How far back will we set our clocks?

By Phil Plait | November 3, 2012 11:59 am

This picture is going around Facebook. I tried to find the original, but it’s hopeless, so I’ll just put this here.

Remember, in the US we’re not just voting on the President, we’re voting on lots of Congresscritters, too. In that case, we may be setting the clocks back more like two thousand years.


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The US Congress Anti-Science Committee

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Antiscience, Humor, Piece of mind, Politics

Comments (101)

  1. Marina Stern

    Bravo, Phil. Spread the word.

  2. William Seligman
  3. Diederick

    Well, at least you can be sure the elections won’t set America back more than 6000 years ;-)

  4. Grand Lunar

    Be nice if we could find a new canidate that could set the country AHEAD 50 years.

  5. Roman

    Phil, perhaps you might be more effective at communicating science to everyone if you confined your political advocacy to a separate blog rather than lumping it together with your otherwise wonderful science and engineering posts.

    This is flamebait and silly talking points. It won’t convince anyone with an ‘R’ after their name of anything, and it doesn’t teach anyone with a ‘D’ next to their name anything new, either.

    What it will do, however, is invite grumbles like this, which don’t do anything to promote understanding of science or engineering, either. If you want to be a political activist, it’s fine, but please don’t do anyone the disservice of claiming the mantle of dispassionate science for that portion of your writing. Everyone’s entitled to his opinions, but…this just seems unprofessional.

  6. Grisha

    Well its all in good fun I presume. I have seen quite a few memes that say “Don’t forget to change your clocks on Saturday and change your President on Tuesday!”

    Personally, I’d be satisfied with a stopped clock that was right twice a day.

  7. Grisha

    @Roman Yes it’s flamebait, but it’s a blog and it’s Phil’s blog. This sort of thing predates the internet. The only thing that gets my goat is factual inaccuracies. The rest is just rooting for one’s team.. it’s a sport. We know Phil is partisan and we know what his party is. He’s not trying to convince anyone, he’s just expressing himself on his blog. Anyone who changes his or her vote over a funny _meme_ probably shouldn’t actually be voting.

  8. shunt1

    Personally, I will be driving to Cheyenne Wyoming to stock up on fireworks for the celebration next Tuesday.

    Nothing wrong with Phil rooting for his team!

  9. Chris Winter

    I think this, quoted from Dispatches from the Culture Wars, is interesting not so much for what it says about Romney as for its source: David Post at the Volokh Conspiracy, a blog known for its libertarian/conservative leanings.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/dispatches/2012/11/03/badass-quote-of-the-day-17/

    David Post, who teaches law at Temple University and is a regular contributor to the Volokh Conspiracy, a group of very intelligent conservative and libertarian legal scholars, gives his two cents on the two major candidates in the presidential election. He gives Obama “a B or B+” for his performance as president, noting the economic disaster he faced when coming into office. And he has this to say about Romney:

    “And finally, there’s Romney. I guess there are people who think that he would have managed the last 4 years better than Obama did, but I’m sure not among them. The guy’s as light a lightweight as I can imagine – he makes Bush look like Schopenhauer. I shudder to think how he reacts when, say, Israel bombs Iran’s reactors, or Iran bombs Israel, or both, or when someone figures out how to shut down the Grid, or when war breaks out in northern Mexico, or when any of the terrible things we can’t even imagine happening actually happen. My guess is that he reacts the way Bush reacted when something he couldn’t imagine happening actually happened — Hurricane Katrina springs to mind – and it’s not a comforting thought.”

  10. Manish Sinha

    @Roman

    If you are ticked off, then it doesn’t mean that Phil isn’t effective at communicating science.

    As much as you would like to believe, science and politics can’t be separated in a country where one party is anti-science. Phil won’t have to put political posts here if scientific people won’t have to fight against a medieval age party.

    This isn’t just an educational blog, it is also an advocacy blog. He put posts about anti-vax, climate science etc – all which have been turned into political topics by the retarded party of US.

    Yes, the people with R after their name won’t change their mind even if the world is ending, but it does help ones with D after their name. It reminds them to vote. Yes, it doesn’t teach anything. This blog isn’t only for teaching.

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion and Phil’s action being unprofessional is just yet another opinion of yours. Not a fact

  11. sam

    @Roman, Phil has addressed this before multiple times.

    And yea this is an edited version of this http://tinyurl.com/bkrwx5e, not the refrigerator magnet. Google reverse image search Phil. Or were you looking for the original posting of this version?

  12. Roman

    @Grisha, it is Phil’s blog, and I have no problem with him cheering his guy on. But I also take him very seriously when he says science, science education and science communication should be taken seriously. I’m just disappointed that I got a face full of (not my) politics when I was looking for my daily fix of astronomy :-).

  13. Chris

    But if we an set the clocks back 65 years we can prevent Romney from being born, or at least switch out his birth certificate!

  14. I hope Romney gonna be President. I like Obama much more, but he supports bloody criminal regime in my country. And Romney clearly showing that he is not gonna support our criminals.
    I hate my country now. It is a very bad place. And Obama supports it in this state.

    I hope Romney gonna win.

  15. Ben

    @Roman, to suggest that politics is outside of a science journalist’s allowed speech is ridiculous. As the federal governments is a primary driver of scientific investment, as well it should be, and as numerous of our politicians daily profess their distaste, disgust, and outright rejection of science, asking him to keep politics to himself is distasteful and disgusting.

  16. Randolph

    It’s his blog. Period. Stop whining

  17. Daniel J. Andrews

    Now there’s a longer and slightly more diplomatic way of saying “I thought this was a science blog…”.

    The U.S. is finally starting to catch up with the rest of the developed nations, and if Republicans win it will indeed set things back (women’s rights, health care, environmental protections, pollution controls) to where they were last century. You’ll probably also drop out of the bottom 20 best places in the world to live into the upper 30s. Maybe it is easier for us outsiders to see these things and less obvious for Americans in the middle of it. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-20008687

    Or maybe some really do believe that getting rid of all those things mentioned is the right thing to do, and it will bring them back to some mythical golden age or solve all those problems that cropped up (many of which cropped up from doing what what they want to do if they get back into office, strangely enough).

    If Romney does win, could you folks kindly tell him not to invade any more countries or torture people? Your record over the last decade or so is making the former Soviet Union look good. Torturing people, indefinite detention without trial, demanding papers from people on the streets….makes you wonder who exactly did win the cold war. And tell Democrats not to make it their foremost goal to make Romney a one-term president (like the Repubs did when Obama was elected—that is just dysfunctional….just work together, why can’t you?).

    Yes, I’m trolling and troll-baiting as i’m in an irascible mood tonight. Feel free to take swipes at Canadian politics….not that most Americans even know where Canada is on a map much less know the slightest thing about politics of other countries. Did you know the rest of the world has something called “world news” where we learn about events and politics in other countries?….Countries which we haven’t even invaded either! Every time I’m in the states it is like being in an isolation echo-chamber when it comes to getting news from Canada or around the world from your media sources.

  18. Grisha

    @Daniel, as a highly educated and well-informed American, I wouldn’t have enough of a clue about Canadian politics to begin to offer a comment. :-)

    I would remind you, however, that with regard to U.S. policy — a few of the issues you mention (and a few more) such as indefinite detention, drone strikes, NDAA, Patriot Act, Guantanamo, TSA, targeted assassinations and bloated defense budgets — are not entirely a Republican domain and the last four years have not been exactly a pacifistic interregnum of rainbows and unicorns and flowers dropping from the sky. Ask the people of Pakistan what’s been dropping from the sky lately.

    Whoever wins this Tuesday, Democrat or Republican, I will promise to remind him to knock this crap off.

