Posts Tagged Politics

Damn. Another fool for Christ caught looking like a fool. Period.


Republican Congresswoman, Michele Bachmann, claims she is a “Fool for Christ”, whatever the hell that  means. But this is how she explains what it means to her:

“If I felt that’s what the Lord was calling me to do, I would do it,” she answered. “When I have sensed that the Lord is calling me to do something, I’ve said yes to it. “

Which means she must hear the Lord calling her to lie. Because on Good Morning America this ex-tax attorney, who used to work for the IRS, told a whopper:

“Well, remember again what this is. It’s a massive tax increase, and it’s on the people who are the job creators,” Bachmann said. “And people want to think that these are millionaires, sitting in leather chairs, lighting their cigars with $100 bills. That’s not what we’re talking about. These are people who, who are carpet layers who maybe employ two or three other guys, or a plumber, maybe himself and his brother, and it’s $250,000 in gross sales for their business. They’re the ones that are looking at massive tax increases.”

Which is total crap, and of course, she knows it. She’s an expert. The proposed increase (which is not really an increase, only a return to an old rate after the temporary tax cut has expired) is on all those who earn over $250,000 in adjusted income, business owners or not. This is after all itemized deductions including mortgages, business expenses and other legal shelters. So what we are really talking about here are people who make way more than a quarter million bucks a year. Now maybe the Christian counseling center she and her husband own (which receives Federal entitlement dollars, by the way) makes that much moolah but not too many carpet layers and plumbers do. At least not in her home state of Minnesota. Most of these folks are doctors, lawyers, bankers, corporate executives and university professors. Not job creators.

Now I expect most politicians to lay down a line of bullshit every once and awhile (or at least once a day). But this little lady is a Born-Again, Bible thumpin’, 10 Commandment preachin’ Fool for Christ. Right? The same Christ that said the rich should hold on to as much of their money as possible to give poor people an incentive to work harder so they might land a sweet job working for the government with a side line taking advantage of other people’s religious psycho-superstitions with the help of Federal subsidies.

How freakin’ embarrassing for those of us who might still want to call ourselves Christian. Congress is looking more and more like the Temple that Jesus lost his temper in. If only the Neo-Evangelicals were right and he was coming back any day now. Some people are going to look mighty foolish.

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It’s time for a party in the middle of these two political extremes


Let’s see, yesterday I voted for Bugs Bunny as Governor,  Yosemite Sam for Attorney General, Wile E. Coyote for State Senator and Porky Pig for Congress.  Oh, and in an upset decision, Andy Taylor for Sheriff.   They were all write-ins of course.  I just couldn’t find anyone among the  Republicans and Democrats who I agreed with on the majority of the issues.  It was a matter of having to pick from black or white when I really look best in gray. Neither party offered anything that was the least bit whole or complete.  They all looked like partial globes – northern or southern hemispheres only.

OK, OK.  There are more parties out there besides the Democrats and Republicans – Libertarian, Green, Constitution and a whole slew of micro-parties.  But they suffer from the same problems that the ruling parties do – they are  myopic.  They are practically one issue entities encroaching on our electoral system,  emerging from the far left and far  right wings of American political philosophy.  Though many us might agree with aspects of their platforms the rest of their ideas are so far out there  that most voters don’t consider them seriously.

And that’s my problem with today’s Republican and Democratic party politicians.  Seems like everything boils down to a matter of either this or either that.

God help you if you are concerned about global warming AND would like a smaller government.  You can’t ignore the evidence that man must have something to do with the Earth’s environmental problems but you also  recognize that CAPs  and UN inefficiency are not the best way to go.

Or maybe you aren’t altogether that crazy about the new federal health care program but are well aware that we can’t continue to ignore this national crisis which is affecting  millions of Americans.

You may very well oppose the war in Iraq but understand that in Afghanistan the threat is quite a bit different.

You might think that convicted terrorists should be locked away for good (or even executed) but you stand firmly against water-boarding, racial profiling and the Office of Homeland Security.

You are proud of America’s men and women in the military yet realize that the Pentagon is ponderously bureaucratic and wasteful. And that our elected leaders have been very wasteful when it comes to lives, both our soldiers and those of innocent civilians.

Perhaps you are disgusted at the way some hardened criminals use the system to avoid being held accountable for their crimes but at the same time you are completely opposed to mandatory sentencing or expanding prisons and police forces.

