Archive for May 2013
“Tonight we are thrilled to announce a new segment on the show: ‘Viewpoint’s Revoltingly Fake Christian of the Week.’
Congressman Stephen Fincher, a Republican from Tennessee, just took the Bible so far out of context he had to apply for a visa.
Fincher is a fierce opponent of food aid for poor Americans. You know, like Jesus. He recently fought to cut $4.1 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. If you only watch Fox, that means ‘food stamps.’ And thanks to the fine work of Fincher and his colleagues, 2 million working American families, children and seniors have already been cut off from food assistance.
So during a recent House agricultural committee debate, he decided to show how Christian it is to turn your back on unemployed suffering Americans by quoting one of the favorite Bible passages of revoltingly fake right-wing Christians — 2 Thessalonians 3:10 — “anyone unwilling to work should not eat.”
But here’s the thing. Ya see,Thessalonians isn’t God or Jesus talking. It’s believed to have been written by Saint Paul. And in Paul’s day, many apocalyptic Christians believed Jesus was coming back really soon and the world was going to end anyway, so why work? These early rapture-heads were hurting the local economy and threatening the functioning society of Thessalonica — and I do hope I pronounced that right. And Paul makes a good point — the “Left Behind” books may be junk theology, but Kirk Cameron still shows up at his job.
So in that context, the quote makes sense. In Congressman Fincher’s context, it’s pretty much the opposite of everything Jesus Christ ever stood for.
Now, Congressman Fincher went on to say, quoting from the book of selfish toolery, “The role of citizens, of Christians, of humanity is to take care of each other, but not for Washington to steal from those in the country and give to others in the country.” Really, Congressman? Washington steals and gives to others?
Because here’s the other thing — while Fincher was passing bills to take food out of the mouths of the poor, he was supporting a proposal to expand crop insurance by $9 billion, and I’m sure the fact that he is the second most heavily subsidized farmer in Congress and one of the largest subsidy recipients in the history of Tennessee had nothing to do with this.
Between 1999 and 2012, Fincher, opponent of poor, lazy people, put out his tin cup and collected $3.5 million in government money. This guy isn’t just a welfare queen, he’s a welfare kingdom with a moat, a castle and a catapult that shoots government money over the wall into his boiling cauldron of hypocrisy.
The average Tennessee farmer gets a subsidy of $1,500. In 2012 alone, Fincher was cut a government subsidy check for $75,000, which is nearly double the median household income in all of Tennessee.
So he votes to cut food stamps and expand crop insurance subsidies by $9 billion. This guy is swimming in so much dirty pork, he could single-handedly unite the Muslims and the Jews.
The biggest right-wing fake Christian argument is “Yeah, Jesus said help the poor, but he didn’t say the government should steal from me to do it! Benghazi!”
But here’s the thing, Jesus lived under European imperial occupation. He didn’t have democracy. We do. So if you want to follow the teachings of Christ — who constantly talked about caring for the poor — then in a democracy, Christians get a chance to vote for the candidate who will most follow the teachings of Christ and care for the least among us, as he commanded in Matthew 25 — that filthy hippie.
But Fincher and the GOP don’t do that. They cut services for the poor and taxes for the rich. And it’s a free country. They’re allowed. But if you don’t want your tax dollars to help the poor, then stop saying you want a country based on Christian values. Because you don’t. And that’s why representative Fincher is our ‘revoltingly fake Christian of the week’!
I just got home from radio show number 14 on WBKM.ORG. It was a warm sweaty night, with lots of motorcycles driving by when I was talking. Gotta love Burlington in the (almost) summer.
Song before: Going for the One – Yes
From our small city to the great big world, these are the sounds of Burlington. Depending on where you are in the world, this song is almost appropriate, or spot on. This is the last day of May, on WBKM, Burlington’s kind of music:
1.) Last Day of May – The Red Telephone
2.) None of That – The Pants
3.) Heart Shaped Melody – The Cush
Talked about the gorgeousness of the Cush song and the responsibility of the lyric. Talked about how everybody loves the Pants, though I’m slow to come on board. That was a good song. Love the Telephone. Said Happy Birthday to Christopher Dorian Alley and talked about how Kiki’s Lost Nation can rock hard.
