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Michele Bachmann, professional ghoul

There she goes, claiming God sent Hurricane Irene.

I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We’ve had an earthquake; we’ve had a hurricane. He said, ‘Are you going to start listening to me here?’ Listen to the American people because the American people are roaring right now. They know government is on a morbid obesity diet and we’ve got to rein in the spending.

Hey, maybe God’s secret message is that he’s really pissed that Americans are stupid enough to promote Bachmann and Perry as candidates. How would you know?

She’s already straining to do damage control, and her campaign is claiming that it was “just a joke”, that old excuse. Was it funny? Are we to believe that Michele Bachmann now openly mocks the Power of the Lord?

After the event, a reporter asked Bachmann about the comments. She said: “Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of the victims. This isn’t something that we take lightly. My comments were not meant to be ones that were taken lightly. What I was saying in a humorous vein is there are things happening that politicians need to pay attention to. It isn’t everyday we have an earthquake in the United States.”

Well, make up your mind, Michele. Was it not meant to be taken lightly, or was it said in a humorous vein?

And actually, we do have earthquakes every day. There have been 2901 earthquakes in the US so far this year; there were 8493 total in 2010. It looks like, on average, there’s an earthquake above magnitude 4 every day, somewhere in the US.

Comments

  1. rad_pumpkin says

    Stupid is as stupid does. Or is there a better way to describe Bachmann?
    Alright everybody, say it with me now: President Bachmann. Doesn’t that sound nice? No? Well, why don’t you make sure to get as many people as possible NOT to vote for her?

  2. Gunboat Diplomat says

    In other news: failing to sacrifice a goat to Jupiter on feast days causes volcanic eruptions.

    And plate tectonics is witchcraft.

  3. daveau says

    Politico headline this morning: “Michele Bachmann has ‘great sense of humor’ says Bachmann”.

  4. Moggie says

    LOL! Or, you know, not. With people dead and others homeless, I don’t think it’s a joking matter.

  5. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Politico headline this morning: “Michele Bachmann has ‘great sense of humor’ says Bachmann”.

    nice

  6. teawithbertrand says

    #3

    “…make sure to get as many people as possible NOT to vote for her?”

    You would think that a lot of her own comments would accomplish that goal, but then again, the campaign is taking place in Batshit-Crazy-Christian-Fundie-Land, isn’t it?

  7. sailor says

    Michele Bachmann has no understanding of god.
    God, tired of Obama refusing to stand up to the republicans and produce a reasonable stimulus package to get the economy going again, staged a hurricane to force the government into spending big bucks on rebuilding and thus giving employment to some of those out of work. Is that not obvious?

  8. Johan Fruh says

    I have a question regarding american politics:

    Is it possible for democrats to cast a vote in the republican primaries?
    (I have no idea how this works, so sorry if the question is a silly one).

    I’m just wondering if the democrats, or people slightly leaning left, have a possiblity of modifying the primary outcome. Such have heavily voting for Huntsman, even if you don’t care about him becoming president.

  9. Johan Fruh says

    Because obviously, someone other then Perry or Bachman will have to win the primaries… otherwise the future of humanity is pretty bleak…

  10. says

    Johan, Fruh, it varies by state. I’m in New Jersey, which has open primaries. I’m registered as an Independent, and I’m free to vote for candidates of any parties on the ballot, including different parties for different elected positions.

  11. rad_pumpkin says

    @John Fruh #11
    Yes, at least sometimes. There are two different ways for a party to choose its candidate: primaries and caucuses. A primary is a preliminary election (statewide), while a caucus is a local gathering of party members who then discuss and argue until they decide who to back. The average result of the state is then taken. At least that’s who I remember it from Government back…urgh, I’m bloody old.

    It does happen that members or supporters of the opposite party participate in either, provided they are open to the general public (not always the case). This is usually the case when their own party has no realistic chance of winning the state in the general election (eg a democrat in Texas voting for Bachmann or Perry in the primary/caucus – we have both here). The weakest candidate of the opposite party is backed in order to weaken the party in the general election. The effect of this is minimal at best, but political die-hards still do it.

  12. Mr Ed says

    I think Bachmann needs to put the storm and earthquake in perspective. In the old testament when god was angry he would destroy whole cities or flood the world killing all but a few. Compare that to the 34 hours I spent with out power and we are way down on the god pissed off scale (GPS). My take away is that maybe we check our facebook status to often and god wants us to go outside for a walk.

  13. Gregory says

    Astronomer and noted skeptic Phil Plait had some comments about the seeming “swarm” of earthquakes last week.

    On the average, there is a magnitude 8 quake once a year. 15 quakes in the 7.0 to 7.9 range, 134 in the 6.0 to 6.9 range, 1319 in the 5.0 to 5.9 range, and around 13,000 earthquakes every year in the 4.0 to 4.9 magnitude range. It is inevitable that some of these happen in the US from time to time.

