Category Archives: History

Does the GOP really want to return to the White House?

At Balloon Juice, commenter JustRuss posted a few words of note, which have elicited further thoughtful comments — check it out.

Losing three presidential races in a row would be a big fucking deal,

To a party that cared about governing, sure. But “the party” is mostly the money, and they just want the government to stay the hell out of their way. And with the IRS and EPA being starved, TPP and other trade deals in the hopper, Citizen’s United, fracking bans being overturned left and right, they’re doing fine. Sure, it would be nice to have a Bush in the White House, but they’re getting most of what they want regardless. Having a Democrat in the White House gives them someone to blame when things go sideways and is a great focus for the rage their constituents are addicted to.

Read more at “Wake up Sheeple!”

Having “someone to blame” has certainly been the GOPers modus operandi during the entire time Barack Hussein Obama has owned the Oval Office. When he advocates for a program the right once believed in, said program suddenly is transformed into a socialistic, freedom-stealing tenet of the secret Muslim jihadis now living in the White House. If the end results of an operation instituted by his predecessor turns out to be a failure, it is the O’s fault.

One could examine rationally, something seldom done in the American media these days – think in a rational manner – the behaviour of Republicans since November 2008 and perhaps begin to think the GOP prefers playing the outsider to actually attempting to better the lives of Americans.

I became an atheist for incredibly stupid reasons.

PZ Myers has been running a series of postings by his readers explaining why they became atheists.  My headline today comes from the most recent one posted by Sarah Otto Marxhausen

I became an atheist for incredibly stupid reasons. To be fair, I was ten years old.

As soon as I started reading well at about age four, my parents started throwing books at me. Anything I showed the slightest interest in, I was allowed to read, and I tore through everything. When I was nine, I was given a huge ton of books to call my own after a family friend died and everyone decided that a lot of his books were appropriate for me. It was the complete Grimm Brothers’ fairy tales, plus some of the Lang fairy books, plus a lot of books about mythology:Greek, Norse, etc.

I read them passionately; I still believe to this day that a lot of those fairy tales are really genuinely cool stories. My family is and was very religious — my father is a minister — and so I was also well-versed in Christian mythology. I slowly started realizing that the supernatural forces in the stories I was reading were gods just like the god I went to church every Sunday for. And, honestly, a lot of the things the Christian god did were nowhere near as awesome or interesting as the things the non-Christian gods did. And since they were all gods, and worshipping god was the important thing . . .

I took what to me was the most logical step, and made up my own religion. One with really fucking awesome gods. I don’t really want to describe it, because it’s really deeply embarrassing now, as are most “profound” decisions that you make when you’re ten years old. They were awesome at the time, okay?

Go and read the rest of the post on Free Thought Blogs

Tea Party Wants Schools to Be Nicer to Founding Fathers

Wall Street Journal Law Blog, Jan 24, 2012

The late comedian George Carlin used to say America was built on a double standard: “This country was founded by slave owners who wanted to be free.”

We wonder how his joke would have sat with members of Tennessee’s tea party, which just presented state legislators with five priorities for action, including amending state laws governing school curriculums to change textbook selection so that “no portrayal of minority experience in the history which actually occurred shall obscure the experience or contributions of the Founding Fathers,” the Memphis Commercial Appeal reported.

Hal Rounds, an attorney and a spokesman for the group, said the goal is to address “an awful lot of made-up criticism about, for instance, the founders intruding on the Indians or having slaves or being hypocrites in one way or another,” according to the Commercial Appeal.

Though they acknowledge that the Founding Fathers were human, evidently the Tenn. Tea Party doesn’t think kids in school should hear about those ‘little’ events that “actually occurred”. Sort of like the imaginary religionists that David Barton, pseudo-historian, claims the Founding Fathers to have been.

What the group is asking is not unprecedented. In 2010, the Texas State Board of Education adopted controversial textbook standards that stress the Christian influence of the nation’s founding fathers and give more weight to conservative groups and personalities throughout history.

Those moves have been criticized as a departure from generally accepted historical teachings and a threat to the apolitical nature of academic standards.

It is no surprise that so many on the right advocate for policies that have failed time and time again – for them, history is something to be manipulated for political gain, not a set of facts to be studies and learned.

Gingrich: I would ignore supreme court as president

Gingrich: I would ignore supreme court as president

and I thought the Republicans were big on acting in “true Constitutional manner”, originalists as some like to call themselves. It does look like the right’s candidates this electoral season are like every other politician in history – stating they are one type of person while acting in a completely opposite manner.

Newt Gingrich has pledged that on his first day as president he will set up a constitutional showdown by ordering the military to defy a supreme court ruling extending some legal rights to foreign terrorism suspects and captured enemy combatants in US custody.

The Republican contender told a forum of anti-abortion activists ahead of South Carolina’s primary election that as president he would ignore supreme court rulings he regards as legally flawed. He implied that would also extend to the 1973 decision, Roe vs Wade, legalising abortion.

“If the court makes a fundamentally wrong decision, the president can in fact ignore it,” said Gingrich to cheers.

The Republican contender, who has made no secret of his disdain for the judiciary, said that as president he would expect to have repeated showdowns with the supreme court. He said the court would lose because it is the least powerful and least accountable arm of government.

Why I do believe the Newtster sees himself as a 21st C Andrew Jackson. The President who when told the Supreme Court in 1832 had ordered the state of Georgia to drop its claim of sovereignty over the Cherokee people, that the Cherokee and other Native American tribes were sovereign nations, famously (and supposedly) replied, “What army do they have?”

