In a world dominated by magical thinking, superstition and misinformation, give yourself the benefit of doubt. This is one skeptic's view of the Universe.

"Tell people there’s an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure."

-George Carlin

“If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed”.

-Albert Einstein

“Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.”

-Carl Sagan

The person who is certain, and who claims divine warrant for his certainty, belongs now to the infancy of our species. It may be a long farewell, but it has begun and, like all farewells, should not be protracted.

-Christopher Hitchens

 

abaldwin360:

underthemountainbunker:

.
John McCain asked why he skipped Benghazi briefing: “Who the hell are you…?”
Huffington Post: 4:25 p.m. — CNN published a more detailed account of its exchange with McCain, in which, when asked why he wouldn’t comment on missing the briefing, the senator responded, “Who the hell are you to tell me I can or not?”

When CNN approached McCain in a Capitol hallway Thursday morning, the senator refused to comment about why he missed the briefing, which was conducted by top diplomatic, military and counter-terrorism officials. Instead, McCain got testy when pressed to say why he wasn’t there.
“I have no comment about my schedule and I’m not going to comment on how I spend my time to the media,” McCain said.
Asked why he wouldn’t comment, McCain grew agitated: “Because I have the right as a senator to have no comment and who the hell are you to tell me I can or not?”
When CNN noted that McCain had missed a key meeting on a subject the senator has been intensely upset about, McCain said, “I’m upset that you keep badgering me.”

The “Maverick” doesn’t like being called on his reindeer games.

Who the FUCK does this motherfucker think he is? He works for the american people, not the other fucking way around.

Seriously. And where the fuck was he when 53 people died in embassy attacks under Bush? The ‘maverick’ can take his sanctimonious selective outrage, turn it sideways, and stick it straight up his ass..

abaldwin360:

underthemountainbunker:

.

John McCain asked why he skipped Benghazi briefing: “Who the hell are you…?”

Huffington Post: 4:25 p.m. — CNN published a more detailed account of its exchange with McCain, in which, when asked why he wouldn’t comment on missing the briefing, the senator responded, “Who the hell are you to tell me I can or not?”

When CNN approached McCain in a Capitol hallway Thursday morning, the senator refused to comment about why he missed the briefing, which was conducted by top diplomatic, military and counter-terrorism officials. Instead, McCain got testy when pressed to say why he wasn’t there.

“I have no comment about my schedule and I’m not going to comment on how I spend my time to the media,” McCain said.

Asked why he wouldn’t comment, McCain grew agitated: “Because I have the right as a senator to have no comment and who the hell are you to tell me I can or not?”

When CNN noted that McCain had missed a key meeting on a subject the senator has been intensely upset about, McCain said, “I’m upset that you keep badgering me.”

The “Maverick” doesn’t like being called on his reindeer games.

Who the FUCK does this motherfucker think he is? He works for the american people, not the other fucking way around.

Seriously. And where the fuck was he when 53 people died in embassy attacks under Bush? The ‘maverick’ can take his sanctimonious selective outrage, turn it sideways, and stick it straight up his ass..

Why Won’t John McCain Call Harry Reid A Liar? (VIDEO)

stfuhypocrisy:

Anderson Cooper asks John McCain about Harry Reid’s allegation that Mitt Romney didn’t pay taxes for ten years. The entire exchange is simply mind-boggling.

First, Anderson Cooper seems shocked that Harry Reid would make such an accusation without offering any proof. What? This is a new thing in politics? Harry Reid has come under intense fire from the “liberal” media for making a claim and presenting no evidence for it. Yet, over the last three years we’ve heard that Obama is a Muslim, he was born in Kenya, he’s going to take all our guns away, he has an enemies list, he hates white people, he’s a junkie, his birth certificate is fake, Obamacare has death panels, Muslims have infiltrated the government and we’ll be living under Sharia law any day now.

The lack of mainstream media outrage at these unfounded and hysterical claims was noticeable to say the least. Whatever could be different this time? Oh right! A Democrat said it! I forgot. IOKIYAR – It’s OK If You’re A Republican.

