Are You Ready?

Clay Bennett editorial cartoonHave you been keeping up on CPAC, the GOP answer to absolutely nothing? It’s been a “business as usual” kinda thing so far. Trump gets up there and trashes Jindal, and babbles about himself and how great he is. Rick Perry says they have to reach out to Latinos and is booed. Rubio says just because he supports traditional marriage doesn’t make him a bigot. (yeah actually it does).

My favorite was a clip from a “workshop” wherein a younger type white dude talked about being proud of his “demographic” (code for white supremacist) and claiming that the federal government was disenfranchising same, and that he thought his “demographic” had a great culture to be preserved.

When the moderator who was black, noted that Frederick Douglass sent a letter to his “owner” many years after he had escaped, and forgave him, the young man piped up and said, “for what? For receiving food and a home?” This was met with a couple audible gasps, but far too much applause. He was heard to utter under his breath, “we just need to go back to segregation.”

Yes, that’s the state of the GOP.

NRAYou have all heard the stories in the press. As the President and rational folks in the Democratic Party responded to the upswell of opinion that favored background checks for gun buyers and at least some restrictions on the types of guns available and large capacity clips, the gun stores have been doing a booming business.

It is now an undeniable fact that a significant majority of our fellow citizens are building up arsenals for the coming Armageddon that they are sure is on the way.

Given that these people are mentally unstable and delusional, it should come as no surprise that they actually think they can fend off the American military with their pretend assault weapons. They are so effectual against tanks and drones. What they do is pose a significant danger to the poor neighbors who unbeknownst, live near them.

Dow No doubt you noted that the Dow has hit an all-time high. That is certainly cause for much celebration.

Business feels good about itself apparently. Business is good. During the recession they spent their money on ways to improve productivity with a smaller work force.

They were successful.

They aren’t hiring much because they don’t have to.

The fools believed that they were “job creators.”

They are profit creators dummy. Always were. The last thing they want to do is hire workers. Workers are much more expensive to keep than a robot riveter.

Yet the Right continues the mantra, and the kool-aid drinkers keep repeating it.

minimum wageNeed I say more?

The mantra for this one is that it depresses employment because business lays off workers rather than pay them a living wage.

Yeah, business is usually known for cutting of its nose to spite its face. I can just hear them now.

“Sorry Ms Customer, you will have to wait an extra 45 minutes for service. If you don’t like it leave. I’m not going to hire another worker at $10 an hour. So take your $150 dress and rehang it. I have principles you know.”

Yeah, I’m sure that’s what they will do.

Actual studies show they do lay off workers, for a hot minute, and then hire them back when, you know, they have more customers than their current work force can handle.

And guess what? That happens across the country. And guess what? All that extra cash earned by workers? It’s SPENT for goods and services, and that causes more demand, and more hiring. Amazing how that happens.

budgetWe’ve been hearing this whine for a long time from the Right.

And under rational and normal circumstances, it might just have some validity.

Of course it doesn’t have any validity today and everybody who bothers to be alive knows that.

Why?

Because Mitch McConnell will prevent any budget bill offered by the Democrats from reaching the floor of the Senate for actual debate.

He will filibuster.

He promised he wouldn’t do that.

He lied.

What’s new?

gaysForgive me if I’m not suitably impressed.

Rob Portman was against it before he was for it.

Seems his personal situation, impressed him enough to consider a change of mind.

Now, I’m glad that Portman has seen the light. I really am.

But as I said, forgive me if it’s just a bit too self-serving.

As a few have said, perhaps it would help if Portman woke up with a poor son, or a senior son. Maybe then he would be in favor of SNAP, and Pell grants, and Medicare, and well, you get the idea.

His hopes of being nominated are shall we say, in trouble?

It’s a glorious day here, with the high going into the mid 80′s. Sun is shining. Time to get busy in the yard with clean up. Diego is a messy boy. He has pieces of wood and bits of things he’s torn up scattered everywhere. To day nothing of poo. Saturday is poo clean up day.

