Friday, August 26, 2011

Texas Ignoramous, Evolution, Revolution, WWIII, Ideological Idiots, Cheney Babble, Obedient Wifey In-Chief” and “Yes We Are That Screwed Up.”

Texas Ignoramous, Evolution, Revolution, WWIII, Ideological Idiots, Cheney Babble, Obedient Wifey In-Chief”  and “Yes We Are That Screwed Up.”  

”There is surely something wrong with a system for choosing a leader when, given a pool of such talent and a process that occupies more than a year and consumes billions of dollars, what rises to the top of the heap is George W Bush. Or when the likes of Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann or Sarah Palin can be mentioned as even remote possibilities.”


Q. Texas governor and GOP candidate Rick Perry, at a campaign event this week, told a boy that evolution is ”just a theory” with “gaps” and that in Texas they teach “both creationism and evolution.” Perry later added “God is how we got here.” According to a 2009 Gallup study , only 38 percent of Americans say they believe in evolution. If a majority of Americans are skeptical or unsure about evolution, should schools teach it as a mere “theory”? Why is evolution so threatening to religion?

A. There is nothing unusual about Governor Rick Perry.

Uneducated fools can be found in every country and every period of history, and they are not unknown in high office.

What is unusual about today’s Republican party (I disavow the ridiculous ‘GOP’ nickname, because the party of Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt has lately forfeited all claim to be considered ‘grand’) is this: In any other party and in any other country, an individual may occasionally rise to the top in spite of being an uneducated ignoramus.

In today’s Republican Party ‘in spite of’ is not the phrase we need. Ignorance and lack of education are positive qualifications, bordering on obligatory. Intellect, knowledge and linguistic mastery are mistrusted by Republican voters, who, when choosing a president, would apparently prefer someone like themselves over someone actually qualified for the job.

Any other organization -- a big corporation, say, or a university, or a learned society - -when seeking a new leader, will go to immense trouble over the choice. The CVs of candidates and their portfolios of relevant experience are meticulously scrutinized, their publications are read by a learned committee, references are taken up and scrupulously discussed, the candidates are subjected to rigorous interviews and vetting procedures. Mistakes are still made, but not through lack of serious effort.

The population of the United States is more than 300 million and it includes some of the best and brightest that the human species has to offer, probably more so than any other country in the world.

There is surely something wrong with a system for choosing a leader when, given a pool of such talent and a process that occupies more than a year and consumes billions of dollars, what rises to the top of the heap is George W Bush. Or when the likes of Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann or Sarah Palin can be mentioned as even remote possibilities.

A politician’s attitude to evolution is perhaps not directly important in itself. It can have unfortunate consequences on education and science policy but, compared to Perry’s and the Tea Party’s pronouncements on other topics such as economics, taxation, history and sexual politics, their ignorance of evolutionary science might be overlooked.

Except that a politician’s attitude to evolution, however peripheral it might seem, is a surprisingly apposite litmus test of more general inadequacy. This is because unlike, say, string theory where scientific opinion is genuinely divided, there is about the fact of evolution no doubt at all. Evolution is a fact, as securely established as any in science, and he who denies it betrays woeful ignorance and lack of education, which likely extends to other fields as well. Evolution is not some recondite backwater of science, ignorance of which would be pardonable. 

It is the stunningly simple but elegant explanation of our very existence and the existence of every living creature on the planet. Thanks to Darwin, we now understand why we are here and why we are the way we are. You cannot be ignorant of evolution and be a cultivated and adequate citizen of today.

Darwin’s idea is arguably the most powerful ever to occur to a human mind. The power of a scientific theory may be measured as a ratio: the number of facts that it explains divided by the number of assumptions it needs to postulate in order to do the explaining. A theory that assumes most of what it is trying to explain is a bad theory. That is why the creationist or ‘intelligent design’ theory is such a rotten theory.

What any theory of life needs to explain is functional complexity. Complexity can be measured as statistical improbability, and living things are statistically improbable in a very particular direction: the direction of functional efficiency. The body of a bird is not just a prodigiously complicated machine, with its trillions of cells - each one in itself a marvel of miniaturized complexity - all conspiring together to make muscle or bone, kidney or brain. Its interlocking parts also conspire to make it good for something - in the case of most birds, good for flying. An aero-engineer is struck dumb with admiration for the bird as flying machine: its feathered flight-surfaces and ailerons sensitively adjusted in real time by the on-board computer which is the brain; the breast muscles, which are the engines, the ligaments, tendons and lightweight bony struts all exactly suited to the task. And the whole machine is immensely improbable in the sense that, if you randomly shook up the parts over and over again, never in a million years would they fall into the right shape to fly like a swallow, soar like a vulture, or ride the oceanic up-draughts like a wandering albatross. Any theory of life has to explain how the laws of physics can give rise to a complex flying machine like a bird or a bat or a pterosaur, a complex swimming machine like a tarpon or a dolphin, a complex burrowing machine like a mole, a complex climbing machine like a monkey, or a complex thinking machine like a person.