  19. flip

    @Roman

    Yes, because scientists aren’t allowed to have opinions on politics and share them. /rolls eyes…

  20. AGW fan

    agree totally with Roman, as I’ve stated on here many times. just very disappointing to me that I come for astronomy (because Phil’s astronomy posts are great), and all i get on occasion is ‘in your face BS’ about advocacy. It makes me think Phil isn’t actually a scientist, but more of a shill for certain issues. Does it take away from otherwise excellent informative posts about the wonders of the cosmos? yes it does for me (and yes I know thats my opinion). just a shame that someone who claims himself to be a skeptic, mocks other skeptics in such a manner. I’d go one further and say his posts alone confirm some of the criticism coming from the right of the political spectrum that certain scientists have totally lost focus when conducting and reporting on science. in my very humble opinion, Phil in actuality hurts his cause, not necessarily from whats on offer here in the comments section, as thats full of supporters, but more from the folks who don’t bother to comment, but leave the website rolling their eyes and shaking their heads. its cumulative, and hurts his great causes. eh, whatever, but agree totally with Romans assessment.

  21. JohnW

    I prefer: “Change your clocks tonight, and your president on Tuesday.”

  22. amphiox

    @Roman, @AGW;

    There’s this little thing called “free speech” you know. Phil is not required to post only about the things you two want.

    Many of us enjoy his posts on social and political issues just as much as we like his posts on astronomy.

    And sometimes there are threads on subjects that some of us don’t find appealing, but we don’t pollute the conversation there pouting about wanting to talk about some other subject – we just don’t read those posts and read others instead.

    The two of you could do the same thing. It’s called “taking personal responsibility”. You should try it some time.

  23. flip

    Everybody who is complaining about Phil’s topics, and who also have been here for a while, are you aware that Phil has explained himself on this numerous times and even has a link to a post in his sidebar about it?

    Or are you just complaining anyway?

    Your sense of entitlement is just annoying.

    ….Funnily enough I came here for the astronomy, but stayed for everything else.

  24. Messier Tidy Upper

    @20. Grisha :

    Ask the people of Pakistan what’s been dropping from the sky lately.

    Pakistan? That would be the nation that sheltered Osama bin Laden for a decade next to a military base, that I gather helped create and provides a refuge for the Taliban as well as providing support in at least some areas Al Quaeda and other Jihadists.

    So stuff other than natural precipitation falling from the skies there and raids to take out y’know actual evil masterminds and threats to global peace and security shouldn’t come as any surprise.

    The Pakistanis keep playing both sides, they’re politics are murky, undemocratic and violent and their nation has a high percentage of Islamist extremists, plus nuclear weapons. Hell of a place to visit and I’d hate to live there. But that’s really more their fault than ours.

    .. would remind you, however, that with regard to U.S. policy — a few of the issues you mention (and a few more) such as indefinite detention, drone strikes, NDAA, Patriot Act, Guantanamo, TSA, targeted assassinations and bloated defense budgets.

    What would *you* do Grisha?

    Seriously. Put yourself in the POTUS’es place in your imagination and look at these things realistically. Pretty sure I recall reading of terrorists released from Guantanamo that returned to the frontlines as Jihadists. How do you reason with terrorists who have shown they cannot be reasoned with, who are driven by a blind hatred and desire to kill. Obama originally wanted to close Gitmo – he decided eventually he couldn’t and shouldn’t do that because its a bad idea. He’d know better than we would becuaes he has more information and responsibility than we do. Security measures such as the TSA’s are necessary because there are genuinely evil people out there who will bomb planes, murder hundreds or thousands of others and so on.

    What would you do to prevent terrorists striking and murdering and committing atrocities?

    Be real. Talking and sanctions and softness to them doesn’t work, is only seen by them as weakness and an opportunity to attack. I think Obama got a lot of foreign policy things wrong – but in the opposite direction tho that many Leftwingers seem to think. He should’ve been stronger, firmer and less apologetic in his approach and the signals he sent. He snubbed Israel’s PM and cosied up to the Arab world that hates them and us and always will.

    Huge mistake in my view.

    Would Romney d better? I doubt it. Domestically and in many other respects Romney is much worse. I think Obama is the lesser evil and will probably win.

  25. Messier Tidy Upper

    .. But the Republican foreign policy is mostly better than the Democratic one* – stronger, less willing to put up with the Islamic World’s hateful nonsense and more supportive of Israel’s right to exist and defend itself, more confident and assertive of the USA’s leading role in the globe and Western Human Rights values generally.

    Yes, the USA could withdraw and give up on the rights of women and girls in (among many other places) Afghanistan – putting us back to square one with the Taliban ruling there. Look at how things were when the Taliban ruled before 2001.

    Look at the human rights violations and abuses and atrocities Islamists dictatorships (eg. Assad’s Syria, Iran, Indonesia under Suharto) , committ all the time. And socialist and totalitarian ones too such as the PRC, Pol Pots’ Cambodia and Cuba.

    Should the USA do nothing but say tut-tut from the sidelines when stuff like that happens?
    Is it better to do as the UN did in Rwanda when genocide happened there or what NATO did in Kosovo (and Libya) when they stepped in and prevented one side slaughtering civilians?

    It isn’t as easy as many idealistic Leftwingers like to think. The world is rendered in many shades of gray not black and white.

    I don’t know what the answers are, probably aren’t many good ones just bad and worse but think our nations (which are very close allies) should be willing to fight for our principles and try to lead the world rather than surrendering and standing by as our enemies try to take over more and more and rule worse and worse.

    Romney and Obama both have serious flaws and reasons why neither man should be in charge. I think there are many better candidates around – Hilary Clinton, Condoleeza Rice and Jon Huntsman to name three. But one of those two men is going to be POTUS. So which one?

    Obama I dislike and disagree with on quite a few issues but can trust at least to some degree. Mitt Romeny has taken so many different positions is so tied to some awful people advocating awful policies and is so slippery and dislikeable that I cannot say for sure what he’ll do. I don’t know what if anything he truly believes in and really wants to do. Except not support action on Climate change or equal marriage or women’s rights to control their own bodies, etc .. and that he’ll support the richest 1% and Huge Business over all others especially those poorest and worst off in society.

    Ultimately that’s why *if* I was American I would be reluctantly voting Obama and Democratic. I agree with the BA here that the Republicans would take the USA backwards in many respects.

    ————————————————————————————

    * I also think the Republicans Justice and Law Enforcement policy is better too in that it is stricter and places more emphasis on the rights of the victims of crime and society than on the “rights” of the perpetrators.

    Each party has points and policies I agree with and others where I strongly don’t. Each sides has its pluses and minuses and on balance the Democratic Party adds up to a better alternative in my opinion.

  26. Grisha

    @Messier I don’t support Romney or Obama and I don’t support them pretty much equally.

    As to my solutions? Well, I wouldn’t have gotten into the mess in the first place, so I don’t have to clean it up, even hypothetically. I am a Libertarian and as such get to criticize both sides while offering no practical solutions. Surely you’ve been on the Internet long enough to know that! :-)

    My point was simply that anyone (Canadian or otherwise) who thinks that Obama and Romney (or Bush Jr.) differ substantially in international affairs, foreign intervention or national security policy (internal or external) is deluding themselves and creating hawk vs. dove caricatures that simply are not true.

    I didn’t say I have the answers, I simply said that Romney and Obama have the same answers, or nearly so.

    Truly, the only way to prevent much of what is happening is to roll back the clock and undo much of the intervention that has already happened, intervention that caused a cycle of blowback. That’s impossible, but at least perhaps we can attempt to “go and sin no more.” The war in Iraq is still going on, the prospects there are dim, the only thing is we’re out (which is good.) We are not likely to fix Afghanistan (The British and the Russians could not control it either) so we are out in 2014. So all we have left is bombing “them” from drones while some guy sits in an air conditioned room drinking a coke.

    What would I do? Pull out. All the bases. All the intervention. Come home. You don’t fix the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan by dropping bombs on them. Soldiers out. Brave NGOs in. It’s the only way. To think otherwise would mean you believe we would change our ways while under seige. On the contrary we would cling to them. People cling to their values when they are under attack. You will never get a secular middle east or an Islamic reformation or a general westernization with a policy of both bombing some countries AND tolerating other regimes like Saudi Arabia that won’t let women drive or perform in “Gangnam Style” video parodies.

    But that was not my point and my personal philosophy is irrelevant. My point was that Bush/Obama/Romney have actually a pretty coherent and consistent foreign policy and I was just trying to point that out to our Canadian friend. The fact that I also disagree with it is beside the point.

  27. Wzrd1

    @Roman: I’m guessing you totally agree with the US Constitution’s very first amendment.
    I need say no more.