    Crimeny, when I was going to college at Humboldt State, the Eureka (the one in California, not the one in Oregon) newspaper printed a weekly list of all the earthquakes 2.0 or larger that had occured in the area since the last list was published. If these were a sign of God’s Divine Displeasure, then He must really have a thing against Birkenstocks and granola.

  14. jaranath says

    Oh, it was most definitely a joke. I can’t emphasize that enough. I strongly encourage watching the video to see that. But here’s the thing: Like practically everything in a political campaign speech, that joke was coldly calculated. It combined equal parts fundagelical dog whistle and Glenn Beck “not sayin’, just sayin'”. I guarantee you she and her manager/speechwriter/whoever rehearsed it. With it, she reminded most of her audience she was religious, she reminded her core fundagelical supporters that she believes God does occasionally get busy with the smiting, and she provided slick, built-in cover.

    This incident will be a net positive for her, as long as she doesn’t scuttle herself with clumsy defense (PZ’s cited quote comes close, as it seems to reinforce she thinks the disasters COULD be a message). As I’ve been saying to some friends, my biggest fear with Bachmann is that the media and her opponents will respond clumsily to enough of her craziness (like this, or the Newsweek cover) that people will start to perceive her as unfairly persecuted. She is now the woman who’s being excoriated for a little joke because people don’t know how to handle a “serious” Christian. Enough of that and people will start turning a blind eye to the real crazy, waving it off as just more media and liberal freakout over her religion.

  15. Gus Snarp says

    @RorschachUK – It might be hard for the casual viewer to make up their own mind from the CNN video since it starts with the anchors saying that Bachmann is joking and with text saying she is joking scrolling across the screen before we ever see Bachmann. Then they follow up with telling us how obvious it is she was joking.

    Of course, if she was joking that doesn’t preclude her from also believing it’s true. In fact, the joke may work best when the speaker and her audience think there’s at least some truth to it.

    As for primary elections, Bachmann is the least likely to win a general election. So unlikely that if she is actually still competitive by my state’s primary, I will go pull a Republican ballot and vote for her in hopes that she will be running against Obama in November, because I don’t think he can lose to her. Perry I’m not sure is crazy enough to be a guaranteed loser, although it’s close. Huntsman is the best Republican candidate in a general election, but won’t likely ever get there, Paul will be out of the running almost as soon, but wouldn’t be likely to win a general election anyway. The scary one is Romney, who is perfectly willing to bend to the religious right, but won’t go off the deep end. He could win in November, and we have no idea if he would govern from the Tea Party right or from his centrist record in Massachusetts.

  16. Anteprepro says

    The most galling thing is that she believes that politicians are provoking God’s wrath BECAUSE THEY ARE SPENDING TOO MUCH. What the fuck kind of God does she worship that he is willing to kill people and cause massive property damange because of a disagreement over the government’s budget (in the process, requiring government to spend more to deal with the damage caused)? No surprise that her God is as stupid and petty as she is.

  17. Czarownik says

    Wake up people! Odin sent a hurricane an earthquake to bring us back to the true faith!

  18. Aquaria says

    I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We’ve had an earthquake; we’ve had a hurricane. He said, ‘Are you going to start listening to me here?’

    You know, when the earthquakes hit CA, you guys all say it’s because they’re liberal. But when they hit the stupidest parts of Virginia, suddenly that’s a statement on the nation? How about your scumbag deity might be hammering the south, year-in, year-out as a hint to wake the fuck up and quit being gawd-poisoned goobers? Or at least on conservatism?

    But that wouldn’t fit your agenda, would it, Michele?

    Lying piece of shit.

  19. Aliasalpha says

    If it were a message to the government, wouldn’t God have tried to do it when congress was in session.

    Or maybe with… I dunno… WORDS?

  20. unbound says

    So, she was obviously playing to her fundie base when she made the statement…which was offensive to the moderates (and therefore reducing her chances of being an acceptable rethuglican candidate).

    Now that she’s made the statement that it was just a joke (does anyone buy this excuse anymore?), does this mean she has now offended her fundie base by essentially backpedaling? Or do the fundies not notice (which I could see as likely since they bought the original statement anyways)?

  21. Gregory says

    @Johan Fruh #11 – Because they are national in scope, presidential elections are done differently than any other election in the US.

    Strictly speaking, presidential candidates are chosen at the party’s national convention by a vote of convention delegates. Some state party organizations will select some of their delegates based on primaries — the Washington State Republican Party has, in the past, chosen a third of their delegates based on the state primaries — but most just ignore the election entirely and chose delegates solely from the caucuses and conventions.

