Memo to GOP: Patriotism Isn’t Tied to One’s Religious Beliefs July 26, 2012

Memo to GOP: Patriotism Isn’t Tied to One’s Religious Beliefs

A number of atheists groups (as well as religious ones) have sent a letter to five Republican members of Congress after they denigrated individuals and groups for their dubious or non-existent ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

We may not support government endorsement of religion but we also don’t believe a person’s faith should disqualify them from public service — certainly not for discredited reasons like these.

Text of the letter is below and you can see the PDF here:

Dear Rep. [Bachmann], Rep. Franks, Rep. Gohmert, Rep. Rooney and Rep. Westmoreland:

The 42 undersigned religious, secular, interfaith, advocacy, legal and community organizations are united by our work to protect religious freedom for all. As such, we write to raise our voices in protest of your recent letters regarding prominent American Muslim individuals and organizations.

These letters question the loyalty of faithful Americans based on nothing more than their religious affiliations and what is at best tenuous evidence of their associations. As such, your actions have serious implications for religious freedom and the health of our democracy.

In your open letters to the inspectors general of the Departments of State, Homeland Security, Defense, and Justice, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, you call for an investigation into individuals and organizations that you claim may have ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. The basis for these claims comes primarily from reports by the Center for Security Policy, known for its consistently anti-Muslim agenda.

Those you accuse — including Ms. Huma Abedin and leaders of the Islamic Society of North America, the Muslim Public Affairs Council, and Muslim Advocates — have long-standing histories of positive and committed work to strengthen the United States of America.

Furthermore, we take offense to the implications of your actions for the American Muslim community as a whole, as you give momentum to “guilt by association” accusations and betray our foundational religious freedoms.

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) spoke well of the vision of America jeopardized by your approach when he said: “When anyone, not least a member of Congress, launches specious and degrading attacks against fellow Americans on the basis of nothing more than fear of who they are and ignorance of what they stand for, it defames the spirit of our nation, and we all grow poorer because of it.” More recently, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) provided a much-needed reminder about what religious freedom means in the United States: “… the First Amendment prohibits the government from making a distinction between what is a ‘good religion’ and what is a ‘bad religion.’”

Far from supporting the safety of our country, these accusations distract us from examining legitimate threats using proven, evidence-based security strategies. Moreover, we know all too well the danger of casting suspicion on loyal and innocent Americans simply because they hold particular beliefs. We will not stand idly by and allow our country to revive federal investigations into innocent individuals based on their religious adherence. We will continue to speak out in support of people of all faiths and no faith, and the religious freedom of all Americans to practice — or choose not to practice — a religion without fear of criticism or suspicion.

Signers of the letter include members of the Secular Coalition for America (American Atheists, American Humanist Association, Atheist Alliance of America, Camp Quest, Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers, Secular Student Alliance, and the Society for Humanistic Judaism), the American Civil Liberties Union, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Center for Inquiry, and the Interfaith Alliance.

“Our founders knew that the separation of religion and government was the best guarantee of freedom for all Americans — including religious and non-religious Americans — precisely for reasons such as this,” said Chris Lombardi, Secular Coalition Government Relations Manager.

“When an elected official uses his or her religion as a benchmark for patriotism, that immediately relegates other faiths — and those who practice no religion — to a second class status,” said Lauren Anderson Youngblood, Communications Manager.

What a perfect example of interfaith cooperation we should all be able to get behind, not standing for attacks on honorable Muslim-Americans.

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  • Ray

    I hate to tell you this but we have so much work that we need to do as atheists just to get along with each other.  being conservative and an atheist I find that political bias runs rampant in the atheist anti-theist secular crowd.  until we can come together we will stand still.

  • Regrettably, at least some of the folks this is directed towards appear functionally illiterate. Perhaps the message could be recorded and sent to them on discs?

  • Wrapped in the Flag and carrying the cross indeed… [misattributed to Sinclair Lewis]

    When the word “patriot” falls from the lips of the Religious Right, what they actually mean is “A White, Jesus-fearing Christian man who demands the obedience of Women, the servitude of Coloreds, the incarceration of Gays and the Right to carry Large belt-fed Weapons into Righteous Battles against the Other who are sitting on top of Our Oil. Amen.”

    And silly ol’ me thinking that it simply meant “A person who feels devotion to their country.”

  • “Devotion” is not the word I’d use!

    Patriotism means feeling a responsibility towards your country, a desire to support and improve it.

  • Ken

    Hard to respond to this one.  I suppose the biggest hurdle is that most of the looniness about religion comes from Conservatives.  Tell us how to separate Conservatives from their religious pandering and I’ll agree with your position wholeheartedly.  And yes, liberals pander, too — but significantly less to the lunatic fringe.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Don’t take this as an attack. I don’t mean it that way.

    When you claim that you’re a conservative, you’re aligning yourself with the side that has widely shown low IQ, no respect for anyone other than white, rich heterosexual Christian males, a complete willingness to trample on the rights of anyone they dislike, bigotry, a complete disregard for the truth, no respect for the law…The list stretches. 

    All of these are well documented.

    You’re choosing to ally yourself with this. People are going to call you out on it. And frankly, none of those things are worth “coming together” with. They’re all bad. They all need to be attacked.

