Whatever’s gotten into Stephen Shellen, he probably never asked for this.
Stephen Shellen, best known as the voice actor for Deus Ex: Human Revolution‘s David Sarif, has holed up in an undisclosed location to hide from Illuminati agents and their fully equipped fruit flies.
No, really. A video featuring the voice actor’s paranoid rambling has been uploaded to YouTube. Shellen warns the world that we are under attack in our own homes, from inconspicuous specks that he has identified as “fully fucking equipped Area 51 deadly dangerous fruit flies.” These tiny agents of terror are allegedly shooting vaccines into us, as well as being armed with some “alien form of laser.”
In other words, Shellen is quickly approaching Charlie Sheen levels of bonkers. Many have noted that the video is far too well-cut to be the product of true insanity. The fact that Shellen is so deeply entrenched in the conspiracy could mean that this is all part of a viral marketing campaign for another Deus Ex game, a series built from layers upon layers of conspiracy theories.
Neowin reports that “Shellen believes the Illuminati are coming for him, and his time is limited before he dies for real. He uploaded a YouTube video showing the extent of his concern. According to him, the Illuminati are spying on him at present, and he is due to die on July 30th 2012.” This information doesn’t seem to come from the video. For those of you keeping track, July 30 has already passed, so either the Illuminati have covered up their success or we’ll (presumably) be hearing more from Shellen soon. Adding to the mystery, Shellen’s Wikipedia page has undergone heavy revision over the past few days, with changes including adding his date of death as the 30 and inserting “Icarus has found you” (a reference to a warning from the original Deus Ex). At the time of this writing, the page is locked due to “persistent vandalism.”
Washington, DC (CNN) — Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill are gearing up for a vote this week on a House Republican bill to extend all the current tax cuts, but the debate is really aimed at the vote that comes less than 100 days from now.
The GOP bill is expected to pass narrowly, mostly along party lines. But both political parties are using Congress’ big fight over taxes to frame voters’ choice in the November election.
GOP leaders’ message is that anything short of renewing all the current tax rates amounts to a massive tax increase on small businesses and undercuts the economic recovery. Democrats say Republicans are holding tax breaks for the middle class hostage over cuts for less than 2% of American taxpayers.
Last week the Senate narrowly passed a bill pushed by Democrats and the White House that extends tax breaks for those families making $250,000 and under, or individuals earning $200,000 or less, but allow the cuts for upper-income Americans to expire at the end of the year.
On Thursday, President Barack Obama, fresh off the win in the Senate, joined top Hill Democrats in pressing House Republicans for a vote on that bill, saying they’ll be responsible for a tax increase for all Americans.
“We need 218 votes in the House of Representatives — 218 votes in the House of Representatives — to make sure that 98% of Americans don’t see their taxes go up,” Obama told reporters after meeting with his Cabinet. To keep up the pressure, top administration officials will fan out around the country to push for the vote, the president said.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, dismissed the Senate vote and calls from Democrats to pass that bill without delay. He challenged the president to drop his opposition to tax breaks for upper-income levels, saying letting them expire would only mean the weak economy would suffer more job losses.
“Mr. President, I’ll tell you what — if you want to show that you stand with American small business owners, the best thing you can do is drop your plan to increase their taxes on January 1. This small business tax hike, according to Ernst Young, will destroy more than 700,000 jobs,” Boehner said Thursday.
Led by House GOP Whip Kevin McCarthy of California, rank-and-file House Republicans plan to carry that message across the country in the days before this week’s House vote. GOP members will meet with small business owners and constituents in more than 25 “Stop the Tax Hike” events across the country.
Members of Congress, Republicans challenging Democrats for other congressional seats and aides have already launched their campaign to get the word out on social media, using the “#StopTheTaxHike” hash tag on Twitter.
House Democrats are ready for the fight — and this time they welcome it.
Recent debates over tax rates have proven to be politically tricky terrain for congressional Democrats. Some Democratic aides and members admit that previous debates on taxes left them on the defense. Republicans were able to effectively paint the GOP as the party that fights to keep taxes low, while tagging Democrats as champions of tax increases.
After suffering major losses at polls in the 2010 election, House Democrats were split on a last-minute deal that President Obama cut with Republicans to extend all the so-called “Bush-era” tax cuts for two years during the lame duck session.
Ilinois Republican Rep. Peter Roskam argued Friday that the “only thing that’s changed is that the economy has gotten softer not better.”
Roskam, the GOP’s deputy whip, predicted some Democrats would support the GOP plan.
