Without historical reference, conservative James Wigderson unwittingly reprises FDR's Fala accusations. It seems the Obama dog is wasting tax dollars in military travel. These Republican leaders have not been content with attacks on President Obama, or his wife, or on his daughters. No, not content with that ... they now include his little dog, Bo.
Okay, the answer to James was already given on September 23, 1944:
Mad Mike's America hears about a sort of mad conspiracy hybrid. It involves a large combo of Obamacare, gun lists, and ... well ... electroshock. Well, someone has to do it.
- PZ Myers, writing for Pharyngula, gets some negative blowback from Christians after he publishes a piece in the Washington Post on how atheism can find true happiness. I have a hard time forgiving anyone who manages to get published in the Washington Post. But it is hard for me to relate to any Christian outrage against atheistic happiness. Atheism doesn't work for me, but that's about as far as I can take it.
Vincent of A wayfarer's notes discovers that looking for a literary agent is like seeking a second date. Except, with Vincent, a lot more entertaining. Anyone who knows an agent might want to do that agent a favor, and point out Vincent.
When I was a kid, I came upon a sermon, second hand. The preacher said he did not believe in a namby-pamby Jesus. His Jesus was a strong man with callused hands, angry, overturning tables. Our friend Why do we have to do this, Sir? goes on the parallel trail of Luke 12, talking about Jesus the divider.
A few weeks ago, my friend T. Paine, who writes at Saving Common Sense offered his own proof of God. Ryan at Secular Ethics answers. There are, he explains, dangers to arguments based on intuitive knowledge. I have learned to anticipate with some glee those invariably wise and thoughtful posts from Ryan. But I confess a certain bias in all this. I use a variation of what Ryan describes as T. Paine's logic in support of a different point.
Earlier this year, conservative James Wigderson took a look at public education and an effort to grade the graders. This week he publishes a response from an education official. All of which demonstrates facts about two personalities: James is a gentleman and the official makes a reasonable case and does it reasonably.
Like Dan Quayle, I'm no Secretary of State. Just an interested citizen. That's enough to allow me an opinion or two about Egypt. At The Moderate Voice Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes offers a bit more, an account of Egyptians she has known as friends, including a childhood playmate. She fears many are suffering now.
Max's Dad finds virtue in a two party political system, and invents a sort of reverse IQ test to determine which political party best suits you. Scientific. Matchmaker type of thing. Only ... you know ... not.
I remember the beginning of Bizarro World in the Superman universe of DC Comics. Everything was the opposite of Earth. For example, on Earth intelligence was valued, and on Bizarro htraE, lack of intelligence was honored. News Corpse brings a report of Breitbart News starting an opposite-of-Media-Matters watchdog site. If they weren't Bizarro, they would start with Breitbart. Newscorps offers a few suggestions.
Tommy Christopher of Mediaite fame reacts to a new Buzzfeed scoop. It seems MSNBC has been engaged in an undercover strategy: airing as television personalities those who use twitter a lot. You may not think of the Buzzfeed scoop as much of a scoop. But wait until their story on the great color plot. Snow is white. Leaves are green. The sky is blue.
- Jack Jodell, at THE SATURDAY AFTERNOON POST, does his research. He profiles Sean Hannity. Jack seems somewhat disapproving, but refrains from rant.
A large proportion of folks my age and older have been uncomfortable with Barack Obama as President. At The Moderate Voice, Ron Beasley tells us support for Republicans among the elderly may be in decline as a party intent on destroying retirement care loses some of its quaint attractiveness. Racial identification loses its charm when the goal is to slash Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid to finance tax loopholes for the wealthy.
Who can forget the breaking news revealed by the conservative website, the Daily Caller? A US Senator had a sexual relationship with an underage prostitute. Except the story turned out to be bogus. Now Tommy Christopher of Mediaite checks out another scoop. It seems Ebony magazine, the publication with a mostly young African-American readership, fell for a hoax, reporting it as fact. HaHaHa, silly minority owned magazine. One detail, though. The folks at the Daily Caller forgot to read Ebony before making fun of them. Ebony mocked a story about conservatives boycotting the magazine. The primary joke here seems to be the Daily Caller. Silly non-minority news site!
