Voting for Bernie

I’ve seen it in a few places, and especially after yesterday’s primary results, that there’s no way Bernie can win the nomination at this point. Hillary has locked up too many party-insider super-delegates, and has too much dark money, to falter at this point in her campaign. She is “too big to fail,” with all that that implies.

At this point I don’t care. I voted for Bernie in the primaries, and I’m voting for him again in November. No matter who the “official” candidates are.

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How to deny global warming

Since last month is, yet again, a record-setter for abnormally high global average temperatures, I thought now would be a good time to post this list of tactics used by denialists to deny, obfuscate, misdirect, or otherwise impede our willingness to take action to reduce global warming.

#1. Deny that global warming exists. Contradict or disparage the data. Accuse scientists of cherry-picking, and publishing biased interpretations. Dismiss all signs of global warming as “just weather.”

#2. Where global warming is undeniable, deny that it is man-made. Compare the emissions of a single car to the emissions of a volcanic eruption, in order to make man-made sources of carbon seem trivial. Point to climate variations in prehistoric times as evidence that the climate change is a purely natural phenomenon. Ignore the fact that “natural disasters” are also natural.

More below the fold.

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Franklin Graham shocked by First Amendment

Arkansas Online is reporting that Franklin Graham has discovered evidence that the First Amendment is having a growing influence on American government, and he’s none too happy about it.

Thousands of worshipers flooded the state Capitol on Tuesday to hear evangelist Franklin Graham declare that “godless” politics are taking over governments across the 50 states he is touring…

The greatest applause came when Graham argued against political correctness and the separation of church and state.

“Secularism and communism are the same thing. They are both godless,” Graham said. “We have every right to speak up; we have every right to take our faith into the halls of government.”

And we’d have gotten away with it too, if it hadn’t been for that pesky Constitution thing.

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Quote of the day

Ladies and gentlemen, Ted Cruz:

It is bizarre. Donald and his team, it’s almost like they are subjects in a clinical course in psychology. The conduct they do, literally, they accuse others of doing.

Because real conservatives never act like that, right Ted?

Conservative Christians sounding the retreat

With society becoming less hostile towards gays and other minorities, and Christians everywhere losing the privileges that previously allowed them to flout the First Amendment with impunity, a few conservative Christians are beginning to think it’s time to abandon society and head for the hills.

That’s what St Benedict did. By the end of the fifth century the great Roman Empire had completely collapsed. The center of government had moved to Constantinople. The Vandals and Goths had sacked Rome, and the church and people had drifted into decadence and despair.

As a young man Benedict went to study in Rome, but soon gave up and retreated to Subiaco to live as a hermit.

Conservative writer Rod Dreher thinks it is time for American Christians to consider what he calls the “Benedict Option”. He contends that Christians have lost the culture wars, predicts that persecution of Christians is right around the corner, and recommends heading for the hills.

Because having your bigotry called out in public, and losing legal protection for your bullying of others, is totally like having actual armed, barbarian invaders sack your capital city and carve up your entire nation into feudal fiefdoms.

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Be careful what you wish for

There’s a meme going around right now that reviews a bit of political history. Remember the impeachment proceedings against Bill Clinton for sexual misconduct in the late 90’s? They were led by a Republican legislator who, at the time, was hiding a sexual affair. He was supposed to be replaced by another Republican who had to step down because he was having a sexual affair. The Republicans then elected a new Speaker of the House, who is currently under investigation because of suspicious payments he made to cover up alleged sexual molestation of boys.

The meme doesn’t explicitly call this out, but I think it’s worth mentioning that these are all men who were elected by conservative Christians trying to put God back in government. Separation of church and state isn’t some plot to try and marginalize Christians. It’s just that mingling politics and religion is a bad idea, and harms both the state and the church.

A friendly quibble

The Friendly Atheist just posted a good look at another instance of Ted Cruz’s hypocrisy on the subject of church/state separation, along with documentation showing just how big of a hypocrite Cruz is being. Towards the end, though, he says something that bothers me just a bit.

The question Dougherty asked was: “How and why does your religion play a part in your political decision making?”

Cruz never directly answered that because the truth is that faith plays a role in everything he does. That might be okay if he were a random citizen, but it’s downright illegal when he’s supposed to be the leader of all Americans.

Well, no. I know what he means, but that’s not quite right. It’s not illegal, even for someone in the government, to allow faith to play a role in everything they do. The dividing line comes when they have to choose between their faith and the law. The law must take precedence, including the law that requires the government to be neutral with respect to religion. As long as the believer abides by that constraint, in the execution of his or her governmental duties, there’s nothing forbidding faith from having a role in the person’s life. They just have to make sure they do nothing to impose their faith on anyone else.

In Cruz’s case, of course, the distinction is moot, because he puts his faith above the law, and so he violates the law, and advocates violation of the law, whenever doing so works to establish his religion as “superior” to all others. “Religious liberty” in Cruz’s mind is nothing more nor less than Christian supremacy, and he’s more than happy to force his religious principles on anyone and everyone he can. That’s what makes him a hypocrite when he talks about “defending religious freedom.” Not just the fact that he lives by his faith.

Ok, quibble satisfied. Carry on.

Bonehead NC legislators make women’s restrooms more accessible to men

Once upon a time in North Carolina, if you saw a man going into a women’s restroom, you had good reasons to be suspicious, and likely call the police. But now, in a bold move whose brilliance can only be compared to Wile E. Coyote’s decision to use nitroglycerin in the fuel tank of his Rocket-Powered Road Runner Catcher, a gang of conservative legislators, with the avid assistance of the governor, has railroaded through a law requiring trans men to use the women’s facilities. (Nor is that the only serious flaw in this badly-botched attempt at persecuting a harmless minority!) You read that right: this new law requires certain men to use the ladies room.

Now, people capable of engaging in rational thought for more that one or two seconds at a time will immediately realize that trans men look no different than any other men, in most cases. By requiring trans men to use the ladies room, the idiots in the NC state government have given all men a plausible excuse for being in the ladies room. They don’t even need to pretend to be trans. And if a real cis-het rapist were to decide to take advantage of the state government’s stupidity, all he would need to do is make sure to select his targets carefully, and only invade the rest room when the woman there would be unlikely to challenge his presence until it was too late. And thanks to the NC governor and his knuckle-dragging henchmen, there is now a legitimate opportunity for him to do so.

You know what? I take back what I said. Wile E. Coyote is WAY smarter than these Stone Age “geniuses.”

Not just Muslims

A lot of Americans hear about harsh Israeli measures inside the occupied territories, and assume that the Israelis are just defending themselves against terrorist organizations. (Assuming they hear anything at all about it, that is.) But Muslims aren’t the only non-Jews who are being subjected to oppressive travel restrictions, economic sanctions, and the illegal destruction and seizure of private property. Palestinian Christians are also being driven out.

The way Amal sees it, the Israeli military and the settlers, having failed to evict the family by legal means, are now trying to force them out. She remembers the settlers who uprooted 250 young olive trees in 2002, and who permanently closed the road to the farm with rubble. The demolition orders posted on the gate, threatening to destroy the Nassars’ home and water wells. The soldiers who, in 2009, forced her 72-year-old mother out of bed at gunpoint in the middle of the night and made her wait in the cold while they searched the farm.