Darwin explained all of this with one brilliantly simple idea - natural selection, driving gradual evolution over immensities of geological time. His is a good theory because of the huge ratio of what it explains (all the complexity of life) divided by what it needs to assume (simply the nonrandom survival of hereditary information through many generations). The rival theory to explain the functional complexity of life - creationism - is about as bad a theory as has ever been proposed. What it postulates (an intelligent designer) is even more complex, even more statistically improbable than what it explains. In fact it is such a bad theory it doesn’t deserve to be called a theory at all, and it certainly doesn’t deserve to be taught alongside evolution in science classes.

The simplicity of Darwin’s idea, then, is a virtue for three reasons. First, and most important, it is the signature of its immense power as a theory, when compared with the mass of disparate facts that it explains - everything about life including our own existence. Second, it makes it easy for children to understand (in addition to the obvious virtue of being true!), which means that it could be taught in the early years of school. And finally, it makes it extremely beautiful, one of the most beautiful ideas anyone ever had as well as arguably the most powerful. To die in ignorance of its elegance, and power to explain our own existence, is a tragic loss, comparable to dying without ever having experienced great music, great literature, or a beautiful sunset. 

There are many reasons to vote against Rick Perry. His fatuous stance on the teaching of evolution in schools is perhaps not the first reason that springs to mind. But maybe it is the most telling litmus test of the other reasons, and it seems to apply not just to him but, lamentably, to all the likely contenders for the Republican nomination. The ‘evolution question’ deserves a prominent place in the list of questions put to candidates in interviews and public debates during the course of the coming election.

Richard Dawkins wrote this response to Governor Perry forOn Faith, the Washington Post’s forum for news and opinion on religion and politics.

Federal Reserve Policy + Extreme Weather = Revolution + World War III

Federal Reserve Policy Mixed With Extreme Weather Has Put The World On A Fast Track To Revolution And War.

There are many factors that clearly demonstrate why it would be disastrous for the Federal Reserve to repeat their vicious Quantitative Easing (QE) policy. If you want to know a significant reason why they cannot get away with another round of QE, here is an equation for you:

(Quantitative Easing + Extreme Weather = Revolution + World War III)

From the very beginning we knew that the Federal Reserve’s QE program was going to cause the cost of food to rise and the dollar to decline in value, and that these intended results would lead to an increase in poverty and civil unrest. Now there is a new study that gives us some more proof of this obvious fact:

Are Food Prices Approaching A Violent Tipping Point?

A provocative new study suggests the timing of the Arab uprisings is linked to global food price spikes, and that prices will soon permanently be above the level which sparks conflicts….

… there is a specific food price level above which riots and unrest become far more likely. That figure is 210 on the UN FAO’s price index: the index is currently at 234, due to the most recent spike in prices which started in the middle of 2010 [coinciding with QE2].

Lastly, the researchers argue that current underlying food price trends – excluding the spikes – mean the index will be permanently over the 210 threshold within a year or two. The paper concludes: “The current [food price] problem transcends the specific national political crises to represent a global concern about vulnerable populations and social order.” Big trouble, in other words….

The next part of the study identifies that the serious unrest in North Africa and the Middle East also correlates very closely with [the QE2] food price spike. Bar-Yam also notes: “Several of the initial riots in North Africa were identified in news stories as food riots.” From there, the researchers make their prediction of permanently passing the 210 threshold in 12-24 months. [read full report]

In other words, if the Fed engages in another round of QE, the global unrest that they have already ignited will go hyperbolic.

Before getting into the details on how the Fed deliberately made these food prices spike, let’s look at another new study, which also helps demonstrate the obvious, extreme weather is linked to war:

Climate Cycles Linked To Civil War, Analysis Shows

Changes in the global climate that cut food production triggered one-fifth of civil conflicts between 1950 and 2004

Cyclical climatic changes double the risk of civil wars, with analysis showing that 50 of 250 conflicts between 1950 and 2004 were triggered by the El Niño cycle, according to scientists.