Racism is often experienced as a series of "misunderstandings." Mad Mike's America brings us a clerk who doesn't recognize Oprah, but seems to recognize her skin color. Couldn't possibly afford to be there. Racism is typically more frequent and more severe.
Lots of right wing hoaxes these days. Last Of The Millenniums tells us of a viral email from a very bigoted Bill Cosby. As you may expect it's a fake, made up by a conservative presumably from Massachusetts. The real Bill Cosby turns out to be a very ticked off non-bigot.
You think Steve King says stupid things about Hispanic valedictorians? Max's Dad explains the latest entry by the Representative from Iowa for idiot of the year. Climate change is okay because Steve King likes to be warm.
Jack Jodell, friend of the working blogger at THE SATURDAY AFTERNOON POST, is upbeat. It's contagious as he provides inspirational wisdom from historical personalities.
- Vincent of A wayfarer's notes listens to a BBC program on the writing experience and describes the only way he knows how to write. He describes it as a limitation. If he gives up that handicap, I just hope he knows what he's doing. He's astonishing now, probably because of "limitations."
Brandi Martindale guests at The Hankster to explain why voters are rejecting the political party system and embracing independent life. I have expressed my skepticism concerning the popular pox on all houses approach.
Republicans in a House committee ganged up on Sister Simone Campbell about food stamps for hungry kids and the working poor. Speaking softly, she gently made mince meat of each of them in turn. Max's Dad takes a close look at one of the attackers and conducts his own analysis.
Republican Congressional representative Steve King has been making headlines with bigoted comments about Hispanic immigrants. Rumproast reminds us that his is not a lone Republican voice, crying in an ignorant wilderness.
News Corpse watches so we don't have to as Fox follows up on their cringe-worthy interview with a Muslim scholar who dared to commit research on Jesus. The Fox interviewer was shocked at the nerve of this follower of Islam. Now, Fox accuses the scholar of being a Muslim, and accuses mainstream media of bias against Fox over the resulting coverage. It's not just doubling down. It's doubling downward.
A cautionary story comes via Mad Mike's America. Christians are protesting about atheists as military chaplains. The story isn't just about intolerance. The hidden part, not easily seen, is about the often too successful effort by conservative Christians to hijack the message of Jesus, and the acceptance of a false picture by some outside the clique. The point is unintentionally made in the first sentence: "There are few words you can say to a Christian that cause as much anger as 'atheist.'" We need to learn from the picture others have of us. That is our feedback.
Jack Jodell, friend of the working blogger at THE SATURDAY AFTERNOON POST, looks at unfettered capitalism and primary historical alternatives. He finds a workable third way in nineteenth century teachings of the Catholic Church.
James Wigderson suggests that civil disobedience in the form of an illegal demonstration is pointless if it is crazy easy to get a permit. He covers a conservative sing-along to ... uh ... demonstrate the point.
- Vincent of A wayfarer's notes introduces us to the long time, close personal friend he just now met for the first time, and his friend's short story about important family relationships in Calcutta.
Dave Dubya of Freedom Rants considers the candidacy of Senator Mike Enzi's very good friend, Liz Cheney as she encourages conservative voters to throw her very good conservative friend under a conservative bus. With friends like Liz, who needs Enzi?
Tommy Christopher of Mediaite vivisects the conservative untruth that in 2004 an Illinois State Senator named Barack Obama supported Stand Your Ground. He watches as a mainstream media figure mindlessly repeats the lie.
Rumproast watches as a public utility hosts a public meeting to rile residents about gays, prayer, and Muslims, while they quietly move charge rip-off rates for ... you know ... electricity. Great deal. Bundle utilities in with bigotry and get charged more.
Mad Mike's America finds out why the Cardinals here in St. Louis, leading the division, are not doing even better. It seems God is not on their side. You know, there are some Creators of Heaven and Earth you just shouldn't mess with.