Your understanding of history has shown that government mandated socialism often leads to forms of authoritarian nationalism but this same history has shown that unchecked  capitalism is a brutal and vicious monkey on the backs of  many people.  The profit driven market economy is what makes the trains run on time but it is also the thing that pushes many people under their wheels.

You may even be a person of faith,  perhaps a devoutly religious Christian, but understand that a secular civic society is the only guarantee of our religious freedoms.  You might think the Christian obsession for  ‘putting God back into America” and ‘prayers back into our schools’   is just another  example of the majority’s selfish disregard for minorities coupled with their fear of the ‘other’ and has nothing to do with God.  Nor is it the business of any government, local or national to promote religion. At the same time you think that the ‘new’ atheists need to take a deep breath, pour themselves a drink and smoke a nice cigar. Chill.

You might believe that the Federal government should let the states pretty much handle most things themselves but that a line must be drawn somewhere, as in when some school boards want religious myth taught as science.  Or pass laws that transcend the U. S. Constitution.

You might love your country, but you don’t think that Americans are better than any other people. The American system of government might be, but not the people themselves.  You might be proud of your country’s achievements but you can’t ignore your country’s sins and excesses.

You are concerned about the problems inherent with an undocumented alien population but you remember that your grandmother spoke only broken English.

So who do you vote for?

Good luck finding anyone from  today’s current crop of politicians that don’t  see (or admit they don’t see) everything in black and white.  In most cases our choices is in yesterday’s election merely consisted  of one extreme versus the other.  Government as savior or government as  Satan. One party line at odds with another. They can’t be too extreme.

I’m sure that a lot of people, concerned about the looming deficit and the rapid expansion of governmental power, held their noses and voted for conservative candidates that they might otherwise  never give the time of day.   I seriously doubt that everyone who voted for the Tea Party candidates were in complete agreement with all, or even most, of the sentiments they put forth.   They were just fed up with the Democrats so they voted the lesser evil. And I’m just as sure some (but not too many, I guess) people voted Democrat for the first time because they couldn’t abide certain extreme Republican convictions, even if they agreed with most of the others.

So if the Democrats and the Republicans can’t seem to field any centrist candidates  then maybe it’s time for a Party in the Middle.  Or whatever – Moderates, Centrists,  Compromisers, even the Wishy-Washies or Namby-Pambies (if that makes the zealots happy).  A political party that says that compromise is the key, that the problem is often too much conviction, too much patriotism, too much compassion, too much government and, at times, too little government. Too little lack of modesty.

If we don’t start getting some moderate, centrist, cooperative candidates on the ballots then I may have to continue writing in candidates from the Warner Brothers ticket.  At least I’m not throwing my vote away.

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God told me not to vote in this election


Really. Only this morning.

I just came back from a week down in Tennessee and it seems like the folks down there are always talking to God.  Some of it  must have rubbed off on me.

Anyway, I think it’s because a lot of people are claiming to have God’s support in this election, that God has talked to them  and told them to run and that God is behind them all the way. Jesus, too. (But not Allah, apparently.)

So what’s the point of me voting, then? It’s gotta be a done deal. Might as well stay home and sit this one out. Or so God is telling me.

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I hope someone’s watching Glenn Beck, besides Tea Baggers, Neo-Patriots and Right Wing-Nuts


I found this sign stapled to a telephone pole on Main Street in my home town, Ellicott City. I guess if they have the right to stick it up there (and I’m not sure they do) then I have the right to tear it down.

But the sign is good advice for us all…more people need to be watching Glenn Beck. Aside from his acolytes, I mean. I’m afraid that there are too many of you moderates and progressives (a bad word, according to Beck) out there who aren’t taking him (or his Tea Partier, Gray Panther, and New Minutemen fans) very seriously. And you should be.

He’s slick, he’s polished. He’s the consummate actor and showman. He is a genius when it comes to playing upon the fears and emotions of his audience. Surprisingly (to me) about 75% of what he says makes sense. But, remember, 75% of the ingredients in rat poison won’t kill the rat. It’s the other 25% of what Beck says – the cliches, the distortions, the exaggerations, the revisionist history and the demagoguery, his claim of insight into the divine – that is dangerous.

If you don’t know your history, if you only read the books that Beck recommends, if you only listen to the ‘experts’ on Fox News, then you are likely to be duped. And scared. Maybe even scared enough to shell out your hard earned and cherished bucks for some of the survival gear and paranoid investment “opportunities” that Beck shills for his shady sponsors. (Beck made over $32 million last year.)

