My list of REALLY STUPID CHOICES made in American history; just a short-list I am afraid:
“Diet Food” that is more chemicals than food
Having the Soviet Union an “ally” in WWII – better to have let them go it alone; email for full argument
The Electoral College in the Age of Communication; direct election of all offices should be the norm; Political Parties are OBSOLETE and COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE
Public Sector Unions
Adding “under God” to the Pledge making it a point of division instead of unity
Lotus and Apple’s Patent-the-Universe Syndrome making the courts accept patents on things never meant for patent
Failing to live up to Dr. King’s vision and refusing to stop being prejudiced regarding race
Private campaign donations of any kind other than labor
Campaign donations by businesses
Supreme Court deciding that money= a right to a louder voice for YOUR ‘free speech’
Dropping the no-partisanship requirements for radio talk-shows and ‘interview’ programs
Letting Lawyers advertise
Supreme Court declaring that nothing of value is earned by the recipient of a military award or decoration
Women’s, Chicano, Black “Studies” propping up people selected, distorted and lionized with blatant prejudice; taking away self-respect while pretending to help by ‘giving the poor things a hand’, and White Studies designed to rip on Western Culture for the same purpose – removing its self-respect – it seems non-whites are too dumb or clueless to run their own lives or stand up to whites and that whites are just intrinsically demonic – welcome to the enlightened world of PC education
Failing to settle on the point in a pregnancy where a woman’s choice is MADE and she must be held responsible for an infant rather than a piece of owned tissue. (6 month preemies regularly survive today and the Radical Right’s agenda on abortion would make women all but chattel)
Worrying more about which consenting adults, what age, color or how many may legally get ‘married’; ignoring the concept of duty, honor and responsibility anyone brings to their marriages
Bilingual Education as a policy
Helmets, knee and elbow-pads for tricycle riders
Peer promotion in school
Affirmative Action after 1990 – where was the transition to color-blind government?
Worrying more about what actual people have DONE with their guns than trying to get law-abiding folk to not have any at all
Electing Andrew Jackson, Jimmy Carter, George W., and Obama
Forgetting that ALL countries do best with immigrants if they pick from the TOP of the pile instead of the bottom
Paying a private group to print/coin money like a product to be bought forgetting that money has no ‘intrinsic’ value’; dollars are just counters for the economic game; increasing or decreasing the supply by fiat to ACCURATELY reflect the production/wealth of a nation is the ONLY reason when deciding when or if to print more money, or let the cash pool contract
Deciding that political consensus and no working model or scientific theory that has been tested is sufficient when making decisions in haste that could wreck the world’s entire economy/infrastructure; in the 70’s it was the next Ice Age that was imminent… no models then either
Making an “eco-friendly” light-bulb containing hazardous amounts of mercury
Adults stealing Halloween from the children and making it another grown-ups party holiday
The Writer’s Strike
ANY serious university or college that “emphasized” sports to make money and enabled ‘tails’ that can wag Great Danes with ease
Un-self-consciously, individual humans that are raised to feel a profound duty to protect all aspects of seldom/individuality that neither “picks someone’s pocket nor breaks someone’s leg” and a profound respect for the notion that we are all one and what goes around not only comes around, it DIRECTLY affects us; i.e. “successful” assholery damages a psyche’s ability to make ‘good’ choices in the future.
Today we have two re-writes of older articles that seem very relevant today:
First, we will take the “Liberals” as well as the “Conservatives” to task for partisan hypocrisy…
Nowadays the word Liberal is often used as a pejorative; I often use it that way myself for good reasons.
Yet I am a moderate, and probably spend about 40% of the time cursing the idiocy of the Left, and 60% of it complaining and worrying about the Right (It is too bad there are not more real conservative minds in the Conservative camp these days.). Of the two the Conservatives tend to scare me a bit more but the Leftists in total power would be/ have been worse. But the actions of the radicals on either side do not condemn entire schools of thought to a mature mind. This should be remembered by pundits on both sides in this age of attack politics.
