How Many Secularists and Non-Secularists Can Dance on the Head of a Pin?

Poobah Self Disclosure: I’m an atheist. You may be a Christian…not that there’s anything wrong with that.

America is an unhappy place these days. Opposing forces not only bludgeon each other bloody, but as Mitch McConnell recently announced, they make it a political priority to wipe out their opposition like Genghis Kahn scorching the earth of the steppes. Nowhere is this fighting as pointless and picayunish as in the Secular v. Non Secular Death Cage Match.

As a rule of thumb Republicans are the logical home of the stupidly religiously zealous. Folks like the Family Research Council, Glenn Beck, and loopy Michele Bachmann trumpet vuvuzela the superiority of the God-ed while practicing the most shockingly unchristian behavior against the ungod-ed. Even their captive audience of soft-headed, opportunistic political drones have trouble with them – especially when they stop donating money and votes.

The religious zealots have a huge David and Goliath thing going on. “Dear God, give me a slingshot and guide mine rock into the eye of my Godless oppressors, the libruls.”

But fundamentalists have no lock on the asshat zealot market. Stop by a Jesus Freakery and read the comments. Go to a Atheisterie and the words seem plagiarized from the same source, “You’re a know-nothing asshole who’s a traitor intent on wiping out what crumbs of democracy we still have left.”

And one more similarity. Almost all the over the top bloviation mentions how much anyone who disagrees is some sort of hate-filled, brainless zot – as though we’re all Little Georgie Shrubs.

Most Christians are reasonably sane and the same goes for the secular crowd. All the reasonable ask is a bit of wiggle room because they’re entitled to it. They want to go to church (or not), put up the occasional Christmas Holiday tree (or not), and be safe from the incessant yawping of people who would staple the 10 commandments to everyone’s forehead or consign religious gatherings to a dank cellar with the lights turned out – sort of an ecumenical Gitmo.

But out there on the dark edge of Firebase Freedom lurk nuts to the left of us and nuts to the right of us, as unreasonably pissed about the, “In God We Trust” motto as they are by the, “Christians über alles and the hell with anyone else” brigade.

The balance between freedom of religion and freedom from religion is delicate and a very narrow gap. One person’s “absolute” freedom is another’s horrible shackle.

As with all Constitutional rights, we don’t get to vote on them or change them at will to suit our fancy. However, there’s nothing wrong with a legitimate argument about where the line lays. But, meanness for the sake of meanness is meaningless, rude, and counter-productive.

So everyone, let’s kiss and make up so we can go back to something important, like hating Congress and the President.

You know, something useful.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

Thanks for Giving it The Old College Try PolitiFacts

If there’s one year-end task that’s most difficult, it must be compiling the many Most of the Year, Best of the Year, Stupidest of the Year lists. Let’s face it, the modern world is a target-rich environment of cheese. Americans – especially those whom Fox News makes stupid – are addicted to these things. It gives everyone the chance to voice the opinion that whoever picked the list is a dead-wrong ass cake and there’s nothing Americans like more than eating their ass cake and having it too.

BTW, Mark Zuckerman as Time’s Man of the Year? Puhleeze! Either of the LoJoHos – LiLo or ScarJo -  would be better choices. Then again, Zuckerman would easily win a contest against Kim Kardashian as Biggest Ass of the Year so everything evens out.

But the hardest of the hard, (Actually, that could be a spectacular list too…may I nominate Ron Jeremy?) is bipartisan PolitiFact’s choice of Lie of the Year. Damn! These guys are brave. The balls of a Wall Street bull, or at least the balls of a Wall Street CEO! As outrageous as Tony Hayward equipped with a microphone.

So without further ado – drum roll please – PolitiFact’s 2010′s Lie of the Year is… A government takeover of health care!

(Sound of crickets…)

A government takeover of health care? Of all the stupid, idiotic, patently false utterances of 2000-fricking-10, that was the best you could come up with? For Chrissakes, you couldn’t swing a dead cat without hitting a lie this year. There was an election dammit! There wasn’t an election ad during the entire race that didn’t kill a hard-on with its lies.