4.) When the Moon is Bright – Kiki’s Lost Nation
5.) Northern Skies – The Lindbergh Baby
6.) Capitol of Norway – Making Marks (My Little Pony)
7.) Your Song’s Too Long – Ray Fork
Talked about the quirkiness of the Ray Fork song, and how many great Burlington musicians play on the song. Talked about seeing Making Marks, and how their name was My Little Pony, and maybe still is, and how they were delightfully self-conscious about not wanting to play any section of a song to long, and bore people. Talked about the capitol of Norway being Oslo, but there being too many songs named Oslo. Talked about meeting a guy at work, who plays Europe and assorted folk festivals in the Lindbergh Baby, and how Northern Skies reminded me of Norway. Talked about chatting with Dan MacDonald about bands frustration in finding places to play, and that was true for Kiki too. Speaking of Elephants of Scotland, I went to the Intervale and planted seeds today.
8.) The Seed – Elephants of Scotland
9.) Monkey VS Demon – Farm
10.) Stronger = Belizbeha
It’s Jazzfest week, and everywhere in Burlington will have some Jazz for the next week or so. Belizbeha used to play some fun Acid Jazz in town. Hmmm, Farm. If you like the music and want to see VT from the lakes underwater, check out
Hmmm Elephants. Anytime they play, I want to be there! Last Week I played a slow Waylon song, with nice vocals. Here they are without vocals, but ripping it up. This is from the Hand Grenade disc of Horseshoes and Hand Grenades.
11.) Shadows on the Sage – Waylon Speed
12.) Powder – The New Siberians
13.) Round Sum – The Cave Bees
Yea, Steve Tremblay and Rebekah Whitehurst are back from Texas, so the Bees should be around some. The New Siberians are working on a new album. Here’s a song from the last one. Wow, the lyric echos Heart Shaped Melody a bit. Waylon Speed, rocking out.
I hope you enjoyed checking out the music of our town. Let’s do it again next week, shall we?
Song After: Fully Completely – The Tragically Hip
Fareed Zakaria (CNN):
But first, here’s my take. The sheer barbarism of the attack on a British soldier in Woolwich is really beyond comprehension.
The alleged murderers are said to have hacked the victim to death, waited for the police to arrive, and seemed to encourage people to videotape their brutality.
And yet, we have to search for some way to think about what appears to be our future.
You see, terrorism used to be about something big and dramatic, but perhaps because groups like al-Qaeda are on the run, their people hunted, their money tracked, their hideouts bombed, this, Woolwich, Boston, have become the new faces of terror; a few people, disturbed or fanatical, radicalized by things they have read or watched, who decide to commit evil.
How do you detect this kind of danger? It seems impossible. Now keep in mind, this was the first terrorist killing on British soil since the London bus and subway bombings in 2005.
In fact, since the Madrid and London bombings, there have been just three Islamic terrorist attacks that have killed people in Western Europe; Woolwich, the equally gruesome 2012 murders in France that killed French soldiers and children and a Rabbi, and the killing of U.S. soldiers in Frankfurt.
Europe’s governments have been doing a good job with police and counter-terrorism work and that might explain the relative calm of recent years.
They have also done a much better job than in the past at reaching out and helping to integrate their Muslim communities. And the communities have been responding much more strongly against these isolated acts committed by murderers in the name of Islam.
The Muslim Council of Britain issued an unequivocal statement condemning the latest killing, supporting British soldiers, and urging the police to do whatever it needed to, unhindered and unhampered.
That is precisely the kind of statement all leaders of Muslim communities need to make whenever one of these kinds of attacks takes place.
I understand the feeling that some have that they should not be held responsible for the actions of a few perverted madmen. But the trouble is that these madmen claim that they are killing in the name of Islam and someone has to refute their claims as often as they make them.
Now, the alleged murderer in Woolwich claimed that he was retaliating against British soldiers killing Muslims in Afghanistan.
I wish Muslim leaders would make the point that British and American and other allied soldiers are in Afghanistan at the invitation of the democratically elected government of that country.
They are defending that government and Muslims every day from terrorist attacks and insurgent warfare.
If these people want to protest the killing of Muslims, they should direct their wrath at the Taliban and al-Qaeda and other jihadi groups because they are the ones who are killing Muslims and many others.
We need to hear this message more often and more loudly.
I just got back from my Internet Radio Show on WBKM. Tonight I put more of the focus on the bands who have stopped by Burlington to make the scene so fantastic.
Song before: Heroes – David Bowie (live – Stages)
From our small city to the great big world, these are the sounds of Burlington. Last Saturday I saw two of the guys from Waylon Speed at the Monkey House. Here’s Waylon Speed, and they are Burlington’s kind of music.