    Maybe if you simply said “I agree with X policies of the conservative side” instead of saying “I basically agree with everything” by simply announcing that you’re a conservative?

  • According to an overwhelming majority of our Congress

    Whereas if religion and morality are taken out of the marketplace of ideas, the very freedom on which the United States was founded cannot be secured;

  • Ray

    what is the difference in my beliefs aline with and i am? I am not alining myself you are being a bigot.  I have been an atheist for 29 years.  I will not apologize for my political beliefs and politics have no place in religion.  I realize that the party hates me for what I am.  so does your party.  does not make my lack of belief any less valid than yours.  You just cannot see past your prejudice to see me for the individual that I am.  The fact that 90% of atheist would agree with you does not make you all right either.  I am sick of the double standard and it needs to be attacked.

  • Ray

    You are absolutely right ken.  I know my party are a big part of what is wrong but I also need to vote for a party that promotes my class affiliation and things of that nature.  all people have to.  I can’t stand so much about the liberals but I can keep it to myself because I would rather see a liberal without religion than one with.  Maybe if the liberals could drop their stereotypes and feel the same way… we could advance.

  • MsWool

    nice, but the people that this letter is directed to don’t give two shits about what people like us think. They only care about whipping their base into a froth so they can keep control of their own little fiefdoms.

  • Isilzha

    “promotes my class affiliation and things of that nature”–well, there’s your problem right there.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Wait, how am I being a bigot? I went out of my way to state that I was NOT making a comment on you personally, I was describing how people see Conservatives.

    And, yes. If you claim to be part of a group, you are aligning yourself with that group. That’s the definition of the word. 

    I never attacked you. I never said anything about your views not being valid. You complained about being attacked for announcing that you’re a conservative. I pointed out why and offered a suggestion. Victim mentality much? If you agree with the positions that people find offensive in the Conservative party, then…Well, I’m sorry, but ANYONE who supports lying, breaking laws and treating people as subhuman due to how they are deserves to be attacked. 

  • “promotes my class affiliation”

    What does that even mean?

  • “You just cannot see past your prejudice”

    You’ve self-identified as a conservative within the meaning of US politics, and talked about your ‘party’. One can only assume, unless otherwise stated, that you mean the Republicans. Which part(s) of the Republican platform do you agree with exactly?

  • 3lemenope

    Not to be the turd in the punch bowl or anything, but they might actually be right about that.

    Morality is something of a gimme; there does need to be some sense of morality and moral rules batting about the “marketplace of ideas” for something like ‘freedom’ to be a sensible concept; morality is all about valuation, and if freedom is something that we value, then morality as a class of ideas speaks to it, even if obliquely. So that’s one that they’re just flat-out right about.

    Religion is trickier, but I would definitely say as a historical matter that the idea of a radically free person, able to make choices and take ultimate responsibility for choices, is an idea that has its roots in Cartesian dualism which in turn was heavily indebted to medieval anti-nominalist views of human nature, all of which are religiously derived. The particular American flavor of the ideas referred to as foundational often have a distinctly religious pedigree. I think an argument could be made (not that I necessarily agree with it, but it is colorable),  that in order for those forms of those ideas to continue to be sensible, the religions that underwrote their current form must continue to be included in the “marketplace of ideas” if only as a historical perspective, if not as a lived experience.

    For example, legal responsibility is heavily predicated upon the idea that a person can be solely responsible for their acts, certainly a notion that is reinforced by religious moral systems and assumptions of spiritual responsibility that those systems tend to assign. Now, as we learn more about the brain in action, we know now that much of what we in the past would have called willed actions are actually instinctual, or habituated, or autonomous, and have at best a tangential correspondence with the contents of the conscious mind. That discovery is a great one for neurology, but rather more of a mixed blessing when it comes to applying those findings in the practical sphere. If our systems of law and values are predicated upon an actual free-will that doesn’t exist (or at best exists in an attenuated form), what does happen to our concepts of freedom, justice, liberty, etc. ?

  • johnee

    Well Ray, I think the problem is that a lot of  self identified conservatives  today are  very social and religious fundie oriented.  Baby_Raptor  is  probably pointing to what he sees as a contradiction… namely how can one  believe in “intelligent design”, birtherism, denying gays equal rights, revisionist history,  general all around intolerance for anything different,  and still be a rational atheist?

    Is this a stereotype? You bet! However, it’s a stereotype that is perpetuated by a lot of so-called conservatives.  Let’s face it,  the  conservative movement has has been hijacked by the above mentioned whack jobs.

    Now, you may say “that’s not me” and that’s perfectly OK.  The old Barry Goldwater conservative model has some really admirable stuff to it. Unfortunately, as long as  the fruitcakes are framing the argument, you may continue to be put in a defensive position until you clarify what kind of conservative you are.  

  • brianmacker

    Memo to Hemant: The Muslim Brotherhood is not a religion. Nor is Michelle Bachmann “The GOP”.

    Read the article and you’ll understand that the GOP is on both sides of this issue. Search for McCain if you aren’t going to read the article. I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt that you didn’t read it, because it was totally unresponsive to the Muslim Brotherhood issue.

