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    • Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – December 15, 2019
      Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – December 15, 2019 by Tony Wikrent Economics Action Group, North Carolina Democratic Party Progressive Caucus Strategic Political Economy The Economy of Evil [Historicly, via Naked Capitalism 12-11-19] Benito Mussolini became Prime Minister in October 1922. Nazis rose to power in 1933 in Germany. Mussolini convened a meetin […]
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Not sure I would have used the word “army”

It sounds too much like they’re going to go all ISIS on us.

 

Bryan Fischer: Who is this manipulator?

There’s a new guy in town for the fundamentalist evangelicals.  His name is Bryan Fischer and he has a gig with American Family Radio.  If the fundagelicals you know have become rabidly homophobic lately and shrieking about fisting (in other words, they know more about gay sex than you do and think you want to hear about it for hours while you’re trapped in a car together), you might be able to trace their current mental state back to Bryan Fischer.

Jane Meyer wrote a profile on Fischer for the New Yorker for its July-August edition.  Unfortunately, the New Yorker wants money to read past the abstract, which is a shame because it’s not in my budget.  But you can get the abridged version from an interview that Meyer did with Fresh Air with Terry Gross.

Fischer is pretty awful from what I’ve been able to find on him.  To make matters worse, he’s a Stanford graduate.  Given his views on evolution and AIDS, it’s a little disconcerting to say the least.  It sounds to me like he’s manipulating his audience to make money or it could be Stanford wasn’t that picky back when Fischer applied.  But the fact that he’s a graduate of a prestigious school is problematic because it gives Fischer a kind of authority.  He’s seen what the elitists have to offer, he’s even been considered one of them, and he’s rejected it.  This is part of his schtick.

See his argument against evolution if you want to know how he works.  He knows his audience and knows they like absolute certainty.  All he has to do to knock evolution down is skillfully use language to imply that there is nothing certain about a theory.  And he’s right.  A theory is just a theory until something better comes along.  But science doesn’t stick with theories that have no evidence to back them up.  A theory is an interpretation of evidence.  The evidence is real.  The theory is just a working model.  Fischer knows this because he is very precise with his words in this argument.  But he appears to think his audience is as dumb as a box of rocks.

My own personal view on this is that you can believe in creationism if you want but you’re better off not trying to argue with those of us who understand and accept evolution.  There’s nothing you can possibly say that would make us change our minds because your arguments don’t make any damn sense. The person you are trying to convince is yourself. The rest of us are perfectly content and have peace of mind with evolution. We are not tormented by uncertainty. (And here’s some handy advice for religious people who are trying to convert non-believers.)

Homophobia is not his only fault.  His views on women are so extreme that his ultra fundamentalist church kicked him out.  Anyway, keep an ear out for this blowhard because he knows what he’s doing and he makes Glenn Beck look like an amateur.

********************************

Speaking of the gullible, the AARP has a post about why people fall for those incredible Nigerian scam emails.  Wouldn’t it be better for the scam artist to use a more believable story?  Nope.  It turns out the beauty of the scam is that it is so outlandish:

Far-fetched tales of West African riches strike most as comical,” writes study author Cormac Herley. “Our analysis suggests that is an advantage to the attacker, not a disadvantage…By sending an email that repels all but the most gullible, the scammer gets the most promising marks to self-select.”

[…]

“The scam involves an initial email campaign which has almost zero cost per recipient,” notes Herley’s study. “Only when potential victims respond does the labor-intensive and costly effort of following up by email (and sometimes phone) begin.” So the scammers want only the unshakeably clueless to respond; they don’t want to waste time on people who are going to get wise after the gang’s invested hours of one-on-one contact. It’s not exactly what they may teach at business school, but it makes dollars and sense: For the best chance of closing a deal, focus on customers most likely to buy (into a lie, in this case).

But why specifically mention Nigeria? “A less outlandish wording that did not mention Nigeria would almost certainly gather more total responses…but would yield lower overall profit,” notes Herley. That’s because respondents would include more people who would ultimately yield not a single dollar.

Bryan Fischer operates along these lines as well.

Why is Health Care Reform Being Held Hostage by a Fundamentalist Cult?

300px-Bart_Stupak_official_109th_Congress_photo

Bart Stupak

No, I don’t mean the Catholic Church. I mean the super-secret, ultra-creepy fundamentalist sect that calls itself

“the Family,” or “the Fellowship,” and they consider themselves a “core” of men responsible for changing the world. “Hitler, Lenin, and many others understood the power of a small core of people,” instructs a document given to an inner circle, explaining the scope, if not the ideological particulars, of the ambition members of the avant-garde are to cultivate.