Ryan returns (Yay-y-y-y) to Secular Ethics, examining how an atheist can be good without God. Being a gentleman, Ryan suggests that "reasonable theists do not ask this question in the first place..." I remember engaging a similar question a couple of years ago with my friend John Myste. Christians have something to learn from writers like Ryan.
T. Paine, at Saving Common Sense, objects to the characterization of all religion as an appeal to superstition. He seems to agree that most religion is superstition, but maintains that Catholicism is the exception Actually, a few of our congregation will think he meant Methodism.
Vincent has been gone for weeks. Now he is back at A wayfarer's notes with a newly written book a story behind the story. We are excited at reading, not just what he has written, but how he has written. How does he do that?
PZ Myers, writing for Pharyngula, gets into the lengths that he and fellow researchers go through to avoid alienating the most important people in his department: custodians.
News Corpse times the Fox News reaction to the President's discussion of race and the Trayvon Martin case. It involves a bit of time travel. Obama is criticized before his remarks are complete.
Tommy Christopher of Mediaite reviews President Obama's discussion of the Trayvon Martin killing and the larger issue of racism, and notes what seems to be the major conservative objection: There was little sympathy expressed for angry, resentful white conservatives.
Kent Pittman, writing from Open Salon, analyzes the evidence and concludes the courtroom actually housed two trials, the verdicts of both being outrageous. I am sympathetic to the opinion that the killer committed a crime. I think it was worse than most critics believe.
Rumproast looks to largely fictional conservative coverage of protests surrounding the Trayvon killing and the strange accusations about President Obama's first statement a while back, intended to comfort a grieving family.
Michael J. Scott of Mad Mike's America gives sympathetic review to comments by Geraldo Rivera implying that shooting Trayvon Martin was justified, in part, by the hoodie he was wearing and his presence at night in a gated community. An unusually ill-conceived piece from a remarkable writer.
Conservative James Wigderson greets the coming visit to Wisconsin of Ann Coulter as a featured speaker with a lack of enthusiasm. My own opinion was expressed a few years ago in recalling a childhood incident.
Max's Dad reacts to those who react to a Magazine cover that reacts to the surviving Boston bomber. Seems Max's Dad subscribes to the Rolling Stone, not for the pictures, but for the articles. The article in this case, examining the origins of pure evil, is quite good.
Max's Dad is so-o-o-o tired of the Zimmerman trial in a state where it is legal for a guy with a gun to go after a kid armed with skittles as long as he later says he was losing the resulting fight when he shot and killed the kid.
A John Wilkes Booth sympathizer who really dislikes Abraham Lincoln and advocates for the angry and oppressed white people of America is on the payroll of Senator Rand Paul. Tommy Christopher of Mediaite seems unsympathetic as the Senator explains that the big tent of the GOP must include those in the camp of armed rebellion and assassination. The party of inclusion.
Last Of The Millenniums brings us the savage Senate debate on the filibuster, including personal attacks, as today's Mitch McConnell argues with McConnell of 2005. It's a bloody conflict.
- Our developing spiritual leader at Why do we have to do this, Sir? is inspired by class registration and a baptism to contemplate Jesus sending 70 followers to prepare towns and villages along his journey.
Every year the presidents of Sears Holdings’ (SHLD) many business units trudge across the company’s sprawling headquarters in Hoffman Estates, Ill., to a conference room in Building B, where they ask Eddie Lampert for money. The leaders have made these solitary treks since 2008, when Lampert, a reclusive hedge fund billionaire, splintered the company into more than 30 units.
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Infidel 753 analyzes the coup in Egypt as part of a struggle between Islamists and secularists. There is a passing reference to pressing problems. Those pressing problems may actually have been more decisive than religious authoritarianism. At any rate, we can hope for eventual freedom and democracy. All things considered, a thoughtful analysis, especially considering the cloud of immediacy as events sort themselves out.
Sometimes the human experience goes to irony. News Corpse explain how uber hacker Rupert Murdoch was himself secretly recorded admitting to US legal violations and British perjury.
Conservative James Wigderson provides a lesson about how the nature of public specuation provides clues to reality. He takes us to a case study, contrasting the likely good fortunes of Wisconsin Governor with the dimming prospects of the Mayor of Waukesha.
