Tag Archives: Wikipedia

Today’s Quotes: Despite Their Cries for Liberty, the Teabaggers Are Right-Wing Authoritarian Followers

Dr. Bob Altemeyer, author of the massive 50-year study on the Authoritarian Follower personality, offers his opinion on the Tea Partiers.

“Suppose slavery still existed in the United States, but the federal government was trying to end it. However Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, and so on told their audiences that slavery was a good thing, recognized by the Founding Fathers, endorsed in the Old Testament, the natural order of things, an issue for individual states to decide, protected by an individual’s inalienable right to do what he wanted with his property, and so on. I doubt Abraham Lincoln would find these arguments compelling. But how much trouble do you think the Patriotic Association of Slave Owners would have getting today’s Tea Partiers out to campaign for slavery in America?”
— Dr. Bob Altemeyer, author of “The Authoritarians,” from “Comment on the Tea Party Movement [.pdf file].

“According to research by Altemeyer, right-wing authoritarians tend to exhibit cognitive errors and symptoms of faulty reasoning. Specifically, they are more likely to make incorrect inferences from evidence and to hold contradictory ideas that result from compartmentalized thinking. They are also more likely to uncritically accept insufficient evidence that supports their beliefs, and they are less likely to acknowledge their own limitations.”
— Wikipedia entry on “Right-Wing Authoritarianism.”

“The list of parallels between the research on authoritarian followers and the behavior of Tea Partiers probably extends well beyond twelve. For example, such followers in general have very poor self-insight; they realize almost nothing about how unfavorably they stack up compared to most people. As well, authoritarian followers run away from bad news about themselves; they are highly defensive. Authoritarian followers also have a strong tendency to be zealots, and Tea Partiers seem quite zealous. And authoritarian followers know surprisingly little about the things they say they believe in. It would be interesting to see how much the Tea Partiers actually know about the Founding Fathers, the Constitution, and American history. For example Tea Partiers commonly refer to the sanctity of ‘the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.’ Do they not know about all the amendments since 1791, or just don’t consider them part of the Constitution?”
— Dr. Bob Altemeyer, author of “The Authoritarians,” from “Comment on the Tea Party Movement [.pdf file].

[Ed. Note: You can download Dr. Altemeyer’s book “The Authoritarians” (.pdf file) free from this website.]

The Conservapedia Delusion of Andrew Schafly

As Stephen Colbert remarked during a speech at the 2006 White House Correspondents Dinner at which a visibly uncomfortable ‘President’ Junior Bush was on the dais, “Reality has a well-known liberal bias.”

To counter that perceived ‘bias’ at Wikipedia, Eagle Forum nutcase Phyllis Schafly’s kid, Andrew, mounted a dimwitted Christopublican-Free Market-Literal Bible site in 2006 to spread the neoconservative message with bile-laced faith-based delusion, the same delusion that’s damn near destroyed the country, and may succeed in tearing it apart yet. But, hilariously enough, even the Bible as it’s written is not conservative enough for raggedy Andy he actually launched a ‘Conservative Bible Project’ to rewrite those portions he considers too ‘liberal.’ (One would guess that would be any passage expressing kindness for the homeless and poor, berating the rich and telling them to give their possessions away, or asking the reader to forgive one’s enemies and renounce the judging of others.)

Here, Bob Carroll of the Skeptic’s Dictionary drags the little Liar-For-Jesus and his buncombe-packed ‘encyclopedia’ over the glowing hot coals of rationality:

The Conservapedia Delusion

By Bob Carroll
The Skeptic’s Dictionary Newsletter (Skepdic)
Vol. 9 No. 9
September 3, 2010

The group of Christian conservatives (led by Andrew Schafly) who run Conservapedia call their confabulations and rewriting of history, biology, and everything else under the sun, an alternative to “liberal” Wikipedia. Worse, they call their own set of fairy tales “the trustworthy encyclopedia.” They swear to it on a stack of Bibles so it must be true. Their delusions are matched only by the paranormal evangelicals at Skeptical Investigations.

The Conservapedia folks have an entry for “Skepdic,” where they chide me for not listing global warming and evolution as “junk science.” To these puerile jabberwocks, vorpal swords in hand, theology is the queen of the sciences. Under the “contents” heading for their Skepdic entry, they note: “The website also contains articles attacking Biblical history such as Noah’s Ark.” The story of Noah is literal history to these choir boys.

I’m referred to as a “militant” atheist, whatever that is. If you click on “atheist” you find these neo-con confabulators writing: “Unlike Christianity, which is supported by a large body of sound evidence, atheism has no proof and evidence supporting its ideology.” A man could crack a few ribs with falling-down laughter at the claims these clowns make. By proof and evidence I suppose they mean faith. They get very nasty–nasty as only an idiotologist can get. The nicest thing they say about atheism is that it is an ideology. It isn’t an ideology, by any definition, but correct usage of terms is as irrelevant as getting the facts straight to these theocrats. The rest of their diatribe against atheism qualifies them for the Phil Plait certifiable-dick-of-the-year-award.

