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A Steaming Heap of Right-Wing Responses to the Reason Rally

By: GoddamnLiberal Thursday March 29, 2012 7:19 am

This article was originally posted at GoddamnLiberal.

What would you do if your GoddamnLiberal weren’t here to venture into the most frightening corners of the internet and peel out some nasty scraps for you to feast upon? How would you know what the wingnuts were saying about you, and where to direct your librul anger?

Let’s start with The Blaze. The Blaze! Which is quickly becoming my favorite Internet Dump! It’s all that’s left of Glenn Beck now that he’s been almost fully neutered by left-wing atheist Marxist Muslim activists. Poor thing. And Glenn Beck’s Ghost has been salivating over the Reason Rally since the minute he found out about it. So, okay, let’s see what you’ve got, Glenn.

Here is a textbook exercise in the Timeless Art of the Circlejerk: it is a post by a Blaze writer about the appearance of another Blaze writer on the Blaze creator’s internet teevee thing. And just in case you have forgotten who Glenn Beck is:

Some basic takeaways from this post:

Todd Stiefel helped fund the rally

Camp Quest is for the indoctrination of children, of course

Tim Minchin said the F-word a zillion times, giving Baby Jesus a zillion sadz

The words “atheist” and “anarchist” both start with the letter “A”

The rest predictably digresses into a rambling rant about Jimmy Carter and Louis Farrakhan.

Good ol’ Fox News. They’re always up for a good scrap, right? Noted apologist Larry Taunton wrote the following about the atheist movement in a piece called “The Rally For Nothing In Particular”:

Paradoxically, it has become a kind of religion, a Church of Unbelief complete with a saint (Christopher Hitchens), a high priest (Richard Dawkins), and holy writ (anything Dawkins writes). And now, with the political nature of this rally, Dawkins is set to become the Pat Robertson of atheism.

Religious apologists really like this argument: Atheism is like a religion. Okay, if you count all of the things that have nothing to do with belief at all, like that they organize and value community. And anything the “high priest” Richard Dawkins writes is “holy writ”? Hardly. Most of us are skeptics before we are atheists, so we will never accept anyone’s words dogmatically. Having said that, there’s a serious problem when people cannot recognize the difference between respecting a brilliant person for his contributions to society and blind worship. And the Pat Robertson remark? I’m not even sure what that means. Dawkins is pretty far from running for office. And he lives in England anyway! Does it mean he will be the embarassing old coot of atheism? Eh, I guess time will tell on that front. Fuzakeruna breaks it down quite nicely on reddit.

Hooray for Fairness! And Balance!

Okay, one more: this rabbi is pissed off about the “arrogance” of the rally:

I know many intelligent, thoughtful people who are not sure one way or the other, about the existence of God. Generally, they are classified as agnostics. While I disagree with their position, usually they are very aware of the reasonable arguments for God’s existence and I, on the other hand, understand very clearly the questions that bother them. What is most striking about the modern atheistic movement, however, is the cloud of arrogance that seems to hover above its most well known proponents; much like the ubiquitous dust-cloud that followed the Peanuts character, Pig-Pen. A striking example of this arrogance is the name they chose to give to their gathering over the weekend in our nation’s capitol: Reason Rally”

Bah. What are these “reasonable arguments for God’s existence,” good sir? Also, right after he describes these very intelligent, thoughtful people as being “not sure” about the existence of God, he asserts that he disagrees with their position. What position? Since when is “not being sure” a position? And this is a common misconception about atheists – that they are 100% “sure” of something one cannot be 100% sure of. It’s nonsense. “Agnostic” is just a nice transitional label people like to use because it doesn’t offend the way “atheist” often does.

Alright, Right Wing, see ya at the next outrage! KIT, LYLAS and all that.

Why Didn’t the Democrats Pass a Budget When They Had the Chance?

