Sunday, October 30, 2011

Conservative Mythology

I went out to dinner with my wife (Laurie) Friday night to one of our favorite dives. They offer good Mexican food, excellent margaritas, with good service at a reasonable price (I think we paid about $50 and we had a drink (each) and an appetizer).

While we were waiting for the food my wife commented that during her recent visit to Branson, MO, she noted that at every show they honored veterans, asking members of each branch of the service to stand while they played either the national anthem or the service branch's hymn, and to do so in order that the rest of the audience could applaud them and their sacrifice.

She said that it was clear the people involved in honoring the service members were doing so sincerely, and more, that the audience members were truly and purely trying to express gratitude for the price they know many service members pay, whether it is in having to endure combat, injury, stress, less income, harder and long hours or simply the daily anguish of missing the childhood of their children. In that, there is nothing fake or insincere. There is nothing to be mocked, it is a good and decent expression of sympathy and gratitude.

My wife also noted that some liberals in the audience were derisive of the practice, mocking those who would "succumb" to such simplistic notions of "patriotism." They felt that it was fake, pandering, and easy. Whether the latter two were true, the first wasn't, and it was they, those liberals, not those who applauded or played the music, who needed to "check" themselves. They were demeaning to those who did not deserve it, they mocked something they clearly do not understand. There is a famous saying, "Never criticize Country to a poor man, it is all he has." It is as true today as when uttered, each of us has a sense of pride, a simple sense of fidelity and even happiness we feel at being part of the larger whole when our nation does something good (like winning the hockey gold medal in 1980), and a certain sense of defensiveness when others needless or (seemingly) unfairly criticize it. Expressing that genuine fidelity is decent and any of us who believe we are "sophisticated" ought to be also bright enough to recognize the simple goodness of saying "thank you."

With that said, the facts are that while we have applauded our veterans, all too often we have ignored them as well. We talk about honoring them, about supporting them, but when they complain about having too little armor, or they come home with post traumatic stress disorder, a number of "us" mock them for their audacity at asking for better equipment. We vote against paying for their long term care, we vote against paying the taxes necessary to fund the Veterans Administration.

By we, I mean conservatives. I know of virtually NO liberals who oppose paying for this care, I know of virtually NO liberals who argued AGAINST providing our troops with proper equipment.

Patriotism is a word which simply means acts or expressions of love of country. To love your country means you ask whether you are supporting making your country the place you SEE it as, WANT it to be, not just waving a flag. Applauding troop's service is fair and good, but I can tell you, the troops would far rather have you actually pay for their care, would FAR rather you take care where you send them, not ask them to go places to be policemen (and women), not to go places where they are seen as occupiers, to use their service and lives and time to prosecute violence upon our enemies, not just on those who don't want us in their country.

Some time ago, perhaps it was part of Vietnam, but at some point,, conservatives started telling a lie. That lie was that they care more about troops, have more love of country. Yet, they send troops places they should not go, they failed to listen to the generals on the ground for five years in Iraq. They only paid attention once they lost an election in 2006. They failed to send adequate numbers of troops to Iraq and Afghanistan quite simply because they didn't want to take the political hit required honestly to ask the American public to pay the needed price for these wars. Instead we wound up paying far more as the wars lingered on and on. Instead we had no "exit strategy", instead rather than liberators, we became occupiers, and due to Conservative's desires to funnel money to private contractors like Blackwater, we also became hated - our cavalier attitude about the death of innocents made us reviled. Conservatives have time and again, expressed contempt for Muslims, ignorance of the differences between Shiites and Sunnis (a difference which has been the single most important problem we faced in Iraq), and have expressed extreme contempt for the plight of those same civilians. If they care for our country, if they are really patriotic, they should want our country to behave the best it can, not merely just better than the worst in the world (to which they often compare our conduct). More than that though, they should want us to be our best because we want to be exactly that, the best we can, something we can proudly point to and stand and applaud and say "We did that", much like we stood proudly and spoke of bringing down Hitler and Tojo. Finally, if only just for this, for the safety of our troops, for asking the least necessary, for requiring them to be gone from home and loved ones the least time necessary, they should want us to have behave best, to have the best equipment for the job, the numbers of troops we needed, for those troops they applauded, they need to recognize patriotism is more than taking 30 seconds to say "thanks." That's nice, but it's not enough. Conservatism is not patriotic if by being conservative it means you won't pay to take care of those who sacrificed for you. Conservatives have voted time and again against fully funding the Veterans Administration. They talk about cutting spending, but when President Obama moved to end our presence in Iraq, they said it was "precipitous" and dangerous, which is by itself nonsense, we've been there 10 years. What's worse though, is it expresses an attitude that they are willing to spend money on military hardware or private police forces, in short line the pockets of doners, but aren't serious about cutting a portion of discretionary spending we should cut and don't need. If they care about the troops, bring them home, pay for their rehabilitation, don't keep them somewhere just so you can spend more money needlessly. Cut THAT spending, rather than physical therapy for those with brain injuries.

