“The notion of a rigid separation between church and state has no basis in either the text of the Constitution or the writings of our Founding Fathers. On the contrary, our Founders’ political views were strongly informed by their religious beliefs. Certainly the drafters of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, both replete with references to God, would be aghast at the federal government’s hostility to religion. The establishment clause of the First Amendment was simply intended to forbid the creation of an official state church like the Church of England, not to drive religion out of public life. The Founding Fathers envisioned a robustly Christian yet religiously tolerant America, with churches serving as vital institutions that would eclipse the state in importance. Throughout our nation’s history, churches have done what no government can ever do, namely teach morality and civility. Moral and civil individuals are largely governed by their own sense of right and wrong, and hence have little need for external government. This is the real reason the collectivist Left hates religion: Churches as institutions compete with the state for the people’s allegiance, and many devout people put their faith in God before putting their faith in the state. Knowing this, the secularists wage an ongoing war against religion, chipping away bit by bit at our nation’s Christian heritage. Christmas itself may soon be a casualty of that war.”—
“As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen,—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.”
I don’t understand this man at all. He’s become something of a Libertarian poster boy over the last 10 years or so, but then he comes out and says blatantly anti-Libertarian things like this. I don’t think this man himself knows what’s going on in his teeny tiny little pinhead.
In 2010, Rethink Afghanistan created a tool on [Facebook] that allowed you to re-spend, as you saw fit, the trillion dollars in tax money that had, by that point, been spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I clicked to add various items to my “shopping cart” and then checked to see what I’d acquired. I was able to hire every worker in Afghanistan for a year at $12 billion, build 3 million affordable housing units in the United States for $387 billion, provide healthcare for a million average Americans for $3.4 billion and for a million children at $2.3 billion.
Still within the $1 trillion limit, I managed to also hire a million music/arts teachers for a year for $58.5 billion, and a million elemtary school teachers for a year for $61.1 billion. I also placed a million kids in Head Start for a year for $7.3 billion. Then I gave 10 million students a one-year university scholarship for $79 billion. Finally, I decided to provide 5 million residences with renewable energy for $4.8 billion. Convinced I’d exceeded my spending limits, I proceeded to the shopping cart, only to be advised:
‘You still have $384.5 billion to spare.’
A trillion dollars sure does go a long way when you don’t have to kill anybody.
It all makes one wonder though, are the people who make these decisions trying to make things worse? If so, what’s their reason for doing so? Is there a plan here? You can say I’m paranoid but they just keep piling it on. I have a hard time believing that everyone in our government is stupid enough to think that this kind of thing is helping the average American. They must be doing it on purpose.
1 If Humans Came From Apes, Why Aren’t Apes Evolving Into Humans?
Humans, apes, and monkeys are only distant evolutionary “cousins.” We come not from apes but from a common ancestor that was neither ape nor human that lived millions of years in the past. In fact, during the last seven million years many human-like species have evolved; some examples include Homo habilis, Homo erectus, and Homo neanderthalensis. All of these went extinct at different times, leaving just us to share the planet with a handful of other primates.
2 There Are Too Many Gaps in the Fossil Record for Evolution to Be True
In fact, there are lots of intermediate fossils. Archaeopteryx, for example, is one of the earliest known fossil birds with a reptilian skeleton and feathers. There is now evidence that some dinosaurs had hair and feathers. Therapsids are the intermediates between reptiles and mammals, Tiktaalik is an extinct lobe-finned fish intermediate to amphibians, there are now at least six intermediate fossil stages in the evolution of whales, and in human evolution there are at least a dozen intermediate fossil stages since hominids branched off from the great apes six million years ago. Considering the exceptionally low probability that a dead plant or animal will fossilize it is remarkable we have as many fossils as we do. First the dead animal has to escape the jaws of scavengers. Then is has to be buried under the rare circumstances that will cause it to fossilize instead of decay. Then geological forces have to somehow bring the fossil back to the surface to be discovered millions of years later by the handful of paleontologists looking for them
