BEEPS AND BLIPS FROM OUTERSPACE
NYR: AGE OF IGNORANCE
quotation"In the past, if someone knew nothing and talked nonsense, no one paid any attention to him. No more. Now such people are courted and flattered by conservative politicians and ideologues as "Real Americans"defending their country against big government and educated liberal elites. The press interviews them and reports their opinions seriously without pointing out the imbecility of what they believe. The hucksters, who manipulate them for the powerful financial interests, know that they can be made to believe anything, because, to the ignorant and the bigoted, lies always sound better than truth:
Christians are persecuted in this country.
The government is coming to get your guns.
Obama is a Muslim.
Global Warming is a hoax.
The president is forcing open homosexuality on the military.
Schools push a left-wing agenda.
Social Security is an entitlement, no different from welfare.
Obama hates white people.
The life on earth is 10,000 years old and so is the universe.
The safety net contributes to poverty.
The government is taking money from you and giving it to sex-crazed college women to pay for their birth control.
One could easily list many more such commonplace delusions believed by Americans. They are kept in circulation by hundreds of right-wing political and religious media outlets whose function is to fabricate an alternate reality for their viewers and their listeners. “Stupidity is sometimes the greatest of historical forces,” Sidney Hook said once. No doubt. What we have in this country is the rebellion of dull minds against the intellect. That’s why they love politicians who rail against teachers indoctrinating children against their parents’ values and resent the ones who show ability to think seriously and independently. Despite their bravado, these fools can always be counted on to vote against their self-interest. And that, as far as I’m concerned, is why millions are being spent to keep my fellow citizens ignorant."--Charles Simic (NYR Blog)
POSTED 2012-04-02 11:30:41 CATEGORY LITERATURE POLITICS RELIGION SCIENCE TAGS GOP IDIOCRACY ROME IS ON FIRE STUPID THERE IS NO HOPE
PEOPLE ARE TOO DUMB FOR DEMOCRACY
brainResearch by David Dunning, of Cornell University, has come to the conclusion people rarely correctly determine the competence level of someone that is more competent than themselves, and since the US is becoming more and more incompetent (see dumb), it is hitting the threshold for democracy to thrive.
"No amount of information or facts about political candidates can override the inherent inability of many voters to accurately evaluate them. On top of that, "very smart ideas are going to be hard for people to adopt, because most people don’t have the sophistication to recognize how good an idea is."
Mato Nagel created a political simulation based upon Dunning's work and concluded that Democracy elects candidates that are only slightly better than average.
"Nagel concluded that democracies rarely or never elect the best leaders. Their advantage over dictatorships or other forms of government is merely that they "effectively prevent lower-than-average candidates from becoming leaders.""
This reminds me of the famous Winston Churchill quotation:
"Democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."
read the full article at LiveScience.com.
POSTED 2012-03-11 11:44:48 CATEGORY POLITICS SCIENCE TAGS CHURCHILL DEMOCRACY IDIOCRACY INCOMPETENCE STUPID US
OBAMA'S RESPONSE TO LETTER CONCERNING IRAN
presidential sealPresident Obama sent a generic canned response to the letter urging no military conflict with Iran.  It only serves as an acknowledgement of opinion, which isn't an insult given he is head of the Executive branch and isn't a true representative.Once a president is elected he or she is not expected to do everything the constituency demands.  That's the job for the House.In actuality, the best president is one that isn't swayed by the media, polls, or the majority. A president that doesn't worry about getting elected to a second term, but instead acts on the principles of America and does what is right would be ideal. However, I have yet to see a president like that in my lifetime...
Here is President Obama's response:
"Dear [REDACTED]:Thank you for taking the time to share your views.  I have heard from many Americans regarding Iran, and I appreciate your perspective.I am committed to making my Administration the most open and transparent in history, and part of delivering on that promise is hearing from people like you.  I take seriously your opinions and respect your point of view on this important foreign policy matter.  Please know that your concerns will be on my mind in the days ahead.Thank you again for writing.  I encourage you to visit www.WhiteHouse.gov to learn more about my Administration or to contact me in the future.Sincerely,Barack Obama"
read the original letter to the President and Congress.
POSTED 2012-03-09 15:40:51 CATEGORY POLITICS TAGS CONGRESS IRAN LETTER OBAMA RESPONSE WAR
TSA INCOMPETENCE LEVEL 9000
The TSA has been running a scam by implementing the civil rights abusing nude body scanners.  The funny thing is they are in no way effective and they only serve to line the pockets of contractors, lobbyists, and government officials.  The devices actually make air travel less safe since they cannot detect strategically placed objects and they emit radiation on the subject.In short: If you want to get an object through airport security, head over to the higher security millimeter wave nude scanners with an object strapped to your side!

