Uncommon Sense

May 15, 2021

They’re Going to Take Away Your Guns . . . er . . . Burgers!

Filed under: Culture,Politics — Steve Ruis @ 8:13 am
Tags: ,

When President Biden announced the goal of reducing carbon emissions by 50% in this decade, Republicans responded by claiming that the president was going to restrict meat-eating to once a month. “Okay, got that? No burgers on the Fourth of July. No steaks on the barbecue,” claimed Larry Kudlow, a former Trump adviser now a host on Fox News.


Obviously, conservatives do not believe this. How do I know? If they did, there would be a run on hamburger and steaks at grocery stores and there is not. Conservatives should be falling all over themselves to load their freezers with beef, so that when it is banned, they will have their own personal honey holes of juicy goodness.

Conservatives have been driving sales with fear for decades. The past champion in that effort is the NRA. The NRA’s current legal and financial troubles seem to be valid as they did not accompany the election of a Democrat President with their usual “They’re going to take your guns away” campaign that results . . . every damned time . . . in a spike in sales of guns and ammo. Apparently “the boy who cried wolf” admonition doesn’t apply to these efforts as none of the claims has been born out.

It seems as if the conservative brain drain, fomented by the GOP’s driving out of all intellectuals from the party and replacing them with political hacks is finally bearing fruit. The GOP’s responses to various Democrat initiatives seems incoherent and even bizarre.

Time will tell whether anyone notices. Certainly Fox (sic) News can be counted on to not notice this.

April 23, 2020

Can You Spell Opportunity Cost, Boys and Girls?

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic, now a pandemic, that noted medical specialist President Donald Trump has been trumpeting the efficacy of the drug hydroxychloroquine. Since this drug was already FDA approved, a long set of tests to make sure it did no harm were unnecessary, but it hadn’t ever been proscribed to combat Coronoviruses.

Soon, both President Trump and Fox (sic) News were touting the efficacy of this drug for this disease. There was only one part missing . . . any evidence it was effective against COVID-19, so some trials were quickly devised and approved. In a French study the drug had no effect whatsoever on COVID-19 suffers and in a larger US study involving Veteran’s Affairs patients, who were likely Trumpeters, it had an effect. The veterans who were given the drug as a potential COVID-19 treatment died at a higher rate than the people who were not administered the drug.

President Trump and Fox (sic) News have stopped touting the miracle drug hydroxychloroquine. Hmm, I wonder why?

In economics there is a concept called an opportunity cost, which is basically common sense. It is the simple fact that if you choose to take action A, you are forgoing the opportunity to take action B, action C, etc. So, the President and his enablers/co-conspirators pushed a useless drug to the top of the list for tests, applying no medical knowledge or common sense at all.

And while those researchers were investigating the useless hydroxychloroquine drug, other drugs that could have been helpful were not being tested by those teams of researchers.

I am sure the President and Fox (sic) News are, right now, shrugging and mumbling “Who knew?” Apparently any number of the President’s advisors knew, but what do they know, they’re just the experts, right?









May 10, 2019

You Need to Respect Our Beliefs!

Part of the War on Christianity™ (Fox News) is the much reviled and disdained severe atheistic/humanistic disrespect for the beliefs of Christians! This is abominable! We are told that we should “respect their beliefs.”

Uh, no, just … no.

I accept their beliefs. I even acknowledge them. But respect them, no. Respect is something that is earned. How is it that just because they believe something, it automatically has to be respected? Especially when it comes to batshit crazy notions like the fundamentalists have that the End Times™ are just around the corner (time wise). Really? The forces of good and evil are going to duke it out? On the plain of Armageddon in the Holy Land? Really?

Entities with supernatural powers are going to a place to meet up, a flat place where they can deploy their forces? This is about as realistic as having modern jet fighters having firefights while confined to the ground. (Okay, you can taxi around all you want, but you can’t take off; got it? Go get ’em, tiger!)