3 If Evolution Happened Gradually Over Millions of Years Why Doesn’t the Fossil Record Show Gradual Change?
Sudden changes in the fossil record are not missing evidence of gradualism; they are extant evidence of punctuation. Species are stable over long periods of time and so they leave plenty of fossils in the strata while in their stable state. The change from one species to another, however, happens relatively quickly (on a geological time scale) in a process called punctuated equilibrium. One species can give rise to a new species when a small “founder” group breaks away and becomes isolated from the ancestral group. This new founder group, as long as it remains small and detached, may experience relatively rapid change (large populations are genetically stable). The speciational change happens so rapidly that few fossils are left to record it. But once changed into a new species, the individuals will retain their phenotype for a long time, leaving behind many well-preserved fossils. Millions of years later this process results in a fossil record that records mostly stability. The punctuation is there in between the equilibrium.
4 No One Has Ever Seen Evolution Happen
Evolution is a historical science confirmed by the fact that so many independent lines of evidence converge to this single conclusion. Independent sets of data from geology, paleontology, botany, zoology, biogeography, comparative anatomy and physiology, genetics, molecular biology, developmental biology, embryology, population genetics, genome sequencing, and many other sciences each point to the conclusion that life evolved. Creationists demand “just one fossil transitional form” that shows evolution. But evolution is not proved through a single fossil. It is proved through a convergence of fossils, along with a convergence of genetic comparisons between species, and a convergence of anatomical and physiological comparisons between species, and many other lines of inquiry. (In fact we can see evolution happen—especially among organisms with short reproductive cycles that are subject to extreme environmental pressures. Knowledge of the evolution of viruses and bacteria is vital to medical science.)
5 Science Claims That Evolution Happens by Random Chance
Natural selection is not “random” nor does it operate by “chance.” Natural selection preserves the gains and eradicates the mistakes. To illustrate this, imagine a monkey at a typewriter. In order for the monkey to type the first 13 letters of Hamlet’s soliloquy by chance, it would take 26 (to the 13th power) number of trials for success. This is 16 times as great as the total number of seconds that have elapsed in the lifetime of the solar system. But if each correct letter is preserved and each incorrect letter eradicated, the phrase “tobeornottobe” can be “selected for” in only 335 trials, or just seconds in a computer program. Richard Dawkins defines evolution as “random mutation plus nonrandom cumulative selection.” It is the cumulative selection that drives evolution. The eye evolved from a single, light sensitive spot in a cell into the complex eye of today not by chance, but through thousands of intermediate steps, each preserved because they made a better eye. any of these steps still exist in nature in simpler organisms.
6 Only an Intelligent Designer Could Have Made Something as Complex as an Eye
The anatomy of the human eye shows that it is anything but “intelligently designed.” It is built upside down and backwards, with photons of light having to travel through the cornea, lens, aqueous fluid, blood vessels, ganglion cells, amacrine cells, horizontal cells, and bipolar cells, before reaching the light sensitive rods and cones that convert the light signal into neural impulses, which are then sent to the visual cortex at the back of the brain for processing into meaningful patterns. For optimal vision, why would an intelligent designer have built an eye upside down and backwards? This “design” only makes sense if natural selection built eyes from available materials, and in the particular configuration of the ancestral organism’s pre-existing organic structures. The eye shows the pathways of evolutionary history, not intelligent design.
7 Evolution is Only A Theory
All branches of science are based on theories, which are grounded in testable hypothesis and explain a large and diverse body of facts about the world. A theory is considered robust if it consistently predicts new phenomena that are subsequently observed. Facts are the world’s data. Theories are explanatory ideas about those data. Constructs and other non-testable statements are not a part of science. The theory of evolution meets all the criteria of good science, as determined by Judge William Overton in the Arkansas creationism trial: • It is guided by natural law. • It has to be explanatory by reference to natural law. • It is testable against the empirical world. • Its conclusions are tentative. • It is testable and falsifiable. If you can find fossil mammals in the same geological strata as trilobites then evolution would be falsified. No one has ever found such contradictory data.
