Posts Tagged “obama”

a flickr christmas cardIt’s that time of year again, folks. The time when the Religious Right gets its knickers twisted into knots over their delusion that Christmas either has been, or soon will be, outlawed in the U.S. This “war on Christmas” trope is usually good for about a dozen blog posts each year, and likely will continue to be … because the R.R. is so predictably outraged over this manufactured controversy.

The Aledo (IL) Times Record reports that Congressman Joe Walsh has proffered what he calls the “Save Christmas Act” in an effort to “defend” his supposedly-beleaguered holiday (WebCite cached article):

Yesterday, Congressman Joe Walsh (IL-8) introduced the ‘Save Christmas Act’ to permanently end the Obama Administration’s new tax on Christmas trees. This tax was established to fund yet another unnecessary government board, the Christmas Tree Promotion Board. This is clearly the most ridiculous in a long list of new taxes and regulations proposed by the Obama Administration.

Walsh stated: “The sheer audacity of a tax on Christmas trees is ridiculous. Are we going to start taxing Halloween candy and pumpkins or turkey and apple pie? Are we going to tax the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny too? Are we going to tax hotdogs and hamburgers and American flags for the Fourth of July?

There are actually several problems with this. Yes, the proposal to levy a 15¢ fee per tree sold on sellers of live Christmas trees was a genuine one. And it was announced by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture recently. However, as Snopes makes clear (cached), it is not a “tax.” Rather, it’s a cooperative program — first requested by the Christmas-tree-growing industry, I might add! — intended to promote the sale of live Christmas trees.

Of course, these little facts didn’t get in the way of the Right-wing flaring up with sanctimonious outrage. In light of this shitstorm, the White House quickly put the kibosh on this idea … even though those who raged and railed against it were angry for all the wrong reasons. If the Right-wing fury over this supposed “Christmas tree tax” was predictable, so too was the Obama administration’s eagerness to cave into it.

But beyond the problem of the Right’s outrage over this being counter-factual, is that even the scenario they were telling themselves was in play — i.e. that Obama and his evil cohorts were taxing Christmas trees in order to hinder the celebration of Christmas by Christians around the country — makes absolutely no sense! A 15¢ tax is nowhere near enough to put a dent into sales of Christmas trees, which normally cost upwards of $20; and it wouldn’t have been limited just to real trees, artificial ones would have been “taxed” too.

Time to get over yourselves, Christians, and grow the fuck up. Not everything is intended to abolish your religion and/or its trappings. Really. Moreover, if you guys are really fans of the private sector and want to help industry, you’d have supported this 15¢-per-tree fee, because it was the Christmas tree industry itself that originally came up with it!

P.S. There’s almost nothing truly or genuinely “Christian” about Christmas trees, as I explain in my page on the myths about Christmas that the R.R. clings to so irrationally.

Photo credit: julian.

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Osama dead? Going to need a death certificate, long form (modified Donald Trump photo)There are lots of people who will never be satisfied with anything about President Barack Obama. Most of these people are “birthers” who deny he was born in the US to an American mother. But the odd juxtaposition of Obama releasing his “long-form” birth certificate (cached) — which the birthers have long demanded, but now refuse to accept — with the killing of terrorist-in-chief Osama bin-Laden, these people have morphed into “deathers,” who refuse to accept the al-Qaeda founder is dead (cached).

Well, as though in answer to their childish demands to see the body of bin-Laden, al-Qaeda itself has admitted their revered prophet of death has, in fact, been killed, as Politico reports (WebCite cached article):

Al Qaeda appears to be confirming that Osama bin Laden was killed in Sunday’s raid on a Pakistani compound by American forces, and is vowing revenge against the United States.

In a statement posted on militant websites and signed by “the general leadership” of Al Qaeda, the group says that bin Laden’s blood “is more precious to us and to every Muslim than to be wasted in vain” and that it will soon release a voice recording made by bin Laden a week before his death.

