American Samizdat

Thursday, December 31, 2009. *
In light of Zero hour: Astor Piazzolla
posted by Uncle $cam at 10:46 PM
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I know people love to "name the decades". Well this one is easier than you think. It is the Dehumanization Decade.

We have made incredible inroads at dehumanizing people.

Immigrants. They cause the crime rates to go up, they cost us tax money, health care money, they are invading our country illegally, and one right wing nutcase actually tried to make us believe that they were bringing in deadly diseases. However on the bright side Lou Dobbs has become a fierce advocate of the latino community, aren't they lucky.

But they aren't people, they are just immigrants.

LGBT's. No love for my friends there. A homophobe psycho gave the invocation at the inauguration he then went on to try to help a country pass a law to KILL GAYS. Sure he backtracked when his donations started to go down but really, we can never remove the stain of allowing this psycho to address the nation during a historic Inauguration.
No repeal for DADT, more Defense of Marriage crap, from divorced people, no equal rights for them and their partners.

Not people, just gays.

Liberals. They are whats wrong with the world. Wimpy liberals and their wimpy ideas. They are all commie pinko socialists looking to bring down this country. They are godless, immoral, idiots, and it all must be true because many books have been written about it, just ask Glen Beck and Ann Coulter.

Not people, just liberals.

Islam. All of Islam has been painted as lunatic terrorists or enemy combatants and thank god for that right? I mean you can't justify torturing a child or a parent in front of their child if they were actual people. Can't win an unwinnable war without painting them as freedom haters.

Not people, just Islamics.

I could go on with many groups of people but I will put everyone else into one last category.

People who didn't get their pony. Sure health care may be life or death for some, equal rights for gays might be basic human decency, better immigration laws might mean a better life for hard working people who could use to just be able to take care of their families, True Islamics may hate the terrorists as much as we do.

But these aren't real people, they are just whiners who didn't get their pony.

Honestly I found it shocking when Democrats started using this dehumanizing tactic to characterize people who need help. I always thought it was only the Right Wing that could be so callous about the needs of others. We have learned well from them. We have learned that the best way to "win" is to dehumanize our opponents. Make sure no one sees them as the real people they are, with wants and needs and families and people who love them and depend on them. We did our best to turn them into whiners who didn't get a pony. And it's working. I have seen this sick little game played out here over and over again.

Dehumanize your opponent, it makes it impossible for them to argue with you. If you are so callous as to consider someone's equal rights, their legal status, or their need for decent health care, the equivalent of "getting a pony" then you actually have already made up your mind and nothing including logic, reason, facts, or emotion could sway you. You have won, by cheating yourself out of your humanity.

Here's to hoping that the Dehumanization is over and the next 10 years are full of re-humanization. Happy New Year.
Or, 'more the same to come so says, Dante'...

and homage to another great tale, Milton's Paradise Lost...
posted by Uncle $cam at 4:24 PM
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Wednesday, December 30, 2009. *
Note to Booman: We criticize the President to prevent Democratic Party losses.
posted by Philip Shropshire at 8:16 PM
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Tuesday, December 29, 2009. *
"trained incapacity," Markov Chains, Statistically Improbable Phrases (SIPs), social holons, backcasting/hindvasting/nowcasting memes, sorta like.. gene prediction or cryptanalysis and why can't some of you Magicked followers whom love a good riddle/enigma thang, suss some clues out of all this etherized data?

Bohren und der Club of Gore - On Demon Wings
posted by Uncle $cam at 10:53 PM
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When nothing adds up, its time we starting looking at what we know. Our recent terrorist, now dubbed "the crotch bomber" is another dupe. He could have been working for anyone, drugged, brainwashed or simply influenced, maybe by crazy Arabs, maybe by the Mossad, maybe by the CIA. We only know the game is falling apart.

We do know a couple of things. Dad, back in Nigeria, ran the national arms industry (DICON) in partnership with Israel, in particular, the Mossad. He was in daily contact with them. They run everything in Nigeria, from arms production to counter-terrorism. Though Islamic, Muttalab was a close associate of Israel. He has been misrepresented. His "banking" is a cover. Next, what do we know about the two Al Qaeda leaders Bush had released, the ones who planned this?