And on one side is a god who is “beyond space and time,” which means he cannot be found by his enemies, who can create whole galaxies with mere thoughts, and already knows the plans of all of his enemies, who he can unmake with a mere thought. Uh, who wants to be on this guy’s side? (Me, me, me, me . . .) How can such a battle take place, except in the vivid imagination of an iron age drug addict?

Respect that belief? No, ridicule it, maybe, but not respect it. And please do not think that these are ideas that have been set aside. There are fundamentalist groups currently acting on a political agenda toward Israel, based upon this very scenario. Some Jewish groups are complaining about the activities of some of these fundamentalist Protestant groups, so apparently they are being taken seriously.

Social tools are tools we all use to moderate bad behavior in society. If a member of a social community acts poorly, people talk to him about his behavior. If he persists, then ridicule and public shaming take place. If he still persists, shunning and banning take place. We have talked to theists about their beliefs, but they persist in trying to force those beliefs on the rest of us (We Are A Christian Nation, War on Christmas, War on Christianity, Dominionism, Special privileges for the religious written into law, etc.), so ridicule is next up. Ridicule is appropriate as it is a gentle form of persuasion that no one is immune from. If that doesn’t work, well the tools at hand provide many opportunities to ratchet up the pressure. In more advanced countries, religion is a private matter that doesn’t intrude into the public sphere, happiness results. This state is a worthwhile goal.


February 19, 2017

Has Our Logic Function Been Disabled?

There has been quite a flutter about a comment coming from Kyrie Irving, the All-Star guard of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers. According to Mr. Irving: “This is not even a conspiracy theory,” he said. “The Earth is flat. The Earth is flat. It’s right in front of our faces. I’m telling you, it’s right in front of our faces. They lie to us.

Why this is upsetting to many is beyond my comprehension. My thinking goes like this:
#1 Mr. Irving makes well over $1,000,000 for less than a year’s work and has for quite some time.
#2 That makes Mr. Irving a Republican.
#3 Therefore Mr. Irving believes:
• the Earth is flat
• Climate Change is a hoax perpetrated by greedy scientists
• the Earth is only 6000 years old
• autism is caused by vaccinations, and that
• Donald Trump is a bright, successful businessman.
All of the facts being to the contrary, all of these must be true because “they” lie to us.

This is believable because … Fox News. (Apparently “they” does not include Fox News.)

So, why are people shocked? I do not understand.



July 13, 2016

Making War on Christianity

There has been this curious meme running about for the last several years that there is a war being waged against Christianity. Let me for the time being confine this feeling to this country (the U.S.) because there are Christians being killed around the globe as part of religious or religion-fueled wars and I don’t want anything from there clouding the issue as it is here.

When I first heard of this phenomenon it was in the form of the bizarre “War on Christmas” floated by Fox (Sic) News organs. Shortly thereafter came the War on Christians and War on Christianity. Whether Fox was the progenitor of both of those I cannot tell, but the meme was certainly taken up by Christian communities and with high dudgeon.

So, where could this have come from? We had many, many years of Culture Wars over abortion, contraception, drugs, crime, racism, and women’s rights but never were these characterized as a War Against Christianity. Why the shift into full-fledged victimhood?

Methinks I may have twigged to the answer.

For many centuries the “godless” and atheists have been publically vilified, especially in this nation’s churches. In our history, states have had laws banning atheists (and, yes, Catholics and Jews and …) from holding political office and special contempt was ladled on scoffing unbelievers. As long as you believed in some god you were closer to “okay” on the social spectrum than abominable atheists. We were called immoral. We were described as being bad parents, bad citizens, and bad people and worse.

Then something changed.

The internet allowed people to make comments without identifying themselves and “lo, it began.” Atheists found community and their voice on the internet and the “New Atheism” was born. It was not born out of Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, and Dennett as so many claim. Atheists have been writing books for centuries, but that is a one-way form of communication. Books are not part of a conversation. The internet allowed discourse.