That’s a quote from the introduction to Jeff Sharlet’s The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power.

Early this morning I learned from Jeff Sharlet’s piece in Salon that the two men responsible for the Stupak amendendment–Bart Stupak (D-MI) and Joseph Pitts (R-PA)–are both members of the Family and both live in the group’s C-Street residence. These two nutty fetus fetishists are trying to end abortion in this country by making sure that insurance companies will stop covering this essential and perfectly legal medical procedure.

I’ve been obsessing on this news all day long while trying to concentrate on writing an exam. As hard as it is for me to accept, I now have to face the face that the forces of theocracy not only control of the Republican Party, but also they are well on the way to taking over the Democratic party.

Sharlet writes:

American women will pay the price for the Democratic dithering that allowed Saturday’s passage of the Stupak-Pitts amendment, a worm virus inserted into the House healthcare reform bill with surgical precision. But the Democratic Party will suffer collateral damage.

Stupak-Pitts isn’t just “the biggest restriction on women’s right to choose in our generation,” as Rep. Diana DeGette of Colorado puts it; it’s also evidence that on abortion the Democratic Party is now captive, just like the GOP, to Christian conservatism. Of course, Republicans traded away their party’s moderate wing for real electoral gains, a base that propelled them to power for decades. The Democrats, already in power, sucker-punched themselves, and all they have to show for it is a big fat shiner in the shape of Bart Stupak’s knuckles.

Sharlet thinks it’s unlikely that Stupak and Pitts came up with their plan on their own. The Family supposedly doesn’t directly try to influence political policies–they just offer support, guidance and powerful connections to their followers.

Pitts

Joseph Pitts

Which raises the question: Who’s pulling whom? Did backbencher Bart Stupak really come up with the bluff that led pro-choice Democrats to abandon not one but two compromises, one of which Stupak himself seemed to be signing off on earlier this summer? Or was it Pitts, an abortion-wars warrior since the 1970s, and a longtime leader of the House Values Action Team — an off-the-record caucus of religious right organizations and members of Congress — who drew up the blueprint?

Neither Stupak nor Pitts is talking. Of course, if they just keep quiet, the press will pin it on the bishops — who, to be fair, are more than happy to take credit. That version of events neglects the role of relationships forged within the evangelical context of the Family — a group founded in the spirit of virulent anti-Catholicism, and which maintains to this day that being Catholic brings you no closer to Christ than being Jewish or a Muslim — and the growing evangelical movement within the Democratic Party. A source close to the Faith Table, a gathering of ostensibly progressive Christians gathering of ostensibly progressive Christians helmed by evangelical leader Jim Wallis, notes that the group has been agitating for Stupak-Pitts for months, with Wallis declaring Stupak-Pitts the most important vote of the year.

May I remind you that Jim Wallis was a major supporter of President Obama and is one of his close “spiritual advisers?”

Terri Gross did an interview with Jeff Sharlet last summer. You can listen to it here and read an excerpt from Sharlet’s book if you’re interested. I heard that Rachel Maddow covered this story last night, but I couldn’t bring myself to watch the video.

What is happening to our country? Is there any way to turn it around?

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Obama: Dancing with the Ones That Brung Him

Barack Obama, Committed Christian
Barack Obama, Committed Christian

So, Obama wants Rick Warren to give the invocation at his inauguration, eh?

This Rick Warren?

“Of course I want to reduce the number of abortions,” Warren told Beliefnet Editor-in-Chief Steven Waldman when asked if he was going to work with the Obama administration to achieve an abortion reduction agenda or if he thinks that the effort is a charade.

“But to me it is kind of a charade in that people say ‘We believe abortions should be safe and rare,’” he added.

“Don’t tell me it should be rare. That’s like saying on the Holocaust, ‘Well, maybe we could save 20 percent of the Jewish people in Poland and Germany and get them out and we should be satisfied with that,’” Warren said. “I’m not satisfied with that. I want the Holocaust ended.”

Rick Warren thinks that women who have abortions can credibly be compared to Hitler. Godwin’s law, apparently, does not apply to people with scary ladyparts.

But don’t fret, female Obamabots. I’m sure the President-Elect doesn’t endorse those views. He’s just trying to have a…say it with me now…discussion.

• As he’s said again and again, the President-elect is committed to bringing together all sides of the faith discussion in search of common ground. That’s the only way we’ll be able to unite this country with the resolve and common purpose necessary to solve the challenges we face.

Horse. Pucky.

When you give a raving homophobe and misogynist like Rick Warren a national audience of tens of millions, the discussion is over.