8 Evidence for Human Evolution Has Turned Out to Be Fake, Frauds, or Fanciful
Eager to discredit evolution, creationists ignore hominid fossil discoveries and cherry pick examples of hoaxes and mistakes in the belief that mistakes in science are a sign of weakness. This is a gross misunderstanding of the nature of science, which constantly advances by using both its mistakes and the successes. Its ability to build cumulatively on the past is how science progresses. The self-correcting feature of the scientific method is one of its most powerful assets. Hoaxes like Piltdown Man, and honest mistakes like Nebraska Man, Calaveras Man, and Hespero-pithecus, are, in time, corrected. In fact, it wasn’t creationists who exposed these errors, it was scientists who did so. Creationists simply read about the scientific exposé of these errors, and then duplicitously claimed them as their own.
9 The Second Law of Thermodynamics Proves That Evolution is Impossible
The Second Law of Thermodynamics applies to closed, isolated systems. Since the Earth receives a constant input of energy from the sun—it is an open-dissipative system—entropy may decrease and order increase (though the sun itself is running down in the process). Thus, the Earth is not strictly a closed system and life may evolve without violating natural law. As long as the sun is burning, life may continue thriving and evolving, just like automobiles may be prevented from rusting, burgers can be heated in ovens, and all manner of things in apparent violation of Second Law entropy may continue. But as soon as the sun burns out, entropy will take its course and life on Earth will cease.
10 Evolution Can’t Account For Morality
As a social primate species we evolved a deep sense of right and wrong in order to accentuate and reward reciprocity and cooperation, and to attenuate and punish excessive selfishness and free riding. As well, evolution created the moral emotions that tell us that lying, adultery, and stealing are wrong because they destroy trust in human relationships that depend on truth-telling, fidelity, and respect for property. It would not be possible for a social primate species to survive without some moral sense. On the constitution of human nature is built the constitutions of human societies.
Did you know that teachers, firemen, police, office workers, IT professionals and mail carriers aren’t actually doing a “real” job?
That’s according to Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA), who told a conservative radio host recently that he’s opposing a national debt limit increase because he believes it wouldn’t affect anyone with a “real job.”
Although Republicans raised the debt limit repeatedly and with little debate under President George W. Bush, Republicans under President Barack Obama are digging in their heels and threatening to harm the global economy by forcing the U.S. to default on its debts or make significant cuts to the government’s day-to-day operations.
Some of those day-to-day operations include workers who may be deemed “non-essential”: about a quarter million of them, according to the Congressional Budget Office. But speaking to conservative talk host Martha Zoller, Broun was unfazed at all the jobs that would be lost. “Well those are gonna be government employees that are put out of work,” he said. “There are a lot of government employees that need to go find a real job!”
Failure to raise the debt limit, most experts agree, would be catastrophic to the global economy.
Hypocrisy rears its ugly head again.
Actually, it wasn’t just the Republicans who raised the debt limit during Bush’s eight years in office. Bush and the Republicans raised the debt limit four times from 2002 to 2006 and then Bush and the Democrats raised it again three more times before Obama and the Democrats raised it three times.
So in four years, the Republicans raised it four times while in the following five years the Democrats raised it six times.
Does agreeing to raise the debt limit four times, but refusing to do it now, make them hypocrites? Maybe. Or just maybe the current Republicans don’t want to repeat the same mistakes that were made in the past which did nothing but hurt our country. Maybe…just maybe…they learned from their mistakes and realized that you can’t spend your way out of debt.
I wonder what the liberal Democrats excuse for wanting to make the same failed choices is.
Prove to me that you “can’t spend your way out of debt”. That statement is a misrepresentation anyway. In periods of recession, there is no demand for goods or services from the public sector. The only entity with any way or will to spend is the government. The government can stimulate demand, which would then create jobs, putting more disposable income in the hands of more people, who then spend their money, stimulating more demand. Regardless of what you say about deficits, if there is no demand the economy will not recover. If the economy does not recover, there is less revenue (due to decreased GDP & taxes on that GDP) for the government to pay down its deficit. In other words, cutting spending without increased revenue will not work, either.
