Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Fuck the Motherfucker

Posted: May 2, 2010 by skepticalprogrammer in Atheism, General, Politics
Tags: , , , , ,

Catchy title eh? It’s from a video by Tim Minchin:

For those who would like the lyrics:

Fuck the motherfucker
Fuck the motherfucker
Fuck the motherfucker
He’s a fucking motherfucker

Fuck the motherfucker
Fuck the fucking fucker
Fuck the motherfucker
He’s a total fucking fucker

Fuck the motherfucker
Fuck the motherfucker
Fuck the motherfucker
Fucking fuck the motherfucker

Fuck the motherfucker
Fuck the motherfucking Pope

Fuck the motherfucker
And fuck you motherfucker
If you think that motherfucker is sacred

If you cover for another motherfucker who’s a kiddie fucker
Fuck you, you’re no better than the motherfucking rapist

And if you don’t like the swearing that this motherfucker forced from me
And reckon that it shows moral or intellectual paucity
Then fuck you motherfucker, this is language one employs
When one is fucking cross about fuckers fucking boys

I don’t give a fuck if calling the Pope a motherfucker
Means you unthinkingly brand me an unthinking apostate
This has naught to do with other fucking godly motherfuckers
I’m not interested right now in fucking scriptural debate

There are other fucking songs and there are other fucking ways
I’ll be a religious apologist on other fucking days
But the fact remains, if you protect a single kiddie fucker
Then Pope or prince or plumber, you’re a fucking motherfucker

You see I don’t give a fuck what any other motherfucker
Believes about Jesus and his motherfucking mother
And I’ve no problem with the spiritual beliefs of all these fuckers
While those beliefs don’t impact on the happiness of others

But if you build a church on claims of fucking moral authority
And with threats of hell impose it on others in society
Then you, you motherfuckers, could expect some fucking wrath
When it turns out you’ve been fucking us in our motherfucking asses

So fuck the motherfucker
And fuck you, motherfucker if you’re still a motherfucking papist
If he covered for a single motherfucker who’s a kiddie fucker
Fuck the motherfucker, he’s as evil as the rapist

And if you look into your motherfucking heart and tell me true
If this motherfucking stupid fucking song offended you
With its filthy fucking language and it’s fucking disrespect
If it made you feel angry, go ahead and write a letter
But if you find me more offensive than the fucking possibility
That the Pope protected priests when they were getting fucking fiddly
Then listen to me, motherfucker, this here is a fact:
You are just as morally misguided as that motherfucking
Power-hungry, self-aggrandized bigot in the stupid fucking hat

I couldn’t have said it any better myself Tim!

Torture and Racism

Posted: April 5, 2010 by skepticalprogrammer in Politics
Tags: , , , ,

Several months ago Rachel Maddow posted a link to a blog called Detainee 063 on her Twitter. It released the interrogation logs of a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay exactly 7 years (to the minute) after they occurred. After reading through several pages worth of logs, I came to the conclusion that the interrogators were more concerned with getting the detainee to say what they wanted than finding truth. In the portion of the logs I read the type of torture they used was limited to deprivation of basic human needs (sleep, food/water, and bathroom access), but even under this kind of pressure anyone could be convinced to say anything to make it stop. When being interrogated in this way by people who want you to admit to being a member of Al-Qaeda, it is no wonder so many people admit and recant over and over like Mohammed al-Qahtani did.

How did we get to the point that we were so eager for war that we were willing to subject a human to such treatment in exchange for what would most likely be a false confession? Unfortunately, I think that this question can be partially answered by saying that some people have always been there. There is a strange phenomenon in the American (or possibly general Human) psyche in which we are able to dehumanize an entire group of people if we can justify it to ourselves. It was this phenomenon that allowed for nearly 200 years of slavery in the United States which was justified by the church saying that Africans were the direct descendants of Ham and were therefore Canaanites. It was this same phenomenon that allowed nearly 100 years of segregation and rampant lynching in the Southern US by the Klu Klux Klan. It was this phenomenon that led to the murder of millions of Jews during WWII, as well as the imprisonment of Japanese-Americans in American concentration camps during the same time period. This same phenomenon is what has caused many Americans and American Politicians to turn a blind eye while we violate the Geneva convention by torturing people based upon race and religion in Guantanamo Bay.

