Imagining God's Positive Influence

On a news blog I occasionally visit, Capitol Hill Blue, the author recently discussed "GITMO and Habeas Corpus" (http://www.capitolhillblue.com/cont/node/9640). The article was about a panel discussion of "the attack on Habeas Corpus, the eradication of the US Constitution, and together, they painted a dreary picture about what America has done to innocents, citizens of other countries, and more."

One reader's response, charged that the loony religious right and their total righteous conviction led the country down this path away from democracy and toward dictatorship and worse. The argument was pretty sound, but it brought the following typically goofy and ignorant response from one of the superstitious many: "Atheists can be charged with the overwhelming majority of slaughter in the last century: Pol Pot in Cambodia, Mao Zedong in China, Hitler throughput Europe, and Lenin and Stalin in what became the Soviet Union."

This disingenuous claim is chanted regularly by the superstitious crowd as evidence that religion isn't always evil. For starters, you couldn't find a more superstitious bunch than the German Nazis. They "worshiped" everything from astrology, occult weirdness, witchcraft, pagan celebrations, and a variety of religions commonly known as "Christianity" (except for Judaism, which they chose to persecute for financial reasons). Calling the Nazis "atheists" is as accurate and honest as calling George W. Bush an "intellectual." Hitler was a Catholic all of his life and claimed to be a believer in "Positive Christianity."

Communism, dogma, and power had more to do with Mao, Pol Pot, Lenin and Stalin's acts of evil than did their firm connection to atheism. These were not big thinker types, but vicious murderers who used the simple-mindedness of their form of communism to excuse mass murder. Gods haven't stopped this kind of person from doing their worst and a lack of gods doesn't seem to have much effect, either. Communism, however, has more in common with religion than with science. "Faith" in the system's integrity and purpose is required of the followers, regardless of the obvious evil activities of the leaders. As in religious driven murders, the reason these evil bastards were so effective is not that they were atheist, but that they enforced a "belief system" and discouraged dissent, analysis, science, and logic. Sounds more like religion than politics or economic theory.


#184 Good News, Bad News

NPR, that once great remainder of the best of American media, has continued to degenerate into a corporate mouthpiece. Apparently, that hasn't been a profitable move for them. Minnesota Public Radio was once a showpiece for national public radio. The local stations were locally oriented. They produced great musical content, their news programs were infinitely better than the crap squeezed out by commercial stations, and the national programs were the best offered. Not that many years ago, NPR and MPR started courting corporate sponsors and the content changed accordingly. By 2000, public radio was impotent and as corrupt as the best of the commercial stations. By 2004, the right wing slant of NPR became overt and the commercial slant had turned the programming into lightweight drivel.

There has been a cost to this sell-out. MPR, for example, has always had successful fund drives. Since the beginning of Minnesota's experiment in public radio, public support has carried the stations and carried them lavishly. In the last couple of years, that support has dropped away. Take me, for example. In the past, I've always donated $200-500 a year to public radio. When MPR refused to allow the Independent Party candidate, Tim Penny, to take part in the 2002 Senate debates with Norm Coleman and Mondale, I quit caring if my local station lived or died. Since then, I listen occasionally, but I never feel the slightest twinge of guilt during their fun raisers because those constant corporate plugs at the beginning and end of every program segment remind me that public radio, like the rest of the country, does not belong to the public. This Land is not my land, or yours, it is corporate property. However, corporations depend on the public for their survival and the tide may be turning on their rein of terror. If that tide changes, the institutions that supported those psychopaths will wash out along with the corporate criminals. NPR has linked hands with some of the worst of the worst (Cargill, Guidant, General Motors, etc.) and that will be remembered.

It has been interesting to watch the Republican response to criticism of John McCain. When he was a "maverick" (a poor term someone as far right as McCain, but in comparison to the other nutcases he can seem almost reasonable), the right used every tactic available to denigrate him. Now that he's a total captive corporate employee, they are protecting him with the same irrational zeal they applied to defending G.W. Bush's AWOL military history. "The enemy of my enemy is my friend." That stupid logic has kept the world in constant war since men learned to strap rocks to the ends of sticks.

Wes Clark's analysis was spot on. There is nothing about being a young, valiant prisoner of war that would qualify an old, corrupt politician for the Presidency or leadership at any level. Carpetbagging in the most cynical committee, the Senate Armed Services, is not a recommendation or valuable experience for President. Cheerleading the dumbest foreign policy makers in the history of the nation as they stumble into the worst, most immoral decision in the nation's history is not a credential. Of an awful bunch, McCain is the best the Republicans had to offer in 2008, but he is still the best of the worst.

Republican candidates are usually poor material for any serious office, but 2008 was embarrassingly bad even for them. A collection of evangelists and failed corporate degenerates is the best description I can find for the lot.

Obama has a tough future ahead of him, win or lose. If he wins, he will have the same thankless task that Willy Clinton faced. He will take over a country that has been raped and pillaged by vandals and carpetbaggers. He will inherit a busted economy, a backwards social system, an uneducated populace, and an incredibly competitive world waits to take advantage of his missteps. If he is successful, he will be replaced by another greedy, incompetent Republican who will set the country back several steps and undo most of the positive achievements Obama might accomplish. The American public hates success and always follows competence with the polar opposite, in Presidents and many other critical areas.

If he loses, like Gore, he will go down in history as being one of the dumbest candidates ever offered for office. He will have taken a clear mandate, a gigantic advantage, and a dedicated group of activists and wasted those advantages. Like Gore, he may be able to find a cause to promote as his booby prize and reason for continuing in public life, but he might end up like Ducakis and try to vanish, out of humiliation, from history.

Losing to McCain will be like getting beat on the basketball court by a midget. McCain, himself, is no tiny opponent, but being a Republican at this point in history is very much like saddling yourself with the handicap of crawling on to the court in your knees. Of course, in politics, Americans have a long history of rooting for the retards, so McCain does have the status of crowd favorite.

July 2008