Sunday, September 16, 2012

Welcome to another edition of The Planet. The last couple of weeks I've been helping out with the wife's family as they settled my father-in-law into a nursing home and fretted over another who is battling cancer; hasn't been enjoyable.
There may be a little old news mixed with the new as I try to catch up. Hopefully you'll find something here worth yelling about.
The last couple of editions have been critiqued by members on my use of profanity and on my opinions. Profanity I have always kept to a minimum, and will continue to do so. Censorship I will not ever tolerate, but I will respect those that have a problem with four letter words as much as I possibly can; sometimes writing about current events sets off my temper and descriptive words come easily. And though I understand those who rail against my opinions have a legitimate complaint, it is still my opinion and I intend to continue to yell it from the rooftops. Silence should not be a desired option for anyone.


I missed being able to comment on the conventions. Would have made for an easy Planet, but I'm sure everyone has heard more than they want to about the events by now so I'll let them go except for one point; the democrats did have some substance to theirs while the conservatives decided to stay away from any concrete policy. Culture wars and flat out falsehoods dictated their strategy. My favorite after convention quote was from Neil Newhouse's "We're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers." 
If only one thought sticks in your mind it should be that the conservatives have made it clear that the truth will not be spoken in their camp.
The recent horrors in the Middle East I will comment on later in Planet Politics, but there is one thought that belongs in American news, and that is a reminder that we have our own crowd of fundamentalists inciting hatred towards our fellow citizens. We must remember that much of the violence world wide can be directly blamed on religion; it is easily understood. 
I may not have had the time to comment on the conventions, but happily I can comment on the atrocity of the Values Voters Summit that took place this week. This is where fundamentalists stir up the hate. It has nothing to do with reality, and everything to do with the great illusion.
Michelle Bachmann ranted about the evil of Islam and about cutting off funds to Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries who are now being run by the Muslim Brotherhood. She discussed the anti-blasphemy laws that have been rattling around the U.N. for years, like it is something new; directly lying to the public about Hillary Clinton helping to implement the anti-blashemy law. The United Nations Resolution 1618 that she refers to is not an anti-blasphemy document, but an anti-discrimination resolution. Bachmann does promote free speech, but only if it is Christian, conservative and missing anything resembling truth. Her speech could easily be summarized; "Muslims are bad and evil and are killing our Christian brothers, our president is helping said Muslims impose Sharia Law in the United States, and our president's approach of appeasement shows weakness."
Matthew Lee Anderson, a young evangelical blogger/author, stated that abortion and marriage are "symbols of our concern for life" and that Christians needed "more craftiness in their presentation." It is apparent that the only life they are concerned about is one that excludes a large part of America. 
Regarding same sex marriages, Joseph Backholm stated that the only reason Americans are in favor is because they don't want anyone to think they hate gay people. Not a clue does this man have about the real reason, which is equality. He thinks we treat gay people equally. He was pushing R-47, a measure that would delay same sex marriages in the state of Washington. He was hoping to get enough signatures to get it on the ballot come November, which could also influence the race for governor. He succeeded.
Gary Bauer, president of American Values, is a contemptible man. Well, I have a few better words for him but I will keep them to myself this week. Conservative racists are always amusing, yet scary as well since the followers believe their diatribe. Gary states that Obama supporters are welfare recipients and that voter fraud will be rampant in some cities; you know, those that are predominately black. He doubles down on the culture of dependency thought that Romney has promoted, against all facts to the contrary. Bauer gave the conservative crowd a reach around by promoting the anti-gay political ad this year that showed an elderly couple who were upset that they voted for Obama. Now he's shoving the gay agenda down their throats; that's not the change they voted for. 
Glenn Beck resurrects Abraham Lincoln for the crowd. He starts off by comparing Obama to Lincoln's vice-president Johnson, who was drunk at his second inauguration; how's that for respect. His theme is that America is under attack from extremists Muslims abroad and anti-capitalists in the states. He rails against the many who never want to work, who are only here to take and destroy. His speech lasts forty minutes, I didn't make it through it all.
Bill Bennett in a short speech was even worse. In his mind we gave up the swift sword for the bleating of sheep over Libya's attack on American citizens. This was one of Reagan's guys, and the man has not an ounce of honor in him. He stated back in 2005 that if you aborted every black baby in America, the crime rates would drop. He thinks since the media all condemned Romney's comments on Libya, Romney must be right.
David Bereit, founder and director of 40 days for Life, recently returned from Australia to attend the Value Voters Summit. There, during an anti-abortion crusade, he was met by feminists who decried the fact that women die in backyard abortions. A nice little red shoe was tossed at the gentleman in an apparent imitation of the shoe that was thrown at President Bush. This is the gentleman who thought an abortion clinic was possessed by the devil. I only mention Dave as one example of the type of person who is invited to these kind of events. 
They had over 70 speakers at the Summit, and I'm not going to summarize every speech. I will continue with a few of our political leaders that joined the Values Voters in this mission of hate and lies.
Eric Cantor did his usual twisting of words. According to him, traditional marriage is what brings families out of poverty. Ignoring the fact that same sex marriage has actually economically benefitted the states where it is legal, ignoring the reality that it is jobs that lift families out of poverty, he goes all in on the culture wars. Our freedom is gone, not because of his help in passing laws used to spy on Americans, but by health care. He understands how important education is; if only we could get rid of teacher unions the problem would be solved.
Jim Demint took the teacher's strike in Chicago to an even more detestable place. His opening remarks contained this line. "You know, we’ve had a lot of bad news this week. On my way over I was reading another story about a distant place where thugs had put 400,000 children out in the streets. Then I realized that was the story about the Chicago teachers’ strike." Oh, you're such a funny ape. Demint's stance is that government is forcing ungodly values on America and it must be stopped; stopped so Christians can push their values on an apathetic populace.
I can't do this anymore, it's kind of creeping me out. The Values Voters Summit was an evangelical outpouring of disgust and hate for the American people. Reading about the honorable Tim Huelskamp's statement that abortion is slavery and that Planned Parenthood is a racist organization makes me sick. This is what America will be if we ever let these people back into power.
Time for better news.
Allen West has a challenger named Patrick Murphy. Interesting since Murphy is a republican who has turned democrat; conservatives no longer appreciate truth and Murphy can't stand the lies. I'm sure he'll be centrist leaning right if he wins, but no one can be worse than Mr. West


