey Meek reconnected with Roof a few weeks ago and said that while they got drunk together on vodka, Roof began complaining that "blacks were taking over the world" and that "someone needed to do something about it for the white race." 
This echoes the standard refrain of the Tea Party -- the creation of Fox News -- "taking America back."

Roof was a fan of racist symbols, from the flags of Rhodesia and apartheid-era South Africa to the Confederate flag he proudly displayed on his car.

Now Fox News is selling the lie that Roof's racism-fueled terrorist attack was an attack on Christianity, and an another excuse to call for more guns. Christianity -- and by proxy Fox News -- was under attack in Charleston! Christians are the victims! Woe is us! We're the victim! More guns!

It's not a fluke that this happened in South Carolina, the birthplace of the Civil War. A state that still flies the Confederate flag, the symbol of slave holders. Streets in Charleston are named after Confederate generals, traitors to the United States of America. They still celebrate Confederate Memorial Day, which is held on the birthday of Jefferson Davis in some states.

They say they're just celebrating their heritage. What is that heritage? Enslaving human beings and then executing men like Denmark Vesey for trying to achieve the same freedoms that the American Revolution was fought for.

The Confederate flag stands for slavery and white supremacy. And as long as South Carolina flies that flag, and puts it on its license plates, South Carolina will endorse and promote the same racist hatred that Dylann Roof expressed when he assassinated nine African Americans to inflame the nation with his terroristic goal of inciting a race war.

The Disparity of Response

Thoughts On Charleston

I have several thoughts going through my head right now regarding the shooting in Charleston but the one that sticks out predominantly is that we have, yet again, lost another young man to violent psychosis. Why? How did this keeping happening in our culture?

It's the magic cocktail all over again...male, young, white, mental illness, takes SSRIs, parents divorced, parents nutso, plays violent video games, and easy access to guns. Boom!...literally. Now, we haven't discovered yet whether or not he takes SSRIs but look for that bit of information to come out in about two weeks. That's the way it always works. Here is a piece that details Dylan Roof's background.

Much is being made of the racial angle with conservatives falling all over themselves in a most amusing attempt to redirect the attention away from the fact that this occurred in the a deep red state...the same state where the Civil War began...where a lot of Republicans voters reside. I'm curious to know where Roof's parents are in all of this. He had to learn his white supremacy stuff somewhere, right? I'm betting it was from his dad who gave him a gun less than two months ago.

At this point, the racial thing is secondary to me. We have to figure out why our culture produces people like this. Is it the Columbine Effect? More importantly, how can we engage young men at an earlier age so they don't end up becoming spree shooters? In many ways, this is the same issue that communities with gangs have when they are trying to stop young men from turning to violence. It's also the same issue the world has in preventing young people from joining ISIL.

I'm convinced that had a few key people engaged Dylan Rood earlier in his life and steered him on a more positive path, this shooting never would have happened. This was a failure of mentorship in his life that should serve as a lesson for other mentors out there who might have someone they know like Dylan.

Do something now. Enlist the help of others in your community. Help these young men out!

Well, That Didn't Take Long

As I predicted...

NRA board member blames pastor for Charleston deaths 

What an ugly bunch of fuckers...but, hey, that's that Gun Cult for you!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

It's Not a Hate Crime: It's Terrorism

There's a serious double standard. When Sunni and Shia Muslims kill people in mosques in Iraq we call it terrorism, but when white guys in America shoot a bunch of people in houses of worship we call it a "hate crime."

To wit: last night 21-year-old Dylann Storm Roof shot and killed nine African Americans at a church in Charleston, SC. Roof has now reportedly been captured in North Carolina.

It's just another such incident in a long list of right-wing terrorist attacks:
In 2012, a white supremacist shot and killed six worshipers and wounded four others at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin. A shooting rampage by a right-wing gunman in 2008 killed two people and wounded seven at a Unitarian Universalist church in Tennessee. 
The granddaddy of these terrorist attacks was the Ku Klux Klan bombing of a church in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963, when four black girls were killed. For good measure, let's not forget forget the right-wing terrorist bombings of the 1996 Olympics, abortion clinics and gay clubs, or the right-wing terrorist shootings of abortion providers, shall we?

Roof sat with the victims during prayer before opening fire. He said, “I have to do it. You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.” Then he shot six women and three men, one of them a state senator. The shooter reportedly left one woman alive so that she could bear witness to the crime. Roof's Facebook page shows him wearing a jacket emblazoned with apartheid-era South African and Rhodesian flags.

