Tim McMullen's Missives and Tomes

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Truth is Nearly Always One-sided.

This is the graphic to which I alluded in my previous blog post. The comment to which I responded said, "Isn't this about a one sided as it gets. "Liberals Taking Our Country Back" by Cynthia Yanez. They don't bang the drum they use C4."

You make an interesting point, David, a point that the far right is generally unwilling to admit: Truth is nearly always one-sided. The graphic makes three statements of fact reflecting well-known Republican positions, but you deem it "a (sic) one sided (sic) as it gets."

Unfortunately, you fail to make any actual assertion about error in the claims; you only suggest that these political claims are not impartial or that they are hyperbolic in the extreme.

1. "Republicans voted against equal pay for women although it passed anyway. " This is clearly in reference to the Ledbetter Act, which was defeated in 2008 by the Republican minority, but passed with a vote along party lines in 2009. It can't have been about the Paycheck Fairness Act of 2014 because that was blocked by every member of the Republican minority in the Senate participating in the procedural filibuster to prevent it from being brought to a vote.

2. "Republicans are against a woman's right to choose." Is there any doubt about this one? The Republican Party Platform of 2012 states, “We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.” Paul Ryan, the Republican vice-presidential candidate in 2012, was quite explicit about his opposition to abortion, even in the case of rape or incest.

3. They want to force women to have kids when raped (see Republican Platform and Ryan note above) and give the rapist visitation and custody rights. These "rapist's rights" already exist in 31 states. In Ohio, a law has been introduced to overturn the parental rights of the rapist prompted by the kidnapper who kept two women captive for ten years and who fathered a child by raping one of them; he has demanded to see his "daughter." The legislation has been blocked in committee by the Republican committee chairman.

Apparently, you were looking for something more balanced, something like this:

1. "Republicans voted against equal pay." True, but those sluts don't deserve equal pay to a man: after all, the man is the breadwinner; the woman is subservient to the wishes of the man. It says so, right there in the bible, about a thousand times. Here's one fine example: 

1 Timothy Chapter 2
11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the 
man, but to be in silence.
13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was 
in the transgression.
15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they 
continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.

2. "Republicans are against a woman's right to choose." Damn right, they are against all those baby-murdering Democrats and those whores and doctors of whores who want to kill their zygotes and fetuses; those women and health care providers are criminals and murderers who deserve to be imprisoned or even killed, by terrorist vigilantes if necessary, to carry out the Lord's work [See Timothy 1:2:15 above].

3. "They want to force women to have kids when raped and give the rapist visitation and custody rights." Well, DUH! See number one and two above. Hell, "If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down" (Rep. Claude Akin, Republican ), and "The incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low" (Rep. Trent Franks, Republican) [Actually, about 32,100 pregnancies result from rape each year]. "The facts show that people who are raped — who are truly raped — the juices don't flow, the body functions don't work and they don't get pregnant....To get pregnant, it takes a little cooperation. And there ain’t much cooperation in a rape” (Rep. Henry Aldridge, Republican)

According to the San Francisco Gate, "Aldridge had the floor during the committee meeting as he was trying to apologize for earlier remarks implying that victims of rape or incest are sexually promiscuous" (as quoted in policy.mic).

As for Rapist's rights, Paul Ryan's Fetus Rights Bill (aka, Sanctity of Human Life Act) H.R. 23, which he has repeatedly submitted to Congress intends: "To provide that human life shall be deemed to begin with fertilization."

Section 2(2) states, “The Congress affirms that the Congress, each State, the District of Columbia, and all United States territories have the authority to protect the lives of all human beings residing in its respective jurisdictions.” Initially, this asserts that this is a states' rights issue; however, taken to its logical conclusion, the rapist has a right to prevent his rape victim from terminating her pregnancy, even if she resides in a state where abortions are still legal. Having thus prevented the abortion sought by the woman, he could then claim visitation and custody rights in at least 31 states that currently do not bar such action.

So, there you go, David, both sides get to speak for themselves. And thanks for the invitation to C4. Now let's try to Cclearly.

"The Greatest Threat to Democracy is Hypocrisy! Seek Truth! Speak Truth!" 

Tim McMullen

Satan, Santa and Stephen Crane

I saw this posted on a friend's FB page today. Normally, I would either "like" or ignore a graphic like this, but for some reason (perhaps the fact that I had just spent the previous hour responding to a comment on another post that I felt deserved a complete response) I felt moved to respond to this.