    From the article: “In particular they said that Huma Abedin, deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, ‘has three family members—her late father, her mother, and her brother—connected to Muslim Brotherhood operatives and/or organizations. Her position provides her with routine access to the Secretary and to policy-making.’ ”

    The article gives all sorts of credentials on these people but never addresses the truth value of that statement. Lots of terrorist and their supporters have been doctors Plus it drags in all sorts of red herrings and throw shit against the wall to see if any sticks. The author isn’t exactly unbiased either. The problem is that there has been terrorist and Muslim extremist influence on both the Bush and Obama administrations. They’ve had terrorist supporters as advisors for example. Quite a few scandals like that.

    The problem here isn’t questioning someone’s religion but assuming that just because you are related to someone you share their political and religious views.

    BTW, you are willing to tar all Republicans here, yet can’t seem to click with the fact that if true her families connection with the Muslim Brotherhood would reflect badly on them. The Muslim Brotherhood is not exactly gay, infidel, or non-Muslim friendly. They are a supremacist, terror supporting, anti-gay, antisemitic, and advocate jihad. Sure they do charity work but so did Mohammad as he slaughtered the Jews, and the North Koreans as they turned their country into a prison camp.

    Criticizing someone for supporting the MB is no more attacking them for their religion than criticizing them for supporting Al Qaeda. Point out where they said she should be and advisor merely for being Muslim. I didn’t see anything in the article.

  • brianmacker

    I hate to tell you this but if you label yourself with just about any widely used political label you are associating yourself with morons, racists, haters, irrationalists, etc. Same goes for religion with Islam being one of the worst examples of intolerance and backward thinking. Ironic you would make this argument for this article, don’t you think.

  • Baby_Raptor

    I don’t understand what you’re saying. I didn’t encourage him to change political sides. I never claimed that the Left doesn’t have problems. All I said was that if he didn’t want to be attacked for the general perception of Conservatives as it is, maybe he should be a bit clearer on where he stands. Assuming he doesn’t buy into it wholesale. 

  • johnee

    Yeah.  Not completely sure but I would take that as meaning economic.  So… I guess he’s saying he’s upper income?

  • brianmacker

    My point wasn’t that you were asking him to change sides. Your statement showed approval for guilt by association.

    So you’d be fine with someone assuming you are a bomb throwing communist sympathizing homosexual race card pulling jobless moron just because you self identify as a Democrat? Would you give Democrats the advice that they should not self identify as such unless the want the most intolerant of their opposition to assume stupid stuff about them?

    Both parties are big tent and thus have a broad variety of viewpoints. Libertarians are small tent and they can’t even agree on many topics. The Democrats are right on some positions and horribly wrong on others, and vice versa with the Republicans. From my perspective and what I find important there isn’t a dimes worth of difference between them. Yet, when someone self identifies as a Republican, Conservative, Democrat, or Liberal I don’t just pigeon
    hole them.

    To point out a subject deep in the heart of this blog. There are anti-gays in both parties for example. My wife’s grandmother was a staunch Democrat and also anti-evolution and anti-science.

  • brianmacker

    You were describing how bigots see conservatives, and telling him that if he didn’t want unwarranted abuse then he should hide his associations. Like telling a gay if he doesn’t want to get beat up he shouldn’t hold hands.

  • brianmacker

    Not really. The communist in many countries have gone after certain classes and cultures and if you were a member of those classes and cultures you’d be a fool to join their party.

  • brianmacker

    So by your logic you must be a truther who wants to shit in public parks and kill the rich. I mean really. You are holding yourself up as some kind of paragon compared to the fringe nuts of the Republican party? The sad fact is that many atheists came to it not because they are rational but for a whole host of illegitimate reasons. North Korea is full of them, there’s Wiccans, and so on. You are not inspiring me with your train of thought here. Plus the kinds of atheists that go on about this stuff are generally closed minded and ignorant about a whole host of other issues, schools of thought, history, etc.

  • brianmacker

    Kinda hard to get behind morons like our president who think just because you went to school that means you didn’t achieve what you in fact did, but that someone else did it. Hey stupid, yeah, you, Obama, you aren’t the first black president, no Bill Ayers did that. Also, stupid, everybody goes to school so how come only a fraction bother to save money to risk on a business and then succeed at it?

    No this shit isn’t “out of context”, and in context it is worse. It is the worse kind of rationalization for stealing other people’s stuff. Marx would be proud.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Actually, I was wrong. I assumed he was one of the  type that agrees with Conservatives on a few key things, but for the most part is dissatisfied with the party in general. Hence my advice to say “I agree with them on X” instead of just “I am a conservative.”

    His attitude in the rest of the thread proved me wrong. So, I apologize for that. 

    Either way, I see you’re tossing your hat in with him. So, I guess keep making yourselves feel important by playing the victim of the evil bigots? Nevermind that you probably wouldn’t know actual bigotry if it bit you in the ass…Liberals aren’t out there openly advocating for the deaths of everypony who disagrees with them, or things of that nature. There’s a huge difference between hating somepony’s actions and systematically oppressing someone based on how they were born. But, hey. Whatever helps you sleep at night. 