What sort of third grader with an engineering degree created a security scanning device that does not detect objects on the side of a person?The TSA has not caught any terrorist attempt and they only serve to make the public feel secure and, ironically, disempowered.  The TSA intends to cow air travelers and slowly erode resistance to personal civil rights and liberties.Write your senators and representatives urging them to stop the attack on Americans and return the TSA to the proven method of using old fashioned metal detectors and bomb sniffing dogs (or chemical sniffing machines... they exist).read more of the article from TSAoutOfOurPants.
POSTED 2012-03-07 22:02:20 CATEGORY ENGINEERING HEALTH POLITICS TAGS BODY SCANNERS HANDS OFF MY JUNK INCOMPETENCE STUPID TSA TSA IS A BAG OF LIMP DICKS
MILITARY CONFLICT WITH IRAN - LETTER TO CONGRESS AND THE PRESIDENT
congressThe following is a letter sent to my Representative, Senators, and the President (Pelosi, Boxer, Feinstein, and Obama).  It simply states the US should not attack Iran over this nuclear crisis and the US should not be swayed by the importunities of Israel.
I urge you to not go to war/conflict with Iran, no matter how motivated our leaders in D.C. are.  Unless there is world wide agreement (by the UN) on military action in Iran, the US should not be performing any more unilateral preemptive attacks.  There are many other freedom loving countries around the world that can play the hero.Israel (Netanyahu, Peres, etc...) will do it's best to pull the US into war with Iran.  That is not our conflict.  So, please disregard any pledges or oaths you have taken in regards to Israel and do not bend to the warmongers in the region.  There is no true urgency and sanctions will be effective.  Do not listen to the lobbyists.My wife and I have recently had our first child, which makes it even more important we change this war like mindset in our leadership.  My son deserves a better world and we should do our best to make it a peaceful one...  Let's start here at home.The US has been in far too many illegitimate military conflicts.  Please look towards the future and resist the perpetual momentum for warfare.Also, do not respond to this message saying military action is required to keep nuclear arms out of the hands of rogue groups.  Pakistan has had the bomb for a while with no incident.  That excuse is a vacuous scare tactic used to manipulate the American populace.In short, if Israel wants to start a war, let them but do NOT support them for any acts of unjustified aggression.  The US does support allies, but every alliance has its limits.Thank you, [REDACTED]P.S. You can assume my stance on Syria is similar.  Unless there is world wide agreement, we have no business attacking the country.  I agree the situation is dire, but the US is not obligated to play the hero.  There are many other nations of the world that can help.
If there is a response, it will be posted... Although, there might be a delay since sleep is a rare thing for parents when it comes to newborns...Update (2012.03.09): President Obama responded to the letter with a generic canned response.
POSTED 2012-03-06 15:50:45 CATEGORY NEWS POLITICS TAGS BOXER CONGRESS FEINSTEIN IRAN ISRAEL MAY ALL THE HAWKS BE DAMNED MILITARY NUCLEAR OBAMA PAKISTAN PELOSI WAR WARFARE
PRESIDENTIAL OIL PAINTING: THE FORGOTTEN MAN
This is an interesting oil painting by McNaughton of all the United States Presidents in distress over the treatment of US citizens and the Bill of Rights by the current president, Obama.  Click the painting to see zoomable highlights for individual presidents.

