Oobie's Big Book of Stuff

"… in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent…"

Posts Tagged ‘conservative

The Beliefs of a Non-Believer

leave a comment »

“An Atheist loves himself and his fellow man instead of a god. An Atheist knows that heaven is something for which we should work now – here on earth – for all men together to enjoy. An Atheist thinks that he can get no help through prayer but that he must find in himself the inner conviction and strength to meet life, to grapple with it, to subdue, and enjoy it. An Atheist thinks that only in a knowledge of himself and a knowledge of his fellow man can he find the understanding that will help to a life of fulfillment. Therefore, he seeks to know himself and his fellow man rather than to know a god. An Atheist knows that a hospital should be built instead of a church. An Atheist knows that a deed must be done instead of a prayer said. An Atheist strives for involvement in life and not escape into death. He wants disease conquered, poverty vanquished, war eliminated. He wants man to understand and love man. He wants an ethical way of life. He knows that we cannot rely on a god nor channel action into prayer nor hope for an end to troubles in the hereafter. He knows that we are our brother’s keeper and keepers of our lives; that we are responsible persons, that the job is here and the time is now.” – Madalyn O’Hair.

I am an atheist, a non-believer. To those more prone to angry terminology, I’m a heretic, a blasphemer. Those terms come not from ordinary people of faith, but from people who use their faith as a means to differentiate themselves from others, to hold themselves in higher regard than others because of their faith. Much in the same way some noted atheists often use their lack of faith  to believe that they are somehow better than the average faithful, who to them are merely delusional, misguided creatures. People are people, and no matter what they believe there are going to be those who are reasonable, and understanding of those that disagree with them, and there are going to be those that think of people that believe something else as somehow lesser beings. The average person of faith and the average atheist are both generally reasonable people, but the public perception of each is tinted by the divisive attitudes of people like Jerry Falwell and the Congressional Prayer Caucus, or Bill Maher and Richard Dawkins.

Faith is not something I often choose to talk about. I have none, and a great many people seem disturbed by that thought, so I mostly avoid it. But, lately I feel my own personal responsibility to clear the air on what being a non-believer means to me.

Religious institutions often try to paint non-believers as lacking in morals at worst, or just sad, pointless beings who think there is no meaning to life but themselves. While I can’t speak for the majority of non-believers, for myself nothing could be further from the truth.

I believe there is all the more meaning in life because of my lack of faith. I don’t believe there is any afterlife waiting for me to treat this life as little more than the entrance-exam. This is the only life I have, and it’s up to me to make the most of it, for myself, for those around me, for the future of the world in general. While people struggle with the immortal question of the purpose of life, I have a pretty good handle on the purpose of mine. I can’t imagine a greater purpose in life than to give just a little effort toward leaving this world better off for the next generation than it was when we came around.

The accusation that non-believers are lacking in morals too is absurd. It’s based in the belief that the Ten Commandments, or whatever any particular religion calls its basis of rules, were passed down from some divine being, and must be adhered to lest you provoke God’s wrath, and that anyone that doesn’t believe that has no fear of breaking those laws and thus nothing to lose by doing so. I find that belief insulting, and frankly, alarming. It suggests in the castigator a desire to do those awful things, that is only quelled by their belief that God will punish them for it.

I don’t have any desire to steal from someone, or to murder them, not because I fear repercussion from a God, or from police, but because the idea of bringing any kind of pain or suffering on someone else turns my stomach. I don’t do good things in the hope of getting a pat on the back come Judgement Day. I do good because it is right, and I stray from ill because to make someone suffer is unthinkable to me. The idea that a person must believe in a God to think that way is foolish.

I hold no animosity toward the vast majority of believers. I very much enjoy talking to my friends of faith about their faith and how they came to it, what it means to them. But those that would use their faith to cast a scornful eye on those that are different from them, in ideology or anything else, I have no patience for. To say more people have been killed in the name of God than anything else would be an understatement.

So, with that in mind, I ask that my readers of faith understand how much it insults me to read a letter several Republican members of Congress wrote to the President of the United States, chastising him for (get this) using “E Pluribus Unum” (English: Out of many, one) as our national motto, rather than “In God we trust” in a speech in India. Let me reiterate: they are angry because the president would rather quote our old motto, one of unity that perfectly encapsulates what the United States of America stands for to much of the world, with all its different types of people coming together for the common goal of their country, rather than the newer one that suggests people should mostly be united in their love for God rather than each other.

They go on to make clear, through their use of quotes by John Adams and Ronald Reagon, that they believe this country will somehow fail if we don’t go around the world professing our love for God, as if to even acknowledge that a sizeable segment of our population doesn’t believe and that it’s not the role of the government to make them is somehow a bad thing, as if to be a person without faith is a moral failing. As a non-believer, I never felt any great slight when members of the US government stood on the steps of the capitol building and sang “God Bless America”, or the litany of speeches from senators, congressmen, and presidents that ends with the same statement, but this group feels it is necessary to get angry simply because the president doesn’t mention God. Not that he doesn’t believe in God, he does, or that he actively campaigns against the teachings of God, he doesn’t, just that he doesn’t feel like he needs to talk about it. With all the things going on in the world today, how is that an issue for anyone?

I don’t do drugs because I believe to do so is a personal weakness. I’ve never cheated on a partner, because I believe to needlessly hurt someone like that is wrong. I don’t steal because I have no desire to have something I didn’t earn or have gifted to me by someone that cares. I don’t resort to violence to solve my problems, because understanding is the only way to truly solve anything, barring when violence is brought upon you. I donate what money I can spare to charities that help those less fortunate than me, and I am not a financially fortunate person. When I am capable of helping a friend or family member in need, I do because I like to. And I don’t believe in God because to do so doesn’t make sense to me, personally.

And yet, it is only that last statement that determines in the eyes of some, Michelle Bachmann, Paul Broun, Louie Gohmert, and the other 39 members of the Congressional Prayer Caucus among them, what sort of person I am.

There once was a day morality was the sole domain of religion. I believe that day is gone. It’s a shame that some are so closed-minded to think so little of people like me for such a trivial reason.

_______________________________________________________

Say WHAT?!?

So I’ve decided to start including a subsection to each piece, with different themes. This weeks subsection, “Say WHAT?!?” focuses on things someone in the media or government said that just defies all reason.

Some people like to do research about an issue before they rail against it. Others like to live on the edge.

And the first ever “Say WHAT?!?” award goes to Mike Huckabee, and it’s a two-fer.

Last month, the Huckster said President Obama likely had anti-British sentiment, which would be bad for a US president to have, because of his upbringing in Kenya, with a Kenyan father and grandfather. The first problem, of course, is that Obama wasn’t brought up in Kenya, and only ever visited the country in his 20’s.

That’s okay, though. Because, according to Huckabee, he only misspoke when he said Kenya, and actually meant Indonesia, where Obama did spend a few years of his childhood, after Kindergarten. That’s understandable. Everyone makes mistakes. I’ll even let it slide that he mentions Kenya multiple times in the interview. We’ll call it a recurring brain fart.

However, to actually believe that he accidentally said Kenya when he meant Indonesia means he also “accidentally” said the president would have anti-British feelings, when he must have actually meant he would have ill-will toward the Dutch, since it was the Dutch that had colonies in Indonesia; the British had them in Kenya. Also, he must have said Obama was raised with his Kenyan father and grandfather by accident, when what he must have actually meant was Obama never even knew his father, and only met the man on a couple of occasions. Unless, of course, he’s just suggesting that things like anti-British sentiment are just passed down through your genes. And, when he suggested the Mau Mau Rebellion, a Kenyan uprising against their British rulers, would have had a major effect on the young Obama, he must have actually meant… Well, he let’s be honest here. He meant the Mau Mau Rebellion, and when faced with his obvious inaccuracies didn’t have the spine to say he was just speaking without knowing the facts, and instead came up with a pathetic, obviously false lie. Because that’s what good leaders do, I guess.

For the second half of Huckabee’s lock on this award, he took a good, hard moral stand against someone whose really had it coming for a long time, if you ask me, and I’m glad someone is finally taking this person to task. So, clearly we’re talking about a whackjob politician, or an irresponsible member of the media, right? Nope. A tyrannical dictator in another country? Not even close. That person?

"No, Mr. Bond... I expect you to -die-!"

Natalie Portman.

That’s right. Natalie Portman, Harvard graduate, Oscar-nominated actress, and activist, is now a bad role-model for women, according to the Huckster. Why? Because she got pregnant without being married, and is apparently sending the message to women that being a single mother is cool, or something, and that’s dangerous because most women don’t have the resources Portman does to take care of a baby themselves.

First, let’s just get the obvious out of the way. Portman is a fantastic role-model for women. If you have a daughter, and she turns out like Natalie Portman, you’re going to be pretty happy, I assure you.

Second, does Huckabee really think that little of young women? What, they’re so caught up in fads and being like celebrities that they’re going to run out and get pregnant because all the cool kids are doing it? Apparently, and I know this comes as a shock to some, women are just as capable of thinking for themselves as men are. Unless, of course, you compare Natalie Portman and Mike Huckabee, in which case the ladies obviously win.

I give you Mike Huckabee, folks, whose mouth has long-since lapped his brain.

Cable Wars I – The Foxxening

leave a comment »

One of my biggest pet peeves in the world today is cable news. The perpetual-news-cycle-as-profit model is one that lends itself to blowing stories completely out of proportion just to have something to talk about. No juicy story means no reason for people to watch. If nobody’s watching, there’s no reason for advertiser’s to shell out money for commercial time. If there’s no advertising money there’s no profit. And, finally, if there’s no profit, there’s no good reason to keep running a 24-hour news network.

So, essentially, cable news networks have to spend more of their time doing everything they can to carve out an audience than they do informing their viewers. CNN made cable news big shit during the first Gulf War, when everyone was watching smart bombs fall down a chimney. Several years later, Fox News blew away the competition and showed everyone else the sort of profits that could be made in the cable news business.

And pretty much everything has suffered since then.

So I’m going to start a three-part (not necessarily consecutive) piece, taking a look at the three main cable news networks: Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN.

We’ll start with the big boys over at Fox. I’d say it’s because they’re the biggest, but it’s mostly because they’re the nuttiest and I can’t imagine how people take them seriously.

It's okay. They can take a punch.

The Players:

We’re just going to focus on a few big names over there, because if I were to write about all of them I’d need an entire book. Names like Neil Cavuto, John Gibson, Steve Doocy, Gretchen Carlson, and Michelle Malkin won’t be making the list. Neither, sadly, will Rupert Murdoch (again, deserving of an entire book in his own right). If you’re curious about any of them, or others at Fox, a little research goes a long way.

Now, onto the festivities. (A little note, first: All of the examples of lies, bias, or just plain weirdness I show here are only -some- of those that exist. Each subject could probably have a book written about them too, and some already do.)

Sean Hannity

This guy LOVES America.

Sean Hannity is a patriot, and if you don’t have the same vision of America that he does, than you’re fucking not. Sean is your prototypical ultra-conservative. He’s never taken a stand that wasn’t one-hundred percent right, and if you ever disagreed with him, you were one-hundred percent commie. Or Nazi. Or maybe you were just high at the time, or were born with fewer brain cells than the enlightened. Point being, if you weren’t on his side, you were on the wrong side of history, my friend.

Of course, Sean’s vision of America tends to blur the facts every now and again. But, hey… that’s the price for loving one’s country, right?

He likes to question people in such a way that they either have to agree that his totally skewed characteristic of their view is right, or disagree and damn whatever larger political figure Sean is linking them to with his analysis. I think he gets off on preparing for interviews, actually, and you can see that in his frustration when one doesn’t go the way he wants it to.

But, hey. Hannity cares about the lesser folks, too. He’s heavily involved with a charity called “Freedom Alliance”, so that’s a pretty swell thing, huh? Problem is, it gets a pretty mediocre rating from Charity Navigator, and awful ratings from other charity rating systems. It’s not crooked, just bad at getting money to people that need it.

He also lies about things. A lot. It’s kind of a problem. I’d say he’s working on it, but he mostly just does it more and more as he keeps getting away with it.

Glenn Beck

This is the face of Truth.

Where do you really start with this guy? Well, first I think it’s important to note that he worked for CNN before Fox, so he’s a real veteran of the cable wars. And being one of the very few high-profile fence-jumpers seems to have done strange things to Glenn’s psyche.

See, Glenn just wants people to know when someone’s out to get them. Or him. Or maybe someone’s out to get themselves. It all gets pretty tangled up when you listen to Glenn talk. Anyway, if you don’t believe me, you’re probably just a Nazi.

Or a Communist.

Or a racist.

The point is, Glenn knows these things. And he’s scared! Or angry! Or… I don’t know, fake crying! The point is, he wants you to be those things too. And if you’re not, then dammit! You’re a part of the problem! Don’t you understand? This is exactly what happened when Paul Revere tried to warn the people of this country that the British were coming, and nobody listened! Nobody! And if they had, this country would be much b-…

Oh, they did listen? Oh, right. Shit, nevermind. He’s just crazy.

Bill O’Reilly

Did you say... looooofaaaah?


Bill gets credit for being the non-idealogue of the Fox heavyweights
. There are a lot of people that like to defend him as a guy that just says what he believes instead of going along with the Republican line, as a lot of Fox does. And that much I think is probably true. However, he’s still really bad at passing information along to people, and has no problem making things up to support his point of view (which still -generally- leans to the far right).

Bill likes to shout, and he likes to be right. So, it’s not at all unusual, when a guest is pointing out ways Bill is not right, for him to start shouting them down. If those un-American bastards should continue to try to exercise their Communist-given right of free speech over his loud braying, he’s liable to cut their microphone off like any true patriot would, and then spend the next several years lying about what they very clearly said on television.

Bill’s also big on taking really big stands, and then arbitrarily declaring victory every now and again. For instance, he once called for a boycott of France. Yeah, the whole country. And later claimed that his boycott cost them “billions of dollars” according to the “Paris Business Review”, a publication that, strangely enough, doesn’t exist. Who knew? Also, the “billions of dollars” they lost actually looked strangely like a small gain in exports to the States.

Also, he’s really all that stands between the world and the vile forces that hope to bring darkness upon it. He’s a Culture Warrior, folks, and he wants you to know that. He’s going to protect the sanctity of Christmas, by making damn sure the retailers banking on the commercial end of the holiday are saying “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays”. Take that Jesus-haters! Why you guys gotta be all jealous and shit?

Here’s a little more on Bill.

The Analysts

Ann Coulter

Haters gonna hate.

Ann is the author of books with the following titles: “Slander: Liberal Lies About the American Right”, “Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism”, “How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must)”, “Godless: The Church of Liberalism”, “If Democrats Had Any Brains, They’d Be Republicans”, “Guilty: Liberal “Victims” and Their Assault on America”.

If you couldn’t gather it from those really terribly vague titles, Ann is not a fan of liberals. Also, the titles of the first two books make very clear that she has a non-existent sense of irony.

So, Ann is basically a smear-merchant. The way she makes her living is by selling books to closed-minded, bigoted people who hate those with progressive ideologies, and just want to read about someone else hating them too. And those titles make very clear that she understands that perfectly, and is absolutely alright with making her living by helping to breed hate.

Fun fact: Ann Coulter once suggestively called John Edwards a “faggot” at the Conservative Political Action Conference, and that’s barely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to fun things she’s said. However, to the best of my knowledge, she has never taken part in any felonious activities with rogue nations.

Oliver North

... on the other hand.

If the name Oliver North sounds familiar to you, than you either know exactly who he is, or you’re older than I am and it just sort of rings a bell. If you don’t already know who he is, allow me the pleasure.

See, Ollie made a nice little name for himself in the late 80‘s as a colonel in the Marine Corps. Good stuff for Fox, right? Military officers -definitely- lend credibility.

Except there’s a little snag with this one. Turns out, Ollie was involved in selling a whole lot of weapons to Iran, who we weren’t supposed to be selling weapons to at the time. But industrious Ollie didn’t stop there; selling weapons to one rogue nation wasn’t enough.

See, then Ollie came up with a new part of this plan: he gave that money from Iran to rebel groups in Nicaragua. Granted, these groups were fighting against a communist regime, and it’s not a big secret that then-president Reagan was sympathetic toward these groups, but there’s yet another problem for Ollie. As it happened, there was a little legislative amendment that prohibited the US from helping these groups overthrow their government.

Whoops.

North was convicted of three felonies in the investigation, but the convictions were dropped as part of the pre-trial immunity he was granted, since the investigators were mostly trying to tie the whole thing to Reagan.

So, we’ve got a confirmed war criminal and someone that makes their living off hate-speech. Nice. All we’re missing now is someone with a debilitating perversion, and we’ll be all set.

Dick Morris

Ask and ye shall receive.

Dick Morris (which sets us right up for the perv jokes) was a political adviser to President Clinton. Now he spends most of his appearances on Fox deriding Bill and, even moreso, Hillary Clinton. Pretty big jump in ideology. Of course, whenever the likes of O’Reilly and Hannity have him on to bash the Clintons for no particular reason, they like to introduce him as “a former Clinton adviser”.

What they don’t introduce him as is “the former Clinton adviser who got fired because he let a prostitute listen in on conversations with the president, read drafts of speeches for the president and vice president, and also paid her to let him lick her feet”. But that would be a little more accurate.

Now Fox pays him to go on television and regularly bash the Clintons, even when they aren’t particularly newsworthy. They really know how to pick ‘em.

In closing, wow. That’s it. Just wow. There are no words to sum this up.
Examples of Fox News Bias (From an admitted liberal… and kinda boring guy, who doesn’t really seem to understand what “But I want to know what you think” means, since he always asks loaded questions after saying so. BUT! He’s usually on the ball.)