Lately a radically Conservative group has taken over almost all the political voice of conservative American Christianity. They have used their pulpit to propound, and pound in, their own view of history, and how Christianity has influenced the development of the United States as a nation.
They are not actually lying about the influence of the churches. The problem is that they have forgotten from just where in the Church all that influence came. Yes, it was those damn liberals every time!
In American history, every time the religious culture has had a profound positive influence (as judged by successive generations) on changes in society those influences have their roots in the Liberal-to-Radical churches. They most certainly did not come from the Conservative ones!
The Conservative Churches in every case have held the line with the status quo through history whether it was regarding the Revolution, slavery, child labor, workers rights, racial equality or now, gay rights. Yet the Conservative Churches of today want to shine their halos with the contributions made for the most part by the Liberal Churches of the past.
This activity is not unique to Christianity by any means. A Radical Conservative Jew will spend much energy telling you about Judaism’s amazing contributions to Western society, but will refuse to see that his brand of thinking never produced any of it. Find a Conservative Imam, and you will find a man eager to convince you that Islam has been an enormously positive contributor to civilization over the centuries. But if you remind him that blind faithfulness to Islam’s Conservative philosophy had nothing to do with the various periods of (heretically liberal) Islamic glory that he is polishing up for you to admire; he may even take offense.
In every case where religious and political power intermingle the things that modern world civilization would call progress has only come when the dominant Church(s) is(are) liberal to the point of being heretical (to the parent dogmas and doctrines), tolerant and more focused on understanding, accepting and spreading the “love behind the Law” rather than promoting a zero-tolerance attitude regarding adherence to the “Letter of the Law.”
But only stagnation and decay ensue when the Churches are conservative and cling to a memory, or fictitious ideal, of “the way it should be.”
It should be noted that Conservative religious thought can have a greatly positive influence on society but, that usually the effects remain chiefly negative.
Witness: the defense of slavery, and the stances of “Godly” preachers and priests against child labor laws, and minority civil rights laws.
Witness: the attempts at forced, coerced and violent conversions directed at any people of another religion that are under the influence of a politicized religion (theocracies, inquisitions, shari’a states).
We all admit that Conservatism isdesigned to be highly successful at keeping the wheels of a society turning. Who but a fool will deny that there is a true virtue most times in maintaining most of the status quo; Leftists take note of the qualifications and keep your straw men to yourselves – I am not Christian, and never have been a Republican, or supporter of either Bush.
But, it also must be admitted that Conservative governments and organizations have a poor track record when attempting to grease those wheels, to make accommodation for the fact that seems “odd“, “weird“, “different” to the average mind; whether the ideas are good ones or not!
When the going gets rough or to be a creative inspiration for the people who bear the main burdens of pushing the cart of civilization further, faster and safer than our ancestors ever believed it could go Conservatives can be of more a drag chain when they should be acting like the regenerative brakes that go with a hybrid engine.
Conservative ideology certainly does not allow real flaws in the basic social system to be changed without a protracted, and often ugly, fight with the liberal mindset who are busy finding things that are not really broken to make into really nasty situations with well-meaning new laws and more, and more, and more tension from enforcement, and less and less elbow room for the well-intentioned citizen just trying to get along and improve their lives.
Without a Liberal element in society, one that has enough influence to smack the current bosses on the head now and then but, not enough to dominate society a person lives in what is at best a well upholstered slave camp destined to fade into the dust of history.
Without a Conservative element at the core to give perspective and balance a people will… well, just look at the aftermath of every single revolution in the past – the American revolution was actually a colony revolt – it was an independently evolving, functioning society that broke away from the parent nation/culture rather than an indigenous movement to topple all the central power structures and replace them ad hoc with unproven or dis-proven but, “much better” institutions; not long after they succeed the real bloodshed is just beginning!
Who was it again that decreed with proven ‘Holy Authority‘ that all human problems can, and may, only be solved by a totally Left-wing or totally Right-wing ideology? When did admitting that your Party’s platform cannot solve all problems if followed by “good” people?