It’s not my fault if you don’t know 20th century American history. But you should probably take this opportunity to learn a little more about it, especially from 1929-1939.
Prove to me that you “can’t spend your way out of debt”.
I’m not an economics professor, so this is going to seem kind of basic, but, in a nut shell:
In January 2009, the US debt was around 9 trillion dollars. In order to ‘jump start’ our economy, get people buying/prevent business ‘too big to fail’ from going under/to ‘save or create jobs’, the administration started spending trillions of dollars through TARP and two stimulus bills. After all that, and other, spending, our debt is now right around a lowly 14 trillion dollars!!
Yeah!! That spending shot us right out of debt, didn’t it?
Here’s an idea: How about the government stop treating us like we’re idiots, stop taxing and regulating us into the poor house so that businesses have some capital to invest in their employees and business and workers actually take home what they earn..which they in turn will spend at business that aren’t charging them an arm and a leg to cover the cost of taxes, permits and other regulations…which will stimulate the economy better than a bunch of congressmen ever could.
Maybe some of my more intelligent, economy master friends could get into this more in depth since I’m just a regular guy who has nothing more than the common sense to know that I can’t lower my debt by spending money that I don’t have.
Just because the way our government tried to spend it’s way out of debt this time was seriously misdirected doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Did you take American History in high school or college? Have you heard of a little thing called “The New Deal”? If not, please do some research and then get back to me. Until then, don’t go off half-cocked because you do yourself no favors.
Megyn Kelly is badass — that guy was calling maternity leave “a racket.” He was saying women shouldn’t get paid for it, and Megyn Kelly was just like “RARRRRRRR.” Never get between a mama grizzly and her maternity leave!
She’s making quite a spirited argument: that workers are entitled to certain benefits, and that society has an interest in protecting these benefits! Which is great — and really weird, because that’s not the Fox Megyn Kelly that I thought I knew. …She used to hate entitlement programs, mandated benefits and things like that.
…You see, this is the problem with entitlements: they’re really only entitlements (to you) when it’s something other people want. When it’s something you want, they’re a hallmark of a civilized society; the foundation of a great people. “I just had a baby and found out maternity leave strengthens society! But since I still have a job, unemployment benefits (for everyone else) are really socialism.”
More simply, (plays George Carlin’s famous “Have you noticed that their stuff is ‘shit,’ and your shit is ‘stuff’?” bit). Once again, George Carlin says in a sentence what took us three-and-a-half minutes.
So either Megyn Kelly has inadvertently exposed the hypocrisy at the heart of conservative demonization of unions and the working class, or — Oh my God, it’s worse than we thought: Megyn Kelly is suffering from post-partum compassion. (Beat.) It’ll pass.
JON STEWART, on Megyn Kelly decrying a fellow conservative’s remarks calling paid maternity leave a “racket,” on The Daily Show.
There is no question that our circumstances qualify as extraordinary and demand a laserlike focus by the president on job creation. At the pace of job growth we’ve seen over the past three months, we will never, not ever, reach normal levels of employment in America again. We know now that only 58 percent of American adults are employed, the lowest number in nearly three decades. We know that, as of last month, 6.2 million Americans have been out of work for more than six months. Forty-six million Americans are on food stamps, a national record.
Awkward moment after the break, as Michele Bachmann was missing from the stage when Bret Baier tried to start things up again. She arrived in a matter of seconds, but still an odd and unhelpful moment for her.
She was in the back snorting a rail. I mean look at her eyes dude.
“I took seriously Brett’s injunction to put aside the talking points. I wish you would put aside the gotcha questions.”—
Newt Gingrich, laying into moderator Chris Wallace following a question suggesting his campaign is in disarray and tumult. Wallace shot right back following Gingrich’s rebuttal, saying “you are responsible for your record, sir.” (via shortformblog)
Any question posed to a Republican that they don’t have an easy answer for is immediately branded as a “gotcha” question.