Nancy Hanks at The Hankster celebrates Independence Day and a perfect record, so far, in getting enough names on petitions to put politically Independent candidates on the ballot.
T. Paine, at Saving Common Sense, brings forth summary and praise for freedom and founding principles. I am especially struck by one small part, his endorsement of immigration. "America though was different. To become an American one only needed to pledge allegiance to our free republic and the principles of liberty enshrined in its founding." Contrary as this thought is to contemporary conservative orthodoxy, it serves as a reminder that not all conservatives hold to identical ways.
Last week our friend T Paine lamented the tolerance of so many Catholics for gay relationships. This week Michael John Scott at Mad Mike's America begins his piece on about an anti-gay radio show rant with Oh those intolerant Catholics!. It's an entertaining piece, because it centers on gay food, but the first sentence struck me as funny.
Max's Dad seems amazed at the inability of Ohio's Governor John Kasich to see anything wrong with surrounding himself with a bunch of old male legislators at the signing of yet another law restricting the ability of women to make their own abortion choices.
Tim McGaha at Tim's Thoughtful Spot looks at this time 150 years ago, and concludes that financial end of the Confederacy happened in early July, and with it went the prospects of perpetual, formalized slavery.
News Corpse reacts to the DOMA demolition by hosting an angry debate as Justice Antonin Scalia rages against Justice Antonin Scalia.
Our friend T. Paine, at Saving Common Sense, is disturbed at members of the Catholic Church for insufficient anger at gay marriage. Seems not everyone lives up to his high standards. Some even consider such principled stands as that of my friend as some sort of ... how does he put it ... bigotry. Click to share the pain.
When I was a little kid, Howdy Doody and Buffalo Bob were the big thing on Saturday. My mom caught me climbing on the piano to push the time ahead in the belief it would make my program come on early. At Mad Mike's America, we discover that the Texas state legislature made time stand still, turning back the electronic time stamp, pretending midnight hadn't come, to pass their women-can't-have-abortions bill. Sadly, Howdy Doody will still arrive in a special session.
James Wigderson is really upset at the intention of President Obama to address climate change. So far, the President wants to stop public funding of any coal production that happens without retrofitting for cleaner air. The cost of details that are as yet unformulated by the administration are calculated with precision by the prescient James. You can tell he is upset when he refers to Wisconsin as the "diary state." No criticism intended. I was once referred to in print as Butt Deming by a later embarrassed friend.
Jack Jodell at THE SATURDAY AFTERNOON POST takes a slightly different approach to Presidential history. Rather than a highly condensed, largely useless, rote summary of each White House occupant, Jack provides one or two direct, representative quotes illustrating the philosophy of each.
Tired of Zimmerman trial commentary focused on an involuntary teenager's language, attitude, and appearance? Tommy Christopher of Mediaite does something unusual in the world of journalism. He analyzes actual testimony. You know. As in what happened?
Ryan at Secular Ethics walks us through his journey, part emotion, part observation, part reasoning, arriving at a status of atheism. It is as hard to tell where this ends for him as it is for any of us. But right now, this minute, Ryan has something to teach those of us who may have grown too comfortable in our beliefs and accompanying rituals. Worth a read, then some sober contemplation.
- Infidel 753 brings us back to author of I Am Legend Richard Matheson. Infidel provides some of the subtle insights Matheson combined with his adventuresome stories.
Jack Jodell at THE SATURDAY AFTERNOON POST transitions from a lament about our willingness to sacrifice freedom for security to a case study in the value of faith in a crisis. I don't see the security/freedom choice as entirely binary. My apprehension comes from another direction. Jack's case of faith is stronger but probably not compelling to those not already committed. Should we believe what comforts or what we really see as truth?
Max's Dad, scourge of conservatives, is less than impressed with NSA leaker Ed Snowden. Why bother with national debates, elections, weighing security and privacy to find common ground, special judicial proceedings, when the slacker who came in from the cold is willing to appoint himself to decide?
"...because, you know, the incidents of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low." That was Representative Trent Franks (R-AZ). Mad Mike's America brings us a variety of reaction, some of it surprisingly understanding.