The voting public needs to take off their trendy, strait-jackets/sheep-outfits, grow up, and look at reality – of the real kind, rather than the oh-so-importantly-unimportant political sort – and then find the ideal solutions, not the solutions that serve your political tribe while walking over everyone else’s Lives’, Liberties, and frantic Pursuits of Happiness.
This, Virginia, is why I do not put any great weight on my own ordination; any fool can be ordained and seeking God has nothing to do with it; witness the blatant bearing of false witness to further a political agenda exercised by this so-called minister. Here a so called minister of God is even bearing false witness against his own religion, if you can believe it!
Here we have an analysis of the ranting’s of one Charles Kimball, the director of Religious Studies at the University of Oklahoma and a Baptist minister regarding the culpability of Christians and Christianity for the Oslo massacre and bombing by mass murderer (alleged, I think we are supposed to say Virginia) Anders Breivik.
The horrific events in Norway this past weekend provide yet another powerful teachable moment in the ongoing and increasingly dangerous saga of religion becoming lethal.
I can’t imagine how. Unless the good reverend’s point is somehow that the actions of non-Christian religious folk caused Breivik to snap I don’t see the point. Breivik very pointedly explained that he was not, would not be, and did not recommend being a religious Christian; to him “Christian” seems to be no more than a catch-all term for non-Muslim of European culture! He also never used Christian theology in his writings to base his actions upon.
Indeed it would be hard to find any Christian “church” today, anywhere, that would be able to propound a theology based in the teachings of Jesus that would support the killing of anyone merely to make a point, let alone try to justify the slaughter of children to make said point. Even Fred Phelps and his sad band of haters do not promote violence, other than making decent people wish for an excuse to righteously kick their asses. Sadly, Phelps and Co. have been too clever so far to give the rest of us an excuse to use our laws to put them away… This is the price you pay for freedom.
Reality aside, facts aside, respect for his own religion and co-religionists aside, the good Rev. wants to use this as a teaching moment. Such aggressive compassion surely must be a good thing, right, Virginia? Right?
The murderous rampage by Anders Behring Breivik brings several important lessons more clearly into view.
Indeed, it does, but not in the way you seem to feel, Sir!
First, religion is an extraordinarily powerful and pervasive force in human society. Throughout history, people within various religions have been motivated to their highest and noblest best actions. At the same time, some of the worst things human beings have done to one another have been done in the name of or justified by religion. Religion is a powerful force inspiring constructive and destructive behavior among believers.
Right, but what does this have to do with a man, Breivik, who justified his evil with secular arguments, and did not use any religion’s message or theology to base his horror upon?
Second, we live in a world with many weapons of mass destruction. Quite apart from the horrors associated with chemical, nuclear or biological weapons, we now know that a devious plan can utilize automatic weapons, fertilizer, box knives and commercial airplanes as weapons of mass destruction. Attacking a summer camp for youth vividly reminds us that there are many ways people bent on doing great harm can accomplish their goal.
As far as I can tell that last paragraph was no more than background music for an ongoing apologia for the “free speech is good, but it can go too far” crowd who equate free speech with inoffensive (to them) speech.
Third, we now know with certainty that it doesn’t take many people to wreak havoc on a wide scale. Breivik may have acted alone or within a small circle of cohorts, as did Timothy McVeigh. Nineteen men carried out the attacks of Sept. 11. Small numbers of zealots who are convinced they know what God wants for them and for everyone else are capable of almost anything.
Notice how the oh, so honest Revd. throws in McVeigh, another secular terrorist who explicitly rejected any theological grounds for his crimes against humanity to balance the unarguably theocratic 9/11 terrorists, among others too numerous to count. What this compulsion he shares with other Leftists, to beat his breast and declare “We are just as bad!” instead of solving the problems, is all about is simply beyond me.