Conservatism tried to abscond with the idea of being patriotic, and while liberals words may not convey the same "image" of love of neighbor or of country, I judge things by ACTS not words, and in that Conservatism and conservatives are wanting (at best) and damnable liars at worst.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A brief interruption

My monitor has crashed and burned, but the new one arrives tomorrow (Thursday), so there will be a brief interruption until we have new content posted.

When the new monitor arrives, I look forward to posting some interesting new developments on the climate denier front, and to begin cross posting a series started over on another blog where I also write (MikeB's blog - see our blog roll for  link) on whether or not the 2nd Amendment formalizes a 'God Given Right to Guns' or not, and the position of GOP presidential candidates on that proposition.  Joining me in that endeavor is my MikeB co-blogger, Laci, a former DoJ attorney who specialized in firearm crime.  We will be addressing the claims that the Bible and Talmud contain passages which affirm and encourage private firearms including open and concealed carry.  For those of you who find the topic of interest, you might wish to examine an article posted by Laci, based on a law class he took, Gun Control in the Talmud which addresses the Old Testament content while waiting for the next post.

And of course there will be a variety of other topics, national, local, political and economic, and some that are science or just plain fun.

Stay tuned!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Michele Bachmann's Staff Leaves, En Masse
Following a long list of others who abandoned the Bachmann ship

Dear New Hampshire former Bachmann Staff / volunteers:
Seriously, what did you expect? 

From the ABC News blogs:
Rep. Michele Bachmann said she was surprised to hear that her entire New Hampshire campaign staff had quit en masse today, even though they “had not been paid for a month,” one of the departing staffers told ABC News. [bold, italics my emphasis - DG]
That Bachmann is a known nut-job, factually and judgementally 'challenged', by which I mean deficient, has been common knowledge for years.  There is no shortage of documentation about her behavior; she is as bat shit crazy as Orly Taitz.  She made her dumb statements - twice - last March in New Hampshire, which should have put you on notice.  Once is a simple, honest mis-speak; twice, from prepared material, is deliberate willful ignorance.



Shame on you all for enabling her continuing delusions, and your own. Worse are those of you who fund those delusions.

An interview with her former Chief of Staff explains what kind of an elected representative Bachmann is (the most damning material is some 13 minutes into the video) :



Michele Bachmann has now lost the staff of an entire state campaign.  Prior to that, she lost other key, senior members of her campaign.  She loses key members of her congressional staff on an unusually frequent basis.  She is temperamental and hard to work for, she is apparently chronically irresponsible.

Michele Bachmann is utterly 'unpresidential'; heck, she's not even up to the standards one would expect for any elected office, including Dog Catcher, much less Congress. She is clearly unqualified for the executive branch of government at any level.

She has a long history of losing staff, as outlined in this piece from the City Pages in Minnesota, back in July 2010, about the fifth chief of staff to leave Bachmann in four years:
But the news broke yesterday that, for the fifth time in four years, Michele Bachmann is without a chief of staff: Ron Carey is out. He lasted just five months. On top of that, fundraising guru Zandra Wolcott has also jumped ship. No explanation was given for either departure.