According to ABC news, the Al Qaeda leaders running the insurgency in Yemen were released from Guantanamo, although two of the highest ranking known terrorist there, without trial.

Guantanamo prisoner #333, Muhamad Attik al-Harbi, and prisoner #372, Said Ali Shari, were sent to Saudi Arabia on Nov. 9, 2007, according to the Defense Department log of detainees who were released from American custody.

Both of the former Guantanamo detainees are described as military commanders and appear on a January, 2009 video along with the man described as the top leader of al Qaeda in Yemen, Abu Basir Naser al-Wahishi, formerly Osama bin Laden's personal secretary.

With all the hoopla about trials in New York, not a word is said when top level terrorists are released to Saudi friends of the Bush family who let them go. We are now fighting these two Bush friends in Yemen. They are running a major insurgency there. We have been using Cruise missiles and our jets to attack their bases in the last weeks.
posted by Uncle $cam at 1:40 PM
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What about Iran? Is that the day after tomorrow's war?

Clearly Lieberman is very busy thinking about America's problems and how to solve them.

Is there anything about that sanctimonious weenie Joseph Lieberman that doesn’t induce nausea?

Um, no:

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) Sunday said that Yemen could be the ground of America’s next overseas war if Washington does not take preemptive action to root out al-Qaeda interests there.

Lieberman, who helms the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said on “Fox News Sunday” that the U.S. will have to take an active approach in Yemen after multiple recent terrorist attacks on the U.S. were linked back to the Middle Eastern nation.

The Connecticut senator said that a government official in the Yemeni capital told him that “Iraq was yesterday’s war, Afghanistan is today’s war. If we don’t act preemptively, Yemen will be tomorrow’s war.”

Yeah, we’d better keep bombing Yemen. Look how well its worked in Pakistan, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Afterwards, let’s move on to Iran, Somalia, Ethiopia, Indonesia. If the recent past has any lesson for us at all, it’s that heavy-handed military responses to vague ‘terrorist threats’ work like a charm.

I love Joe’s reasoning. Let’s start a war in Yemen to prevent a war in Yemen from starting. By that logic, why not cut your wrists right now to prevent the certain death that awaits you in the future?

I think, but cannot prove, that this is the way civilizations fall.

It’s not surprising that Lieberman supports an endless string of wars and bombings. He’s a loyal employee of powerful interests who profit from them. What’s disturbing is how easily this bankrupt vision of American foreign policy gets disseminated through our culture and becomes the accepted, conventional wisdom. No one will doubt the premise that evil al Qaeda types are operating in Yemen and that military force is the only way to handle the problem. The only argument we’ll hear in the glitzy, neon compost heap of the mainstream media will be a pre-school level debate about how we attack Yemen. Should we settle for more drone strikes, or should we go balls deep with a full-scale invasion? Special-Ops, anyone? How about we train an indigenous security force? Call up Tom Friedman and Bill Kristol and let’s get the fireworks started.

At what point does this futile charade grow old? When do Americans reject this tired, stale, false and endlessly regurgitated script? I look around and see a nation of people held in thrall by an overblown, over-marketed science fiction movie that is essentially a cartoon (Avatar), and I know the answer. A nation whose grown-ups are entertained by cartoons is a nation whose grown-ups will go on swallowing the superficial, cartoonish narratives that drive our foreign policy.

I imagine they won't be delaying that vote on the Patriot Act much longer being as it was sunset time...
posted by Uncle $cam at 1:25 PM
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Monday, December 28, 2009. *
A year ago this President Barack Obama toon would have been racist. Now, not so sure.
posted by Philip Shropshire at 8:48 PM
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Sunday, December 27, 2009. *
Wow, that didn't take long at all. Scant days after the American war machine took the cloaking device off its direct military involvement in Yemen, we have an alleged attempted terrorist attack by an alleged attempted terrorist who, just scant hours after his capture, has allegedly confessed to getting his alleged attempted terrorist material from ... wait for it ... Yemen!