“My feeling is that there are a lot of Democrats who are not interested in walking the plank on some symbolic roll call to show unanimity with the president, who right now is challenging whether entrepreneurs have created their own company.”
Pelosi called Democratic support for that bill “a one-time thing” and argued last week that her party only supported the extension of tax breaks for higher income earners then as a price for extending unemployment benefits that were about to expire.
Two years later Democrats insist they are the ones on offense, expressing confidence that this time it’s Republicans who stand to lose.
Like the GOP, they have their campaign ready. Leadership aides designed their own new media efforts — sending messaging packets to members that include “sample tweets” (using “#middleclasstaxcuts” as their hash tag) and “sample Facebook posts.” The Democratic talking points center on their message that the GOP is holding middle-class tax cuts hostage for tax breaks for the ultrarich in the top 2%. Colorful charts and graphs show how many middle-class families would see their tax burden go up if Congress fails to act.
The chief of the House Democrats campaign committee, Rep Steve Israel, D-New York, sent a memo to all his candidates arguing that voters believe Republicans are on “the wrong side of this issue.” The memo cites recent polls by Pew and National Journal that show the independent voters — who will be key this fall — believe allowing the tax breaks for wealthier Americans to lapse won’t have a major impact on the economy.
“By going on offense and proactively framing this debate, you will make clear to voters in your district that you are fighting for the middle class, in contrast to your Republican opponent who is again standing up for the wrong priorities: more tax breaks for millionaires, Big Oil and companies shipping jobs overseas, at the expense of the middle class.” the memo states.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee also announced it will hold events in advance of the vote in 15 competitive Congressional districts dubbed “Middle Class First.” Democratic activists will make calls and go door to door in these critical electoral battlegrounds to highlight their opposition to the House GOP bill.
Despite Israel’s advice, Arizona Democratic Rep Ron Barber, who just won a special election last month, said he’s undecided on how he’ll vote. He’s likely to face another tough race this fall.
“I have to see what the impact would be on people back home and then I’ll know better what my answer is going to be on the bill,” Barber said, saying he and his staff were still evaluating the impact on small businesses and middle-class taxpayers.
But McCarthy, a former small business owner who ran a string of deli shops in California before running for Congress, zeroed in on the GOP argument he hopes will trip up Democrats worried about the economy in tight races around the country: Renewing tax cuts for only those making $250,000 and under will hurt small businesses.
McCarthy told reporters last week, “Small business is the biggest job creator in America, more so than corporations. Take the measurement from the last recession to the current one; they have created 7 million jobs and big corporations cut 1 million.”
But Democrats believe this time the debate is framed in a way that helps them. Rep Chris Van Hollen, the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee, says voters now see the choice between the GOP and Democratic tax proposals as a matter of trade-offs, and are more aware now about how the cost of keeping all the tax breaks will add to the nation’s budget deficit.
Van Hollen pointed to the debates over the GOP plan, which he labeled the “Romney-Ryan-Republican budget,” the House-passed budget written by GOP Budget Chairman Paul Ryan that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has endorsed. Van Hollen said Democrats are stressing “the price of giving tax breaks to the wealthy — the price is paid by seniors on Medicare paying more and education for our kids getting less. It’s a much sharper message.”
Foreshadowing the likely political attack from the GOP, McCarthy reminded reporters on Friday that many House Democrats are already on record voting to extend all tax breaks in 2010.
“You’re going to have 89 current members of the Democratic party who voted to extend the tax cuts last time who are going to have to answer why they are flip-flopping with a bad economy,” he said.
One thing that’s certain — minutes, or maybe even seconds, after the gavel comes down in the House chamber, both sides will use that vote to try to gain the upper hand on the campaign trail.
Washington (CNN) — Congressional leaders announced a deal Tuesday on a six-month bill to fund the federal government, thereby removing the possibility of a government shutdown — and the political spectacle that would go with it — before the election.
“It will provide stability for the coming months,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, told reporters. “It will be free of riders. This is very good because we can resolve these critical issues that directly affect the country as soon as the election is over and move on to do good things.”
“Leader Reid and I have reached an agreement by which the House and Senate will approve a six-month continuing resolution in September to keep the government operating into next year,” House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said in a statement. “During the August district work period, committee members and their staff will write legislation that can be passed by the House and Senate in September and sent to President Obama to be signed into law.”
Current funding for federal agencies is due to expire at the end of September.
Tuesday’s announced deal, on what is known as a continuing resolution, would continue funding through March 2013, two months after the presidential inauguration, giving both parties time to avoid another messy spending fight.