Researchers connected the climate phenomenon known as El Niño, which brings hot and dry conditions to tropical nations and cuts food production, to outbreaks of violence in countries from southern Sudan to Indonesia and Peru.

Solomon Hsiang, who led the research at Columbia University, New York, said: “We can speculate that a long-ago Egyptian dynasty was overthrown during a drought. This study shows a systematic pattern of global climate affecting conflict right now. We are still dependent on climate to a very large extent.”…

Mark Cane, a member of the team, said global warming would have greater climatic impacts than El Niño, making it “hard to imagine” it would not provoke conflicts. [read full report]

Put all these factors together and you have, “The Road Through 2012: Revolution [and/or] World War III.”

In summation, Ben Bernanke and the Fed’s economic central planners were clearly aware of the hostile climate and weather patterns when they engaged in QE2. The Fed’s infamous policy, as I said before, “deliberately threw gasoline all over those brush fires. QE2 was another economic napalm bomb from the global banking cartel.” They knew that they were deliberately attacking (sacrificing) tens of millions of people, but that was secondary to keeping their global Ponzi scheme going by pumping another $2.1 trillion into their fraudulent, insolvent banking system through both QE programs. This is why Ben Bernanke is guilty of crimes against humanity

Now, let’s revisit what I’ve been reporting on for the past year:

I: Centrally Planned Economic Repression

The IMF has a well-worn strategy that they use to conquer national economies. As I warned four months ago, we have now progressed into Step 3.5: World Wide IMF Riots. Back in October, in a TV interview with Max Keiser, we discussed leaked World Bank documents that revealed the IMF’s strategy. I stated the following:

“They have a four-step strategy for destroying national economies…. We are about to enter what they would call Step Three. Step Three is when you’ve looted the economy and now food and basic necessities all of a sudden become more expensive, harder to get to. And then, Step 3.5 is when you get the riots. We are fastly approaching that….

We are headed to, as the IMF said, and as they plan, Step 3.5: IMF Riots. That’s what’s coming…”

Fast-forward four months to today, and now we see country after country rebelling against high food prices. Since our October interview, food prices have spiked 15%. According to new World Bank data, since June 2010, “Rising food have pushed about 44 million people into poverty in developing countries.”

As Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke announced another round of Quantitative Easing (QE2), those of us paying attention knew that the trigger had been pulled and Step Three had been executed. It was a declaration of economic war, an economic death sentence for tens of millions of people – deliberately devaluing the dollar and sparking inflation in commodities/basic necessities. It was a vicious policy that would impact people from Boston to Cairo.

When QE2 was announced, I warned: “Food and Gas Prices Will Skyrocket, The Federal Reserve Just Dropped An Economic Nuclear Bomb On Us.” I also wrote: “The Federal Reserve is deliberately devaluing the dollar to enrich a small group of a global bankers, which will cause significant harm to the people of the United States and severe ramifications throughout the world…. The Federal Reserve’s actions are already causing the price of food and gas to increase and will cause hyperinflation on most basic necessities.”

To be clear, there are several significant factors contributing to rising food prices, such as extreme weather conditions, biofuel production and Wall Street speculation; but the Federal Reserve’s policies deliberately threw gasoline all over those brush fires. QE2 was another economic napalm bomb from the global banking cartel.

In a recent McClathy news article entitled, “Egypt’s unrest may have roots in food prices, US Fed policy,” Kevin Hall reports:

“‘The truth of the matter is that when the Federal Reserve moved on the quantitative easing, it did export inflation to a lot of these emerging markets…. There’s no doubt that one of the side effects of the weak dollar and quantitative easing has been rising commodity prices. It helped create this bullish environment for commodities. This is a very delicate balancing act.’

It’s a view shared by Ed Yardeni, a veteran financial market analyst, who reached a similar conclusion in a research note to investors…. He joked that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke should be added to a list of revolutionaries, since his quantitative easing policy, unveiled last year in Wyoming, has provoked unrest and change in the developing world.

‘Since he first indicated his support for such a revolutionary monetary change… the prices of corn, soybeans and wheat have risen 53 percent, 37 percent and 24.4 percent through Friday’s close,’ Yardeni noted. ‘The price of crude oil rose 19.8 percent over this period from $75.17 to $90.09 this (Monday) morning. Soaring food and fuel prices are compounding anger attributable to widespread unemployment in the countries currently experiencing riots.’”