    @Daniel J. Andrews, can’t agree more, save on a point.
    Canada HAS POLITICS?! Other than French/English speaking politics? ;)
    Indefinite detention is the norm in a war. Look up Prisoner of War. Then, look up Unlawful combatants.
    I’ve been in the war zone. I’ve personally met the combatants. Sorry, but I agree with detaining them currently. We’ll see later as to detaining them, they ARE guilty of murder of US service members AND Afghan civilians.

    MTU, so you think that the US should be the world Emperor? That IS what you are essentially saying. ARE we the master of the world, no other nation may claim sovereignty? No other nation may claim another political system? No other nation may claim free passage of the sea? WE are the masters of the entire planet?
    Didn’t think so. Perhaps you should reconsider your phrasing a bit.
    Or agree that you insist on ruling the entire planet. Telling each and every nation how they may live, what their societies will be, what their laws may be and insist on the eventual thermonuclear war will be at which high mass extinction level you desire.
    Because, that IS what your path, considering your above comments, would result in.
    Me? I don’t care WHAT someone else believes in if they leave my nation alone. Them? From MY experience of over 27 years of military service and many deployments in many nations is, THEY don’t care either, for the same reasons.
    Start telling others how they should live and wish to enforce it, meet the thermonuclear warheads. For, they WILL develop them to defend themselves against the ONLY nation to ever use nuclear weapons.
    And has the largest Navy in the world. And has the largest per capita expense military in the world.
    Only a soldier who has seen combat is a valid person to consider further war. For, that soldier knows full well what it truly is. And wishes the most to avoid it if reasonably possible.

  28. Grisha

    @Wzrd1

    Thank you. That was a powerful statement and I find no fault in it. Your last paragraph, especially.

    Would that more “civilian” politicians and armchair philosophers (myself included) would listen.

  29. I have an idea for all of you who come here for the science and want Dr. Plait to knock off the politics. Don’t click on articles like these on his blog. The title of the blog post makes it obvious what it’s about. Read about stars blowing up or whatever his last astronomy post was and be happy.

    That one was on me. Next time it’s a dollar per person my post applies to. You’re welcome.

  30. R0bin

    I understand that a few of the commenters would prefer that Phil–and others–be one dimensional and only speak on one agreed upon topic as approved by those commenters, but I much more prefer commentary from multi-dimensional people like Phil. Since we live in a place where freedom of speech is supposed to be valued, that means that everyone’s opinion, no matter their metier or their station in life, is worth airing. To think otherwise is a repudiation of the freedom of speech.

    The solution is simple for those upset that Phil doesn’t confine his postings to one narrow field of interest: go somewhere else. Phil has posted many times about this very topic, that people should expect to read not only science related material but also material of general interest, specifically his views on a number of issues. It is your own fault for being put out by Phil’s non-science posts. You continue to come here despite the obvious statement by Phil that his posts will no be restricted to only scientific topics. That is like complaining about the stove being hot and continuing to touch the hot stove.

  31. bad Jim

    It should be pointed out that Obama opposed the invasion of Iraq while Romney supported it, that Obama has ceased to use torture while Romney has said he’d resume it, and that Romney’s foreign policy advisors are veterans of the Bush administration. Although Romney tacked to the center during the foreign policy debate, his past statements suggest that he would be more hawkish than Obama.

    No one in his right mind would prefer Romney on the basis of foreign policy, and his domestic policy is at best a repeat of Bush, stripped of the no longer fashionable façade of “compassionate conservatism”.

  32. R0bin

    @ Wzrd1 (#29):

    You’re dead wrong on one point, that only a soldier who has seen combat is a valid person to consider further war. Read enough history, and you’ll see there has been no shortage of war-mongering soldiers, including soldiers in our last few conflicts. On that point soldiers are no different than civilians. Further, your statement is a sad commentary on what you think of our civilian led government and civilian led military.

  33. noen

    AGW fan said:
    agree totally with Roman, as I’ve stated on here many times. just very disappointing to me that I come for astronomy (because Phil’s astronomy posts are great), and all i get on occasion is ‘in your face BS’ about advocacy.

    We live in interesting times. Abraham Lincoln, a Republican, freed the slaves, a very liberal thing to do at the time. In the 60’s civil rights legislation passed because liberal members of the GOP voted in it’s favor. Today if you are a liberal you cannot be a Republican. Today it is difficult for people to even imagine how one could be a liberal and a Republican at the same time. It seems to us to be a contradiction, but it isn’t. There is no contradiction between Liberalism and the traditional values of the GOP; pro business, pro free trade, against burdensome regulations, for tort reform and so on.

    In the early 70’s GOP leaders could see the demographic handwriting on the wall. Even then they knew what is now a reality, they are a minority white male party. In a bid to hold on to their power they decided on the infamous “Southern Strategy” suggested by the racist Pat Buchannon.

    Basically, use race and class to inflame passions and cloud the issues so that poor and middle class white males will vote against their economic interest. Thirty years later and virtually all people with conservative personalities belong to the GOP and the y have been so completely propagandized that they have created an alternate reality divorced from any contact with the real world.

    There are prominent GOP leaders who seriously believe Romney will not only win but do so in a landslide.

    Neurotics build castles in the sky, psychotics live in them. Sooner or later the GOP is going to experience it’s psychotic break and it won’t be pretty.

  34. Keith Bowden

    In out current political climate, politicians should heed the words of a great man: “Never be certain of anything, it’s a sign of weakness.” The Doctor, “Face of Evil”, 1976.

  35. My worry isn’t so much that this election will turn the clocks back. Sure a few of the wackier congress critters would like to they don’t actually have that much power individually and mostly their wackiness will be lost in the noise.

    What worries me is that neither of our Presidential candidate are going to be helping the clocks go forward.

  36. @27 MTU: But the Republican foreign policy is mostly better than the Democratic one* – stronger, less willing to put up with the Islamic World’s hateful nonsense and more supportive of Israel’s right to exist and defend itself, more confident and assertive of the USA’s leading role in the globe and Western Human Rights values generally.

    A lot of the standard memes about Republican vs Democrat foreign policy don’t really stand up to scrutiny when you look at them closely, though. WRT Israel, for instance, the Republicans criticized Obama for not visiting Israel since 2008, while neglecting to mention that George W. Bush didn’t visit ‘em once until his 7th year in office (Obama also sought and received funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system). My big problem with Republican foreign policy, though, is that their assumption always seems to be “more is better”. A wise Republican once said “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” Nowadays, it’s “Speak loudly and carry a stick that’s so much larger than anything you’ll actually need that onlookers will begin to suspect you’re compensating for something.” Speaking of which, Romney’s desired military spending will be greater than it’s been in over 60 years (granted that’s not counting the Iraq war, which wasn’t budgeted for) – even the DOD has said it’s overkill! AND he’s going to cut taxes by 5 trillion dollars, AND balance the budget. Somehow. As long as we don’t ask too many questions and vote for him, he’ll figure it out. Sheesh, don’t even get me started on Republicans still trying to claim the mantle of fiscal responsibility…

  37. @33 Noen: Abraham Lincoln, a Republican, freed the slaves, a very liberal thing to do at the time

    And shoot, he did more stuff then that. He spoke out in favor of voting rights for African Americans, he supported tariffs to protect domestic industry and fund public infrastructure, he founded the National Academy of Sciences, he secured federal funding for what would become the Transcontinental Railroad, and of course he was a strong Federalist who obviously had quite a beef with the “States’ rights” crowd! In short, he was what today would be called a “Big Government Liberal.” I honestly don’t think Lincoln would recognize “the Party of Lincoln” if he were alive now.

  38. @#29 Wzrd1: Waid said, sir.
    In my imaginary overhaul of the US Government that will occur when I become emperor of the world and pigs fly, I’d like to see a Congressional defense committee made up entirely of US servicemembers, including a certain quota of enlisted persons who’ve actually been deployed. This committee will have veto power over any declaration of war or military action before it gets to the President’s desk.

