Friday, December 26, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008
My Dog. My house in Vermont. My big, huge snowstorm.
My daughters opening their presents under the Atheistmas Tree.
My bridge. I made it. Crosses the brook 10 Feet behind my back door. You can't see the brook. It's under snow.
May your holidays be godless and filled with good cheer!
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Sunday, December 07, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Sunday, November 16, 2008
This is absolutely hysterical. James Dobson is playing a tape of a two year old Obama speech and critiquing his supposed misunderstanding of the bible. The speech amazed me, because Obama sounds word for word like Christopher Hitchens starting at about minute 5 (talking about the absurdity of the laws in Leviticus.) Obama then states that the sermon on the mount is so radical a teaching that the defense department wouldn't withstand its application. James Dobson starts accusing Obama of equating him with Al Sharpton (which he never did, he actually contrasted the two as opposite ends of a religious spectrum as you will hear). Then Dobson and his other commentator go into a stunning defense of the stoning of the children of bad parents!
Saturday, November 15, 2008
I am utterly flummoxed. Should Congress step in to save the auto industry or should it not? If nothing is done, the damage to the economy will be (digging for an adequate analogy) thermonuclear. The jobless rate will soar on wings of song and people will flee to New Orleans to escape Detroit. The collapse could well send a recession into depression - and the world with it.
So, why is congress (in the equivalent of a Volkswagen Beetle convertible) playing chicken with an 18 wheel logging truck going downhill with the wind at its back and a full load? My personal, though unfounded guess, is that both the Democrats & the Republicans have ideological axes to grind. There are probably left leaning Democrats who would be all too happy to see the auto industry get its just deserts. The industry insisted on subverting, at every turn, any and all efforts to create more fuel efficient cars. At every turn, the auto industry chose short term profit (read greed) over prudent investment in future technologies. I'm sure, to many "green" Democrats, it's payback time. The auto industry, after all, has been one of *THE* major lobbying impediments to greener, less polluting technologies. The industry has single handedly compromised our nation's security by making us keenly dependent on foreign oil.
Then there are the right leaning Republicans. They have an ax to grind too. No lobbying group has been more of a thorn in their side than the UAW and no industry has provided a greater base of support to the unions than the auto worker. The unions are anathema to everything a free market, authoritarian conservative stands for. I have a hunch that many conservatives would *love* to see the auto industry forced into bankruptcy. Bankruptcy, and only bankruptcy, would finally permit the auto industry to sever its ties to the unions, as well as any financial obligations. All and any union contracts would be, effectively, null and void. The steely grip of the unions would be broken. Who would the unionists blame? The auto industry? Maybe Republicans? But who cares, most of them didn't vote Republican anyway.
The President of the United Auto Workers, Ron Gettelfinger, "said Saturday that the problem is not the union's contract with the automakers and that getting the automakers back on their feet means figuring out a way to turn around the slumping economy."
Says he: "The focus has to be on the economy as a whole as opposed to a UAW contract..."
This sounds like the statement of a man in denial. These are the words of a man who smells blood in the wind - his own blood. He knows better than anyone that if the auto industry declares bankruptcy, all bets are off. How does one strike against a company that no longer exists? The safest statement is the one he made. It's the economy, says he.
He could blame the auto industry, but the union's have been just as complicit in fighting fuel efficiency standards. They are just as complicit in a failure of foresight. Yet another reason for *both* Democrats and Republicans to sharpen their knives: Democrats because of the union's obstructionism, Republicans because of the union's obstruction of the free market.
Meanwhile, who loves the US auto industry? They have made stupid decisions, dismal cars and have profited mightily at the expense of *everyone*.
Still, nub of nubs, if we let them fail -- 1929 might start looking *really* good.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Although it is impossible to remove all bias from media, give the "mainstream media" credit as being the only form of media left that actually makes an attempt at it. And by those ideals you can know them. Whatever you think about the MSM, what makes it unique is that it struggles daily to avoid the charge of "media bias" as much as possible. This cannot be said about the cable shows and talk radio. As such, they are forced to constantly gauge the attitude of the country and frame information accordingly.