The people throughout the Middle East and Northern Africa, on the fringe of the Neo-Liberal economic empire and most vulnerable to the Fed’s inflationary policies, are the first to rebel. [read full report]

The conclusion that we reach, the unfortunate reality of our current crisis: the Federal Reserve and global economic central planners have declared war on us. We are under attack.

We must remove Ben Bernanke from power and hold him and the rest of the global banking cartel accountable. We must also break up the “too big to fail” banks. This a message I, along with many others who have analyzed our economic situation, have been repeating over and over for the past three years.

Hopefully, a critical mass of people will soon understand this reality and back it up with non-violent civil disobedience before riots and violence rip our society apart. For these reasons, let’s all go to Wall Street on September 17th and show these tyrants that we’ve had enough.

Collapse Roundup: Goliath On The Ropes, Big Banks Getting Hit Hard, It’s A “Bloodbath” As Wall Street’s Crimes Blow Up In Their Face

The chickens are coming home to roost. Reality is catching up with the market riggers (Fed, ECB, PPT, CIA) and the “too big to fail” banks are getting whacked. Trillions of dollars in bailouts and legalized (FASB) accounting fraud cannot save these insolvent zombie banks any longer. The Grim Reaper is on the horizon and his sickle will do what paid off politicians won’t, cut ‘em down to size. So get your silver stake ready, time to plunge it into their vampire squid hearts…

Michele Bachmann, Wife in Chief?

If you vote for Michele Bachmann are you really voting for her husband, Marcus, the pray-away-the-gay psychologist? After all, in 2006 she said she took a degree in tax law, despite hating everything to do with taxes, because he told her to. “The Lord said, ‘Be submissive. Wives, you are to be submissive to your husbands,’” she told the crowd at a Minnesota megachurch. At the recent GOP debate in Iowa, her supporters in the audience booed when the Washington Examiner’s Byron York reminded her of this episode and asked if she would be submissive to Marcus as president. But it was a perfectly reasonable question: people have a right to know who would really be calling the shots in a Bachmann administration.

I can hear it now: “Darling, can you believe Paul Ryan wants Grover Norquist on the Supreme Court? Oh, well… If you really think so…” Nor was the question sexist, as some said. During a 2008 debate, Mike Huckabee was asked about an ad he signed supporting the Southern Baptist Convention’s doctrine that wives should “graciously submit” to their husbands. Much like Bachmann, who answered by saying she has a wonderful marriage and that “submission” means “respect,” Huckabee said it was really all about mutual love.

Let me go out on a limb here and say that Michele Bachmann is not going to become president. After all, as recently as 2007 some 30 percent of Republicans believed in evolution, so there must still be a few members of the reality-based community in there. Against much evidence, I continue to believe that the American people are not insane. But just in case I’m wrong, let me be the first to say it: only in America would the first female president be a woman who has promised to obey her man as Christ’s representative on earth—and only in America would there be a debate about whether a such a woman can be a feminist.


Naomi Wolf, for example, claims that reactionaries like Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann are the real feminists today. “The core of feminism is individual choice and freedom,” she wrote recently, “and it is these strains that are being sounded now more by the Tea Party movement than by the left.” Take that, Gloria Steinem! If it’s hard to square “individual choice and freedom” with banning abortion, as Palin and Bachmann would like (and think how big a nanny state you’d need to accomplish that!), it’s even harder to square feminism with wifely obedience to a husband as God’s mouthpiece.

Liberal Christians have various ways of reinterpreting Ephesians 5:22, which exhorts women to “submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.” They note that St. Paul also enjoins husbands to love their wives, and may not have even written the passage, and is not, as Bachmann seems to think, “the Lord.” But unfortunately, there are numerous other passages that support wifely submission: Colossians 3, Titus 2:5 and I Peter 3:1. “To love,” anyway, is not parallel with “to submit,” any more than “respect” is a synonym for “submission.” And then there is that pesky business of identifying men with Christ and women with the church, i.e., Christ’s worshipers, those lowly mortals he came to redeem from sin. I just don’t see how you can get to equality from there.

And that, for Bachmann’s hard-core supporters, may be the point. Michelle Goldberg, Sarah Posner and others have argued that Bachmann has ties to Christian dominionism, an extreme fundamentalism holding that the United States should be governed along strict and literal biblical principles. In The New Yorker, Ryan Lizza pointed out her admiration for Francis Schaeffer, another father of Christian theocratic ideology, and her promotion of J. Steven Wilkins’s biography of Robert E. Lee, which describes slavery “in the pervasively Christian society which was the old South” as a benevolent relationship of “mutual respect” (that word again!).