So, a number of former friends have been shocked to find out I am an atheist and shocked that I have negative (very negative) opinions of Christianity.

I may be “painting with a broad brush” in my denunciations but I am responding to broad brush denunciations of me and others like me. No exclusion was made for atheists who wouldn’t hard a fly or atheists who didn’t eat babies, so I was included (and am still so) in the denunciations of various Christians in churches and public forums, on TV, and yes, on the internet.

Did they think we would not respond? Did they think we wouldn’t fight back? We didn’t in the past, because calling oneself an atheist would cost one one’s job and a great deal more, possibly even one’s life. Freed from those constraints, Christians are finding out what we really think.

And they think we are making war on them, further proof of their false sense of privilege. Hell of a war when the other side does all of the shooting and the responses are in words alone. You can almost hear the umbrage “How dare they, harrumph!”

Well, you can take your umbrage and place it where the sun doesn’t shine. This “war” is just getting started.

May 28, 2014

Six Conundrums the Left Can’t Answer … Really?

Allen B. West, the deranged GOPer from Florida has posted the following:

Six Conundrums the Left Can’t Answer

1. America is capitalist and greedy – yet almost half of the population is subsidized.
2. Half of the population is subsidized – yet they think they are victims.
3. They think they are victims – yet their representatives run the government.
4. Their representatives run the government – yet the poor keep getting poorer.
5. The poor keep getting poorer – yet they have things that people in other countries only dream about.
6. They have things that people in other countries only dream about – yet politicians (mostly progressive socialists) claim they want America to become more like those other countries.

These, he claims, are conundrums that the Left can’t answer.

I don’t know about the “Left” as there is not much of one remaining in the U.S., but I can answer them.

#1 America is capitalist and greedy … uh, yes. But the estimate that half of the population is subsidized is too low. It is much closer to 100%. Every corporation, they are people, too, you know, is on the take. They get tax breaks, etc. from their bought and paid for politicians, so every one working for a corporation is also being subsidized. (Consider just the benefits Wal-Mart’s employees get to support their substandard wages.) Then all of those people getting Medicare, all of those people getting Social Security, all of those people getting a tax deduction to buy their homes (the greedy takers), all of those taking education expense deductions, etc. It would be hard to find anyone in this country not getting a subsidy.

The problem here is the amount of the subsidies. The corporations get billions. The rich get millions. The poor get peanuts and bad mouthed at the same time.

#2 The only people claiming victimhood are Fox (sic) News commentators. I’m sorry, the poor don’t have mouthpieces, or blogs, or paid PR flaks to make their point. Where do you get this idea that the “poor think they are victims?” Oh, you just made it up? Well, I can prove that the poor have been victims. Just compare the wages of the poor, go on, use the minimum wage, and compare it to the pay of CEOs whose companies hire workers for minimum wage jobs. Anybody who thinks that corporations are not using an economic downturn to hold wages down or are virulently anti-union to keep their workers wages down isn’t playing with a full deck of cards.

#3 The poor have representatives? Really? All those K Street Lobbyists the poor hired are having an effect, eh? Are you effing crazy? Our elected officials serve only their wealthy donors. Study after study proves this. On what planet did you grow up that has poor with effective political representation? Has this ever been the case in human history? When the minimum wage law was enacted in the 1930s, there were two groups of workers excluded; do you know which those were? They were farm workers and servants, i.e. black people. Did you see all of the black people’s lobbyists swarming Washington, D.C. to get that fixed? No? Neither did I.

#4 The poor’s representatives run the government? You mean like in the House of Representatives in which the average personal wealth of members is over $1,000,000? Rich people are just lining up to represent the interests of poor people, . . . uh, not. This idea runs counter to your other idiotic idea that government is transferring wealth from ordinary folks (really rich people) to the poor (the shiftless and lazy, really, you know “dem folks”). If there were such massive transfers occurring, would the poor still be getting poorer? See #3 for more.