1.) The Minor Blues – Waylon Speed
2.) The Bet – The Sideshow Tragedy
3.) Many Things and Many Scenes – Rangers of Danger
Talked about Joe, and Precipice tickets on sale now. Talked about taking a chance and seeing the guys from Waylon and being blown away by Sideshow. Took a chance and saw a great band. A lot of great bands come to town, and tonight we will spotlight a few. Next up is song three from the Cush. This is the one they had when they came to town.
4.) Small Town Movie – The Cush
5.) New Orleans is Sinking (Live w/ Nautical Disaster in the middle section) The Tragically Hip
Talked about how often the Hip come to town, and said my brother Ken went with me the last time they played, in Shelburne, and dedicated it to him. Said I would be running a few minutes late. Said Metronome mixes it up between live shows and DJ nights. Talked about a time in early 2000’s when they put on a live music focus and I got to see the next three a couple of times
6.) There’s A Fire – Longwave
7.) In The Walls – Stellastar
8.) What The Snowman Learned About Love – Stars
Talked about taking a chance and seeing lots of great music. Caroline O’Connor clued me in to this next band
9.) Brallor – Dungen
10.) Wave – Slingshot Dakota
11.) Shoulda Been Me – When Particles Collide
12.) Twee Valley High – The Smittens
Brought it back to Burlington, with the Smittens. Talked about Sasha Alcott and When Particles Collide stopping by Burlington semi-often, talked about Carly Comando and Tom Patterson making massive music and that with all the rain lately, Wave was appropriate.
Song After: Station to Station – David Bowie (live – Stages)
From the May 20, 2013, edition of “Viewpoint.”
In the waning wake of Benghazi-gate, the GOP wants us to be inflamed over IRS-gate. And it’s become pretty clear the only real legislative scandal is the scandalous need for legislators to invent scandals so they don’t have to legislate, which I’m calling Gate-gate.
The people who once told us Obama was a Muslim with a bad Christian pastor, are now telling us Obama has masterminded all these scandals while being completely out of the loop. And now references to Watergate and Nixon are flying through the air like that guy Miguel’s crotch into America’s collective face.
Sen. Orrin Hatch says, “I’ve never seen anything quite like this, except in the past during the Nixon years.”
Congressman Steve King summed up the controversy by saying, “Add Watergate and Iran-Contra together and multiply by 10.” Which is confusing math because Iran-Contra already is Watergate times 10.
But the IRS scandal and Watergate are similar, in that Watergate led all the way to the top reaches of government, and the IRS scandal leads all the way up to people who’ve never met anyone in the top reaches of government.
So of course, both Watergate and IRS-gate are the same, if you believe that criminal behavior which results in a constitutional crisis is exactly the same as a bureaucratic IRS cock-up that results in extra paperwork for a few people.
But it may surprise you to learn there are a few subtle differences between Barack Obama and Richard Nixon.
When Nixon learned that the IRS had audited conservatives, he responded by ordering Haldeman to make the IRS audit liberals on his enemies list. He used the IRS to intimidate and investigate his enemies, because he was a drug-addled, delusional sociopath.
Obama’s IRS didn’t audit conservatives. They were questioning whether tea party groups with anonymous donors were really social welfare orgs. Obama’s Treasury Department investigators stopped the scrutinizing, which began under former IRS head Douglas Shulman, a Bush appointee. And Obama fired the acting head of the IRS even though it wasn’t his fault. Which would be like if “Two and a Half Men” fired Ashton Kutcher because that one time Charlie Sheen was all coked up and terrorized a call girl at the Plaza.
Nixon was forced to say, “I am not a crook.” Obama was forced to say, “I am not a Kenyan.”
Nixon used bribery, blackmail, spying, forgery, burglary and bugging by his plumbers squad to spy on the press for purely political purposes. And Barack Obama can’t even get background checks at gun shows when 90 percent of Americans support it.
Nixon had to deal with the journalism of Bob Woodward. Obama has to deal with the fact that Bob Woodward is no longer a journalist.
Nixon was also engaged in an unpopular, bloody and pointless war and Obama … oh, wait.
Now these men did have some real things in common. Both were pro-environment — Nixon started the EPA. And both were pro-health care — Nixon actually fought for universal health care. Both were corporate centrists, both liked the drug war a bit too much, both weren’t really shy about raising taxes.
But you see Nixon was a conservative who’s way more liberal than his party can admit, and Obama’s a liberal who’s way more conservative than his party can admit.
But the biggest difference? Nixon thought his opponents were out to get him, and Obama’s opponents really are out to get him.