“I think it’s the right thing to do,” Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, told CNN before the announcement. “Thank God we’re not going through another threatened government shutdown from the Republicans.”
Several members of the conservative Republican Study Committee, who had previously pushed for a lower spending level in spending bills, reversed course in the last couple of weeks and told House GOP leaders they could support a six-month measure at the spending level agreed to in last summer’s debt deal.
That level — $1.047 trillion — had been a key point for Senate Democrats who insisted that it not drop below that level.
Some conservatives believe that if Republicans win the White House and take control of the Senate in November, they can get bigger spending cuts and policy changes in next year’s government funding bills.
Not all House Republicans support the move. Some GOP aides believe that removing the pressure to reach an agreement on spending at the end of the year — the same time Congress needs to deal with the expiration of tax cuts and automatic spending cuts — could mean giving up a key bargaining chip in negotiations with the Democratic-led Senate.
Lawmakers from both parties complain when Congress drops the regular appropriations process, which adds scrutiny to the spending of tax dollars. But continuing resolutions have become a reality in recent years as partisanship has prevented the type of compromise needed to pass appropriations bills.
“This is not our preference,” Jennifer Hing, a spokeswoman for the House Appropriations Committee, told CNN. “The chairman believes we should do our work in regular order. It’s the responsibility to do the fiscal and budget work of the Congress every year.”
(CNN) — In keeping with their vow to prevent any more of President Barack Obama’s appeals court nominees from being confirmed until after the election, Senate Republicans successfully upheld Monday their filibuster of Judge Robert Bacharach’s nomination to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which is based in Denver.
The filibuster came despite praise for Bacharach from the two GOP senators from Oklahoma, where he is currently a federal magistrate judge, and the support of three centrist Republicans who voted across the aisle.
The vote was 56-34, several votes short of the 60 the Democrats needed to break the filibuster. Each Oklahoma senator, torn between their support for the nominee and their desire not to undermine their Senate leadership, voted present.
In upholding the filibuster, Republicans invoked what is known as the Thurmond Rule, named after late South Carolina Republican Sen. Strom Thurmond, a former longtime Judiciary Committee member. The informal rule, which has been practiced by both parties for decades, justifies the blocking of a president’s pick for an appeals court judge months before a presidential election.
“The rationale has been that this close to an election, whoever wins that election should be the one to pick these lifetime nominees who will run our judiciary system,” explained Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee.
Republican leaders signaled last month they soon would block appointments to the powerful circuit courts, which are one level below the U.S. Supreme Court. Democrats said they had hoped to get Bacharach through before the rule took affect and argued that never before had a circuit court judge who was voted out of the Judiciary Committee with bipartisan support been filibustered. Republicans disputed that point.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, called Bacharach “well-qualified” and lamented that the pattern of GOP filibusters would now extend to circuit court judges.
“Why should we be surprised, though?” Reid said on the floor. “We’ve already had 85 filibusters, so just add another one to it.”
Grassley said that Democrats have used the Thurmond Rule in the past just as Republicans are now. In fact, Republicans call it the Leahy-Thurmond Rule, because they said the Democratic chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, has invoked the rule before.
“Now they don’t want us to play by the same set of rules,” Grassley said. “The Democratic leadership doesn’t want us to enforce the rules that they helped establish.”
In addition, Grassley argued Reid knew Bacharach would be filibustered and put his nomination up for a vote anyway in an effort to paint Republicans as obstructionist.
Republican Sens. Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, both of Maine, voted to end the filibuster. Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, a longtime Republican member of the Judiciary Committee, voted present.
Well, my intro got hacked up and deleted in front of my eyes.
So. Short and sweet…what to say, what to say, hmmmm…
I love all of ya, truly. I may speak with fire on occasion, but those younger years are mostly behind me. I forever have and always will care about
this entire planet, all of civilization, all the species, plants, animals, even non-Earth beings, you name it. I even care about you rat bastards out
there! Even those monitoring me, hating me, trying to maybe even harm me! Why? Because I can.
Do I care about America, specifically, Americans (which is what the point should be)? Yes. Do I have qualms with certain systemic flaws. Yes. Do I
care about other countries and their people? Every single one.
I don’t have T.V. these days. Too many people, from my perception, are living vicariously through all this pain and I no longer would allow myself to
support these ‘networks’. Too much frivolous mind bending entertainment too…and people say they don’t have the ‘time’ to think about these
On the contrary, I focus on astronomy, technological progress, politics, theoretical physics such as quantum, philosophy, theology, mathematics,
relativity, art, music, pattern recognition, paranormal studies, building things like pyramids, maybe a stone henge here or there…
Here’s to all of us, to you. Cheers.