Several other well known theologians at Christian universities have been forced out; some see a parallel to a previous time when science conflicted with religious doctrine.
“The evolution controversy today is, I think, a Galileo moment,” says Karl Giberson, who authored several books trying to reconcile Christianity and evolution, including The Language of Science and Faith, with Francis Collins.
Giberson — who taught physics at Eastern Nazarene College until his views became too uncomfortable in Christian academia — says Protestants who question Adam and Eve are akin to Galileo in the 1600s, who defied Catholic Church doctrine by stating that the earth revolved around the sun and not vice versa. Galileo was condemned by the church, and it took more than three centuries for the Vatican to express regret at its error.
“When you ignore science, you end up with egg on your face,” Giberson says. “The Catholic Church has had an awful lot of egg on its face for centuries because of Galileo. And Protestants would do very well to look at that and to learn from it.”
vruz: okay adam and eve didn’t work. let’s negotiate. we can accept that the sun doesn’t revolve around the earth and that evolution is true. can we keep our magical friend in the sky in return?
I saw a lady on the bus today reading what appeared to be a Christian magazine, and it was open to a page that said “Science and the Genesis Account”. There was apparently a whole multi-page article on it, and I remember thinking to myself, “well shit, I could write that article myself, and it would be a very short one.” So here goes:
Science and the Genesis Account:
Science and the Genesis account have nothing in common because science can be proven and the Bible is a work of fiction, adapted from the storytelling of ancient shepherds who were still afraid of the dark. If you would like to know more, look around you. Thank you.
I don’t even know what this is supposed to mean. When did Obama send Kenya $150 million? Alternatively, is it any more money than might have been sent there under George Bush (i.e.; generic foreign aid)? And really, since when is $150 million a lot of money, especially in comparison to the budgets of California and the federal government? That amount wouldn’t even begin to cover this state’s budget problems.
I wonder what it’s like to be that stupid. The world must be a very scary place for them.
“My idea is that healthcare should be at a certain level, like water and electricity. You can also say that you usually don’t choose your water supplier, no? OK, now we can play the Republican game and say, “What a horrible terror! They are depriving us of the fundamental choice to choose the water supply.” But we somehow accept that there are some things where it is much more practical that you are able to count on them. Sorry, but I gladly refuse the big freedom to choose my water supplier, the same as for electricity, although there things can get more tricky. Why not add to this series health? Europe demonstrates it can be done effectively, not to diminish our freedom, but to leave you much more space of much more greater actual freedom, and so on.”—
“We have this fantasy that our interests and the interests of the super rich are the same. Like somehow the rich will eventually get so full that they’ll explode. And the candy will rain down on the rest of us. Like there’s some kind of pinata of benevolence. But here’s the thing about a pinata: it doesn’t open on it’s own. You have to beat it with a stick.”—Bill Maher (via cheguevaraslovechild)
Splashed across the cover of this week’s Newsweek magazine is a picture of the Republican presidential candidate and Tea Party favorite Representative Michele Bachmann. Her eyes are open wide — very, very wide — focused intensely somewhere off in the distance, just a smidge too high above the camera. At the bottom of the page, floating across her torso in bold white letters, are the words “The Queen of Rage.”
Many in the [right-wing] blogosphere are not pleased…
Monday night, Newsweek responded to the controversy by posting an “outtakes” gallery on its Daily Beast Web site, showcasing other photos taken for the article. The pictures show Ms. Bachmann shaking hands with voters, standing by herself in the corner of a room and signing autographs, all with the same wide-eyed intensity as in the cover shot.
...Guys, the whole 'pray for London' thing is pissing a lot of Londoners off. I know you mean well, but seriously, I am seeing a lot of rage in reaction to this right now. Maybe tone it down for a while? From what I gather from my twitter feed, spreading your support instead of your religion is much preferred.
I don’t understand why I can’t pray for people I’m worried about, am I not aloud to practice my own religion because people are offended now? Honestly, I am so, so sorry you all have to deal with something so awful as these violent riots, but I can’t see how someone praying for you is something to get angry about.