If 97% of experts agree that global warming is manmade and 3% disagree, there will always be hordes of scientifically illiterate Rush Limbaugh listeners whining about media bias. This is never ending. It will never end because a good media outlet is less interested in making specific groups of people who believe in very unlikely things feel represented by falsely portraying ideas without evidence as being equally valid as those with evidence. Because the "mainstream media" holds scientific mainstream opinion as its polestar, it is bound to piss those anti-intellectual konservatives off who reject the scientific process (many millions of people).
The anti-intellectual movement which has taken over the konservative faction of politics has been forced to continuously cry out about bias in science, education and the media in order to get people to feel sorry for them. Konservatives love to play the victim card. They would have us believe that there is a huge conspiracy to manufacture facts that oppose konservatism, a vast left wing conspiracy that somehow churns out support for liberal views while actively suppressing evidence that confirms konservative world views. As if all the world's best biology students are brainwashed into believing in evolution, or almost all top climate scientists somehow believe in global warming just to get get grant money or because they all have this secret desire to be socialists. Or that universities are evil because people who graduate from them are almost invariably more liberal than they were when they entered.
This anti-intellectualism is hopefully going out of style in politics (and make no mistake, it is a completely contrived Rovian tool for political divisiveness. Konservatives absolutely LOVE intellectuals with lofty credentials... as long as they are konservatives. And if spending 4 years binging on information about the world made people more konservative they would love intellectualism).
Paul Begala, the Obama campaign strategist told Bill Maher that 80% of republicans hope that Sarah Palin is the future of the republican party.....
....and 100% of democrats hope that Sarah palin is the future of the republican party.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
My mom told me that I shouldn't base my election analysis on "feelings" (I like him/her) or "beliefs" (I share his/her beliefs) but on logical arguments. She asked me to create my own rational explanations for my support of Obama. Here is one of my arguments:
McCain and Palin are not qualified to be President / Vice President of the U.S. The President's job is to do good for the country and the world. To do good for the country, the President must make smart decisions on important situations.
Governor Palin believes the world is 6000 years old. This is absurd. This is not a rational belief. This is a mistake. Scientists, experiments and evidence have shown this to be completely false. Therefore, she is not rational. If she is not rational, she should not be allowed to be President or Vice President.
Please vote for Barack Obama."
Sunday, November 09, 2008
One of the Bush Administration's most pernicious propaganda triumphs has been the baseless claim that the so-called surge has been a success. Only in Bush's world of spin does one increase troops in order to reduce them. Only in Bush's world of spin is it considered a triumph when more troops are required than when the war started. Only in Bush's echo chamber is a "surge " a continuous operation - the "surge" troops still haven't come home. The "surge" has not resulted in any troop reductions. The surge has not brought peace to rival factions.
Meanwhile, the tribal and sectarian forces within Bagdad are biding their time, fully aware that the United States, depleted by mismanagement, incompetence and a failed economy, cannot afford to continue an occupation indefinitely, even if an Obama administration were to desire it. Bush has knowingly placed the Iraqi War in a holding pattern, knowing that if his "surge" holds just long enough for him to exit the White House, any withdrawal of troops and subsequent collapse of Iraqi "stability" will be placed at the feet of Obama and the Democrats. And this is precisely the illusion that Galbraith is puncturing.
George Bush lost the war.
It is a pity that Obama did not respond more forcefully to Republican claims of success, as it will make the inevitable Republican onslaught all the more difficult to counter, but Galbraith provides the argument, ammunition and the evidence. Even conservative columnist David Brooks considers in the "smartest and most devastating" critic of President George W. Bush's Iraq policies.
"Peter Galbraith was the earliest expert to describe Iraq's breakup into religious and ethnic entities, a reality now commonly accepted.
