Archives for: July 2011
"It sure looks like Islamic terrorism," John Bolton educated Fox News viewers. After all "there is a substantial immigrant population from the Middle East in particular in Norway."
"Muslim extremists," agreed Laura Ingraham later that day.
The quick verdict from the Weekly Standard: "part of the jihadist hydra."
Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal explained in detail the motivations for the Muslim attacks. Norway "will forever remain guilty of being what it is: a liberal nation committed to freedom of speech and conscience, equality between the sexes, representative democracy and every other freedom that still defines the West." At last, we knew not only what religion was at the base of the attack, but what the terrorists were thinking.
Later, when it turned out the attacker was a self-described Christian acting on a Crusade against non-Christian immigrants, the explanations from some of the same sources was a sort of ratchet logic. Collective guilt is always at work, it seems, but it only goes one way.
The Wall Street Journal explained their preemptive accusations by saying they were only partly wrong. "Coordinated terrorist attacks are an Al-Qaeda signature. But copycats with different agendas are surely capable of duplicating its methods." It was a theme picked up by other sources.
Oh sure, the attacks were not actually Muslim or Islamic. But that was simply detail. As Stephen Colbert put it satirically, they were “Muslish” and “Islam-esque.”
One reporter decided to actually dig out one or two facts. He subjected pro-Christian writings by the killer to a close analysis. He concluded that, although the Norwegian killer was inspired by various anti-Muslim American activists, his writing seemed mostly to have mimicked the manifesto of the Unabomber.
As details filtered in, it seemed the killer had acted alone. He had detonated a bomb that killed a few and injured others, then traveled to a youth celebration sponsored by a pro-tolerance political party. He walked around the site, an isolated island, killing anyone he could find.
The outrage in the United States was palpable. As reports came in, a sizable number of folks were furious. At. The. News. Reports. Themselves. How dare the news media report that the lone terrorist was a Christian! As Ann Coulter sputtered, as nearly as one can sputter in print, Christians simply don't do these things. To the madman, Coulter explained, "Christian" simply meant non-Muslim.
She concluded with a little joke. It's too bad the killer "wasn't a Muslim extremist open about his Jihadist views, because I hear the Army is looking for a new psychiatrist down at Fort Hood." Get it? I don't either.
The anger about the fellow's religious identity may seem a little obscure, but we can speculate. It is probably not purely defensive. There is not a sizable segment of public sentiment bent on smearing all Christians as terrorists. However, the fact that occasional Christians kill large numbers of people does tend to disrupt the narrative of those who would smear all Muslims using the same logic.
I am sympathetic to the view that the man who walked casually through a campground filled with happy young people, taking aim and killing kids, could not have been a meaningful follower of the Prince of Peace. And yet I am amazed at those who cannot bring themselves to behave just as reasonably toward sincere followers of other faiths.
In point of fact, Norwegian bigot and murderer Anders Behring Breivik is, in a very important way, a co-religionist with Osama bin Laden, Timothy McVeigh, and Scott Roeder, the killer of Dr. George Tillman. They all were idealists in the sense that some ideal was more important to each than actual human life. Real people became mere collateral damage, the necessary price to achieving a higher goal. The ideal became more important than the lives of others.
They did not worship together to be sure, but they all followed the same basic dogma. With each killing, each step on the way, each step following, they all were members of the same deadly denomination, united by the same intoxicating communion of blood and flesh. And Oklahoma City, New York, Washington, Oslo, and one Doctor in Kansas City encountered that most perfectly dangerous of all the Lord's creatures.
The one who knows that God is on his side.
WASHINGTON, July 29 (UPI) -- Eleven religious leaders were arrested staging a sit-in in the Capitol rotunda to protest budget cuts, U.S. Capitol Police said.
The Christian and Jewish leaders urged the administration and Congress not to "balance the budget on the backs of the poor" as they propose trillions of dollars in cutbacks, they said in a statement reported by The Hill.
The ancient Aztecs believed that the moon was the severed head of the goddess Coyolxauhqui. According to legend, the deity led an attack on her pregnant mother, Coatlicue, only to be confronted by Huitzilopochtli, who sprang fully armored from Coatlicue's womb, decapitated his half-sister, and threw her head into the night sky.
Apparently, this legend is just about on par scientifically with Fox News' understanding of the moon.