  • brianmacker

    Name just one conservative that has advocated killing everyone who disagrees with them. That statement was bigoted as is your assumption about my ability to recognize bigotry. I can’t name any liberals who wish to kill “everyone” who disagrees with them but when you loosen your criteria to fit some conservatives I’m sure it will fit certain liberals. We had some liberal idiot in the comments here just the other day wishing a meteor would descend on the Mormons and wipe them all out. Wishing for genocide. Then there was and is a whole host of liberal terrorists who advocate nasty stuff and nasty behavior, and even do it. Look up Brett Kimberlin as just one example. Look up the OWS bomb plot. Look up various attempts by liberals to get people fired for disagreeing with them. Brett was successful in this. Look up swatting. Look up the rhetoric of the liberals in OWS crowd. Look up that liberal who advocated “letting” people’s houses burn down for doubting global warming. I’ve just scratched the surface.

    There is also plenty of rhetoric coming out of liberals that would put Hitler to shame. Republicans accused of wanting to destroy the earth is little different than what you’d read in the Protocols of Zion, or some propaganda from the Nazis. Jews, no,Republicans are greedy. Etc.

  • brianmacker

    “There’s a huge difference between hating somepony’s actions and systematically oppressing someone based on how they were born. ”

    You don’t even know what a bigot is, do you? It’s obvious from your comment.

  • phantomreader42

    The GOP is well-known for making shit up and falsely accusing innocent people of supporting terrorism. Objecting to libel does not require pretending it’s true. It’s up to the known frauds making the accusations to support them with something other than the voices in Bachman’s head.

  • coreypaul

    id like to know what each congress person’s response was, that would be very interesting and telling.

  • johnee

    Yes some people are atheists for “illegitimate” reasons. That is why the word rational comes before atheist in my post. Oh, and Wiccans are not atheists

    I’m really trying to figure out why you had a problem what I said. Clearly,  I didn’t stereotype Ray and I pointed out that this perception exists in large part because it’s perpetuated by many other conservatives.

    I made two major points:

    1) The conservative movement has been hijacked by whack jobs

    2) These whack jobs are framing the argument

    Are you denying that these statements are true? Sorry, but you are in denial if you simply dismiss them as “fringe nuts”  Unfortunately, they are a huge voting bloc and are a big part of the base of the Republican party.

    To prove my point… aren’t Beck,  Rush and Ann Coulter considered conservative heroes? I’ve listened to these folks a lot over the years and they  all pander and cater to the anti-evolution/ we are a christian nation crowd.  Both Coulter and Rush endorse “intelligent design” and have made incredibly stupid  statements about evolutionary theory.  Beck, along with Rush and Coulter sign on and push out right lies and revisionist history about the founding of our country. These folks are hugely popular among self-identified conservatives and give the marching orders ( especially in the case of Rush) to  their troops.

    Pointing out that some on the left are idiots is meaningless.  Hell, all one has to do is tune into Bill Maher’s show on a regular basis to see and hear some fool make irrational and idiotic statements.  But this doesn’t change the fact that the old Barry Goldwater conservatives have been over shadowed by the loonies.  

  •  I agree. There is an assumption that if we just reason enough with people like this, that they will eventually open their eyes, see the error of their ways and come around.
    It’s not going to happen. Nothing short of public humiliation or some sort of force will get assholes like these to back down or go away.

  • johnee

     ??? Who wants to steal people’s stuff? I am by no means an Obama apologist but I read the entire statement and it was taken out of context. Obama was talking about roads and infrastructure.  Not some Marxist I wanna take all  your shit and give it to the poor speech.

  • Hm, so “marketplace of ideas” isn’t “daily life”.  It could be DOS for Dummies that we keep on the shelf for historical reasons, not that we necessarily have any use for.  I would buy that, except for the tying of the two.  It wasn’t “morality from society and religion from the marketplace of ideas”.  I think it’s a plain example of religious privilege, simply assuming that morality requires religion.  I mean, how else would we be moral if we weren’t told what and what not to do by God?  And faith is a virtue and Bob’s your uncle.

    The only politician I got an answer from was my own Congressman, and he ignored the whole morality part and simply stated that it recognizes that rights come from God not government.

    It also occurred to me that you could focus on the ‘removed’, and I would agree that actively and forcefully removing religion from society (or the marketplace) e.g. Soviet Union would not lead to a free society.  I don’t think that interpretation occurred to them either though.

    I’ve asked a number of elected officials point blank: “is religion a requirement for or guarantee of morality”  None have answered yet.

  • 3lemenope

    I think that you’re right, insofar as linking the two directly (which they seem to want to do by implication) would be illegitimate. It is true that morality is essential for breathing life into concepts like “freedom” and significant dimensions of that concept (and others) were derived from religious sources, but it is not the case that “religious morality” is in any way responsible for its existence or continuity.

    The problem with the statement is it can be read to be innocuous, or even as a very good point (in the case you point out of an attempt to forcibly remove religion, such as it is, from the public conversation such as in the former USSR), but they’re hoping that because those interpretations are plausible, it will give cover to the implication they wish to advance: that religion itself and its moral systems continue to nourish freedom in America. That’s an argument that is hard to support.

  • brianmacker

    I distinguish between separate groups and individuals. The individual Democrats lie, and individual Democrat organizations officially make statements that are false. That doesn’t mean that the Democrat party did until the make their own official statement. For example some idiot Democrat recently claimed that Mitt Romney was a felon.