The important part is McCain’s response (and what he doesn’t say):

“Occasionally he displays some erratic behavior.” Since when? Reid has a reputation for being insanely mild mannered. Last week, however, he got so angry, he used the word “poppycock” on the Senate floor. Yeah, Harry’s out of control.

“I think Harry might have gone over the line.” So Sarah Palin can accuse Obama of “paling around with terrorists” but accusing a known tax dodger (“It’s all legal!”) of dodging taxes is a just a bridge to nowhere too far? Really?

Notice that McCain entire response is to attack Reid on a personal level. The response from most of the right-wing has been the same; RNC chairman Reince Preibus even called Reid a “dirty liar.” Yet, John McCain, of the few public figures to have seen Romney’s tax returns just couldn’t bring himself to say “Harry Reid is lying.” Nothing he’s said contradicts Reid in any way. Why not? He would know, wouldn’t he? If he knows that Reid is lying, then he has every right to say so. Of course, if McCain says Reid is lying, Romney’s tax returns get out and it turns out Reid was telling the truth…well…

And that should tell you EVERYTHING you need to know about this “controversy.”

[CLICK THE LINK TO WATCH VIDEO]

underthemountainbunker:

Sen. John McCain wants campaign finance reform again, so guess where he goes for support:  McCain said Tuesday he could join Democrats once again to form a bipartisan coalition, even though it would annoy the Republican leadership. […] The Disclose Act introduced by the Whitehouse in March would require any group that spends $10,000 or more on election ads or other political activity to file a disclosure report with the Federal Election Commission within 24 hours. Reports would detail the nature of expenditures over $1,000 and reveal the names of donors who give $10,000 or more. The legislation would also require that outside group advertisements include “stand-by-your-ad” disclaimers listing the biggest donors. Forty-three Democrats have co-sponsored the legislation, but no Republican has endorsed it. – TheHill.com

underthemountainbunker:

Sen. John McCain wants campaign finance reform again, so guess where he goes for support:  McCain said Tuesday he could join Democrats once again to form a bipartisan coalition, even though it would annoy the Republican leadership. […] The Disclose Act introduced by the Whitehouse in March would require any group that spends $10,000 or more on election ads or other political activity to file a disclosure report with the Federal Election Commission within 24 hours. Reports would detail the nature of expenditures over $1,000 and reveal the names of donors who give $10,000 or more. The legislation would also require that outside group advertisements include “stand-by-your-ad” disclaimers listing the biggest donors. Forty-three Democrats have co-sponsored the legislation, but no Republican has endorsed it.TheHill.com

culturerevo:

mohandasgandhi:

Glenn Greenwald: With the new National Defense Authorization Act, Congress has formally declared that the entire world (including the U.S.) is a battlefield and the war will essentially go on forever

A bill co-sponsored by Democratic Sen. Carl Levin and GOP Sen. John McCain   (S. 1867) — included in the pending defense authorization bill — is  predictably on its way to passage. It is triggering substantial alarm in many circles, including from the ACLU –  and rightly so. But there are also many misconceptions about it that  have been circulating that should be clarified, including a possible  White House veto. Here are the bill’s three most important provisions:

(1) mandates that all accused Terrorists  be indefinitely imprisoned by the military rather than in the civilian  court system; it also unquestionably permits (but does not mandate) that even U.S. citizens on U.S. soil accused of  Terrorism be held by the military rather than charged in the civilian  court system (Sec. 1032);
(2) renews the 2001 Authorization to Use Military  Force (AUMF) with more expansive language: to allow force (and military  detention) against not only those who perpetrated the 9/11 attacks and  countries which harbored them, but also anyone who “substantially supports” Al Qaeda, the Taliban or “associated forces” (Sec. 1031); and,
(3) imposes new restrictions on the U.S. Government’s ability to transfer detainees out of Guantanamo (Secs. 1033-35).