I can’t think of any modern religious terror committed by other than lone madmen at all except for the Islamic kind… Even the Irish terrorists who divided on religious lines never used Christianity to justify what they did, nor did the clergy in any way justify or support them, in fact for the most part they were Marxists whom the local Catholic clergy would not trust any more than they would Protestants!! The same can be said about abortion clinic bombers, they are lone wolves and, are not backed up by mainstream theology or communities in any way.
Not surprisingly, many preachers and pundits who have spewed hateful rhetoric and fanned the flames of Islamophobia are now scrambling to disassociate themselves, their published statements about Islam and Muslims, and what some call “true” Christianity from the actions of Breivik.
No my dear wolf in minister’s clothing, you are the one who is scrambling to tar innocent people with the taint of Breivik’s evil in order to further your own agenda That is the very epitome of bearing false witness against your neighbor! I highly doubt even one of the people you seek to demonize ever called for violence against Muslims in any way; certainly none of the “influential” ones have; they certainly did not promote violence against the enablers of Islamism, which seems to be what Breivik thought he was doing in the dark buzzing cloud pretending to be his soul. At the same time, others quoted by Breivik have promoted violent and totalitarian schemes… but they are never mentioned by the oh, so righteous Reverend.
But words matter. Examine the path taken by violent extremists claiming inspiration from Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism or Buddhism and you can trace connections with the fiery rhetoric of influential, sometimes self-appointed leaders in madrasas, in books, at religious rallies, on websites and the like. There are consequences when cocksure Christians or Muslim militants proclaim God’s truth while stoking fear of the “other” in the minds of their would-be followers.
Here “Rev.” Kimball is bending over backwards until his spine snaps to attempt to “level the playing field” between Islam and other religions when it comes to directly inspiring violence. He fails to make his case. Show me the violent Christian, Jewish or Buddhist movement, in the lifetime of this nation, that was encouraged by “fiery rhetoric” from “influential” books, churches, synagogues and leaders? Can you think of any in the last two hundred years? I can’t, just a handful of nutjobs who are universally excoriated by their own co-religionists. No-one complained about what kind of burial Jim Jones got, no Christian thought it important how a lunatic mass murderer should be buried!
Meanwhile, the good reverend goes back to his “free speech isbad in the wrong hands” theme. The wrong hands here of course being hands that are possessed by someone who disagrees with the enlightened view of Revd. Kimball.
While there are no easy answers or simple solutions, there are constructive ways to move forward in our increasingly interconnected and interdependent world community. It begins with education.
Study programs in schools and colleges, churches, mosques and synagogues are essential. Interfaith dialogue and engagement with people of different religious and cultural backgrounds are invaluable ways to dispel generic fears and help humanize the “other.” All across the U.S., Christians, Muslims and Jews are working together to build Habitat for Humanity houses and work on common problems such as crime and drug abuse within their communities. These kinds of intentional efforts at education and cooperation are vital at the local, national and international level. We need more and more such endeavors in the U.S., not only for the well-being of our communities, but also as a way to model the kind of healthy religious pluralism our future requires.
The truly sad part about Kimball’s misguided view is that the above actions are not being done, and never will be done by the kinds of religious extremists he worries about; not the handful of Christian ones and, not the thousands upon thousands of Muslim ones. At most they will use such activities as a smokescreen while they pursue their theocratic agenda’s unmolested. I can only assume that either Mr. Kimball’s seminary did not offer a real course in history or, that he flunked it.
He also seems to be guilty of the sin of Liberal Racism. To that mindset the “underclasses” of past racist philosophies have not vanished, they are poor, helpless children that must take under protection, for their own good.
Because they are “of the oppressed”, a state of permanent victimhood, their actions do not make a difference compared to the actions of the evil, dominant White Man from Europe and America that is Kimball’s real devil, and God.
He will never compare the fruit of Muslim and Christian fairly, because then he would be forced to speak of Islam (from the perspective of any devout Christian clergyman) as a religion that might stem from God but, that has been mired for most of its existence in a theo/political system of worldly evil.