News Corpse has the details of the great bicycle conspiracy, from its resurrection at the Wall Street Journal to its reburial with Colbert. Being of a certain age, I remember the long ago beginnings that others have forgotten.
PZ Myers, writing for Pharyngula, gets to the hard, hard core of the controversy around a descendant of Mexican immigrants singing the national anthem. Oddly, my grandparents, on one side, immigrated from the Ukraine. If I led the Star Spangled Banner at a national event, I'd be thrown out for non-racial reasons.
At Why do we have to do this, Sir? the erstwhile spiritual teacher ventures, with an aging colleague, into the traumatic universe of sex education in a classroom of kids. No mention of later therapy for the teachers.
The IRS controversy has, at its heart, what ought to be another controversy. Should a citizen be able to contribute huge sums to a political candidate and then take it off his income taxes? That practice does tend to raise taxes on the rest of us while giving some individuals enhanced influence with elected government officials.
Still, we should agree that such tax privileges shouldn't be given out on the basis of ideology. Last Of The Millenniums takes a look at what sorts of groups were given an additional edge in gaining that political tax advantage. The answer puts an interesting light on IRS practices.
Last week everyone learned there was a presidential connection to the IRS scandal as records showed 157 visits by the head of the agency to the White House. Tommy Christopher of Mediaite watches the incredible shrinking connection as the visits turn out not to be visits, but rather clearances for possible visits. Actual visits shrink from 157 to 23 to 11 confirmed meetings at the White House. 85% of the clearances were for implementation of health care changes.
Additional UNdocumented visits are possible, but why bother researching all that? Bill O'Reilly just repeats the original discredited story a week after his words are pre-discredited. Who would have guessed?
Rumproast chronicles a tough day in the currently tough life of John Boehner. A rebellion of more-conservative-than-thou Republicans in the House of Representatives nearly made Speaker Boehner ex-Speaker Boehner. The deciding vote was cast by a surprising source.
On a non-political note, Mad Mike's America explains how to tell if someone is drowning. It turns out drowning isn't at all what we see on television. In fact, it's very easy to miss, very worthwhile not missing. Worth the read.
Vincent of A wayfarer's notes begins with a park bench. He consults his childhood memory and finds it is more to him than a park bench. He expands his theme to transcendent contemplation of God, the Universe and the meaning of everything. Vincent is magnificent.
From the Baltimore Sun
Everyone begged William Lewis Moore not to go to Mississippi. His pastor told him he would get killed walking around in a sandwich board sign protesting segregation. His family worried about where he would sleep and eat.
Even fellow civil rights activists told the Baltimore postal worker it was a bad idea to walk hundreds of miles through the heart of the South. But Moore insisted on hand-delivering a letter to the governor of Mississippi, urging the staunch segregationist to change.
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The President of the United States used to be routinely offered respect, even by political opponents. I remember being angry as hell at Dan Rather back in 1974 during the Watergate troubles. As he began to ask a question, President Nixon chided him, "Are you running for something?" Rather snapped back, "No, sir, Mr. President. Are you?" It did not seem to me a friendly jibe. I didn't like Richard Nixon, but I didn't like demeaning the President to his face. In these days of "You lie!" those seem like days of amazing innocence.
Recently, a prayer breakfast produced another conservative hero, as Dr. Ben Carson rebuked the President with God's right of center positions on tax rates, health care, and national economic policy. That was some prayer. These are some contemporary conservatives.
More thoughtful than most, James Wigderson was entranced at another Carson presentation, this one in Wisconsin. Dr. Carson offered a series of conservative bromides one of which caught my attention. Dr. Carson educated his audience on the disproportionate share of taxes paid by the fantastically wealthy, which he sees as an obvious injustice.
One percent of Americans, says the good doctor, pays 37 percent of America's taxes. It's actually an old and discredited charge that originates at the conservative Tax Foundation, which ignores sales taxes, licenses, payroll taxes, local income taxes, state income taxes, property taxes, fees, tolls, energy taxes, and pretty much any tax that doesn't fit into the category of federal tax. Oh excuse me, that would be only federal income tax. When you include everything the "injustice" shrinks down to a slight progressive net.