    In this case, it turns out that her family are members of the Muslim Brotherhood and its satellite organizations, that she herself was editor and board member of one of these spinoffs, and that the state department has been giving unprecedented access to the Muslim brotherhood with her in place. So there is cause for concern, and nit merely because she is Muslim or related to someone. It is a lie to say this is a six degrees of separation charge as some democrats have said. Her involvement is more direct. An investigation can’t hurt here.

    Also the problem with McCarthyism wasn’t that they were trying to root out communists. It was that they were doing it in ways which would tend to net innocent. For example giving someone a break if they fingered someone, anyone.

  • phantomreader42

     The problem with McCarthyism is that they were using hearsay, coerced fake confessions, guilt by association, and just outright making shit up.   McCarthy was an enemy of the Constitution, and an enemy of America.  And today’s Republican cult worships him, because they are delusional traitors.

  • brianmacker

    So if you are an atheist you’d apply the same standard to yourself? My problem is that I can deduce that you would hate to live up to that standard. The largest segment of atheist population are communists, and not voluntarist communists like the Hutterites, but the Marxist kind that wants to eliminate private property for everyone. It’s part of Marxist dogma so it’s not something one can object to being assumed to be for when they say, “I’m a Marxist”. They absence of property rights (the theft of all property by the government) naturally leads to things like mass starvation. Of course, most people don’t appreciate having their stuff stolen so it also leads to unnecessary conflict and deaths. Marxism has lead to approximately 100 million murders, so it leads even Nazism and Islamism in the total death toll due to it’s teachings.

    Now Marxist communists are atheists, and they spew all sorts of nonsense all the time, and are in fact guilty of supporting policies know to cause economic destruction and death. So would you say that the stereotype that all atheists are commies is justify. Lots of atheist organizations are “hijacked” by communists if we use your criteria. Lots of members spew communist (Marxist type) doctrine.

    Personally I when someone assumes I’m a communist because I am a atheist. I just say, “Don’t stereotype. Not all atheists are communists.”. I have no obligation to disavow the behavior of any other atheist. So when a Republican states they are an atheist that is a big clue to you that they don’t need to disavow Creationism. My problem with your comment was it assumed that stereotypes are in fact a valid way to proceed and even after the person indicated that they didn’t like watermelon and were thus not likely to be watermelon eating.

    Yes, I was wrong about wiccans. I thought they were animists. There are plenty of bad ways to arrive at atheism. Marxism being an example.

  • brianmacker

    … And the Democrat party isn’t full of “whack jobs” who are “framing the argument”??? Look at OWS, and morons like Elizabeth Warren. Get real. Most organizations get outsized influence by their most extreme believers. Same is true with other political parties like the Libertarians. Same is true with non-profits like PETA, WWF, NRA, etc.

    Problem with politics (and with majority voting) is there end up being only two choices each with a hodgepodge of supporters. It stuffs opinion, what is a complex multidimensional on many topics and on many rationales, down to not even a one dimensional universe, but a two valued one.

    So it is extremely I’ll advised to use stereotypes given the reality.

  • prefontaine

    One can say Republicans lie but it is like saying blacks eat watermelon. ”

    No, more like saying flies on shit.

  • Jim Craig

    Elizabeth Warren is a “moron”?  You’ve just lost any shred of credibility you might have thought you had remaining. 

  • MichelleMalkin

    Johnee, pay no attention. Brian was asleep during the five minute session where they taught reading comprehension in between religion classes at his high school.  Each time the GOP promotes their “Obama said ‘If you have a business you didnt build it’ ” message, what they’re really saying is “We’re incredibily uneducated, but vote for us anyway.” 

  • brianmacker

    Exactly. But many think that it was wrong because that outing communist in and of itself was wrong. It isn’t. Just like outing Nazis or members of the Muslim Brotherhood isn’t bad.

  • brianmacker

    She is. I guess you haven’t listened you her bullshit. I’m using moron in the same sense it is used when referring to Republicans. No one literally means they have an IQ of 70. That recent speech by Obama directly borrowed some of Warren’s moronic ideas. Marx was a moron in this sense also.

  • brianmacker

    Last I checked money was stuff. When you take other peoples money against their will without proper justification that is stealing. Obama’s justifications in that speech for taking even more money from the wealthy consisted of things like the fact that they had some great teacher (probably one they paid for at their private school mind you), they had help, that they live under the US system, etc. All the time using the word “somebody” as if it excluded the people whose stuff he wanted to take stuff from. Unfortunately it doesn’t. He also spoke as if the stuff he was planning on taking was being given back. As if he was only taking back what was undeserved. The entire time denigrating achievement by pointing out that there are other people who are smart or who work hard who are not as successful. He made a straw man argument that the wealthy think they deserve what they have merely because they work hard and/or are smart. Which is moronic. They deserve what they have because they are responsible for creating it.

    He had to lie, use fallacious reasoning, misdirect, and use words improperly to come to his conclusion that he is justified to take more stuff from the the wealthy (note that they already pay the vast majority of taxes). Since his justification is improper his forced takings are in fact theft. Marx did this same exact sort of thing, except that he claimed that the rich didn’t earn anything they had via ridiculous reasoning. For example assuming that workers and capitalists were mutually exclusive classes, and that savings of capital (machinery for example) contributes zero to production.