I’m cooking my corned beef today in a slow-cooker kinda way, bathed in beer. I made a couple of loaves of soda bread. I made a white cake that I will trim with green lime frosting. Tomorrow when I get home from church I can make the colcannon. It’s a St. Paddy’s Day kinda meal!

Have a great one yourselves.

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It’s Monday and it’s Stoopid

I fear for there will never be a day again on planet earth that is not weighed down with the collective sluggishness of the stupid element.

I still wonder at the insanity of the GOP. With the polling decidedly against them, they continue on blithely with their agenda. Case in point was John Kasich, governor of Ohio and designated spokesperson to “respond” to the President’s weekly speech.

Kasich, the second most disliked GOP governor, only silly Scott in Florida fares worse, rattled off the usual GOP talking points of “lower taxes on corporations (oops, I meant job creators) and relief from regulations” and then took to slamming the unions once more as “job killers”.

Now Kasich, faced with a landslide of anger at his attempt to Wisconsinite unions in his state, chose to do that. I mean with full knowledge that he is gonna lose in his own state on that very issue. Did the GOP hold a gun to his head? Or is he just that stoopid?

Kasich, by the way, tried to get the progressives to come in to “discuss” the union issue now that it is quite clear it will be overturned by the people. Of course the progressives smiled and said no thanks. No stoopid there.

Meanwhile, New Hampshire’s GOP controlled legislature continues to waste its people’s time. In a worthless move, it eliminated the minimum wage in the state, saying that it was wasted on the teens who weren’t “worth” minimum wage, and besides, minimum wages are “job killers.” Yes, I agree, every corporation would love to employ people for a dollar a day if they could. And, more to the point, NH’s minimum wage is the same as the federal one, and that now simply takes over. So nothing changes morons, except you have pointed out again that you care only for the rich and their “victimization at the hands of the poor.” Stoopid here.

Did ya hear? Mitty (I’ve been running for years”) Romney  is tearing down his 3,000 square foot beach house in La Jolla, California to make way for a new and improved $12 million dollar one that comes in with a sweet 11,000 square feet of bliss. Not in yet is whether he will insist on non-union labor. I guess he can argue that he’s just being a good job creator. Somehow I suspect this will not sit much better than Johnny “mean old man” McCain’s inability to remember exactly how many homes he owned, or should I say his trophy wife owned. Way up on the stoopid scale Mitty.

Ricky, (aww shucks I could do the job) Perry must think we are stoopid. He wrote a book called Fed Up in which he argues that nearly all of the social programs of the last 70 or so years are actually unconstitutional. Although the book is only nine months old, his staff is already trying to claim that it reflected his views then but not now. Except that when Perry was confronted by a voter in Iowa about entitlement programs, he snapped, “read my book!” No it’s Ricky who is stoopid.

Two relics of evolutionary failure, Johnny (I hate the world for not electing me President) McCain, and his obnoxious bunk buddy Lindsay (I dream of Johnny with the light blond hair) Graham, has the audacity to praise Europe and the Middle East for their actions against the Qaddafi regime. This while they “regret the delay caused by the insufficient air power offered by the US. Is there ANYTHING ON EARTH THAT YOU JACKASSES WOULD APPLAUD THIS PRESIDENT FOR? It would be a pleasure to strap both of you to a nice little rocket and send you both to Qaddafi with a ribbon tied to your genitals gentlemen. ( the full statement can be viewed here.) You’re both stoopid, and one of you knows it.

Michele (aww I just hate your guts Perry) Bachmann, is excusing her multiple gaffes by a “busy schedule”. I suppose that is an answer, though what in the world does she think the President’s schedule might be like? I would put it down to that she’s just stoopid.  Bachmann is reported to have offered to show her panties if the media would stop covering Ricky Perry so much. (remember stretching the incredulity muscle!)

 I do believe I could make this stuff up and you wouldn’t know the difference. It’s just that stoopid out there.

Self-Serving Interpretations

I haven’t posted much here lately of a religious nature. And I usually describe this blog as part political commentary and part religious commentary.

Yet, I’ve been sensitive (probably too much so) to the fact that a good many of my readers are either agnostics or atheists and have little or no interest in things spiritual.

