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20 October 2010


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John Minnerath

O'Donnell's replies and statements during that debate were astounding.
OK, so maybe she's as smart as a box of rocks in that collection of basket cases that is the "Tea Party", but it just shows they will not be bothered by such things as facts or knowledge in their pursuit of what they see as a "perfect" world.

William R. Cumming

There is substantial evidence that Jefferson in drafting the STATUTE of RELIGIOUS LIBERTY for Virginians, and G. MASON refusal to agree to the CONSTITUION until there was a Bill of Rights added helped design the 1st amendment language "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion" was designed in part to protect government from religion.

With respect to "intelligent design" a federal district court judge in PA ruled brilliantly that in fact that theory was in fact "creationism" and not founded in any science.
Yet even today many would have an established religion in the US that controls government policy. And many, failing to understand Darwin's theory, reject it based on either defective reasoning or their religion. The history of both problems has not ended either in the US or the world. Some would argue that the threat of Sharia Law be imposed can only lead to destruction of those who would advocate such a theory. The wars of religion always have an unusual intensity as proved by the 30 years wars before the Treaty of Westphalia [1638]where conversion to one religion or another by pouring boiling oil down the throat of those being converted was de riguer. I suspect we have not seen the end of this doctrinal application.

Maureen Lang

After O'Donnell's defeat by Coons she will undoubtedly make a soft landing at Fox News, where I envision her wide-eyed commentaries featured for years to come.

Something to look forward to in my old age.


What the hell.
All politicians are narcissistic dimwits who never got over the thrill of being HS class secretary.
Might as well vote for the cute one.
Anyone want to defend the track record of the "professional" political class?


These folks are bothered by the idea of a wall between "church and state"...it seems the operative word is "church", implying only one religion should be allowed that exception. They may not want a wall between Church and State; however such a wall between Synagogue and State, Mosque and State, or Temple and State is just fine it seems.


Thank you, Pat... you actually stated this more strongly than I would, which gives me pause in a reassuring sense.

I was tempted to make this comment at the end of the last post by FB Ali, but your colloquy with him at the end was too elegant to elaborate upon...

... but I just wanted to say that I am grateful that principaled conservatives such as yourself, Mr. Ali, Andrew Bacevich, and Uri Avnery in Israel - just to name a few - are prepared stand up and be counted (which does not mean that I agree with you 100% of the time, of course).

I suppose the downside, of course, is that forthright individuals on the Right AND the Left have been marginalized by "their own kind" as well as by their adversaries while being generally ignored or treated as eccentrics by the Muddling Moderate Middle.

As solution to that conundrum remains to be invented...


Col. Lang:

I've heard it said that Justice Thomas believes that because the First Amendment states that Congress shall make no law regarding the establishment of religion, that that does not prohibit the states from doing so. One more proponent for a radically different understanding of basic law?

This kind of thinking by O'Donnell and others reminds me of some of the early work of Piaget who explored preschoolers' understandings of causation. "The wind blew the leaf onto the rock because the rock wanted it (loose paraphrase). If we all thought like that how would Newton ever formulated the concept of gravity?


Everyone saw Milbank's piece to day on who is behind the Tea Party? A Tea Party of populist posers

A movement of the plutocrats, by the political professionals and for the powerful: Now that's something Tea Partyers should be mad about.


We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Us!

O'Donnell reminds me of the quote from Agent Kay in Men In Black...."A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it".

What Kay forgot to say was. And they have the right to vote!


How can you write this with a straight face? O'Donnell is an easy target because she is a complete air head. I hate to agree with graywolf, but remember Bill Frist making a video diagnosis of Terri Schiavo? Even the ones with notable academic credentials are clowns.



Thoughts like that are astonishingly common in "non-scientific" endeavors: how often do we see claims like "we won because we wanted it more" in, say, sports? I suspect scientific thinking about causation is inherently difficult and unnatural for humans. We do a decent enough job countering that tendency in teaching "sciences," but not in others--and not enough people take science classes. In politics, what's more, that type of thinking on the part of the voters is encouraged: politicians who dare contradict the voters don't win elections, after all.