Naturally it’s OKIYAR to defy the Supreme Court, but if the President is a Dem any such action automatically makes him subject for impeachment.
Obama Defies Court, Now A Dictator and that was a single federal judge, not the Supreme Court

One Thing Americans Need – better history education

This post is a comment I made on another WordPress blog,
A Father’s Apocalypse
with a few edits to clarify the points I was trying to make.

Go and read the post there to understand what I have written here. My first clue as to the blogger’s take on things was found in his blogroll where he includes Glenn Beck, Drudge and David Barton.

The years leading up to the creation of the Constitution with the influence of the various churches upon the governance of the colonies were exactly why the men who wrote that document intended to keep religion, of any nature, out of the government, not out of civil society but certainly away from the halls of legislation.

Thomas Jefferson was justly proud of three actions he had undertaken during his political career, so proud of them that he had those three acts placed on his tombstone:

“Here was buried Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of American Independence, of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom, and father of the University of Virginia.”

from Jefferson’s autobiography, writing about the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom

Where the preamble declares that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed, by inserting the word “Jesus Christ,” so that it should read “a departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion.” The insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend within the mantle of its protection the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo and infidel of every denomination.

When Jefferson wrote, “priest-ridden people” he was not writing about the Roman Catholic Church as some revisionists would have you believe, but of all religions that demand the presence of a person with ‘special knowledge’ to lead any group of “believers”. Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Alexander von Humboldt (6 December 1813)

History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes.

Explaining to John Adams as to why and how he came to create what we know today as the “Jefferson Bible”, Thomas Jefferson, Letter to John Adams, on Christian scriptures (24 January 1814)

The whole history of these books is so defective and doubtful that it seems vain to attempt minute enquiry into it: and such tricks have been played with their text, and with the texts of other books relating to them, that we have a right, from that cause, to entertain much doubt what parts of them are genuine. In the New Testament there is internal evidence that parts of it have proceeded from an extraordinary man; and that other parts are of the fabric of very inferior minds. It is as easy to separate those parts, as to pick out diamonds from dunghills.

Were the Founding Fathers as religious as David Barton and others would like you to believe? Certainly those who were lived closer to their time didn’t think so –

…the proceedings as published by Thompson, the secretary, show, that the question was gravely debated in Congress whether God should in the Constitution or not, and after solemn debate he was deliberately voted out of it: … the men whose arguments swayed to vote God out of the Constitution, to declare that there should be no religious test, and that Congress should make no law to establish religion, were atheists in principle; that among all our presidents from Washington downward, not one was professor of religion, at least not of more than unitarianism;

a quote from a sermon given by Rev. Bird Wilson in 1831, to be found in Discussion on the existence of God and the authenticity of the Bible by Origen Bacheler, pgs 230-231

The Hard Truth About Going ‘Soft’

There are some people capable of discerning the real world without the distortion of ideology.

The Hard Truth About Going ‘Soft’

The President got flak for pointing out we’re not on top of our game. He’s right

By Fareed Zakaria

Barack Obama has apparently committed blasphemy. In an interview in Florida on Sept. 29, he dared to say that America had gotten “soft.” The denunciations have come in fast and furious from the right. Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Eric Cantor and the Wall Street Journal editorial page are all shocked—shocked—that the President could say such a thing.
(…)
The evidence on the topic is pretty clear. The U.S. is slipping, by most measures of global competitiveness. It has dipped slightly in the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) rankings to No. 5, behind Sweden, Singapore, Finland and Switzerland. But the WEF rankings are based, in good measure, on surveys—polls of CEOs and the like. Other studies, using hard data, show America slipping further behind. The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation finds that in category after category—actual venture-capital funding, research and development—the U.S. has dropped well behind countries like Japan, South Korea and Sweden. The foundation measures 44 countries and regions on their efforts to improve their competitiveness over the past decade. The U.S. comes in next to last.
(…)
Conservatives used to believe in confronting hard truths, not succumbing to comforting fairy tales. Some still do. In a bracing essay in the National Review, Peter Thiel, the co-founder of PayPal and a politically active libertarian, describes how America has, well, gone soft. He notes that median wages have been stagnating for decades and argues that the country’s innovation culture has been corroded by a widespread search for “easy progress” and quick fixes. “In our hearts and minds,” Thiel writes, “we know that desperate optimism will not save us.” So when you hear someone like Eric Cantor recite one of these feel-good mantras (“U.S.A., No. 1!”), think of that well- chosen phrase: desperate optimism.

Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.

The President notes an ‘inconvenient’ truth and the automatic reaction on the right is mindless affirmation of what has become the primary tenet of a fanatical ideology –

“U.S.A., No. 1!”

The only field in which the US now leads the world is military power and outreach.

Warren Buffett agrees: There is ‘class warfare’

from a piece at the Plum Line

QUESTIONER: Are you happy seeing your suggestion, this new Buffett Rule, becoming more of a basis of a political battle that really has turned into class warfare?

BUFFETT: Actually, there’s been class warfare going on for the last 20 years, and my class has won. We’re the ones that have gotten our tax rates reduced dramatically.

If you look at the 400 highest taxpayers in the United States in 1992, the first year for figures, they averaged about $40 million of [income] per person. In the most recent year, they were $227 million per person — five for one. During that period, their taxes went down from 29 percent to 21 percent of income. So, if there’s class warfare, the rich class has won.

last paragraph of Sargent’s piece

Buffett agrees with Obama — if there’s been any class warfare in this country, it has been waged from the top down for decades, and the rich have won.

Yet some folks still refuse to understand why there are people protesting on Wall Street and in other cities across the country.