  22. Hypatia's Daughter says

    I was talking to a conservative friend. Smart guy; decent and scientifically literate. We are members of a science minded hobby club and generally avoid religion & politics (friendship means more than winning arguments & bad feelings).
    I brought up Palin’s comment about fruit fly research as an example of scientific ignorance. He didn’t think it mattered. But, sez I, biology is critical to both expanding human well being AND to future economic growth. How can someone so ignorant about the role fruit flies play in biological research make informed decisions about investing in it? He kind of shrugged it off.
    And there is the problem, folks. Many conservatives aren’t scientifically literate. But even the scientifically literate ones are willing turn a blind eye to the deep scientific ignorance of their candidates. They see it as a minor idiosyncrasy, like having a smart, competent person who reads his daily horoscope or takes mega-doses of Vitamin C.
    It’s how they brush off the Rethug slate being all CreoIDer’s, even though they personally think its foolish.
    Like mainstream xtians dismiss YEC’ers as just a few kooks, but don’t realize that these “few kooks” have an agenda that has enabled them to gain a disproportionate amount of power in all levels of government. They are being blindsided.
    (He also thinks Bachmann is the cat’s meow. The Rethugs have a great, personable WOMAN candidate!! I was speechless. What could I say without offending him?)
    It makes me despair of the future.

  23. Celtic_Evolution says

    This is an old tactic… one taken directly from the pages of the christian handbook on how to control masses of largely ignorant people, used with great success throughout history: use fear of “god’s wrath” as a tool to subtly instill conformation to your agenda… she may be an idiot, but she knows exactly what she’s doing here.

    That’s not to say that she really doesn’t believe what she’s saying… I think she very likely does… but I also think she believes that she can sway people’s opinions through fear. Most christians believe in the efficacy of that tactic, whether they are consciously aware of it or not.

  24. jaranath says

    Ah, but that’s my point, unbound. If she plays her cards right (and she may not be able to), she can bury The Crazy in perceived media/liberal overreaction and persecution. Combined with the short public and media memory and attention span, and the media’s reluctance to put much effort into researching and more carefully explaining The Crazy, I honestly think that perception could be exploited to effectively mitigate The Crazy. She won’t offend the religious moderates because she’ll be winning sympathy with them instead…poor persecuted Michele! The fundagelical core know you can’t speak openly about these things, so they won’t hold it against her if she downplays it somewhat.

  25. Rey Fox says

    What I was saying in a humorous vein is there are things happening that politicians need to pay attention to.

    You’re about as humorous as my left clavicle, Bachmann.

  26. says

    Celtic_Evolution:

    …I also think she believes that she can sway people’s opinions through fear.

    Isn’t that the modus operandi of the entire Republican party? Fear of liberalism, fear of socialism, fear of terrorists, fear of complete economic collapse… I could go on, but you probably have the roster of fears memorized.

    Fear is the stick used by right-wing authoritarians to queue up the sheep. And that’s exactly what’s happened the last several elections.

    I hold out hope that most Americans are tired of fear.

    Then again, my wife accuses me of being an incurable optimist.

  27. Ed H. says

    Hurm. Perhaps next time Bachmann’s deity want to send a message, he can figure out a way to do it without killing 38 people along the way.

  28. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    Bachmann is a nutjob but these particular comments were done in humor. and these particular comments were a tasteless attempt at humor.

    Hint : Just because her cronies laughed, doesn’t mean it’s funny to, you know… decent people.

  29. Celtic_Evolution says

    nigelTheBold:

    Isn’t that the modus operandi of the entire Republican party?

    Oh, most certainly… and what is the best antidote for fear? Rational thought and intelligence… things you get from a proper education… which is something else republicans don’t support, and not coincidentally. It’s much harder to control an educated and intelligent populace through fear.

  30. says

    Ed H.:

    Hurm. Perhaps next time Bachmann’s deity want to send a message, he can figure out a way to do it without killing 38 people along the way.

    Y’know, this just points out how weak and pathetic Bachmann’s god really is. In the old days, God would smite thousands just to get a little message across. It’d wipe out entire nations. It’d kill first-borns just for the lolz, and send pocks and plagues and locusts.

    And so on.

    Y’know the thing I miss most about the way God used to be?

    Sending his chosen people out into the desert for 40 years.

    We could use a little of that right about now.

  31. chong says

    There’s two scenarios here:

    1) Bachmann is joking. In which case, shouldn’t we as a country censure her for cracking jokes about a disaster in which several dozen people died? I mean, can you imagine if Obama showed up to a televised conference and started making fun of 9/11?

    2) Bachmann seriously believes that Irene was an act of God. If this were true, and this hurricane could be attributed to the actions of a sentient, sapient being, then how is it any different from any other attack perpetrated on American soil by a foreign terrorist entity? And by being Christian, isn’t Bachmann then a terrorist sympathizer or even terrorist supporter? Did she pray for a natural disaster to strike America? If we are to believe in the efficacy of prayer, as Christians do, then doesn’t that make Bachmann a de facto terrorist? Shouldn’t she be in Gitmo right now? Maybe it’s high time we declared a War on God, refit those F-35s with pentagrams, and figure out a way to fire AMRAAMs at right angles to reality. Get preemptive on His ass before He strikes again.

  32. Æiric says

    OK… Just so I understand… God, in order to ‘punish’ or ‘get our attention’, is going to send hurricanes during hurricane ‘season’?? Yah, right. Oh! Yah know what? I predict that tomorrow Ra the Mighty Sun God will make the sun rise to tell us how asinine Michelle Bachman’s comments really are!