By: GoddamnLiberal Wednesday April 6, 2011 5:10 am

Originally posted at GodDamnLiberal.com

Everybody pass the buck.

Somewhat lost in this crazy budget debate is the fact that the Democrats had the chance to pass a budget for FY2011 last year – in fact, they had a responsibility to do so.

According to then-House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD),

It isn’t possible to debate and pass a realistic, long-term budget until we’ve considered the bipartisan commission’s deficit-reduction plan, which is expected in December.

Oh, right…the bipartisan commission’s deficit-reduction plan…which was largely dismissed on both sides of the aisle when it did come out.

The Democrats have no spines – this is just a proven, scientific fact. They did not want to pass a budget before the midterm elections because they are cowards. If you recall, the Democrats pandered to the conservatives in the election last year. Many of them had no interest in attracting liberals. They knew that passing a bill without spending cuts would cause a big loss in political capital, and that’s why they didn’t do it.

We can talk about how the Republicans’ proposed budget would kill 70,000 children all over the world as a result of cuts to USAID, increase the amount of abortions performed in the US as a result of defunding Planned Parenthood, reduce the growth in GDP by 2% according to Goldman Sachs, etc., but the fact remains that we absolutely could have avoided this predicament if the Democrats of the 111th Congress had simply done their jobs.

GOP Budget Cuts and the Pro-Life Lie

By: GoddamnLiberal Tuesday March 22, 2011 8:40 pm

Palin: 5-time hero; Rose: promising birthing hips

Heroes among us? Wow!

That’s right. Fucking heroes. Reality television star Sarah Palin and freshman scheister Lila Rose are teaming up as speakers at an event entitled “Heroes Among Us,” hosted by the anti-abortion group Heroic Media. As you can see, the event is a “benefit dinner to celebrate the heroism of motherhood!” Which, of course, leads to the burning question…

What the hell is so heroic about being a mother?? But before I attempt to answer that, let’s take a look at how Congressional Republicans feel about mothers and children.

Ah, the culture wars…

If Republicans feel so strongly about the preciousness of life, why does the evidence – meaning the legislation that they have pushed – consistently suggest otherwise?

For instance, the Republicans’ proposed budget for fiscal year 2011 makes significant cuts to programs that benefit low-income children and expectant mothers:

• $317 million from a program that provides comprehensive family planning (Title X) and related preventive health services to the public, with a focus on low-income families; this includes cutting all federal funding that goes to Planned Parenthood to support cancer screenings and other women’s health care

$1.1 billion from community health centers that provide primary care services to individuals with limited financial resources, about a third of whom are children

Over $1 billion from Head Start, a program that provides grants to local agencies to operate comprehensive child development services for low-income children and families, with a special focus on early reading and math; this equates to the removal of 157,000 children from the program (218,000 counting the 61,000 who will be lost from the expiring Recovery Act) and the closing of 16,000 Head Start and Early Head Start classrooms

$50 million from Maternal and Child Health Block Grants, a program giving low-income pregnant women, mothers and their children access to health care

Women: How Are We Doing?

By: GoddamnLiberal Wednesday March 9, 2011 8:56 am

Originally posted at GodDamnLiberal.com

As a woman engineer, you might think that I have faced some discrimination or difficulties as a result of being a minority in this male-dominated field. And the truth is I could sit and talk with you all night about my experiences with subtle sexism and understated biases: what their origins may be, what they mean and what can be done about them, etc.

I don’t like race-to-the-bottom politics, meaning I don’t find it to be a valid or productive argument, for example, to tell someone voicing complaints about their homeowner’s association that they should just be happy they aren’t in a Chinese prison. But sometimes I forget about the equality laws that generations before me fought for that protect me every day.

Yesterday was International Women’s Day. In Cairo, women gathered in Tahrir Square for a demonstration. They were demanding that the nation’s newfound freedom must be accompanied by an end to institutionalized misogyny, when they were met by hundreds of men who violently squashed their efforts.