Carey had replaced Michelle Marston, who helped engineer Bachman's anti-health care reform protest in Washington, D.C. last year -- the one where Sean Hannity was busted by Jon Stewart for bogus video inflating the size of the crowd. The one that cost taxpayers $14,000.
After Marston's departure, one GOP congressman said Bachmann was having a hard time holding on to staff because of her notorious verbal hand grenades and fact-challenged rhetoric. "When your captain's crazy, it's time to find a new ship," the lawmaker said.
The churn started early in the congresswoman's career. Back in 2008 during her first term, Eric Black at MinnPost wrote: The only people still working for Bachmann's office who were around in the first quarter of her term are in lower-level positions, handling phones, scheduling and grants.
Then we have more recent interviews describing what it is like to work for Bachmann.


From CBS News:
The entire paid New Hampshire staff for Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann has resigned, in another blow to the Minnesota congresswoman's foundering campaign.

Jeff Chidester, Bachmann's former New Hampshire campaign director, confirmed the mass exodus. "The New Hampshire team has quit," he said. "We'll issue a joint statement as to our reasons why."

Chidester's confirmation, made via email and voice mail to National Journal and CBS, followed a confusing day in which Bachmann insisted that reports of the staff departures were untrue. But Chidester said he left last week and informed "people that are closest to Michele."

"I'm sorry the national team is confused," he said. "They shouldn't be."

One of the aides who quit, Caroline Gilger, Bachmann's southern state field director, is joining the rival campaign of Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

According to the New Hampshire Union Leader, a total of four staffers have left: Chidester, Gilger, Tom Lukacz and Nicole Yurek. Uncertain was the future of staff member Matt LeDuc.

Chidester is a longtime Bachmann friend and supporter and a well-known radio talk show host. Reached by email on Friday, Chidester told CBS/NJ that the staff will be issuing a joint statement. "We are more than a team, we have all bonded over the past few months," Chidester wrote. "This is one of the finest group of people I have every had the pleasure of working with. Each one of them is smart, dedicated, and committed to each other. We have not had an opportunity to talk to each other since the story broke, but once we do, we will release a joint statement."
Typically, Bachmann initially denied this factually accurate and correct story:
In an interview with Radio Iowa, Bachmann expressed incredulity over news of the resignations, first reported by New Hampshire television station WMUR. "That is a shocking story to me," she said. "I don't know where that came from. We have called staff in New Hampshire to find out where that came from and the staff have said that isn't true, so I don't know if this is just a bad story that's being fed by a different candidate or campaign. I have no idea where this came from, but we've made calls and it's certainly not true."
However, the AP also confirms the story.  Bachmann will try to deny it for awhile, then she will try to spin it that this is really all part of her plan -- or some equally lame excuse.

And ABC news, on their blog, added this:
Five staffers, including Jeff Chidester, a longtime friend and conservative talk-radio host, have left the Minnesota congresswoman’s campaign.
The departing staff members also included Nicole Yurek, Tom Lukacz, director of operations Matt LeDuc and Southern New Hampshire Field Director Caroline Gigler, as first reported by ABC affiliate WMUR.

Among those [others] to leave were campaign manager Ed Rollins, deputy manager David Polyansky and pollster Ed Goeas. Soon after, longtime adviser Andy Parish left the campaign to return to work in Bachmann’s Washington congressional office and spokesman Doug Sachtleben quit.

How presidential is it not to know this well in advance of it hitting the press?  How presidential is it to have such chaos in your congressional office?  How presidential, how fiscally responsible is it to continue a campaign this deep in debt, and sinking fast without a hope of gaining the nomination?  And most of all, how presidential, how Republican and how Tea Party is it, to be so consistently factually deficient, so lacking in reality in favor of ideology?  I believe I recognize this photo, it is from her interview with Chris Matthews, on MSNBC, the one where she called for a witch hunt to expose the anti-American members of Congress.  This isn't so much a bad photo, as it is the real Bachmann, the crazy woman on the far religious right.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Michele Bachmann on Moamar Quadaffi and Libya


HARRIS: Congresswoman Bachmann, on the same theme, you opposed the U.S. intervention in Libya. If President Obama had taken the same view, Gadhafi would, in all likelihood, still be in power today.
Moderator,
Reagan Library Republican Debate,
September 2011
quote courtesy of The Political Guide.com

