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In the last week the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the Affordable Care Act, Same-sex marriage, and Independent Redistricting Committees in states like Arizona.  It has also ruled against clean air and struck down the new EPA rules against coal-fired power plants.  I guess they figure since you are now eligible for health insurance, it doesn’t matter if the air you breath is trying to kill you.

What I am waiting for now, is the upcoming attack on the middle-class in favor of profits that is looming just around the corner.  I have written about this before, but the President is finally going to try to do something about a problem that has been years in the making.

In all of the labor laws in this country there are rules that deal with overtime pay.    The situation is that if you are an hourly wage earner, you are eligible for overtime pay when you work more than 40 hours per week.  However, if you are a “salaried” worker, you are not automatically eligible for overtime pay.

Under the current rules, if you earn more than $23,660 per year, you are not eligible for overtime pay, regardless of how many hours you actually work.  The side-show to this is that if a company decides that people who are making more than 23,660 are “white-collar” they can put them on salary and thus avoid paying the overtime.  Regardless of what work they are actually doing.

This problem has really reared its ugly head in the retail business.  Many retail businesses call people managers whose primary job is stocking shelves.  Since they pay them, say $30,000 per year, they are not required to pay these people overtime.  Even when a lot of these people are forced to work up to 80 hours per week.

This overtime rule was changed under George W. Bush to the current threshold of $32.660 per year.  It was the only time since 1975 that the rule had been changed.  In 1975 the rule protected up to 60% of the workforce.  Today, the rule protects about 8% of the workforce.

The President is poised to change the limit of earnings up to $50,440 per year.  That is almost double what it is today.  That means up to 40% of the workforce would be protected and able to earn overtime pay for their extra hours.  There are some basic realities of the current economic upturn.

The first reality is that the top 1% earners are gaining 95% of the economic growth.  The second reality is that middle-class pay has stagnated.  For that matter, middle-class pay has been stagnant for over 30 years while the top 1% income has grown over 300%.

This rule change will not fix our ills.  But it is a step in the right direction.  It is something that will actually help the middle-class.  That is why there will be trouble.  See, once the President announces his plan, it must go through a “public hearing” period.  Everyone on both sides of the issue will have a chance to voice their concerns about the rule.

The Chamber of Commerce has already spoken about the new rule.  Randy Johnson, senior vice president of Labor, Immigration and Employee Benefits calling the rule “another example of the administration being completely divorced from reality and adding more burdens to employers and expecting them to just absorb the impact.”

Business groups are not alone in their already opposition.  You can bet conservatives in Congress will also weigh in on the new rule as well.  As a matter of fact, the House Education and the Workforce subcommittee held a hearing largely devoted to excoriating the overtime rule, sight unseen.  Republican Rep. Tim Walberg, the subcommittee chairman, pledged to oppose any overtime proposal that “goes too far” or that would “inflict harm on the nation’s workplaces.”

Of course, Walberg never said what he meant about that phrase of “goes too far” or “inflict harm on the nation’s workplaces.”  I am willing to bet that he is talking about how this rule might cut into profits of the shareholders.  That is the usual argument they come up with.  I am also sure that John Boehner will trot out his “this rule is a job killer” attack.  He really needs to get a new tape for that phrase.  It is really worn out.

I am predicting that conservatives will start drumming the “economic doom” argument they always haul out from under the bed whenever something that would actually help employees is proposed.  You will hear how it is a “job killer.”  You will hear how it is a “train wreck” for the American economy.  You will hear how it is a “redistributing wealth” gambit.

What you will never hear from the conservatives in Congress is how this will help millions of Americans live more comfortably.  You will never hear from conservatives in Congress how these workers deserve fair pay for an honest day’s work.  That is not how their capitalism works.  Their capitalism works by enslaving the employees at extremely low wages and make more money for the shareholders.

I think it is time to get the BS suites out of the closet.  This is more than likely going to get very ugly.  Even if this rule gets made policy, you can be sure that the conservatives will run, not walk, down to the courts to get it overturned.  So, don’t hold your breath waiting for the rule to take effect.  Republicans will be sure to delay it as long as they can.   Delaying things for the working people is about all they are good at!

“Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!”

George Wallace 1963 Inaugural Address

Today, it is 2015.  We should be well beyond this bigoted phrase.  However, we have not passed beyond the world of bigotry and hate.  Government officials in Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, among others, have taken up this mantra.  The only difference is that they are now wrapping themselves in the hatred of religion.  Or, I should probably say they are wrapping themselves in the false Religion of Hate!

Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage was constitutionally protected in all 50 states.  Even before this decision, the Religion of Hate was busy passing laws that would deny same-sex couples the right to marry and/or get services from private business to celebrate their marriages.

This Religion of Hate came to us under the so-called “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” laws they passed.  According to these laws, if you wish to discriminate against same-sex couples, all you have to do is say “I have a deeply held religious belief” against them.  That makes everything perfectly legal for you to discriminate against anyone you wish.

During the Civil Rights era, we heard the same stupid arguments about segregation that we are hearing now about same-sex marriage.  It was “God’s Will” that the races be separated.  They used that wonderful phrase from the bible that said “each shall seek their own.”  It was nothing more than Religion of Hate and it was endorsed by many politicians like George Wallace.

The Attorney General of Texas has openly said that county clerks in his state do not have to issue marriage certificates to same-sex couples if they don’t want to.  They are being allowed to break their Oath of Office with his blessing.  He even said there are hundreds of lawyers who are willing to defend these oath breakers, many pro-bono.  How nice.  The Attorney General of Texas, Ken Paxton, has just joined the long list of bigots in political power like George Wallace.

Presidential Candidate Mike Huckabee has said that clerks should “resist” this ruling.  He is calling for “civil disobedience” by pubic officials because he believes the court “overstepped” its bounds and “created a civil right that does not exist.”

First, the court did not “create” anything.  This ruling came about because someone challenged the same-sex marriage ban in their state as being unconstitutional.  They argued that these bans denied them “equal protection under the law.”  The court simply agreed with their argument and said that the laws banning same-sex marriage were unconstitutional.

Second, there was nothing in the Supreme Court’s ruling that said that ONLY same-sex marriages were protected.  They did not ban heterosexual marriages.  They did not say that a Roman Catholic Priest MUST marry a same-sex couple.  This was a ruling that declared same-sex civil marriages have the same legal rights as heterosexual marriages.

No one lost any civil rights in this case.  No one has suffered any harm in this case.  No one has been allowed to “attack” Christians in this case.  To the contrary, all this case did was ensure same-sex couples have the same civil rights as everyone else.

But, when you subscribe to the Religion of Hate, you are expected to deny civil rights to those terrible “others.”  You are expected to be able to deny dignity to people of religions that do not subscribe to the Religion of Hate.  You are expected to claim that you are the ones under attack even though you have not been affected at all.

There have been a lot of instances of hate in our country.  We have endured the evil of slavery.  We have endured the evil of the Jim Crow laws.  We have endured bigotry against Catholics, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, and Buddhists.  We have seen the Religion of Hate preached from church pulpits and state houses and even the halls of Congress.

The real unfortunate part of this narrative, is that the Republican Party has endorsed this Religion of Hate.  Where are the other Republicans bashing their right-wing nuts?  Where are the complaints from other Republicans that these members of the Religion of Hate are not speaking for the party?  You don’t hear any of that because the party as a whole has endorsed, and placed its political future, with the Religion of Hate.

The Religion of Hate says that marriage was defined by God as between one man and one woman.  A few weeks ago, I saw a church sign at an Episcopal Church, I don’t remember where it was located, that read:

There are thousands of Christians that are homosexual.  Get over it!  God

We need to see more signs like that one.

All of this hate speech from people like Paxton, Cruz, Gohmert, Huckabee, Jindal, and the rest of the so-called “Christian Right” only proves how un-Christian these nuts are.  They do not subscribe to the religion of Christianity.  They do not subscribe to any religion that teaches tolerance and love.  No, they are the new purveyors of the Religion of Hate.

Even non-believers know that Jesus taught love.  He taught tolerance.  He taught not to judge others.  His was a religion of peace, tolerance, and love.  Three things that were basically unheard of at the time.  That is why I can say absolutely that Conservative Christians are NOT Christians at all.

They are simply bigots, racists, and haters.  They are nothing more, and nothing less.  That is the religion they want to force on everyone else.  As the song said:

Go ahead and hate your neighbor.  Go ahead and cheat a friend.  Do it in the name of heaven.  You can justify it in the end.  There won’t be any trumpets blowing, come the judgment day.

Is there anything more evil than the Conservative Christian’s “Religion of Hate?”