The Iraq war was intended to make the United States more secure, bring democracy to the Middle East, intimidate Iran and Syria, help win the war on terror, consolidate American world leadership, and entrench the Republican Party for decades. Instead,
- Bush handed Iran its greatest strategic triumph in four centuries
- U.S. troops now fight to support an Iraqi government led by religious parties intent on creating an Iranian-style Islamic republic
- As part of the surge, the United States created a Sunni militia led by the same Baathists the U.S. invaded Iraq to overthrow administration gave Iran and North Korea a free pass to advance their nuclear programs
- Obsessed with Iraq's nonexistent WMD, the Bush administration gave Iran and North Korea a free pass to advance their nuclear programs
- Turkey, a key NANATO ally long considered a model pro-Western Muslim democracy, became one of the most anti-American countries in the world
- U.S. prestige around the world reached an all-time low
Iraq: Galbraith challenges the assertion that the surge will lead to victory. By creating a Sunni army, the surge has, in fact, contributed to Iraq's breakup and set the stage for an intensified civil war between Sunnis and Shiites. If the United States wishes to escape the Iraq quagmire, it must face up to the reality that the country has broken up and cannot be put back together.
Iran: Having helped Iran's allies take control in Baghdad, the Bush administration no longer has a viable military option to stop Iran's nuclear program. Galbraith discusses how a president more pragmatic than Bush might get Iran to freeze its nuclear program as part of a package deal to upgrade relations between two countries equally threatened by Sunni extremism.
Turkey, Syria, and Israel: A war intended to make Israel more secure, undermine Syria's Assad regime, and strengthen ties with Turkey has had the opposite result.
Nationalism: In the coming decades, other countries may follow Iraq's example in fragmenting along ethnic and religious lines. Galbraith draws on his considerable experience in Iraq and the former Yugoslavia to predict where and what the United States might do about it."The Democrats, Republicans and Obama need to level with the American people before George Bush leaves the White House. Place responsibility for this fiasco, for the lost war, where it belongs.
Saturday, November 08, 2008
I cannot describe the disgust that I feel when I see Sarah Palin. It is worse than what I feel when watching Bush gesticulate like a banana rewarded primate sign language experiment. Every wink and inflection reeks with a sense of rigged inauthenticity like a bad Shakespearean performance on opening night by high school students pretending to speak old English. Or like a 98 pound Asian porn star with watermelon jugs hanging from thin pendulous stalks. I could go on, and am tempted to because analogies don't describe the emotion.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
What tipped me was a 2a.m. epiphany by Misses Palin- "In a McCain-Palin administration, we will also fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act," Palin said in a speech in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
And with that I'm sold. God will surely bless this country with abundance with such good wholesome Christians in the whitehouse.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
As a political thinker, he cast aspersions on both Liberalism and Conservatism, saying, "The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of the Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being corrected."
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Saturday, October 04, 2008
Last night for me was a very entertaining night in Seattle (other than the usual rain, traffic and parking issues). I was invited by a friend to attend a town hall lecture by Naomi Wolf about her book "The End of America". You can see the same lecture (at a different town hall) here. It started off well and was captivating. The lesbian couple in front of me was distractingly hot and the lesbians behind me were shoving their feet up my ass. The gay guy at the end of the aisle stroked my back as I walked by and said "I'll make room for yoouuu". The guy in front of me offered to be my dress coach if I paid him by the hour.
Thursday, October 02, 2008
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
I have recently been reading Calvin and Hobbes to my daughters. Why couldn't Bill Watterson just come out with a book every now and then? Just write one strip a week and in a couple of years...
I want to restate my belief that Hobbes was real. And there is some circumstantial evidence, within the strips, to prove my belief - sort of like NDEs. I am a methodological naturalist - so I have an excuse.
Aaron, I will lose all respect for you if you agree with me.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
This was barely worth watching. The only exciting factor was anticipating disaster if someone made a mistake.
Friday, September 26, 2008
If McCain doesn't do something to turn this thing around, we are looking at a possible landslide. Virginia is now leaning Obama on RealClearPolitics, which would spell certain disaster for McCain. Michigan, Pennsylvania and Colorado are solidly Obama. McCain is barely holding onto Florida and Ohio.
