“The truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end; there it is.” ~ Winston Churchill

 

    

“All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.” ~ Galileo Galilei

One of my favorite schticks by political humorist Bill Maher is his “New Rule.” For example, “New Rule: Until that oil spill is stopped and stays stopped, after we fill up at a BP station, we get to leave the pump running.”

Or how about this, “New Rule: Just because a country elects a smart president doesn’t make it a smart country. A few weeks ago I was asked by Wolf Blitzer if I thought Sarah Palin could get elected president, and I said I hope not, but I wouldn’t put anything past this stupid country. It was amazing—in the minute or so between my calling America stupid and the end of the Cialis commercial, CNN was flooded with furious emails and the twits hit the fan. And you could tell that these people were really mad because they wrote entirely in CAPITAL LETTERS!!! It’s how they get the blood circulating when the Cialis wears off. Worst of all, Bill O’Reilly refuted my contention that this is a stupid country by calling me a pinhead, which A) proves my point, and B) is really funny coming from a doody-face like him.”

I just could not pass the most recent Maher New Rule on global warming. The original article appeared on Huffington Post. Enjoy.

New Rule: Al Gore must come out with a sequel to his movie about climate change and call it, An Inconvenient Truth 2: What the F*ck Is Wrong with You People?

A bunch of depressing new surveys reveal that people in droves are starting to believe that global warming is a hoax—and this time, it’s not just us. People are always accusing me of hating America and calling it stupid, so tonight I’d like to take a few moments to hate England and call it stupid. Because now English people don’t believe in global warming either. I thought the English were smarter than that. The home of Newton and Darwin. I can’t believe we let these people build our exploding oil platforms.

Global Warming in London

Even scarier is why people have stopped thinking global warming is real. One major reason pollsters say is we had a very cold, snowy winter. Which is like saying the sun might not be real because last night it got dark. And my car’s not real because I can’t find my keys.

That’s the problem with our obsession with always seeing two sides of every issue equally—especially when one side has a lot of money. It means we have to pretend there are always two truths, and the side that doesn’t know anything has something to say. On this side of the debate: Every scientist in the world. On the other: Mr. Potato Head.

There is no debate here—just scientists vs. non-scientists, and since the topic is science, the non-scientists don’t get a vote. We shouldn’t decide everything by polling the masses. Just because most people believe something doesn’t make it true. This is the fallacy called argumentum ad numeram: the idea that something is true because great numbers believe it. As in: Eat shit, 20 trillion flies can’t be wrong.

Or take this recent headline: “TV weathercasters divided on global warming.” Who gives a shit? My TV weathercaster is a bimbo with big tits who used to be on a soap opera on Telemundo. Media, could you please stop pitting the ignorant vs. the educated and framing it as a “debate.” The other day, I saw a professor from the Union of Concerned Scientists face off against a distinguished expert on Tea Partying, whose brilliant analysis, recently published in the New England Journal of Grasping at Straws, was that we shouldn’t teach climate science in schools because kids find it scary. As they should. I hope they’re peeing in their pants.

The last decade, year, and month are all the hottest on record. Then there’s the killing of the oceans, floods, Category 5 hurricanes, heat waves, giant wild fires, and the vanishing water supply. You know, the little things. And yet deniers say, it’s just a theory. As is gravity. For progress to happen, certain things have to become not an issue anymore, so we can go on to the next issue. Evolution was an issue until overwhelming consensus among scientists made it not an issue.

When I was 6-years-old, it was an issue how babies were born. There were conflicting theories, and there was not a consensus—some thought a stork brought babies, others contended you bought them at the hospital, the Catholic boys said the Holy Ghost brought them—and one kid said that girls had sort of a—as he described it—flap in front and that men put their penises in it. This seemed the least likely. And yet by the time we reached age 11, even though we still had, none of us, actually seen the flap—the consensus of opinion was overwhelming for the penis-vagina theory—it was no longer an issue.

Devastating, worldwide climate change is happening, whether you phone in and vote for it or not. You can’t vote for rain. What’s real is what’s real, and, like it or not, no one can change the nature of reality. Except, of course, with mushrooms.

                                                                                                                

More later. Peace.

“Canción Del Mariachi,” by Los Lobos from Desperado

“I have been thinking that I would make a proposition to my Republican friends . . . that if they will stop telling lies about the Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them.” ~ Adlai Stevenson

Tom DeLay:  People are unemployed because they want to be . . .

