The Watering Hole; Friday September 30 2016; Uncategorizable Wingnuttistanian Nonsense, and The Remedy

Featured

A darting fear — a pomp — a tear —
A waking on a morn
To find that what one waked for,
Inhales the different dawn.
(Emily Dickinson)

******

I. UNCATEGORIZABLE WINGNUTTISTANIAN NONSENSE

This Just In:

David Barton Claims The Founding Fathers Used ‘The Exact Language Of The Bible’ To Write The Constitution

Barton . . . once again insisted that the Founding Fathers drafted the Constitution by using the “exact language” of the Bible.

Barton was making the case that the Bible tells voters all they need to know about how to choose their elected leaders, repeating his falseclaim that 34 percent of the political documents from the founding era cited the Bible, which he claimed is why the Constitution is filled with direct quotations from the Bible.

“I can show you clause after clause in the Constitution where they used the exact language of the Bible in the Constitution,” he said. “It’s just that we’re so biblicaly illiterate today that we don’t recognize that in the Constitution.”

I’m no biblical expert, but Barton’s claim sounded interesting so I decided to take a quick look. First, the Preamble:

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

No luck there, so I made up a list of words that I figured were genuinely biblical and then word-searched each one in my docx version of the Constitution, as amended. Here are the words I chose:

In the beginning
Genesis
God
Jesus
Virgin
Mary
Revelation
Solomon
David
Exodus
Job
Psalm
Thou shalt not kill

Got a hit on only two of them. David Brearley from New Jersey was one of many who signed the original 1787 document. Also, I got a whole pile of hits on the word Virgin, not in biblical style, but since the word “Virginia” appears regularly . . . well, you know [reminded me of that old college joke that went something like, “I dated a girl named Virginia. I called her Virgin for short, but not for long.” (sorry about that)]. None of the other words or phrases showed up anywhere in the Constitution, so I’m guessing maybe it’s fair to doubt either Barton’s premise or my own ability to pluck worthy stuff from the Bible. Time will tell, I guess.

Then there was this one:

Rick Joyner: Climate Change Is A Communist Plot

Joyner said that climate change goes all the way back to a purported 1930s-era Communist Party “plan for subduing America” through “reeducation” and subversion.

Part of the plan, he said, was to “co-opt” young people knowing that “the youth will always respond to environmental issues and we have to keep inventing crises so that we can be the ones who save the world or are the answer to saving the world over and over.”

I dunno, I’m clearly in a tee-tiny minority, but I still think climate change has something to do with CO2 emissions from fossil fuel consumption, but who am I to compete with a brainiac like Rick Joyner.

Then last but by no means least, this gem popped up:

Ken Ham: Christians Who Believe In Evolution Follow A ‘Pagan Religion’ & Invite God’s Judgment

Ken Ham, the head of the Creationist group Answers In Genesis and founder of the Creation Museum, joined conservative radio host Janet Mefferd last week to discuss a new book about evangelicals who have embraced the theory of evolution. These Christians, Ham said, are following a “pagan religion” and are therefore inviting the judgment of God. . . .

“I’m going to say it out very bluntly,” he said. “Look, millions of years in evolution is the pagan religion of this age to explain, to attempt to explain life without God. And when you compromise God’s word with millions of years and evolutionary ideas, you’re no different to the Israelites, who took the pagan religion of the age—or the Canaanites, or whatever—incorporated into their thinking. And look what happened. It destroyed them, and God judged them before it. We are no different, there’s nothing new under the sun.”

I think it was Solomon who said, “there’s nothing new under the sun,” but I looked, and that phrase isn’t in the Constitution either.

Solomon was wrong on that one, though, because each and every day and on every corner of the earth there’s ALWAYS something NEW under the sun! Life’s like that, you know. Unlike preachers, politicians, and radio talk-jocks. Nothing new there, same old same old.

II. THE REMEDY

If I had my choice between hanging around with Ken Ham, or Rick Joyner, or David Barton, or a desert sunrise, guess what my choice would be! Time to give equal space to all that “emptiness”🙂 one sees under the rising sun and then decide if it’s possibly more interesting than the three dudes cited above. So here goes, as they say, “nothing.” Dude/Desert comparisons welcome; y’all be the judge!