I think that McCain will do okay in the debate tonight, because it will be softball. He can basically give a prepared speech-like oratory and play safe. But nothing can protect Palin from ultimate exposure for what she is once everyone gets to see her go toe to toe with Biden.
Conservative writers are starting to lose their capacity for self deception. Conservative Wick Allison wrote the article I posted about recently supporting Obama.
Then George Will, archconservative, said that one of the candidates was acting like a rookie amidst the financial crisis and it was not Obama. Now conservative Kathleen Parker, originally rooting for Palin, says Aunt Sarah should step down outright.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
The new face of Conservatism
A Conservative for Obama
My party has slipped its moorings. It’s time for a true pragmatist to lead the country.
By Wick Allison, Editor In Chief
THE MORE I LISTEN TO AND READ ABOUT “the most liberal member of the U.S. Senate,” the more I like him. Barack Obama strikes a chord with me like no political figure since Ronald Reagan. To explain why, I need to explain why I am a conservative and what it means to me.
In 1964, at the age of 16, I organized the Dallas County Youth for Goldwater. My senior thesis at the University of Texas was on the conservative intellectual revival in America. Twenty years later, I was invited by William F. Buckley Jr. to join the board of National Review. I later became its publisher.
Conservatism to me is less a political philosophy than a stance, a recognition of the fallibility of man and of man’s institutions. Conservatives respect the past not for its antiquity but because it represents, as G.K. Chesterton said, the democracy of the dead; it gives the benefit of the doubt to customs and laws tried and tested in the crucible of time. Conservatives are skeptical of abstract theories and utopian schemes, doubtful that government is wiser than its citizens, and always ready to test any political program against actual results.
Liberalism always seemed to me to be a system of “oughts.” We ought to do this or that because it’s the right thing to do, regardless of whether it works or not. It is a doctrine based on intentions, not results, on feeling good rather than doing good.
But today it is so-called conservatives who are cemented to political programs when they clearly don’t work. The Bush tax cuts—a solution for which there was no real problem and which he refused to end even when the nation went to war—led to huge deficit spending and a $3 trillion growth in the federal debt. Facing this, John McCain pumps his “conservative” credentials by proposing even bigger tax cuts. Meanwhile, a movement that once fought for limited government has presided over the greatest growth of government in our history. That is not conservatism; it is profligacy using conservatism as a mask.
Today it is conservatives, not liberals, who talk with alarming bellicosity about making the world “safe for democracy.” It is John McCain who says America’s job is to “defeat evil,” a theological expansion of the nation’s mission that would make George Washington cough out his wooden teeth.
This kind of conservatism, which is not conservative at all, has produced financial mismanagement, the waste of human lives, the loss of moral authority, and the wreckage of our economy that McCain now threatens to make worse.
Barack Obama is not my ideal candidate for president. (In fact, I made the maximum donation to John McCain during the primaries, when there was still hope he might come to his senses.) But I now see that Obama is almost the ideal candidate for this moment in American history. I disagree with him on many issues. But those don’t matter as much as what Obama offers, which is a deeply conservative view of the world. Nobody can read Obama’s books (which, it is worth noting, he wrote himself) or listen to him speak without realizing that this is a thoughtful, pragmatic, and prudent man. It gives me comfort just to think that after eight years of George W. Bush we will have a president who has actually read the Federalist Papers.
Most important, Obama will be a realist. I doubt he will taunt Russia, as McCain has, at the very moment when our national interest requires it as an ally. The crucial distinction in my mind is that, unlike John McCain, I am convinced he will not impulsively take us into another war unless American national interests are directly threatened.
“Every great cause,” Eric Hoffer wrote, “begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.” As a cause, conservatism may be dead. But as a stance, as a way of making judgments in a complex and difficult world, I believe it is very much alive in the instincts and predispositions of a liberal named Barack Obama.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
I received notice of this article via E-Mail. Sam Harris wrote: Please forward this article as widely as you can. I ask this favor of you because I believe that the sudden proximity of Sarah Palin to the presidency is the most dangerous political development of my lifetime.