As an aside, I read somewhere today, an Isarali company does the majority of airport security for most european countries. Same as during Sept 11th.

Indeed, the ultimate in shadowboxing, in other words, a sciomachy;which is an an obscure psychological term. But then again, it's mostly psychological op, isn't it. 'Full Spectrum Dominance'(TM). If we want to discuss a national psychological pathology instead of the BushCo/Obama® psychological pathology, this might be a more fruitful direction.

Just as the saying goes, 'If there were not a God we would have to create him, so too we have to create a controlled chaos, in a echo chamber feedback loop to justify our stay. If there were no Al qaeda we'd have to fund them...etc.. it's mostly, a sciamachy. We created this sanguinivorous monster, ...blood, oil, and soon water, there is no difference.
posted by Uncle $cam at 1:56 AM
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After getting that red, white and blue dick jammed up your ass, of terra terra terra over the holidays, in silence, Obama & the Supreme Court shred human liberty in a Single Sentence while you weren't looking.

It happened earlier this week, in a discreet ruling that attracted almost no notice and took little time. In fact, our most august defenders of the Constitution did not have to exert themselves in the slightest to eviscerate not merely 220 years of Constitutional jurisprudence but also centuries of agonizing effort to lift civilization a few inches out of the blood-soaked mire that is our common human legacy. They just had to write a single sentence.

Here's how the bad deal went down. After hearing passionate arguments from the Obama Administration, the Supreme Court acquiesced to the president's fervent request and, in a one-line ruling, let stand a lower court decision that declared torture an ordinary, expected consequence of military detention, while introducing a shocking new precedent for all future courts to follow: anyone who is arbitrarily declared a "suspected enemy combatant" by the president or his designated minions is no longer a "person." They will simply cease to exist as a legal entity. They will have no inherent rights, no human rights, no legal standing whatsoever -- save whatever modicum of process the government arbitrarily deigns to grant them from time to time, with its ever-shifting tribunals and show trials.

This extraordinary ruling occasioned none of those deep-delving "process stories" that glut the pages of the New York Times, where the minutiae of policy-making or political gaming is examined in highly-spun, microscopic detail doled out by self-interested insiders. Obviously, giving government the power to render whole classes of people "unpersons" was not an interesting subject for our media arbiters. It was news that wasn't fit to print. Likewise, the ruling provoked no thundering editorials in the Washington Post, no savvy analysis from the high commentariat -- and needless to say, no outrage whatsoever from all our fierce defenders of individual liberty on the Right.


The Constitution is clear: no person can be held without due process; no person can be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment. And the U.S. law on torture of any kind is crystal clear: it is forbidden, categorically, even in time of "national emergency." And the instigation of torture is, under U.S. law, a capital crime. No person can be tortured, at any time, for any reason, and there are no immunities whatsoever for torture offered anywhere in the law.

And yet this is what Barack Obama -- who, we are told incessantly, is a super-brilliant Constitutional lawyer -- has been arguing in case after case since becoming president: Torturers are immune from prosecution; those who ordered torture are immune from prosecution. They can't even been sued for, in the specific case under review, subjecting uncharged, indefinitely detained captives to "beatings, sleep deprivation, forced nakedness, extreme hot and cold temperatures, death threats, interrogations at gunpoint, and threatened with unmuzzled dogs."

Again, let's be absolutely clear: Barack Obama has taken the freely chosen, public, formal stand -- in court -- that there is nothing wrong with any of these activities. Nothing to answer for, nothing meriting punishment or even civil penalties. What's more, in championing the lower court ruling, Barack Obama is now on record as believing -- insisting -- that torture is an ordinary, "foreseeable consequence" of military detention of all those who are arbitrarily declared "suspected enemy combatants."

And still further: Barack Obama has now declared, openly, of his own free will, that he does not consider these captives to be "persons." They are, literally, sub-humans. And what makes them sub-humans? The fact that someone in the U.S. government has declared them to be "suspected enemy combatants." (And note: even the mere suspicion of being an "enemy combatant" can strip you of your personhood.)

