Baucus And The Koch Bros.

From The Montana Cowgirl:

Kochs

Kochs (Photo credit: Truthout.org)

“I just learned this a few days ago, but Koch industries is listed as one Max Baucus’s largest donors.   The company is listed as having  contributed$40,000 to Baucus since 2005.  That puts him in an exclusive club: with Paul Ryan, Michelle Bachmann, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, and Eric Cantor–who have all taken more than $30,000 from the Kochs during the last four campaign cycles.

And it’s eight times what the Koch’s have given to Denny Rehberg, according to FEC reports.

This is a highly disturbing state of affairs and Baucus should promptly return the money.”

All I can say is this (and you may quote me): “Ick.”  

Read the rest here

Shut The (Bleep) Up

We watched a little bit of the VMA’s last night- just until the latest episode of Torchwood reran- and I was amazed at all the bleeps that were happening. It almost made the show unwatchable.

Not because I’m a prude, but because I have a hard time with interrupted continuity. I hate distractions.

Ask anybody who has ever sat next to me in a movie theater- or watched a movie with me in my living room; I hate talking, interruptions or distractions. Ken has learned to sit on the aisle, and, if he doesn’t remember, I remind him to use the restroom before the movie. I don’t like talking or noisy crowds in the theater, either. I paid my good money to watch a movie, not listen to your conversation and commentary. For me, a movie is like a roller coaster- I pay my money, I get in the car and I don’t get out until the ride is over.

And I don’t bring my colicky baby.

But when something is continually interrupted, it starts to concern me. I have a hard time tracking. Maybe it’s advancing age and/or deafness that’s making me less tolerant of distractions, but it seems to be having its own manifestation in politics. Candidates are actively interrupting scientific communication in this country. Blatantly standing up in the middle of the show and making factual inferences with fantastical statements. Distracting people from the reality hiding behind the curtain with a little folksy humor or superstitious nonsense.

And I’m annoyed.

Thank God that I’m not alone. Paul Krugman today has an excellent article about the trending GOP tendency to deny science, knowledge- and maybe, common sense- in favor of the popularly held beliefs of uneducated, superstitious people. My words, not his. These are his:

According to Public Policy Polling, only 21 percent of Republican voters in Iowa believe in global warming (and only 35 percent believe in evolution). Within the G.O.P., willful ignorance has become a litmus test for candidates, one that Mr. Romney is determined to pass at all costs.

So it’s now highly likely that the presidential candidate of one of our two major political parties will either be a man who believes what he wants to believe, even in the teeth of scientific evidence, or a man who pretends to believe whatever he thinks the party’s base wants him to believe.

And the deepening anti-intellectualism of the political right, both within and beyond the G.O.P., extends far beyond the issue of climate change.

Lately, for example, The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page has gone beyond its long-term preference for the economic ideas of “charlatans and cranks” — as one of former President George W. Bush’s chief economic advisers famously put it — to a general denigration of hard thinking about matters economic. Pay no attention to “fancy theories” that conflict with “common sense,” the Journal tells us. Because why should anyone imagine that you need more than gut feelings to analyze things like financial crises and recessions?

Now, we don’t know who will win next year’s presidential election. But the odds are that one of these years the world’s greatest nation will find itself ruled by a party that is aggressively anti-science, indeed anti-knowledge. And, in a time of severe challenges — environmental, economic, and more — that’s a terrifying prospect.

And if you want more proof that the GOP is pandering to the uneducated you don’t have to look much farther than Michele Bachmann. Her blind-to-the-facts manner is starting to leak holy water as well:

Speaking to a crowd in Florida over the weekend, Bachmann said the historic earthquake and massive hurricane that rocked the East Coast last week was a message that God is upset with the way politicians in Washington have been doing things. The interview with the St. Petersburg Times…:

She hailed the tea party as being common-sense Americans who understand government shouldn’t spend more than it takes in, know they’re taxed enough already and want government to abide by the Constitution.

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.”

Emphasis added. Bachmann’s comments put her closer to Pat Robertson’s take on the week than her most prominent rivals for the Republican nomination.

Part of me wants to yell “Shut the (bleep) up!” The same part of me that was annoyed in the theater during Schindler’s List when that woman with the whimpering and complaining kids (kids around 5, 6 and/or 7 from what I could tell), who kept telling them loudly to sit still, be quiet and stop whining throughout the whole movie- instead of taking them out the door and across the hall to watch Beethoven’s 2nd. In my frustration, I threw a dirty look and a kernel or two of popcorn her way.

It’s how I feel when people, jockeying to be the most powerful person in the world, blatantly disregard science in favor of folksyisms that appease- and get votes. This guy/gal is just like me. They should be president.

Huh? Whatever happened to the drive to be intelligent in our culture? When did it become evil? Haven’t we learned our lesson about folksy presidents from Texas?

I guess not. Just like the lady in the theater didn’t know-or didn’t care- that bringing small children to Schindler’s List would wreck the movie for almost everyone else in the room. But this time, I’m not going to just sit there, fuming. I’m not keeping my mouth shut.

Consider this the opening salvo.

Buttered.

NYT sums up Montana Politics

…and does a pretty good job:

But the biggest question is whether anger — at Washington, at the parties, at the economy — can be in fact transmuted to hope for a better way, or whether anger just makes for more anger in a rolling cascade.

“United we stand, divided we fall — and we’re falling,” said DeAnne Asher, 64, who was chatting with friends on a recent morning in Lincoln, in the state’s wooded western half. Ms. Asher, who said she mostly voted Republican, does not plan to support Mr. Tester, but does not see voting for Mr. Rehberg either at this point. The entire system, she said, is broken.

“I’m fed up,” she said.

Full story here.

Comment Leads To Action?

Last week I posted a video of human rights activist Mitchell Gold taking on smug Christian fundamentalist Peter Sprigg. Got quite a lot of hits, and some interesting comments. One of the comments, from reader Teresa, got me thinking. I’ve edited it for ease of reading (not content) and added hyperlinks to the text she refers to:

I clicked on the Faith in America link and came across this great document, “A Report by Faith in America: Addressing Religious Arguments to Achieve LGBT Equality.

I found this in the document.

“In 2006, the organization began a series of four-week educational campaigns in a number of communities across America with print newspaper ads, billboards and radio ads with polling conducted prior to the start and several weeks after each campaign – which had closed with a community meeting to discuss religion-based bigotry toward the LGBT community. Polling in each campaign showed positive movement in acceptance levels.”

How do we go about doing this in Montana before the next legislative session?

How indeed?

I think it’s very important to remember that unchallenged religious views are among the most damaging forces to human equality. Many of the fundamental negative things people believe about gay people aren’t scriptural- they’re anecdotal, anti-scientific, anti-experiential and don’t hold up under scrutiny. And I’m sick of people hiding behind Christian belief in order to promote their intolerance.

Maybe it’s time to challenge them on a broader level in Montana.

Anybody own a billboard?