Still, the PolitiFact’s survey did speak a truth. It recognized that in a lying-ass bumper crop of a lying year there were clear winners and those clear winners where The Party Couldn’t Talk Straight™.

It’s not that Democrats didn’t spout their own share of truthiness and bald face lies, they just used a little more finesse – sort of putting a little English on the 8-ball to grab defeat from the jaws of victory. When Republicans smacked Dems in the face with the Putrid Mackerel of Lying Bay™, the Democrats most often just genuflected and said, “Thank you sir, may I have another?”

Ten minutes later Fox News would cut in with breaking news. “Hey Brian. Republican Minority God, Mitch McConnell, has just announced that Democrats tried to coerce him into a sexually deviant behavior called, um, I’m not sure how to pronounce the word…bipartisanship – I’ll just use gay for short so as not to confuse our viewers. He said he only escaped by fighting off the gang of socialist zombies by beating him with his new $1500 wingtip shoes. After the break, we’ll go to Fox and Friends to report more details and you’ll decide they are the God’s honest truth. Back to you Gretchen!”

PolitiFacts, thanks for giving it the old college try.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

Selective Amnesia

You don’t have to abandon your principles to cut a deal. You just have to acknowledge that there are other people in the world and even a president doesn’t get to stamp his foot and have his way…They believe nonliberals are blackmailers or hostage-takers or the concentrated repositories of human evil, so, of course, they see coalition-building as collaboration. They are also convinced that Democrats should never start a negotiation because they will always end up losing in the end.David Brooks

This is what drives me crazy. Why is it that if Dems stick to their guns they are called immature or irrational but when the wing-nuts do it is a principled stand or a policy difference? Let me clear this up for you Mr. Brooks when you hold up 98% of Americans tax relief for the benefit of the wealthiest 2% by borrowing money from foreign countries and mortgaging our future that is not a difference in policy and that is not negotiating. It is blackmail pure and simple. So my question is how do you build coalitions with people who are willing to block all legislation until they get their way? Sounds to me like they are stomping their feet or holding their breath, but I am no student of politics like you.

Here in a nutshell is why Dems can never maintain the majorities like they did following WWII, they have lost the art of politics. It has only been two short years since one of the worst President’s in the history of America left office and they were given majorities in both Houses and the White House and now they are on the outside looking in. This is the same President who stomped his feet and invaded another country under false pretenses, who passed two tax-cut bills for the wealthy, and presided over the collapse of our economy. Remember how the wing-nuts were on the verge of regionalism and extinction as a major political party? What happened? Most Dems think that the power of their arguments and the strength of their ideas will carry the day. If we just educate the public to what we are trying to accomplish of course they will side with us. No, they won’t. You are bringing a knife to a bazooka fight and you are getting killed.

People on Madison Avenue make a boatload of money figuring out how to sell crap to a bunch of people who don’t need it. I mean really do you need a 500.00 cell phone? The wing-nuts have brought those same tactics to politics and the media. They have used branding to not make the country completely conservative, just more conservative than it was 30 years ago. So now the center is no longer the center. You now have Dems espousing former wing-nut positions as if they were now mainstream and rational.

The Dems refuse to call what the wing-nuts are doing for what it really is, immoral. During the healthcare debate it was never couched in terms of its immorality to allow the insurance companies to continue doing what they were doing to people. Is it immoral to have people dying, going broke, or be uninsurable because they happen to have gotten sick in America? No, it became an economic issue. The same thing is happening today concerning the tax-cuts. It isn’t about morality and fairness it is about economics. As long as Dems continue to allow the wing-nuts to frame their positions in purely economic terms they will continue to be defensible. We are just having a difference of opinion about economic policy so the rational thing to do is to split the difference. As if connecting Social Security, unemployment insurance, tuition support, and earned income tax credits with tax breaks for the rich is morally equivalent. And as long as we continue to allow the wing-nuts and their talking heads to get away with creating this false moral equivalency argument we will continue to lose.