The Taliban have confirmed what al-Qaeda said:

Meanwhile, in a separate statement released later Friday, the Taliban in Afghanistan said that bin Laden’s death would “give a new impetus to the current jihad against the invaders” — the United States and its allies in the Afghan war.

Of course, not all the “deathers” are extreme Rightists, a few are extreme Leftists, like Cindy Sheehan (cached).

I doubt that even the admissions by al-Qaeda and the Taliban that bin-Laden is dead, will silence the “deathers.” They aren’t interested in facts, they’re interested in their own feelings … and since their feelings are of intense hatred for Obama, they cannot and will not let go of them. This is, perhaps, a neurophysiological inevitability, since studies have shown that people predisposed to believe something, will continue to believe it, even moreso than before, after having been given demonstrable evidence that it’s not so. If this is the case, then they truly cannot help themselves … they’re essentially prisoners of their own immature, irrational minds.

Photo credit: Reddit via About.Com / Political Humor.

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Hochzeitstorte mit Herzen und Rosen vor Kuchenbuffet in Deutschland / Claus AbleiterIn a development which arguably has been a long time coming, the Obama administration has finally decided it will not defend the Defense of Marriage Act, passed in 1996. The New York Times reports on this announcement (WebCite cached article):

President Obama, in a striking legal and political shift, has determined that the Defense of Marriage Act — the 1996 law that bars federal recognition of same-sex marriages — is unconstitutional, and has directed the Justice Department to stop defending the law in court, the administration said Wednesday.

The announcement was not made in person, and not by the president, as the Times explains:

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. announced the decision in a letter to members of Congress. In it, he said the administration was taking the extraordinary step of refusing to defend the law, despite having done so during Mr. Obama’s first two years in the White House.

“The president and I have concluded that classifications based on sexual orientation” should be subjected to a strict legal test intended to block unfair discrimination, Mr. Holder wrote. As a result, he said, a crucial provision of the Defense of Marriage Act “is unconstitutional.”

The Religious Right, of course, is not happy about this:

“It is a transparent attempt to shirk the department’s duty to defend the laws passed by Congress,” Representative Lamar Smith, the Texas Republican who is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said in a statement. “This is the real politicization of the Justice Department — when the personal views of the president override the government’s duty to defend the law of the land.”

I’m not sure any Republican has any kind of moral standing to complain about the “politicization of the Justice Department,” given what the Bush Jr administration had done with it. Fucking hypocrites.

At any rate, this bodes well for my home state of Connecticut, which has permitted gay marriage since the Kerrigan v. Commissioner of Public Health decision was handed down by the state Supreme Court in late 2008.

All I can say is, good riddance to this law. The idea that marriage is something that needs to be “defended” is logically absurd. Marriage is something that people willingly enter into. Their ability to do so need not be “defended,” since they can do so whenever they wish. The idea that allowing gay marriage somehow prevents heterosexual couples from marrying, is likewise absurd. It does no such thing!

Lastly, the Religious Right’s assertion that, according to Judeo-Christian principles, marriage can ONLY be between one man and one woman, is factually incorrect, as I’ve blogged previously. There have been several different kinds of marriage during the history of the Abrahamic faiths; there is no “one” definition of it.

It’s time for the Right — which, especially during the Obama administration, has argued that government meddles too frequently in people’s lives — to put its money where its mouth is, and stop getting in the way of gay couples marrying, if they wish to. Freedom is a good thing; we should have more of it, not less.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons / Claus Ableiter.

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InquisitionIt was inevitable, I suppose, that once word came out that President Barack Obama had complimented the owner of the Philadelphia Eagles (WebCite cached article) for having hired Michael Vick after his release from prison for running a dog-fighting operation, the Right would suddenly treat Vick as though he were worse than Hitler or Stalin. It’s the “friend of my enemy is also my enemy” principle in action. It’s natural this would happen, I guess. But the ferocious Rightist Tucker Carlson, however, took that just a few steps too far recently in one of his (many) appearances on Fox News, as AOL Fanhouse reports — and he used Christianity as an oblique justification for it (cached):

“I’m a Christian, I’ve made mistakes myself, I believe fervently in second chances,” Carlson said. “But Michael Vick killed dogs, and he did in a heartless and cruel way. And I think, personally, he should’ve been executed for that.