    Yeah, yeah, now to get to work gene-splicing those pigs with pelicans…

  39. MaDeR

    @Roman, @AGW:
    Go read some other blog. I know blog of one staunch republican that somehow is very supportive of SpaceX. Because pleasure of reading about his space news was significantly lessened by his drivel in political posts, I ceased to read it. I advise you to do same about Bad Astronomer.

    @rest that are USA cizitens: have fun and delude yourself it matters what box you will mark.

  40. @Joseph G – Try the Kori Bustard instead of a pelican, stronger wings. Crossed with a “Royal Dandie” pig it could just work.

  41. Roman

    Oh boy, oh boy. Complaining that Phil’s effectiveness as a science communicator is lessened by his political posts is not the same thing as telling him to change his opinions, vote a straight Republican ticket (or else), or to silence himself.

    And @MaDeR: perhaps we shouldn’t advocate for bifurcating Science into a Democrat Science and a Republican Science. I see no ways in which that ends well.

  42. We all know that Republicans and Democrats have switched roles from what they were during the Civil War. I don’t remember when or why it happened, but I should.

    What I love is the right wingers who say, “We’re the party of Lincoln!” when it’s convenient for them such as when they’re obviously race-baiting and someone calls them on it.

    Then they turn around and exclaim, “The South Shall Rise Again!!!”

    Apparently they’re on both sides. That’s typical of all right wing “principles”. In other words,they don’t have any that are genuine. All of their principles beyond their hatred and greed are incredibly flexible.

  43. MaDeR – Claiming that it doesn’t matter who you vote for because “they’re exactly the same” is incredibly lazy thinking. Maybe not lazy but profoundly flawed.

    Republicans have had decades to address the dysfunctional health care system in this country. They did nothing.

    If you look at the debt/deficit over the years it’s very clear that Republicans are the big spenders by far.

    Under Republicans the US Auto Industry would be all but gone right now. Both McCain and Romney stated that they would have let that happen.

    I’m not a big fan of Democrats either but mostly because they tend to be spineless. Personally I’m split about 50/50 conservative/liberal viewpoints. I take every issue on its merits. I don’t have an ideology.

    When I hear comments like yours or that when you vote you’re choosing “the lesser of two evils” the first thing I think is that you can’t be bothered to do the critical thinking necessary to distinguish the two.

    I think of terms of who will do more good. As long as there’s no deal-breaker in there that’s who I vote for.

  44. Roman

    @45 CafeenMan. It happened slowly, and not completely.

    There was a slashdot comment a while back that summed it up best. Paraphrased: The democrats stay out of your bedroom, but dictate what happens in your wallet. The republicans stay out of your wallet but dictate what happens in the bedroom.

    Both sides have enough libertarian stuff in their platforms to claim the mantle of Lincoln, or Jefferson, or whoever, and both have bad habits that they picked up along the way. Americans tend to have a pretty strong (nonpartisan) libertarian streak, and whether they go for D or R has less to do with buying wholly into one party’s entire philosophy and more to do with latching on to the less savory bits of the other’s. Personal example: I don’t really like the emphasis on Christianity in the Republican party (not that I don’t like Christians), but it bothers me less than the Democrats’ tendency to make promises that have to be funded with nonexistent revenue, which, in turn, bothers me more than the Republicans’ recent tendency to just plain spend big without making promises or plans at all.

  45. Unsettled Scientist

    it strikes me that everyone is talking about Obama and Romney, but to me this post is more about your representatives in Congress. especially in light of Phil’s recent posts about the science committee members. we need to vote that it is not okay to say evolution is the devil’s theory, it is not okay to say that women cannot get pregnant from rape, and It is a tragedy that people who believe these things guide scientific policy and funding in this country.

  46. Unsettled Scientist

    I also just want to add that Phil smashes anti-science dimwits wherever they may be. there happen to be a lot of science foes in politics. the blog’s title is not astronomy, it is bad astronomy. to its very core this blog is about calling out those who are flat out wrong and misleading the populace, we just also share a love of pretty space pictures with Phil. there are plenty of blogs that do only astronomy but I follow this one specifically for Phil’s perspective on the world ans science’s role in it.

  47. I dunno…the country was a lot more pro-science fifty years ago. Had to beat them commies to the Moon!

    But, in all seriousness, every election is important, which is why I always vote.

  48. timbebinder

    Phil isn’t politicizing science, he’s bringing science into politics.

  49. MaDeR

    @Roman: Republicans already have their own version of science. AGW denial, 6000-year old earth and similiar idiocy. And yes, I agree here, this will not end well.

    @CafeenMan: “Claiming that it doesn’t matter who you vote for because “they’re exactly the same” is incredibly lazy thinking”
    I am just stating facts. Facts cannot be lazy, they just are. What you choose in a few days is essentially rotting speed of USA. With R little faster, with D little slower – but final result is same. I do not consider USA as real democracy and no one should take inspiration from them in building their own political system, lest they fall in “eternal duopoly of two parties with only cosmetic differencies” trap.

  50. Wzrd1

    @Arik Rice, I remember when Reagan wanted more scientists and engineers and have an R&D society. Then, Bush the Greater became president and announced a service economy that ended up doing what many of us predicted. Tanked.

    @MaDeR, are you implying that the same wealthy campaign contributors pay for BOTH sides campaigns?
    Because, THAT is true.

    @Robin, “Further, your statement is a sad commentary on what you think of our civilian led government and civilian led military.” I never said I thought ill of our civilian led government and civilian led military. Just that those who have faced the horrors of war first hand should have a say in the starting in a new war.
    Such as the noise over Iran, folks recommending invasion of Iran and other nonsense. As an example, if Iran had a nuclear weapons program, they should have at least two dozen warheads by now.

  51. Nigel Depledge

    Roman (5) said:

    What it will do, however, is invite grumbles like this, which don’t do anything to promote understanding of science or engineering, either.

    Since when has Phil’s blog been only about promoting the understanding of science and technology?

    AFAICT, Phil has always been about promoting critical thinking and scepticism.

    If you want to be a political activist, it’s fine, but please don’t do anyone the disservice of claiming the mantle of dispassionate science for that portion of your writing.

    If science writing is dispassionate, it isn’t doing its job. Phil’s passion in writing about science, NASA, Dr Who, and scepticism in general is one of the main reasons his audience is so large.

    And it’s not really being a political activist to say that the GOP includes prominent candidates who have openly professed their disbelief of certain aspects of what we know to be reality. The Republican Party does seem – since the time of Reagan, more or less – to make political meals of “issues” that should not be issues. Prominent examples include evolution, the age of the Earth and global warming. Sure, there exist Dems who believe crazy stuff, but they don’t make it a party platform.

    Everyone’s entitled to his opinions, but…this just seems unprofessional.

    Not necessarily. The decision-makers in the world’s most powerful nation should be entitled only to opinions that they can justify. Sadly, most of their electorate does not hold them to this standard.

    And what is unprofessional about highlighting a fact about the Republican party’s stance on many science topics? Seriously, if more than a few of the more extreme Reps get into power, progress in science – and, perhaps more importantly for the long term, in science education – in America could be seriously affected.

  52. Nigel Depledge

    Manish Sinha (10) said:

    He put posts about anti-vax, climate science etc – all which have been turned into political topics by the retarded party of US.

    IIUC, anti-vax is more widespread amont Ds than Rs, so you can’t put all of that on the one party.

    However, in the broader sense I agree that one party does make political “issues” out of resolved scientific questions, questions on which the actual science is largely resolved (if not complete – for what science is ever complete?).

  53. Dedalus

    Has anyone else noticed that the cartoon in question mentions no particular party or candidate? I found it (almost) amusing that even those who support Romney automatically assume that it supports Obama — what does that tell us about the Republicans’ own view of their own party? Just sayin’ …

  54. MaDeR

    @Wzrd1: “are you implying that the same wealthy campaign contributors pay for BOTH sides campaigns?”
    I did not have it in my mind when writing my masterpiece of bitter cynism. Legalized corruption called “lobbying” and “contributions” are different, if related, issue.

    @Dedalus: Nah. They just know what is usuallly criticised in Republicans.

  55. theoncomingstorm

    So phil your voting for Romney then. ;-)

  56. Nigel Depledge

    Roman (13) said:

    But I also take him very seriously when he says science, science education and science communication should be taken seriously. I’m just disappointed that I got a face full of (not my) politics when I was looking for my daily fix of astronomy.