  33. raven says

    God hates fundie xians.

    This hurricane slammed into North Caroline first, part of xian fundiestan.

    He does that a lot. Send hurricanes and tornodoes into the fundie xian heartland of the south-central USA.

    They never catch on though. As it says somewhere in their magic book, “Who the gods would destroy, they first make stupid.”

  34. Anteprepro says

    Hmmm, I don’t seem to get the joke, if it supposedly is one. God wouldn’t possibly care about the same things that make Republicans apoplectic? God wouldn’t send “messages” in the form of natural disasters? God doesn’t care about politics or the United States? All of those seem unlikely for her to be suggesting. The “joke” is what she actually believes, presented in a “humorous” manner.

  35. Celtic_Evolution says

    chong’s second point in #39 is actually an interesting one…

    If, as Bachman claims (and it’s not just her… Beck and dozens of other prominent right wing nutjobs have either stated or hinted at the same thing), these natural disasters are god’s way of sending a message then how do they effectively differentiate between god and terrorists?

    A terrorist is a person who will inflict needless harm and even death upon innocent living beings to get their message across.

    Isn’t that exactly what Bachman is accusing god of doing? So by Bachman’s own assertion, god is a terrorist. Right?

  36. theophontes says

    From the link in the OP: “… birther evangelist Joseph Farah…” (who says much the same as Bachmann). Surely it should not be the birth that is taken as relevant but teh moment of conception? Consistency – not the evangelical strong suite.

    @ Theodore

    TWO Theo’s … Oy Vey!

  37. Moggie says

    chong:

    1) Bachmann is joking. In which case, shouldn’t we as a country censure her for cracking jokes about a disaster in which several dozen people died? I mean, can you imagine if Obama showed up to a televised conference and started making fun of 9/11?

    Do you remember when Bush joked about hunting for Iraqi WMDs? It was stunningly inappropriate, but what negative consequences did he suffer for it? Not much, if memory serves. IOKIYAR.

  38. rob says

    earthquake? hurricane? wrong.

    that wasn’t an earthquake. it was angels in heaven jumping up and down to express their pleasure with how good a job bachmann and palin and perry are doing to get America back to it’s founding fathers principles.

    that wasn’t a hurricane. it was angles in heaven weeping for the people that don’t realize how good a job bachmann and palin and perry are doing to get America back to it’s founding fathers principles.

  39. raven says

    Hmmm, I don’t seem to get the joke, if it supposedly is one.

    You don’t understand fundie xian humor. 38 people dead and 7 billion USD in damage are funny and eminently laughable.

    Don’t feel bad though. I don’t understand their humor either. Probably when they burned witches at the stake, everyone brought popcorn and considered it comedy.

  40. teawithbertrand says

    @44

    I like where this is going. You’re either with us or with the terrorists (God and his loony fan club).

  41. Dr. I. Needtob Athe says

    A joke?

    If so, she violated the First Rule of Comedy, which is “Be funny.” – She wasn’t.

  42. raven says

    Bachmann is seriously cognitively impaired. She is always coming up with absurd and factually wrong statements and rarely gets anything correct. The purpose of her staff seems to be perpetual damage control.

    This is probably acquired inasmuch as she was once functional enough to get a law degree, even if it was from a bottom tier school.

    If she gets elected, the USA is over with.

    The last cognitively impaired president was Bush and Bushco did so much damage to the USA in 8 years that we haven’t recovered. It will take most of a decade to do so and it may never happen.

    The current leading Theothuglican ticket is Perry/Bachmann. I don’t believe Bachmann could be elected president because eventually the personal survival instincts of enough voters would switch on. But she could end up VP.

  43. says

    raven:

    The current leading Theothuglican ticket is Perry/Bachmann. I don’t believe Bachmann could be elected president because eventually the personal survival instincts of enough voters would switch on. But she could end up VP.

    And Perry isn’t much better. He keeps bragging about his accomplishments, but the truth is quite a bit less rosy. He’s gutted and field-dressed the carcass that was Texas, and brags about how much meat there is in the larder.

    I am, quite honestly, filled with a dread suitable for framing.

  44. Hudson says

    As other posters have suggested, it is a calculated joke intended to ring true with her core audience. It allows her room for deniability, but it’s a flimsy denial.

    It’s like this: Imagine a politician who is a well-known philanderer. He makes a joke to a staffer about getting naked together. OBVIOUSLY he said it with a laugh and was joking, but seriously – could either be more transparent and creepy?

  45. raven says

    And Perry isn’t much better. He keeps bragging about his accomplishments, but the truth is quite a bit less rosy.

    No. Perry’s track record looks like a disaster.

    28% of Texan have no health insurance, highest in the USA.

    Texas had a 27 billion USD deficit, almost as high as California’s.

    25% of children in Texas live in poverty, also one of the highest.

    Unemployment is 8.2% putting Texas at 26th in the USA.

    Texas rates low in education and among the highest in social problems such as teenage pregnancy.