Oh, did I not mention the homophobia? My bad. Here, watch Rick Warren say that gay marriage is a sin, and equivalent to incest and pedophilia. And of course, the “moderate” Mr. Warren was a most insistent proponent of Proposition 8 in California.

Let’s talk about “all sides of the faith discussion.” Again, this is a giant steaming load of Unity Pony crap. Where’s the rabbi, Barack? Where’s the imam? Where have they been this whole time, while Obama was on his “faith, family and values” tours and giving Donnie McClurkin and Douglas Kmiec a high profile during his campaign and organizing evangelical Christian programs like “The Joshua Generation” for the young-uns and meeting with the members of the “faith community” in Chicago (which was overwhelmingly evangelical and Christian, coincidentally) and pledging to e expand upon Bush’s faith-based initiatives (98.3% of the funding of which went to evangelical Christian organizations, coincidentally), and papering the country with flyers entitled “Barack Obama, Committed Christian?”

Based on the past and the present and the future plans of President-Elect Obama, it appears that “all sides of the faith discussion” includes Christian, Christian and Christian. Sorry, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists et al. You are under that darn bus too! Hope you didn’t expect him to give a flying fuck what you think or believe.

Continue reading

Mom says, Sarah Palin is cool

Mom gives a thumbs up too

Mom gives a thumbs up too

I checked in with my evangelical sources in central PA (Mom and siblings). They like Sarah Palin a lot. Here’s why:

  • She comes across like a regular person, not a politician
  • She has a reputation as a reformer.
  • She’s outdoorsy
  • She’s young, fresh and appealing
  • They like the way she is handling Bristol’s situation
  • She’s a woman.

Yep, put that in your pipe and smoke it lefty blogosphere 1.0.  My mom is a strict moralist, which always makes it fun to visit her with the BFF where we sleep in separate rooms.  But this business with Bristol doesn’t phase her a bit.  Everyone makes mistakes, she says.  She thinks the family is handling the situation well and is doing what *she* would have done (I’m not sure that’s entirely reassuring…).

So, there you have it.  She’s onboard for McCain.  She voted for Hillary in the primary but the Republicans won her back based on the social conservative creds of Sarah.   Mission Accomplished, Senator McCain.

Now, let’s sit back and watch the Democrats phreak out.  Pass the popcorn.

One more thing: Over at alegrescorner, NewHampster is beginning the weekly Tweety Award for the journalist who “makes our sphincters contract, our toes curl and our weenies tingle.  Or they made you gag.”  Whoo!  There’s an image that’s going to malinger awhile in the grey matter.

Submit your nominee today!

I *LOVE* Obama’s new flyer for Kentucky!

Obama is making a good faith effort to win Kentucky, pun intended. He’s sending out this flyer to appeal to evangelicals.

Obama Religious Flyer

Now, there are a couple things to note about this ad and since my family is heavily evangelical, I feel somewhat qualified to comment on it.

First, it looks like Obama is in a bit of a sticky wicket in KY. After all, it was only a month ago that small town folks were called bitter and clung to their religion, xenophobia and guns when they didn’t understand what was going on in the world. I gotta tell you, that didn’t go over too well in PA and I suspect WV wasn’t too amused either. And Obama suffered humiliating defeats in both states. I’ll betcha Bittergate is still turning up in their internal polls. That coupled with Wright makes it necessary for him to roll out this flyer. In other words, it’s pandering out of panic. Do you think Kentuckians will be assuaged? Ahem, moving on.

In this flyer, Obama says:

“my faith teaches me that I can sit in church and pray all I want, but I won’t be fulfilling God’s will unless I go out and do the Lord’s work.”

Very interesting. Now most of you will say this makes perfect sense if you are a Christian. Ahhh, but *evangelical* Christians believe that we are saved by grace alone. It isn’t necessary to do any more than accept Jesus. It’s the bare minimum requirement but an important one. It’s where the protestant church divides from the Catholic church. Your good deeds do not get you into heaven; grace does. No need for good works, pennance or any of that. But here, Obama is putting his work first as fulfilment of God’s will. Is it a minor point? I dunno. I’ve only lived with evangelicals, I can’t get inside their heads. But it may suggest that he doesn’t know his audience very well.

Finally, there is a rumor floating around in the escatological side of evangelicalism that Barack Obama is the anti-Christ. Hey, if you feed people enough Left Behind books, they start to forget they’re fiction. And here he is, sending out a flyer looking to all the evangelical world like a false prophet (point 1), unbeliever (point 2) standing in front of a cross.

It’s delicious. 😉

[UPDATE] — katiebird’s take (amazingly I had this scheduled to go later this morning): Continue reading