Now, Vick’s arrest, trial and conviction took place quite a while ago. I can’t find any record of Carlson having weighed in on this matter, before. So I can’t help but conclude that Obama’s comments were the trigger for this call to execute Vick. In fact, Carlson veers close to admitting this overtly:

“[T]he idea that the President of the United States would be getting behind someone who murdered dogs? Kind of beyond the pale.”

Here’s video of his comments, courtesy of YouTube:

The bottom line, Gentle Reader, is this: Carlson decided that Michael Vick should have been executed, merely because Barack Obama had something nice to say about him.

Wow. That’s all … just “wow.” The viciousness of that is stunning. Not to mention the idea that people should live or die based solely on the ideological identity of others who happen to say nice things about them.

What a marvelous Christian he is, eh?

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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Sarah Palin Promotes Bridge To Nowhere With T-ShirtAn odd story has come up, first reported by ABC News, about the militant Religious Rightist and former governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, and something she did on Twitter (WebCite cached article):

In recent weeks Sarah Palin has used her Twitter page to endorse midterm candidates, offer political commentary and get out the vote. But last week, she used Twitter to list as a “favorite” a tweet linked to a photo of a sign labeling President Barack Obama a “Taliban Muslim.”

Palin posted as a “favorite” a tweet by conservative political commentator Ann Coulter linking to an image of a sign outside “The Blood of Jesus ATLAH World Missionary Church.” The sign reads, “The blood of Jesus against Obama history made 4 Nov 2008 a Taliban Muslim illegally elected president USA:Hussein.”

Here’s the picture in question:

The blood of Jesus against Obama history made 4 Nov 2008 a Taliban Muslim illegally elected president USA:Hussein.

The blood of Jesus against Obama history made 4 Nov 2008 a Taliban Muslim illegally elected president USA:Hussein.

Of course, Palin is denying she actually “favorited” Coulter’s tweet, claiming it was “accidental,” which ABC News is also reporting, since she responded to them (cached article):

Asked for comment, Palin wrote to ABC News:

“Jake, I’ve never purposefully ‘favorited’ any Tweet. I had to go back to my BlackBerry to even see if such a function was possible. I was traveling to Alaska that day…it was an obvious accidental ‘favoriting,’ but no one can mistake that Ann Coulter was obviously being tongue in cheek with that Tweet. Shall I correct this with whichever wonderful media outlet ran with this (an obviously bored reporter…since there must be nothing going on in the world today, like, um, ramifications of a shake up of power in the U.S. House of Representatives?).”

Note the requisite snide comment about how horrific the media are. For a publicity hound whose career is now built on having her face and words carried around the world by the mass media, Palin sure spends a lot of her time biting the hand that feeds her. Yep, definitely one helluva class act that woman is, no?

Quite aside from her juvenile jabs at the media … it is by no means “obvious” that this was an “accidental tweeting.” If Palin had been unaware of how to “favorite” a tweet, then it could not have been something she might have done even accidentally.

One might easily suspect that Coulter and Palin would both support the “birther” sentiment expressed in this church sign. It’s a delusion that just won’t die among the Religious Right, as I’ve blogged a number of times already. But these heroines of the Religious Right happen to have picked the wrong church to join. You see, ATLAH World Missionary Church is an African-American church in Harlem, NYC; it’s run by a crazy, (reverse) racist pastor, James David Manning; and the cold fact is that neither Ann Coulter nor Sarah Palin would be welcome there!

If you’re wondering — as I am — how an African-American pastor could oppose President Barack Obama rather than support him, on the basis of his race … well … welcome to the wonderful world of raging irrational religionism. I don’t plan even to try to make sense of this.