Dumbest Website Ever

It would be impossible to identify the dumbest website ever, but in addition to Conservapedia I would put Saberpoint in the top ten. Saberpoint’s motto is “riding roughshod over the asinine and idiotic” while “supporting the conservative cause and the tea party movement.”

2010 Bob Carroll.

While I’m not necessarily an atheist deeply cynical agnostic is more like it — and tend to agree with J.B.S. Haldane’s quote: “Now, my suspicion is that the universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose. I suspect that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of, in any philosophy,” I admire Bob Carroll and his Skeptic’s Dictionary for attempting to bring some needed rational and scientific enlightenment to a country that’s drowning in revisionist history, goofball religious gullibility, and pure idiotic tripe.

The Tattlesnake Frank Luntz is a Scum-Sucking Pig Edition

(With apologies to our porcine friends who also happen to suck scum, but don’t have much influence on the electorate.)

While some readers may chastise me for gross understatement in the title, and I take their point, I decided to keep this clean, or as clean as you can when describing the contents of the sole working Port-O-Potty on free chili and beer night at a baseball game.

“[A]sk a question in the way that you get the right answer.”
— Frank Luntz on his ‘fair and balanced’ polling methods.

What makes Republican word-whacker Frank Luntz my target is that he is an intentional and dedicated deceiver of the public, smart enough to know full well what he’s doing, but blithely willing to trot out his wares — borrowed from the misuse of modern psychological techniques to sell the gullible what they don’t need joined with a carnival conman’s shell game pitch — for the temporary benefit of his bank account, while his country slides into a wreckage of divisiveness and debt. If you’d like to find the home base for the decimation of our public speech into ignorant, inflamed, fearful, flag-draped hatred; the revision of our history into a reeking bonanza of selfish suicidal capitalism, evangelical Christian crapola and nasty neoconservative warhawk bilge; and the reduction of our political discourse into so much overheated, oversimplified, covertly racist, sound-bite slag, you can point to three names: the late Lee Atwater, Karl Rove, and the lesser-known, but every bit as important, Frank Luntz as the authors of the meltdown in progress.

“Luntz is glibly amoral, worrying only about whether language has the right effect, not whether it’s true.”
— Steven Poole, commenting on Luntz’s book “Words That Work” in The Guardian (UK), July 21, 2007.

It was Frank’s notion to rename a bill allowing more pollution as the ‘Clean Air Act’; it was Luntz who told the GOP to re-label estate taxes as ‘death taxes’ so that the wealthy paid less while the rest of us took up the slack; it was his demented mind that connected Iraq to 9/11 and instructed Republican pols to always preface any mention of the failed Iraq incursion with ‘9/11 changed everything’; behind nearly every current and past GOP talking point, endlessly repeated in the Right-Wing Echo Chamber, you’ll find Frank’s pasty round face, tirelessly choosing just the right words to convince a malleable faction of the American public to eat corporate Republican turds and think it’s prime rib.

Frank Luntz Pig

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The Origins of the Two Mother’s Days

Before becoming the commercial holiday it is now, the Mother’s Day we celebrate on the second Sunday in May was originally about other issues, such as battlefield hospital sanitation and world peace. As Mother’s Day on the Net says in “The History (AKA Her-Story) of Mother’s Day”:

“In the United States, Mother’s Day experienced a series of false starts before eventually transitioning into the “Hallmark” holiday that we celebrate today. In 1858, Anna Reeves Jarvis was the first woman to hold an official celebration of mothers, when in her home state of West Virginia, she instituted Mothers’ Work Day to raise awareness about local sanitation issues. During the Civil War, she expanded the scope of Mothers’ Work Day to include sanitary conditions on both sides of the battlefield.”

In 1870, “Battle Hymn of the Republic” author Julia Ward Howe, appalled at the bloodshed of the American Civil War, proposed making it a Mother’s Day for Peace, as “Julia Ward Howe: Beyond the Battle Hymn of the Republic” at About.com states:

“In 1870, Julia Ward Howe took on a new issue and a new cause. Distressed by her experience of the realities of war, determined that peace was one of the two most important causes of the world (the other being equality in its many forms) and seeing war arise again in the world in the Franco-Prussian War, she called in 1870 for women to rise up and oppose war in all its forms. She wanted women to come together across national lines, to recognize what we hold in common above what divides us, and commit to finding peaceful resolutions to conflicts. She issued a Declaration, hoping to gather together women in a congress of action.”

Not surprisingly, a world Mother’s Day for Peace never received the support of the politicians that the later commercialized version would. From the About.com article:

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