Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – “I’m shocked, shocked…..”

(addendum: unsurprisingly, we have some of those “shocked” people now insisting that Trump is perfectly fine now, including a number of pastors.  Thanks folks, nothing like showing the religious right is simply cowards and hypocrites)

“I’m shocked, shocked that gambling is going on in here.”

“Your winnings, sir.”

Just finished watching CBS Sunday Morning, where it had Ben Stein being just as sincere as Captain Renault in his indignation about how bad Donald Trump is. Ben Stein, as a lot of you know, is the same fellow who was involved with the nonsense “Expelled” about creationism in schools.

He’s just the latest in a long line of Republicans who are now condemning Trump, despite having no problem with Trump saying things about women, immigrants, Mexicans, veterans, etc, all disgusting and all lies. We have two choices in what they say here: it’s just hypocrisy, or it is people who made a terrible choice and now have finally come to their senses, and it took Trump touting how great sexual assault is to do it. Neither conclusion reflects well on these people, but if it is the second, at least they did come to their senses, like Captain Renault does in Casablanca.

Of course we still have Republicans who are saying that what Trump says is just fine, including people who self-describe as conservative Christians. They say that their god is using Trump. Well, if this god can’t come up with a better tool than Trump, then it isn’t much of a god, is it?

Trump apologized for something 11 years ago. And never once changed his actions or his words in those intervening 11 years right up to now, consistently treating women, and everyone else, like the bully he is. There is no reason to accept the crocodile’s tears.

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Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – beating back the theocrats again, Pennsylvania

control-of-the-Republican-party-and-theyre-sure-trying-to-do-so-its-going-to-be-a-terrible-damn-problem_-Frankly-these-people-frighten-me_-Barry-GoldwaterHere, in my lovely home state of Pennsylvania, the PA House of Representatives has been sued by some residents for not allowing a secular e.g. non-theist based invocation before the body. The suit, brought by Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, American Atheists, and members of various local groups here in PA, is brought because the PA HR has refused to allow a secular invocation.

The US Supreme Court decided in 1983 that bodies like the PA HR can start their business with an invocation, so this is not to stop invocations. It is to stand up for equal representation, requiring such bodies to acknowledge that not only their pet religion be allowed to stand up in front of them and be counted. The PA Senate allowed a secular invocation, but the House is notoriously conservative and goes out of its way to advocate for Christian, and Christian only, legislation like requiring In God We Trust be in public schools, that the Bible be the official book, and other theocratic nonsense. That is not to say every House member is a wannabe theocrat but a large number of them are.

Now, the invocations that are proposed are to follow. My question to my theist readers is why this should not be allowed? Why would a house member (unsurprisingly a Republican and the Speaker) hide behind this?

“Nowhere [in the Supreme Court decision of Greece v. Galloway] did we see any language which would require legislative bodies to allow nonbelievers to address the opening of legislative bodies in lieu of an opening prayer by a regular chaplain. It is our opinion, that while the Court encouraged a diversity of prayer givers, we do not believe that government bodies are required to allowed non-adherents or nonbelievers the opportunity to serve as chaplains.”

And why do the leaders of the HR try to use security to force obedience to their religion: Continue reading

What the Boss Likes – My own set of predictions

Hey, we have prophets from all sides, so why not an atheist. 

My predictions: 

Obama will win. Barely.  

The evangelical, aka Protestant-type, Christians will take a fit and declare that they were “Duped, duped!” by a Mormon and a Roman Catholic.  There will be much made about 2012 and the end of the world.

We’ll see if I fare any better than the polls or the prayerful. 😀

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Billy Graham, political shill

Billy Graham, just one more liar for Christ

Blog posts about this are a dime a dozen, but I wanted to document that the Harrisburg paper has hopefully the last screed by a scared old man who  wants to play pretend that he and only he knows what his imaginary friend wants.  Billy Graham, anti-semite and self-annointed prophet (he was sure that by 1952, his god would return, oops) and determiner of which religions are “cults” and which are not, has decided to try to scare everyone into voting for his choice for president.  No matter that Mitt Romney is part of a cult, as declared by Mr. Graham himself, he’s still the person that Mr. Graham wants as president of the United States.   Again, like in my post here, we can see that some Christians are willing to do anything, including ignore their own version of their own religion if that means they might get more power in the US.  In Billy’s own words:A cult is any group which teaches doctrines or beliefs that deviate from the biblical message of the Christian faith. It is very important that we recognize cults and avoid any involvement with them. Cults often teach some Christian truth mixed with error, which may be difficult to detect.….

Some of these groups are Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, the Unification Church, Unitarians, Spiritists, Scientologists, and others.”