#5 Yeah, our poor have things people in other countries just dream about, people in countries like Chad and Bangladesh. Our poor are really living a life of luxury … as victims, too. The “socialist European” countries you sneer at have better health care outcomes for far less money spent, often to no cost to their citizens than do we. What kind of price to you put on your health? Is having a wide-screen TV or a pickup truck better? Is there a reason that black folks in this country live lives so much shorter than do others? Could it be they often can’t afford health care because they want to, you know, eat or stay warm? You would not get any of the citizens of those “socialist” countries willing to trade places and be “poor” in the U.S.

#6 Hell, even I want the U.S. to be more like those other countries. Countries that care about people and who provide support to citizens in the form of health care and child care. What is so effing special about “everybody is on their own?” Surveys of whether or not people are happy show Canadians are far happier than Americans. They have fewer worries. They have a banking system that didn’t melt down like ours did because they regulated greed out of their banking system, for example. And they have the dreaded “single payer” health care system (falsely maligned with made-up stores by the U.S. Right). I know the bubble that just opened in your head: if you think Canada’s so great, why don’t you go live there? Am I right? As if my wanting to live near my family and friends had no bearing nor does whether Canada wants people like me. Let me flip that around and say “if you think “everybody is on their own” is so great, like in Afghanistan or Somalia, why don’t you go live there?

Stop making asinine claims you can’t support. They are not even original, but that is not surprising as I suspect you have no thoughts of your own.


May 22, 2014

Karl Rove is Relevant Again, uh, How?

Karl Rove is a political operative who only works for Republicans. Last seen, he was incredibly wrong about the 2012 election. Mr. Rove resurfaced recently saying something incredibly snarky, and as it proved out incorrect, about a potential Democratic candidate for President.

And this is news?

Uh, hello News Media. Hit Ctrl-Alt-Del and find another reason to exist please because when it comes to speaking truth to power, the only reason your sorry asses are justified, you are an abysmal failure.

Karl Effing Rove’s blathers are news . . . amazing.

April 24, 2014

The Cliven Bundy Conundrum

If you haven’t been following the news or are from out-of-country, Mr. Cliven Bundy is a cattle rancher in our state of Nevada, who has been grazing his cattle on federal land for 20 years without paying the required “grazing fees.” He has been taken to court numerous times and each time he has lost. His defense is that he doesn’t believe in the existence of the federal government. (Really!) Most recently, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) showed up to confiscate his cattle but they were met with armed resistance, not only from the Bundy family but by hordes of right-wing militia toting guns. The BLM officers wisely backed down from a confrontation to pursue other efforts. Maybe this would be just another odd news note about an odd happening out in the wild West, but for some reason the “issue” got picked up by the right-wing media machine (Fox (sic) News, Rush Limbaugh, etc. but strangely not Glenn Beck). They made Mr. Bundy out to be some sort of patriot instead of the violent radical scofflaw he clearly is.

Clearly the conservative media have lost their minds because the law Mr. Bundy is flaunting was put in place by none other than the GOP saint, Ronald Reagan. Which makes it even stranger that U.S. Senators (Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, etc.) got involved on Bundy’s behalf, one of whom referred to Mr. Bundy as a “patriot.”

Now, let me put this in perspective. Would the right-wing media gone to bat for a deadbeat scofflaw like Mr. Bundy, if he . . .
. . . were African American?
. . . were Hispanic?
. . . were a Muslim?
. . . were an Indian?
. . . were a woman?
Anybody? Really? It seems that the population of aggrieved white people is ever growing. (I grieve for my people.)

And the small community near Mr. Bundy’s ranch is now overrun by pickup trucks full of members of right-wing militia groups sporting loaded AK-47s. Would you want that in your community, Mr. Hannity?


My evil mind says that the BLM officers should fly over the federal land he is using illegally and shoot all of his cattle, then send him notice to remove the remains of his cattle which were trespassing on our land (yes, federal land is land owned by the people of the United States). But I rarely give in to my evil mind and why should those poor cattle have to pay with their lives for the bad judgment of one asshole not even of their species.