There are several very revealing aspects to all of this. First, the 9/11 attack happened more than a decade ago; Osama bin Laden is dead; the U.S. Government claims it has killed virtually all of Al Qaeda’s leadership and the group is  “operationally ineffective” in the Afghan-Pakistan region; and many  commentators insisted that these developments would mean that the War on  Terror would finally begin to recede. And yet here we have the  Congress, on a fully bipartisan basis, acting not only to re-affirm the  war but to expand it even further: by formally declaring that  the entire world (including the U.S.) is a battlefield and the war will  essentially go on forever.
Indeed, it seems clear that they are doing this precisely out of fear that the justifications they have long given for the War no longer  exist and there is therefore a risk Americans will clamor for its end.  This is Congress declaring: the War is more vibrant than ever and must be expanded further. For  our political class and the private-sector that owns it, the War on  Terror — Endless War — is an addiction: it is not a means to an end but the end itself (indeed, 2/3 of these war addicts in the Senate just rejected Rand Paul’s bill to repeal the 2003 Iraq AUMF even as they insist that  the Iraq War has ended). This is the war-hungry U.S. Congress acting  preemptively to ensure that there is no sense in the citizenry that the  War on Terror — and especially all of the vast new powers it spawned —  can start to wind down, let alone be reversed.
Second, consider how typically bipartisan this all is. The Senate just voted 37-61 against an amendment,  sponsored by Democratic Sen. Mark Udall, that would have stripped the  Levin/McCain section from the bill: in other words, Levin/McCain  garnered one more vote than the 60 needed to stave off a filibuster. Every GOP Senator (except Rand Paul and Mark Kirk) voted against the  Udall amendment, while just enough Democrats – 16 in total — joined the GOP to ensure passage of Levin/McCain. That includes such  progressive stalwarts as Debbie Stabenow, Sheldon Whitehouse, Jeanne  Shaheen and its lead sponsor, Carl Levin.
I’ve described this little scam before as “Villain Rotation”: “They always have a  handful of Democratic Senators announce that they will be the ones to  deviate this time from the ostensible party position and impede success,  but the designated Villain constantly shifts, so the Party itself can  claim it supports these measures while an always-changing handful of  their members invariably prevent it.” This has happened with countless votes that  are supposed manifestations of right-wing radicalism but that pass  because an always-changing roster of Democrats ensure they have the  support needed. So here is the Democratic Party — led by its senior  progressive National Security expert, Carl Levin, and joined by just  enough of its members — joining the GOP to ensure that this bill passes,  and that the U.S. Government remains vested with War on Terror powers  and even expands that war in some critical respects.
Third,  I haven’t written about this bill until now for one reason: as odious  and definitively radical as the powers are which this bill endorses, it  doesn’t actually change the status quo all that much. That’s because the  Bush and Obama administrations have already successfully claimed most  of the powers in the bill, and courts have largely acquiesced. To be  sure, there are dangers to having Congress formally codify these powers.  But a powerful sign of how degraded our political culture has become is  that this bill — which in any other time would be shockingly extremist —  actually fits right in with who we are as a nation and what our  political institutions are already doing. To be perfectly honest, I just  couldn’t get myself worked up over a bill that, with some exceptions,  does little more than formally recognize and codify what our Government  is already doing.
(Continue reading…)


impeach every senator who voted for this.


The war on terror is to the defense industry what the war on drugs is to the prison industry.

culturerevo:

mohandasgandhi:

Glenn Greenwald: With the new National Defense Authorization Act, Congress has formally declared that the entire world (including the U.S.) is a battlefield and the war will essentially go on forever

A bill co-sponsored by Democratic Sen. Carl Levin and GOP Sen. John McCain  (S. 1867) — included in the pending defense authorization bill — is predictably on its way to passage. It is triggering substantial alarm in many circles, including from the ACLU – and rightly so. But there are also many misconceptions about it that have been circulating that should be clarified, including a possible White House veto. Here are the bill’s three most important provisions:

(1) mandates that all accused Terrorists be indefinitely imprisoned by the military rather than in the civilian court system; it also unquestionably permits (but does not mandate) that even U.S. citizens on U.S. soil accused of Terrorism be held by the military rather than charged in the civilian court system (Sec. 1032);

(2) renews the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) with more expansive language: to allow force (and military detention) against not only those who perpetrated the 9/11 attacks and countries which harbored them, but also anyone who “substantially supports” Al Qaeda, the Taliban or “associated forces” (Sec. 1031); and,

(3) imposes new restrictions on the U.S. Government’s ability to transfer detainees out of Guantanamo (Secs. 1033-35).