Let me confess that I was genuinely unnerved by Sarah Palin's performance at the Republican convention. Given her audience and the needs of the moment, I believe Governor Palin's speech was the most effective political communication I have ever witnessed. Here, finally, was a performer who—being maternal, wounded, righteous and sexy—could stride past the frontal cortex of every American and plant a three-inch heel directly on that limbic circuit that ceaselessly intones "God and country." If anyone could make Christian theocracy smell like apple pie, Sarah Palin could.
Then came Palin's first television interview with Charles Gibson. I was relieved to discover, as many were, that Palin's luster can be much diminished by the absence of a teleprompter. Still, the problem she poses to our political process is now much bigger than she is. Her fans seem inclined to forgive her any indiscretion short of cannibalism. However badly she may stumble during the remaining weeks of this campaign, her supporters will focus their outrage upon the journalist who caused her to break stride, upon the camera operator who happened to capture her fall, upon the television network that broadcast the good lady's misfortune—and, above all, upon the "liberal elites" with their highfalutin assumption that, in the 21st century, only a reasonably well-educated person should be given command of our nuclear arsenal.
The point to be lamented is not that Sarah Palin comes from outside Washington, or that she has glimpsed so little of the earth's surface (she didn't have a passport until last year), or that she's never met a foreign head of state. The point is that she comes to us, seeking the second most important job in the world, without any intellectual training relevant to the challenges and responsibilities that await her. There is nothing to suggest that she even sees a role for careful analysis or a deep understanding of world events when it comes to deciding the fate of a nation. In her interview with Gibson, Palin managed to turn a joke about seeing Russia from her window into a straight-faced claim that Alaska's geographical proximity to Russia gave her some essential foreign-policy experience. Palin may be a perfectly wonderful person, a loving mother and a great American success story—but she is a beauty queen/sports reporter who stumbled into small-town politics, and who is now on the verge of stumbling into, or upon, world history.
The problem, as far as our political process is concerned, is that half the electorate revels in Palin's lack of intellectual qualifications. When it comes to politics, there is a mad love of mediocrity in this country. "They think they're better than you!" is the refrain that (highly competent and cynical) Republican strategists have set loose among the crowd, and the crowd has grown drunk on it once again. "Sarah Palin is an ordinary person!" Yes, all too ordinary.
We have all now witnessed apparently sentient human beings, once provoked by a reporter's microphone, saying things like, "I'm voting for Sarah because she's a mom. She knows what it's like to be a mom." Such sentiments suggest an uncanny (and, one fears, especially American) detachment from the real problems of today. The next administration must immediately confront issues like nuclear proliferation, ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (and covert wars elsewhere), global climate change, a convulsing economy, Russian belligerence, the rise of China, emerging epidemics, Islamism on a hundred fronts, a defunct United Nations, the deterioration of American schools, failures of energy, infrastructure and Internet security … the list is long, and Sarah Palin does not seem competent even to rank these items in order of importance, much less address any one of them.
Palin's most conspicuous gaffe in her interview with Gibson has been widely discussed. The truth is, I didn't much care that she did not know the meaning of the phrase "Bush doctrine." And I am quite sure that her supporters didn't care, either. Most people view such an ambush as a journalistic gimmick. What I do care about are all the other things Palin is guaranteed not to know—or will be glossing only under the frenzied tutelage of John McCain's advisers. What doesn't she know about financial markets, Islam, the history of the Middle East, the cold war, modern weapons systems, medical research, environmental science or emerging technology? Her relative ignorance is guaranteed on these fronts and most others, not because she was put on the spot, or got nervous, or just happened to miss the newspaper on any given morning. Sarah Palin's ignorance is guaranteed because of how she has spent the past 44 years on earth.
