Posts tagged “politics”

Mike Rowe & Mike Huckabee

December 21st, 2017

I’ve always enjoyed Mike Rowe’s television series Dirty Jobs. It was a celebration of the working class, and was presented with just the right amount of light-hearted, gross-out humor.

That’s why I was disappointed to see Rowe’s new series, Somebody’s Gotta Do It, being hawked by Republican politician and Christian con-man Mike Huckabee. Perhaps best known for his failed 2016 presidential candidacy, Huckabee holds pretty much every far-right political position you would expect: he opposes abortion, universal health care, marriage equality, and the teaching of evolution. He is truly odious.

Huckabee does not appear in Somebody’s Gotta Do It, which seems similar to Dirty Jobs minus the “dirty” theme, but the show airs on Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), and Huckabee hosts one of its most popular programs. (A previous incarnation of Somebody’s Gotta Do It, with a different format, aired on CNN until it was cancelled last year in favor of increased coverage of the aforementioned presidential race.)

I was gratified, then, to learn that Rowe had addressed the issue on his blog, in response to a reader who raised concerns about his affiliation with Huckabee and TBN:

Somebody’s Gotta Do It is a non-religious, non-partisan, family friendly show. Like Dirty Jobs, it celebrates the kind of Americans I most admire—hardworking, passionate, ambitious individuals who make our country a better place.

Isn’t this the sort of content you’d like to see more of? I get that you despise TBN. I get that you despise Mike Huckabee. But given your affection for me, your fondness for the shows I produce, and your admiration for my charitable work—I would think you’d want my message to reach as many people as possible. Well, TBN reaches 98% of the country. Wouldn’t you like their audience to see Somebody’s Gotta Do It? Moreover, wouldn’t you like TBN to purchase more shows like this, and maybe evolve into the kind of network you don’t despise?

Here’s the thing, Carsen—I don’t have my own network, or my own channel. I make the programs I like, and hope someone buys them.

Rowe goes on to note, not with a little irony, that he received a similar response from the other side of the fence when his more conservative fans learned that the previous version of the show was going to air on CNN.

The idea of TBN transforming that much by broadcasting more areligious programming is frankly laughable. The problems with the network, its programming, and its audience, are too fundamental.

But the rest of Rowe’s point is well made. I’m disappointed to see a host I otherwise admire end up on a network like TBN, but I’m glad he’s been able to find a home for a show he’s clearly passionate about, and bring it to an audience who might otherwise never have been exposed to it.

Libertarian endorses theocrat for U.S. Senate

October 19th, 2017

Rand Paul is a Republican I’ve spoken in favor of in the past. There’s generally little about which I agree with conservatives, but Paul has always espoused a more libertarian-leaning version of conservatism with which I found at least some common ground. In particular, he impressed me during the Republican primary debates last year, when he appeared to be the only grown-up in the room whenever the subject turned to foreign policy, in that he was the only candidate whose approach didn’t boil down to “bomb as many Middle Eastern people as possible.”

Rand Paul

But now he’s thrown all that good will away by endorsing Christian theocrat Roy Moore for Senator. Moore previously served as chief justice on Alabama’s Supreme Court, where he was twice removed from the bench. The first time was for installing a Ten Commandments monument in the courthouse. But he ran for the position again, whereupon Alabama voters returned him to the bench. He was eventually suspended again for defying the U.S. Supreme Court by instructing Alabama judges to enforce Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriage, in violation of the SCOTUS ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges.

Roy Moore

Either of those cases, the latter in particular, ought to be enough to make Moore’s candidacy a non-starter for any libertarian. But it gets worse: In 2002, the Alabama Supreme Court heard a custody case. The mother was a lesbian, but her sexual orientation was not at issue. That didn’t stop Moore from authoring a concurring opinion in which he quotes the Bible (the Old Testament, of course) and writes this lovely passage:

The State carries the power of the sword, that is, the power to prohibit conduct with physical penalties, such as confinement and even execution. It must use that power to prevent the subversion of children toward this [homosexual] lifestyle, to not encourage a criminal lifestyle.

That’s right, Moore thinks gay people should be imprisoned or executed. And “libertarian” Rand Paul thinks Moore would make a fine addition to the United States Senate.

Yes, Black Lives Matter and Antifa are helping the Hurricane Harvey relief effort

September 5th, 2017

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, opportunistic demagogues have been using social media to highlight the lack of response from liberal groups like Black Lives Matter and Antifa, suggesting that this betrays a lack of the compassion that these groups profess to believe in. One meme even characterizes them as “extreme hate groups” and lumps them in with the KKK, an obviously asinine position. Leaving aside the specious logic (why would an anti-fascism group be expected to respond to a natural disaster more than any other organization?), these assertions are wrong on the facts: both BLM and Antifa have been helping the relief effort.

I’ll leave the KKK to defend themselves, however.

If you wish to contribute the the Hurrican Harvey relief effort, I suggest donating to Foundation Beyond Belief, a humanist charity organization.

Why I'm Voting for Hillary Clinton

October 18th, 2016

I’ve spent the last several months torn on whom to vote for in next month’s presidential election. Donald Trump is a non-starter for a hundred different reasons I’m sure I don’t have to explain. Though I consider myself a liberal, I have decidedly mixed feelings about Hillary Clinton. The many criticism we hear from the right-wing propaganda machine, which has gone into overdrive this election cycle, are mostly baseless. They still won’t let up about Benghazi, despite Clinton being cleared by one of the lengthiest, costliets congressional investigations in history. But there are real reasons for progressives to be wary of a Clinton presidency, namely her proven record of hawkishness during her tenure as Secretary of State.

As a former libertarian, I’ve had a certain fondness for Gary Johnson throughout his campaign. Yes, I disagree with him on many issues, some of them important. But Johnson appears to be forthright and intellectually honest, and as governor of New Mexico he demonstrated that he governs pretty much as he promises. And in particular, he’s committed to scaling back–practically eliminating–America’s foreign interventions, something that’s desperately needed at a time when we kill innocent civilians by the thousands via drone strikes in foreign countries.

Gary Johnson

But Johnson’s repeated media gaffes have convinced me that he’s simply not qualified to be President of the United States. When he asked, “What is Aleppo?” it was embarrassing, but I was prepared to overlook it. After all, I consider myself a reasonably informed voter, and I’d never heard of Aleppo before Johnson’s gaffe made the news. And as a Libertarian, non-intervention in foreign nations is a major part of his party’s platform, so it’s not surprising that Johnson would be less focused on foreign affairs than his opponents.

But then, mere days later, Johnson was completely stumped when asked to name a foreign leader he admires. Apparently, the Aleppo incident was not sufficient to make Johnson realize he needed to brush up on foreign policy and international issues.

I understand that Libertarians take an isolationist view of foreign policy, but even if it were a good idea, it’s not like Johnson would be able to bring home all our troops from abroad and close down all of America’s foreign embassies his first day in office. Like it or not, working with other nations and interacting with world leaders is simply an intrinsic part of the job of President, and Johnson has given no indication whatsoever that he’s even minimally qualified to perform that job, or shown the least bit of interest in acquiring the skills or knowledge to do so.

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton is far from a perfect candidate, but our job as voters isn’t to hold out for the perfect candidate, it’s to select the most qualified from among the available alternatives. And of everyone in contention in this election, Clinton is the most qualified by a mile. It isn’t even close.

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