So much for freedom.

Two weeks ago on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, Maher made some controversial statements about the need for a women’s rights movement – a “sexual revolution,” in fact – in the Arab world and specifically in Egypt. But then, as he often does, he took what I thought to be a good point, and went way too far, into a bigoted statement about Arab men in general:

Talk to women who’ve ever dated an Arab man. The results are not good.

Terrible. At the risk of giving Maher a pass on this, I think that there is a larger and more interesting point being made in this clip: His guest, PBS’s Tavis Smiley, insists that because of the inequities of women here at home, we have no right to pass judgment on the treatment of women in other cultures. I disagree. This is one of the strangest arguments I’ve ever heard. Insisting that we must achieve perfection before we can even think of commenting on the treatment of oppressed and abused women in other countries is absurd.

It saddens me that the women who were right there with the men in their fight for democracy just weeks ago are now being bullied into accepting the status quo – as it pertains to them.

Things aren’t perfect here. But I think one of the worst things we can do is to forget how we got here. It is natural to think that without equal opportunity policies my public-sector workplace where there just happens to be as many or more women engineers than men – way more than the actual national ratio of far less than 20% – would be exactly the same, but the fact of the matter is that it simply would not. People push policy, and policy shapes how people think over time – that’s the whole idea. These things don’t just organically happen, unfortunately.

Our progress is measured not by policies and quotas, but by how much we help others attain the same levels of equal treatment - progress, not perfection.

CPAC: Criminal Pomp and Circumstance

By: GoddamnLiberal Monday February 14, 2011 11:10 am

There were a lot of infuriating moments from the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) that took place this weekend here in Washington, DC. Several speakers called for the abolishment of the US Department of Education as well as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Attendees posed questions about Egypt to Anne Coulter, of all people.

But what really got me yelling at the TV were the appearances of former vice president Dick Cheney on Friday and Rep. Allen West (R-FL) on Saturday.

Dick Cheney took the stage to a roar of applause, set to Tina Turner’s “Simply the Best,” which was awkward and downright bewildering in my opinion. The best? Really? *Sigh*…okay, for those of us who don’t remember, Cheney encouraged the torture of suspected terrorists in United States military prisons. He responded to the heckler that yelled out, “War criminal!” when the applause died down, with silence and his usual creepy half-smile. This interruption barely got a yawn out of the audience.

On Saturday, the conference concluded with a speech by Allen West. I will say this: the man is a fantastic speaker. He knows how to grab his audience and give them exactly what they want. He is charismatic. So let’s just make a note of that, because I feel that this freshman in Congress is just getting started with a political career that will no doubt inflict damage, already electrified by populist support around the country.

When Rep. Allen West was Lt. Col. Allen West back in 2003, he commanded the 2nd Battalion of the 20th Field Regiment, based in Taji, Iraq. When he received intelligence about a plot to assassinate him, he ordered the harsh interrogation of Yehiya Kadoori Hamoodi, an Iraqi policeman, who he suspected had information. This interrogation yielded no such information, so Lt. Col. West fired two rounds right next to the man’s head, which qualifies as abuse of a prisoner. The case was dismissed in a military court but West was fined $5,000. I’m not sure how that translates into innocence or guilt, but West has clearly admitted to committing the crime – there’s no dispute there.

In his rousing speech, West defined the “3 pillars of conservativism,” the third of which was the crazy call of the culture warrior. But perhaps this is beyond the scope of this post and I will comment on it in another in more detail.

Make no mistake about it: these men have admitted to committing war crimes, and they are heralded as heroes in this über-conservative community.

Originally posted at GodDamnLiberal.com

Our Republican President

By: GoddamnLiberal Wednesday February 9, 2011 5:30 am

I’ll give it to him: Barack Obama has had a hard row to hoe. Many of his supporters – myself included at times – believe that he simply cannot win. It can’t be easy when there is an entire cable network dedicated to squashing any credibility he may have left with disinformation and hysteria.