It is clear that Roof committed these murders as a political statement in order to intimidate the African American community in the United States.

Now, there's a difference between a hate crime and terrorism. A hate crime is when a white guy beats up a black guy for dating a white woman, or a homophobe kills a gay man for hitting on him at a bar. The shooting in Charleston was a premeditated terrorist attack, calibrated to incite fear in all African Americans.

Attacks on churches aren't the only double standard on American right-wing terrorists. Police stations are frequently targets of the Taliban in Afghanistan and Al Qaeda in Iraq.

Less than a week ago an American gunman attacked Dallas police headquarters in an armored van. James Boulware planted a bunch of pipe bombs around the building. And the cops knew about this guy:
In 2013, Boulware was arrested after attacking a relative at their home and leaving the scene with "several firearms, ammo and body armor." Boulware then allegedly made phone calls in which he threatened to kill family members and attack churches or schools, which prompted the local school district to go into lockdown mode. He was arrested without incident and assault charges against him were eventually dropped.
Yes, the authorities just let him go, and let him buy more guns, an armored van, body armor, materiel for bombs and lots and lots of ammo.

But everyone's already forgotten about this guy, partly because he didn't kill anyone, but mostly because he was a white guy. And every time a white guy goes on a shooting spree everyone just says, "He was obviously unbalanced, maybe schizophrenic, just a deranged wacko with a fetish for guns and bombs."

They make excuses, such as, "Well, he wasn't connected to an organized terrorist group. He was just a lone-wolf nut job who hated the government." Which is usually followed by the sentiment, "They drove him to it!"

And this is the difference: whites are held individually responsible for their crimes (usually with a large dollop of blame attached to society for making them do it), but the entire African-American and Muslim communities are held collectively responsible for any crime committed by one of their own.

Boulware's attack was clearly terrorism, a political statement intended to intimidate the police and retaliate against the justice system which he blamed for his miserable life.

Was Boulware schizophrenic and crazy? Quite possibly. Almost by definition suicide bombers are mentally ill. It doesn't matter. That's why the word "terrorist" is so frequently preceded by "crazed." If they commit terrorist acts, they're terrorists, regardless of their mental health.

Boulware and Roof aren't alone. There are lots of people just as crazy as they are. The Department of Homeland Security reports that right-wing terrorism is a greater threat than Muslim extremism. These guys aren't just lone wolves: they roam this country in packs:
Mark Potok, senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, said that by some estimates, there are as many as 300,000 people involved in some way with sovereign citizen extremism. Perhaps 100,000 people form a core of the movement, he said.
The right-wing sovereign citizen groups claim the police have no authority over them, and have killed lots of cops to make the point.

These guys have been skulking in the background for decades, spinning conspiracy theories, setting up their militias, killing cops over pizza, evading grazing fees in Nevada, and occasionally blowing up federal buildings in Oklahoma City.

Are they crazy? Sure. Why not. It doesn't matter. Their victims are just as dead.

Fox News and conservative politicians encourage these kooks and feed their paranoia with their crypto-racist, anti-government, hate-filled rhetoric. And then Republicans bow down to the NRA to enable them to buy guns, ammo, body armor and armored vehicles on demand.

These right-wing terrorists will keep on shooting cops and innocent church-going Christian African Americans as long as the right gives them the license to kill.

Charleston Shooting

Another young white man has gone on a shooting spree. This time it was in a black church in the South. Police are investigating it as a hate crime so it seems that this was racially motivated.

Most interestingly (and really not surprising), all the major news networks except Fox are covering this story as a big story. Last night, Fox had a story about Donald Trump. Today they are talking about the trade deal.


I suppose the next word out of unicorn fart land will be about how those folks in the church should have armed themselves and this would not have happened.

Looking Forward To The GOP Debates

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Clown Car Gets Colorized

Now that the GOP clown car includes Donald Trump, the 2016 presidential campaign has gotten a whole lot more interesting. By "interesting," I mean big fucking trouble for the GOP. Take a look at Trump's campaign announcement.

Based on what he says here, I have to wonder if he is a secret Democratic plant that's going to beat the crap out of GOP candidates.

In so many ways, he is the epitome of conservatives today...arrogant and full of hubris, shameless money worshiper, deep belief in an aristocratic class, angry and hateful. What a great way to illustrate what the GOP stands for to independent voters!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

It's The Librals' Fault!!

Remember that Dallas police station shoot up?

Dallas police shooter’s father says ‘liberal people’ drove son to ‘breaking point’ about playing the victim...:)

HIllary Not Talking To The Press?