What is going on in America today is not about economics, it is about strategically weakening and eventually removing our safety nets and our middle-class. Think about it what better time to set this in motion than when we were are in the midst of the “great recession” and everyone is fearful and trying to hang on to what little they have. This is no time to increase taxes, this is no time to increase infrastructure spending, this is no time to think about the environment. Basically this is no time to do anything but continue to provide the wealthiest more assistance because we know that if they drink enough champagne eventually some will trickle down on us. Of course it may be a little warm and discolored. This is about shared sacrifice and not about class warfare as the wing-nuts and wealthy apologists continue to claim. If I am receiving most of the benefits isn’t it only fair that in times of crisis I be willing to give back more than those who are not. This isn’t about economics it is about the so-called “Christian values” these folks are so proud to espouse and criticize liberals for not having until it actually requires having to live up to them. I am a Christian unless that means I have to stand up for the poor and sick against those who fund my campaigns, or my reality shows, or my library additions.

You did get one thing right Mr. Brooks we do believe that “these” Dems should never enter into negotiations because as the record plainly demonstrates they have a tendency to capitulate before any punches are thrown. This isn’t about purist versus non-purists it is about basic fairness or have you lost sight of that concept. After the way the teabaggers purified the last election how anyone could accuse the Dems as purist is beyond me. Again, it is how the media covers the traits of the two parties. Wing-nut intransigence and obstructionism is doing the people’s will, but you Dems are just being a bunch of crybabies and whiners. Buck up. The wing-nuts are forcing the Dems to take all of the tough votes so that no matter how it plays out they win. If you allow the tax-cuts to expire you raised taxes, if you put in the tax-cuts you have increased the deficit, and if the economy doesn’t turn around then it was your wasteful spending. Call me crazy but if you are going to get it no matter what, then you might as well do the right thing.

The main problem I have with all of this is that we are about to put more money into tax-cuts than we did in the original stimulus bill. Since when did cutting taxes become a Democratic solution to anything? No, Mr. Brooks it isn’t coalition building when you take on the policies of your adversaries. Would it have been negotiation with al-Qaeda if we had agreed to no longer recognize Israel in exchange for anything? If you begin to change your policies to match the opposition to get their approval that isn’t coalition building or collaboration, it is capitulation and that Mr. Brooks is what has so many angry. There was a time when we knew what the Dems stood for. Today the more I read and hear the less I know what they stand for.

If the administration wants cooperation, it will have to begin to move in our direction. - Mitch McConnell

The Disputed Truth

Selective Amnesia

You don’t have to abandon your principles to cut a deal. You just have to acknowledge that there are other people in the world and even a president doesn’t get to stamp his foot and have his way…They believe nonliberals are blackmailers or hostage-takers or the concentrated repositories of human evil, so, of course, they see coalition-building as collaboration. They are also convinced that Democrats should never start a negotiation because they will always end up losing in the end.David Brooks

This is what drives me crazy. Why is it that if Dems stick to their guns they are called immature or irrational but when the wing-nuts do it is a principled stand or a policy difference? Let me clear this up for you Mr. Brooks when you hold up 98% of Americans tax relief for the benefit of the wealthiest 2% by borrowing money from foreign countries and mortgaging our future that is not a difference in policy and that is not negotiating. It is blackmail pure and simple. So my question is how do you build coalitions with people who are willing to block all legislation until they get their way? Sounds to me like they are stomping their feet or holding their breath, but I am no student of politics like you.

Here in a nutshell is why Dems can never maintain the majorities like they did following WWII, they have lost the art of politics. It has only been two short years since one of the worst President’s in the history of America left office and they were given majorities in both Houses and the White House and now they are on the outside looking in. This is the same President who stomped his feet and invaded another country under false pretenses, who passed two tax-cut bills for the wealthy, and presided over the collapse of our economy. Remember how the wing-nuts were on the verge of regionalism and extinction as a major political party? What happened? Most Dems think that the power of their arguments and the strength of their ideas will carry the day. If we just educate the public to what we are trying to accomplish of course they will side with us. No, they won’t. You are bringing a knife to a bazooka fight and you are getting killed.

People on Madison Avenue make a boatload of money figuring out how to sell crap to a bunch of people who don’t need it. I mean really do you need a 500.00 cell phone? The wing-nuts have brought those same tactics to politics and the media. They have used branding to not make the country completely conservative, just more conservative than it was 30 years ago. So now the center is no longer the center. You now have Dems espousing former wing-nut positions as if they were now mainstream and rational.