All I can say is this has been some week.  We have seen everything from the sublime to the horrific.  We have seen mass murder by a white supremacist in Charleston, SC.  We have seen terrorist attacks in France, Tunisia and other places in the world.  We hear that “abstinence only advocate” Bristol Palin is still unmarried yet pregnant again.  We have seen the Supreme Court rule against conservatives in the Affordable Care Act.  And now, we see the Supreme Court rule that same-sex marriage is constitutionally protected.

I don’t know how to classify this week.  It has been a tragedy for sure.  But, it has also produced groundbreaking rulings from the Supreme Court.  There is so much to talk about, it is hard to pick and choose which topic should make it today.

I have decided that the wacko reaction to the Supreme Court’s ruling in the same-sex case merits the most ink right now.  Not because the other items are not important, they are, but because I have not seen so much hate and bigotry openly spouted from conservative mouths since the 60s.  In his descent, Scalia said to “ask a hippie.”  I openly admit that I am a hippie.

If Scalia were to ask my opinion, I would say that he does not understand just what the Constitution of the United States is about.  The Constitution is not, and never was, intended to use religious beliefs to create the “law of the land.”  He also said this decision was a blow against democracy.  However, he misses the point that the Supreme Court was established for the sole purpose of determining which laws are and are not constitutional.

It has always been the duty of the Supreme Court to state which laws are unconstitutional when they turn out to be prejudicial against minorities.  Democracy, in order to work properly, needs “checks and balances” to ensure equal treatment under the law for everyone and not just those whom a majority believe deserves those protections.

This ruling by the Supreme Court has done exactly that.  It has decided that banning same-sex marriages denies equal protection under the law for a specific minority in this country.  That is unconstitutional!  I might suggest that Scalia take some refresher courses in Constitutional Law.

One of the biggest arguments is that the states should “define” marriage.  That may sound good, but there are federal issues at stake as well.  Remember, same-sex couples who have not been recognized or allowed to marry in those states that banned it are not protected when their partner dies.  Even if the will of the partner states the other is to inherit everything, the federal government can only give spousal relief and deductions to the Estate Tax if they are legally recognized as being married.  This goes for Social Security benefits as well.

A lot of this started because a woman sued because she was required to pay huge estate taxes when her partner died.  They were legally married, but the state they lived in did not recognize that marriage.  Therefore, the survivor was liable for Estate Taxes in the thousands of dollars.

Another factor deals with visitation and legal representation for terminally ill patients.  Same-sex couples in states that banned same-sex marriage were denied these rights by hospitals.  Even when a living will said the person’s partner could make a call on when to terminate life-support, if the state did not recognize that same-sex marriage, that right was taken away from the partner.

As a result, allowing states to define marriage, takes away these legal protections from same-sex couples.  That is not only wrong, it is unconstitutional.  That is one of the things this court ruling is about.

But, Scalia is just the tip of the iceberg.  The rest of the right-wing are all on oxygen bottles right now.  Their hysteria is liable to cause arteries to explode all across Conservative America.  America’s Crazy Uncle Louie Gohmert even says this ruling will cause our country to suffer major attacks because “God will remove his protective hand from America.”

I don’t believe in God’s wrath, but using his own words, maybe Crazy Uncle Louis should be asking if the flooding, drought, and other natural disasters in his own state may be because God is mad at Texas for being so bigoted towards their fellow humans.   Texas leads the nation in uninsured, restrictive voting rights, anti-Latino legislation, anti-immigrant policies, anti-women issues, and lots more.  Maybe Crazy Uncle Louie should be asking God’s forgiveness for his intolerance and using God’s name to justify it!

The list of crazies goes on.  The Canadian Senator Ted Cruz thinks we should elect the Supreme Court justices.  Mike Huckabee thinks we are on the road to a “Banana Republic.”  And Scott Walker is still trying to figure out a way to get around this ruling and ban same-sex marriages in Wisconsin.

The arguments these lunatics put forth are simply idiotic.  They claim that same-sex marriage is an attack on “traditional marriage.”  Just how it is an attack they never say.  We have had same-sex marriages for several years in some states, and I still haven’t heard of a single case where a “traditional marriage” couple got a divorce simply because two gays got married together.

Mike Huckabee even went so far as to say that this ruling is a “slap in the face to traditional married couples.”  Well, I am in a “traditional marriage” and have been for decades.  I do not feel like I have been slapped in the face.  Nor do I feel threatened because same-sex couples want to get married.

