Archive for October 4th, 2011

On so-called atheist regimes

| October 4, 2011 | 4 Replies
On so-called atheist regimes

At the blog of Sam Harris, Steven Pinker points out that there is no legitimate frame of reference for characterizing murderous regimes to be “atheist,” despite their lack of religiosity:

First, the premise that Nazism and Communism were “atheist” ideologies makes sense only within a religiocentric worldview that divides political systems into those that are based on Judaeo-Christian ideology and those that are not. In fact, 20th-century totalitarian movements were no more defined by a rejection of Judaeo-Christianity than they were defined by a rejection of astrology, alchemy, Confucianism, Scientology, or any of hundreds of other belief systems. They were based on the ideas of Hitler and Marx, not David Hume and Bertrand Russell, and the horrors they inflicted are no more a vindication of Judeao-Christianity than they are of astrology or alchemy or Scientology.

Second, Nazism and Fascism were not atheistic in the first place. Hitler thought he was carrying out a divine plan. Nazism received extensive support from many German churches, and no opposition from the Vatican. Fascism happily coexisted with Catholicism in Spain, Italy, Portugal, and Croatia.

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To spend or not to spend

| October 4, 2011 | Reply
To spend or not to spend

According to this article at MSNBC, the failure of U.S. consumers to spend lots of money has screwed up the U.S. economy:

For the time being, it looks like American consumers are AWOL. And until they come back, don’t expect to see any real recovery in economic growth and the job market. Consumer spending typically accounts for roughly 70 percent of the U.S. economy.

But here’s another way of looking at things. Annie Leonard has made a good case that out-of-control consumer spending has been wrecking our society, as she explains in “The Story of Stuff.”

Leonard now offers a free school curriculum based on The Story of Stuff. It is called “Buy, Use, Toss?”

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The Pope must have gone to law school

| October 4, 2011 | Reply
The Pope must have gone to law school

A friend recently sent me a posting about Troy Davis from a CNN news blog. It features various quotes by Spencer Lawton, the former Chatham County prosecutor, which is spot on, regardless of what one might think of the death penalty or the Troy Davis case:

Lawton questioned Pope Benedict XVI’s interpretation of the intricacies of Georgia law.

“His holiness has expressed his objection to the death penalty in the case, although it’s noteworthy he didn’t constrain himself to the issue of morality of the death penalty – he went on to comment on the sufficiency of evidence in the case,” Lawton said regarding the pope’s recent comments. “This is not something I had previously thought the Holy See had expertise in, that is to say Georgia’s evidentiary rules.”

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Chris Hedges demands that you take a stand

| October 4, 2011 | 3 Replies
Chris Hedges demands that you take a stand

At Truthout, Chris Hedges argues that by doing nothing, you are taking the wrong position regarding the pillaging of America by predatory corporations:

To be declared innocent in a country where the rule of law means nothing, where we have undergone a corporate coup, where the poor and working men and women are reduced to joblessness and hunger, where war, financial speculation and internal surveillance are the only real business of the state, where even habeas corpus no longer exists, where you, as a citizen, are nothing more than a commodity to corporate systems of power, one to be used and discarded, is to be complicit in this radical evil. To stand on the sidelines and say “I am innocent” is to bear the mark of Cain; it is to do nothing to reach out and help the weak, the oppressed and the suffering, to save the planet. To be innocent in times like these is to be a criminal.

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Republican Presidential Candidates Meet With Hitler

| October 4, 2011 | 2 Replies
Republican Presidential Candidates Meet With Hitler

I was running work errands yesterday and happened to snap on the radio. The NPR feed wasn’t my style the music so I punched the last button on the radio, 97.1 Talk, the Fox affiliate in St. Louis. Sometimes I listen in to “The Dave Glover Show,” where Mr. Glover liked to opine how badly he sucked as a lawyer when he previously had pursued that career. I wish Mr. Glover had let me know that before we had become law partners.

Immediately, the screaming was shrill and studied; it was as though a playbook were being read from by yet another cog in the anti-Obama hate machine. Apparently, Andrew Breitbart, who brought us edited films of ACORN folks and federal employees and criminal cronies in search of edited films, had the goods on Mr. Obama.

It seems that in a celebration of the “March on Selma” in 2007, some of the members of the three member New Black Panther movement showed up and spoke at an event which also had then-Senator Obama as a speaker. Bill and Hillary Clinton were also speaking at another location for the event. Other major civil rights figures were in attendance and they gave speeches. There was a grainy photograph of Mr. Obama somewhere near a guy from the new Black Panther Party, so Mr. Breitbart’s photographs were proof positive, according to Dana Loesch of “The Dana Show,” of Mr. Obama’s “racism!!!”

WTF? I got home, went to the trusty computer and Googled the issue. Sure enough, it appeared that the New Panther Party folks appeared at the same event. The story didn’t tell us that Mr. Obama organized the event, supported any of the viewpoints of any of the other speakers at the event, or that Mr. Obama was even aware of any of the other speakers at the event. Mr. Obama just happened to speak at the same event along with a bunch of other folks in commemoration of the sacrifices of a past generation of brave Americans seeking racial justice in America.

What was the flap?

[More . . . ]

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