    This feels contradictory to me.

    Do you get similarly disappointed when Phil posts cute animal pictures? Or is it that the post is about politics specifically in which you are disappointed? Or is it that you are disappointed only because Phil supports the other side?

    I find American politics interesting, despite not being a USAian. Not only because the US has a broad impact on world politics, but also because the USAian system seems to be about electing the guy who spends the most money on his campaign.

    Be that as it may, if science matters to you, and if you have any objection to high-school kids being taught lies instead of scientific facts, then you should not support the Republican party. I’m not saying the Dems are significantly better, but they at least don’t seem to have a bunch of congresscritters who have (for example) openly declared that they believe the Earth to be a mere few thousand years old.

  57. Nigel Depledge

    Sergy (16) said:

    And Romney clearly showing that he is not gonna support our criminals.
    I hate my country now.

    What, so are you hoping the US will invade, or something . . . ?

  58. Nigel Depledge

    AGW fan (22) said:

    agree totally with Roman, as I’ve stated on here many times.

    Others have already answered this point, and you still feel the need to chime in with your irrelevant drivel. Care to explain why, exactly?

    just very disappointing to me that I come for astronomy (because Phil’s astronomy posts are great), and all i get on occasion is ‘in your face BS’ about advocacy.

    Citation needed. When has Phil’s “advocacy” ever been anything but factually accurate, or reasonable opinion? Opinion which he is entitled to express as he sees fit, in case you were wondering.

    It makes me think Phil isn’t actually a scientist, but more of a shill for certain issues.

    What, so you think it’s possible for a scientist to cease being a scientist merely by having and expressing a view on politics? Or what, exactly?

    Does it take away from otherwise excellent informative posts about the wonders of the cosmos? yes it does for me (and yes I know thats my opinion).

    Good thing for the rest of us that you have shown in previous threads the exact value of your opinion.

    just a shame that someone who claims himself to be a skeptic, mocks other skeptics in such a manner.

    Citation needed. Seriously.

    When has Phil ever mocked another sceptic? (And, BTW, the simple act of denying the evidence over AGW is not scepticism, because a real sceptic changes his or her view in light of the preponderance of evidence).

    I’d go one further and say his posts alone confirm some of the criticism coming from the right of the political spectrum that certain scientists have totally lost focus when conducting and reporting on science.

    In case you were unaware, Phil is now a writer, no longer a full-time scientist. However, that doesn’t erase his past of being an actual scientist. And in what way – exactly – have “certain scientists” lost focus? Which scientists?

    in my very humble opinion,

    If your opinion were truly humble, you wouldn’t have posted this comment.

    Phil in actuality hurts his cause, not necessarily from whats on offer here in the comments section, as thats full of supporters, but more from the folks who don’t bother to comment, but leave the website rolling their eyes and shaking their heads.

    Do you have any stats on how many people do this? What proportion of Phil’s readership?

    Because, AFAICT, those arguments that are raised here by, for example, the anti-AGW crowd are generally shown conclusively to be wrong. I recall for sure that the objections you have raised here to the AGW conclusion were all too easy to tear to pieces.

  59. vel

    50 years? It’s more like 1000 years. The GOP wants to go back to where the wealthy had the power and where one version of one religion had the power. They wish women to be property and workers to be serfs. It may sound like hyperbole but Romney and Ryan’s words bear this out again and again.

  60. Nigel Depledge

    MTU (26) said:

    Security measures such as the TSA’s are necessary because there are genuinely evil people out there who will bomb planes, murder hundreds or thousands of others and so on.

    I have no idea what a TSA is, but what kind of morality do you have when you’re prepared to punish people for something they haven’t done yet?

  61. Nigel Depledge

    MTU (27) said:

    . . . the USA’s leading role in the globe and Western Human Rights values generally.

    Well, the USA’s leading role in championing “human rights” for white Anglo-Saxon males of Judaeo-Christian heritage, anyway . . .

  62. Nigel Depledge

    MTU (27) said:

    The world is rendered in many shades of gray not black and white.

    Given your general anti-Islam tone, this is hypocritical.

  63. Nigel Depledge

    MTU (27) said:

    I don’t know what the answers are, probably aren’t many good ones just bad and worse but think our nations (which are very close allies) should be willing to fight for our principles and try to lead the world rather than surrendering and standing by as our enemies try to take over more and more and rule worse and worse.

    Maybe our nations should do something that is even more difficult than fighting for our principles:

    We should practice those principles.

    Currently, neither the USA nor the UK (I cannot speak for Oz) genuinely practices the principles they claim to uphold when trying to justify invading another country that has offered us no aggression. Irrespective of what happened behind the scenes, the 9/11 attacks (for example) were not the work of any nation. Hell, in one speech or press conference, GW Bush “justified” invading Iraq with the words “Saddam is a bad guy”.

  64. RBoy

    When it comes to politics, the late, great Douglas Adams says it quite well…

    “Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.”

    Or, for someone who would like a bit longer of a read…

    http://www.sandmonkey.org/2012/05/07/the-lizard-parable/

    “Because if they didn’t vote for a lizard,” said Ford, “the wrong lizard might get in. Got any gin?”

  65. Nigel Depledge

    Grisha (28) said:

    I didn’t say I have the answers, I simply said that Romney and Obama have the same answers, or nearly so.

    Heh.

    As a foreign observer, I get what you are saying. I find it sadly amusing that Obama is often accused of being a “leftie” when most USAians are, by European standards, somewhere between centre-right and far-right in terms of political stance. I am just old enough to remember a time when the UK had a Socialist government. Major industries were state-owned (utilities suppliers, the rail network, most of Britains’ motor manufacturing capacity, coal mining, steel production and so on). Trades unions had block-voting power in the governing Labour party. And even this was only mildly leftist compared with actual communism.

    Most USAians have no idea what it would mean to live in a nation that was governed firmly on the political left.

  66. Gary Miles

    The issue that I have with the poster button is that 1950’s and 1960’s were portrayed as a regressive era in US politics when in fact those decades were among the most progressive years among an era spanning from 1932 to 1980. The 1950’s saw the birth of the civil rights movement with the advent of Brown v Topeka Board of Education, desegregation, and the Montgomery Bus Boycott which helped the rise of such progressive leaders like Martin Luther King and Thurgood Marshall. Union membership was at its highest and strongest during the 50’s which coincidentally was among the US strongest period of economic growth. I might add that scientific advancements were accelerating at that time. Ever heard of the integrated circuit? Need I even discuss the 1960’s? Voting Rights Act? Civil Rights Act? Griswold v Connecticut? The list goes on. Today, Republican politics hark back to an era before the turn of the 20th century more than a 100 years ago.

  67. Nigel Depledge

    Wzrd1 (29) said:

    Indefinite detention is the norm in a war.

    Yes. And?

    The UK, has given the police the power to hold suspects indefinitely without trial, under the guise of Prevention of Terrorism. I believe the USA has given at least one of its law enforcement agencies a similar power.

    This is nothing to do with PoWs.

  68. Tom

    Here in Maryland’s 1st district, the initial democratic nominee was disqualified. Unfortunately it left her name on the ballot. The replacement, John LaFerla, is now a write-in candidate. It’s a bummer because it’s hard to imagine a write-in beating an incumbent.

    The incumbent, Andy Harris, walks lock-step with Paul Ryan. I haven’t found an issue about which he has taken an opposing stance against Ryan.

    Frustrating. Just frustrating!

  69. Timothy

    Yes! Fifty years ago, the beginning of the “Great Society”, fostering dependency ever since. Do not concern yourself with economics 101. “Forward”, over the cliff to insolvency. The country’s economic viability has an event horizon as well.

  70. Mike

    LOL – Phil the Democrat.

  71. Terry

    I’m glad I’m not american; I don’t envy you your choice. Seems like like Dumb & Dumber to me; but I’m not certain wich which is witch…

  72. shunt1

    @Wzrd1:

    You and I have been agreeing with each other this last week.

    Now I am getting very worried!

    Nice to know that you served in the military like me. It does change how you view things.