    I don’t see anything in his Texas performance that looks at all good. And we already know what huge damage Texan morons can do in the White house.

  46. Francisco Bacopa says

    Anyone can see it’s the Olympians who are sending us a message. They are angry about growing income inequality. The wealthy are required to share their wealth with the poor through festivals of hecatombs. That’s how wise Nestor of sandy Pylos lived such a blessed life. He sacrificed, shared, and was rewarded with wisdom and health.

  47. Janine, The Little Top Of Venom, OM says

    Fucking cherry picker. Everyday, there are natural disasters around the world; earthquakes, floods, downpours, cyclones, tornadoes, blizzards, avalanches, volcano eruptions, hurricanes and so forth. How does one determine that a natural disaster is actually the big sky daddy communicating with we lowly humans. And how the fuck does one knows what message that the deaths, maiming and damages is getting across.

    The big sky daddy is a very inarticulate two year old child. And Michele Bachmann is the mommy who can interpret the meaning.

  48. raven says

    How does one determine that a natural disaster is actually the big sky daddy communicating with we lowly humans. And how the fuck does one knows what message that the deaths, maiming and damages is getting across.

    Good question. It really looks like god hates everybody. Especially Texas which is in the midst of a severe drought.

    The big sky daddy is a very inarticulate two year old child.

    The xian god isn’t very powerful. If god really wanted to communicate with humans, he could put it on his website, show up on TV, or just write messages in the sky.

    Their god is so weak, that is is almost like it doesn’t even exist.

  49. Randomfactor says

    Y’know the thing I miss most about the way God used to be?
    Sending his chosen people out into the desert for 40 years.

    Hmmm. How long has it been since we had significant progressives in government? Anyone think of checking the Sinai?

  50. Janine, The Little Top Of Venom, OM says

    If it’s a joke, didn’t she just take the name of her lord in vain?

    No. Think of the hurricane as a type of exploding cigar that leaves a body count or a whoopee cushion that releases mustard gas in an enclosed and crowded room. The big sky daddy has a brutal sense of humor. And it’s followers have Stockholm Syndrome.

  51. Kevin says

    The worst damage in the earthquake was in Virginia — a state that does recognize gay marriage.

    The worst damage in the hurricane appeared to be in North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and New Jersey. No gay marriage in any of those states.

    This past spring, the tornadoes did major damage in Missouri (flattening the town of Joplin) and Alabama. No gay marriage there, either.

    Despite Rick Perry’s prayer fest, Texas is still mired deep in a drought of historical proportions. That would be gay-marriage-free Texas.

    Seems to me that if one were inclined to believe in a god using weather as a messenger system, it’s not difficult to figure out what the message would be in this instance.

  52. chigau (™) says

    Kevin @62
    How about this:
    God is punishing the good™ people for not being good enough.
    But it indicates that there is still hope for them so they should be grateful™.
    The rest of us are going to burn for all eternity so there is no point in punishing us now.

  53. Hercules Grytpype-Thynne says

    How well I remember the good old days, when right-thinking Romans blamed natural disasters on those atheistic Christians who refused to sacrifice to the gods.

  54. theophontes says

    @ Kevin

    [weather god]

    Well, as a skygod ™, Yahwe is in control of weather and not volcanic activity, earthquakes etc (that would be Hades), so that would explain the seeming inconsistency wrt earthquakes in Virginia. Skygods ™ are quite au fait with teh ghey marriage thing as they are bisexual. (Prime example would be Zeus and Ganymede.)

    Jesus is a yeargod ™ so quite a different kettle of fish to skydaddy. Not sure what his view on the matter would be, but yeargods ™ seem to be into S&M and bondage so I don’t think he would support Bachmann’s prissy policies either.

    If the xtians hadn’t plagiarized their deities from so many different sources, this whole issue would be so much easier to resolve.

  55. Mike B says

    So once again, God the omnipotent is apparently utterly incompetent as a communicator?

    After all, if he has a message for politicians, and isn’t able to deliver that message via direct voice communication, doesn’t that make him pretty pathetic?

  56. Moggie says

    Janine:

    No. Think of the hurricane as a type of exploding cigar that leaves a body count or a whoopee cushion that releases mustard gas in an enclosed and crowded room.

    Adam West always knew what to do about that sort of thing.

  57. Anri says

    So, she was obviously playing to her fundie base when she made the statement…which was offensive to the moderates (and therefore reducing her chances of being an acceptable rethuglican candidate).

    Now that she’s made the statement that it was just a joke (does anyone buy this excuse anymore?), does this mean she has now offended her fundie base by essentially backpedaling? Or do the fundies not notice (which I could see as likely since they bought the original statement anyways)?

    Sadly, no, it won’t really hurt her on the fringe right. They’ll feel that it was just a form of unfortunate, but ultimately practical compromise.

    Also, about the only thing better suited to making the fundies feel good about themselves than a good ol’ natural disaster is a public forum to be persecuted in. This has both, so it’s just about perfect.