So, the word in unicorn fart land is that Hillary isn't talking to the press and refuses to answer tough questions...

Really? This was yesterday.

So much for objective reality...

Good Words

I am going to do all I can to pierce the collective amnesia that the Republicans are trying to impose on people. We're not supposed to remember that the 12 years preceding Bill Clinton quadrupled the debt of our country? We're not supposed to remember that when he left office we had a balanced budget with a surplus? And if it had been continued would've paid off the national debt? We're not supposed to remember that Barack Obama inherited the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression and had to pull us out of the ditch? And did a better job than he gets credit for?

---Hillary Clinton.

This is the objective reality that the GOP fears heading into the election. Keep reminding the voters about it.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Moses A Founding Father?

Apparently so...

Texas approves textbooks with Moses as Founding Father 

It's always something with that wacky board of education in Texas. Of course, the histrionics about this is kinda funny to all the teachers out there. Most end up doing their own thing anyway. Add in the fact that a significant number of students never read their textbook assignments and the mouth foaming is unjustified.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

So, I posted this question on Quora...

...and the best answer I have ever seen was posted. In addition to this being the best answer I have ever seen, it's also one of the finest examples of satire I have ever seen. Here it is in its entirety...

The questions was how exactly are Christians under attack in the United States?

I'll tell you how: 

1. Churches in the USA are regularly burned down by atheists, Muslims, and other anti-Christians, and the secular law enforcement agencies here won't even investigate. That's why you rarely see a church that can be identified as a church in the US. Mostly, Christians meet in hidden locations to avoid detection. 

2. It's almost impossible for Christians to get elected to public office. As soon as word gets out that a candidate is Christian, s/he can kiss that election good-bye. 

3. The Bible has been banned in the United States. You can't get it here legally, and if you're caught with one you'll go to prison. 

4. Christian kids live in fear of their schoolmates discovering they're Christian, because it's bound to lead to teasing, bullying, even getting beaten up. 

5. All broadcasting of Christian views has been censored. Try as you might, you will not find a Christian radio or TV station in the US. They do not exist. 

6. Christian holidays are forbidden. You'll never hear a peep about Christmas or Easter in the US -- people are simply too afraid to openly celebrate these holidays. Which is a shame for people like me because there would be oodles of marketing opportunities around those events, but alas, no. 

7. All Christian symbols are banned. You cannot find Christian jewelry, bumper stickers, t-shirts, or anything like that in the US. 

8. Christians who dare reveal their identity, or who are even suspected of being Christian, are regularly beaten in the streets by angry mobs. And again, the secular law enforcement here does nothing to stop it. 

9. Christians in America are forced to publicly deny their faith, and to perform public actions to prove they are not Christian, such as being forced into a gay marriage. The alternative is life in prison, or execution. 

10. People who are openly Christian here cannot own a business, are harassed at the voting booth so that many do not even attempt to vote, are subjected to special taxes no one else has to pay, and must have a cross stamped on their driver licenses, Social Security cards, and passports. 

In short, America is a brutal and frightening place if you're a Christian. I wouldn't go there if I were you.

The answer has gotten over 3,000 views already with my question over 8,000 views. No's completely brilliant and makes conservative Christians look fucking ridiculous.

The only thing that is under attack is the ability of a conservative Christian (see also, fucking hypocrites) to force their opinion on the rest of Christianity. That's what they are really pissed off about.

We are calling them on their bullshit.

Cast The First Stone!

Hey kids, check this out!

It's a Jesus slingshot that's perfect for your evangelical buddy. Help him or her to cast the first stone with this supercool slingshot! 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Can The Republicans Win In Any Way With King v Burwell?

Chris Trejbal over at Americablog doesn't seem to think so and I agree. If SCOTUS does not uphold the subsidies, they have two choices. If they go the nuclear option, they instantly piss off seven million voters. If they go with the band aid, quick fix option, then the adolescents in their base get pissed off. If SCOTUS upholds again, it would be incredibly demoralizing.

The one thing about his piece that really stood out for me was this quote from the Daily Caller's Neil Siefring.

Republicans shouldn’t disrupt Obamacare’s collapse if the Supreme Court decides the subsidies are unworkable. The blame for this lies squarely with our scholar-leader President Obama and the Democrats. Republicans should not rescue them from their mistakes. Republicans have pointed out for years that Obamacare is unworkable. If the Supreme Court helps prove them correct, Republican leadership in the House should take advantage of the decision to pivot health care back to the states as rapidly as possible and get the federal government out of the health care business at which it has failed so badly. Republicans in the House and Senate should resist the temptation to provide mouth-to-mouth to the bureaucracy the left has constructed. They have done so too often in the past.