April 23, 2014

Why All of the Lies on the Right?

When I was younger I don’t remember conservatives peddling lies all the time, but that was then and this is now. There are enough examples of political exaggeration on all sides of issues to go around. Gross exaggerations by environmentalists in the early days of the environmental movement undermined the credibility of some of them when the abuses became more visible, for example. This is not an unusual practice as getting the attention of an information addled populace is not easy. (I have always suggested that the truth is the best approach because, if for no other reason, it is easier to remember.)

But of late Conservatives (yes, the capital “C” conservatives of today) have found that lies and overt deceptions are important tools, so important that they use them willy-nilly. As just a few examples:

Climate change is a hoax. A hoax, really? On what planet can a hoax be perpetrated with the willing participation of thousands of people in dozens of different countries?

Evolution is a lie. Again, you could have fooled me. On what planet can you get thousands of the most rational human beings to believe a lie upon which their credibility and income are contingent?

The wealthy are our job creators. Yeah, if you want to work for minimum wages. The real job creators are called “customers.” Without them, there are no jobs. Customers pay the bills and salaries of those hired, not the wealthy.

Benghazi is a scandal. Really? Not the eight embassy attacks and all of the deaths that occurred during the Bush administration, but the one attack and four deaths in Libya, of all places?

The IRS is targeting conservative groups. Gosh, I hope so, in that they are lying about their tax exempt status in droves. The fact that the IRS targeted progressive groups apparently doesn’t matter and, well, the fact that that is their job. And, the GOP instigated cuts in the IRS’s budget seem to have been the cause of the IRS needing to take shortcuts due to a lack of manpower may have had something to do with it. Oh, well, any sort of lie that undermines the IRS’s integrity is good for the GOP’s paymasters.

The President isn’t a citizen. That birth certificate is a fake!

Obamacare will result in “death panels!” Oh, for Pete’s sake.

Corporations are people. Somehow the Supreme Court has gone out of its way to convert a somewhat useful business fiction (that corporations have some aspects of people, mainly that they live and die) into a political nightmare is beyond comprehension.

I could go on (and on) but I won’t. I am sure you have some of your favorite Conservative Lies you can add to the list. Their approach to creating these is a fascinating one. In general, the propaganda arm of the GOP, Fox (sic) News, throws out lies rapid fire. Those that “stick,” that is resonate with the conservative base, are the one’s embraced by Conservative Politicians. having a “lie factory” as an industrial model is somehow fitting.

It is pure speculation, but I suspect that all of these overt lies have replaced the subtle lies of the past because a diminishment of the creative and logical powers of the conservative class. Any conservative worth his salt and with half a brain has fled the field. When I was young, the GOP had a liberal wing and a moderate wing. These folks overlapped with the more conservative democrats (like the Blue Dog Dems) and common ground was created, drawing the extremes of both parties toward the center. The flight of the GOP’s liberals and conservatives took not only that common ground with them but they took more than the average number of IQ points, too. The Bubbas remaining don’t have the sophistication to engage in subtle “untruths” and are much more comfortable with flat out lies.

February 21, 2014

Conservative Math, Again (Probably Part 2 of a Series)

Fox (sic) News commentators took the cold weather we have experienced in the Eastern U.S. this winter as another repudiation of climate change. They ask “If the earth is warming up, why is it so damned cold?”

Well, as it turns out for the Earth as a whole, it was the fourth-warmest January on record. It was, in fact, the 347th consecutive month with temperatures above the 20th-century average, the government reported yesterday.

You see while it was freezing cold in my city, Chicago, and on the eastern seaboard and even in Atlanta, GA, it was quite warm in places like California and Alaska.

I heartily recommend that Fox (sic) News commentators Google the term “average” and explore how the math is done. It will be enlightening.

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