If the media were to take Bachmann’s religion seriously, most Americans would be repelled. (But that’s a big if, because when it comes to religion, the press tends to chuckle benevolently.) It’s one thing to say men and women play different roles in the family or that a wife should make her husband feel like he’s in charge even if he’s not. Many still hold such old-fashioned views. But extremists take it further—a lot further. There are wives who think God commands them to ask their husbands for permission to call the plumber. There are Christians who think women shouldn’t teach male students past the age of 12, run for office or even vote. “God has designed men to exercise authority in the home, in the church, in society and in government,” says Bryan Fischer, radio host and director of issues analysis at the American Family Association, an organization that believes “a culture based on biblical truth best serves the well-being of our nation and our families.” So how can Bachmann run for president? Well, sometimes, Fischer explains, if God can’t find a man, “he’ll send a woman to do a man’s job” as a last resort. (And besides, her husband told her to run, so there.)

“Wifely submission is a boundary marker,” explains Julie Ingersoll, associate professor of religious studies at the University of North Florida and an expert on Christian fundamentalism, who spoke with me by phone. In other words, it’s a quick way for true believers to identify one another. “Michele Bachmann is caught in a quandary, because if she keeps talking about submission she’ll look increasingly weird, but if she gives it up she’ll lose her base.”

To a lot of people, her submission to Marcus isn’t the only way Bachmann looks weird, so it won’t be surprising if her fans move to Rick Perry as the better bet. He has the same extreme Christian ideology—he called on Texans to pray for rain (it didn’t work), and on August 6 he hosted an American Family Association–funded prayer meeting of 30,000 at a stadium in Houston. Does he believe in wifely submission? Given his close ties to the AFA, it’s very likely, but not to worry: since he’s a man, the question of whether he’d defer to Anita on matters of state won’t come up.

JOHN NICHOLS | The Republicans' dramatic overreach in states from Wisconsin to Maine has created openings for substantial Democratic victories in unexpected territory. 

He has ‘no regrets’ about water-boarding terror suspects, told George W. Bush to bomb Syria and prepared a secret signed resignation letter.

These are just three of the explosive revelations from former U.S. vice president Dick Cheney ahead of the release of his highly-anticipated book.

Mr Cheney still insists the U.S. invasion of Iraq was the right decision and explained how he was unconscious for weeks after heart surgery last year.

The controversial politician said he still supports harsh interrogation policies used by the Bush administration after the 9/11 attacks.

Book: 'In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir' by Dick Cheney is scheduled for release next week.

‘I would strongly support using it again if circumstances arose where we had a high-value detainee and that was the only way we could get him to talk,’ he told NBC.

He also claimed that President George W. Bush rejected his advice in 2007 to bomb a suspected nuclear reactor site in Syria.

Mr Cheney said he was a ‘lone voice’ for military action against Syria and other advisers were also reluctant, reported the New York Times.

He claimed this was because of ‘bad intelligence we had received about Iraq's stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction’ before the 2003 invasion.

The Israelis ended up bombing the Syrian site later in 2007.

Mr Cheney bemoaned 'concessions delivered' to North Korea 'in the naive hope that despots would respond in kind’, reported the Drudge Report.

He also said Mr. Bush was given ‘utterly misleading’ advice - but that invading Iraq was the right decision, even considering poor intelligence.

Mr. Cheney claimed Guantanamo Bay only damages the image of the U.S. abroad because President Barack Obama 'peddles falsehoods about it.'

He also prepared and signed a secret resignation letter in 2001 shortly after taking office and kept it in a safe, in case of a possible health crisis.

Mr. Cheney, who has a long history of heart disease, said concern about health issues was one of the main reasons he kept the letter.

Only Mr. Bush and a Cheney staff member knew about the letter. 

Mr. Cheney warned his memoir is going to be highly controversial, saying: 'There are going be heads exploding all over Washington.'

Mr. Cheney said in addition that Mr. Bush should not feel betrayed by insider information he reveals in his new memoir.

'If you look at the book there are many places in it where I say some very fine things about George Bush,’ he said. ‘And believe every word of it.'

Mr. Cheney was a lightning-rod for criticism during Mr. Bush's presidency and accused of often advocating a belligerent U.S. stance in world affairs.

He also said former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was naïve and Colin Powell was right to resign after the 2004 election.

Mr. Cheney claimed Mr. Powell tried to undermine Bush ‘by criticizing administration policy to people outside the government.’

And he said former CIA Director George Tenet's decision to resign ‘when the going got tough’ in 2004 was ‘unfair to the president’.

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