There are several very revealing aspects to all of this. First, the 9/11 attack happened more than a decade ago; Osama bin Laden is dead; the U.S. Government claims it has killed virtually all of Al Qaeda’s leadership and the group is “operationally ineffective” in the Afghan-Pakistan region; and many commentators insisted that these developments would mean that the War on Terror would finally begin to recede. And yet here we have the Congress, on a fully bipartisan basis, acting not only to re-affirm the war but to expand it even further: by formally declaring that the entire world (including the U.S.) is a battlefield and the war will essentially go on forever.

Indeed, it seems clear that they are doing this precisely out of fear that the justifications they have long given for the War no longer exist and there is therefore a risk Americans will clamor for its end. This is Congress declaring: the War is more vibrant than ever and must be expanded further. For our political class and the private-sector that owns it, the War on Terror — Endless War — is an addiction: it is not a means to an end but the end itself (indeed, 2/3 of these war addicts in the Senate just rejected Rand Paul’s bill to repeal the 2003 Iraq AUMF even as they insist that the Iraq War has ended). This is the war-hungry U.S. Congress acting preemptively to ensure that there is no sense in the citizenry that the War on Terror — and especially all of the vast new powers it spawned — can start to wind down, let alone be reversed.

Second, consider how typically bipartisan this all is. The Senate just voted 37-61 against an amendment, sponsored by Democratic Sen. Mark Udall, that would have stripped the Levin/McCain section from the bill: in other words, Levin/McCain garnered one more vote than the 60 needed to stave off a filibuster. Every GOP Senator (except Rand Paul and Mark Kirk) voted against the Udall amendment, while just enough Democrats – 16 in total — joined the GOP to ensure passage of Levin/McCain. That includes such progressive stalwarts as Debbie Stabenow, Sheldon Whitehouse, Jeanne Shaheen and its lead sponsor, Carl Levin.

I’ve described this little scam before as “Villain Rotation”: “They always have a handful of Democratic Senators announce that they will be the ones to deviate this time from the ostensible party position and impede success, but the designated Villain constantly shifts, so the Party itself can claim it supports these measures while an always-changing handful of their members invariably prevent it.” This has happened with countless votes that are supposed manifestations of right-wing radicalism but that pass because an always-changing roster of Democrats ensure they have the support needed. So here is the Democratic Party — led by its senior progressive National Security expert, Carl Levin, and joined by just enough of its members — joining the GOP to ensure that this bill passes, and that the U.S. Government remains vested with War on Terror powers and even expands that war in some critical respects.

Third, I haven’t written about this bill until now for one reason: as odious and definitively radical as the powers are which this bill endorses, it doesn’t actually change the status quo all that much. That’s because the Bush and Obama administrations have already successfully claimed most of the powers in the bill, and courts have largely acquiesced. To be sure, there are dangers to having Congress formally codify these powers. But a powerful sign of how degraded our political culture has become is that this bill — which in any other time would be shockingly extremist — actually fits right in with who we are as a nation and what our political institutions are already doing. To be perfectly honest, I just couldn’t get myself worked up over a bill that, with some exceptions, does little more than formally recognize and codify what our Government is already doing.

(Continue reading…)

impeach every senator who voted for this.

The war on terror is to the defense industry what the war on drugs is to the prison industry.

workonprogress:

jtotheizzoe:

Someone reblogged my post about Rick Perry’s claim of “the money-making research hoax” that is climate science, frustrated that the media overplays the consensus. Put another way, they think that there are are large numbers of “nonbelievers” in the climate science community that aren’t getting heard.
Right before I hopped into my climate scientist buddy’s Ferrari on our way out to a coke-and-Cristal-fueled evening debating the latest climate publications over rare vintage jars of Soviet-era caviar and tender baby bluefin tuna sashimi (all served on gold platters delivered on the backs of scantily-clad models)*, I found this neat website:
If you take 4,000 climate science publications, all peer-reviewed, over the last 178 years, and classify them as “skeptical”, “neutral” or “pro-manmade-global-warming”, you get the above picture. Go ahead, play with it yourself, and you can even see how it trends over time and pick out the papers from each year.
I’d say the consensus on either neutral effects or in support of man-made global warming is pretty strong. If you turned that graphic into 100 scientists, less than 5 of them would be “climate skeptics”. That’sconsensus.
*You gotta spend that climate science hoax $ somehow, amiright?