Alright, I’m not in London myself, but here are some quotes from twitter and other social media platforms from people who are right in the middle of the rioting
“We don’t need prayers. Prayers are as useless to us as the power of rainbows. We need more police, more fire fighters, more protection. We need regular civilians to stop spectating and to get indoors. We need the people who are involved with the rioters to stand up and tell them that they need to stop. We need action. We do not need your fairytales.”
“Your support and well wishes are welcomed but please do not use the destruction of our city as a platform for your religion. We need help, we do not need prayers”.
“I’m sick of this fucking pray for London shit. You want to waste your time praying? Fine. Have at it. But don’t shove it in our faces while our homes and businesses burn.” They later went on to say- “This crap is trending worldwide on twitter right now while our city burns. While people are wasting their time praying to a sky fairy and telling me about it, my world is being shaken. Don’t they understand? My life is on FIRE and they’re talking about their merciful God.”
“I wish they would say ‘support London’ instead. This isn’t a time for religion, it’s a time for aid.”
They’re angry and they’re not religious and asking you to tone down the religion in face of their devastation isn’t a big thing to ask. Pray to yourself if you want to, but if seeing these posts over and over is upsetting them in this time of unrest, can’t you do them a solid and change your wording to something like ‘support London’ and keep your religion personal?
Seriously. It’s not that difficult a concept. If many Londoners don’t like it, respect their wishes and don’t do it. It’s not that fucking hard.
It looks like OP is saying: “Boo hoo, my right to ‘pray’ is interfering with your right to not have to listen to my dumb ass.”
Look at the context of the country we live in, at the way our entitled treat the dispossessed, the culture of institutionalised and government-supported classism, racism, heterosexism, cissexism, sexism and ableism.
If you’re surprised that in the last year we’ve erupted- the student protests, the university occupations, the strikes, the marches, the unrest on the streets- then you haven’t been paying attention.
Pay attention, beyond the burning cars and the sensationalist headlines of the riots, to the rot that surrounds them and lays dry kindling for each spark to set aflame.
Is America next? We have many of the same issues reaching a boiling point here, too.
ITV Reporter:Is rioting the correct way to express your discontent?
Young Londoner:You wouldn't be talking to me now if we didn't riot, would you?
Young Londoner:Two months ago we marched to Scotland Yard, more than 2,000 of us, all blacks, and it was peaceful and calm and you know what? Not a word in the press. Last night a bit of rioting and looting and look around you.
“What makes America look unreliable isn’t budget math, it’s politics. And please, let’s not have the usual declarations that both sides are at fault. Our problems are almost entirely one-sided — specifically, they’re caused by the rise of an extremist right that is prepared to create repeated crises rather than give an inch on its demands.”
Another choice quote from the article:
America’s large budget deficit is, after all, primarily the result of the economic slump that followed the 2008 financial crisis. And S.& P., along with its sister rating agencies, played a major role in causing that crisis, by giving AAA ratings to mortgage-backed assets that have since turned into toxic waste.
Nor did the bad judgment stop there. Notoriously, S.& P. gave Lehman Brothers, whose collapse triggered a global panic, an A rating right up to the month of its demise. And how did the rating agency react after this A-rated firm went bankrupt? By issuing a report denying that it had done anything wrong.
So these people are now pronouncing on the creditworthiness of the United States of America?
In their drive to restore some sort of economic equity to our society, decrease our deficit and restore some semblance of balance to the federal budget, President Obama and Congressional Democrats have repeatedly called for closing corporate tax loopholes and increasing taxes on the wealthiest Americans. Poll after poll has shown that the American public, and even a strong cross section of Republicans, look favorably upon this idea. And who could blame them? At a time when the rich are getting ever richer while everyone else is wondering how they will keep their heads above water and figure out how to pay for college for their kids, it only makes moral and logical sense that those who are well off should make a little bit of a larger contribution to bring out nation’s economy and people back from the brink.
Some men just want to watch the world burn… from their multi-million dollar estates or private jets.