The biggest argument against same-sex marriage is always based in religious beliefs.  Crazy Uncle Louie says that one man and one women marriages are “biblical.”  So is polygamy.  How many wives did King Saul have?  Which “biblical” marriage is Crazy Uncle Louie in favor of allowing?

All of this is nonsense of course.  None of these arguments or sound-bites have any real meaning or reason why same-sex marriages should be banned.  All this ruling has really done is unloose the bigotry and hatred these people really hold for fellow human beings.

It has allowed the true bigots in government to show their true colors.  And, I am sure that it will get worse.  You will see more states pass things like “opt out” laws that allow government employees to discriminate against same-sex marriage by refusing to issue a marriage license based on “religious grounds.”

As I have written before, this ruling is proving just how tyrannical the conservative movement in this country really is.  They are not interested in the Constitution.  They are not interested in the rule of law.  They are only interested in controlling everyone else’s lives.  They want the power to say what is and isn’t legal.  They want the power to say who can and cannot be married.  They want the power to dictate how we each are to live our lives.

They are not interested in democracy.  They are not interested in anything except their own power.  Remember, this court has a conservative majority.  Yet, when the court handed down it’s ruling, the first thing out of conservative mouths is that this court is “making laws.”  No, they are not making laws.  They are determining which laws are and/or are not constitutional.  In other words, they did their job.

But, in case you haven’t noticed.  The really scary part about all of this hysteria is that it is coming from every single Republican Presidential hopeful.  And, if you think their bigotry won’t affect you, think again.  Bigotry is never satisfied.  You may be their next target.

 

Everyone who cares about the Affordable Care Act, and those who desperately oppose it were all waiting for the Supreme Court’s ruling in King v. Burwell.  Well, yesterday it came down.  The court in a somewhat surprising 6-3 vote ruled in favor of the Affordable Care Act.

Naturally, the conservative wing went absolutely nuts.  Even the Republican Party announced that it was “firing” Chief Justice Roberts over his decision to back the Act.  There has been weeping and gnashing of teeth all across the right-wing.  Mike Huckabee, that ever-loving Christian Minister who wants to be president, said it was just another step in the direction of America becoming a “Banana Republic.”

John Boehner and Mitch McConnell suffered apoplexy attacks.  They vowed to “repeal Obamacare” no matter what it takes.  They are now going to strategize just what they will do next to repeal the Affordable Care Act, probably using budgetary gimmicks to force huge parts of the law ineffective.

As I waited for this decision to be handed down, I thought very hard about what I would write about it.  I tried to formulate stories that would support or disagree with the Court’s decision.  But, in the end, I came to the same conclusion.  However the Court would rule would not be the end of this mess.  This ruling by SCOTUS will not end the debate, nor will it prevent the Republicans from trying to repeal the law.

Therefore, I decided on this instead.  An open letter to John Boehner and Mitch McConnell.

Dear Mr. Boehner and Mr. McConnell,

You have said over-and-over that the Affordable Care Act is a “train wreck” a “disaster” and a “job-killer.”  You claim that you want a health care plan that is “customer oriented.”  You claim that there are better ways to ensure that all Americans have access to affordable health care.

Let me remind you that this law was passed and signed in the first year of the President’s First Term in office.  That means you have had over six years to tell the American People just what you would do differently.  We are still waiting to hear those plans.  We are still waiting to hear what you think would be more beneficial to America than the Affordable Care Act.

Why can’t you simply come out in public and tell the American People what your plan for affordable health care for all Americans would look like?  Why can’t you come out publicly with full details of just what you believe would be “customer oriented” health care?

It would seem to me that if you publicly laid out your plans for affordable health care the American People would listen.  It seems to me that if you really want to repeal a law with something that you claim would be better than what we have, you would be eager to put that plan forth and let the American People decide for themselves at the polls.

How can the American People believe that you actually have their interests at heart when all you do is rant about something that is already law, and refuse to detail your alternative?  How can you convince the American People that your ideas are actually better, if you insist on keeping them secret?

Republicans are always telling Americans that they understand “business.”  You are always telling us about how you wish to protect “small businesses.”  Yet, you refuse to tell us exactly how?  If I went to the executives of companies I worked for with just numbers for a budget and not tell them how it would benefit the company and show a return on investment, I would not only been laughed out of the room, I would have been fired.