Just read a few of the pro-manmade global warming ones from 2010. Obviously they are pro, but I don’t understand how we can’t act especially when considering this: 
As Ezra Klein posted a few months back: 

A few years ago, cap-and-trade was, if not a consensus position in the Republican Party, then at least one with substantial support. John McCain had his own plan — a plan he continued to promote through the 2008 election — and he wasn’t, by any means, fighting a lonely battle. In fact, one of his co-sponsors was then-Sen. Barack Obama. In the states, a number of Republican governors were also pursuing cap-and-trade plans, including Tim Pawlenty, who’s now running for president and has denounced his efforts to fight climate change as a terrible mistake.

Or as McCain quoted Tony Blair, himself: 

Suppose we are wrong and there is no such thing as Climate Change and we adapt green technologies, all we have done is give our children a cleaner world. Suppose we are right about Climate Change and do nothing. Then what have we done for our kids?

workonprogress:

jtotheizzoe:

Someone reblogged my post about Rick Perry’s claim of “the money-making research hoax” that is climate science, frustrated that the media overplays the consensus. Put another way, they think that there are are large numbers of “nonbelievers” in the climate science community that aren’t getting heard.

Right before I hopped into my climate scientist buddy’s Ferrari on our way out to a coke-and-Cristal-fueled evening debating the latest climate publications over rare vintage jars of Soviet-era caviar and tender baby bluefin tuna sashimi (all served on gold platters delivered on the backs of scantily-clad models)*, I found this neat website:

If you take 4,000 climate science publications, all peer-reviewed, over the last 178 years, and classify them as “skeptical”, “neutral” or “pro-manmade-global-warming”, you get the above picture. Go ahead, play with it yourself, and you can even see how it trends over time and pick out the papers from each year.

I’d say the consensus on either neutral effects or in support of man-made global warming is pretty strong. If you turned that graphic into 100 scientists, less than 5 of them would be “climate skeptics”. That’sconsensus.

*You gotta spend that climate science hoax $ somehow, amiright?

Just read a few of the pro-manmade global warming ones from 2010. Obviously they are pro, but I don’t understand how we can’t act especially when considering this: 

As Ezra Klein posted a few months back: 

A few years ago, cap-and-trade was, if not a consensus position in the Republican Party, then at least one with substantial support. John McCain had his own plan — a plan he continued to promote through the 2008 election — and he wasn’t, by any means, fighting a lonely battle. In fact, one of his co-sponsors was then-Sen. Barack Obama. In the states, a number of Republican governors were also pursuing cap-and-trade plans, including Tim Pawlenty, who’s now running for president and has denounced his efforts to fight climate change as a terrible mistake.

Or as McCain quoted Tony Blair, himself: 

Suppose we are wrong and there is no such thing as Climate Change and we adapt green technologies, all we have done is give our children a cleaner world. Suppose we are right about Climate Change and do nothing. Then what have we done for our kids?

underthemountainbunker:

I wonder how guilty McCain feels right about now for Sarah Palin and and the way he ran his campaign in 2008? In other words, for how he started this entire mess. Here he tells the freshmen members to stop lying and to stop being ‘bizarro’

Fact: if the teaparty wins, we all lose

This is what happens when you have Republican freshmen in Congress whose loyalties belong to an astroturf organization rather than to the country they’re supposed to serve. No vote was taken last night on Boehner’s plan:

The end of John Boehner? | Salon

What we’ve suspected all along can now be asserted with confidence: John Boehner is a SINO – Speaker-in-name-only. And after what went down — or, more accurately, what didn’t go down — in the House on Thursday night, it’s fair to wonder how much longer he’ll even be that.