This is what President Barack Obama believes -- believes so strongly that he has put the full weight of the government behind a relentless series of court actions to preserve, protect and defend these arbitrary powers. (For a glimpse at just a sliver of such cases, see here and here.)

One co-counsel on the case, Shayana Kadidal of the Center for Constitutional Rights, zeroed in on the noxious quintessence of the position taken by the Court, and by our first African-American president: its chilling resemblance to the notorious Dred Scott ruling of 1857, which upheld the principle of slavery. As Fisher notes:

"Another set of claims are dismissed because Guantanamo detainees are not ‘persons’ within the scope of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act – an argument that was too close to Dred Scott v. Sanford for one of the judges on the court of appeals to swallow," he added.

The Dred Scott case was a decision by the United States Supreme Court in 1857. It ruled that people of African descent imported into the United States and held as slaves, or their descendants — whether or not they were slaves — were not protected by the Constitution and could never be citizens of the United States.

happy slavery holidays...
posted by Uncle $cam at 1:23 AM
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Friday, December 25, 2009. *
posted by Uncle $cam at 2:37 PM
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Wednesday, December 23, 2009. *
Note to Oliver Willis: Actually, President Obama did stab us in the back on the public option.
posted by Philip Shropshire at 2:59 PM
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Monday, December 21, 2009. *

and Congress passes $636 billion in military spending....
posted by Uncle $cam at 9:11 AM
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Sunday, December 20, 2009. *
Where Is The Man I Voted For?
© Leslie Blanchard

I have been putting off writing this- hoping something would change. Well something changed that has forced me to write it.

I voted for Mr. Obama. Mr. Obama is not the President I voted for.

Gitmo is still open.

He promised a tax credit of $500 for workers-in fact he promised 95% of workers would benefit from this. He compromised bowing to Republican pressure and lowered it to $400. Not a huge deal unless you are one of the people that don't even make enough to pay income tax, or the people that have to go to food banks, or Toys for Tots for help. That $100 means a lot to THEM.

Here's a direct quote of a promise that has been BROKEN. "No political appointees in an Obama-Biden administration will be permitted to work on regulations or contracts directly and substantially related to their prior employer for two years. And no political appointee will be able to lobby the executive branch after leaving government service during the remainder of the administration."

So what happened? Well he granted waivers to several former lobbyists, allowing them to serve in his administration.
The Administration has also granted recusals, where former lobbyists simply recuse themselves from discussions concerning whatever interest it is for which they used to lobby. The recusals have not been made public, and we don't know how many have been issued. Or if they are even being enforced.

If you are waiting on him to make good on his promise to make citizenship easier for undocumented immigrants in 2009. That's been put on hold- at least that's what he said in a speech to the leaders Of Canada and Mexico. But to please his right-wing friends he put into the health reform restrictions to specifically bar illegal immigrants from using their own money to purchase health insurance through any new health insurance exchanges. So now we can dictate how people spend their money? If this is so then I want legislation demanding the top 1% of our population spend their money to pay for the other 99% of the populations health care! Fair is fair.

His campaign pledge to end taxes for seniors making less than $50,000 has fallen by the wayside. It wasn't the economic stimulus bill, also known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. It wasn't in his first submitted budget proposal. In fact- it's not mentioned anywhere except in campaign speeches.

End DODT- please....he doesn't think it's important. We can send 30,00 additional troops to Afghanistan without doing a damn thing for Gay and Lesbian soldiers who risk their lives for the very people that discriminate them.

And about Afghanistan- I seem to remember a promise that the first week he was in office he would begin "ramping down" the war in Afghanistan. Or was I high on the medicinal marijuana I use. OH WAIT- that's still illegal.

One thing that really jazzed me that he promised was that there would be 5 days of public comment on proposed legislation to help stop bills being rushed thru in the middle of the night without our knowledge. Well that jazz has hit a sour note. In fact it vaporized into nothingness just like the hijacked airplane that supposedly crashed into the Pentagon on Sept. 11th.