  73. shunt1

    All Romney can do really is stand out of the way the best he can and let the private sector work out the kinks in the economy.

  74. Peter Davey

    It was, I believe, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who pointed out that Britain and the United States, between them, enjoyed the longest period of constitutional government on this planet.

    There was an American commentator whose writings I came across at University (I’m afraid that I can’t remember his name), who pointed out that, even if you had two parties with identical platforms, the fact that you could remove one and install the other, acted as an incentive to the parties to heed the wishes of the electorate.

    To quote Churchill: “Democracy is the worst possible form of government, with the exception of all the others that have been tried, from time to time”.

  75. Steve

    Oh, the irony! With all the troubles about polling places in Florida being shut down early, or not opening at all, today I find out US citizens serving on the ISS can cast an electronic ballot from space! We can insure orbiting citizens can vote, but not our own down-to-earth citizens?

  76. Wzrd1

    @ Nigel Depledge, Bush the Lesser justified the invasion of Iraq not only with “Sadaam is a bad guy”, but with “he tried to kill my dad”. :/
    Indefinite detention of a suspect is unlawful and amoral. Don’t you have an MP to yell at? I’ve raised my share of cain over the problems, including the use of torture.
    But, never forget what Winston Churchill said, “We can always count on the Americans to do the right thing, after they have exhausted all the other possibilities.”

    @shunt1, “stand out of the way and let the private sector work out the kinks in the economy” didn’t work well with the great depression, it made it worse. Repeatedly.

    @Steve, folks in NJ can vote by e-mail or fax, as their communities are still flooded and expected to flood again on Wednesday when a nor’easter hits the region.
    I threatened to sue Mother Nature for voter suppression, she threatened to countersue for assault, battery and mayhem.

    @RBoy, the problem is when they’re ALL lizards. :/

  77. Ptoliporthos

    Set the country back 50 years… you mean back to when we used to land men on the moon? Sounds like something an astronomer should support.

  78. shunt1

    @79. Wzrd1 Says:

    Good, you did have me worried. LOL

    @Wzrd1: ” didn’t work well with the great depression, it made it worse. Repeatedly.”

    On the contrary, FDR attempted to manipulate the free market and the depression lasted much longer than it should have. The United States did not recover until WWII.

    Personally, I want the 47% to suffer. In four years, President Palin will have both the House and Senate supporting her. But, Tuesday we will have President Romney instead and he will do the best that he can.

    By 2014, we will have the Senate. Just a difficult two years when “everything is Romney’s fault.”

  79. @81 shunt1: Personally, I want the 47% to suffer.
    This should be good. Why is that, exactly?

    In four years, President Palin will have both the House and Senate supporting her.
    Salvia or shrooms? Honestly? Sounds like you’re having a fun ride, in any case.

  80. Messier Tidy Upper

    @8. Grisha :

    @Messier I don’t support Romney or Obama and I don’t support them pretty much equally.

    Okay. I see a spectrum with bad and worse here but its subjective opinion.

    As to my solutions? Well, I wouldn’t have gotten into the mess in the first place, so I don’t have to clean it up, even hypothetically. I am a Libertarian and as such get to criticize both sides while offering no practical solutions. Surely you’ve been on the Internet long enough to know that!

    Which is the unrealistic position because, the mess we’re in exists as it is. We have to deal with the world and reality as it is not a s some imagined tabula rasa. This applies to whoever takes office, alays has and always will. Obama had to clear up Bush’es mess and inherited a set of circumstances he created, whovere takes over from Obama whether now or in another four years will have to deal with the situation Obama leaves them.

    Libertarianism like Communism may sound good in theory but cannot be practiced in the Real World.

    My point was simply that anyone (Canadian or otherwise) who thinks that Obama and Romney (or Bush Jr.) differ substantially in international affairs, foreign intervention or national security policy (internal or external) is deluding themselves and creating hawk vs. dove caricatures that simply are not true.

    I don’t think that’s correct. Not always and not what I was thinking anyhow.

    I didn’t say I have the answers, I simply said that Romney and Obama have the same answers, or nearly so. Truly, the only way to prevent much of what is happening is to roll back the clock and undo much of the intervention that has already happened, intervention that caused a cycle of blowback. That’s impossible, but at least perhaps we can attempt to “go and sin no more.” The war in Iraq is still going on, the prospects there are dim, the only thing is we’re out (which is good.) We are not likely to fix Afghanistan (The British and the Russians could not control it either) so we are out in 2014. So all we have left is bombing “them” from drones while some guy sits in an air conditioned room drinking a coke. What would I do? Pull out. All the bases. All the intervention. Come home. You don’t fix the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan by dropping bombs on them. Soldiers out. Brave NGOs in. It’s the only way.

    And when the Taliban take over and then use Afghanistan as a base to launch more terror attacks, another 9-11 or worse against the US and civilised world then what?

    But that was not my point and my personal philosophy is irrelevant. My point was that Bush/Obama/Romney have actually a pretty coherent and consistent foreign policy and I was just trying to point that out to our Canadian friend. The fact that I also disagree with it is beside the point.

    Well there are certainly some differences in degree and intensity and signals sent between those past & current and would be Presidents. Enough differences to matter? Quite probably. In my own equally irrelevant opinion.

    @29. Wzrd1 :

    MTU, so you think that the US should be the world Emperor? That IS what you are essentially saying. ARE we the master of the world, no other nation may claim sovereignty? No other nation may claim another political system? No other nation may claim free passage of the sea? WE are the masters of the entire planet?

    No that’s a strawman of what I’m saying which isn’t that at all. I am saying the USA should support human rights, democracies, stand up for its allies and oppose more strongly those who would attack and seek to destroy our way of life incl. the part where we encourage science – separation of church and state and global peace and prosperity.

    Only a soldier who has seen combat is a valid person to consider further war. For, that soldier knows full well what it truly is. And wishes the most to avoid it if reasonably possible.

    Maybe. From an ethical perspective sure that makes sense. It is not, alas , how our world works and nations that are threatened with or actually attacked do not always get the luxury of choosing to go to war.

  81. Messier Tidy Upper

    @36. Keith Bowden :

    In out current political climate, politicians should heed the words of a great man: “Never be certain of anything, it’s a sign of weakness.” The Doctor, “Face of Evil”, 1976.

    Ah, but are you sure of that? ;-)

    @64. Nigel Depledge :

    MTU (27) said:
    “. . . the USA’s leading role in the globe and Western Human Rights values generally.”
    Well, the USA’s leading role in championing “human rights” for white Anglo-Saxon males of Judaeo-Christian heritage, anyway . . .

    Simply and obviously false there, Nigel. The USA has defended Bosnians – Muslm from Christian Serbians in that conflict and spoken up for the Burmese democracy leadersand opposed apartheid in South Africa to name just three immediately obvious counter-examples disproving that rather silly claim.

    @65. Nigel Depledge :

    MTU (27) said:
    “The world is rendered in many shades of gray not black and white.”
    Given your general anti-Islam tone, this is hypocritical.

    Nonsense. I see shades of grey there too but when it come sto Islam the tone sare most darker -for very good reasons. Some ideologies are destructive and contain elemnts that are , pretty close to purely evil. Totalitarian systems whthere these are Communist, Noerth Korean style dictatorship or Islamofascist fallinto this class.

    Now not all Muslims are bad people I know, not all of them are terrorists – but more than enough are to put a big stain on their religion indeed especially compared with others. What otherreligion condiones homicide suicide bombings?

    Muslims worship – well venerate and respect – a man who was a pedophile, rapist and murdering desert bandit. I think they are incredibly wrong to do so and to think “prophet” Mohammad’s life is an idea lone worth following. Mohammad was the archetypal crazy, mad and bad cult leader. Some of his followers are okay, all of them are humans but the religion they follow is frankly the worst major religion on this globe in my view.

  82. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ ^ Typo : idea lone = ideal one. Sorry.

    @63. Nigel Depledge :

    MTU (26) said:
    “Security measures such as the TSA’s are necessary because there are genuinely evil people out there who will bomb planes, murder hundreds or thousands of others and so on.”
    I have no idea what a TSA is, but what kind of morality do you have when you’re prepared to punish people for something they haven’t done yet?