Now the word “Mormons” is gone.  Unforunately for Billy, he, his god, and webpage staff still don’t know html very well and his website still has it as a keyword that’ll lead you right to those culty pages.  Hmmm, I wonder, are they keeping the search terms hot since they are sure that they’ll go right back to hating Mormonism again as soon as Romney loses???

Mr. Graham’s message reads as follows here in PA:

“Vote Biblical Values, Tuesday, November 6, 2012 – The legacy we leave behind for our children, grandchildren and this great nation is crucial. As I approach my 94th birthday, I realize this election could be my last.  I believe it is vitally important that we cast our ballots for candidates who base their decisions on biblical principles and support the nation of Israel. I urge you to support those who protect the sanctity of life and support the biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman. Vote for biblical values this November 6 and pray with me that America will remain one nation under God.”

Now, we see that Billy has his own ideas what the bible really says about various things.  He shows his unfortunate willful ignorance about what his bible actually says and it isn’t what he claims.  You’d think someone who has been a pastor so long would be a bit more honest, but as anyone who has gone to more than one church and heard more than one pastor or priest, these “good Christians” don’t often agree on what they claim their god “really” wants.   Shall we listen to Billy or the Unitarians (whoops, one of those *cults* just like Mormonism ) or the United Church of Christ? Who else does Billy want to call a cult? Seems that it simply comes down to “those who don’t agree with him and send him money”.

The bible does have a lot of laws e.g. principles.  It declares that genocide if okay if its claimed that this Judeo/Christian god is for it. It says that killing people who do not believe in this god is perfectly fine and demands that it is done, even to family members.  Does Billy want this done? Continue reading

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Corbett still desperately looking for voter fraud, recruiting citizens to report on their neighbors

And when you don’t think that politicians in Pennsylvania could get any worse, they suprise you again. Now, we have a website, courtsey of Governor Corbett and Secretary Aichele, that encourages you to report your neighbors if you think that they are committing voter fraud.

Yes, since Corbett has been shown wrong repeatedly in his support of the passage of legislation based on nonsense claiming wide spread voter fraud in PA, he now wants Pennsylvania citizens to report on their neighbors if they *think* that someone is committing voter fraud. No evidence needed, only someone’s accusation. This then could supposedly be followed up by your local election board or district attorney; there is no guarantee that anything will be done. Again, we see the attempt to gin up fear and suspicion rather than fixing the real problems of Pennsylvania.

The text of the first page of the website is below. They do warn you that by merely being on this site, you have agreed to be monitored. I don’t suggest going out there: https://www.pavoterservices.state.pa.us/Pages/ReportElectionComplaints.aspx. I did because I think it’s worth it to report on such things.  There is no need for capturing the isp information *if* they have a form for those who really are reporting. Why do they want to track everyone who comes to this website? It also makes little sense to limit this reporting to only registered voters.  What is the point in that?  The Department of State has no authority in enforcement, so why are they trying to make themselves the middleman in all of this?

I removed the reporting form in the center, only keeping the text.  It does make it clear that using this form is illegal if you are lying, but it does nothing in preventing the time and resources of the state from being wasted.

“Welcome to the Pennsylvania Department of State’s voter complaint site.

Fair and honest elections are the foundation of our republic, and everyone must take responsibility for helping to ensure the integrity of the process. With this in mind, we encourage voters who may be aware of election fraud or irregularities in Pennsylvania to report them.

This online election complaint form is provided for registered voters in Pennsylvania to submit a complaint to the voter’s county board of elections and/or district attorney. The site is managed by the Pennsylvania Department of State, which oversees elections in Pennsylvania. However, the Department of State has no authority to investigate or prosecute alleged election law violations.

Information submitted with this complaint will be forwarded to the appropriate authorities for possible use in future investigations and/or prosecutions.

 Notice: This website monitors and captures ISP information. By visiting this site, you consent to such monitoring.

You MUST be a Registered Voter: You must be registered to vote in Pennsylvania to file a complaint. Therefore, the name and address information provided below will be checked against Pennsylvania’s statewide voter registration database to verify your voter registration. To submit a complaint, make sure your name and address information is the same as that on your voter registration record.

The information submitted below, including your personal information and details of your complaint, will be forwarded to a county board of elections and/or the district attorney for the county in which the incident being described occurred. Therefore, you may be contacted in the future by the county board of elections and/or district attorney for more information regarding the complaint you submit today.