And seeing the huge calamity and hypocrisy of the Bush initiative "no Child Left Behind" Candidate Obama promised double funding for the 21st Century Learning Centers program, so that it can serve 1 million more children. When the White House released its fiscal year 2010 budget request for the Education Department, it requested exactly the same amount in 2010 for the program as it had spent in 2009 -- a bit over $1.1 billion.
Probably because we had to bail out Obama's largest corporate donor- Goldman Sachs.

He promised to recognize the Armenian genocide.His exact words were "Two years ago, I criticized the Secretary of State for the firing of U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, John Evans, after he properly used the term 'genocide' to describe Turkey's slaughter of thousands of Armenians starting in 1915. … as President I will recognize the Armenian Genocide." Well......... not quite. When he went to Turkey he noticeably left the word "GENOCIDE" out of his talk about historical events. Obama's promise, and his statements while a U.S. senator, indicate that he thought the word itself was important. In 2006, a U.S. ambassador was recalled after he used the word "genocide" in reference to Armenia, which spurred Obama to write a letter to then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice saying that he thought the U.S. position on the issue was "untenable." You can read that missive here.

He promised no penalties on hardship withdrawals from 401K's and retirement funds. He just didn't happen. It slipped every-one's mind in the escalating finical crisis we were going through when he took office. Well- the people that could have so desperately used the help- they didn't forget, they just chalked it up to politics as usual.

Then there was that promise about a $3000 tax credit to companies that added jobs. It died in Congress and President Obama didn't even deliver an obituary for it. Congress felt that it wasn't enough of a credit to inspire anyone to add jobs. Obama must have agreed, as he stepped over the dead bill and went on to keep other promises- not sure what promises- probably ones to Big Pharma.

Okay, I overlooked most of the above. But now we come to the issue that has caused me to have to write this Roar. Health-care. Y'all know that health-care is a cause near and dear to me. It's why I am still alive. I thought it was so cool that he promised the health care debate would be argued and debated publicly on C-SPAN. That,s only the tip of the ice burg when it comes to his health care reform policy.

First, and I know I'm not a politician but I am a damned stubborn Texas and here in Texas we know you don't start a robust debate with a compromise. Barrack didn't have the cojones to to go into the fight and say "This is what I want! Make it happen!" He basically entered the arena and said "hey guys, I promised health care reform- pass something even if it's nothing like I promised, I don't care just pass something, and oh yeah could ya do it as a Christmas present to me?"

First of all I NEED to know why the hell (censored) we even need Insurance companies??? Why do we need these middlemen? Think about it- what the hell do they really do? They probably go to Vegas a lot-because their whole industry is based on betting we won't get sick. And when we do- as I did, they said my multiple Sclerosis was a pre-existing condition and dropped me quicker than a warm cow chip. OK so this bill will "supposedly" prevent that from occurring. But they cut the hell out of Medicare so I and many of you are supposed to just bend over and grab our ankles. Sorry Mr. Pres., M.S. won't let me assume that position.

Did anyone aside from me, and all the shareholders notice how high insurance companies stocks closed at Friday? Hmm-inside trading? Did they know that they had a dog in the fight that would better even a Michael Vick trained dog? I asked on Twitter a little while ago- WTF this farce of a bill was acceptable??. Someone replied- it was "the best bill money could buy." Just ask Senator Ben Nelson who sold his vote by making all of us pay for Nebraska's Medicaid Program, and cheating women out of the right to choose.

I feel violated. Mr. Obama campaigned as a left of center democrat. I wanted a very progressive democrat but took the only choice offered me. And sure, it made me proud, validated my beliefs by electing a black man President of the United States. But I was a victim of bait & switch, A lot of us were. He has shown that what he really desire most of all is for people to like him, not rock the boat, don't choose your battles wisely- just don't battle. A line from my favorite move sums it up perfectly. "What we have Failure to communicate."

Well I can communicate my message #OBAMA FAIL.

Peace ya'll.

posted by Leslie Blanchard at 11:13 AM
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Wednesday, December 16, 2009. *
How to Negotiate (For Health Care, Jobs, Bankruptcy Reform, etc) Like the DNC in toon form.
posted by Philip Shropshire at 1:23 AM
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Sunday, December 13, 2009. *
Why Richard Dawkins is a mean ol' atheist. (Church's birth control policy hurts Africa...)
posted by Philip Shropshire at 10:15 PM
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posted by Uncle $cam at 11:18 AM
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They are to publish a hard-hitting report which they claim proves the weapons expert did not commit suicide as the Hutton Report decided...

