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Secrets of the GOP Science War: How Spin-Masters and Pundits Confuse Conservatives About Facts

October 3, 2015 in Blogs

By Paul Rosenberg, Salon

Conservatives have become much less trusting of science. A cynical right-wing campaign is behind that

When scientists announced the discovery of water on Mars recently, Rush Limbaugh drew the obvious conclusion: It was all part of a conspiratorial plot:

LIMBAUGH: If there was once all that water on Mars, and there is a lot of water here on earth, what’s going to happen to our ocean? How did the water vanish?

My point is, they’re presenting all this stuff to you as fact just like they’re presenting everything involving global warming as scientific fact. It`s nothing but wild guesses. It’s nothing but based on computer models which is the result of data input that who knows if it’s legit or not.

That’s to be expected from Limbaugh, I suppose. If you’re a huckster by trade, the truth is your enemy—and not just the truth, but the very possibility of truth. The veryexistence of science is a threat to you. So naturally, if you’ve got as much time to fill as Limbaugh does, you engage in war on science. But the real problem isn’t Rush Limbaugh, it’s the way that the entirety of the GOP adapts to him in various different ways—especially those who are deemed “sensible” in the world of bipartisan consensus, whose job it is to make plausible excuses for their sorry party.

Case in point: GOP strategist Liz Mair, who back in March was abruptly fired after just one day as a Scott Walker online strategist, in response to outrage over an earlier set of tweets critical of Iowa during a January forum. After her firing, Mair fired off a long tweet storm clarifying her views, which she did again—with a more critical edge—just after Walker left the race a few weeks ago. In short, if there’s anyone working inside the GOP likely to be honestly critical of its problems, it’s Mair. Which presumably is why MSNBC likes having her on. But Limbaugh’s anti-science conspiracism clearly illuminates the limits of such critical honesty.

Thus, when Chris Matthews played that clip of Limbaugh and opened up a discussion on “Hardball” on Sept. 29 [transcript], Mair …read more


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Richard Dawkins & Bill Maher Still Baffled Why So Many Liberals Think They're Bigots — Here's Why

October 3, 2015 in Blogs

By Adam Johnson, AlterNet

Their moral libertarianism and attacks on Islam don't make them edgy “truth tellers”, it makes them imperial stooges.

Bill Maher and his good friend, Richard Dawkins, sat down on his show Real Time last night for the fifth time in almost eight seasons. Their discussion, per usual, was an agreeable, tedious mix of self-victimization and indignation about why so many on the left – specifically the Twitter left – think their obsession with “radical Islam” makes them bigots.

“It's so dumb, because all the people who are accused of being Islamophobes like you and me and Sam [Harris], we're liberals.” Maher said perplexed. “When I was a child in my home, I was seven and my parents said 'we're for Kennedy, we're for him letting black people go to college in the south” Maher fumed, as Dawkins nodded enthusiastically along with Maher's notoriously sycophantic audience. 

“Why don't liberals love us”, they ask. “We're so goddamn liberal but for some reason our critiques of Islam are seen as hateful”. And while Maher is correct that he's generally good on taxes and calling out Republican bigotry, this doesn't give him a free pass on his rank Islamophobia (a term he thinks is “meaningless”.)  

Firstly, no one thinks “Islam is a protected species” as Maher put it. This is a typical strawman New Athiest employ. Dawkins doesn't go after “all religions” equally. Quite the opposite, he has said that Islam is uniquely sinister, referring to it as “unmitigated evil“, on numerous occasions. Accusations of bigotry on their part, therefore, are not selective in favor of Islam, they are a reaction to their selective, repeated highlighting of it. Secondly, this position is dripping with libertarian false equivalency. The “I criticize all religions equally” is the close cousin to “I criticize all races equally” — a principle that sounds cute in theory but willfully ignores the burden of history and imperialism.

To the Mahers and the Dawkins of the world, the connection between America's wars in the Middle East is cosmetic at best, and “silly  liberal” relativism, at worst. That President Obama – who …read more


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Justin Bieber Channels His Faith in Jesus to Debunk the Big Bang Theory

October 3, 2015 in Blogs

By Marina Hyde, The Guardian

It's over guys, mystery solved.

It is typically intriguing of Justin Bieber to choose cosmology for his first foray into scientific debunking, when many feel he could provide a more elegant rebuke to Darwinism. Either way, it’s bad news for Cern (Twitter followers: 1.24 million) as Justin (Twitter followers: 68 million) finally starts using his power for good – in this case, to explain how ludicrous the so-called origins of the universe are.