With less than a week to go to resolve the debt ceiling crisis -- and the government in serious danger of facing a catastrophic default -- it doesn't take a political genius to realize Washington is in a bit of a mess right now. And Norman Ornstein (who might well be a political genius) didn't pull any punches in Foreign Policy last week in writing that the current Congress is more dysfunctional than at any time in the 42 years he has been watching Washington...
The Heathen Republican invents curved Laffer type graphs straight out of his mind to show that independents will combine with Joe Lieberman and John McCain to form the new center of American politics. May God help us all.
Extreme conservative FUNGAZI.COM makes a reasoned case that 14th Amendment can't be used by President Obama to get around the debt ceiling. His logic is that, while the text says the national debt shall not be questioned, it also includes "authorized by law." As with most Americans, he doesn't seem to realize that the national debt includes only what was already appropriated by Congress, which is to say it is already authorized by law.
Chuck Thinks Right asserts that the President would be "pissing on the Constitution" if he were to invoke the 14th Amendment which amendment is actually - part - of - the - Constitution. Chuck may have written his piece in a hurry.
Kent Pittman, writing from Open Salon finds the exact backroom where lobbyists write GOP legislation to be dutifully passed by those state legislatures dominated by Republicans, who operate on behalf of said lobbyists.
Tommy Christopher of Mediaite fame illustrates economic policy with a comparison to gardening showing what will create jobs. Tommy has it mostly right. What works in creating economic growth depends on economic conditions. As things exist now, the need is on the demand side. Get spending money into the hands of consumers, and all will be well.
Slant Right's John Houk, who doesn't hesitate at smearing all Muslims whenever violence is committed by a radical few, is extremely offended by mainstream media. Seems they reported that the Norway terrorist is a Christian. Houk quotes Ann Coulter to prove it isn't so because, well, Christians just don't do these things. Goose and gander arguments don't appeal to Mr. Houk.
T. Paine's Saving Common Sense presents humor based on the premise that liberals are all either gay or had parents who wanted to abort them. I dunno that his premise is really true. I'll have to check around.
- James Wigderson finds that eternal vigilance against vandalism is the price of journalistic success. Seems someone tried to toilet paper his home. As is typical, James manages a pithy observation or two about government services.
All you need is a $5,000 check, made payable to Todd Akin for U.S. Senate.
The chairman and chief executive of the St. Louis-based electrical conglomerate, David N. Farr, sent a letter to the company's workforce last week, urging them to attend an Aug. 9 fundraiser for the Wildwood Republican at the Log Cabin Club in Ladue.
Egads! I must be going senile! Surely I would never have been so cheeky as to offer a statement such as "accepting your concession in the manner in which it was offered". It is far too clever, and thus I had assumed that it must therefore be a Myste-cism accordingly.
- T. Paine
Oh, Mr. Paine. Here is the origin of the beloved term:
Why that Paine fellow did seem rather cheeky back then! I think, perhaps, someone hacked my account and framed me!
- T. Paine
Friend and contributor T. Paine represents a lone, brave, reliably conservative voice on this site.
His comment made me think back, yet again, to my old chat room adversary Robby J. Mr. Paine jokingly refers to a fictitious hacker. That is because he has a warm and gentle humor, frequently self-deprecating. Robby had no sense of humor at all. He was deadly serious. He was only unintentionally funny.
What made Robby a worthy object of mirth were his constant attacks on young female participants who dared to disagree with him and the Lord. He seemed to relish every opportunity to refer to them as garden utensils.
When he accidentally posted a somewhat pornographic image, it was a testament to the dangers of multitasking. It appeared right in the middle of one of his attacks on a young woman.
He fled the room, and we thought we would never see his posts again. When he eventually returned, he insisted his computer had been hacked by some liberal, who had posted the amusing images while pretending to be him. It was pretty lame. It was pretty funny. He threatened to leave for good if all the malicious teasing didn't stop. It didn't.
He resumed his attacks, of course. How dare these young garden hoes disagree with him - and the Lord!
My own contributions dealt with what, to me, was his hilarious use of vocabulary obviously out of his reach, and slightly misapplied.
I made up my mind to respond in kind. I stored up anything I could think of and waited for my chance. It was fun. I kept the misuses of words I actually used so I wouldn't repeat myself too often.
All that was years ago, but I had neglected to delete the messages I had posted. I stumbled across my cache a few weeks ago and published a few examples.
T. Paine became a big fan of these, and so I thought I would make up a little for the abuse he has cheerfully endured this week. His contributions are valued. May he never ever abandon our website!
This one's for you, T. Paine.