Anyway, I extend congratulations to Coulter and Palin. They just demonstrated their stupidity and ignorance to the entire planet, via Twitter.

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#41 - Impeach ObamaI’ve blogged before about the Right comparing Obama and the Democrats to Hitler and the Nazis. To hear them tell it, the US has already become the next incarnation of the Third Reich. Reductio ad Hitlerums have become so common that it’s almost expected. Well, the Germans have noticed, and Der Spiegel, at least, is telling the American Right to stop already with the Hitlerisms (WebCite cached article):

Many on the American right have developed a taste for including a bit of German history in their stump speeches. Hitler comparisons abound and the Berlin Wall even made a cameo recently. But the flippant references to the Holocaust are ignorant and offensive. And they should stop. …

In this midterm campaign season in the US, German history seems to be everywhere. In June, conservative columnist Thomas Sowell of JewishWorldReview.com essentially argued that President Barack Obama, by requiring that BP pay $20 billion (€14.3 billion) to compensate those harmed by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, was following in the footsteps of Adolf Hitler — and was promptly praised by Sarah Palin and Republican Congressman Louie Gohmert of Texas.

Other examples abound. A Tea Party campaign poster in Iowa depicted Obama flanked by both Hitler and Lenin. Conservative talking head and Tea Party heartthrob Glenn Beck can hardly get through one of his Fox News shows without an Obama-Hitler comparison. Palin also accused Obama’s health care plan of including “death panels.” …

During his show on Oct. 5, Glenn Beck said that Obama’s science adviser John Holdren’s concern about the global population and White House health policy adviser Ezekiel Emanuel’s warnings about global warming are “the kind of thinking that led to … the extermination program that eventually led to the Holocaust.”

Der Spiegel goes on to talk about how Germans themselves … apart from one famous example that the article cites … tend to avoid the old reductio ad Hitlerum:

For most Germans, though, the Hitler comparisons are vastly more offensive. It is almost impossible to finish high school in Germany without going on a class visit to a former concentration camp. They are not pleasant places to be. While the sites themselves might now be little more than windswept rows of foundations where hopelessly overcrowded, disease-ridden barracks once stood, the museum exhibits tend to be much more disturbing. Images of trucks full of emaciated corpses, ovens where tens of thousands of bodies were burned, photos of SS commandos on the Eastern Front shooting row upon row of Jews, a canister of the poison gas Zyklon B — all are likely to be on display. …

It would be hard to find someone on this side of the Atlantic who wouldn’t cringe at the ignorance of [Beck's] statement [about Holdren]. Leaving aside the question as to whether or not one should be concerned about climate change and an overcrowded planet, the kind of thinking that led to the Holocaust was a different one. Hitler wanted a racially pure Germany. People with handicaps didn’t fit. Neither did Jews, Gypsies, Slavs, blacks, Asians, Arabs or homosexuals.

Der Spiegel puts the whole thing into perspective:

The Holocaust was the result of murderous ideological fanaticism of the kind not to be found in leaders forced to face re-election every four years. It was not the result of a policy meeting.

Similarly, back in June Glenn Beck said that children singing for Barack Obama was “out of the playbook … of the Third Reich ….This is Hitler Youth.” One can assume that not all of Beck’s listeners and viewers know what the Hitler Youth was. Beck himself, an astute, if cynical, student of history, certainly does. The Hitler Youth was the ideological training grounds designed to prepare German boys for a glorious career in the SS murdering anyone who stood in the way of the Führer’s dream of a vast and racially pure German Reich. It was not a dictator’s private children’s choir.

One can forgive those like Glenn Beck and his Tea Party followers for hating Barack Obama. The liberals, after all, were passionately opposed to George W. Bush and rarely shied away from hyperbole in their expressions of loathing. But it is hard to imagine even the most hard-bitten Tea Party activist sincerely believing that President Barack Obama wants to systematically murder over 6 million people like Adolf Hitler did.