The path to a more hopeful and healthy future also requires people of faith and goodwill to speak out clearly and directly against extremists of all stripes.
I can’t argue with that. That is what the Heretics Crusade is.
Although most of us were taught by our parents not to talk about religion or politics in public, the stakes today are far too high for deferential silence or casual indifference. Ignorance is not bliss; silence is proving deadly.
Once again, I agree, I don’t think anyone reasonable would try. But, that is not the pitch, that is just the windup with a lean to the left to imply a slider, this next bit is the pitch; a spitball, knuckleball covered in tar.
Just as many people continue to call on Muslims to speak out forcefully and unambiguously against violence and extremism, so too must Christians and Jews openly challenge those who advocate extremism and foster hatred in the name of religion. This means, for example, naming names and identifying the theological and political positions of Jewish fundamentalists and Muslim extremists who block potential paths to peace in Israel/Palestine.
The problem with this little gem is that the Jewish and Christian communities in this country as a whole have always stood against anyone who used violence and extremism to advance or defend their faiths! It has been held a virtual truth that to do so is to abrogate that faith entirely!
Just what more is it that they are supposed to do when the mainstream Islamic community complains about how Osama Bin Laden was buried after assuring us for years that he was not a “real Muslim”?
For me, as a follower of Jesus and a Christian minister, it means strongly disagreeing with TV preachers with political clout such as John Hagee and Rod Parsley. They have every right to espouse their religious and political worldviews. But their ill-informed and hateful rhetoric about Islam and Muslims, as well as their certainty that Jesus will be arriving in the next couple of weeks, has very real consequences.
That is nice Chuck, when are you going to do it? This whole piece reads like it is aimed against free speech and, to me, seems to be intended to gently brush Oslo/Breivik tar on anti-Jihadist bloggers and writers who have never propounded, or invoked, an ideology of violence; yet gives a pass to Breivik “inspiring” figures and writers (in his own words) who happen to be on your side of the war in your mind. You haven’t even given us a clear idea of just what they say that you oppose! If that last paragraph was really the point of your post then, I have to say I think your point fell flat.
The mind-boggling terrorism manifest in Norway will continue to provide hard but important lessons about the dangers all around us and the need to find more constructive ways to move forward in the 21st century. It is a stark reminder that we share a fragile planet where ignorance, hate and fear can link easily with religious worldviews and produce horrific consequences.
Yes Virginia, the world is a dangerous place, especially if you equate the evil acts of lone scumbags with the evil acts of organized and ideologically driven scumbags who are numerous and active instead of isolated and sporadic.
Here is a nice bit of news from the New York Times about a corporation often thought to be on the wrong side of the equation:
Microsoft Expands Effort to Protect Nonprofits
By CLIFFORD J. LEVY
MOSCOW — Microsoft is vastly expanding its efforts to prevent governments from using software piracy inquiries as a pretext to suppress dissent. It plans to provide free software licenses to more than 500,000 advocacy groups, independent media outlets and other nonprofit organizations in 12 countries with tightly controlled governments, including Russia and China.
With the new program in place, authorities in these countries would have no legal basis for accusing these groups of installing pirated Microsoft software.
Microsoft began overhauling its antipiracy policy after The New York Times reported last month that private lawyers retained by the company had often supported law enforcement officials in Russia in crackdowns on outspoken advocacy groups and opposition newspapers.
This has to be the best Latma video yet! What happened to the video “confiscated: by the IDF that al-Jazeera shot? It was too embarassing to the “activists” so they pretend that it is still under wraps..see why here…
I think that in the end Obama will make G.W. look like the best thing since sliced bread BUT, I remember when talk radio was a place where you could LEARN about things and THINK about them, not just gulp down some predigested, group-thunked, sheeple fodder from BOTH sides!
Keeping media free and objective is one of the MOST important ways we can protect our entire society, on both sides!
And while we are at it let’s go back and beef up the media ownership rules! NO individual or corporate entity should be allowed to own more than ONE outlet of each media type in any one locale.