What can we do to combat this kind of racism in the future? I guess first and foremost we can stop engaging in racism and torture now. Right now the prison at Guantanamo Bay is still open, and we are sending a clear signal to the rest of the world that we are fine with torturing (mostly) innocent people–of the nearly 600 people who have been detained at Guantanamo Bay since the start of the “War on Terror”, only 3 have been convicted of a crime. Next, we have to find common ground on which all sane humans can stand while we begin our march towards a new tomorrow. It will only be by focusing on what we have in common that we will be able to work through our differences. We also need to go out of our way to form relationships with people from different backgrounds. It is hard to dehumanize Arabs or Black People if you have Arab friends and Black friends. Finally, as with most other problems, we need to educate our children. Only when children are taught that people of different races and religions are just as valuable as we are can we move past this horrible behaviour we have shown.

The Health Care Debate

Posted: March 26, 2010 by skepticalprogrammer in Politics
Tags: ,

I have been thinking about the health care debate that has been raging in the US quite a bit recently. I have been a strong advocate for health care reform (specifically in the form of fully Socialized medicine in the US) from the first time the idea that our system could be improved crossed my mind. I believe everyone should have a decent shot at being able to live long, healthy lives, and that the idea of someone profiting from the misfortune of others should be abhorrent to anyone who considers themselves moral.

I cannot seem to wrap my head around those who are so desperate to block health care reform. I’m not talking about the “Teabaggers” (although they are postworthy in a different way) or the conservative-leaning who for one reason or another are afraid that health care reform will cause more abortions and a decrease in quality of care for the elderly. I am talking about the people at the top of the conservative/republican hierarchy who knowingly spread lies about what will be contained in the bill. Why on earth would someone want to tell elderly people that this bill will form “Death Panels” to decide whether or not they are worth treating? How can anyone with a conscience knowingly (and purposefully) incite such violent fear in so many people, especially people who are demographically much more likely to own guns?

While I suspect the people calling the shots in the conservative movement are all sitting in corporate board rooms in major companies trying to do for their industries what the aptly named Dick Cheney did for defense contracting, I cannot dismiss the role figureheads like Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck have played in this nightmare-in-the-making. They have knowingly convinced a very large and under-educated demographic that liberals are out to kill them–all for personal gain (and in Glenn Beck’s case, I suspect there is a tinge of sadistic pleasure gained from watching the panic he causes).

What has really shocked me, however, has been the reaction of prominent religious leaders during this time, as well as during the 2008 presidential election. Wiley Drake, a conservative Christian pastor and second vice-president of the Southern Baptist Convention, has been calling upon his supporters to “pray Psalms 109” upon every congressman who voted in favor of the recent health care bill. For those unfamiliar with Psalms 109, the relevant section is as follows:

7 When he is tried, let him be found guilty,
and may his prayers condemn him.

8 May his days be few;
may another take his place of leadership.

9 May his children be fatherless
and his wife a widow.

10 May his children be wandering beggars;
may they be driven from their ruined homes.

Now I can understand people being upset about the vote not going the way you think it should, but wishing death upon people for thinking differently than you do is insanity. Even though I disagree with Glenn Beck on basically everything I have ever heard him say, I would never advocate praying for his death. Once you start praying for someone to die, it may not be long before you are calling some criminal a hero for murdering that person.

So what can we do as atheists or open-minded theists to defuse this dangerous situation? Whether you were for or against the passage of the bill, it is in your best interest to prevent further escalation of this potentially violent situation. I think the first step in finding a solution is education. When it all comes down, there is a chance that this bill will fail to improve our current health care system, but you will be hard pressed to find anyone reasonable who is familiar with the bill who honestly thinks the bill will form “Death Panels” or cause rationing of health care services. Honesty about the possible outcomes of the bill will do far more to calm the fears of the people than anything else. Unfortunately, some of the people who are most afraid of this bill are also “immune to education” due to willful isolation from people with opposing viewpoints. I’m not exactly sure what to do to reach these people. While I think finding a way to bring accountability to the media would be a step in the right direction, how can one regulate the propagation of false claims without opening the door to censoring unpopular (but verifiable) claims? It is a difficult question to which I don’t have a good answer. What steps do you think could be taken to help calm this situation?