But, of late, I’ve been thinking hard about David Barton and his awful pretense of “historical” revising. We all know of course, his proclivity to proclaim that America was “founded on Christian principles.” While we agree that most of the Founding Fathers were Christian in some form or another, it is equally clear that the dangers of a religious-political union were well-known from history and there was a deliberate determination to not allow that unholy alliance to be the government of the new nation.

Barton, who has a BA from Oral Roberts University (which tells you a lot in and of itself) in religious education, has the temerity to hold himself out as “expert on historical and constitutional issues.” What he actually does, is cherry pick statements from historical documents and the bible and create a web of arguments that favor his view–that America is meant to be a nation ruled by Christian principles (supposedly as defined by him and others who agree with his fundamentalist notions).

Ironically, the Founding Fathers were steeped in exactly the opposite philosophy. The long history of the Roman Church and its marriage with the kings of Europe served an object lesson in how not to govern. Moreover, the FF were men of the Enlightenment, and any high school student in the US knows that they were deeply influenced by John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, both Enlightenment thinkers, who posited that man was more than capable of learning the secrets of nature and governing himself. One’s personal belief in a deity, was just that, personal.

One of the dangers of people like Barton is that they use their “talents” to create a history that favors their agenda and that of the party they affiliate with. In this case, Barton provides the “philosophical” underpinnings to the Republican notions of free market economies unfettered from regulation of any kind. In other words, toss out all the anti-trust, anti-child labor, minimum wage, safe working conditions legislation. This is God’s will.

Of particular interest to me as of late is the continuing claim that “Jesus opposed the minimum wage.” Setting aside for a moment the obvious idiocy of this, since there is no reference to “minimum wage” in the bible, let us examine the crux of the argument.

Most often cited in this discussion is Matthew 20: 1-16. In this parable, a wealthy vineyard owner seeks day workers for his fields. In the morning he finds some and agrees to a wage, and sends them out. At noon, some more are found, and they too are sent to the fields. Late in the work day, a few more are found and sent for a hour’s work.

As the men line up for payment, those who worked a full day are chagrined to see that the owner is paying those who worked only an hour the same wage as those who worked a full day. They complain. The vineyard owner points out that they agreed to their wage before they began working. What is it to them how he deals with others? And here is the phrase that the Christianists hang their hat on:

“Have I no right to do what I like with my own?”

To the so-called Christian who wants to protect his/her own wallet, more lovely words were never spoken. Why God says that a business owner has the right to do with his money as he wishes! The government has no right to order them to pay people any set sum of money!

Such greedy and selfish people virtually ignore the obvious point Jesus makes, and see nothing but that one sentence; that along with various verses strewn throughout the psalms and scriptures which talk about not placing undue emphasis on wealth. (Except the wealthy I guess did place a lot of emphasis on money in order to become so.)

This is then married to the “Jesus never said that Rome should care for the poor” and “it’s the job of charitable works to take care of the poor” (the poor being those people we conclude are deserving). There you have it. A perfectly constructed argument that allows “Christians” to keep their money in their pockets and the government out of social safety-nets. (An amazingly high percentage of these fools do take their Social Security and Medicare when they reach retirement. Shocking isn’t it?)

Actually the clear import of the parable is this: The vineowner was a good man. He recognized that all those who worked for him that day had to eat and probably had families they had to feed. He had no idea what may have prevented the later arrivals from getting to the town square earlier. Who knows how far they traveled to seek work?

He provided a decent wage to all who worked because they had themselves and their families to support. He recognized the need to make sure that all were cared for. If you struck an agreed-upon bargain, what was it to you if the owner struck more favorable bargains with others? The implication is, that the long-day workers were the greedy ones! They wanted more if the owner was paying the latest workers a “living” wage.

This is the kind of thing that fundamentalists do with scripture, twisting and dishonoring it in order to serve their personal desires. And of course, in doing so, they dishonor God, the Bible, and other Christians.

And sad to say, Barton continues to be the darling of the likes of Bachmann, Huckabee and Gingrich and others who play to the fears and greed of the “religious right.”