“I’m the type of dude who always wants to figure it out,” explains the What Do U Mean hitmaker. “Science makes a lot of sense,” he concedes. Or does he? “Then I start thinking — wait, the ‘big bang’. For a ‘big bang’ to create all this is more wild to think about than thinking about there being a God. Imagine putting a bunch of gold into a box, shaking up the box, and out comes a Rolex. It’s so preposterous once people start saying it.”

Word. I think I read somewhere that the watchmaker was blind, but maybe we need to accept that he was just wearing really limited-edition Wayfarers.

Anyway, where was I? Or rather, where was Justin? The answer to that, he’ll have you know, is “in a good place”. In case you have been preoccupied with the various fripperies of the news pages, you won’t have failed to notice that the world is being gifted Bieber 3.0 at present, with the star anxious to use all media appearances to declare the coming of his third age. First he was a teen pop sensation; then he was a bad boy; now he is at a point in his evolution – and I don’t mean to use a curse-word there – where he is no longer going to hide the fact that Jesus is his salvation.

Consequently, Justin has granted a lengthy interview to a mag called Complex – which seems anything but – where he ruminates on Christianity. Or what we might more accurately call …read more


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Illegal Immigration Surged Because We Curtailed Legal Worker Migration 50 Years Ago

October 3, 2015 in Economics

By Alex Nowrasteh

Alex Nowrasteh

Today marks the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Baines Johnson signing the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. It removed the atrocious racial barriers in immigration law but also restricted economic migration—especially from the Western Hemisphere.

We continue to struggle with its mixed legacy, particularly now that a spotlight is shining on our dysfunctional immigration system.

The 1965 Act replaced a series of eugenics-inspired and labor union-backed immigration restrictions from the Immigration Act of 1924. That law intentionally discriminated against immigrants from outside of North-Western Europe and reinforced bans on immigrants from entire continents in a system called “national origins.”

If the 1924 Act was meant to exclude people based on their supposed racial inferiority, why did it rely on a national origins system instead of just banning races outright? Henry Pratt Fairchild, American Eugenics Society president, sociologist, and 1924 Act supporter, explained that a national origins system accomplished roughly the same outcome as an explicit race-based system without the “endless confusion and intolerable litigation. So Congress substituted [in] the term nationality” for race. In other words, a national origins system was easier, cheaper, and involved fewer lawyers.

Curtailing legal worker migration and burdening the rest with more regulations channels forced would-be legal immigrants into the black market.”

Removing the discriminatory features of immigration law also meant subjecting immigrants from Western Hemisphere countries to more regulation. There was no numerical quota on any immigrants from the Western Hemisphere prior to 1965—so long as they met the other criteria for a green card. Legal Hispanic immigration to the United States was impeded by the 1965 Act.

Expanding family-based immigration

Mexican immigration surged in the early 20th century as they fled civil war and substituted for Chinese and Japanese immigrants who were banned under law. Immigration from Mexico shot up again in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s following the deportation of about two million of them during the Great Depression. It wasn’t until the 1980s that Mexican immigration started to expand rapidly—due to the recession in Mexico and family-reunification from the 1986 amnesty.

The 1965 Act created new green card categories for the relatives of Americans and legal immigrants to the United States. But the 1965 Act did not create the family-based or chain-migration immigration system—the restrictive Immigration Act of 1924 did. In addition to creating numerical quotas on immigrants for the first time, it exempted the children and wives (husbands were not exempted until 1952) from the quota.

The …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Maher: Why the GOP Loves a Fake Capitalist Jesus, Not the Real Socialist One (VIDEO)

October 3, 2015 in Blogs

By AlterNet Staff, AlterNet

They got it all backwards.

Bill Maher took some time out on Friday night's Real Time to point out the modern GOP was currently worshiping a totally fantastical Jesus. One who's contemptuous of the poor, greedy, and less about values and more about maximizing shareholder value. 

To do this he created Supply Side Jesus who wears a suit and believes in small government. He's closer to Pharma Bro Martin Shkreli than the biblical Jesus – a point Maher drove home by quoting a series of bible quotes that would be entirely foreign to the current Republican party. 

“He'd love to help the less fortunate,” Maher said about Supply Side Jesus, “but he has investors to think about. Like the time [he] performed a miracle, creating a bounty of fishes and gave them all to the 1% so they could trickle down to the takers.”

Watch the clip below:

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