    Obama uses the word “somebody” fallaciously just like Marx uses worker. Marx claimed that capitalists deserved nothing and were parasites because labor produces all goods. Totally ignoring that people can work, save, and convert the savings from one form of capital to another. A fisherman who saves up fish, drying them, then lives off the fish while build a net, has converted his labor to a form of capital that increases labor productivity. There is not theft or paratism involved in this. Ifbhe uses his net he can save even more, and make more nets. He might even start hiring people to use his nets and pay them more in fish than they could earn on their own. If his net is ten time more productive then he can afford to pay the worker twice what the worker would normally earn and still get a large portion of the benefit from the net he made.

    What Obama’s speech fails to recognize is that the somebody else he is talking about belongs to the very group he denigrates. Guys like Bill Gates are great teachers, they own businesses that pave roads, they already pay taxes out of proportion to the services they use, etc.

    What is extra moronic about this argument is that it can be and is even more applicable to the poor. The poor are even more dependent on help, way more than the rich. If tax rates are to be based on services received from the Federal government then the poor are not pulling their weight. Especially since 40% or more of the wage earning population pays zero to support the federal services they receive. Morons like Elizabeth Warrne argue that business uses a disproportionate level of government services like having their trucks on the road, but they already pay taxes on profit, and all those delivery trucks filled with food are in the vast majority delivering food to the non-rich. Warren, being an economic ignoramus (sham indian and writer of many a bogus research paper) doesn’t understand this. The rich don’t shit more than the rest of us, nor do they eat significantly more. So they don’t in fact use as much public service as she imagines. Especially not the services that people like Obama and Warren like to spend all the new taxes on.

    Obama outright lied in that speech about cutting spending by trillions when he did the opposite. Plus took credit for making lots of millionaires. Which goes exactly with his theme that people who are successful do not deserve credit for what they produced, somebody else is, and therefore, Obama and his cronies should get the money.

  • brianmacker

    Yeah, because reading comprehension is required for listening to a speech. You know it was a speech right? You figured out my religious beliefs and where I went to high school before you made your comment right? Who’s asleep? Obviously you.

  • brianmacker

    Elizabeth Warren has a history of making basic math errors in her research. Moronic mistakes like thinking and increasing percentage of a decreasing number is automatically bigger. She thinks 90% of a dollar is naturally more than 10% of a million. Either that or she is a fraudulent researcher. Read it and weep:

  • brianmacker

    Democrats lie, politicians lie, people lie, girls lie, boys lie, men lie, etc. No news there either. It’s a double standard to complain about republicans when the exact same in the exact same sense is true of democrats.

  • The US naturalization application asks “Have you ever been a member of THE COMMUNIST PARTY OR ANY OTHER TOTALITARIAN ORGANIZATION”

    Shouldn’t Michelle Bachman be answering questions about Domionism?

  • brianmacker

    Did I miss something? Is there a worldwide or even US wide rash of Dominionist terrorist bombings? Probably not because half of them are for non-violent political activism, and the other half call the first half nuts for wanting to impose biblical law. Kinda hypocritical of people to criticize Bachmann here when they didn’t object to the New Yorker article that was in a worse vein. Also reading a book is a little different than being actively involved in a movement that advocates terrorism.

    I don’t like Bachmann or her religious views but a correct statement is a correct statement. There are ties here to the Muslim Brotherhood, and it seems to be having influence on the State Department. No problem investigating just like Bachmann was.
    You know that Democrats think Democrats should control the government right? Not only that but they actively work towards that. Scary stuff!!! Not.

  • Mostly a wild tangent on my part.

    We’ll probably disagree on what kinds of threats Dominionism and The Muslim Brotherhood are, and how anyone is connected to each.

    I simply think that goal of God’s law is not all that different from the goal of world government.

    I have heard Americans speak as if they think their party winning every single election would be some kind of panacea.  I can’t express how completely opposed I am to that.  I don’t care what party it is, if they have a complete lock, we’ve lost.  And my broken record on this is that we’re actually pretty close to that here in the US.  We have effectively two choices, which is one more than they had in the Soviet Union.

  • brianmacker

    World government isn’t neccesarily about totalitarianism. I don’t take concerns about world government too seriously, and I don’t think that is the concern with communists or Nazis. Their systems are evil implemented on the individual state level, as is Islam, or any other true theocracy.

  • brianmacker

    Also the some of the evidence he was using to justify the property seizure in the speech was false. For example, the Internet was not created by the government to help business. The Internet was developed by Xerox to allow people to use their copiers regardless of location. The Internet was developed to sell copiers.

    Also it is businesses that pave roads with money that is in large part coming from business and the rich. Obama also fails to recognize that businesses themselves are examples of people working collectively to achieve goals. He acts like the only way tomcooperate is through government. Scanned through his entire speech the other day and I could write a small book on all the deceptions, self or otherwise, if I were to fisk it.

  • brianmacker

    As you can see from this article on Xerox. Al Gore’s lie about having invented the Internet was not even a half truth.

  • Erpease

     And you believe all the stuff you get on the web?   Note that the Xerox protocol (XNS) postdated the start of the Arpanet (the immediate predecessor of the internet) and was not the major protocol used by the Internet (TCP/IP).  

    As to the alleged Al Gore statement see
    Al Gore used the word ‘created’ not ‘invented’ and, as he pushed the major funding proposals that got the internet off the ground, he has some share in the creation of the internet (still a bit of self-promotion but not a flat out lie).