  58. shawnthesheep says

    This was not a joke. This was a dog whistle to her base. Pat Bachmann was not joking. Robertson says this kind of shit all the time and he’s never joking.

    The thing is, when you are a batshit crazy representative from a batshit crazy district in Minnesota, you can get away with such batshit crazy comments. But when you are a batshit crazy candidate for president, people are going to start taking notice

    These comments are not really any crazier than many other things Bachmann has said in the past.

    “I find it interesting that it was back in the 1970s that the swine flu broke out under another, then under another Democrat president, Jimmy Carter. I’m not blaming this on President Obama, I just think it’s an interesting coincidence.” -Rep. Michele Bachmann, on the 1976 Swine Flu outbreak that happened when Gerald Ford, a Republican, was president, April 28, 2009

    “There are hundreds and hundreds of scientists, many of them holding Nobel Prizes, who believe in intelligent design.” -Rep. Michele Bachmann, Oct. 2006

    “Carbon dioxide is portrayed as harmful. But there isn’t even one study that can be produced that shows that carbon dioxide is a harmful gas.” -Rep. Michelle Bachmann, April, 2009

    “Why should I go and do something like that? But the Lord says, ‘Be submissive wives; you are to be submissive to your husbands.” -Rep. Michele Bachmann, recalling in a 2006 speech at a Megachurch in Minneapolis that pursuing tax law wasn’t her choice, but she did so at the urging of her husband because she was certain God was speaking through him

    “I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out: Are they pro-America or anti-America?” -Rep. Michelle Bachmann, calling for a new McCarthyism, Oct. 2008

    “If we took away the minimum wage — if conceivably it was gone — we could potentially virtually wipe out unemployment completely because we would be able to offer jobs at whatever level.” Michele Bachmann, Jan. 2005

    “But we also know that the very founders that wrote those documents worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States. … I think it is high time that we recognize the contribution of our forbearers who worked tirelessly — men like John Quincy Adams, who would not rest until slavery was extinguished in the country.” -Rep. Michele Bachmann, botching American history while speaking at an Iowan’s for Tax Relief event in January 2011. The Founding Fathers did not work to end slavery, and John Quincy Adams was not one of the Founding Fathers.

  59. Mr. Fire says

    If god really wanted to communicate with humans, he could put it on his website, show up on TV, or just write messages in the sky.

    Nah, it’s like in Jaws: don’t reveal the monster.

    Also, God is kind of like a sexual fantasy: it’s never that good when it actually happens. Were the big guy to finally appear and settle matters once and for all, I wonder how many believers would eventually develop some kind of fatal ennui, given that they would no longer have free rein to speculate as they pleased about what they think God wants.

  60. says

    Mr. Fire:

    Were the big guy to finally appear and settle matters once and for all, I wonder how many believers would eventually develop some kind of fatal ennui, given that they would no longer have free rein to speculate as they pleased about what they think God wants.

    Huh. So that’s the appeal of religion: the ability to remake the universe in your own image.

    I always thought it was about God. Instead, it’s about what the believer conceives as their god.

    I apologize for stating the obvious if y’all already knew this. It’s a kind of epiphany for me.

  61. Rutee says

    Yeah, Bachmann is… kind of a piece of shit. Ghoul was far too accurate. I hope everone’s okay, but I know they’re not.

    I’d also point out that if I recall Nate Silver’s analyses, it’d take a massive change for her to win in a general election. Her and Palin could sweep primaries, but… they’re too hated by the general populace.

  62. Johan Fruh says

    Using destructive force to bring down buildings, killing loved ones and creating havoc, aimed at the people that don’t follow his wisdom.
    All this to get a point across?

    I forgot.. was I talking about God or Osama Bin Laden?

  63. Brownian says

    Huh. So that’s the appeal of religion: the ability to remake the universe in your own image.

    I always thought it was about God. Instead, it’s about what the believer conceives as their god.

    Yup. Whether fundie or flakey New Ager, it all comes down to this.

    “I [don't] want to believe in a god with characteristics X, Y, Z, so I do [not].” In other words “If it sounds (or makes me look) bad, then that’s not what it is. What do you mean by ‘consistency of belief’?”

    What is pejoratively referred to in science as ‘fudging the numbers’ is lauded by faitheists as Sophisticated Theology™.

  64. Mr. Fire says

    “…What do you mean by ‘consistency of belief’?”

    Why, the texture of a brain that has been allowed to soak in it long enough, of course.

  65. claimthehighground says

    Listening to Bachmann and Perry reminds me of a great Woody Allen quote: “More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose wisely.

  66. uncle frogy says

    Joking or not I find it remarkable that some people will think about these kinds of events and try to see some meaning. Out here in California we have earthquakes often but they happen so often that they are not always reported so they are selectively reported but that does not stop people seeing some meaning or pattern where the only thing that could be said about them is why they were reported this time.
    The same goes for weather that people try to see some meaning or pattern or meaning in it but are so unaware of the almost random nature of their information that what ever they think they can see is a projection of their own minds.
    This is the 21 first century and still this ignorance and fear of perfectly natural events that we have records of happening is disheartening.