    TSA = Transit Security Authority I think – and what I’m talking about here is preventing terrorist attacks NOT punishing people before they’ve done anything.

    Not that I have anything against punishing terrorists for planning and attempting atrocities either.

    @38. Joseph G :

    @27 MTU: But the Republican foreign policy is mostly better than the Democratic one* – stronger, less willing to put up with the Islamic World’s hateful nonsense and more supportive of Israel’s right to exist and defend itself, more confident and assertive of the USA’s leading role in the globe and Western Human Rights values generally.
    A lot of the standard memes about Republican vs Democrat foreign policy don’t really stand up to scrutiny when you look at them closely, though. WRT Israel, for instance, the Republicans criticized Obama for not visiting Israel since 2008, while neglecting to mention that George W. Bush didn’t visit ‘em once until his 7th year in office (Obama also sought and received funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system).

    But look at how Obama snubbed and abused Israel’s PM Bibi Netanyahu. :-(

    And how he appeased the islamic world and street bowing and scraping to their leaders and symathising with theanti-Semitic, Islamic fundamentalist “Arab street.” :-(

    Obama sent the signals of weaker, lukewarm US support of isreal – the USA’s strongest ally and closely linked culture. :-(

    Huge, error hurting allies and emboldening enemies in the region.

  83. Nigel Depledge

    MTU (84) said:

    Simply and obviously false there, Nigel. The USA has defended Bosnians – Muslm from Christian Serbians in that conflict and spoken up for the Burmese democracy leadersand opposed apartheid in South Africa to name just three immediately obvious counter-examples disproving that rather silly claim.

    Who said I was talking about foreign policy?

    All animals are equal. But some animals are more equal than others.

    Basically, life in the USA is far better on average for white males than for any other segment of society. Sure, there are exceptions, and the spread is fairly large so there’s plenty of overlap, but on aggregate it’s white males who get the best of opportunities.

  84. Nigel Depledge

    MTU (84) said:

    Nonsense. I see shades of grey there too but when it come sto Islam the tone sare most darker -for very good reasons. Some ideologies are destructive and contain elemnts that are , pretty close to purely evil.

    This needs some evidentiary support.

    Totalitarian systems whthere these are Communist, Noerth Korean style dictatorship or Islamofascist fallinto this class.

    Sure, I agree that some nominally Islamic regimes are oppressive and perhaps outright evil, but how closely do these regimes actually mirror the core teachings of Islam? Believe it or not, it’s quite possible to be a good Muslim without practicing Sharia law.

    You have allowed your views on people who use the name of Islam to colour your view of Islam as a whole. By way of parallel, how typical do you think the extreme right-wing Christian dominionist lobby is of Christianity in general? Not very, sure. So, how representative do you think that – for example – the “theocracy” in Iran is of Islam in general?

    Now not all Muslims are bad people I know, not all of them are terrorists – but more than enough are to put a big stain on their religion indeed especially compared with others.

    What proportion of Muslims are “bad people” or “terrorists”? (And, as a corollary, who gets to decide what counts as “bad” in this context? Never forget that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter, and that history is always written by the victor.)

    My own guess would be substantially less than 1 %. So, are you sure you’re not merely letting your bigotry speak in place of your rational mind?

    What otherreligion condiones homicide suicide bombings?

    I think this needs evidentiary support. AFAICT, Islam does no such thing.

    Muslims worship – well venerate and respect – a man who was a pedophile, rapist and murdering desert bandit.

    Mohammed lived in or around 500 AD, IIUC. AFAICT, also at that time rape was nothing unusual, and not considered a crime, across the entirety of the known world, and there was no such concept as the age of consent. IIUC (again), there were aristocrats across Europe even 700 years later who were marrying and bearing children from about the age of 12 or 13. You call Mohammed a paedophile, but I have no idea whether what he did was simply normal for the environment in which he lived. More importantly, I suspect that neither do you.

    I think they are incredibly wrong to do so and to think “prophet” Mohammad’s life is an idea lone worth following. Mohammad was the archetypal crazy, mad and bad cult leader.

    Needs more support. Like, some at least.

    Some of his followers are okay, all of them are humans but the religion they follow is frankly the worst major religion on this globe in my view.

    Yes, and my point is that your view is based on a too-small sample and that you generalise unjustifiably.

  85. Nigel Depledge

    MTU (85) said:

    . . . and what I’m talking about here is preventing terrorist attacks NOT punishing people before they’ve done anything.

    What’s the difference?.

  86. MaDeR

    @MTU It is funny how some gullible people believe in “USA being leader of freedom and democracy and human rights” crap.

    I could mention many things, but I am too lazy. So I will give only one example for homework: read for yourself about support for various dictatiorships around the world by USA for decades to today. Some democracy leader, indeed.

    “three immediately obvious counter-examples disproving that rather silly claim”
    Yeah, tell that to cizitens of Syria.

    @Nigel Depledge You seem to be opposed to judging people of past by current moral standards. It is unavoidable, especially if teachings and wisdom claimed to be from those people are taken seriously in current times. So yeah, I have no respect for any religious leader of past. Or present, for that matter.

  87. @MTU: And how he appeased the islamic world and street bowing and scraping to their leaders and sympathising with the anti-Semitic, Islamic fundamentalist “Arab street.”

    When, exactly, did he do this?

    As for the Netanyahu ‘snub’, the reports I’m reading seem to vary wildly depending on the source’s political bent. The White House says that Obama and Netanyahu weren’t in town at the same time, and that it wasn’t an intentional avoidance. This may well just be ass-covering, but I’ll believe the WH before Fox News, all things being equal.

  88. Nigel Depledge

    MTU (85) said:

    . . . isreal – the USA’s strongest ally . . .

    Really? Is Israel stronger than the UK?

  89. Nigel Depledge

    Mader (89) said:

    I have no respect for any religious leader of past. Or present, for that matter.

    Fair enough. With this, I have no quibble.

    What I object to is the way MTU singled out Muhammed for “crimes” that were pretty much a normal part of life across most of the inhabited world at the time.

  90. Wzrd1

    @ Ptoliporthos, you mean when women should be barefoot and pregnant, segregation was the norm and smallpox was still in style?

    @shunt1, “On the contrary, FDR attempted to manipulate the free market and the depression lasted much longer than it should have. The United States did not recover until WWII. ”
    Cattle cookies. FDR immediately caused growth to start when he began doing what the economists told him to do, spend stimulus money on the populace via public works projects. That put people to work, where they made money and spent money, which brought growth to the economy again. The ONLY part that was correct was WWII was when the depression finally fully ended. I studied the great depression quite a bit, as I had heard a lot about how tough it was from my parents, who grew up in it.

    “Personally, I want the 47% to suffer. In four years, President Palin…”
    So, you want the elderly, children and the disabled to suffer. That is the majority of that 47%. You want starvation to show the world how great this nation is! As far as Palin is concerned, that is the day I and a hell of a lot of SOCOM takes up arms against the nation, rather than permit an idiot like that access to thermonuclear arms.

    @MTU, “Libertarianism like Communism may sound good in theory but cannot be practiced in the Real World.”
    Can’t agree with you more. Both are perfect systems that lack perfect people to go with it. Greed is inherent in humanity, I honestly think it assisted in survival in ancient tribal times, but now it’s worn out its welcome.

    “No that’s a strawman of what I’m saying which isn’t that at all. I am saying the USA should support human rights, democracies, stand up for its allies and oppose more strongly those who would attack and seek to destroy our way of life incl. the part where we encourage science – separation of church and state and global peace and prosperity.”
    There are those who show the desire for the US to essentially BE the global empire. :/

    “Maybe. From an ethical perspective sure that makes sense. It is not, alas , how our world works and nations that are threatened with or actually attacked do not always get the luxury of choosing to go to war.”
    One word: Iran. Currently, the GOP is pushing very hard for war with Iran over mythical nuclear weapons. I say mythical because by now, if Iran were trying to construct nuclear arms, they should have a score of them at the minimum. IN spite of centrifuges being sabotaged and scientists being killed. If anything, one can consider the construction of RTG devices, as one uses that level of purity for their construction, as well as miniaturized reactors.