Not to defend O'Donnell, but a large number of the Tea Party people want a radically different interpretation of the Constitution. Frequently when people want to change something (in this case, taking the US in a more theocratic direction) a popular rhetorical tactic is to argue that what they want is already there -- that simply a gross misunderstanding is why their desires aren't already being fulfilled.

Which isn't ignorant on its face (bad for America and short-sighted? Sure). I believe that the Constitution, a living document written by men, is currently interpreted in ways that it's authors never anticipated and that might shock them. I think this is a good thing; I want a Constitution that is resistant to change but over time allows for it, at least around the edges and particularly when various "rights" appear to be in conflict.

But what's interesting is that the Tea Partiers (as imprecise as that shorthand is) also seem to frequently argue that the Constitution is some uninterpretable religious text -- immutable, ageless, perfect. But what they'd really like is gut the first amendment in radical ways (and they wouldn't stop at religion; free speach writ-large is not their cup of tea).

How this bunch of radicals ever became identified with "conservatism" (Burke must be spinning) I'll never fully understand.

Patrick Lang


Nothing straight faced about it. She's a joke and so are most members of Congress. pl


while she is undeniably really cute, and can thus be forgiven a folly or two or three, I think that O'Donnel's view that the separation of church and state is not written in the constitution is as ill informed as troubling.

This could be dismissed as one silly gaffe if she was alone in her view. Alas, she is not - it is prevalent throughout the Christian Right. She was merely reiterating a long established theme. Similar nonsense is being spread on FOX (iirc on Glenn Beck's show (David Barton ?)), in home school teaching material and the like. That's also what that babble about America being a Christian nation is about.

America already had that crazy judge trying to put that ten commandment monument in front of his court house. To be clear: In denying the separation of Church and state, O'Donnell's expresses mainstream Dominionist theology.

Irrespective of whether Dominionists are likely to succeed in their epic struggle to bring the church into government, they are persistently working towards that end and undermine and deligitimise the constitutional order through their rewriting of history. Their view of 'what the founding fathers really wanted' is largely mythical, but it serves a political goal.

So yes, she is cute, yes, but in her ignorance innocently dangerous.


Many of the citizens of our country are devolving into superstitious, anti-scientific fools--who unfortunately can vote. Found this video this morning. It originated on Rushbo website, where he showed pictures of Obama that Rush said looked demonic and then it morphed into this.


It would be funny if it wasn't so influential. Glenn Beck encourages his followers to pray our way out of this economic downturn, as if the elite listen to our prayers and God answers your prayers with cash. And on the other side is Obama preaching what H.L. Mencken called "The Cult of Hope." Trying to make us believe he has the solution to all the world's unsolvable problems: Israel/Palestine, send every kid to college, create jobs while sending manufacturing overseas,etc,etc.


At the end of the above video is a link to one that is much worse.


I tend to think Graywolf, regrettably, is on to something. In any event the misstatement won't mean a hill of beans to her base. And to alot of other people either. Again, regrettably.

The Col is correct once again....she is a joke and so are most members of Congress. However, the joke, in the long run, is on us. Regrettably.

And as far as creationism goes, the whole thing is a loser for Dems. Irrationality is king today. And I suspect a slight majority of the electorate, in their stunning ignorance, thinks being 'against creationism' is being 'against God'.


"Hate to agree with graywolf"...!!!
Mark this day.
You were right for the first time this year.


"... accept a radically different understanding of basic law."

ahh, yes. Born Again Constitutionalism.


She is cute, but I would have to put a bag over her mind.

Medicine Man

That O'Donnell is the most telegenic clown in the clown show is hardly a ringing endorsement — and that is the best that a partisan like Graywolf can come up with.

Granted, I've seen similar sentiments expressed in libertarian circles recently. Endorsement of O'Donnell and similar candidates in hopes that the resulting inanities will discredit government and bring the whole rotten edifice down. Maybe there is some truth to this line of thought. Perhaps public confidence in both parties must bottom out before there is broad support for real governmental reform? I really don't know.