[…] Over and over again during this debt ceiling ordeal, Boehner has been undercut by the true believers in the GOP’s ranks. Last week seemed embarrassing enough, when Boehner was forced to invent excuses for backing out of a “grand bargain” that, at virtually any other point in modern history, would have been considered a massive political victory for the GOP. But his humiliation on Thursday night — unable to convince his own party to sign off on a plan that would prevent a default, trim about $1 trillion from the deficit, not raise a single new cent in revenue and allow the GOP to play this hostage game with Obama all over again in a few months — seems far, far worse.

This isn’t patriotism. When you want to watch your country burn, it’s exactly the opposite.

trea·son/ˈtrēzən/Noun

1. The crime of betraying one’s country, esp. by attempting to kill the sovereign or overthrow the government. 2. The action of betraying someone or something.  More »

WikipediaDictionary.comAnswers.comMerriam-Webster

Santorum: McCain Doesn't Understand Torture - The Daily Beast

drinkthe-koolaid:

inadvisable:

Next Republican to drop out of race? Let’s hope so.

LOL!

MCCain: Santorum Doesn’t Understand The Frothy Mixture That Sometimes Occurs While Having Anal Sex

technipol:

FLASHBACK 2008: McCain Slams Obama For Saying He’d Go Get Bin Laden In Pakistan (VIDEO)

TPM remembers: 

On February 19, 2008, McCain spoke at a victory party for his win in the Wisconsin primary, and wondered: “Will we risk the confused leadership of an inexperienced candidate who once suggested bombing our ally, Pakistan?”

The following day, he called Obama “naive” and doubled down: “The first thing you do is, you don’t tell people what you’re gonna to do. You make plans and you work with the other country that is your ally and friend, which Pakistan is.”

“You don’t broadcast and say that you’re going to bomb a country without their permission or without consulting them. It’s just fundamentals of the conduct of national security policy,” McCain added.

In a Democratic primary debate on February 26, 2008, Hillary Clinton picked up the meme: “Last summer, he basically threatened to bomb Pakistan, which I don’t think was a particularly wise position to take.”

During the general election, McCain continued to trumpet the same point. At a September 26 debate, McCain said: “I’m not prepared at this time to cut off aid to Pakistan. So I’m not prepared to threaten it, as Senator Obama apparently wants to do, as he has said that he would announce military strikes into Pakistan.”“

Now, you don’t do that. You don’t say that out loud,” McCain said. “If you have to do things, you have to do things, and you work with the Pakistani government.”

“Nobody talked about attacking Pakistan,” Obama replied. “Here’s what I said, and if John wants to disagree with this, he can let me know: That, if the United States has al Qaeda, bin Laden, top-level lieutenants in our sights, and Pakistan is unable or unwilling to act, then we should take them out. Now, I think that’s the right strategy; I think that’s the right policy.”

Who’s naive now McCain?

In light of all this birth certificate business, can we reflect on how white, Republican hopeful John McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone and granted citizenship after his first birthday. A natural-born American citizen? I think not.

The analysis, by Prof. Gabriel J. Chin, focused on a 1937 law that has been largely overlooked in the debate over Mr. McCain’s eligibility to be president. The law conferred citizenship on children of American parents born in the Canal Zone after 1904, and it made John McCain a citizen just before his first birthday. But the law came too late, Professor Chin argued, to make Mr. McCain a natural-born citizen.

“It’s preposterous that a technicality like this can make a difference in an advanced democracy,” Professor Chin said. “But this is the constitutional text that we have.”

Several legal experts said that Professor Chin’s analysis was careful and plausible. But they added that nothing was very likely to follow from it.

That’s some good irony right there.

The only public events that have so far featured his absurd choice of running mate have shown her to be a deceiving and unscrupulous woman utterly unversed in any of the needful political discourses but easily trained to utter preposterous lies and to appeal to the basest element of her audience.

Christopher Hitchens, on John McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate. (via drinkingonempty)