You might even be scared enough to start tacking up advertisements for Beck’s show in your neighborhood. But I’ll bet you’re smart enough, and educated enough, to see through his bull-shit. Just don’t be contemptuous of him. Don’t look down your nose on him.

Maybe, as the polls suggest, only 26% of the Republican party is under his spell, but they are exerting considerable influence on the rest. Moderate Republicans (and otherwise not-so-wacky conservatives) are running scared – to the Right and right into the embrace of his followers. Beck has an agenda, it appears to be working and it is not likely to be good for America, or anyone else.

So, as distasteful as it may seem, watch Glenn Beck. Listen to Limbaugh and Hannity. Check out Horowitz and Geller.

Know your enemy.

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I’m beginning to feel like Alice…


 

…what with this Mad Tea Party thing going on.  Mad Glenn Beck is the obvious choice for the Hatter (Hater?) and maddening Sarah Palin is the March Hare. But who’s the Dormouse?

I know – that’s the American public, most of whom are sound asleep while these shenanigans are taking place.  It’s getting curioser and curioser

`I don’t know what you mean by “patriotism,”‘ Alice said.

Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. `Of course you don’t — till I tell you. I meant “there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!”‘

`But “patriotism” doesn’t mean “a nice knock-down argument,”‘ Alice objected.

`When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

`The question is,’ said Alice, `whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

`The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, `who is to be master – - that’s all.’

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All this country needs is for some of those good old-time religious people to take charge


What is our purpose in life? It is to restore the fallen culture to the glory of God. It’s to take command and dominion over every aspect of life, whether it’s music, science, law, politics, communities, families, to bring Christianity to bear in every single area of life” – Charles Colson

“As soon as Jesus sits on his throne he’s gonna rule the world with a rod of iron. That means he’s gonna make the ACLU do what he wants them to. That means you’re not gonna have to ask if you can pray in public school. We will live by the law of God and no other law.”— John Hagee

“Lord, give us righteous judges who will not try to legislate and dominate this society. Take control, Lord! We ask for additional vacancies on the court.” –Pat Robertson

“We’re not attacking Islam but Islam has attacked us. The God of Islam is not the same God. He’s not the son of God of the Christian or Judeo-Christian faith. It’s a different God and I believe it is a very evil and wicked religion.” -Franklin Graham

“Pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right. Also, for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending [U.S. soldiers] out on a task that is from God. That’s what we have to make sure that we’re praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God’s plan.” – Sarah Palin

“There are some who would accuse us of trying to Christianize America. Am I trying to Christianize America? You bet your boots I am!” – D. James Kennedy

“The most used phrase in my administration if I were to be President would be ‘What the hell you mean we’re out of missiles?”-Glenn Beck

There is a memorable behind–the-scenes moment in one of Frank Peretti’s books where a little  demon perched on the shoulder of an addict is swirling his hand around inside the man’s skull.  (For those of you who don’t know of him, Frank Peretti writes “Christian” horror tales.  This book, if I remember correctly, was “Piercing the Darkness”. It may just as well have been called “Piercing my Eyeball” for all the pleasure I got from reading it.)

Anyway, this supernatural premise is one that many conservative Christians (Fundamentalists, Neo-Evangelicals, Moral Majoritarians, reactionary Catholics –you get the picture) do not take lightly.  There is no doubt in their minds that the minds of others, especially those who suffer from mental and emotional disorders, are in demonic clutches.  Many of these Christians consider psychologists and psychiatrists to be quacks, or even worse, in the employ of Satan (though perhaps unconsciously). People with chronic depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, OCD –  these people  don’t need medical attention, and they certainly don’t need any drugs. All they need is to turn to Jesus. Or maybe endure a good exorcism. (In their contempt for the psychiatric profession they have a lot in common with Scientologists).

The funny (and sad) thing is that most of these people are not complete idiots.  I know, because I was once one of them, and I am no idiot. (depending on who you ask)  Now, I didn’t completely right-off the mental health profession. But I didn’t put much stock in mental health practitioners, unless he or she was an overt Christian.  Because if therapists didn’t believe that Satan could mess with people’s minds, then it was tantamount to them working for Satan.  There was really no hope for healing.  I guess a Jewish doctor who believed in Satan would be OK except that he would not recognize the healing power of Jesus.  So, no, it would have to be a Christian and a neo-Evangelical, God fearing, born-again Christian to boot. And this is a wide spread conviction among Christian fundamentalists.