It is true that you only invertedly broke a chat rule. It was an accidental infarction. You might think exile is a fitting consumation, but we do witch you would come again into chat.
I don't think people should migraine the massager. It's not like you melondined anyone else. You always stickled to the tissues and never attacked people for their views.
On those issues, you did take the bull by the hand. But you called nobody a maroon.
In fact you are such a sweat parson. You are the epitaph of a gentleman. You take on every argument with dignity and horror. You do insist that everyone respired your masculinity. But even though you attackle a lot of young pretty unholy women, you always speckled their femulinity.
People who think you attached others except in self-defects really take the bake. When it came to tests of charcoal, you passed with flying cancers. It's hard to see why they would not follow the massages labeled out by you and the Lord.
Who can forget such issue-oriental postages as this:
"How telling, the easily recognized cyber moron of this arena would jump out, like a mutant cerebral toad and word wart a response that would reveal what an insensitive deathocrat it is... reveals to those who value life how dismal the mentality of those who do not."
"How easily dismissible their particular type of skank euphoria"
But I think it's time to mood on.
Leave sleeping dogs in the rye.
This is just a shop in the dark, but maybe we should be cooperational in getting you to enjoin the room. Many are anxious to considerable your spectacle again. You may think people laugh at you about neferious images, but it ain't over until the flat lady stings.
Those who laugh at the photos falsely ascribbled to you should not be ready to clamp victory yet.
And you should not be ready to conceit defeat.
Our T. Paine uses his keen wit and conservative insight to demolish Mr. Deming's arguments, both here and on his own website.
Please visit Saving Common Sense.
Received via email:
In response to T. Paine's Who Disposes of Disposable Income?
The rich don’t pay this, as you know, but we ask that they do. They are not using this taxable income for anything”, says John, to which I say, how the heck do you know they aren’t using it for anything? Maybe that extra money was going to be used to purchase a yacht or a private jet.
- T. Paine, July 26, 2011
I refuse to accept that the wealthiest of Americans have no disposable income already available for the private jet and the yacht. I believe this on faith. I have faith because it is true. Your trickledown theory amuses me. I wrote an essay making fun of trickledown theory about a year ago and never posted it anywhere because it was just too silly. Maybe I will find it and post it somewhere in your honor. It cracked me up, so it must be funny.
The U.S. government provides conditions for them to earn the unneeded funds” you write next. I say again, how do you know that those funds are unneeded,…
I know the funds are not needed the same way that you do. I refuse to debate about if the top 1% of Americans “need” additional funds. I will reserve our debates for areas of disagreement.
… and further, why is it the government’s business or yours or mine what the heck people earn and use their money for accordingly?
I am going to have to ask that you stop using the word “accordingly.”
…but it really is not my business to dictate how people use their property.
Agreed. Nor is it the government’s business. However, the government is responsible for managing tax revenues. This is just too easy.
It becomes an object of fear if the government dictates what one must do with his wealth. That is tyranny, my friend.
Agreed, and stop changing the subject.
You do make an excellent point that the top marginal tax rate of 35%...
I will accept your concession in the manner in which it was offered.
Stop me if you've heard this one:
Conservative says, indignantly:
The richest 1% of Americans have a higher federal tax burden than that of the bottom 95% combined.
Actually, you've got it backwards. If you count all taxes, not just federal income taxes, they pay pretty much the same part of their income as everyone else.
Conservative blinks for a moment, then finally speaks.
The richest 1% of Americans have a higher federal tax burden than that of the bottom 95% combined.
Ha ha ha. ha. ha ... ha ... uh ... Get it?
You see, the conservative, confronted with irrefutable fact that the thrust of his entire argument is false, simply repeats his memorized talking point again, as if repetition will make the facts go away.
Okay, if you don't appreciate my humor, you're part of a growing group. Co-staffers, family, friends, church members, a lot of folks seem to forget that I am hilarious. I admit this one story is pretty lame.
Actually it isn't a joke at all. It is an accurate summary of a recent exchange with a greatly respected conservative contributor to this site.
I hate to pick on T. Paine. He is as thoughtful and honest a writer of any ideology as I have ever encountered. He is well known to his public as a gentleman. More than that, he is a gentleman in private. He and I have shared news of family events. We have shared thoughts on scripture. He has generously reviewed introductions I write for worship services. He offers private encouragement and suggestions.
AND he has that rarity in humankind: a keen and gentle sense of humor. We need only review the exchanges between T.Paine and John Myste in the comments and articles on this site.