Every so often a pundit gets real. We've seen it lately with Soledad doing her fact checky thing with former governor Sununu, and now we can watch another. Melissa Harris-Perry couldn't handle the idiocy coming from one of our mythical "job creators" Monica Mehta. Enjoy listening to someone who's finally had enough.


The nice long weekend many experienced over the last Labor Day was brought to you by unions. 
One reason why unemployment is up is that we are in the midst of a "speedup." Employers want employees to be more productive than before, so employees are not only working harder, but working more hours. Less family time, less leisure time; America is moving backwards. The American dream is now only for the very few.
The teacher's strike in Chicago is the newest in labor standoffs. Conservatives call them thugs, I call them heroes and here is the reason why.
The contract that has been negotiated revolves around the following.
There will not be differentiated pay for teachers. This would have allowed one set of teachers to be paid at a different scale than other sets. I know of this problem first hand. In Air Traffic Control, they now use a similar scale. Those who are new hires will never ever make as much as those who are currently employed. In fact, every year the disparity gets greater. The result is that highly qualified applicants no longer wish to do the job, it doesn't pay enough for the stress.
Next is an agreement I support totally. Chicago will be hiring 500 more teachers to enlighten the students on art, music, physical education and world languages. Making a school day much more interesting for all involved.
The hiring pool will come from 50% of laid off teachersinstead of eliminating them completely, a small safety net but better than nothing
If a school is closed, teachers can now "follow their students"and keep their jobs.
This is one of the things that conservatives would like you to believe is destroying America. Nonsense.


Libya and the rest of the Middle East appears to be forming a more perfect union, a union against free speech.The big story as everyone knows is the attack on the American Consulate and subsequent deaths of our Ambassador and his protectors.
Ambassador Chris Stevens, who didn't appear to be disliked by the community, is dead. If you want to see him being dragged through the streets by people trying to save his life, go here. I'm not in the mood to post it.
This is not an understandable act in American eyes. I dislike having to comment about the situation because of that lack of understanding. The area is erupting in anti-American protests over a really horribly made film that no one here, excepting for a few crazed Muslim-hating theists, would ever bother watching. Yet to the Arab world this film is something that requires retaliation. Violent retaliation. I will say to my friends that live in that part of the world, this is insane.
There is one freedom that guarantees all other freedoms, and that is speech. In this country speech is a freedom that is cherished. I could say Jesus was gay and either someone would like to debate the issue, or they would walk away. It would not be a killing offense.
Western European Embassies being attacked, American forces being sent to the region, this spells out doom for peace.
The questions an atheist must ask, is this because of a religion strengthening its position in the Middle East? Is this the consequence of fundamentalist regimes creating theocracies?
Someone tell me why this is happening. I can read every news article I can find, and they all point to a ridiculous cheap movie trailer. Childish if this is the reason. From Western Europe to Australia people are upset and erupting in violence because of a perceived insult to a being that doesn't exist. Get a life people.

Death has been on my mind lately due to, well, life.
My mother passed away several years ago. She died in a local hospital at around 4 in the morning or so, sometime in the early morning. My brother and a niece were there with me when she took her last breath; it is a memory that I have put aside while embracing the vision of her in life.
It was a significant emotional event for all, she was well loved by many.
We called our siblings and other close relatives. They came in and when many were assembled they grabbed the chaplain, or whoever was there speaking for god that day, and had a quick service for her in the hospital.
My brother and I, being atheists, were not invited. My brother let me know what was going on and we joined them, not for god, but for community and for family. Because of our lack of faith, it appeared we would be excluded from saying goodbye in our own manner.
I guess to some extent, it didn't matter. I had already said goodbye but I was a little aggravated by the exclusion. Like someone's fairy tale is so much more important than the basic human bonding over tragedy.
Am I correct in the assumption that religion is not only an exclusive commodity that only theists share, but also that by assuming that those without their beliefs need not be present during an outpouring of grief makes religion a vengeful and unforgiving creed as well?
I'd say religion cripples the bond shared by humanity throughout our lives, and that one point alone is enough to rail against the powers that be that support the institution of delusion.

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