▼1. September 2003 dawn, seen from the center of metro-Phoenix in the Phoenix Mtn. Preserve.▼

2003-sep-four-pks-sunrise-phxmp-008f

▼2. January 2004, view from White Tank Mountains regional park overlooking the entire of metro-Phoenix (downtown visible in center on the horizon)▼

2004-january-sunrise-ove-salt-river-valley-022f

▼3. March 2007 cloudy dawn from White Tanks Regional Park; first mountain is Camelback in the center of Phoenix, Superstition Mountains in the background.▼

2007-mar-dawn-over-camelback-superstitions-015f

So the landscapes in those split second views are apparently somewhere in the vicinity of fifty million years old, give or take ten or twenty million years. There are no signs anywhere of the passage of Noah’s Ark all those 5000 years ago (no sign of a flood either, at least not that I ever noticed). But it remains a virtual certainty that during all those millions of geologic years there’s been plenty of NEW stuff under that old sun! Regularly, too!

There. That feels a LOT better!

******

OPEN THREAD

 

 

 

The Watering Hole; Thursday September 29 2016; “Why Within so Thick a Wall . . .”

Featured

“Lord, to account who dares thee call,
Or e’er dispute thy pleasure?
Else why, within so thick a wall,
Enclose so poor a treasure?”
Robert Burns (1793)

I confess. I watched, against my better judgment, the debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton last Monday evening. Not sure why I did  that, but I did, and I’ve been suffering ever since. Because: Donald J. Trump. What a total disaster he is. What a phony. Loser. Disgusting slob. Narcissist. Megalomaniac. Xenophobe. Misogynist. Plus, he has really bad hair. And small hands. What has happened to the Republican Party? Why Trump? HOW Trump?

Made me reflect back on those better days of yore. Back when the GOP was led by strong-minded and really decent folks. People whose sole interest was the betterment of the entire world; whose efforts were invariably designed solely to elevate people no matter who or where they were, to elevate them to the level of even the ‘average’ American, to that level of educated intellect which we believe should define us all, including even our President!

And therein lies the current rub: Trump clearly does NOT have the decency, the kindness, the understanding, the tolerance, the INTELLECT! to which we as a people aspire and which we hope will —  someday soon — define us ALL!

So I decided to take a look back to a calmer time, to a more intellectual time, a time when the last truly “intellectual” Republican (“President”) was in charge and speaking in favor of an elevated nation, an elevated world. Way back in those glory days I personally collected a large pile of our then-President’s quotes, and I saved them in the hope that one day in the future, I might have the opportunity to use them to make a valid point.

And finally that day has arrived! Now is clearly the time to demonstrate to all functioning minds both at home and around the world that America need NOT sink into the realm of challenged intellect [currently defined by Republican candidate for POTUS, Donald J. Trump], and that it’s never too late to both look back at — AND — to look ahead toward better (post-Trump, obviously) ‘Republican’days! So here they are, a pile of Republican POTUS quotes from back in the days when the GOP was driven by intellect(?) and humanity (? ? really?) rather than by stupidity and greed. The quotes are in no particular order — some are dated, some not — but they do, at least and nevertheless, point to the drastic and dramatic differences twixt then and now.

Enjoy!! Continue reading

The Watering Hole, Wednesday, 9/28/16

THE PRINCE

CHAPTER XIII

CONCERNING AUXILIARIES, MIXED SOLDIERY, AND ONE’S OWN

Auxiliaries, which are the other useless arm, are employed when a prince is called in with his forces to aid and defend, as was done by Pope Julius in the most recent times; for he, having, in the enterprise against Ferrara, had poor proof of his mercenaries, turned to auxiliaries, and stipulated with Ferdinand, King of Spain,[*] for his assistance with men and arms. These arms may be useful and good in themselves, but for him who calls them in they are always disadvantageous; for losing, one is undone, and winning, one is their captive.

[*] Ferdinand V (F. II of Aragon and Sicily, F. III of Naples), surnamed “The Catholic,” born 1542, died 1516.

And although ancient histories may be full of examples, I do not wish to leave this recent one of Pope Julius the Second, the peril of which cannot fail to be perceived; for he, wishing to get Ferrara, threw himself entirely into the hands of the foreigner. But his good fortune brought about a third event, so that he did not reap the fruit of his rash choice; because, having his auxiliaries routed at Ravenna, and the Switzers having risen and driven out the conquerors (against all expectation, both his and others), it so came to pass that he did not become prisoner to his enemies, they having fled, nor to his auxiliaries, he having conquered by other arms than theirs.