Michele Bachmann is an embarrassment to Minnesota, because she is so damned ignorant, and so bigoted.

deceased Quadaffi
 She will say anything, without understanding anything, much less everything that is necessary. If there were any more proof needed that this woman is not equipped to be a Congresswoman - not an effective, informed representative certainly - much less President, or even to be elected dog catcher, the following videos exemplify her failures of intelligence and education. Yet, she raised the money in the last election from the right to run a campaign that was more costly than any other member of Congress. Why is the right so willing to support stupid? Why does the right exalt ideology over substance? When will the right stop conflating idiot and ideology? The other candidates running for office on the right, especially for the nomination for the presidential race in 2012 are not much of an improvement over Bachmann.


Remember, this woman sits on the Intelligence Committee.  You'd think she would know as much as oh, the L.A. Times when they report the findings of the Intelligence community, but NO.  Maybe the Republicans had some vain hope that she would absorb some, by exposure. Apparently they were unaware of her dismal attendance record, if that was their hope. But hey! The Tea Party loves her!  She's pro-ignorance, and anti-science (apparently also anti-geography).


But it gets better.  Want to bet that Bachmann doesn't actually KNOW where Libya is?  Not that her ignorance would ever stop her from criticizing Obama or anyone else not on the far right.  There is this footage from the Republican debate-of-ignorance in Las Vegas.  The following is from the HuffPo:


 

The next time someone tells you the Republicans - or worse, the nut jobs in the Tea Party - are the party of ideas, point out that they aren't the party of ideas, and they certainly are not the party of FACTS.  They are, if anything, fact-aversive.

For example, on the demise of Quadaffi (which is a phonetic spelling, and therefore occurs in many variations) we have this from Michele Bachmann, from Politico:

"For more than 40 years, we lived with the Muammar al-Qaddafi regime and the atrocities he orchestrated. The world is a better place without Qaddafi. It is my hope that Qaddafi's reign of terror will be replaced with a government that respects the people of Libya and one that will be a good partner with the United States. Hopefully, today will also bring to an end our military involvement there, something I opposed from its beginning."
Michele Bachmann is a flip-flopper.  She doesn't know where key locations are, she doesn't understand the politics of these countries or movements, and she will say anything - apparently forgetting that her statements are on the record.   The web site, Political Guide.com however, does a meticulous job of tracking these flip flops, and has done so with Bachmann, tracking her statements while campaigning, which can be viewed at their site, but more importantly tracking her voting record on Libya :
Voting Record Restricting Funds for Use in Libya
On June 24, 2011 the House voted on a measure to prohibit funds for the Department of Defense (DOD) from being used for U.S. Armed Forces in support of the NATA Operation Unified Protector with respect to Libya, except for: (1) search and rescue; (2) intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; (3) aerial refueling; and (4) operational planning. The vote failed 180-238. Michele Bachmann voted against preventing funds from being used for military actions in support of the NATO mission in Libya.


Michele Bachmann voted against preventing funds from being used for military actions in support of the NATO mission in Libya.


Authorizing the limited use of US Forces in support of the NATO mission in Libya


On June 24, 2011 the House voted on a resolution to authorize the President to continue the limited use of U.S. Armed Forces in Libya in support of U.S. security policy interests as part of the NATO mission to enforce U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973. The resolution states that Congress does not support deploying, establishing, or maintaining the presence of units and members of U.S. Armed Forces on the ground in Libya unless the purpose of the presence is limited to the immediate personal defense of U.S. government officials or to rescuing members of NATO forces from imminent danger. The resolution failed 123-495. Michele Bachmann voted against the resolution to limit the use of forces in Libya.


Michele Bachmann voted against the resolution to limit the use of forces in Libya.


Removing Troops from Libya


On June 3, 2011 the House voted to direct the President to remove troops from Libya. The vote was bipartisan for and against, but failed 262-148. Michele Bachmann voted in favor of forcing President Obama to remove troops from Libya.


Michele Bachmann voted in favor of forcing President Obama to remove troops from Libya.


Resolution Against Troop Deployment


On June 3, 2011 the House voted on a resolution declaring that President Obama could not deploy, establish, or maintain the presence of units and members of the United States Armed Forces on the ground in Libya. The vote passed 266-144. Michele Bachmann voted in favor of the resolution to declare that the President could not deploy troops.