Note: Any information that is voluntarily submitted via our online databases is collected, utilized, and maintained by the Department for the express purpose of referring complaints to the appropriate county board of elections and/or the district attorney. The disclosure of information provided with the online complaint system is voluntary; however, failing to provide certain information may result in the complaint not being appropriately filed. The confidentiality of the complaint information you provide may be affected by state laws, and as such, we cannot guarantee that your complaint information will remain confidential.

If you choose to file a complaint using the online system, you do so voluntarily and acknowledge that all information will be disseminated to a county board of elections and/or district attorney, which may or may not take action on the complaint you reported. The Department does not have authority to conduct investigations into these matters and the Department does not participate in the decisions regarding which complaints may be investigated. Therefore, the Department cannot make any representations or guarantees either express or implied as to the action that may or may not be taken on any complaint filed with the online system.”

First we have the attempts to require one’s “papers” in order to vote. Now we have citizens being asked to watch each other.  Both are very effective techniques in controlling people.  I wonder what is next.  It seems that for all of the claims that President Obama is a fascist or a communist, it’s the theocrats in the Republican party that try to use those regimes’ toolbox.

 

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – TANSTAAFL, FDR and poltics today

Sometimes it’s rather disturbing to see just how accurate George Santayana was when he said “Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – Reason in Common Sense. 

However, humans being humans, we run from extreme to extreme, always sure that it won’t be the same as before and the promises made *this time* will be kept.  We don’t remember the past, that extremes always have their faults and that fanatacism has yet to be shown a good thing. Another quote from Santayana, “Fanaticism consists in redoubling your efforts when you have forgotten your aim.”

 On a recent episode of The Daily Show, Jon Stewart showed a clip of Franklin Delano Roosevelt giving a speech at the 1936 New York Democratic State Convention.  And it’s spooky on just how much it applies now.

And no, I am not trying to say that President Obama is another FDR, though people back then hated FDR as much as they hate him now.  Obama is *anything* but perfect. What I am saying is that Romney and Ryan are indeed those who are saying (of course depending on the day and audience):  
“Of course we believe all these things; we believe in social security; we believe in work for the unemployed; we believe in saving homes. Cross our hearts and hope to die, we believe in all these things; but we do not like the way the present Administration is doing them. Just turn them over to us. We will do all of them- we will do more of them we will do them better; and, most important of all, the doing of them will not cost anybody anything.” – spoken with much sarcasm and laughter by FDR http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N3aO_s0Yuv8 

There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.  No matter what the “math” Ryan claims he has (and refuses to show), someone’s paying for the tax cuts and the military increases. Who is it?   I’m sure someone will point to social programs as being “free lunches” but are they?  We support the hungry and helpless, the sick, injured and poor.  We benefit from them improving their lot so they might contribute to society, the person on food stamps that is working poor doing jobs many of us would not like, the solider injured in war so they can work again or at least be compensated for their sacrifice (again doing a job that many do not like), etc.   Our social net is the definite example of how there *is* no such thing as a free lunch,  since we cannot expect a free lunch on the backs of those people.  Slavery and the discarding of people to whom we have a debt happily is not part of the American ideal, at least not the ideal that I know.

Here’s the whole speech lest anyone fuss about “context”: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=15142  It’s long.  FDR sure could talk.  The following are the parts I found most interesting.

“In the spring of 1933 we faced a crisis which was the ugly fruit of twelve years of neglect of the causes of economic and social unrest. It was a crisis made to order for all those who would overthrow our form of government. Do I need to recall to you the fear of those days—the reports of those who piled supplies in their basements, who laid plans to get their fortunes across the border, who got themselves hideaways in the country against the impending upheaval? Do I need to recall the law-abiding heads of peaceful families, who began to wonder, as they saw their children starve, how they would get the bread they saw in the bakery window? Do I need to recall the homeless boys who were traveling in bands through the countryside seeking work, seeking food —desperate because they could find neither? Do I need to recall the farmers who banded together with pitchforks to keep the sheriff from selling the farm home under foreclosure? Do I need to recall the powerful leaders of industry and banking who came to me in Washington in those early days of 1933 pleading to be saved?

Most people in the United States remember today the fact that starvation was averted, that homes and farms were saved, that banks were reopened, that crop prices rose, that industry revived, and that the dangerous forces subversive of our form of government were turned aside.

A few people- a few only—unwilling to remember, seem to have forgotten those days.

In the summer of 1933, a nice old gentleman wearing a silk hat fell off the end of a pier. He was unable to swim. A friend ran down the pier, dived overboard and pulled him out; but the silk hat floated off with the tide. After the old gentleman had been revived, he was effusive in his thanks. He praised his friend for saving his life. Today, three years later, the old gentleman is berating his friend because the silk hat was lost. Continue reading