By Bo Gardiner [Excerpts. The complete article was published at Patheos on 10/23/2016.]
Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein continued her march into absurdity this week, and her claims are worth responding to with facts.
Exposing Big Satire
On Friday, Stein and her party announced that the global corporate conspiracy extends beyond the likes of Big Pharma and into the venerable world of political satire, launching an expose of popular left-wing comedian and TV host John Oliver, who picked apart her policy ideas during a recent segment on Last Week Tonight. She posted this meme on Facebook accusing the former Daily Show star of “secret connections to corporate corruption”:
Oliver had criticized her statements on vaccines and portrayed her mechanism for eliminating student debt as unworkable. The meme links to her campaign site, where the “rebuttal” is all ad hominem and no fact, complaining that Oliver’s satirical critique was a “demeaning,” “bitterly sarcastic rant.” So a politician regularly demeans those who don’t support her in bitter, sarcastic rants, but demands immunity from such criticism from the public?
Stein’s campaign then takes the very, very low road of seeking to destroy Oliver by accusing him of being dirty, by definition, due to his income… an income progressives gladly provide him for his brilliant nightly takedown of the right. Finally, and most absurdly, a national presidential campaign lowers itself by blaming declining donations on a comedian and with Trump-like juvenile whining:
By Bo Gardiner [Excerpts. The complete article was published at Patheos on 10/20/2016.]
It’s a nearly forgotten yet proven fact that in the 2000 presidential race, Green Party candidate Ralph Nader openly expressed a preference for George W. Bush in the White House over Al Gore.
It should be no surprise, then, that the Greens’ current presidential and VP candidates, Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka, have begun expressing their preference for a Donald Trump victory. Last week on C-SPAN, Stein said:
[Excerpts from my post at The Friendly Atheist]
By Bo Gardiner
I’ve disagreed with Richard Dawkins before on his insensitivity to women, feminism, and majority privilege. Some of it he’s apologized for, so I’d like to think we’re starting to be heard. I know all too well from environmental campaigns the importance of acknowledging our successes.
There is nothing wrong with those words. The question deserves answers, not attacks.
It’s not unusual for renowned atheist Richard Dawkins to rub people of faith the wrong way. It’s not unheard of for him to get on the bad side of feminists. But it’s not every day that he pisses off the intersection of the two groups. But this week, with a series of tweets, that’s exactly what Dawkins did.
He started the hullabaloo off with this humdinger: “Islam needs a feminist revolution. It will be hard. What can we do to help?”
When I first saw her headline — “Richard Dawkins Fails Spectacularly on Feminism and Islam” — I sighed and thought “Oh dear, what has he said now?” But when I arrived at his tweet, I kept scanning, looking for the bad part. I couldn’t believe it when I realized that was it. The entire article was a critique on those 15 words, and, in my opinion, it didn’t advance feminist goals, progressive goals, or Humanist goals.
Let’s work through her tally of problems with it.
[Excerpts from my guest post at The Friendly Atheist.]
You learn a lot about campaigns when you read their strategy memos. WikiHow contributors have put together a page on How to Persuade an Atheist to Become Christian, and it’s probably a little more revealing than they intended.
So while I’ve taken the small liberty of providing a helpful title for each step, here are Christian WikiHow authors’ actual instructions for how to convert an atheist:
The last year has been an exciting period of growth for Under the Greenwood Tree, which is getting increasing attention that’s allowed me to become a guest author at The Friendly Atheist and Doubtful News. It really does take a surprising amount of time and effort to:
- expose psychics, astrologers and promoters of pseudoscience,
- challenge religious anti-humanist and anti-atheist bigotry, and
- raise awareness of humanist principles of critical and scientific thinking, love for one another and our planet.
My profile two weeks of a professional astrologer who realized astrology isn’t real after he inadvertently switched clients’ horoscopes but they were just as happy had over 10,000 shares on Facebook after Skeptics Guide to the Universe recommended it as a great story.
My YouTube channel has had half a million views, and included:
- Several dramatic videos exposing the abusive physical and emotional trauma to which Christian evangelists subject children. A great many venues picked up my video What in God’s Name Are They Doing to the Children, and with a little help from Richard Dawkins and Ricky Gervais, it generated thousands of calls for reform of what is clearly child abuse.
- Humanist looks at the box office hits God’s Not Dead and Do You Believe?
- Debunking the latest viral 9/11 truther video.
- Lighthearted use of pop culture to encourage healthy skepticism.
Please take a moment to help make this happen for another year, and click the PayPal button below. PayPal protects your personal information, which is kept entirely private–including from me. It’s quick and easy; you can use any card, and don’t need a PayPal account. Each small bit makes a difference.
Many thanks to you all for reading and sharing this last year!
[Apologies to Graeme Wood and The Atlantic for such long excerpts. Let me know if you need this taken down. But more people need to read this who may avoid the longer version.-BG]
The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse. Here’s what that means for its strategy—and for how to stop it.
Graeme Wood, March 2015, The Atlantic
What is the Islamic State?
Where did it come from, and what are its intentions? …In the past year, President Obama has referred to the Islamic State, variously, as “not Islamic” and as al-Qaeda’s “jayvee team,” statements that reflected confusion about the group, and may have contributed to significant strategic errors.
The group seized Mosul, Iraq, last June, and already rules an area larger than the United Kingdom. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been its leader since May 2010, but until last summer, his most recent known appearance on film was a grainy mug shot from a stay in U.S. captivity at Camp Bucca during the occupation of Iraq. Then, on July 5 of last year, he stepped into the pulpit of the Great Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul, to deliver a Ramadan sermon as the first caliph in generations—upgrading his resolution from grainy to high-definition, and his position from hunted guerrilla to commander of all Muslims. The inflow of jihadists that followed, from around the world, was unprecedented in its pace and volume, and is continuing.
… We can gather that their state rejects peace as a matter of principle; that it hungers for genocide; that its religious views make it constitutionally incapable of certain types of change, even if that change might ensure its survival; and that it considers itself a harbinger of—and headline player in—the imminent end of the world.
The Islamic State, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), follows a distinctive variety of Islam whose beliefs about the path to the Day of Judgment matter to its strategy, and can help the West know its enemy and predict its behavior. Its rise to power is less like the triumph of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt (a group whose leaders the Islamic State considers apostates) than like the realization of a dystopian alternate reality in which David Koresh or Jim Jones survived to wield absolute power over not just a few hundred people, but some 8 million…
We are misled in a second way, by a well-intentioned but dishonest campaign to deny the Islamic State’s medieval religious nature… In fact, much of what the group does looks nonsensical except in light of a sincere, carefully considered commitment to returning civilization to a seventh-century legal environment, and ultimately to bringing about the apocalypse. Continue reading