The Florentines, being entirely without arms, sent ten thousand Frenchmen to take Pisa, whereby they ran more danger than at any other time of their troubles.

The Emperor of Constantinople,[*] to oppose his neighbours, sent ten thousand Turks into Greece, who, on the war being finished, were not willing to quit; this was the beginning of the servitude of Greece to the infidels.

[*] Joannes Cantacuzenus, born 1300, died 1383.

Therefore, let him who has no desire to conquer make use of these arms, for they are much more hazardous than mercenaries, because with them the ruin is ready made; they are all united, all yield obedience to others; but with mercenaries, when they have conquered, more time and better opportunities are needed to injure you; they are not all of one community, they are found and paid by you, and a third party, which you have made their head, is not able all at once to assume enough authority to injure you. In conclusion, in mercenaries dastardy is most dangerous; in auxiliaries, valour. The wise prince, therefore, has always avoided these arms and turned to his own; and has been willing rather to lose with them than to conquer with the others, not deeming that a real victory which is gained with the arms of others.

I shall never hesitate to cite Cesare Borgia and his actions. This duke entered the Romagna with auxiliaries, taking there only French soldiers, and with them he captured Imola and Forli; but afterwards, such forces not appearing to him reliable, he turned to mercenaries, discerning less danger in them, and enlisted the Orsini and Vitelli; whom presently, on handling and finding them doubtful, unfaithful, and dangerous, he destroyed and turned to his own men. And the difference between one and the other of these forces can easily be seen when one considers the difference there was in the reputation of the duke, when he had the French, when he had the Orsini and Vitelli, and when he relied on his own soldiers, on whose fidelity he could always count and found it ever increasing; he was never esteemed more highly than when every one saw that he was complete master of his own forces.

I was not intending to go beyond Italian and recent examples, but I am unwilling to leave out Hiero, the Syracusan, he being one of those I have named above. This man, as I have said, made head of the army by the Syracusans, soon found out that a mercenary soldiery, constituted like our Italian condottieri, was of no use; and it appearing to him that he could neither keep them not let them go, he had them all cut to pieces, and afterwards made war with his own forces and not with aliens.

I wish also to recall to memory an instance from the Old Testament applicable to this subject. David offered himself to Saul to fight with Goliath, the Philistine champion, and, to give him courage, Saul armed him with his own weapons; which David rejected as soon as he had them on his back, saying he could make no use of them, and that he wished to meet the enemy with his sling and his knife. In conclusion, the arms of others either fall from your back, or they weigh you down, or they bind you fast.

Charles the Seventh,[*] the father of King Louis the Eleventh,[+] having by good fortune and valour liberated France from the English, recognized the necessity of being armed with forces of his own, and he established in his kingdom ordinances concerning men-at-arms and infantry. Afterwards his son, King Louis, abolished the infantry and began to enlist the Switzers, which mistake, followed by others, is, as is now seen, a source of peril to that kingdom; because, having raised the reputation of the Switzers, he has entirely diminished the value of his own arms, for he has destroyed the infantry altogether; and his men-at-arms he has subordinated to others, for, being as they are so accustomed to fight along with Switzers, it does not appear that they can now conquer without them. Hence it arises that the French cannot stand against the Switzers, and without the Switzers they do not come off well against others. The armies of the French have thus become mixed, partly mercenary and partly national, both of which arms together are much better than mercenaries alone or auxiliaries alone, but much inferior to one’s own forces. And this example proves it, for the kingdom of France would be unconquerable if the ordinance of Charles had been enlarged or maintained.

[*] Charles VII of France, surnamed “The Victorious,” born 1403, died 1461.

[+] Louis XI, son of the above, born 1423, died 1483.

But the scanty wisdom of man, on entering into an affair which looks well at first, cannot discern the poison that is hidden in it, as I have said above of hectic fevers. Therefore, if he who rules a principality cannot recognize evils until they are upon him, he is not truly wise; and this insight is given to few. And if the first disaster to the Roman Empire[*] should be examined, it will be found to have commenced only with the enlisting of the Goths; because from that time the vigour of the Roman Empire began to decline, and all that valour which had raised it passed away to others.