Michele Bachmann voted in favor of the resolution to declare that the President could not deploy troops.
Clearly, President Obama in cooperation with our allies in NATO, had a clear vision of what was occurring on the ground in Libya as events unfolded.  He engaged us in a very limited involvement which lasted some eight months, and did not result in significant loss of life to the United States military, and which has been crucial in developing relationships with the new governments in Muslim countries in Africa.  Michele Bachmann doesn't give a damn about Libya; she is simply annoyed that once again, President Obama has been successful, and she has been caught being both stupid, and on the wrong side of history.

All of which qualifies her to leave public office in 2012, and to go on the Faux News Propaganda and Disinformation cable network; but not much else.  Because the right just can't get enough of that fact-free version of current events.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Update on the Comet Elenin Non-Disaster,
Non-End-of-the-World,
Non End-Days Event

This is significant for a blog that covers politics, as there are a number of political figures on the right who believe sincerely in the 'end days' happening sometimen very soon.  This should be a very real concen for every member of the electorate, because they base their political plans and decisions on the improbable occurrence, a matter of faith rather than reason, and have indicated they will act accordingly.  I have no problem with them believing whatever they like privately.  I have huge problems with them intruding their religious based idiocy into political decisions that affect all of us, including the overwhelming majority of us who do NOT share their religious pretext insanity.
We're all still here and doing fine!

From 'Universe Today':
If you were waiting for Comet Elenin to wreak havoc on Earth so that you didn’t have to pay off your credit card debt or go into work today, I’m sorry to inform you that doomsday didn’t happen. All that remained of Comet Elenin, — which wasn’t much — made its closest pass by Earth yesterday (Oct. 16, 2011) without causing any earthquakes, tsunamis, or high tides and it didn’t collide with Earth, either. Moreover, there was no brown dwarf or Mothership hidden in the comet’s coma. And in case you didn’t notice, this comet did not cause three days of darkness around September 26, 2011.

“I don’t know why fearmongers chose my comet,” the comet’s discoverer Leonid Elenin told Universe Today. “I received many letters from scared people. But if they believe in conspiracy theories I can’t help them.”
Follow the link to read more about Elenin, and chalk up one more failed Doomesday / End of Days event.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Elenin and Brimstone



 

SOME say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,       
I think I know enough of hate
To know that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
- Robert Frost
December 1920


Insanity: doing the same thing 
over and over again 
and expecting different results.
- Albert Einstein
Rev. Camping personifies for me the religious leader who embraces superstition that borders on mental illness, rather than spirituality.  But then, so do a number of religious figures among the conservative 'Religious Right'.

I don't doubt his sincerity, but his sanity and religious beliefs do appear more wobbly than pious.  While I must admit a certain humor at the gentleman's expense, I do feel badly for him that he appears so ridiculous, and further that he appears deficient in that important gift of learning from our mistakes.

From MSNBC.com:
Preacher still says Oct. 21 for end of world

Harold Camping not backing down from prediction of doom


Image: Harold Camping
Reuters TV  /  Reuters file
The Rev. Harold Camping, who suffered a stroke in June and is now at home recuperating, said in a recent audio message on his site that the end on Oct. 21 will come quietly.
By
updated 10/14/2011 6:19:29 PM ET
The radio preacher who predicted Judgment Day on May 21 has not backed down from his claims that the end of the world is near, despite the lack of a Rapture or world-devastating earthquakes leading up to the doomsday.
In an announcement on his Family Radio Network website, Harold Camping stands by his earlier predictions that the world will end on Friday, Oct. 21. Originally, Camping had predicted hourly earthquakes and God's judgment on May 21, to be followed by months of torment on Earth for those individuals left behind. Using numerical codes extracted from the Bible, Camping set the date for the end of everything for Oct. 21.
When May 21 came and went without fanfare, Camping revised his story. The "earthquakes" he had predicted did occur, he writes on his website in a post titled "What Happened on May 21?" — only instead of shaking the Earth, God shook mankind "with fear." Likewise, although no one was raptured, God is no longer saving souls, Camping writes.