The only folks who do NOT support that idea are the very ones who seek to under abuse">abuse the concept and impose their mindset on the masses merely by buying enough "airtime" to drown out other voices!
Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion and the Free Press all seem to be under assault in the West. Progressives and Totalitarians are moving to put Free Speech in chains. No country in the West is immune to their attacks.
From Vienna to Venice Beach we see Socialists, Marxists and Islamists moving to eliminate freedom of speech, religion and the press under the cover of “tolerance” and “multiculturalism”. With many Western leaders complacent or complicit it is past time for a light to shine on this agenda.
Even the U.S. President seems to have been seduced by this movement and its slippery logic. NBC’s Savannah Guthrie interviewed the man to whom Americans look to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States”.
Savannah Guthrie: “…do you think it is appropriate for the White House to say what is or what is not a news organization?”
Obama: ”I think that, understandably since you are in the news business, this is something you are very interested in. I think the American People are a lot more interested in what we are doing to create jobs or how we are handling the situation in Afghanistan.”
S.G.: “Fair enough …but your advisors raised this issue.”
Obama: ”well no, the, uh, I think that what our advisors have simply said is that we are going to take, uh, media as it comes. And if media is basically operating as a “Talk Radio” format then that is one thing, if it is operating as a news outlet that’s another. But it is not something that I am losing sleep over.”
Let us translate the President’s political speech into plain English with the SpinTron 3000 running Kumquat’s iPolitician 2.0 so that we may react to his unfiltered ideas.
iObama: ”I think that, understandably since you are in the [Free Press], [government suppression of dissenting press] is something you are very interested in. I think the American People are a lot more interested in what we are doing [ to pretend] to create jobs or how we are [avoiding] handling the situation in Afghanistan.”
iGuthrie: “[Cool with me boss.] …but your advisors [initiated] this [confrontation and blacklisting].”
iObama: “NO, [o.k. yes, but the reasons WHY make it ok] we are going to take, uh, media as it comes. And if media is basically operating as a [“Free Opposition Press”] format then that [puts them on our black-list], if it is operating as a [“properly deferential” Free Press] that’s [allowable]. But it is not something [my agenda will stumble] over.
No Savannah, not fair or enough. Did no one teach Mr. Obama about Thomas Jefferson? Expedience and politics are no substitute for integrity and the Constitution.
Jefferson: “The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”
“Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.”
“The functionaries of every government have propensities to command at will the liberty and property of their constituents. There is no safe deposit for these but with the people themselves, nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free, and every man able to read, all is safe.”
“I am… for freedom of the press, and against all violations of the Constitution to silence by force and not by reason the complaints or criticisms, just or unjust, of our citizens against the conduct of their agents.”
“The only security of all is in a free press. The force of public opinion cannot be resisted when permitted freely to be expressed. The agitation it produces must be submitted to. It is necessary, to keep the waters pure.”
How long will it be before President Obama’s naïve introduction of the Orwellian concept of a media blacklist leads to the silencing of not just networks but individual outlets and citizens who fear to anger “The State”?
Already the White House’s chill on the Free Press has produced frost damage. “Journalists” from the middle to the left of the spectrum are voicing their approval of the president’s declaring war on Conservative media. Dan Rather of HD-Net is on record saying the tactic:
Time and time again we are told that Free Speech means nothing if it does not allow unpopular opinions to be heard. I do not think there is much doubt what the likes of Jefferson, Franklin, Paine and Locke would have to say about what is happening in the White House today.
Regardless of the Party in office this is an issue that strikes at the heart of all American freedoms. It is past time for Americans to start standing up for what they believe. For my closing I will again turn to Thomas Jefferson, the most passionate Moderate politician in American history.
“To preserve the freedom of the human mind… and freedom of the press, every spirit should be ready to devote itself to martyrdom; for as long as we may think as we will and speak as we think, the condition of man will proceed in improvement.” Thomas Jefferson to William Green Munford, 1799.”