Like most Americans, at this point, I have no idea what Barack Obama — and by extension the party he leads — believes on virtually any issue. The president tells us he prefers a “balanced” approach to deficit reduction, one that weds “revenue enhancements” (a weak way of describing popular taxes on the rich and big corporations that are evading them) with “entitlement cuts” (an equally poor choice of words that implies that people who’ve worked their whole lives are looking for handouts). But the law he just signed includes only the cuts. This pattern of presenting inconsistent positions with no apparent recognition of their incoherence is another hallmark of this president’s storytelling. He announces in a speech on energy and climate change that we need to expand offshore oil drilling and coal production — two methods of obtaining fuels that contribute to the extreme weather Americans are now seeing. He supports a health care law that will use Medicaid to insure about 15 million more Americans and then endorses a budget plan that, through cuts to state budgets, will most likely decimate Medicaid and other essential programs for children, senior citizens and people who are vulnerable by virtue of disabilities or an economy that is getting weaker by the day. He gives a major speech on immigration reform after deporting a million immigrants in two years, breaking up families at a pace George W. Bush could never rival in all his years as president.
THE real conundrum is why the president seems so compelled to take both sides of every issue, encouraging voters to project whatever they want on him, and hoping they won’t realize which hand is holding the rabbit. That a large section of the country views him as a socialist while many in his own party are concluding that he does not share their values speaks volumes — but not the volumes his advisers are selling: that if you make both the right and left mad, you must be doing something right.
As a practicing psychologist with more than 25 years of experience, I will resist the temptation to diagnose at a distance, but as a scientist and strategic consultant I will venture some hypotheses.
The most charitable explanation is that he and his advisers have succumbed to a view of electoral success to which many Democrats succumb — that “centrist” voters like “centrist” politicians. Unfortunately, reality is more complicated. Centrist voters prefer honest politicians who help them solve their problems. A second possibility is that he is simply not up to the task by virtue of his lack of experience and a character defect that might not have been so debilitating at some other time in history. Those of us who were bewitched by his eloquence on the campaign trail chose to ignore some disquieting aspects of his biography: that he had accomplished very little before he ran for president, having never run a business or a state; that he had a singularly unremarkable career as a law professor, publishing nothing in 12 years at the University of Chicago other than an autobiography; and that, before joining the United States Senate, he had voted “present” (instead of “yea” or “nay”) 130 times, sometimes dodging difficult issues. […]
But the arc of history does not bend toward justice through capitulation cast as compromise. It does not bend when 400 people control more of the wealth than 150 million of their fellow Americans. It does not bend when the average middle-class family has seen its income stagnate over the last 30 years while the richest 1 percent has seen its income rise astronomically. It does not bend when we cut the fixed incomes of our parents and grandparents so hedge fund managers can keep their 15 percent tax rates. It does not bend when only one side in negotiations between workers and their bosses is allowed representation. And it does not bend when, as political scientists have shown, it is not public opinion but the opinions of the wealthy that predict the votes of the Senate. The arc of history can bend only so far before it breaks.
“When my husband died, because he was so famous and known for not being a believer, many people would come up to me-it still sometimes happens-and ask me if Carl changed at the end and converted to a belief in an afterlife. They also frequently ask me if I think I will see him again. Carl faced his death with unflagging courage and never sought refuge in illusions. The tragedy was that we knew we would never see each other again. I don’t ever expect to be reunited with Carl. But, the great thing is that when we were together, for nearly twenty years, we lived with a vivid appreciation of how brief and precious life is. We never trivialized the meaning of death by pretending it was anything other than a final parting. Every single moment that we were alive and we were together was miraculous-not miraculous in the sense of inexplicable or supernatural. We knew we were beneficiaries of chance… . That pure chance could be so generous and so kind… . That we could find each other, as Carl wrote so beautifully in Cosmos, you know, in the vastness of space and the immensity of time… . That we could be together for twenty years. That is something which sustains me and it’s much more meaningful… . The way he treated me and the way I treated him, the way we took care of each other and our family, while he lived. That is so much more important than the idea I will see him someday. I don’t think I’ll ever see Carl again. But I saw him. We saw each other. We found each other in the cosmos, and that was wonderful.”—
Too many so-called leaders of the Nation fail to see the forest because of the trees. Too many of them fail to recognize the vital necessity of planning for definite objectives. True leadership calls for the setting forth of the objectives and the rallying of public opinion in support of these objectives.