As some of you may recall, this FBI agent was last seen leaving his Burbank, California home on May 10th and was believed to be armed and suicidal.
Not long after, news of his disappearance and search thereafter ceased.
Until now. Initially, back in May when he went missing, it was reported that a massive manhunt involving at least a hundred FBI agents searched for
him, but it turns out that he never even left the Burbank area – Allegedly.
Also, NBC is reporting he was found “behind a church”, and that “A weapon was recovered.”
The church must not have been very active to not notice him over the course of two months of decomposition. I find it hard to believe that the FBI -
In searching for one of their own – Were bested by a couple of hikers in eventually finding him so close to home.
Are they really that incompetent, or is there something more to this? Regardless, may he rest in peace. ETA: The coroner’s department has yet to
make an official confirmation as to the identity of the body found.
(visit the link for the full news article)
reply to post by benrl
Yep, and table limits.
I saw a friend of mine turn $50 into over $8000 on a roulette wheel, and then they decided to break him, and the table hit red 17 times in a row,
while he kept upping his bet on black until he was beyond the table limit. He asked for a waiver to go beyond the limit, and it was denied, and his
money was gone.
Critical Thinking and the UFO Hypothesis I: Confusing the Issues
After carefully scrutinizing the skeptical response to the UFO hypothesis for a number of years, both on this site and in the literature, I have come
to the conclusion that such skeptical responses are not only woefully inadequate, but that their arguments exhibit an alarming number of logical
fallacies, in addition to poor critical thinking skills in general.
In order to speak intelligently and have a meaningful discussion about any issue, you must first define your main concepts.
One problem is that newcomers to these fields are not clear on their definitions, and problems thus arise.
I will define the UFO Hypothesis as follows:
The UFO Hypothesis: There exists a class of aerial objects exhibiting almost unbelievable
A similar but distinct issue exists regarding the presence of aliens on our planet. Let’s refer to this as the Alien Hypothesis.
The Alien Hypothesis: There exists on this planet an alien presence.
It should be clear the the UFO Hypothesis and the Alien Hypothesis are distinct. In other words, the existence of UFOs has nothing necessarily to do
with the existence of aliens.
Skeptics will often deride any evidence put forth for the existence of UFOs by invoking the idea of aliens. The argument often goes something
(1) If UFOs exist, then aliens exist.
(2) Aliens do not exist.
Therefore, UFOs do not exist.
(1) is a prime example of sloppy, uncritical thinking, where one combines two issues that are actually distinct. It is an attempt to capitalize on a
cultural bias regarding the assumed fictitiousness of aliens.
Taken as a whole, (s1) is actually an example of an elementary logical fallacy known as a ‘Straw Man Argument’. The error in such an argument arises
from the fact that it actually (often grossly) mischaracterizes the position that they are arguing against. It twists the actual argument into a
weaker argument in order to easily knock it down. (s1) characterizes the UFO Hypothesis as having to do with aliens, and uses the idea of aliens to
argue against it, but of course the UFO Hypothesis has nothing to do with aliens.
This is not to say that it is impossible that aliens are piloting UFOs. What it means is that proving the existence of a certain class of
aerial objects can be done without any recourse to the idea of aliens.
When people make arguments such as (s1), they will often speak derisively of “little green men” in conjuntion with UFOs. Now you know that whenever
you hear that, that they are committing a fundamental logical fallacy (a Straw Man Argument)! In fact, they are in all likelihood committing this
fallacy even if they mention aliens or ETs when talking about the existence of UFOs.
So, as you are reading through different threads, and people are debating the existence of UFOs, be on the look-out for people who try to deride the
argument by mentioning aliens or ETs. You’d be surprised (or maybe not) how often people make this fundamental error.
You can also see this tactic as a kind of ‘Guilt by Association’ argument – they will group together a separate phenomenon with that of UFOs, and
claim that because this other phenomenon is implausible, that the existence of UFOs is implausible too.
I’d like this thread to focus on examples of these kinds of logical fallacies – examples of the Straw Man Argument or Guilt by Association that
you’ve encountered. I think it’s a good exercise in getting people to think critically about this issue.
It looks like the either the content you’re looking for doesn’t exist, or there was something wrong with the URL you used.
Sometimes we need to remove entire threads from our site because someone posted something they shouldn’t, and sometimes people used bad URLs. While we feel sorry for bad URLs (see the advocacy group at SaveTheURLs.com), we don’t feel sorry for people that post something that’s against the rules.