Wednesday, December 16, 2009
The unreality-based community
More Democrats than Republicans believe in ghosts, talking with the dead, fortunetellers. This has emerged in past polls too
A new study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life reveals some startling differences between Republicans and Democrats on issues of spirituality and supernatural phenomenon.
The study, "Many Americans Mix Multiple Faiths," reports that a significant number of Americans practice a mixture of religious beliefs, and "many also blend Christianity with Eastern or New Age beliefs such as reincarnation, astrology and the presence of spiritual energy in physical objects." The report is not specifically about partisan differences, but the results of the study are broken down by party affiliation, among many other categories. And the news on that front is that Democrats are far more likely to believe in supernatural phenomenon than Republicans.
"Conservatives and Republicans report fewer experiences than liberals or Democrats communicating with the dead, seeing ghosts and consulting fortunetellers or psychics," the Pew study says. For example, 21 percent of Republicans report that they have been in touch with someone who is dead, while 36 percent of Democrats say they have done so. Eleven percent of Republicans say they have seen a ghost, while 21 percent of Democrats say so. And nine percent of Republicans say they have consulted a fortuneteller, while 22 percent of Democrats have.
There's more. Seventeen percent of Republicans say they believe in reincarnation, while 30 percent of Democrats do. Fourteen percent of Republicans say they believe in astrology, while 31 percent of Democrats do. Fifteen percent of Republicans say they view yoga as a spiritual practice, while 31 percent of Democrats do. Seventeen percent of Republicans say they believe in spiritual energy, while 30 percent of Democrats do.
There are some areas in which the two partisan groups are similar. When Pew asked respondents whether they have had a religious or mystical experience, 50 percent of Republicans said yes, as did 50 percent of Democrats. But overall, there are sizable disparities.
What accounts for them? Pew doesn't say. But the report does note that there are gender, ethnic, and racial differences in the totals. "Having been in touch with a dead person is more common among women than men," the report says. "Women are also twice as likely to have consulted a fortuneteller or psychic. Blacks report more experience feeling in touch with the dead than whites or Hispanics. But they resemble whites and Hispanics on other items, such as encounters with a ghost or consulting a fortuneteller." Some of those gender, ethnic and racial differences might come into play in the partisan totals. But in the end, the Pew report offers no solid answers for why there are such differences between Republicans and Democrats. [That's easy. Anybody who believes in the Brooklyn Bridges that the Democrats keep trying to sell would believe anything -- as in: You can give free health insurance to 40 million more Americans and it won't cost a cent]
A time of universal deceit
Americans, not surprisingly, are feeling cynical. Gallup's just-released Honesty and Ethics of Professions poll shows that for the first time, most people -- 55 percent -- rate members of Congress low or very low for honesty and ethics. Senators come in slightly better at 49 percent. A whopping 9 percent of members of Congress and 11 percent of senators get high or very high ratings in honesty and ethics.
Even members of the clergy do not escape this cynical cloud hanging over the nation. Although 50 percent rate the clergy as high or very high in honesty and ethics, this is the lowest since Gallup starting reporting it.
This prevailing mood of distrust is understandable, given how commonplace it has become for so many in public life to lie to us. A mountain of hacked e-mails shows scientists who held the public trust regarding information on climate change research were liars. The e-mails show they selectively expunged data and suppressed research not supporting the conclusions they wanted showing man-made global warming.
Congress is frenetically trying to pass major health care reform that report after report shows is filled with politically manipulated data and conclusions. And now we learn that even Tiger Woods has been lying to us about who he is.
What is so troubling is that all this is not about human error or fallibility. It's the opposite. It's about individuals intentionally manipulating information to deceive the public in order to advance their own personal agendas.
Back in 2003, writer/physician Michael Crichton pointed out, in a speech he gave at the California Institute of Technology, how common sense was being violated in the research allegedly showing that human activity was causing the Earth's climate to warm irreversibly. "Nobody believes a weather prediction 12 hours ahead. Now we're asked to believe a prediction that goes 100 years into the future? And make financial investments based on that prediction? Has everyone lost their minds?"
Similarly in the push for health care reform, the simple exercise of common sense would put the brakes on what is going on. Before us is proposed massive new government expenditures and intervention into health care markets under the assumption that the benefits of all this government activity will exceed the costs. But simple honesty would recognize that if this were true, it would be unprecedented. When Medicare was enacted in 1965, the projections then were that its annual expenditures by 1990 would be $12 billion. Actual expenditures in 1990 were $110 billion. Medicaid started as a proposed modest program with $1 billion in annual expenditures. It's now $280 billion.
