Conservatives are losing the battle against terrorism January 31, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in Iran, Iraq, Middle East, Terrorism, wingnuts.
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Seeing Jane Fonda Saturday was enough to make me wish the unthinkable: it will take another terror attack on American soil in order to render these left-leaning crazies irrelevant again. Remember how quiet they were after 9/11? No one dared take them seriously. It was the United States against the terrorist world, just like it should be.
That’s some insight into the wingnut mind where one imagines 9/11 as a good thing, not just because you could buy crying eagle T-shirts and commemorative plates, but because it shut all those liberals with their facts and inconvenient truths up.
Ain’t it nice when wingnuts expose themselves so honestly? If only those terrorists would hit us again, then I could make people shut up!
What disturbs me about all this, aside from the obvious, is that Bush barely won in 2004 by scaring people about terrorism and implying that he was the only candidate that had the abilities to prevent it. The problem with this viewpoint was not only that it was wrong, but it was the opposite of reality. The reaction of members of BushCo to the events of 9/11 (seeking ways to make it a political opportunity to push for an already planned war on Iraq) plus attitudes like Gallagher’s makes it clear that conservatives don’t have the attitudes in place required to stop terrorism. For one thing, to really stop it, you have to start with the belief that terrorism is an all-around bad thing.
What’s more, the Conservative leadership has unquestionably made the world a more dangerous place. Afghanistan is sliding back to the Taliban at an alarming rate, the war with Iraq has created a new generation of terrorists and squandered the goodwill of the world, and Bush is trying desperately to provoke a disastrous and illegal war with Iran. We have made more people hate us, have given terrorists more places to hide, and have only reinforced bin Laden’s argument that US Imperialism is a threat to sovereign Muslim nations. Oh, and has anyone bothered to secure our ports or implement the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission
If Democrats want to take the ground of terrorism away from Republicans, they should be repeating these facts over and over. If Bush could convince the American people that Saddam was behind 9/11 merely by repeatedly suggesting it, we can over time make the case that Conservatism is destroying our ability to fight terrorism.
That is the message I want to hear from progressive and moderate candidates. But will anyone step forward and lead the charge?
Taking down the “democracy” argument January 31, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in constiutional issues, News and politics, Origins, Science.
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You can argue about whether or not evolution is the best science or not but in order for your argument to have any validity you have to have the research and evidence to back that up. Creationism and ID do not and therefore should not be taught. In other words, put up or shut up until you can. Science is not a democracy. Science is about using observation and research to explain how things work. Religious opinions shouldn’t influence facts. Joe Sixpack’s opinion, no matter what percentage of the population it is, does not change the fossil record.
Hear, hear! I’d only add this: the opponents of education often frame their arguments as “pro-democratic” as though democracy means that every idea should be given equal creedance. But their goal, despite this rhetoric, is anti-democratic. They seek to teach their religious beliefs in public classrooms, to make public schools a breeding ground for theocracy. And they oppose real education, which is about educating students to the best of our ability, not letting popular opinion tell us what should be taught.
The same principle is at work whether what is under attack is evolution, mathematical principles or reading lists. The Creationist argument mirrors that of those who want to ban books “because they should have a say.” Yes, parents should have some say, but they should not be allowed to shout down teachers and experts in the subjects. Simply put: we put education in the hands of specialists because they best understand what students need to know about their disciplines. No one would ask me to teach a theology class, and we shouldn’t let laypeople overrule scientists about how to teach science. To do otherwise is to fail to properly educate students, and without education democracy dies.
Screw you, legality: you get in the way of fetus-worship January 30, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in News and politics, Religion, reproductive rights, wingnuts.
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Over at Feministing, guest-blogger Jill Morrison discusses how new laws are criminalizing pregnancy by making addiction illegal if one happens to be pregnant.
Despite this fact, all over the country, women are being prosecuted for “crimes” based only on their (1) being pregnant and (2) testing positive for drugs. No one else can be tested and prosecuted just for having drugs in his or her system. To get around what they obviously see as a shortcoming in the law, prosecutors charge pregnant women with “delivery of drugs to a minor” and “child endangerment” even though the laws clearly were not meant to be used in these cases.