The Forgotten Man

Although, the author lightly criticizes President George W Bush, he is obviously biased when he puts Reagan next to the great US presidents, Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson, Madison...What has Reagan done to warrant this worship?  Nothing.Reagan was the beginning of the start of a massive rift between the wealthy and the dwindling middle class.  See this evidence in picture form.Also, it makes me wonder if the painter stresses Madison because of his role in drafting the constitution or if the painter has an obvious religious agenda and bias.  The more I look into his works it is painfully obvious the painter is a Republican Bible Thumper.  These types of people are frightening and harmful to society.  Soldiers fighting for God???  What is this, Afghanistan?Too bad the painter doesn't realize, Madison was one of the biggest proponents of Separation of Church and State.  Religious people in the US are mindless and should pick up a book.  Most of them barely even read the bible and when they do they don't even pay attention to it or realize everything in it is a rehash of previous mythology.  Ignorance be damned!
"Every new & successful example therefore of a perfect separation between ecclesiastical and civil matters, is of importance. And I have no doubt that every new example, will succeed, as every past one has done, in showing that religion & Govt. will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together...We are teaching the world the great truth that Govts. do better without Kings & Nobles than with them. The merit will be doubled by the other lesson that Religion flourishes in greater purity, without than with the aid of Govt."- letter to Edward Livingston, July 10, 1822 by James Madison (source)
Regardless, the painting is interesting in that it shows the burden the memory of previous presidents makes on the current president.  However, I feel dirty linking to a painter that is extremely misguided.proceed to the gallery.
POSTED 2012-01-30 11:25:55 CATEGORY ART POLITICS RELIGION TAGS BIBLE THUMPER IGNORANCE MADISON OBAMA
OBAMA SIGNS NDAA ON NYE LIKE A WEASEL
presidential sealObama signed the NDAA bill on New Years Eve like a weasel. He explains how he doesn't like the bill, but signs it anyway.What is wrong with these people? They are reluctant signing away our civil liberties and think telling everyone thier internal conflict will absolve them from the responsibility of their actions...  This is an insult and assault on the American people.
Oh, then there's this gem Obama belches out:
"My administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens," Obama said in the signing statement. "Indeed, I believe that doing so would break with our most important traditions and values as a nation."
Okay, what about the next administration???!??He should have said, "I am a fucktard and I'm signing away civil liberties because I have no spine and would rather not fight this battle for the American people. Gotta look after myself; it's an election year, bitches. Happy New Year!"Well, he won't be getting my vote.read the article.
POSTED 2012-01-11 10:52:52 CATEGORY POLITICS TAGS CIVIL RIGHTS FUCKTARD NDAA OBAMA SHIT ROLLS DOWNHILL
SENATOR DIANNE FEINSTEIN'S RESPONSE TO NDAA
congressSenator Feinstein recently responded to my letter concerning NDAA.  Much like Senator Boxer's response, she explains how she did not like the bill, but caved in and eventually voted yes.

Dear Mr. [Redacted]:

Thank you for writing to express your concerns about the detention provisions in the "National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012." I appreciate knowing your views and welcome the opportunity to respond.

This year's defense authorization bill would, among other things, authorize funding for the U.S. Department of Defense. As you know, section 1031 would authorize the U.S. government to detain suspected terrorists until the end of hostilities, and section 1032 would require that certain suspected terrorists connected to al-Qaeda be automatically detained in military custody when apprehended.

Like you, I oppose these provisions. Section 1031 is problematic because it authorizes the indefinite detention of American citizens without due process. In this democracy, due process is a fundamental right, and it protects us from being locked up by the government without charge. For this reason, I offered an amendment to prohibit the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens without trial or charge. Unfortunately, on December 1, 2011, this amendment failed by a vote of 45-55.

I was, however, able to reach a compromise with the authors of the defense bill to state that no existing law or authorities to detain suspected terrorists are changed by this section of the bill. While I would have preferred to have restricted the government's ability to detain U.S. citizens without charge, this compromise at least ensures that the bill does not expand the government's authority in this area.

I also oppose section 1032 of the defense bill, which creates a presumption that individuals associated with al-Qaeda will be held in military custody, as opposed to being processed through the criminal justice system. I disagree with this approach, and believe that the President should be able to hold captured terrorists in the military or the criminal justice systems based on the individual facts and evidence of each case. Accordingly, I offered an amendment to clarify that under section 1032, the presumption of U.S. Armed Forces detention only exists for an individual captured abroad. Unfortunately, on December 1, 2011, this amendment also failed on a vote of 45-55.