We're told that health care reform won't cost more than $900 billion over 10 years. This is accomplished on paper by sleight of hand. Taxes are assumed to start in 2010, but expenditures not until 2014. Starting the meter when the expenditures actually begin shows that over the first 10 years, the costs are more like $2.5 trillion.
It's not that we no longer know how to conduct honest inquiry in America. It's that our interest in doing so is disappearing. How can you search for truth in a society that increasingly denies that truth exists?
What is adultery when our acceptance of something as basic as the definition of marriage can change with the political winds? So Woods, unhampered by moral constraint, simply pays handlers to produce a public image calculated to maximize his income.
Our national history began by asserting "self-evident truths." Now we have a president who, in his interpretation of our constitutional history, writes, "Implicit in its structure, in the very idea of ordered liberty, was a rejection of absolute truth. ..." It's times like this that George Orwell had in mind when he wrote: "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."
America's metastasizing bureaucracy under Obama
It's a cancer that seriously threatens America's health
Something President Obama said during his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech in Oslo about making foreign policy is equally applicable at home, namely, that the world must be dealt with as it is, not as we might wish it to be. This was highlighted by a USA Today investigative report published last week that found "federal workers are enjoying an extraordinary boom time -- in pay and hiring -- during a recession that has cost 7.3 million jobs in the private sector." In other words, bad times for the rest of us are good times for the federal establishment.
This recession has been such a boom time for the tax-supported bureaucracy that "federal employees making salaries of $100,000 or more jumped from 14% to 19% of civil servants during the recession's first 18 months -- and that's before overtime pay and bonuses are counted." USA Today was especially struck by the fact that there was only one career federal worker making an annual salary of $170,000 or more at the U.S. Department of Transportation when the current recession began. Today, 18 months later, there are more than 1,600 career employees making that much at Transportation. We can only hope that none of those additional 1,600-plus high-paid workers was responsible for the $2 billion Cash for Clunkers debacle run by the Transportation Department.
Hot Air's Ed Morrissey points out something else that has occurred as the ranks of six-digit career government workers in Washington surged: "It's not as if they've been asked to do more with less, either. In the first six months of the year, the federal government was adding 10,000 jobs per month, and over the recession had grown the ranks of bureaucrats by 9.8 percent. The private sector, during that same period, shed 7.3 million jobs."
Hard times for folks outside of the federal establishment are also good times for Washington politicians with their never-ending thirst for finding new ways of grabbing tax dollars to benefit themselves, members of their families, present or former staff members, friends, or campaign donors. The $448 billion appropriations bill approved last week by the House contained more than 5,000 earmarks, many of which will ultimately benefit the favored few rather than the suffering many. It's helpful to keep these realities about Washington bureaucrats and politicians in mind the next time one of them steps forward and proposes solving another crisis with billions more tax dollars.
What Has Obama Accomplished?
Making the rounds of conservative talk shows lately is the question, “What has Obama accomplished so far?” The question is asked of of Obama supporters and the answers range from ‘abolishing lobbyists’ to ’securing world peace’ to ‘lowering taxes.’ One thing all answers have in common: They are all grounded in perception as opposed to reality.
Obama has accomplished the amazing feat of convincing millions of Americans that black is white, that cold is hot, that the bad economy is the fault of George W Bush, and the only things standing between America and peace on earth are those darn Republicans and greedy capitalists.
As author Thomas Sowell points out in ‘Is Reality Optional?’ social history in the last 30 years has been a history of replacing what worked with what sounded good. And no-where is this more evident than in the ‘change’ Obama is foisting on the American people.
The empty rhetoric of ’social justice’ and ‘compassion’ is convincingly and successfully being used to justify ever more ludicrous social policies, which just happen to come with a huge price tag and more government control.
Ignored by the left and the media, however, is the inconvenient fact that every single policy promoted by Obama and passed by congress has been a dismal failure. From the jobs ’stimulus’ package that has cost taxpayers a whopping $236,436 per job created – to the the ‘cash for clunkers’ – to the $61 billion bucks taxpayers just lost through the AIG and auto industry bailout. Add in the $75 billion mortgage relief program to stem the largely government caused ‘foreclosure crisis.’ This program has helped a grand total of 31,000 borrowers to date, a paltry 4% of the 760,000 who have applied.