Dr Kelly was found dead at a beauty spot near his Oxfordshire home in 2003, days after he was exposed as the source of a story that Tony Blair's government 'sexed-up' its dossier on Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction to justify invading Iraq.

A documentary released by the CBC in March called Anthrax War traces the recent history of biowarfare and the mysterious deaths of those involved including Dr Kelly.

Anthrax War also investigates the mysterious deaths of some of the world's leading anthrax scientists, including Dr. David Kelly, the UK's top military microbiologist, the Soviet defector Dr. Vladimir Pasechnik, and Dr. Bruce Ivins. The FBI claims - despite the doubts of highly ranked U.S. officials - that Ivins was the only person behind the U.S. anthrax murders.

In tracing the 2001 bio-terror attacks in the U.S. to the heart of the U.S. bio-defense program, this film raises an alarm. These attacks that helped prepare a country for war have also spawned a multi-billion dollar bio-defense boom. The line between bio-offense and bio-defense is becoming extremely thin. Biological weapons research is now being conducted by corporations and private labs without effective government oversight. The international treaty prohibiting the development of offensive bio-weapons may no longer be sufficient to keep the world from drifting towards the unthinkable – biological warfare.

But, hey, we're looking forward, not back...~Mr. Peace Prize
posted by Uncle $cam at 11:12 AM
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Friday, December 11, 2009. *

America will never have a universal health care system. It will always be alone in the industrialized world with a complex, multi tiered, class based system that leaves the most in need isolated and ignored. The collective needs of the people will always suffer in ways such as this for as long as Americans define freedom as the triumph of the individual over that of the public good - or anything else for that matter. It has never been a debate, as much as a debacle.

America will never have a universal health care system.

but we will have:

posted by Uncle $cam at 12:11 PM
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Thursday, December 10, 2009. *
The public option is not dead and here are several ways to keep fighting for it.
posted by Philip Shropshire at 7:15 PM
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Sunday, December 06, 2009. *

Your Sunday Atheism Links

First up: Jesus and Mo. This cartoon, and I say this rarely, has been confirmed by a recent study. Turns out that your personal beliefs about the reality of the world and your God's tend to coincide. It's not luck.

Two: From Pharyrngula and I can testify that this is a problem with some of the Christians I've known and met.

Category: Religion
Posted on: December 5, 2009 10:12 AM, by
PZ Myers

Can you bear yet another case of religion-rationalized child abuse?

Over three months in 2006, as her five children grew more emaciated and listless by the day, Estelle Walker made no move to find a job, no effort to scrounge up a meal, her kids told a jury yesterday.

"We were supposed to wait for God to provide," said Walker's oldest daughter, now 21. "And that's what we did."

At one point, the daughter said, she and her siblings went 11 days without food. When police were at last summoned to the Sussex County cabin by neighbors, investigators found the children so malnourished they had difficulty talking.

You would think that after watching her own children waste away for months, she'd realize that god will not provide. Never has and never will.

Three: One reason why the mean ol'  New Atheists are popular is that they're very good debaters. They're very good with this whole reason in argument thing. Take a look at this debate between Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Fry and representatives of the Catholic Church. What's remarkable is that they were polling this very literate audience and the more the Catholic reps spoke the more people they lost. I must confess that I find 99 percent of the debates between the New Atheists and religious people to go this way. However, this is the first time I've seen polling to confirm it. Watch the entirety of the debate here.

And we end with Jesus and Mo.

Click here to find out more!

Click here to find out more!

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posted by Philip Shropshire at 11:47 PM
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Tuesday, December 01, 2009. *

The UnocalCheney bypass continues. The more we change(TM) the more we stay the same.

Many newly indignant peeps are now saying it's like this: Obama: Bush's third term. I'm saying nope, Reagan's eighth...
posted by Uncle $cam at 2:28 PM
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