  • brianmacker

    And you believe everything politicians tell you? Your snopes article is onthe web and I don’t see you having a problem. What exactly do you dispute about that aricle? I understand that “invented” isn’t the exact word but “created” is even more egregious of a lie .

    You do understand that there were multiple intranet and internet protocols invented. Hardly surprising that the one protocol heavily subsidized by the government would end up being “the” intranet. Also the military funded a private institution not to help business as Obama claimed but to pursue defense, and it kept it as a military only protocol for decades. Since Obama’s premise is that this was an example of something business can’t do on its own that is a lie. It’s stupid to boot.

    It’s very common for inventors to develop these things in parallel and that leads to disputes about who actually invented this or that out of a matter of national pride. With zero government funding amazing advancements have been made in the past and will in the future. The Internet (like the car) is something which can be developed at the private scale and was with several different protocols.

    I’m pretty sure Al Gore didn’t personally create the Internet because I never saw him running cables to any of the companies I worked for. It was in fact several different guys and not him. The vast majority of the effort put into creating the Internet was all done by private industry.

  • phantomreader42

    brianmacker declared without the slightest speck of evidence: “many think that it was wrong because that outing communist in and of itself was wrong”

    Who?  Anyone other than moldy old strawmen and the voices in your head?  Surely no one here has said any such thing. 

    Right-wing lunatics and liars have made so many false accusations of terrorism that the fact that a member of the GOP claims someone has ties to a terrorist organization is actually evidence AGAINST such ties.  Just like McCarthy’s witch hunts could never have actually caught a real spy, because that was never the point, it was all about ruining the lives of innocent people and spreading fear for political gain.  No Republican can be trusted, they all forgot how to tell the truth years ago. 

  • Ray

    Wow so quick to judge I take it you are a low income liberal that believes all money should be put in a big pot and redistributed to both the rich and the poor so we are all Equal?  Guess what if we were all equal we would not need to redistribute everything.  I worked my ass off for what I have.  Please tell me you don’t vote in your socioeconomic circle so that I may call you a liar. As far as anything beyond this point the argument just got stupid and off topic so my work here is done.

  • guest

     Are you at all interested in CLOSING the gap between the rich and the poor?

  • guest

    That critique is written by a MORON. Shut up Brian Macker, you are NOT making a good point!

  • brianmacker

    LOL, apply your standard to yourself and maybe I’ll consider filling you in. Not a speck of evidence in your comment.

  • phantomreader42

     So, no one actually said the thing you claimed “many” had said, and you’re delusional enough to still be screeching about Al Gore claiming to have invented the Internet, but too stupid to know it was in fact a government project.  Yeah, I get it, you’re no longer capable of distinguishing between reality and right-wing talking points, if you ever were. 

  • brianmacker

    Closing or reducing the gap? Closing no. That implies a complete removal of all incentive in the market and millions of dead people as the economy collapses. You’d have to give a definition of poor, rich, and what you mean by reduce before I could give you a short answer. I’m not going to write a long comment to explain all the factors you need to take into account before your question is specific. Right now it is a nonsense question.

    Think about a world of clones who all start at minimum wage and save over their lifetimes until they are rich. Their lives all follow identical trajectories. In that world I would like to maximize the gap between the rich and the poor. That would make everyone best off.

    So clarify your question to take into account factors like this that leftists tend to get themselves confused about, and I’ll consider answering it.

    Do you have some plan that you have in mind?

  • phantomreader42

    So, you accuse other people of being quick to judge, while you yourself just shamelessly make shit up and attribute it to people based on nothing more than the sworn testimony of the voices in your head.  This is why conservatives have a bad name, because you do stupid shit like this all the fucking time!  

  • brianmacker

    Convincing argument.

  • brianmacker

    Just do a web search. It’s their second favorite whine after racism, which they also do at the drop of a hat. I knew about DARPA but it wasn’t the first commercial Internet. The government kept it under wraps. Xerox and other companies would not have had to create their own protocols had it existed, right? It wasn’t created for business as Obama claimed. Al Gore didn’t create it either in any sense of the word. We can mock him for claiming to have created it too. The internet would never have happened without the people Obama denigrates. They payed taxes for various “government sponsored” Internet protocols. They invented all the technology (not any government employee but employees of private institutions). None of it required any government funding to happen.

    I like how circular this whole

  • phantomreader42

    It’s obvious that no force in the universe will penetrate your armor of willful ignorance.  Have fun with your army of poorly-constructed strawmen.  

  • brianmacker

    Here’s slew of people claiming that if they are called socialists that is the equivalent of McCarthism.

    Google “socialism is the new mccarthism”.

    Palin was called on practicing McCarthism for merely pointing out that Obamacare (and various of the other candidate Obamacare bills) were socialist.

    So apparently people do get confused between the actual things that were wrong about McCarthism and merely pointing out that someone is a communist or socialist, or advocates such.

    Not only that look at all the false charges and guilt by association attempts by the Democrats against the T-Party, and or republicans. Seem like every time some nut kills someone they try to make an association. Think Giffords/Palindrome and Batman Shooter/ T Party.

