May 212010
 

Mexican President Felipe Calderon spoke before a joint session of Congress Thursday and received resounding applause after condemning Arizona’s controversial immigration law.

Huffington Post

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This is truly disturbing. Calderon is a foreign leader who presides over one of the most corrupt governments on the planet, a government with a truly abysmal human rights record, especially as it applies to illegal immigration. This man has the unmitigated gall to condemn the Arizona anti-illegal-immigration law, and the United States Congress gives him a standing ovation. Absolutely sickening!

I know there’s no hope for the far left, but I pray that moderate liberals will wake up from their blinded stupor and recognize that this isn’t a racial issue. Illegal immigration, like everything else in 21st Century America, is an economic issue. Not only does it place a heavy burden on already struggling state economies, but it also adds to the severe unemployment crisis and serves to further reduce the average pay for American workers. It is an integral part of the corporatist movement to eliminate the American middle class.

The corporatists have already managed to concentrate more wealth in the upper 1 percent than in the bottom 90 percent of Americans. They’ve driven CEO salaries from a reasonable 24-to-1 in 1965 to hundreds of times what their average employee is paid. They’ve driven real unemployment to over 17 percent and sent so many jobs overseas that the past decade netted ZERO job growth for our Country — that’s the same economy that produced no less than 20 percent job growth each decade going back to 1940. They’ve all but completely destroyed the unions, and they’ve elevated a bunch of professional gamblers (aka Wall Street bankers and hedge fund managers) who produce nothing to the pinnacle of American success. So skewed is this trend that the financial sector recently amassed fully 40 percent of overall corporate profits

Wake up America! Concentration of wealth at the very top plus an influx of people willing to work for low wages equals NO MORE MIDDLE CLASS! This is a squeeze play, one that’s already impacted millions of Americans and threatens to squeeze our children out of their future. The frog is in the kettle, and that frog is the American middle class.

Of course we should all be used to the corporatist desire to return to the days of the robber barons, but when it comes to the dilution of the American workforce and the loss in wages, they’ve recruited an army of unwitting accomplices. It is a sad stroke of irony, that in their haste to run to the aid of the disadvantaged, liberals across the nation have bought into the false racism indictment of anti-illegal-immigration, and are inadvertently helping America’s elite. The corporatists own the Congress, control the Obama administration from the inside, and now they have the left turning up the heat on their own demise.

You couldn’t write a more twisted plot.


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May 192010
 
Bill Maher and Richard Dawkins after Maher's t...
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I’m a fan of Bill Maher. I watch his show “religiously” every week. He will always be my very favorite Bush-basher of all time — bar none. Of course, my fondness of Bill is largely the result of sharing similar views on most topics; that and the fact that he’s a sarcastically funny guy. But sarcasm has its limits, and so does Bill. While he appears to be well-read on most topics, and thoughtful in his approach, he really does have a couple areas where he just goes stupid — and religion is one.

This past Friday, the Real Time panel consisted of Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Daily Beast columnist John Avlon, and author S.E. Cupp. The discussion started with the nomination of Elena Kagan, and Bill making jest of the fact that the best the Democrats can do is a “huge question mark.” He then asked a legitimate question, “Why can’t the liberals get somebody who’s a liberal on the court to balance it?” Cory Booker offered a respectable defense of the nomination, and everything was moving along quite swimmingly, until the conversation turned to religion.

Bill made his segue by evoking alleged suspicions that President Obama is an atheist, and then called upon Ms. Cupp, a self-identified atheist, for support. He followed with a reasonable assertion that the Supreme Court, which is currently composed of Jews and Catholics, could use an atheist. But then, always unable to discuss human belief systems in an intelligent manner, Bill resorted to BULL and started his typical half-witted pejorative rant. According to thinker-Bill, diversity of thought on the Court should include somebody who doesn’t believe in “magical thinking.”