Fareed Zakaria (CNN)
But, first, here’s my take. Conservatives are, of course, mad at Barack Obama, and we’ll talk about the various scandals in a moment, but they are also mad at a country that isn’t mad enough at him.
This frustration is now taking over mainstream and intelligent voices within the conservative movement and about broader issues than Benghazi.
Bret Stephens, the columnist for the Wall Street Journal, laments that President Obama is not paying a price for a foreign policy that he, Stephens, describes as “isolationist.”
Now, our isolationism will surely come as a surprise to the diplomats, soldiers and intelligence officers working on America’s vast foreign policy.
Washington spends more on defense than the next 10 great powers put together and more on intelligence than most nations spend on their entire militaries.
We have more than 200,000 troops stationed at dozens of bases abroad, from Bahrain to Germany to Japan to South Korea to Turkey. We have formal commitments to defend dozens of our important allies in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
And our vast footprint has been expanded under the Obama Administration. The White House has extended America’s security umbrella to include defending Israel and the moderate Arab states against the threat posed by Iran’s possible development of nuclear weapons.
It is enlarging the U.S. military presence in Asia with a new base in Australia to deal with China’s rise. To call all this isolationism is to mangle both language and logic.
In fact, President Obama’s worldview is rooted in American exceptionalism. You see, the fundamental pattern of international relations is that as a country becomes powerful, others gang up to bring it down. That’s what happened to the Habsburg Empire to Napoleonic France to Germany and, of course, the Soviet Union.
There is one great exception to this rule in modern history, the United States. America has risen to global might, and yet it has not produced the kind of balancing opposition that many would have predicted.
In fact, today it is in the astonishing position of being the world’s dominant power while many of the world’s next most powerful nations, Britain, France, Germany, Japan, are all allied with it.
The reason surely has something to do with the nature of American hegemony. After World War II, we helped revive and rebuild our enemies and turned them into allies. For all the carping, people around the world do see the U. S. as different from other, older empires.
But it also has something to do with the way that the U.S. has exercised power, reluctantly. Historically, America was not eager to jump into the global arena. It entered World War I at the tail end of the war. It entered World War II only after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.
It contained Soviet aggression in Europe but was careful not to push too far in other places. And when we did, as in Vietnam, we paid a price.
From Dwight Eisenhower to Robert Gates-, there is a strand of American thinking, realism, that urges America to be disciplined about open-ended military interventions for just this reason.
We have just gone through a decade devoted to a very different idea, that American power must be used actively, aggressively, preemptively and in pursuit of expansive goals beyond the narrow national interest. The result was thousands of American soldiers dead, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians dead, $2 trillion spent and the erosion of American influence and goodwill across the globe.
Can we get please a few years of respite to rebuild our economic, political and moral capital?
SCOTT PELLEY: Also at his news conference today the president called for tighter security for U.S. diplomatic facilities to prevent an attack like the one in Benghazi, Libya, last year that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. Of course, Benghazi has become a political controversy. Republicans claim that the Administration watered down the facts in talking points that were given to U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice for television appearances while Mr. Obama was running for reelection. Republicans on Capitol Hill claim that they had found proof of this in White House e-mails that they leaked to reporters last week. Well, it turns out some of the quotes in those e-mails were wrong. Major Garrett is at the White House for us tonight. Major?
MAJOR GARRETT: Scott, Republicans have claimed that the State Department under Hillary Clinton was trying to protect itself from criticism. The White House released the real e-mails late yesterday and here’s what we found when we compared them to the quotes that had been provided by Republicans. One e-mail was written by Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes. On Friday, Republicans leaked what they said was a quote from Rhodes. “We must make sure that the talking points reflect all agency equities, including those of the State Department, and we don’t want to undermine the FBI investigation.” But it turns out, in the actual e-mail Rhodes did not mention the State Department. It read “We need to resolve this in a way that respects all the relevant equities, particularly the investigation.” Republicans also provided what they said was a quote from an e-mail written by State Department Spokesman Victoria Nuland. The Republican version notes Nuland discussing: “The penultimate point is a paragraph talking about all the previous warnings provided by the Agency (CIA) about al-Qaeda’s presence and activities of al-Qaeda.” The actual e-mail from Nuland says: the “…penultimate point could be abused by Members to beat the State Department for not paying attention to Agency warnings…” The C.I.A. agreed with the concerns raised by the State Department and revised the talking points to make them less specific than the C.I.A.’s original version, eliminating references to al-Qaeda and affiliates and earlier security warnings. There is no evidence, Scott, the White House orchestrated these changes.