I wrote about this a couple of years ago, and what I easily discovered remains available to anyone who can use an internet search engine. But Dr. Carson's divine rebukes from the Lord to the President apparently leave little room for actual facts. James Wigderson is also much in demand as a reporter and writer. He is very, very good. His busy schedule apparently provides no time to assist Dr. Carson or James' own readers with the research I'm sure he diligently performed.
Okay, so a remarkably good writer can have a bad day. Maybe next time.
Jack Jodell, friend of the working blogger at THE SATURDAY AFTERNOON POST, celebrates the loss of one conservative leader and the prospective loss of another.
Tommy Christopher of Mediaite manages to avoid any gleeful dance with a dispassionate review of the Bachmann farewell announcement tape, music and all.
The best test for a theory, ideology, or scientific proposition is prediction. Mad Mike's America examines five such predictions made by one time conservative force Michele Bachmann.
News Corpse reports on the newest public figure accused by conservatives of participating in Islamic conspiracies as a secret spy. This head scratcher is a bit of ideological cannibalism. Tea Party becomes Donner Party.
- You can hear us as well as read us. Click here, then choose a podcast.
In response to Ryan's
Common Sense from an Opponent Is Still Common Sense
Imagine a society in which interracial marriage is a controversial issue. Party A supports it; Party B opposes it.
Now imagine that, for years, Party B has gained votes (or at least hasn't lost them) over its opposition to interracial marriage. However, in recent years, public opinion has shifted, such that a majority now supports interracial marriage and even considers its legalization to be of great moral significance. This shift in public opinion becomes a trend, but Party B maintains its opposition, ignoring Party A's advice. It begins to lose elections accordingly.
While I assume that you do not support Party B's position, you appear to support its approach.
Imagine a society in which abortion is a controversial issue. Party A supports it; Party B opposes it.
Now imagine that, for years, Party B has gained votes (or at least hasn't lost them) over its opposition to abortion. However, in recent years, public opinion has shifted, such that a majority (or at least a very vocal minority) now supports abortion and even considers its unfettered legalization to be of great "moral" significance. This shift in public opinion becomes a trend, but Party B maintains its opposition, ignoring Party A's advice. It begins to lose elections accordingly.
Party B can either throw in the towel and no longer stand firm on an issue which they consider a core moral principle in order to "get along with the times" and thus garner more votes, or they can stand fast in defense of life even if such a position isn’t trendy or politically expedient. Sometimes one has to be stalwart in his defense of core principles such as the protection of innocent life or any of the besieged liberties guaranteed to We The People in the Bill of Rights.
If one’s stance on such vital issues becomes contrary to current public sentiment and one’s party starts losing votes accordingly, one could do the cynical yet politically prudent thing and start moderating one’s position on abortion (etc.) in attempt to appeal to those disenchanted voters. OR, one can hold fast to one’s core principles and explain, fight, and attempt to educate the voting populace about why they might just be wrong in their current way of thinking and how the long term results of their current mindset will only prove to be harmful to society and to them.
Next, I consider George W. Bush to be an aberration where a "moderate" Republican did indeed win the White House. The fact that the vote was so close in 2000 only goes to prove my point. Had a true conservative/libertarian candidate emerged from the primary process that offered even a more stark difference between the candidates, I suspect the voting would not have been disputed and close.
Continuing, some post-election analysis of 2012 showed that a decisive number of conservatives and Republicans stayed home last November because they were not happy with the choice of Romney as the flag bearer for the GOP. While I had serious doubts and issues with Mr. Romney, I saw the alternative of Obama being reelected to be unacceptable.
As you stated Romney "beat" his other more conservative primary challengers and emerged as the party’s nominee. This was largely because he had the backing of the party apparatus, support functions, and money to do so. He would maintain the relative status quo, in other words. The GOP leadership and structure had no desire for a Cain or Santorum to come in and totally restructure Washington according to their more conservative vision. We thus got Romney and lost because they put forth a watered-down "severe" conservative. The fact that Romney would use such an adjective in describing his brand of conservatism is telling. No true conservative would have felt the need to characterize himself with such a silly moniker.