    As far as your thoughts on Islam, I see very little difference between the trend in behavior of the faith overall of the conservative side and the Roman Catholic Church of even the 16th century. However, said conservative side is a very small minority, the rest tend to be “good Catholics” and go to service on the right day, ignore the rest for the remainder of the time. But, that’s my own personal experience of 5 years in the Persian Gulf.

    “TSA = Transit Security Authority I think – and what I’m talking about here is preventing terrorist attacks NOT punishing people before they’ve done anything. ”
    Pigeon Pellets. The TSA has repeatedly had employees steal from the traveling public. Known carcinogenic x-ray technology (per Sandia National Laboratories) were pushed, in spite of being known to be ineffective. My personal greeting to the US, after leaving a secure US airbase was a scrotum squeeze by a male TSA agent. I guess the TSA thinks that US military personnel are terrorists!
    Their methods are heavy handed, largely ineffective and much was pure security theater. That is worse than far than security by obscurity, which they also practice. Security theater and security through obscurity are literally the same as no security at all, as effective security isn’t being practiced in lieu of ineffective methods.

    “But look at how Obama snubbed and abused Israel’s PM Bibi Netanyahu. :-(

    And how he appeased the islamic world and street bowing and scraping to their leaders and symathising with theanti-Semitic, Islamic fundamentalist “Arab street.” :-(

    Obama sent the signals of weaker, lukewarm US support of isreal – the USA’s strongest ally and closely linked culture.”
    Let’s see, how did he snub him? Didn’t go to Israel and bow to their crown? Neither did Bush for a long, long time. He still pushed through plenty of Israel friendly policies.
    For being such great friends, we sure as hell have no bases in Israel. Yet, we have bases sponsored by several Islamic nations in the region.
    Or do you mean when he admitted that the overthrow of a democratic government at the behest of British oil interests was bad, as in Operation Ajax in Iran?

    “Some of his followers are okay, all of them are humans but the religion they follow is frankly the worst major religion on this globe in my view.”
    Let’s review some really basic numbers, shall we? Approximately one billion Muslims in the world. If even 1% were extremist, that leaves 100 million. That number could just walk across Europe with only small arms and be victorious. That number could all use suicide vests and level every western government structure. The facts don’t support your claim of aggressive, antagonistic behavior. Suicide is a serious sin in the faith as well. Death in BATTLE defending the faith is considered martyrdom.

    “Muslims worship – well venerate and respect – a man who was a pedophile, rapist and murdering desert bandit.”
    No evidence of that whatsoever. Oh, he’s a pedophile by today’s standard? So is the Royal Crown in the UK then, as brides of 12-13 were the norm in ancient times when people were lucky to see 30-40. You make the classic error of viewing things of the ancient past through the moral filters of the 21st century.

    “I think they are incredibly wrong to do so and to think “prophet” Mohammad’s life is an idea lone worth following. Mohammad was the archetypal crazy, mad and bad cult leader.”
    Yes and no. You again fail to consider the society of the time with the moral filters of the time. When slavery was the norm, raping of female captives was the norm. If you want to call him crazy for getting an “angel teaching him the word” or whatever it is, I’ll go with you on him and Joe Smith (Romney would hate me for that one, too bad).

    @MaDer, “I could mention many things, but I am too lazy. So I will give only one example for homework: read for yourself about support for various dictatiorships around the world by USA for decades to today. Some democracy leader, indeed.”
    You could use one well documented example of today, Nicaragua, threatened by the US to be “turned into another Cuba” if they elected a communist leader over the leader the US supports.
    If I travel anywhere in South America or the Philippines, the populace first think I’m CIA and steer well away from me if I identify myself as a US citizen.

    @Nigel Depledge, “Really? Is Israel stronger than the UK?”
    Don’t you mean Airstrip One?

    “Fair enough. With this, I have no quibble.

    What I object to is the way MTU singled out Muhammed for “crimes” that were pretty much a normal part of life across most of the inhabited world at the time.”
    Can’t agree more. But then, I’m a deist and don’t believe in ANY of our organized religions, which have ALL been abused to justify murder and war.

  91. MaDeR

    @Wzrd1: “I’m a deist and don’t believe in ANY of our organized religions, which have ALL been abused to justify murder and war.”
    Abused? Organized religion was created with exactly this in mind. Womens, both soft and hard power, influence, war, murder, genocide, name it, you have it. Something that happens by design cannot be abuse.

    I have no problem with faith itself (anyone have right to believe in santa or elves or magical zombie man or superalpha male in clouds whatever strikes your fancy). I have problem when people treat their fairytales too seriously. It ends up with inquisitions, cursades, persecutions, airplanes flying into skycrappers and other typical entertainment.

  92. Wzrd1

    @MaDeR, really? Show where the new testament shows JESUS preaching for war. He preached a pacifist life, paying one’s taxes and waiting for deliverance. One only hears warlike preaching from the apostles after he’s gone. So, the ORIGINAL teachings (which have been thrice mistransliterated, edited for content and had books added by Constantine) are not in the current version.
    Indeed, much of the Christian faith shows signs of being spawned out of the Essene practices.
    It is only after Jesus left the picture that the faith turned more toward mild militancy, with the organized church of Rome fully making it a militant faith of conquest.
    Note that I didn’t acknowledge deity or belief. Only from the historic, religious views espoused in the very text of the new testament.

    I have no problems with faith itself as well, I even believe in the radio frequency photon.
    I also believe the world is flat, gravity just twists it into a ballish thingie (do the math to get how ridiculous that joke is). ;)
    Belief isn’t a problem. It’s when one attempts to force others to follow the beliefs not their own that there is a problem, which is something our constitution was designed to prevent.

  93. @#93 Wzrd1: As far as Palin is concerned, that is the day I and a hell of a lot of SOCOM takes up arms against the nation, rather than permit an idiot like that access to thermonuclear arms.

    Amen. No military training here, but I’ll gladly be a distraction/bullet sponge for you if that day ever comes.

  94. @MaDeR: airplanes flying into skycrappers and other typical entertainment.
    I know this is incredibly inappropriate, given the context, , but that image made me giggle. I’m going to Hell for that, aren’t I?
    *Hell, Michigan. Great flyfishing, I hear.

    @95 Wzrd1: Show where the new testament shows JESUS preaching for war. He preached a pacifist life, paying one’s taxes and waiting for deliverance.

    How about Matthew 10:34?
    “Do not think that I came to bring peace on Earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”

    Of course, later verses make it pretty clear that he was talking about philosophical conflict, not physical violence, and some translations even change “sword” to “division”. But honestly, it doesn’t much matter what he meant, only how people interpret it. It sounds like you and MaDeR are really saying the same thing; it just depends on your definition of when documentation ends and “abuse” begins. Are the Gospels written a hundred years or so after Jesus’ death still considered part of the original canon, or are they questionable stories based on old (even at the time) histories?

  95. Wzrd1

    @Joseph G, considering that the first Jewish-Roman war was fought not long after the time of Jesus, one can guess that the climate at his time was tense. During that time, it was well known that there were militant elements who wanted to fight the Romans and reclaim control of Israel.
    Meanwhile, there were pacifist factions who preached for peace, one particular preacher became well known today, as a religion sprouted out of a few of his words.
    Which were thoroughly ignored and a war resulted, culminating with the famous siege of Masada and the mass suicide that ensured when the walls were finally breached.

  96. Nigel Depledge

    Wzrd1 (93) said:

    @Nigel Depledge, “Really? Is Israel stronger than the UK?”
    Don’t you mean Airstrip One?

    This calls to mind a joke from about 25 years ago, when the US bombed Libya for some reason (it may have been a rection to the Lockerbie bombing).

    Q: What’s the biggest aircraft carrier in the US Navy?
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    A : Great Britain

  97. Nigel Depledge

    Wzrd1 (93) said:

    Can’t agree more. But then, I’m a deist and don’t believe in ANY of our organized religions, which have ALL been abused to justify murder and war.

    What, even Buddhism?

  98. Nigel Depledge

    Mader (94) said:

    . . . airplanes flying into skycrappers . . .

    Yes, it all went into the crapper that day . . .

    (Named for Thomas Crapper, inventor of the siphon flush.)

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