But yesterday, when the President sashayed across the street to pander to the right-wing Chamber of Commerce, he failed. Just the fact that he is reaching out to them serves to validate them and what they stand for.

What Do They Stand For?

The Chamber of Commerce spent more than $32 million on campaign ads in 2010, 93% of which went toward Republican candidates. Since the Citizens United decision in January 2010, this is a perfectly legal way for corporations to dump money into the hands of the candidates they want to buy, without suffering any repercussions for exercising their “First Amendment rights.” They openly advocate for the outsourcing of jobs. And they do this all while maintaining an air of legitimacy that comes, in part, from their proximity to the White House.

Obama has done nothing but bend over backwards for businesses and large corporations when it comes to pushing policy. The stimulus bill passed early on in his presidency contained about $10 billion in tax cuts and incentives for businesses. If you believe that the renewal of the Bush tax cuts for the rich equals business owners investing more in the economy – which I don’t, but most Republicans do – then there’s another win.

Now, in a gesture eerily reminiscent of the speech he gave to the big bank CEOs after the passing of the financial reform bill, he has decided to bow down to the right again. While giving lip service to the plight of the American worker, his real message is clear: Republicans, I’m here for you; please tell me what I can do to make you happy.

This spectacle just one day after his disastrous interview with primetime bully Bill O’Reilly. What was the worst part? The part where he granted an interview to Bill O’Reilly. Again, this legitimizes the daily smear campaign that goes on at Fox News at Obama’s expense. Until these clowns admit they are a conservative organization the administration should not give them the time of day.

The Tax Cut Deal

Back in December, the infamous deal he made with Republican Senate leaders extended the Bush-era tax cuts for all tax brackets for two years, offered a two-percent reduction in payroll taxes for one year, and compromised on the estate tax by lowering it from 55 to 35% with a $5 million exemption for two years.

And what did his progressive base get in return? A 13-month extension of unemployment benefits.

In politics, framing is everything. And when Obama wants to, he can be a pretty shrewd politician…sort of. The rhetorisphere was filled with images of Republican hostage-takers, holding their machetes to the throats of millions of jobless Americans. So, in this framework constructed by the administration, Obama had no choice; he simply had to “negotiate with terrorists,” to help the poor, defenseless unemployed, right?

Not exactly. Barack Obama is the president of the United States. He has the bully pulpit. He could have hit the campaign trail, visiting swing states, making his case all over the country. The Republicans had been crying about the fiscal responsibility that they like people to think they have for two years, and now they wanted to blow a $400 billion hole into the deficit solely to benefit the rich. This was not a difficult case to make by any stretch of the imagination.

But he chose not to do this.

When this “deal” was made, a thought emerged from my head that I had perhaps not wanted to entertain until then: Barack Obama is a closet Republican. In this context, suddenly all of his inexplicable decisions made sense. I envisioned him and his buddies, like Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, sitting in a hot tub, smoking cigars, drinking champagne…and laughing at us.

Is He Really That Bad?

Why did the tax cut deal mean so much to me and other progressives? Because in 2008, Obama ran his presidential campaign, in part, on ending the Bush-era tax cuts for the rich. It was part of how he defined himself as a candidate. And since he’s been in office he has abandoned his liberal base to a staggering degree – he has even insulted them, calling them “whiny” and “sanctimonious” and labeling those who rejected his offensive deal as “purists.”

Fuck you, sir.

What makes us better than Republicans? We don’t have to meet with the caucus before we can give our opinion. We think for ourselves. We have a conscience. But what we need to do is work on our collective memory. Everything is so fleeting in politics…it’s like high school: one day you’re the most popular kid in class and the next day you’re getting the crap beaten out of you. And there’s so much going on, that we all forget what has happened in the long run. When the 2012 race starts revving up, we need to remember Obama for who he really is.

Originally posted at GodDamnLiberal.com