The following article was in today’s Huffington Post: 

Tom "Dirtbag" DeLay

Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay called Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) “brave” on Sunday for launching a one-man filibuster of unemployment benefits, arguing that they dissuaded people from going out and finding work. 

Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union,” the Texas Republican said that Bunning’s fiscal responsibility was commendable, even if his shenanigans (refusing to allow unemployment benefits to be considered by unanimous consent) nearly brought the Senate to a halt. 

“Nothing would have happened if the Democrats had just paid for [the benefits],” Delay said. “People would have gotten their unemployment compensation. I think Bunning was brave in standing up there and taking it on by himself.” 

Asked whether it was bad strategy to make a budget stand on a $10 billion extension of unemployment (as opposed to, say, the Bush’s $720 billion prescription drug package), Delay insisted that if the PR had been done right, Bunning would have been applauded. Helping the unemployed with federal assistance, he said, was unsound policy. 

“You know,” Delay said, “there is an argument to be made that these extensions, the unemployment benefits keeps (sic) people from going and finding jobs. In fact there are some studies that have been done that show people stay on unemployment compensation and they don’t look for a job until two or three weeks before they know the benefits are going to run out. 

Host Candy Crowley: Congressman, that’s a hard sell, isn’t it? 

Delay: it’s the truth. 

Crowley: People are unemployed because they want to be? 

Delay: well, it is the truth. and people in the real world know it. And they have friends and they know it. Sure, we ought to be helping people that are unemployed find a job, but we also have budget considerations that are incredibly important, especially now that Obama is spending monies that we don’t have.’ 

I am also including a section from the full transcript that was not part of the Huffington Post article. 

 

“For me, the most disturbing aspect of the Republican political culture is how it puts its unquenchable thirst for power, domination and a radical ideology above facts, reason and the truth.” ~ Former Vice President Al Gore

Where do I begin to respond to such crap? May I just inject the term sweeping generalization? Or circular logic? Non sequitur, anyone? Or how about a good old verbal fallacy of composition (people are unemployed because they want to be, and people in the real world know it). Okay, maybe not a true fallacy of composition, but you get my point. 

Delay is a douchebag, a dirtball, a divisive so-and-so. It is so easy to cast stones from that glass house, isn’t it Mr. Indictment? I know that you said that you wish you were in the middle of the healthcare reform fight right now, but wait, you lost your seat because of a little thing called ethics, wasn’t it? Never mind. Capitalizing on that former Senate seat as a political consultant keeps you off the unemployment rolls, especially since everyone turns a blind eye to the $190,000 in illegal campaign contributions. What’s a couple of hundred grand between friends? 

I know that Corey has been sitting around on his butt for the past two years and that our family has been living the high life with a combined income of disability and unemployment because we like it like this. Yes sir. Boy oh boy, do we. I’m thinking of hiring a personal trainer next week because we are so flush. 

I want to know who these people in the real world are of whom Delay speaks and where I can find them. I mean, let’s just use the facts for a moment, shall we? Unemployment statistics are hovering at around 10 percent, and as I’ve pointed out, that is not including the underemployed, the full-time employees who have been cut to part-time, or those whose unemployment has been exhausted. Go to the grocery store. If there are 20 people in line in total at all of the registers, at least two of them are unemployed, and it would be hard to say how many of them fall into the second category. 

When you are walking down the street, look around you. At least two of the people near you are unemployed or underemployed. Look at their faces. Do they look happy to you? Content? At peace with the status quo? Take it a step further: Look at all twenty of those people in line at the grocery store. How many of them actually look happy? This is not a happy country right now. People as a whole are not happy. People who are lucky enough to have jobs know that they should be happy, but that doesn’t stop them from worrying about the next round of cuts at their factory, or store, or university. 

No One Is Safe. It’s not a matter of  the haves (with the exception of a top tier that has remained untouched), and the have-nots. What you have today could be taken away tomorrow, or next week, or next month. 

And please. Before you get on your roll and try to blame it on Obama or Congress, let’s try to be a bit realistic. Democrats have had power for 15 months. George Bush was in the White House for eight years or 96 months, which means that President Obama has had roughly 15.6 percent of the time in office that Bush had. And with obstructionist Republicans like Bunning and former Senator Delay sticking their feet out in the aisles so as to prevent any forward volition, it’s a miracle that anything has been done. 