Despite the dismal failures of these policies, Obama and his cohorts continue advocating more of the same. As Dr. Sowell points out, “The anointed are often wrong but never in doubt.”
Though 80% of Americans are happy with their health insurance, Obama has declared a health care crisis. Obama and congress have devoted most of the year to imposing government run health care on all citizens, despite the fact that 61% of Americans oppose it.
Though evidence has recently surfaced undermining the dire claims of global warming, our elected elites continue to ignore relevant science, insisting that a massive redistribution of our wealth is needed in order to pay an imagined ‘climate debt’ to third world countries. Meanwhile, record unemployment and rising fees and taxes continue to devastate businesses and families across the nation. The exception are federal workers, who just got a 2% pay raise.
As Democrat leaders and their allies take to the airwaves denouncing corporate greed, our public servants are scrambling to enact policies that enable them to extort an ever increasing portion of the wealth created by American workers. In the process, severely undermining the rule of law and ignoring the limitations imposed by our Constitution.
The Obama administration has plunged America into debt to the tune of a record $12 trillion dollars. That’s $39,000 owed by every man woman and child in America. And there is no end in sight. House Democrats just passed a $1.1 trillion dollar spending bill to fund the federal government. This bill includes $2 billion for ‘climate’ research, major spending boosts for domestic agencies and foreign aid. It also includes more than 5,200 pork barrel projects costing $3.9 billion. On top of that, Democrats are preparing to raise the federal debt ceiling by as much as $1.8 trillion before New Year’s.
Obama’s policies are destroying the dollar and bankrupting America. Moody’s just issued a warning that our triple A rating is in danger. Our president is also in the process of ceding American sovereignty to world bodies like the United Nations and the International Criminal Court.
What Obama has accomplished is astounding. He has managed in the short space of one year to dramatically alter the historical focus on individual rights and liberties to an ephemeral concept that focuses on government primacy.
Due to Obama’s charisma and his skill in manipulating the system and redefining words to fit transient meanings, many Americans continue to believe Obama’s rhetoric, willfully ignoring the underlying reality. Their belief has taken on a religious fervor based on faith and emotion and any facts to the contrary are summarily dismissed. After all, “Obama won.”
Once again, Thomas Sowell says it best: “We may be entering an era where the greatest dangers to the survival of Western civilization will come from internal social deterioration. Other great civilizations have declined and collapsed. We may be the first, however, to sink slowly into the quagmire, still beaming from ear to ear in self-congratulation at how ‘innovative’ we are in our social policies.”
Obama is a dangerous man. He has convinced millions of Americans that they are entitled to the fruits of another man’s labor. Virtually all of his policies to date have been designed to foster a dependence on government. But what the government gives, the government can take. As millions of enslaved peoples across the globe could attest – if they were allowed.
Obama goes from dazzle to drone: "It wasn’t so long ago that Barack Obama’s speeches were being hailed as ‘extraordinary rhetorical magic’ … that should be ‘required reading in classrooms’ …. Pity the poor grade-schoolers who have to be on the bus at 5 a.m. for a daylong slog through the 4,000-word sludge of the president’s Nobel thank you. … [T]he point of Barack Obama is to dazzle. … The squealing Obammyboppers of the media seem to have gotten more muted since those inaugural specials hit the newsstands back in late January. His numbers have fallen further faster than those of any other president — because of where he fell from. … The Obama speechwriting team doesn’t seem to realize that. They seem to be the last guys on the planet in love with the sound of his voice and their one interminable tinny tune with its catchpenny hooks.”
Is stealing a virtue?: "I am profoundly disappointed in Caritas in Veritate, the encyclical issued on June 29, 2009 by Pope Benedict XVI. It contains no fewer than six endorsements of wealth redistribution by government. It must be understood that wealth redistribution by government involves the use of its coercive powers to take resources from those who have earned them and give them to those who have not. Previous popes have seen a serious danger in such a forced redistribution.”
Drowning in red ink: "It took the Obama administration less than a year to reduce the United States from the country with a currency that is considered a safe haven when international storms threaten, to one that is warned by a rating agency that unless it mends its profligate ways it will lose the triple-A credit rating it has had since U.S. government debt was first assessed in 1917. Who would have thought when Barack Obama took the oath of office some eleven months ago that Dubai World, Greece, the UK, and America would attract the attention of the rating agencies in the same week. But here we are, caught in what consultants at The Lindsey Group call an ‘Attack on the Sovereigns.’”
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)
Posted by JR at 1:42 AM