Once again, thank you for your letter. Please know that I am committed to ensuring that our nation has the appropriate tools to combat terrorism, and committed to upholding our fundamental constitutional rights. If you have any additional comments or questions, please do not hesitate to contact my Washington, D.C. office at (202) 224-3841.

Sincerely yours,

Dianne Feinstein United States Senator

I have yet to hear from my "Representative" Pelosi on NDAA.  She's probably too busy stuffing money from lobbyists into her pockets.see how your congressman voted on NDAA.
POSTED 2012-01-11 10:28:59 CATEGORY POLITICS TAGS CIVIL RIGHTS ROME IS BURNING
THERE ARE TIMES WHEN MEN TRULY INSPIRE
Charles Chaplin is a man of integrity and should hold the respect for all that strive to improve the world and struggle to be more than themselves.We are powerful, humanity.  We can achieve great feats as long as we keep our sights on the horizon and our minds locked into progressing prosperity and happiness.  We want more than wealth and assets.  We want life and the chance to flex our will over our given lot.Chaplin's message is exquisite:

transcript from The Great Dictator included below:
I'm sorry but I don't want to be an Emperor, that's not my business. I don't want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible, Jew, gentile, black man, white. We all want to help one another, human beings are like that. We all want to live by each other's happiness, not by each other's misery. We don't want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone and the earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful. But we have lost the way.Greed has poisoned men's souls, has barricaded the world with hate; has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed.We have developed speed but we have shut ourselves in: machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical, our cleverness hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little: More than machinery we need humanity; More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness.Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men, cries out for universal brotherhood for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. To those who can hear me I say "Do not despair".The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress: the hate of men will pass and dictators die and the power they took from the people, will return to the people and so long as men die [now] liberty will never perish. . .Soldiers: don't give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you and enslave you, who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel, who drill you, diet you, treat you as cattle, as cannon fodder.Don't give yourselves to these unnatural men, machine men, with machine minds and machine hearts. You are not machines. You are not cattle. You are men. You have the love of humanity in your hearts. You don't hate, only the unloved hate. Only the unloved and the unnatural. Soldiers: don't fight for slavery, fight for liberty.In the seventeenth chapter of Saint Luke it is written: "The kingdom of God is within man" Not one man, nor a group of men, but in all men; in you, the people.You the people have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness. You the people have the power to make life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy let's use that power, let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give you the future and old age and security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power, but they lie. They do not fulfil their promise, they never will. Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people. Now let us fight to fulfil that promise. Let us fight to free the world, to do away with national barriers, do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men's happiness.Soldiers! In the name of democracy, let us all unite!. . .Look up! Look up! The clouds are lifting, the sun is breaking through. We are coming out of the darkness into the light. We are coming into a new world. A kind new world where men will rise above their hate and brutality.The soul of man has been given wings, and at last he is beginning to fly. He is flying into the rainbow, into the light of hope, into the future, that glorious future that belongs to you, to me and to all of us. Look up. Look up.
from The Great Dictator.
POSTED 2012-01-06 11:43:19 CATEGORY POLITICS TAGS none
MESSAGE TO PRESIDENT OBAMA: VETO NDAA
Here is a message sent to President Obama concerning NDAA.
Subject: Veto NDAAHonor your oath and uphold the constitution by vetoing the National Defense Authorization Act (HR 1540).  Send the whole bill back requesting a cleaner version with the detainment and extradition portions removed.  This is a time when you can publicly shame Congress for being detrimental to our civil liberties.  In the end you may actually garner a few independent, moderate, and libertarian votes in 2012.Although, you can't take the moral high ground since you ordered the killing of an American citizen and separately killing his son without Due Process in Yemen (a country in which we are not militarily engaged), you still have an opportunity to right some wrongs and stand up for what defines America.Of course, I have written my Congressmen, but you are next in line in the "checks and balance" system we enjoy in the US.  Please, don't fail us.A concerned citizen, [REDACTED]
read a letter to Pelosi, Boxer, and Feinstein about NDAAread Senator Boxer's responseNDAA?  Find out more at the ACLU or read the bill yourself.
POSTED 2011-12-27 23:44:26 CATEGORY POLITICS TAGS CIVIL LIBERTIES CIVIL RIGHTS OBAMA
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