Do not confuse objectives with methods. When the Nation becomes substantially united in favor of planning the broad objectives of civilization, then true leadership must unite thought behind definite methods.
The country needs and, unless I mistake its temper, the country demands bold, persistent experimentation. It is common sense to take a method and try it: If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something. The millions who are in want will not stand by silently forever while the things to satisfy their needs are within easy reach.
We need enthusiasm, imagination and the ability to face facts, even unpleasant ones, bravely. We need to correct, by drastic means if necessary, the faults in our economic system from which we now suffer. We need the courage of the young. Yours is not the task of making your way in the world, but the task of remaking the world which you will find before you. May every one of us be granted the courage, the faith and the vision to give the best that is in us to that remaking!
2009: Congressional Democrats unveil several domestic policy initiatives — including health care reform, cap and trade, DREAM Act — which would lower the deficit. GOP opposes all of them, while continuing to push for deficit reduction.
September 2010: In Obama’s first fiscal year, the deficit shrinks by $122 billion. Republicans again condemn Obama’s fiscal irresponsibility.
October 2010: S&P endorses the nation’s AAA rating with a stable outlook, saying the United States looks to be in solid fiscal shape for the foreseeable future.
November 2010: Republicans win a U.S. House majority, citing the need for fiscal responsibility.
December 2010: Congressional Republicans demand extension of Bush tax cuts, relying entirely on deficit financing. GOP continues to accuse Obama of fiscal irresponsibility.
March 2011: Congressional Republicans declare intention to hold full faith and credit of the United States hostage — a move without precedent in American history — until massive debt-reduction plan is approved.
July 2011: Obama offers Republicans a $4 trillion debt-reduction deal. GOP refuses, pushes debt-ceiling standoff until the last possible day, rattling international markets.
August 2011: S&P downgrades U.S. debt, citing GOP refusal to consider new revenues. Republicans rejoice and blame Obama for fiscal irresponsibility.
There have been several instances since the mid 1990s in which I genuinely believed Republican politics couldn’t possibly get more blisteringly ridiculous. I was wrong; they just keep getting worse.
It’s not that they do it at all; it’s the manner in which they do it.
Well that quote:
a. doesn’t mention methods and b. insults the people he’s talking about.
Going to an ad hominem attack immediately compromises one’s position. I’ve read all of Harris’, Hitchens’ and Dawkins’ works. While they may get passionate from time to time, I think it’s a stretch to call them “evangelical”, especially Dawkins. And disparaging their education? Please.
So if a religious person writes a book or appears on television to promote their religion, that’s okay.
But if an atheist does it all of a sudden they’re a “caricature” or have “shallow scholarship”? I’m sorry, but that’s a double standard and it’s bullshit through and through. I don’t care what the bona fides of the person who said it are.
“This is not the philosophical atheism of Feuerbach or Marx, Schopenhauer or Nietzsche (I am not the first to think that the new atheists give atheism a bad name). Neither is it the scientific agnosticism of Thomas Huxley or Herbert Spencer. This is, rather, a caricature of atheism: shallow scholarship mixed with evangelical fervor.”—
I don’t know what I’d do with Daniel Dennet, though I am not a fan of his work. But of Harris, Hitchens and Dawkins, I think it’s safe—not at all controversial—to call them haters. Whether or not you like Resa Azlan, his claim is accurate.
“This is not the philosophical atheism of Feuerbach or Marx, Schopenhauer or Nietzsche (I am not the first to think that the new atheists give atheism a bad name). Neither is it the scientific agnosticism of Thomas Huxley or Herbert Spencer. This is, rather, a caricature of atheism: shallow scholarship mixed with evangelical fervor.”—