The GOP put up a moderate progressive against a severe progressive. The progressive electorate chose the more progressive candidate accordingly. I realize you find that to be horrible political analysis, and while I first wrote that somewhat tongue-in-cheek, the fact of the matter is that it seems to be a fairly accurate observation.
T. Paine is a frequent and generous contributor. He can be found at Saving Common Sense, where only non-conservatives feel the need for silly monikers.
Prominent conservative Julian Sanchez has been having migraines dealing with the intricacies of the Freedom of Information Act. He not only resists any hint of discouragement, he writes a wonderful ode to the experience. Institutional runaround has evolved into wonderfully technical terms that are explained in lyrics, complete with links to definitions.
It is wearying contemplating the too common practice of hating people for the way they pray, for the way they worship, judging them harshly because of others who worship the same way. Mad Mike's America brings news of how a few Britons are reacting to a brutal attack by two renegade Muslims who attacked and murdered a British soldier on a city street. Not everyone is reduced to mindless hatred.
Last Of The Millenniums watches with fascination as a small group of Senate Republicans restrict the ever smaller circle of those sufficiently Republican to be trusted to the vanishing point. They now trust nobody at all. Not Democrats, not Republicans: nobody. Welcome to the future of the GOP.
News Corpse considers justifiable attacks on the IRS by Fox News for targeting the tax exempt status of conservative groups, then reconsiders in light of a previous Fox campaign to use the IRS against a critic of Fox News.
Conservative James Wigderson performs a bit of the Guilt by Association Dance for us, covering an appearance by Rev Jeremiah Wright as "an insight into the mind of President Barack Obama and the spirit of the leftwing that has captured the Democratic Party." If James is ever tempted to analyze words of my pastor to get into my mind, I'd suggest he find a less tenuous endeavor - one more fair to my church. I confess to independent thought. But we're approaching summer. Reruns seem fitting.
A Fox personality encourages physical attacks on Obama voters, tee-hee, then seriously broadcasts that she means it. So Rumproast gets nonviolent revenge by simply quoting other things she has said. Talk about cruel.
Jameel Jaffer, the Director of the Center for Democracy of the ACLU was on Rachel Maddow's program last night. He argued against the administration's position on the use of drones. Um... well... not exactly the administration's position.
He explained the position he opposed as: we are at war, so we have the right to kill Americans on foreign soil.
There is legitimate debate on both the rationale and on the procedures used prior to sending drones to administer deadly force. Misstating the opposing argument accomplishes little.
As I understand the administration's position, the moral case is roughly comparable to that of taking out a sniper randomly targeting pedestrians from a tower.
The immediacy of the danger is not that of time, but of accessibility. If a terrorist has participated in previous killings, cannot be captured, cannot be stopped by other means: if there is reasonable likelihood that more people will be targeted, and there is a limited window of opportunity, would such a person be killed justifiably? What additional standards would be reasonable?
I can think of one. Some mechanism of legal review should be in place. The executive branch must obtain judicial authorization, putting evidence before a magistrate showing cause. In cases involving too little time for that to be practical, a retrospective review should be required.
Right now, no such process seems to be in place.
But we don't hear that argument being made.
The case for a more contemplative system was not made last night. Instead, the administration was characterized as licensing themselves to kill because we are at war. Because we are at war.
We are at war, so we can kill whomever we want. We live at the pleasure of the President.
Perhaps civil liberties defenders actually think nothing really needs honest explanation. For my own benefit, I would like a slow and careful lesson in the distinction between Anwar Awlaki, killed in Yemen a year and a half ago, and Charles Whitman, killed in Texas 45 years before that.
Whitman had climbed to the 28th floor of the University of Texas Tower in Austin found a perch on the observation deck, and began firing at those walking on sidewalks below. He killed 17 people before Austin police were able to bring him down. He was not provided a Miranda warning. He was provided no judicial protections. The was no writ issued by any court authorizing his "execution".