If this had been the end of it, I could look the other way — after all, Bill is a comedian. But it didn’t stop there. No, he was just getting started. In response to a John Avlon comment about mediocre Court appointees, Bill had the unmitigated gall to assert that “Non-atheists are mediocre thinkers.” He then turned again to Ms. Cupp, this time for her to back his statement that “people who believe in God are deluded,” and he proceeded to argue with her when she rebuked his assertion. Bill insisted that, if she is an atheist, she “must think” that believers are deluded. To her credit, Ms. Cupp didn’t falter, nor did she lose her cool when pill-Bill decided to accuse her of not having “the courage of [her] convictions.”

What ensued was a round table of panel members trying to show Mr. Bill the error of his reasoning. S.E. Cupp stated clearly one reason she doesn’t condemn religion, even though she is an atheist, is because studies prove “religion is very good for you.” Bill’s reply, “Really . . . boy . . . it causes most wars . . .” So, John Avlon tried to interject that Bill’s accusations were better brought against “Absolutism, ideology, extremism,” and that “people’s individual faith” is not at fault. Obviously the odd man out around the table, Bill attempted to move on. But, God bless Cory Booker, because he had something to say first.

“You have the zeal of a Baptist preacher in your atheism. You’re just as dogmatic and intolerant as you accuse often the people on the religious side of being,” Mr. Booker was the first person I’ve witnessed with the constitution to tell it like it is. Bill made a joke of the point and moved on, but Cory Booker would soon take another tack with his appeal. Launching off a John Avlon remark about arrogance, Booker suggested that it’s arrogant to assert you have all the answers. “Faith, to me, necessitates humility. How can a finite being understand the infinite?” said Booker. And as he tried to articulate his point on the positive aspects of religion, Bill Maher couldn’t let him talk. Obviously bothered that he had essentially been called “arrogant,” Maher attempts to turn the table and assert that it’s Booker who’s arrogant. “You’re the one who thinks you know what happens when you die,” says Bill, “That’s arrogant.”

Never mind that it seems to escape Bill that, as an atheist, he too, “thinks he knows what happens when you die.” I can even forgive his repeated misquoting of Jesus. But what became very obvious to this viewer is that, when it comes to religion, Bill Maher cannot be objective. And when it comes to his atheism, he routinely shows that he lacks the capacity for coherent thought. Unable to mount a logical argument, every time Cory Booker asserted his faith, Maher could only respond with fragments from his “religion is bad” diatribe. I was disappointed that Booker let him off the hook so easy, but I was equally perturbed that Maher is so full of himself that he just refuses to listen.

Now, I don’t claim to be privy to what Bill Maher truly believes, but his refutation of a statement of faith, merely by citing incidents of religious abuse, is ignorant at best, inescapably fallacious and in the end — extremely dishonest. Either Bill is as stupid as he so often accuses everyone else of being, and he really believes in the pseudo intellectuality of atheism, or alternatively, he understands that whether you believe in a god or not, it takes a leap of faith.  If the former is true, then Bill would be well served to contemplate the difference between religion and faith. If it’s the latter, then he’s just dodging the point and taking the opportunity to bash religion. In either case — shame on you Bill Maher.

The entire segment is available for viewing.


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May 192010
 

Seeing no other option, Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Jeff Merkley have decided to attach their amendment to Brownback’s. The measure would require banks to cease trading taxpayer-backed money for their own gain. The current bill leaves the decision of whether to ban such activity up to regulators. The gambit would put progressives in the uncomfortable position of being forced to back the auto-dealer loophole in order to pass the Levin-Merkley amendment.

Ryan Grim, Huffington Post

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Is there anything else on the planet as twisted and useless as the United States Senate? Filibuster this, and secret hold that – the dysfunction is mind numbing. Now we have Senators Merkley and Levin trying to stop bank gambling, but they need to give auto dealers a free ride in order to do it. What kind of convoluted broke-back system produces such garbage?

The auto dealer exemption should never have passed the House in the first place. But Franks caved to Campbell and gave the Republicans another business victory at the expense of the public. The Senate should be fighting to fix the House bill, not succumbing to lobby pressure and matching it.

Damn, I hate to side with Wall Street, but this is just bad legislation.


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