That is how businesses really work.  Yet, you, who claim to understand business, expect to pull that trick on your shareholders, the American People.  You want to claim to have a better plan, but won’t tell us what that plan is, how it will benefit us, and what return on investment we should expect.  How can you not expect to be laughed out of the room?

Even the CBO says that repealing the Affordable Care Act would add tens of billions of dollars to the Federal Deficit.  You claim to be worried about the budget deficit, yet you are willing to add tens of billions of dollars to it by repealing the law.  Without any alternative for us to ponder.

I find your sound-bite lingo at every press conference on this matter very tiring.  It almost makes both of you look like you are incapable of forming coherent sentences.  I know that you are both better than that.  So why continue this charade?  It is time for this nonsense to stop.

I challenge both of you men to tell the American People exactly what you envision as a replacement for the Affordable Care Act.  I challenge both of you men to tell the American People why your explicit plan is better than the current law.  I challenge both of you men to stop talking in sound-bites and actually put sentences together.

I challenge both of you men to let the American People decide at the polls which plan they prefer.  Or, are you afraid that like in 2012, the American People will choose the Affordable Care Act.  It is time for you both to become responsible leaders.  It is time for you both to stop whining and tell us your “big plan.”

Or, maybe you won’t tell us because you don’t have one!  As a veteran, I am sick and tired of watching a bunch of three-year olds trying to run my country.  Grow up and let us know your plan, now!

Let me tell you a little story.  There is a generic drug manufacturer outside Pittsburgh, PA called Mylan.  This company is now facing a hostile takeover bid from an Israeli company Teva.  It seems that Teva has started purchasing Mylan stock.  They have already purchased 5% of Mylan’s outstanding stock.

Mylan is now asking the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to look into the matter.  You see, there is a provision that says when large stock purchases of U.S. companies are made, those purchases must be reviewed by anti-trust authorities.  Sounds reasonable, we don’t want our companies to fall to hostile takeovers by foreigners.

But, there is a problem with the request from Mylan.  You may not recognize the name of the company, but earlier this year, Mylan went ahead with the purchase of a small drug company in the Netherlands.  Once that purchase was completed, Mylan announced that it was changing its corporate citizenship to the Netherlands.

This move from Mylan was so it could reduce its taxes on drugs sold overseas.  In other words, it was a move directed by greed by corporate executives by to avoid paying their fair share of taxes to the country that they are part of.  This procedure is called “inversion.”

Many members of Congress lashed out at the company for their inversion move.  Almost all of the members of Congress who lashed out were Democrats.  Republicans didn’t seem to have any difficulty with the process.  However, that begs the question.  Should a company who claims the U.S. as its corporate headquarters and still declares that the company is from the Netherlands be protected under the very anti-trust laws they themselves have looked to avoid?

In legal terms, Mylan probably has a defensible position.  Since it claims that its principal office remains in Pennsylvania, which makes it a “U.S. issuer” of stock for federal anti-trust purposes.  The optics of this is quite another matter.  The company abandoned its U.S. Citizenship in order to pay less in federal taxes, yet they now want that same federal government to protect them.

I think Rep. Chris Van Hollen (R-MD) summed it up very nicely.  He said:

“Mylan is trying to have its cake and eat it too.  It is an intolerable abuse of a loophole when U.S. corporations pretend they are based overseas in order to get out of paying their fair share and duck their responsibilities to the United States. It’s just plain hypocrisy when one of those same inverted companies claims that it is actually a U.S. company because it needs the special protections U.S. law gives to American companies.”

The FTC should remind Mylan that when it chose to invert to avoid paying taxes, it gave up the privileges given to companies which remain committed to the United States. And Congress needs to act now to close the inversion loophole and fix our broken tax code to reward companies that locate and invest in America.”

At this writing, I have not found a single comment from any Republican on the matter.  We all know how the Republicans, especially conservatives, hate government interference.  In 2008 and 2009 they wanted to let the auto industry in America collapse.  Are they willing to sit by and let Teva carry out its hostile takeover of Mylan?

Would they consider this a case of protecting a U.S. company or one of protecting a Netherlands company?  Where is Mitt Romney saying let Mylan fail?  Why isn’t Fox Business screaming about using tax payers money to defend a foreign company?  As usual, when an instance of something created by these loopholes in our tax code that Republicans all seem to favor arise and makes a mess of things, they remain very quiet.