[*] “Many speakers to the House the other night in the debate on the reduction of armaments seemed to show a most lamentable ignorance of the conditions under which the British Empire maintains its existence. When Mr Balfour replied to the allegations that the Roman Empire sank under the weight of its military obligations, he said that this was ‘wholly unhistorical.’ He might well have added that the Roman power was at its zenith when every citizen acknowledged his liability to fight for the State, but that it began to decline as soon as this obligation was no longer recognized.”–Pall Mall Gazette, 15th May 1906.

I conclude, therefore, that no principality is secure without having its own forces; on the contrary, it is entirely dependent on good fortune, not having the valour which in adversity would defend it. And it has always been the opinion and judgment of wise men that nothing can be so uncertain or unstable as fame or power not founded on its own strength. And one’s own forces are those which are composed either of subjects, citizens, or dependents; all others are mercenaries or auxiliaries. And the way to make ready one’s own forces will be easily found if the rules suggested by me shall be reflected upon, and if one will consider how Philip, the father of Alexander the Great, and many republics and princes have armed and organized themselves, to which rules I entirely commit myself.

OPEN THREAD

LIVE-BLOGGING: First 2016 Presidential Debate — Clinton vs Trump

Okay, this thing starts at 6:00 PT (9:00 ET), and it’s only 90 minutes long — or the longest 90 minutes in the history of the universe — we’ll know by 7:30.

Feel free to live-blog, twitter, weep in despair, laugh hysterically, make catty comments about wardrobe and hair (either candidate), but no drinking games, I beg you.   Because you will die…quickly.

Let the Great Emasculation begin…

The Watering Hole, Monday, September 26, 2016: Look Who’s Talking About Trying To Get Away With Lying?

Well, the moment many of us have been waiting for to be over is nearly upon us. The first of the Election 2016 Presidential Debates between a well-qualified, well-experienced woman and an unqualified, inexperienced man-child will be held 9:00 PM EDT tonight at Hofstra University, in Hempstead, NY. (For those unfamiliar with New York, it’s out on what we call, “The Island.”) The format, as determined by the Commission on Presidential Debates, will call for lirpas in the first round. If both survive, battle continues with the Ahn’woon. The moderator for the first debate will be NBC News’ Anchor and Keith Olbermann-sound alike Lester Holt, who took over for the much ridiculed Brian Williams after the latter made claims about his first-hand experiences that could not be verified by other people who were actually there, some whom of also claimed Williams wasn’t. The final straw for Williams came when he boasted he was the first “on the scene” to interview Neil Armstrong as he set foot on the moon. Alert fact-checkers noted Williams was only ten years old at the time, and raised considerable doubt about the possibility the Williams family could afford to send Young Brian to astronaut school. The story was later deemed by the majority of fact-checkers as “Mostly False” and Williams was suspended for six months.

The media’s practically prepared to name Donald Trump the winner tonight if he doesn’t trip on the way out to the podium and mess his adult diapers. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, will be declared to be “hiding something” if she can’t answer questions based on false premises, or adequately (to the Republican side) explain why she hasn’t mitigated their outrage over Benghazi, when the facts and the evidence showed the Republicans did more to kill Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, Information Officer Sean Smith, and two CIA operatives, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, than Secretary Clinton ever did. She asked Republicans for more funding for security specifically at Benghazi, among other places, and was turned down. There was never any order by her or anyone else to “stand down” and not send a rescue team. Every lie they’ve told about her has been debunked. But since people aren’t convinced by facts (it’s a problem we all have), it’s hard to convince these people that everything they want to do as a result of the Benghazi lies they believe is no longer justifiable. They’ll say to do it anyway because it’s what they want to do to her.

It should come as no surprise that the Trump Campaign is calling for moderators not to be allowed to fact-check the candidates. Newt Gingrich, a Terran-based life form with aspirations of invading and colonizing the Moon, actually defended this by tweeting

Gingrich has defended the theory that the way to a Republican voter’s heart was through the emotional door of his psyche, not the rational, fact-based, reasoning part of his brain.