The Dems refuse to call what the wing-nuts are doing for what it really is, immoral. During the healthcare debate it was never couched in terms of its immorality to allow the insurance companies to continue doing what they were doing to people. Is it immoral to have people dying, going broke, or be uninsurable because they happen to have gotten sick in America? No, it became an economic issue. The same thing is happening today concerning the tax-cuts. It isn’t about morality and fairness it is about economics. As long as Dems continue to allow the wing-nuts to frame their positions in purely economic terms they will continue to be defensible. We are just having a difference of opinion about economic policy so the rational thing to do is to split the difference. As if connecting Social Security, unemployment insurance, tuition support, and earned income tax credits with tax breaks for the rich is morally equivalent. And as long as we continue to allow the wing-nuts and their talking heads to get away with creating this false moral equivalency argument we will continue to lose.

What is going on in America today is not about economics, it is about strategically weakening and eventually removing our safety nets and our middle-class. Think about it what better time to set this in motion than when we were are in the midst of the “great recession” and everyone is fearful and trying to hang on to what little they have. This is no time to increase taxes, this is no time to increase infrastructure spending, this is no time to think about the environment. Basically this is no time to do anything but continue to provide the wealthiest more assistance because we know that if they drink enough champagne eventually some will trickle down on us. Of course it may be a little warm and discolored. This is about shared sacrifice and not about class warfare as the wing-nuts and wealthy apologists continue to claim. If I am receiving most of the benefits isn’t it only fair that in times of crisis I be willing to give back more than those who are not. This isn’t about economics it is about the so-called “Christian values” these folks are so proud to espouse and criticize liberals for not having until it actually requires having to live up to them. I am a Christian unless that means I have to stand up for the poor and sick against those who fund my campaigns, or my reality shows, or my library additions.

You did get one thing right Mr. Brooks we do believe that “these” Dems should never enter into negotiations because as the record plainly demonstrates they have a tendency to capitulate before any punches are thrown. This isn’t about purist versus non-purists it is about basic fairness or have you lost sight of that concept. After the way the teabaggers purified the last election how anyone could accuse the Dems as purist is beyond me. Again, it is how the media covers the traits of the two parties. Wing-nut intransigence and obstructionism is doing the people’s will, but you Dems are just being a bunch of crybabies and whiners. Buck up. The wing-nuts are forcing the Dems to take all of the tough votes so that no matter how it plays out they win. If you allow the tax-cuts to expire you raised taxes, if you put in the tax-cuts you have increased the deficit, and if the economy doesn’t turn around then it was your wasteful spending. Call me crazy but if you are going to get it no matter what, then you might as well do the right thing.

The main problem I have with all of this is that we are about to put more money into tax-cuts than we did in the original stimulus bill. Since when did cutting taxes become a Democratic solution to anything? No, Mr. Brooks it isn’t coalition building when you take on the policies of your adversaries. Would it have been negotiation with al-Qaeda if we had agreed to no longer recognize Israel in exchange for anything? If you begin to change your policies to match the opposition to get their approval that isn’t coalition building or collaboration, it is capitulation and that Mr. Brooks is what has so many angry. There was a time when we knew what the Dems stood for. Today the more I read and hear the less I know what they stand for.

If the administration wants cooperation, it will have to begin to move in our direction. - Mitch McConnell

The Disputed Truth

At this point, I think Obama has kissed Democrats goodbye…

As of this morning it seems that Obama is ready to deal with the Right... extend the Bush tax cuts for a couple of years in exchange for one year's extension of Unemployment funding. The tax cut deal is tentative. It hasn't gone through Congress yet (although McConnell is probably dribbling with laughter in his office), but it probably will.

When even Conservatives like Joe Scarborough sees and comments on the fact that Obama is moving directly to the Right... and will not increase job creation much, but will add at least a trillion new bucks to the deficit. And who is going to lend it to us? The Chinese? Are we going to listen to Obama's financial team that extending tax cuts are going to get us out of recession?

There's more...

Diaries

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