Anwar Awlaki was active in al Qaeda. He had participated in the planning of a dozen terrorism plots in the United States, Canada, and Britain. As with Whitman, there appeared to be no opportunity to capture him. As with Whitman, he had killed before and it looked as if he was prepared to continue killing. As with Whitman, there was limited opportunity to kill him before he killed again.
It seems to me the argument against the Obama administration's policy of targeting an American outside the United States would be more compelling if there was some reasoning that did not rest on distortion of the administration policy. If that argument against President Obama's drone policy was buttressed by reasoning of its own, it would be even more persuasive.
Those arguing from the left often seem hobbled by an assumption. They believe their case is so strong, so self-evident, so compelling, no argument needs to be presented. Why re-litigate a question that has already been proven, a case that has already been closed?
The same weakness overwhelms journalists arguing against aggressive investigation of classified leaks. Angry passion is presented as if the anger itself is the only reasoning needed in order to make the case compelling.
There is, in law, a class of courtroom reasoning known as an affirmative defense. It is a form of argument that is not subject to the normal standard of innocent until proven guilty to a moral certainty. Insanity is one such defense. Self-defense - in most jurisdictions - is another. The prosecution in a murder case does not need to prove a defendant was not insane or that self-defense was not a factor. The burden of proof for these and a few other defense arguments is on the defendant.
In public opinion, in this case, an affirmative burden is on the critics.
To most of us, the only self-evident cases, the cases that need no argument, are that
terrorists who can't be captured and may kill again should be targets of deadly force, and
- government workers who have secret information about British or American spies, agents who have infiltrated terrorist organization or deranged dictatorships, should be hunted down and treated harshly if they betray those undercover agents.
Anyone who thinks differently should be given the opportunity to make their case.
Those critics should not be confused about the need for an affirmative case. Their position is not self-evident. They actually need to make a clear and compelling argument.
Most are not doing that.
Michael J. Scott of Mad Mike's America watches and chronicles the latest accusations against President Obama from the astounding Alan Keyes. Seems our President now conspires to commit genocide on the American people.
Conservatives are frustrated by a lack of public interest in Obama scandal. That might change as evidence is developed, but so far, Republicans are limited by two facts. Those incidents that involve wrongdoing were committed by fairly low level folk. Those that reach higher levels involve no wrongdoing. Conservative James Wigderson indulges in superficial parallels as he wistfully imagines what it would be like if Barack Obama turned out to be another Richard Nixon. No harm in idle imagination, I suppose.
We should try to contrive empathy with our friend T. Paine, at Saving Common Sense. He laments that nobody, aside from himself and his small group of the conspiratorially minded, are able to to wrap a series of scandals into an indictment of President Obama. Mr. Paine's accusations are not, actually, a conclusion. They form a premise. I mean, the Gosnell murders in Pennsylvania being part of White House corruption?
Tommy Christopher of Mediaite contrasts last week's released emails with earlier news reports about those same emails, when they were still classified, and determines that ABC News was not the only organization misled about Benghazi. A CBS reporter was also lied to by Republicans who fed false quotes to her that they claimed came directly from those messages.
Apparently conservative staffers counted on the actual memos to be forever classified. Last Of The Millenniums goes beyond the now famous "smoking gun" memo, reporting that Republicans turn out to have lied to reporters about the content of other emails as well.
Jack Jodell, at THE SATURDAY AFTERNOON POST, is pessimistic, speculating that enough low-information voters will believe Fox-type news outlets to produce short-term electoral victories for Republicans, despite developing evidence of Republican duplicity in manufacturing evidence.
The wonderfully talented Vincent of A wayfarer's notes contrasts the freedom of blog writing with that of more traditional media. To illustrate, he turns his wrath on a hapless critic of an aspiring writer. The critic, the object of Vincent's unsparing review is the very repentant Vincent. Did I mention that Vincent is wonderfully talented?
Ryan at Secular Ethics reviews the theological problem of evil in the world, exploring the parallel issue of free will. Ryan hits on what, for many Christians, is one of the two most painful challenges to faith. The other is evil in ourselves.
With two clever endings to a creative ad!