Former CBS News Anchor Bob Schieffer, a personal friend of the Bush family and a former presidential debate moderator himself, had a suggestion. He said to let the candidates have the first crack at fact-checking in their responses, and if they don’t correct the record then the moderator should before moving on. And this infuriates Conservatives because they don’t believe important decisions should be based on a calm, rational review of the facts of the situation. They feel reaction to a crisis, especially an attack of some kind, should be swift (even if not all the facts are in), decisive (even if decided wrongly, because that honestly doesn’t matter to them), and over-powering (even if excessive). What matters, they’ll tell you, is that it felt like it was the right thing to do. Because that’s how they think you should govern, by doing what feels like the right thing to do, not by doing what actually is the right thing to do. You can expect Trump to Gish Gallop and spew one lie (or false premise, or extreme exaggeration of a technically true point) after another, inundating Clinton with so many false premises, straw man arguments, rambling fragmented sentences, innuendo and meaningless gobbledygook that a coherent yet accurate response will be impossible. And they’ll make a big deal out of the fact that she couldn’t, or wouldn’t, address the question asked of her even though the “question asked of her” was based on the fantasy worldview of someone so frightened by the truth that he’ll stop at nothing to prevent being exposed. Trump is a liar and a con-man, and his entire income structure is based on maintaining a completely false image as a shrewd businessman, unafraid to take on a political system he personally bragged about exploiting. And that’s why he wants no fact-checkers. He won’t be bringing any to the debate.

This is our daily open thread and may also possibly serve as our live-blogging of the debate itself. Come join us.

The Watering Hole, Saturday, September 24th, 2016: 353 and Counting

So, another day, another mass shooting. This one took place last night at the Macy’s store in the Cascade Mall in Burlington, Washington. According to the info on Raw Story’s coverage of the shooting, four women were killed while shopping in the Macy’s cosmetics department. The shooter, described as a young Hispanic male, is still at large, and no motive or explanation has yet been reported.

But already, the “good guy with a gun”-lovers are out there shooting their mouths off – and I honestly wish that were literally true, so we sane people wouldn’t have to hear their idiocy. One example is from a guy named Michael Parker whom I’ve argued with before on various ThinkProgress threads:

“Michael Parker Had I been at this mall I would have engaged the shooter with my concealed carry weapon. Never mind…Washington State does not honor my Virginia concealed carry permit so I would have run for the hills like the rest of the sheep. Thank God Virginia recognizes Washington State concealed carry permits so if this happened in Virginia a visiting concealed carry Washington resident could have engaged the shooter. Last December, the Virginia Attorney General tried to limit Virginia’s concealed carry reciprocity to just 5 states. The NRA and the Virginia Legislators got involved…yada, yada, yada ….and now Virginia recognizes the concealed carry permits from all 50 states.”

Another commenter sarcastically said:

“Obviously we need more guns and fewer gun regulations. What could go wrong? Just suspend every one of the Bill of Rights except the 2nd Amendment and America will be great again.”

To which another gun-totin’ hero-wannabe replied:

“You are correct. That is PRECISELY what we need. Had there been a concealed carry weapon’s holder at the mall, like there was in Minnesota, the threat would have been neutralized. It’s stories like this PRECISELY why i carry a firearm.”

Apparently women shopping for cosmetics should only do so in states that allow the gun-carrying menfolk to protect the little ladies while they do so. Dog knows that going unarmed into Macy’s is just too fucking dangerous, so ladies, always expect the unexpected while you’re trying a new shade of lipstick–dontcha know, the real reason why there’s so many mirrors in cosmetics departments is so that we can scope out the folks behind us for possible shooters, not so that we can see how some silly makeup looks on us!

So, wait, how does this work with our big bad menfolk totin’ guns (concealed- OR open-carry) into a mall? As Bill Maher discussed last night – and Wayne and I have discussed before this – open-carry, at least, is quite honestly only safe for WHITE MEN to do. In an open-carry state, one probably won’t see too many men of color packing heat – or at least not for long, as SOMEONE will either shoot them ‘just because’, or report them to the police, who will come and shoot the ‘suspicious’ armed black man on sight.

As noted in the ThinkProgress thread, “There have been 353 mass shootings in the United States in 2016, according to the Mass Shootings Tracker.” C’mon, you crazy shooters, there’s still plenty of time left in 2016, let’s see how high you can make that number go before the new year! And you “good guy(s) with a gun”, Christmas shopping is just around the corner, and the malls will be packed, so get your gunz and ammo ready!

This is our daily Open Thread, so talk about gunz or whatever else you want.