T. Paine's ability to examine facts, occasionally conceding a point when the evidence is there, is an indication of his openness to honest debate. His willingness to exchange barbs on an admittedly liberal site is an even greater indicator of intellectual daring. But, every once in a while, he is trapped, as are so many conservatives, in GOP talking points.
The urge to stay the course, to concede nothing, even in the face of the obvious, is a human frailty that afflicts mortal humanity. In fact, had he thought of it at the time, the Apostle Paul might have included it in the section of a letter he once wrote that eventually became the first chapter of the Book of Romans. I'm thinking of the lower end of the afflictions Paul mentions, gossip, envy, boastfulness, and such. We can leave murder, slander, and hating God for some future occasion that requires more severe snark.
What is there about today's contemporary state of conservative thought that requires such discipline, such loyalty to ideology over little details like facts?
My friend's original claim was this:
"...the richest 1% of Americans have a higher federal tax burden than that of the bottom 95% combined."
My response, complete with factual, actual, satisfactual, real, truthful figures, showed his claim to be a sham. Those folks were actually paying about the same proportion as the rest of us.
"Pretty much everyone agrees that the wealthiest should pay at least a little more. But conservatives keep that from happening. PLUS they get to complain more than the rest of us."
And, of course, the punchline. His brief response begins with:
"Burr, when all of the obfuscation was said and done, the fact remains that the wealthiest 1% of Americans still pay more in FEDERAL INCOME TAXES than the bottom 95% of Americans."
Ha ha ha. ha. ha ... ha ... uh ... Get it?
In fairness, he did get sidetracked right after that into the necessity of closing loopholes and simplifying tax forms. Well, everyone has housekeeping chores.
Maybe he was multitasking.
Maybe he was on his cellphone.
At least he wasn't driving at the time.
In response to John Myste"s Disposable Fair Tax
. . .what you are saying is that the top 1% of Americans have just about all the money with the exception of a few crumbs the poor and the middle class enjoy and with the exception of those who make so little that their income is not taxed at all.
- - John Myste, July 25, 2011
Hmmm, I don’t recall saying any such thing. Indeed the richest 1% of Americans have approximately 20% of the country’s wealth and yet pay 40% of the federal taxes on that wealth. Further, the pool of money available in the country is not a zero-sum game as you imply. Indeed, just because the rich currently have 20% of all of the wealth in the country does not mean that the rest of us only have 80% of the wealth to divvy up accordingly forevermore. When the economy grows, so does the creation of wealth. We might have a current wealth pie that is only a foot in diameter right now, of which the rich have 20%. When we grow and create more jobs, products, and services, that wealth pie also grows. It may become two feet in diameter. Now the wealthy may still control 20% of that bigger pie, but we poorer folk have a lot larger 80% spread amongst us too. (I realize the analogy is silly, but I had a lack of imagination in how to better explain it.)
“The rich don’t pay this, as you know, but we ask that they do. They are not using this taxable income for anything”, says John, to which I say, how the heck do you know they aren’t using it for anything? Maybe that extra money was going to be used to purchase a yacht or a private jet. Of course, that would provide jobs to the middle class manufacturers, mechanics, craftsmen, etc that make those yachts and planes. In fact a few years back when the government raised the luxury tax rate on yachts, the rich predictably radically slowed down the amount of purchases of yachts. The result was that it put a lot of middle class people making those yachts out of jobs. The increase in taxes harmed the middle class far worse than the rich it had targeted.
“The U.S. government provides conditions for them to earn the unneeded funds” you write next. I say again, how do you know that those funds are unneeded, and further, why is it the government’s business or yours or mine what the heck people earn and use their money for accordingly? I would hope that those that are wealthy would use their money to also help and give back exorbitantly to the less fortunate, but it really is not my business to dictate how people use their property. It becomes an object of fear if the government dictates what one must do with his wealth. That is tyranny, my friend.
You do make an excellent point that the top marginal tax rate of 35% contains so many loopholes that seldom is that rate ever really paid. On this issue I break with some of my conservative brethren and say we absolutely need to remove all of these loopholes so that a 35% rate is indeed just that. This goes for corporate income taxes too. It is asinine to think that General Electric should pay $0 in taxes while a small business owner typically pays the highest corporate taxes in the world. Those corporate tax loopholes also must be eliminated. In this I think we can find agreement, sir.
Our conservative T. Paine disposes of our liberal thoughts not only here, but also at his own thoughtful internet site.
Please visit Saving Common Sense.