I care even more about the many things Palin thinks she knows but doesn't: like her conviction that the Biblical God consciously directs world events. Needless to say, she shares this belief with mil-lions of Americans—but we shouldn't be eager to give these people our nuclear codes, either. There is no question that if President McCain chokes on a spare rib and Palin becomes the first woman president, she and her supporters will believe that God, in all his majesty and wisdom, has brought it to pass. Why would God give Sarah Palin a job she isn't ready for? He wouldn't. Everything happens for a reason. Palin seems perfectly willing to stake the welfare of our country—even the welfare of our species—as collateral in her own personal journey of faith. Of course, McCain has made the same unconscionable wager on his personal journey to the White House.
In speaking before her church about her son going to war in Iraq, Palin urged the congregation to pray "that our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God; that's what we have to make sure we are praying for, that there is a plan, and that plan is God's plan." When asked about these remarks in her interview with Gibson, Palin successfully dodged the issue of her religious beliefs by claiming that she had been merely echoing the words of Abraham Lincoln. The New York Times later dubbed her response "absurd." It was worse than absurd; it was a lie calculated to conceal the true character of her religious infatuations. Every detail that has emerged about Palin's life in Alaska suggests that she is as devout and literal-minded in her Christian dogmatism as any man or woman in the land. Given her long affiliation with the Assemblies of God church, Palin very likely believes that Biblical prophecy is an infallible guide to future events and that we are living in the "end times." Which is to say she very likely thinks that human history will soon unravel in a foreordained cataclysm of war and bad weather. Undoubtedly Palin believes that this will be a good thing—as all true Christians will be lifted bodily into the sky to make merry with Jesus, while all nonbelievers, Jews, Methodists and other rabble will be punished for eternity in a lake of fire. Like many Pentecostals, Palin may even imagine that she and her fellow parishioners enjoy the power of prophecy themselves. Otherwise, what could she have meant when declaring to her congregation that "God's going to tell you what is going on, and what is going to go on, and you guys are going to have that within you"?
You can learn something about a person by the company she keeps. In the churches where Palin has worshiped for decades, parishioners enjoy "baptism in the Holy Spirit," "miraculous healings" and "the gift of tongues." Invariably, they offer astonishingly irrational accounts of this behavior and of its significance for the entire cosmos. Palin's spiritual colleagues describe themselves as part of "the final generation," engaged in "spiritual warfare" to purge the earth of "demonic strongholds." Palin has spent her entire adult life immersed in this apocalyptic hysteria. Ask yourself: Is it a good idea to place the most powerful military on earth at her disposal? Do we actually want our leaders thinking about the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy when it comes time to say to the Iranians, or to the North Koreans, or to the Pakistanis, or to the Russians or to the Chinese: "All options remain on the table"?
It is easy to see what many people, women especially, admire about Sarah Palin. Here is a mother of five who can see the bright side of having a child with Down syndrome and still find the time and energy to govern the state of Alaska. But we cannot ignore the fact that Palin's impressive family further testifies to her dogmatic religious beliefs. Many writers have noted the many shades of conservative hypocrisy on view here: when Jamie Lynn Spears gets pregnant, it is considered a symptom of liberal decadence and the breakdown of family values; in the case of one of Palin's daughters, however, teen pregnancy gets reinterpreted as a sign of immaculate, small-town fecundity. And just imagine if, instead of the Palins, the Obama family had a pregnant, underage daughter on display at their convention, flanked by her black boyfriend who "intends" to marry her. Who among conservatives would have resisted the temptation to speak of "the dysfunction in the black community"?
Teen pregnancy is a misfortune, plain and simple. At best, it represents bad luck (both for the mother and for the child); at worst, as in the Palins' case, it is a symptom of religious dogmatism. Governor Palin opposes sex education in schools on religious grounds. She has also fought vigorously for a "parental consent law" in the state of Alaska, seeking full parental dominion over the reproductive decisions of minors. We know, therefore, that Palin believes that she should be the one to decide whether her daughter carries her baby to term. Based on her stated position, we know that she would deny her daughter an abortion even if she had been raped. One can be forgiven for doubting whether Bristol Palin had all the advantages of 21st-century family planning—or, indeed, of the 21st century.