In the words of the inimitable Andy Rooney: 

“Republicans . . . are conservatives who think it would be best if we faced the fact that people are no damned good. They think that if we admit that we have selfish, acquisitive natures and then set out to get all we can for ourselves by working hard for it, that things will be better for everyone. They are not insensitive to the poor, but tend to think the poor are impoverished because they won’t work. They think there would be fewer of them to feel sorry for if the government did not encourage the proliferation of the least fit among us with welfare programs.” 

Bah, I say. Bah. 

More later. Peace. 

Sheryl Crow, “Murder in My Heart” 

The New American Dream: Barack Obama’s Speech to the DNC

I watched the Democratic National Convention last week with a sense of nostalgia. I hadn’t seen the Dems this pumped since Clinton/Gore. For the first time in a long time, the party actually pulled it off: Hillary and Bill got on board; Kerry delivered the speech he should have delivered four years ago; Al Gore was polished, but he should have paused just a bit more. But Biden, Biden delivered big time for Barack Obama and set the stage for the Thursday night speech that ran 42 minutes and left this full-time cynic actually willing to believe again. More people tuned in to watch this man speak than watched the opening of the Olympics, and that alone should tell you something. The first outdoor acceptance speech since JFK was predicted to be light on substance and heavy on political rhetoric, in other words, dream-filled and abstract.

Obama’s speech was packed with proposed policy details, specifically the country’s current economic crisis. It was bold and liberal and unifying. His speech contained strong statements such as this: “We are the party of Roosevelt. We are the party of Kennedy. So don’t tell me that Democrats won’t defend this country. Don’t tell me that Democrats won’t keep us safe.” I actually got chills. Remarkable. In a less effective speaker’s hands, the words would not have had such a dramatic effect.

The man is a born orator, the kind this country hasn’t seen since JFK. He knows how to reach beyond rhetoric and touch the hearts of the common man and woman who are aching to hear something that will give them something to cling to. Like this: “America, we are better than these last eight years. We are a better country than this . . . We are more compassionate than a government that lets veterans sleep on our streets and families slide into poverty; that sits on its hands while a major American city drowns before our eyes.”

I know that I want to be part of a better country than the American of these last eight years. I know that I do not want another four years of the same, no matter how honorable McCain is as a person. We need more than a man who is respected by many people because of his past deeds but who believes that America is on the right track. And Obama was clearly aware of this difference by targeting McCain’s policies in his speech, but never attacking the man himself.

And for those who still want to believe in some type of American Dream, hold on to this:

“You see, we Democrats have a very different measure of what constitutes progress in this country.

“We measure progress by how many people can find a job that pays the mortgage; whether you can put away a little extra money at the end of each month so that you can someday watch your child receive her diploma. We measure progress in the 23 million new jobs that were created when Bill Clinton was President – when the average American family saw its income go up $7,500 instead of down $2,000 like it has under George Bush.

……….

“And I will restore our moral standing so that America is once more the last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace, and who yearn for a better future.”

The American Dream may have been lost for a while. We may have forgotten how to dream because we were so busy just trying to make do in this harsh reality that has been our lives–the lives in which milk costs $6 a gallon and bread almost $2 a loaf; health insurance is a luxury for many, and dental insurance is completely out of reach. City public schools have classroom sizes of up to 40. A college education without assistance for most families is not possible. The infant mortality rate for the U.S. still ranks with some third world countries. Some of our warriors are on their third tour of duty in Iraq. Foreclosures on homes continue to rise, as do the number of bankruptcies. Families in which both parents work, forcing more latchkey children, continue to become the necessity, not the exception. Three years after Katrina, we still have people who have not been helped. So tell me, is it any wonder that our dreams have taken a back seat? The have-nots far outnumber the haves, yet those who continue to live with platinum parachutes and bypass paying taxes through loopholes don’t have to wonder about the price of gas, bread, or milk, and health insurance is hardly a concern.

Yet the intrepid doers still hold on. We still put out our flags on Memorial Day and the 4th of July because something in us continues to believe in this country of ours. And with luck, perhaps more people than ever will exercise their right to vote this November, instead of taking that right for granted. I don’t care if they are voting because they don’t want a black man as president or a woman as vice president. At least they are participating in the process, and that is their right, whether or not I agree with their choice.

But dammit, at least they have that right, and with any luck, maybe they’ll have a taste of a new American Dream, or at least a remembrance of the old one. We deserve that. We all deserve that. It is not too much to hope for. I refuse to believe that.