Scholar-leader? Prove them correct? Why doesn't Mr. Siefring, like every other conservative out there, admit that he can't fucking stand it when people are smarter and more accomplished than he is? This is a very core problem with conservatives today. They suffer from terrible, terrible adolescent envy.

Fix this problem and most others go away.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Saving Lives

One of the main reasons why I support the president is that he has literally saved lives since he has taken office. The passage of the Affordable Care Act has led to more people having insurance and getting medical care that didn't have it before.

Ergo, lives saved.  It doesn't get much simpler than that.

Pretty spectacular!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Trouble with Girls

There's been a lot of talk about women in science and technology in recent months. Google's Eric Schmidt stuck his foot in it last March. Apple's Tim Cook wants more gender equality, but his company is still 70% male.

But what has attracted the most attention were comments by Tim Hunt, a 72-year-old biochemist and Nobel Prize winner in Physiology or Medicine, who made advances in cell division:
“Let me tell you about my trouble with girls,” Mr. Hunt said Monday at the World Conference of Science Journalists in South Korea. “Three things happen when they are in the lab: You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticize them they cry.”
The reactions to his comments have been swift and harsh. Hunt has resigned as honorary professor at University College London.

He meant the comments as a joke, but continued to defend the sentiment behind them:
“I did mean the part about having trouble with girls,” he said. “I have fallen in love with people in the lab and people in the lab have fallen in love with me, and it’s very disruptive to the science because it’s terribly important that in a lab people are on a level playing field.”
And he elaborated on his comments that women are prone to cry when criticized.
“It’s terribly important that you can criticize people’s ideas without criticizing them and if they burst into tears, it means that you tend to hold back from getting at the absolute truth,” he said. “Science is about nothing but getting at the truth, and anything that gets in the way of that diminishes, in my experience, the science.”
First off, Hunt has blinders on. There is and always has been same-sex romance. Scientists can be gay like everyone else: segregating men and women won't end romantic entanglements in the lab.

Second, I really don't know where the bit about crying comes from. I worked for 25 years in software engineering, and always had women coworkers and/or bosses. My wife worked in electrical engineering for just as long, and had many female coworkers and employees. Neither of us ever saw women crying at work because they were criticized.

I wonder: in Hunt's storied career, did his criticism of a male colleague ever elicit angry shouts, obscenity-laced streams of invective or even fisticuffs? That's a typical male response to criticism. I have seen numerous violent emotional outbursts from men over the years (especially from managers). I cannot believe that Hunt was never involved in his own share of such altercations. 

Isn't an obscene rant just as unprofessional and unscientific as a crying jag?

As a man of a certain age, Hunt would perceive a swearing-filled shouting match as a proper way for scientists to settle their differences. He knows how to win such an argument: just shout back, only louder.

What Hunt is really complaining about is that he can't win an argument by shouting louder when the object of his derision starts crying. Crying disarms him and exposes him for the bully he is.

Now, assuming that Hunt really means what he says, all this loving and crying is his fault. He says that 1) he falls in love, 2) she falls in love, 3) he makes her cry.

Since Hunt is a Nobel Prize winner, I'm going to venture a guess that he ran his lab. That would mean he was the boss. I would also guess the man is rather arrogant, brilliant, self-absorbed and full of himself (he did win the Nobel Prize, so he does have reason). There's an inherent imbalance of power when a renowned boss romances an employee. Because of the potential for abuse, most workplaces strongly discourage such relationships and some even ban them.

Why? The best way to undermine any person's confidence and credibility is to make it appear they obtained their position through sexual favors. By instigating such a relationship with an employee, Hunt is torpedoing that person's career in the most callous way possible.

When Hunt criticizes a lover, the subtext is, "You are stupid. You have this job just because we had sex. My criticism means I don't love you anymore. You're going to lose absolutely everything: my respect, our love and your job. And stop crying, damn it!"

Hunt is little different from the imams and the ayatollahs who want to cloister women in their houses and hide them under chadors. Like them, Hunt blames women for his inability to work without being distracted by their gender. Hunt is the problem, not the women.

Instead of banning women from the labs, brilliant men who can't keep it in their pants should be kept out of management positions. They should work in solitary, monk-like contemplation where they won't be distracted by their inability to concentrate on the science at hand and constantly "falling in love." Which is just the euphemism men like Hunt use for "getting laid."

The real trouble with girls? Men are dicks. In both senses of the word.