One of the “justifications” for this sort of reasoning which folks on the Right have offered, is that during the George W. Bush administration, many on the Left made similar accusations about Bush, Vice President Cheney, and the Republicans. They are correct in pointing out this happened — as I noted previously — but they’re wrong about this justifying their rhetoric. It doesn’t, quite simply because two wrongs don’t make a right. That the Left did something it shouldn’t have, years ago, does not grant the Right license to do the same thing, now.

I have no doubt that Tea Partiers and assorted creeps like Glenn Beck will not stop using appeals to Hitler and the Nazis, but it sure seems as though Der Spiegel said something that has desperately needed to be said, for a long time … and did so from the perspective of its native country, Germany, which was home to Hitler, his Nazi party, and the Third Reich.

Photo credit: elviskennedy.

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President Barack Obama holds a discussion on the economy with neighborhood families in the backyard of a home in Albuquerque, N.M., Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2010. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)The question of whether or not President Barack Obama is a Christian is one that has plagued him for a long time. Let me begin by getting this out of the way, right now: If he were white and/or a Republican, no one — and I do mean no one — would even be entertaining the possibility he’s anything else, much less a Muslim (as many in the country erroneously believe). Since he is a Democrat and black, though — and worse, has a foreign name — lots of people think otherwise.

One of the Religious Right’s whiney mantras, since he was elected, has been to ask why the mass media aren’t working harder at pressing the president on the matter of his religion. Well, he made an appearance at which someone directly questioned him on this issue, and he answered, as CNN reports (WebCite cached article):

An event billed as a discussion on the economy turned personal Tuesday when a woman asked President Barack Obama about his Christian faith and views on abortion.

The question came at a town hall-style meeting in the yard of an Albuquerque home as part of Obama’s public outreach to explain his policies and campaign for Democrats in the November congressional elections.

Here is what he had to say about it:

“I am a Christian by choice,” Obama began, standing beneath a blazing sun, when asked why he is a Christian.

“I came to my Christian faith later in life, and it was because the precepts of Jesus Christ spoke to me in terms of the kind of life that I would want to lead,” Obama said. “Being my brothers’ and sisters’ keeper. Treating others as they would treat me. And I think also understanding that, you know, that Jesus Christ dying for my sins spoke to the humility that we all have to have as human beings.”

Humans are “sinful” and “flawed” beings that make mistakes and “achieve salvation through the grace of God,” the president continued, adding that we also can “see God in other people and do our best to help them find their, you know, their own grace.”

“So that’s what I strive to do,” Obama said. “That’s what I pray to do everyday. I think my public service is part of that effort to express my Christian faith.”

Here is CNN’s video of the questions asked of Obama and his answers:

Now … similar words have been said by many a believer over the centuries. In most cases this has been taken at face value. I expect, however, that Rightists will not accept this; they’ll say Obama was merely paying “lip service” to Christianity and isn’t a sincere believer.

It’s true that he might not be sincere … but short of being able to probe his mind telepathically and determine whether or not he’s lying, there is no way to know how sincere he is. One can only take his word for it; nothing else is possible or reasonable. The definition of “Christian” is “someone who follows the teachings of Jesus Christ.” As almost everyone knows, there are many ways to go about this; if this weren’t the case, there wouldn’t be as many different Christian sects and denominations as there are. A lot of the Christian Right is convinced that Obama can’t possibly be a “‘Real’ Christian,” because he’s pro-choice (GASP!) and (supposedly) a socialist and/or communist. Both of these are bullshit, however; it’s more than possible to be a pro-choice Christian, and there is nothing inherently un-Christian about liberal policies (even if the furiously-sanctimonious Glenn Beck says otherwise).

At any rate, the Right has been demanding for a couple of years that Obama be confronted about his Christianity; now that it’s happened, I’m not betting they’ll be happy with it. They will simply continue raging and screaming that the President dares behave in ways they personally disapprove of. Wah wah wah. It’s all so very childish … but being hyperreligious, they’re not capable of any maturity, so what else can one expect?

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