Sunday, January 24, 2016
D.C. Snowstorm A "Sign from God"? How About A Howler Alert Here?
Tian -Tian the Giant Panda at the D.C. Zoo enjoys rolling around in the latest "sign from God" - according to some evangelicals.
The latest bunkum polluting the web is that the mammoth D.C. snowstorm was a "sign from God" basically with the deity inflicting this white pain because of the way the capitol has treated Israel and "glorified Iran". Reading some of these screeds it's hard not to erupt in howling laughter at the sheer gullibility of people. Especially those on the Right, and especially given that at the same time they are targeting the gov't (mainly the Dems and Obama, of course) their own pet boy Cruz is making friends with a turd (Mike Bickle) who evidently has it in for Jews. According to Right Wing Watch, e.g.
"Back in 2004, Bickle declared that as the End Times approach, all Jews will be given a chance to accept Jesus, warning that if they do not accept "the grace" of Christ, God will then "raise up a hunter" who will kill two-thirds of them "and the most famous hunter in recent history is a man named Adolf Hitler":
Jeebus Crisp, with a "friend" like this piety 'puke who the hell needs enemies? The Jews of Israel (or anyplace else) surely don't! This asshole is so stupid he actually believes that Oprah Winfrey is a forerunner of the Antichrist:. This turkey is best known for starting "IHOP" - the International House of Prayer, which is really more a clearing house and platform for loads of right wing Christian bollocks - such as spreading the rot about Hitler being a "hunter of Jews" sent by God to get them on the right path. (Seems that didn't work out too well!)
So given this mutt just conferred his endorsement on Ted Cruz - the new banner carrier for the evangelical Right - it's kind of funny that another segment of this bunch is actually asserting the D.C. snowstorm is a "sign" from the deity about the maltreatment of his people - the Jews of Israel. Anyone else not see something wrong with this picture?
I mean, give me a break! Leaving out any Jewish references or issues (given the disparity of the Right's twisted treatment of them -from "victims" to rightfully "hunted"), have these people never ever heard of nor'easters? Have they not heard or learned that they tend to strike in the part of the country just clobbered? (Mid-Atlantic to NE) In this case a mass of frigid air that left our region (of the Rockies) about four days ago then met up with warmer, moist air off the Atlantic and created the biggest fuckin;' storm since Sandy in 2012. The reason this son of a bitch was so fierce (30" in Washington, D.C. up to Saturday afternoon) is precisely because the air was more moisture laden. In case the howlers of the Right don't get it - warmer air (as from global warming) always holds more moisture. Thus, as warming ramps up (2015 was the hotted year on record - see my blog post from yesterday) such major storms will become even more common.
In other words, when you boil all the factors down, there is no supernatural sign at work here, simply a natural phenomenon (nor'easter) on "steroids" because of much more moisture laden air resulting from protracted warming. This is a condition of our atmosphere that won't change anytime soon - so look for even bigger storms next time - maybe dumping 40" instead of 30".
In general, the problem with invoking "divine signs" is that they are all subjective (apart from being uniformly negative) and say more about the psyche of the invokee than those against whom the signs are invoked. Thus, when the horrific tsunami struck Japan back in 2011, and thousands were killed, we heard off the wall Xtians professing it was a "sign" of God's anger that they had embraced Shintoism and Buddhism and not Christianity. We heard the same type of bullshit after Haiti was struck by an earthquake in 2010 - in that case it was a "sign" of God's anger that too many still practiced voodoo and other pagan rituals. Then, after 9/11, we heard and saw other self-righteous assholes (like Pat Robertson) asserting the attack was a "sign" of God's displeasure with the fact the nation still had too many "homos" and carried out abortions.
And it's interesting to me these "signs" are always invoked after the fact. We never get a sign prediction in advance, say like "God will send thirty inches of snow upon Washington, DC as punishment for the Obama administration's treatment of Israel and Netanyahu" . Nope, it's always ex post facto, citing the ambiguous words in scripture about "signs" such as for the "last days". Which, of course, can be read so many ways and with such interpretative latitude that anyone could drive a metaphorical Mack truck through them.
So please, spare me the signs B.S. Here's a bigger sign for all my Right Wing friends and family: The sign that Ted Cruz is NO friend of Jews or Israel is his acceptance of the endorsement of the Jewish hater Mike Bickle, who could actually believe in his heart of hearts that a God of love would create a murderous beast like Adolf Hitler to "hunt" the Jews for their refusal to kowtow to salvation dictates. Oh, and that he would also prophesy that unless the Jews convert then this God will vouchsafe to send another "hunter" after them.
As for the radical Right's howling about the Obama administration releasing $100b in Iranian assets over the weekend, that is also misplaced. Let's first clarify those assets belong to Iran, not the U.S.. It was also fair to repay Iran 1.3 percent interest on what was essentially a loan kept for over 35 years. Try to get that kind of lender interest from a bank, now or in the past!
As nuclear compliance specialist Joe Cirincione ('Ploughshares Fund' President) put it:
"This is a way to stop Iran from getting the bomb. without going to war. It has its risks, but those pale compared to the alternatives."
Indeed. He then elaborated on the parameters, to which most critics are oblivious when they yelp that Iranians are too "wily" and have "every incentive to cheat". (Implying the IAEA isn't up to the job of inspection).
"This is not based on trust, this is not based on good intentions. It's not based on the technologies we've used in Iraq, for example. This is 21st century technology, state of the art, fiber optics seals, cameras, sensors, audits, inventories allowing 24/7 inspections in all the declared facilities and the right to inspect suspect facilities including the military sites so much in dispute. One might possibly evade one layer of these inspections but the chances of evading all are quite remote . We can track every aspect of Iran's production and with those inspections there's no expiration date."
This is critical because it means the harshest critics - namely the Repukes, the Wall Street Journal op-ed bunch and Netanyahu- are not aware of the modern in situ sensor inspection capacity, i.e. that allows the Iranian facilities to be electronically "spy" monitored 24/7. And let me make the further point Iran earned those assets back by its nuclear compliance. Those still skeptical may wish to consult this report from the American Institute of Physics: