1. Mitt Romney is worth $250 million. 2. He got rich by laying off American workers. 3. He pays a lower tax rate than you and the rest of the middle class. 4. He wants to be president so he can keep it this way.
“In sum: the President can kill whomever he wants anywhere in the world (including U.S. citizens) without a shred of check or oversight, and has massively escalated these killings since taking office (at the time of Obama’s inauguration, the U.S. used drone attacks in only one country (Pakistan); under Obama, these attacks have occurred in at least six Muslim countries). Because it’s a Democrat (rather than big, bad George W. Bush) doing this, virtually no members of that Party utter a peep of objection (a few are willing to express only the most tepid, abstract “concerns” about the possibility of future abuse). And even though these systematic, covert killings are widely known and discussed in newspapers all over the world — particularly in the places where they continue to extinguish the lives of innocent people by the dozens, including children — Obama designates even the existence of the program a secret, which means our democratic representatives and all of official Washington are barred by the force of law from commenting on it or even acknowledging that a CIA drone program exists (a prohibition enforced by an administration that has prosecuted leaks it dislikes more harshly than any other prior administration).”—Glenn Greenwald (via soupsoup)
The death of Kim Jong-il has led to renewed fears that the world may have reached Peak Tyranny, the point at which the maximum rate of global despotism has been reached. After that point, oppression enters a phase of terminal decline in which production of new abuses is unlikely to keep pace with the world’s demand. [Read More …]
Don’t worry; NDAA an SOPA will keep the decline in check.
First, I don’t really believe there are true atheists. As Paul Tillich well pointed out, everyone has an ultimate concern and the object of their ultimate concern is their god. He called secular humanism as quasi-religion and the U.S. Supreme Court picked up on that and used it in a ruling about religion in the public square.
Second, every atheist I have ever read or met does not reject the God I believe in and worship and serve. The ones I know are rejecting an idol (and, of course, replacing it with one of their own making)–e.g., the God of the gaps, the deus ex machina of bare theism or the all determining reality of Calvinism.
Third, atheists do Christians a service by making us pay attention to what we believe and why. If it were not for atheists, there would not be the amazing renaissance of Christian philosophy that Alvin Plantinga rightly points to in his New York Times interview. We probably wouldn’t have the likes of Plantinga, Keith Ward, Richard Swineburne, et al.
Fourth, atheists do Christians a service IF they force us to purify our theism of elements foreign to Christianity. Is our “God” too often a projection of our ourselves or ideal selves into the heavens? Is our “God” too often a mere object, a prop to support our cultural values? Is our “God” too often a mere explanation for what we cannot yet explain so that he gradually disappears as science fills in those gaps?
Several modern and contemporary theologians have identified atheists as allies of true Christianity in its battle against “religion.” Barth praised Feuerbach for helping Christianity overcome its captivity to culture religion; he found Feuerbach an ally in his attempt to promote a non-religious Christianity that tried to correct the German tendency (and probably human and even American tendency!) to identify God with the cultural ideal. Bonhoeffer, of course, wrote about “religionless Christianity” in Letters and Papers from Prison. Jurgen Moltmann was stimulated by atheist philosopher Ernst Bloch to say that only a Christian can be a good atheist. Now, Peter Rollins (in his most recent book Insurrection) is promoting a form of Christian atheism–one that denies and rejects a bland theism that treats God as an object–as the explanation for things or the support for our own interests.
Fifth, having said all that, I do think that belief in a god, the sole supreme being, the creator and moral governor of the universe, is more rationally satisfying than its denial. I think Mortimer Adler’s wonderful little book How to Think about God is a good example of how that can be demonstrated. Hans Kung’s book Does God Exist? is compelling. Adler uses a form of the cosmological argument to show that without belief in god there is no explanation for the universe. Kung uses a form of the moral argument to show that without belief in god there is no escape from nihilism. These arguments have value when believers in a deity (theists) are up against aggressive atheism (e.g., in some secular schools).
However, I think that far too many Christians especially in the Western world tend to think of God along the lines of what Christian Smith calls “therapeutic, moralistic deism” and/or tend to think of God as the prop, the support for their own happiness and personal fulfillment. Rollins is right that atheism can be a kind of therapy for those idolatries.
As an atheist, I feel like responding. Call me confrontational.
There are no ‘true’ atheists? Hi there, no true Scotsman fallacy. Anyway, if ones ultimate concern is not that which can or is worshipped, can it be said to be theistic? My ultimate concern is the continuation of the human species. My penultimate concern is exploration and understanding of the physical world. Do I worship these things? Are they my god? Maybe a Christian would think that I idolacize. But I do not worships them. I do not pray to these ideals when I want something to go my way. I do not give thanks to them when they do go my way (I thank the human ingenuity and skill that skewed things my way).
I reject all gods. I reject that belief in an ethereal - and ultimately uncaring - made up creator and influencer is in fact unreal and unworthy of my praise and worship.
Not sure about the new wave of Christian philosophy- I haven’t read it. But I’m glad we’re making you question your belief system.
Good. Because while some of the philosophy espoused by christ is certainly fine. He had some good ideas. But the evils your religion persecutes on everyone else… Maybe it’s time to let that go, yeah? Got no qualms with anyone worshipping whichever cloud or rock or imaginary friend you feel like… Just don’t be a bigot.
God is more rationally Satisfying than denial? Is the anything rational about god and the belief therein whatsoever? Seriously, would love to hear some rational arguments for any supreme being. There is something rationally satisfying for understanding that we do not understand one iota of how our universe works. Something satisfying about realizing we are one of billions of planets per galaxy. Something satisfying about being in orbit in concert with a billion other planets and suns - and then realizing our galaxy is only one in billions of others, strewn across space along the filaments of dark matter that influences the fundamental structure of our universe. None of this requires a god to realize, a god to be in awe of. It only requires that you put your own petty belief system on hold - and behold the wonders above.
Newt Gingrich’s recent utterances about poor children–they “have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works”–reflect not only the inability of conservatives to talk seriously about poverty, but a mean-spiritedness that, unfortunately, largely eludes public scrutiny.
Apparently, Gingrich and the approving Iowa crowd have never heard of “the working poor”–folks stuck in low-wage jobs (often more than one), but still unable to escape poverty. Based on the crowd’s reaction, Gingrich’s November 28 speech achieved a key objective. Conservatives enjoy being told that poverty is caused by the bad behavior of its victims, a belief famously reaffirmed by Herman Cain (“If you’re poor, blame yourself!”). It is always easier to blame victims than to contemplate real solutions.
Gingrich’s views rest on the belief that single mothers in public housing are bad role models for hard work. But according to Andrea Levere, president of the Corporation for Enterprise Development, a nonprofit that helps poor families build wealth, most poor children are raised in families with a working adult. In an interview with NPR’s Pam Fessle, Levere observed, “many of these families work two jobs and three jobs.” And Fessler noted that in public housing, “about half of non-elderly, non-disabled households get most of their income from wages.”
Many poor people who cannot get public housing still try to get work. The National Coalition for the Homeless reports that approximately 19 percent of homeless shelter residents have a job.
Gingrich’s false and primitive protestations about the poor were distinguished by what he left out. The GOP’s newest presidential frontrunner failed to mention the constellation of forces that conspire to marginalize and degrade poor communities–including policies he and his party have long championed.
For decades, urban communities have endured massive job flight and the advent of a low-wage business model enforced by aggressive anti-union strategies – both of which are abetted by conservative economic policy. But this history is too inconvenient, even for a self-promoting student of history such as Newt Gingrich.
“Last year, Americans spent $450 billion on Christmas. Clean water for the whole world, including every poor person on the planet would cost about $20 billion. Let’s just call that what it is: A material blasphemy of the Christmas season.”—Jim Wallis (via azspot)
“The Bill of rights was ratified 220 years ago, on December 15, 1791. It is shameful that today, in the United States, we are forced to come together in defense of the Bill of Rights and our civil liberties, as the representatives of the 1% who rule this country continue to take our rights away.”—OccupyWallSt.org (via wilwheaton)
“Debt is the most effective way to take a relation of violent subordination and make the victims feel that it’s their fault. Colonial regimes did this all the time; they would charge people for the cost of their own conquest, via taxes. However, using debt in this way also has a notorious tendency to rebound, because the subtle thing about debt relations is that, on a certain level, they are premised on equality—we are both equal parties to a contract. This both makes the sting of inequality worse, because it implies you should be equal to your creditor but you somehow messed up, but also, makes it possible to start saying ‘wait a minute, who owes what to who here?’ But of course once you do that, you have accepted the idea that debt really is the essence of morality. You’ve accepted the masters’ language.”—David Graeber (via azspot)
As information becomes more digital, public libraries are striving to redefine their roles. A small number are working to create “hackerspaces,” where do-it-yourselfers share sophisticated tools and their expertise.
36 hours per week? You’re lucky! I can’t even tell what my local library’s working hours are right now, because they’re closed from Dec 2 to Jan 9. If I remember correctly, it was something like 1PM-5PM mon-friday, closed weekends. So, yeah, 20 hours a week.
tl;dr: The library at Devoe & Leonard in Brooklyn is never open.
“Since 1972 when Nixon went off the gold standard, the world reserve currency has been the US dollar, but what ultimately backs the US dollar? People say nothing, it’s ‘fiat money’ but I don’t think this is true. It’s a credit system based on the circulation of debt. Of course the US has the enormous advantage of being able to write checks that are never actually cashed: US treasury bonds have become the basic reserve currency for the central banks and as Michael Hudson originally pointed out, most of these American treasury bonds are never really cashed in. They’re rolled over year after year to buy new ones, and these holders are taking a loss on them as they pay interest lower than inflation. So why are they doing that? Well, if you look at the size of US deficit it corresponds almost exactly to the real saw military budget. If you look at graphs showing the growth of the US deficit, and the percentage of it held overseas, and the US military spending—basically, you see almost exactly the same curve. So basically, foreign governments and institutional lenders are buying US treasury bonds and paying for this enormous military spending. So, who are the guys doing it? Well during the cold war it was especially West Germany, now, apart from China, the most important are places like Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, the Gulf states. What do these states have in common? They’re all covered in US military bases, or under US military protection. The US is borrowing the money to create these military bases from the very countries that the US military is sitting on top of. In the past, such arrangements were called ‘empires’ and the money sent over was referred to as ‘tribute.’ Now apparently your not allowed to use that language, so it’s called a ‘loan.’ Nonetheless, that link between the military and the core of the financial system remains, it’s the thing we’re not supposed to think about.”—David Graeber (via azspot)
“The most depressing thing about this, though, is what the response to this declaration will be. In a sane universe, it would be an IMMEDIATE cessation of all fracking activity around the nation. Stop. NO MAS. Halt. You simply can not replace poisoned water. So stop until we figure out how to do this safely. We don’t live in a sane universe, so what will happen is the Republicans And Blue Dogs from energy states will double down on the calls to disband the EPA, energy lobbyists will triple, and the energy industry will keep on a drilling and putting out more and better commercials telling you that toxic sludge is good for you.”—