This violates pregnant women’s constitutional rights, since (1) the laws are applied differently to them than anyone else, (2) they have no reason to know that these laws apply to what they are doing, (3) women have pled guilty to crimes that aren’t really crimes, and (4) the Supreme Court has held that punishing someone for being addicted to drugs or alcohol is both cruel and unusual punishment, since addiction is an illness. Not only is it unconstitutional, it doesn’t do a thing to help babies or their mothers. Threats of prosecution just scare women away from drug treatment and prenatal care.
This is a great thing for fundies, since it punishes both addiction and pregnancy. And now we’re seeing this evil strategy in proposed legislation in my home state of New Mexico:
Whoever gives birth to a child who has fetal alcohol syndrome is guilty of a misdemeanor, unless the fetal alcohol syndrome results in the child’s death, in which case, the child’s mother is guilty of a second degree felony. [emphasis mine]
That’s right, folks. Now, no one is advocating that pregnant women drink, but convicting them of crimes if their drinking damaged the fetus is something else. As anti-abortion nuts put it, this bill “establishes the humanity of the unborn.”
And this is why its so goddamn immoral to give a fetus rights over the woman–because it makes women the property of the state. What they can and cannot do is legislated. Their rights are taken away. They are deemed to be nothing more than a vessel to provide nourishment to the fetus.
If the government can punish women for drinking while pregnant, it can enforce any code it wants to, because it has legally established that the fetus’ rights are greater than the rights of the woman. Once we accept that, why shouldn’t we let the government take women’s rights away? After all, they’re just for shooting out healthy babies, right?
Who’s pushing ID in New Mexico January 30, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in constiutional issues, Origins, Religion, Science, wingnuts.
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As promised, in this post I will be examining the group that is most prominently lobbying for ID in New Mexico. ID proponents are actively trying to hide their religious motivation (though they are doing poorly at it) because they know that any link to religion will get them tossed out of schools on first amendment grounds. Since they aren’t willing to let little things like the Constitution get in their way, they have shifted from Creationism to ID to “teaching the controversy.” Now they’re trying to polish their rhetoric to make a non-existent “controversy” into a case for “academic freedom” (here meaning “freedom to mislead students about evolution”).
But no matter how much their rhetoric evolves, they’re still pushing the same old Creationist gibberish. And if their origins and arguments aren’t enough to convince you, look at how the religious right embraces them as though they were going to teach the Bible in a science class–since that’s exactly what they’re trying to do.
Education under assault in New Mexico January 30, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in News and politics, Origins, Religion, Science, wingnuts.
I’m proud to live in New Mexico. Beautiful views, nice people, and green chile alone make this a state worth living in. But here, as in many places around the country, education is under attack. And unsurprisingly, fundamentalists are leading the charge. While fundies regularly object to everything from sex ed to reading, their most common target of late has been evolution. They claim they want academic freedom, but their efforts always center around letting teachers and students get away with spouting unscientific Creationist garbage as “evidence against evolution.” Make no mistake: they’re not trying to make sure students are exposed to the real evidence on anything: they’re trying to get around first amendment objections by “teaching the controversy”–which amounts to teaching Creationism, just as every one of their tactics does.
But what if they actually applied this standard to issues that are truly up for debate (unlike, say, the overwhelming evidence for evolution)? Somehow I doubt they will.
Stay tuned as we examine the agenda of those who are pushing ID in New Mexico, and discover why ID proponents are having a difficult time convincing anyone they’re anything other but fundies pushing their Creationist nonsense down our throats.
This one’s for Tony “Racism isn’t that big a deal any more” Snow January 30, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in bigotry, wingnuts.
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Over at Pandagon, Amanda’s started an important discussion of why overt racism is raising its ugly head so frequently of late. I have a couple of thoughts on the subject. First, as I’ve argued before, overt racism is useful in the fight against racism, because it reminds us that the problem still exists: all that’s happened is people tend to practice racism in the shadows.
That alone would indicate that we have made some progress against racism, and that we still have a long way to go. That leads me to my theory about why we’re seeing more and more racist comments from people in the public arena: they’re losing.