I get the sentiment, and I agree to a great extent, but I am afraid that it oversimplifies. Being an atheist is okay. Being a smug, arrogant, belligerent, self-righteous prig is not okay, whether you are religious or not.

Sadly, most religions shame themselves not merely with their intolerance of other faiths or points of view, but through practices that demean both the individual and "the other," including waging war against "infidels," "heretics," and "non-believers" in the name of God. Let us not exclude predatory priests, evangelical con artists, genital mutilation and female subjugation, to name but a few "religious" practices that deserve to be shamed, including defiance of science.

Furthermore, I know that it's meant to add levity, but reindeers don't have red, shiny noses, and perpetuating falsehoods and fantasies as anything other than literary fictions, no matter how telling and meaningful they are for the human condition can have dire consequences.

Insisting that the physical laws of nature can be ignored or circumvented has dangerous, real world consequences. Seizing a Holy Book—from whatever religion and regardless of how many times it has been translated and retranslated, collected and collated, reconfigured and re-collated, and no matter what wildly improbable or physically impossible events are claimed to have occurred (remember Leda and the Swan?)—and claiming that said Holy Book must be taken absolutely literally while failing to acknowledge any possible ambiguity or obvious contradictions can have devastating effects on an individual, a society, and our world.

I do not disdain religion nor those who see themselves as either religious or spiritual, and I admire many of the important tenets from many of the world's religions, but I decry those practices and practitioners who advocate the suppression or subjugation of people based on origin, nationality, race, gender, sexual orientation, or social status.

Stephen Crane wrote:

"And the sins of the fathers shall be visited upon the heads of the children, even unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me."

Well, then I hate thee, unrighteous picture;
Wicked image, I hate thee;
So, strike with thy vengeance
The heads of those little men
Who come blindly.
It will be a brave thing.

I concur with Crane's analysis. Most read this as a blasphemous attack on God, but it clearly is not. He is not offering a hatred of God; he is stating a hatred for that particularly "unrighteous picture" of God.

As if to explicate this idea, he later wrote:

I stood upon a highway,
And, behold, there came
Many strange peddlers.
To me each one made gestures,
Holding forth little images, saying,
"This is my pattern of God.
Now this is the God I prefer."
But I said, "Hence!
Leave me with mine own,
And take you yours away;
I can't buy of your patterns of God,
The little gods you may rightly prefer."

I believe the "peddlers" are the problem. "To each his own" seems to me to be a very virtuous statement when it comes to religious or spiritual beliefs.

PS: I liked the colors in the clouds, too.

Monday, July 7, 2014

A Deep Personal Loss

We are very sorry to inform you of the passing of our very dear friend, Laura Dearden Davidson, of a heart condition, only a couple of months before her 65th birthday. 

Laura is Carolyn's oldest and dearest friend. Carolyn has known her since they were in grade school together, and I have known Laura since 1969. She was a kind and loving soul who shared her enthusiasm, her wisdom and her joy with countless thousands as a teacher, a principal, and District Administrator, and as a loving wife, mother, sister, and, for us, a remarkable friend.

With their high school friend, Debe Sherman, Carolyn and Laura had enjoyed a number of special, girlfriend getaways to the Wine Country, Pasadena, Catalina, and Ashland, as well as annual Christmas visits and summer visits.

There is a hole in the hearts of so many tonight, as her friends and family seek to assuage the loss of our dear friend with the untold joyful memories. Our deepest condolences to Laura's husband, Marv Davidson; their sons, Aaron and Ryan; Laura's brother, Jeff, and her sister, Nona; and her myriad friends.

Laura Dearden Davidson at Huntington Library and Gardens in San Marino, CA, May, 2012.

Carolyn Swanson and Laura Dearden Davidson at 
The Abbey of New Clairvaux winery in Chico, CA, Summer of 2011. 

Debra Sherman Thorne, Carolyn Swanson, and Laura Dearden Davidson at Laura's wonderful retirement celebration attended by over 100 of her friends and colleagues in 2008.

Carolyn Swanson, Debra Sherman Thorne, and Laura Dearden Davidson at the wedding of Debe's son, Miles, June 7, 2014. This was the last time that we saw Laura, but we are eternally grateful to have been able to spend the whole afternoon and evening in the wonderful company of Laura and her husband, Marv Davidson.