We have endured eight years of an administration that seemed touched by religious ideology. Bush's claim to Bob Woodward that he consulted a "higher Father" before going to war in Iraq got many of us sitting upright, before our attention wandered again to less ethereal signs of his incompetence. For all my concern about Bush's religious beliefs, and about his merely average grasp of terrestrial reality, I have never once thought that he was an over-the-brink, Rapture-ready extremist. Palin seems as though she might be the real McCoy. With the McCain team leading her around like a pet pony between now and Election Day, she can be expected to conceal her religious extremism until it is too late to do anything about it. Her supporters know that while she cannot afford to "talk the talk" between now and Nov. 4, if elected, she can be trusted to "walk the walk" until the Day of Judgment.
What is so unnerving about the candidacy of Sarah Palin is the degree to which she represents—and her supporters celebrate—the joyful marriage of confidence and ignorance. Watching her deny to Gibson that she had ever harbored the slightest doubt about her readiness to take command of the world's only superpower, one got the feeling that Palin would gladly assume any responsibility on earth:
"Governor Palin, are you ready at this moment to perform surgery on this child's brain?"
"Of course, Charlie. I have several boys of my own, and I'm an avid hunter."
"But governor, this is neurosurgery, and you have no training as a surgeon of any kind."
"That's just the point, Charlie. The American people want change in how we make medical decisions in this country. And when faced with a challenge, you cannot blink."
The prospects of a Palin administration are far more frightening, in fact, than those of a Palin Institute for Pediatric Neurosurgery. Ask yourself: how has "elitism" become a bad word in American politics? There is simply no other walk of life in which extraordinary talent and rigorous training are denigrated. We want elite pilots to fly our planes, elite troops to undertake our most critical missions, elite athletes to represent us in competition and elite scientists to devote the most productive years of their lives to curing our diseases. And yet, when it comes time to vest people with even greater responsibilities, we consider it a virtue to shun any and all standards of excellence. When it comes to choosing the people whose thoughts and actions will decide the fates of millions, then we suddenly want someone just like us, someone fit to have a beer with, someone down-to-earth—in fact, almost anyone, provided that he or she doesn't seem too intelligent or well educated.
I believe that with the nomination of Sarah Palin for the vice presidency, the silliness of our politics has finally put our nation at risk. The world is growing more complex—and dangerous—with each passing hour, and our position within it growing more precarious. Should she become president, Palin seems capable of enacting policies so detached from the common interests of humanity, and from empirical reality, as to unite the entire world against us. When asked why she is qualified to shoulder more responsibility than any person has held in human history, Palin cites her refusal to hesitate. "You can't blink," she told Gibson repeatedly, as though this were a primordial truth of wise governance. Let us hope that a President Palin would blink, again and again, while more thoughtful people decide the fate of civilization.
Harris is a founder of The Reason Project and author of The New York Times best sellers “The End of Faith” and “Letter to a Christian Nation.” His Web site is samharris.org.
Monday, September 15, 2008
But Democrats just don't get it. There's nothing they can do, because the people deciding these elections are not concerned about analysing issues in the first place. The people breaking the tie are those who are motivated by irrational faith based factors. There is very little that can be done. Progressives are way outnumbered.
I repeat, there is nothing to be done. There is nothing the Democrats can do to get ahead. If they attack they look weak, if they do nothing they look weak. If they lie outrageously like the Republicans do they are called on it doubly because the Republicans are the tongue in cheek "morals and values" party, which provides infinite cover for the immorality of their dirty political campaigns. They use dirty politics to support typical religious positions which vindicate them fully in the eyes of their base. Democrats have no such cover. Democrats always lose elections unless the economy is really bad. the average middle class income grows under democratic presidents, yet Republicans have figured out how to use religion, guns, tribal nationalistic pride, gays and abortion to unite the poor and working class to vote for the well being of the wealthy, at the expense of themselves.
Nothing to be done. Even if Obama wins, it does nothing to solve this problem.
Sarah Palin's Churches and The Third Wave from Bruce Wilson on Vimeo.