    And we are facing the real possibility that we will elect people who are so transparently ignorant and self serving that they play it up as a virtue.
    I despair that this noble experiment of a representative democracy with all of its ideals of liberty and justice is headed toward the tyranny of a theocratic fascists state ruled by the ignorant, the greedy and the cruel.

    uncle frogy

  67. says

    Brownian:

    What is pejoratively referred to in science as ‘fudging the numbers’ is lauded by faitheists as Sophisticated Theology™.

    My understanding of both the appeal of religion, and the practice thereof, is growing.

    I’ve always understood that believers create their god in their own image (though that image is shaped by early religious training). I guess what I never truly understood is that they are, by extension, shaping their own reality, and that perhaps that was the purpose of their belief in God in the first place: to make reality reflect their desires.

    I never quite bought into the whole idea of religion as a mental illness. It seemed to demean the seriousness of mental illness. Now I wonder if it might not be a mental illness similar to delusional disorder, at least in people like Michelle Bachmann.

  68. raven says

    I always thought it was about God. Instead, it’s about what the believer conceives as their god.

    I apologize for stating the obvious if y’all already knew this. It’s a kind of epiphany for me.

    God is just a sockpuppet. This is actually known from social sciences research. God hates what you hate and wants you to have what you want.

    There are millions or billions of gods.

    They frequently conflict with each other. The fundie god hates me while my god doesn’t much like the fundies either.

  69. says

    raven:

    God is just a sockpuppet. This is actually known from social sciences research. God hates what you hate and wants you to have what you want.

    That bit, I understood. The bit I missed was the fact that God was a proxy for all of reality. They cling to their God not just to preserve belief in a Higher Power, but because without their god, their reality would vanish. It’s not simply a justification to hate. It’s a way to twist reality so that the hate is rational.

    God is a buffer between the reality a believer desires, and the reality that objectively exists.

    That explains why rational argument is ineffective. A believer is clinging not just to their god, but to the reality the god represents. It makes any truly rational argument irrational.

    It’s the subtlety of the thing that escaped me. Subtle, yet compelling.

  70. Mr. Fire says

    It’s the subtlety of the thing that escaped me. Subtle, yet compelling.

    Don’t know if I had anything to do with that Nigel, but, uh, if I did, you’re welcome, and I take payment by VISA, check, or papal indulgences.

  71. 'Tis Himself, pour encourager les autres says

    I take payment by VISA, check, or papal indulgences.

    Upon my authority* as the Self-appointed Acting Temporary Assistant Papal Nuncio for Greater Southeastern Connecticut pro tem, I bless you, my son:

    Benedictas Qui Venit In Nomine Dominae, <hand goes zip-zip-zip in four directions> your sins are forgiven.

    *Respect my authority!

  72. says

    Mr. Fire:

    Don’t know if I had anything to do with that Nigel, but, uh, if I did, you’re welcome, and I take payment by VISA, check, or papal indulgences.

    My God tells me my appreciate and deep gratitude are payment enough.

    Seriously, though, it was your comment equating belief with a sexual fantasy. Something clicked, and I realized belief in god isn’t caused by a twisted view of reality, but the twisted view of reality was the desire, and the belief in god is simply the expedient (in fact, probably the only) tool used to get there.

    The discussion of misogyny and porn was a primer for this, though, and the idea that many MRAs don’t want their view of equality challenged because it would interfere with their sexual fantasies.

  73. truthspeaker says

    Some people are calling on Bachmann to apologize for her “joke”.

    If she could apologize to BP, she should be able to apologize to residents of hurricane-affected areas. Or at least to God.

  74. Chris Booth says

    John Quincy Adams died in 1848, was the son of John Adams (not the current composer–oh, Bachmann wouldn’t have heard of him), and the Emancipation Declaration was in 1863. During the Civil War. Oh, just to make it clear, the father John Adams was a Founding Father, and he died in 1826, when his son, John Quincy Adams, was President. Did you get any of this Bachmann or her Rethuglican/Tea-Party pilotfish? The memo. like others you are ignorant of, is 150 years old.

    Duh….

    Michele Bachmann is an illiterate, a liar, and unutterably stupid. And she’s a paranoid, malicious hate-mongerer.

    That she is even on anyone’s radar is too much. It speaks grievously ill of the U.S.

  75. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    John Quincy Adams died in 1848, was the son of John Adams (not the current composer–oh, Bachmann wouldn’t have heard of him), and the Emancipation Declaration was in 1863.

    proclamation….

    /pedant

    During the Civil War. Oh, just to make it clear, the father John Adams was a Founding Father, and he died in 1826, when his son, John Quincy Adams, was President.

    Interestingly enough on July 4th, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, on the same day and just hours after Thomas Jefferson.

  76. peterh says

    @ #57:

    No; the “in vain” thing is more closely related to perjury than to irreverence. Now, then, Bachmann’s wild stabs at reality and rationality are very much in vain.