Why do you think the religious right is so desperate to deny gays civil rights? Why are they fighting so strongly against tolerance, inclusion and basic human dignity? Because they’re losing. Don’t misunderstand me. We have a long way to go in the fight against bigotry, but it is evidence of the strides society has made that people are foaming at the mouth to try to stop others from gaining equality. Those who preach hatred are in big trouble. They’ve been forced largely into the shadows on the issue of race, they’re losing the battle to deny women human rights, and their–largely successful–attempts to deny human rights to gays is an indication that they’ve seen the writing on the walls.
Regular readers of this blog will know I’m very rarely this optimistic, but here I think it’s safe to say that we’re truly gaining ground. If we weren’t, we would not see these desperate efforts on the part of hatemongers: they would have no reason to so breathlessly condemn equal treatment.
Most whites in this country are not racist. In their heart, they agree with black comedian Chris Rock when he says, “I love black people, but I hate niggers,” even if they themselves are not allowed to make such an honest declaration.
I hear not only the racism, but also the desperation. Prelutsky is living in a world where he is being roundly condemned for saying stupid racist bullshit, and so he says it all the louder. Now that he has been exposed as a slimy scumbag on a national stage, he will continue to blabber on about how Black peoples’ problems are all their own fault and us whites are the ones being mistreated. He will say it over and over, as will the few racists stupid enough to put their bigotry on display.
And each time he does it, we will remember what we’re fighting against, and how far we’ve come that racist fucks like this can be identified and decried for what they are, with their rapidly shrinking base mainly hanging out at Klan meetings and The Free Republic comments section.
But aren’t anti-choicers supposed to care about human life? January 30, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in reproductive rights.
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In the past, I’ve discussed how the evidence points to anti-choicers real concern being forced child-birth, not protecting human life. After all, if they cared about human life, they would value the life of the woman at least as highly–and, really, more so–than that of the fetus. Whenever the anti-choice agenda holds sway, we see women being treated as less than the fetus growing inside them. I’ve also argued that anti-choicers are working to set up the same paradigm in the US.
But this thread at Feministe reminded me of a case where we saw what the anti-choice agenda really leads to, right here in the USA. Briefly put, Angela Carder, a cancer victim, was forced into a Cesarean section of 25 week old fetus, despite her desire not to see the procedure performed and her doctors’ agreement. There was virtually no chance she could survive such a procedure, and very little chance the fetus could either. Despite all this, the hospital sought a court ruling on the advice of it’s legal staff, and Carder was forced to undergo the procedure.
Carder and the fetus both died, and eventually (but far too late) an appeals court overturned the decision and steps were taken at the hospital to help ensure such a situation would never happen again.
But under anti-choice laws, no such guarantee would exist. If the fetus has rights greater than the mother’s (such as the right to use another human for sustenance without her consent) then it could easily be argued that forcing Carder to have the baby was the right decision. After all, she has no right not to bear it, under anti-choice thinking.
So I would ask the anti-choicers: do you think it was right to force Carder to have the C-section? If not, what makes you think that anti-choice policies won’t lead to other women being put in the same situation?
Keep fightin’ January 30, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in constiutional issues, Morality, News and politics, Religion, reproductive rights, wingnuts.
If there is ever a story that demonstrates why progressives need to continually re-devote themselves to fighting against agents of intolerance, theocracy, and oppression, this is it. Short version: a woman was thrown into jail for an apparently mistaken arrest warrent after calling to report being raped. In jail she was denied emergency contraception because it was against the religious beliefs of the jail’s medical supervisor.
After reporting a rape, this woman remained in jail all weekend and was denied essential medical care. Now there is an increased chance that she will have been forced into pregnancy by her rapist and the local police.
So we have:
- Religious nuts inflicting their views on others who are powerless to stop them.
- Government arresting the rape victim while her rapist remains at large.
- The Tampa jail system participating in the rape by jailing this woman and denying her the ability to take medically necessary steps to prevent herself from becoming pregnant.
Is that language too strong? I don’t think so. The jail was guilty of violating this woman, and of doing so in an official capacity. I hope she gets a huge settlement out of this: she deserves much more, but that’s unlikely, given that we live in a patriarchal society where wingnuts have the authority (officially or unofficially granted to them by the government) to force others to abide by their wacky fetus-worshiping.
More poetry January 30, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in Poetry.
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W. B. Yeats
“The Circus Animals’ Desertion”