Archive for May 7th, 2010
Representative Alan Grayson explains how it is that the American public now owns the Red Roof Inn and why we desperately need to audit the Federal Reserve. These are closely related questions, as Grayson dramatically details. The Federal Reserve Bank needs to be audited because it excels at magically “make money out of nothing,” just by making notations on its books. We have no way of knowing how it is that the Federal Reserve assumed liability for other large chains of hotels too. The Fed has also put up half a trillion dollars in mortgage-backed securities. Therefore, we, the People, are “owners” of massive amounts of real estate, which means that the Fed owns our homes when the mortgages go bad. This is “stealth” socialism, says Grayson, because we don’t audit the Federal Reserve.
Grayson, a progressive, is thus calling on conservatives to join in the call to audit the Fed “before it all comes crashing down on us.” Every time the Fed creates money out of thin air, “they’re taking that dollar that’s in your pocket and they’re making it cheaper–worth less.”
Marilyn Westfall of the Humanist Network News recently had an engaging chat with cognitive scientist Steven Pinker. The conversation first focused on why the north and the south differ so strongly on thing such as textbooks:
HNN: You’ve written a great deal on the impact of the political left and right in the United States. How does the political division figure into the debate over textbooks and especially the teaching of evolution?
SP: Partly it really is a culture war. The country does have two cultures: the European Enlightenment and the Culture of Honor. The Scots-Irish settled into a lot of the South and West. What came of this was two different paths to civilization. One path was civilized by the law and government and the king, and the other by self-help justice, avenging wrongs and insults with the help of your own manly honor. They co-exist in one country, but they are different cultures. The civilizing force in the West came first from the church. A lot of the Western cowboy towns were first civilized by the women and the church–in cahoots. Churches have the talismanic role as the source of morals and decency and civilization. But part of the division is just sheer oppositionalism: if the liberals say x, we’ll say y. Part of it is also an emotional affiliation with the church, and some of it is a disengagement from the wider world.
The conversation eventually turned to atheism. Why do so many people despise “atheists”?
[Atheism evokes] a very primitive emotional reaction in the minds of many people. Many people simply equate it with immorality, which is why I think they tell pollsters that atheists are people they distrust the most. Often when there is a disliked word–a word with a negative connotation–people find a euphemism, that’s why what used to [be called] garbage then became sanitation and now its environmental services. And likewise atheism is constantly reaching for the untainted euphemism. Secularist, freethinker, humanist, bright and so on. I think each one is going to get infected in turn until the societal attitude changes. Atheism is merely absence of belief.
Now were kicking reporters off of Guantanamo for reporting information that was already public. It turns out that all Presidents in favor of the free flow of information . . . unless it is inconvenient. As this article concludes: “[N]othing says ‘kangaroo court’ quite like banning the free press.”
As always, The Onion is on top of important breaking stories. This one concerns the colorful language of a newly released opinion of the United States Supreme Court.