  • brianmacker

    Now you are just trolling. Sorry to tell you this but both parties are full of liars, dirty trick players, etc. Yet here you are worshiping the Democrats. Can’t have someone questioning your gods, eh? I mean how naive do you have to be after Jon Corzine steals billions and Obama doesn’t lift a finger, well except to keep a tax cheat treasurer, and a Fed Chairman has transferred trillions from the poor and middle class and deserving rich to the undeserving rich through bank bailouts.

  • phantomreader42

    The right-wing nutjobs screeching about “socialism” at the top of their lungs don’t have the slightest idea what the word even means.   They’re just babbling nonsense.  Just like you.

  • phantomreader42

    Brian, I hate to break this to you, but you don’t really have the power to read minds.  You’re just hallucinating and making shit up.   Nothing you’re saying has any bearing whatsoever on reality, and the political positions you’ve made up for me out of whole cloth have no connection to me at all. 

  • brianmacker

    I don’t have to read minds. You said you believe Al Gore’s statement that he “created” the Internet. He must have God like powers to do that. Sort of like North Korea’s Dear leader. Obama gave a speech which in context and as a whole denigrated individual achievement, completely in line with Socialist philosophy. His own dad has written that the government would be justified to tax 100% of income (I won’t paraphrase further from memory lest you become a the equivalent of a grammar nazi), and so the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree. Obama’s speech was fully in line with the spirit of North Korean Olympian Om Yun Chol when he said, “”I am very happy and give thanks to our Great Leader for giving me the strength to lift this weight. I believe Kim Jong Il gave me the record and all my achievements. It is all because of him”. Obama’s actions are also socialist in nature. For example, bailing out GM, an incredibly stupid move. That’s the tip of the iceberg. Obama like Bush has dug deeper on Clinton’s legacy of easy money and bailouts. We have central planning of the monetary system and utilization of that is a form of socialism.

  • phantomreader42

    No, actually I did not say that, you just hallucinated it, because you are totally batshit fucking INSANE! I just mocked you for still being obsessed with a stupid soundbite over a decade old that never had an iota of relevance even when it was fresh. But you can’t afford to let go of that little nonsense talking point, because without rotting piles of long dead strawmen you’d have nothing at all.

  • brianmacker

    Are you always this angry? Would you say that Obama is obsessed because he’s the one who brought up the topic. Al Gore fits right in with this topic because a) he’s a liar, hypocrite and Democrat. b) he has taken credit for creating the Internet. Both subjects were relevant. You seem to think it is a big deal whether he used the word invent or create, but they are both false, which apparently you understand now because you won’t admit to believing Al Gore created the Internet. Funny that you come in angry with your first comment and get even more angry when I won’t convert to Al Gore worship. Your entire position amounts to mere grammar nazism unless you actually believe Al Gore created the Internet.

    The only thing Al Gore did was advocate for funding of the NFSNet (not that Arapnet existed prior to his involvement). This was not “The Internet” either. The TCP/IP protocol isn’t “The Internet” and is one of many Internet protocols, and NFSNet is not “The Internet” but one of many different private government run internets. There were also several entirely privately developed internet protocols and networks based on them, because the government was not at first sharing their first developed for the military technology.

    I’ll be “obsessing” about Obama’s quote in ten years when someone try’s to claim he isn’t a socialist too. Especially since the entire point of the speech was to claim that the rich and or people who start businesses don’t earn their money because of smarts or hard work, because there are lots of people who are smart and work hard that don’t get filth rich, and therefore the rich should give the unearned money back.

    This entire notion is class warfare nonsense. The rich don’t have enough money to plug the hole in the budget that Obama has created even if taxed at 100% as his father thinks is reasonable. The rich in fact do not (in average) pay less than the middle class or poor. Our country already has a highly progressive tax system. Obama (and Al Gore) prey on people’s ignorance to get votes, and are hypocrites to boot. Gore live’s in a giant fuel wasting house, and Obama uses tax funds and freshly printed money to stimulate his rich friends pocketbooks. A guy whose wife wears multiple thousand dollar clothing items is the last one to bitch about the rich. With a friend like Buffet who owes tens of millions in back taxes he is the last to bitch about other people’s taxes, or have his friend do so. A guy who appoints a known tax cheat to head the treasury shouldn’t even talk about taxes for anyone, period.

    Oh, and Buffet is more than relevant because in Obama’s speech he claimed he has plenty of rich friends who wish to give back via taxes, and has pointed to Buffet as his spokesperson.

    I’m just informed about what a bunch of lying hypocrites the people in question are, and also happen to know the context of this speech. The only reason anyone would think this crazy is if they were ignorant of a whole lot of context.

  • brianmacker

    Oh, and to fully disbuse you of your belief that Al Gore was telling the truth he even admitted it was bullshit:

  • phantomreader42

     Have you gotten your inane babbling about a decade-old soundbite out of your system?  Or will you continue harping on this until the day you die? 

  • brianmacker

    I’ll bring it up in response every single time some lying politician or ignorant supporter tries to use it in justification of some stupid policy. As I will this Obama quote as long as he is politically relevant. That and the fact he thought there were 57 states, thinks Austrian is a language, etc. This current speech is right in line with his other statements like “… “I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”, and his decision to hire consultants and appoint a Fed chairman who follow this advice with freshly printed money.

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