  77. Brownian says

    That explains why rational argument is ineffective. A believer is clinging not just to their god, but to the reality the god represents. It makes any truly rational argument irrational.

    Not necessarily. The thing is, this belief can and does flex, since it needs to encompass all of one’s knowledge. For instance, a believer might start out thinking condoms are against their god’s will, come to understand the importance of family planning and birth control in saving lives and increasing the quality thereof, and finally decide their god doesn’t care about such things after all. (Those of my family who are moderate Catholics think along these lines.)

    It’s possible to strain this position to a breaking point. My own deconversion wasn’t an epiphany sort of thing, but I do recall thinking that as I learned more about the universe, I needed to attenuate the god I believed in so much that it eventually became more or less obsolete. I thought, “Geez, I’m working awfully hard to jam God into my understanding of the universe. What would I lose if I just dropped him?” If I were familiar with Laplace at the time, I would have jumped all over Je n’avais pas besoin de cette hypothèse-là.

    So, rational argument (or, increasing science knowledge) can have an effect on people in this way. It’s just that the effect may be indirect.

  78. says

    Brownian:

    Not necessarily. The thing is, this belief can and does flex, since it needs to encompass all of one’s knowledge.

    It seems, then, that to be successful, a rational argument must start with knowledge that doesn’t directly contradict their perceived reality. The argument must then build on this until the perceived reality is obviously and undeniably in opposition to the new knowledge.

    That would indicate a long and dedicated educational program, more than purely rational argument.

    As raven says, this seems to be why the radical theists are opposed to education in general.

    Can you bring my some chapstick? My brain hurts real bad.

  79. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Do you realize how improbable this is?

    Therefor, God!

    Thankfully someone got my point!

    Now that everyone is converted I’ll be robbing your houses on Sunday morning.

    Thanks.

  80. chigau (™) says

    nigelTheBold, Pure as the Driven Snow

    Do you realize how improbable this is?
    Therefor, God!

    Doesn’t this god character ever do anything, like, normal?
    Why all the weirdness all the time?
    What is so “pure” about driven snow?
    Why can’t I underline?

  81. SplendidMonkey says

    So she was attempting “kidding on the square” ala Al Franken? Except Al is actually funny.

  82. Brownian says

    It seems, then, that to be successful, a rational argument must start with knowledge that doesn’t directly contradict their perceived reality. The argument must then build on this until the perceived reality is obviously and undeniably in opposition to the new knowledge.

    I don’t know that such a technique is necessary to change minds, only that it can work this way.

    That would indicate a long and dedicated educational program, more than purely rational argument.

    Which has its own benefits in addition to making it more difficult for individuals to hold irrational beliefs without substantial compartmentalisation.

    As raven says, this seems to be why the radical theists are opposed to education in general.

    Partially. There’s also a disdain for intellectualism that probably has its roots in cultural rather than theological traditions.

    Can you bring my some chapstick? My brain hurts real bad.

    Chapstick is habit-forming. Keep hydrated, avoid licking your brain, and cover it up in windy, cold, or very hot conditions, and you’ll find it will start to produce enough natural moisture on its own.

    Now that everyone is converted I’ll be robbing your houses on Sunday morning.

    “My flock, it has come to my attention that many of you are finding it too difficult to tithe. Well, God teaches us to be merciful towards those who struggle. For that reason, I will be selecting members of the laity to assist those for whom the act of tithing is a burden. But before we get to that, I’d like to thank the Mitchell family, of Mitchell Hardware, for their generous donation of these beautifully inscribed crowbars…”

  83. Qwerty says

    Lately, I often remember that some of our founding fathers, Ben Franklin to name one, thought of our democracy as an experiment.

    So, we have to remember (sadly enough) that experiments often fail.

    When that happens I plan to immigrate to Canada or Norway or any sensibly run country.

  84. Chris Booth says

    RevBigDumbChimp @ #89:

    Ooops. That wasn’t even a typo. It was a mental hiccup. Thank you for the correction….The pink cheeks, while appealing and cherubic, do not reflect my usual complexion….

  85. petejohn says

    So is Bachmann dumb or is she merely a Jebus-freak? Or is there any difference between the two?

  86. Rambling T. Wreck says

    So is Bachmann dumb or is she merely a Jebus-freak? Or is there any difference between the two?

    Does it matter? Neither of those are qualities that I want at the head of my country!

  87. piranhaintheguppytank says

    There have been 2901 earthquakes in the US so far this year; there were 8493 total in 2010. It looks like, on average, there’s an earthquake above magnitude 4 every day, somewhere in the US.

    Omigod! You know what this means? The gay marriage problem is worse than I thought.

    Our country spends something like $75 billion a year to defend us from Teh Terrorists. (Money well spent too! You never know when a jihad might break out in Nebraska.)

    It’s about time we devoted a similar expenditure toward addressing the earth-destabilizing problem of homosexuality.

    (Don’t believe those ignorant know-it-alls who deny the link between earthquakes and homosexuality. They’re called “seismologists”.)