I tend to think that maintaining some efficacy in government at the state level is rather important at this point; perhaps more so than national govn't.


Most have never read the Constitution and fewer of them have much of an understanding of it.

Just look at the recent decisions concerning the wiretapping in violation of FISA that allows massive government criminality without the slightest tinge of regret from the judicial branch. The district court judge who issued the order dismissing the the Jewell ruled that, because so many Americans have had their communications and communications records illegally obtained by the government, no single person has legal "standing" to challenge the ongoing program of government surveillance. In other words: if everyone is being spied on, no one can sue. The judge seems to have forgotten to read the Bill of Rights during his mddle school civics class or to believe that the Constitution is written to deter such things. I guess he was absent the day they covered this paragraph of the Fourth Amendment, "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated,.." The government, undeterred by the Judiciary, seem to be able to violate the essential elements of our freedom with impunity.

It is easy to understand how confused O'donnell must be, but the "conservatives" are the ones most in favor of creating a legal infrastructure for an authoritarian tyranny. Christine need to read more broadly.

An intersting essay by Jack Balkin about "Constitutional Protestantism. may be found at http://balkin.blogspot.com/2010/09/protestant-constitutionalism-series-of.html

Clearly, in our time, the "Consitution" can be beaten in to a shape that supports everything from an authoritarian dictatorship to anarchy. What a show?

The bottom line seems to be that you do not even have to read to pontificate about what it "says" or "means" Everyone is Protestant now and all are in schism.


Cute? She's about as cute as a child in the left seat of a 747.


A lot of people thought that Bush was cute.

Good luck with trying that approach again.

Christine appears to have swallowed a bunch of transparent lies whole. Oh, well, can't fix stupid.

For some assembled corrections see:The "No, Mr. Beck" Series


I find it disturbing that O'Donnell gets air time at all. I find it even more disturbing that people waste air and electrons discussing her points of view, even the esteemed folk at this august website..

I had an epiphany yesterday as a respected radio talk host here (Jon Faine) was taken to task by a caller for losing his temper over another callers allegations that 911 was a conspiracy and that the Towers could not have collapsed as they did without......., etc. etc.

The caller criticised Faine for "not debating him seriously and respectfully." The answer to that of course, is that since the enlightenment, you are not required to be either serious or respectful to people who don't bring confirmable evidence and testable theory to the table.

It is quite clear that the folk behind the Tea parties and other reactionary groups as well as think tanks, etc. are doing their level best to compete for mindshare.

That is they are doing their level best to fill the majority of American heads with garbage, and I suspect they are succeeding. Their motivation is simple: produce a gullible and credulous populace that are easily ruled.

Hence the attraction of idiots like O'Donnell, debates about "Gay Marriage", the entire Glen Beck phenomenon and a host of other faux issues. When your head is full of this rubbish, you don't have time to think about much else do you?

To put it another way, when I first took my adult Son to a casino for instruction in the evils of gambling he said of the decor with its mirrors, lighting and finishes: "It's like being inside a fishing lure", and of course it is. FoxNews and a host of other debates are designed and promoted to snare the gullible into misguided crusades against "Big Government", "Obamas birth certificate", "Sharia law", etc., etc., etc.

Meanwhile the real debates go on in private. Let me name them;

Britain has just announced public sector job cuts of 499,000 in the next four years together with an increase in retirement age by one year, plus tax increases and spending cuts.

To be announced after the November elections, the American plans for similar action are going to an order of magnitude bigger. How is the American public going to be made to accept this while keeping power in the hands of the current elite?


The growth of Indian and Chinese middle classes mean that the price of natural resources must rise substantially. What implications does this have for America, and how can the American population be made to accept the reduced standard of living associated with avoiding radical change that would prejudice our existing power structure?


Koch industries funds the Tea parties, and the likes of O'Donnell indirectly.


The Koch brothers plot and scheme with like minded billionaire individuals. Their next scheduled meeting is about laying the groundwork for the 2012 elections.


Watching what is happening suggests that average Americans are one day going to be mugged by global reality and their own Elite.

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