Nowadays a belief in Satan would immediately disqualify that professional from my consideration. I couldn’t care less if my mechanic or my post-man or my butcher believed in Satan or Santa. But when it comes to helping people deal with issues that challenge their sanity, well, I just don’t think the supernatural is something worth pursuing.  At least not at $150 an hour.

What I am trying to get at here is that there are quite a lot of Americans (some estimates say around 100 million) who believe that Old Scratch is a legitimate threat to our personal, local and national security.  Heck, our last president thought this way.  Right now there is a lot of angry talk going around about how Muslim people actually belong to a satanic religion and that the Prophet was under satanic influence.  Which, when you think about it, is pretty scary. Not the idea that Islam is satanic – that’s not scary, it’s just plain ignorant. No, what’s scary is that maybe over 100 million Americans have their heads in the Dark Ages. Quite a few readily say that most non-Christians are doing Satan’s work and all are destined for hell. That the world’s problems won’t be solved until America’s problems are solved which won’t happen until America is a Christian nation run by Christians. My God, what if they ever organized?

Which is what they have been, for the last 40 years or so. Though you won’t hear them say it officially, the Christian Right has dominionism on their minds.  Dominionism according to Wikipedia, is:

the tendency among some conservative politically-active Christians, especially in the United States, to seek influence or control over secular civil government through political action. The goal is either a nation governed by Christians, or a nation governed by a conservative Christian understanding of biblical law.

I don’t think the leaders of the Christian Right would disagree too much with that assessment. And I guess that if you are a conservative Christian you probably don’t have much of a problem with it. But, as a fairly moderate man who struggles with keeping the teachings of Jesus close to heart ( I am hesitant to call myself a “Christian” these days) I am, frankly, fairly frightened. I can’t imagine what a Hindu or a Buddhist or (particularly at this time) a Muslim, thinks of this. (Though I have spoken with some Muslims and they don’t appear to be too worried) Apparently a lot of Jews are willing to overlook the rhetoric of the Christian Right as long as they continue to fervently support Israel.  I guess they, like so many others, don’t take them too seriously. And that’s a mistake.

Considering their stated goals and their political successes (they helped elect a lot of governors and a lot of people to Congress and the last administration was very much under their influence) I think they need to be taken very seriously.  Though they only crow about it to the choir inside churches and those listening to their radio and TV programs, their ultimate agenda is for all elected officials be fundamentalist Christians, all government policies be based upon Biblical law and that eventually all citizens convert to Christianity. Which would mean only Christians would be capable of effective leadership, or even citizenship.  Now, what is that starting to sound like?

Before you think I’m crazy remember that not too long ago I used to be in their camp. And if that’s not enough, go check out their websites:  the American Family Association, Focus on the FamilyCoral Ridge MinistriesAnswers In Genesis, Center for Moral Clarity, Christian Broadcasting Network, John Hagee Ministeries etc.  And follow the links on these sites; you might be surprised what you find there.  Of course most of what you find will sound relatively harmless, maybe even noble.  I mean, what’s wrong with family values?  Patriotism is a good thing, usually.  And it’s kind of hard to object to the Gospel of Jesus. .

So there’s nothing to worry about, right? This is America, after all.  Couldn’t happen here. Well, the Tea Party is growing stronger and some influential people are actually talking about a possible  Beck/Palin presidential bid (in recent Gallup polls Beck was the fourth most admired man alive, right below Nelson Mandela and just above the Pope, while Palin was the number one Republican presidential contender)  So interesting things could happen. We might be surprised. Perhaps unpleasantly.

An old Baptist  preacher once warned me about  ‘false teachings’:  “Remember, rat poison is 95% sugar. It’s the other 5% that’ll kill ya.”

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Michael Gerson on Open Arms Conservatism


Michael Gerson There was a nice piece written by Michael Gerson in the Post yesterday. For those who don’t know him, he was a senior adviser with the Bush administration but left over idealogical differences. He has a book out; “Heroic Conservatism” in which he talks about those differences.

In this article he says;

This obligation to protect has never, in Jewish and Christian teaching, been purely private. Hebrew law made a special provision for the destitute — requiring that a portion of harvested crops be left in the field to be gathered by the poor. The Hebrew prophets raucously confronted the political and economic exploitation of the weak.

A significant portion of the Republican Party and the American public is influenced more by the social teachings of the Jewish and Christian traditions than by the doctrines of Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises. Religious conservatives, broadly defined, prefer free-market methods. But they believe that the goal directing all our methods must be the common good.

You can read the rest of his article here:

www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/30/AR2007103001822.html?wpisrc=newsletter

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