I am somewhat torn in this matter.  On one hand, I don’t want anything to happen to the jobs that a hostile takeover could reap.  On the other hand, why should our government use our laws to defend a company that no longer wants to be an American Company for lower taxes?

Van Hollen is right.  This company abandoned us.  We have seen other companies abandon us as well.  There will be more companies following suit.  Unless the tax codes are changed and these “inversion” loopholes are closed for good.  How many companies will join Mylan in denouncing their company citizenship if the FTC helps Mylan in the fight?

What would stop other companies from denouncing their company citizenship in favor of lower taxes, knowing the government will still use U.S. laws to defend them?  Part of paying your taxes is getting protection in these kinds of cases.  If you abandon your citizenship so you don’t have to pay your taxes, why should we defend you?

That is the dilemma that our outdated tax code has given us.  We are now faced with the dilemma of using tax payer dollars to basically protect a foreign company, or not.  It will be interesting to see how the FTC responds.  It will be even more interesting to see conservative responses to their decision.

As with all tragedies there is an emerging bright spot in the Charleston shooting.  I don’t say things like this lightly.  But, if anyone really cares to listen to all of the talk about the shooting, one pattern emerges more than anything else.  That one pattern is that race is still a huge issue in America.

Since the shooting we have seen the Governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley, state publicly that the Confederate Flag should be taken down permanently.  Senator Reid has said that we need better background checks for people buying guns.  More and more people, even Republicans, are talking about race in America.

But that isn’t what I am talking about when I say there is an emerging bright spot in this horrible tragedy.  I am talking about the obvious denial syndrome that has taken control of the right-wing.  The Republican Party openly recruited this wing into their party.  They always talk about the very things that the right-wing wants to hear.  Now, if anyone cares to really listen, they are telling you that when it comes to racial issues, they don’t give a damn.

Naturally, Fox News is taking the lead in this denial syndrome.  Sean Hannity claims there is no institutional racism in America.  Why?  Because slavery doesn’t exist anymore.  Bill O’Reilly last night went into a tantrum saying that anyone talking about racial issues in America is really an anti-American “hater”.

Ann Coulter even got into the act.  On last night’s edition of “Kennedy” on Fox Business she said that she really wanted to like Nikki Haley because she is a Republican.  But, she couldn’t really like Nikki Haley “because she is an immigrant and doesn’t understand American history.”

She explained this by saying:

The Confederate flag we’re talking about never flew over an official Confederate building. It was a battle flag. It is to honor Robert E. Lee. And anyone who knows the first thing about military history, knows that there is no greater army that ever took the field than the Confederate Army.”

I guess Ann studied different history books than I did.  I must write my American History professors, if they are still alive, and complain.  The books I read and the history I learned stated rather clearly that the “Confederate Flag” was not just a battle banner.  It was the “official flag of the Confederacy.”  Which means it did fly over official Confederate buildings.

By the way, Nikki Haley is not an immigrant.  For the record, she was born in Bamberg, South Carolina.  Or, maybe the citizens of South Carolina are thrilled to learn that they are a foreign country according to this wise lady!

To follow along, a total of five GOP Presidential hopefuls have refused to take a stand on the Confederate Flag.  These include Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum, and Ben Carson.  These candidates don’t even want to be questioned about the issue claiming it is a “small issue.”

While all of this is going on, the Republicans in Congress are quietly dismantling the social safety nets.  They want to throw millions of people off medical insurance.  They are trying to cut food stamps again.  They are trying to reduce Social Security and Medicare.  They are gutting funding for the Department of Education.

All of these cuts in the budget are targeted towards minorities and the elderly.   What they are ignoring is that they will also hurt millions of “conservative” white people.  But, they keep getting away with it because they claim that only the minorities are the “takers” and their white constituency buys into their lies.

We face a myriad of problems in this country.  Not the least of which is racism.  However, when one political party refuses to even acknowledge it as a problem, meaningful debate can never get started, much less help fix the problem.  But then, as I wrote before, that is what conservatism is all about.  Stick your head in the sand and pretend something doesn’t exist and that yesteryear was far better than today.

If anyone cares to listen to this “debate” raging in the media, especially over at Fox News, you will discover that the conservative movement in America is telling you it is okay to be a racist.  As long as you are white and a Christian.  That is the true meaning behind all of their rhetoric.  All the while statistics prove that the biggest “terrorist threats” in America are from White Supremacist Groups not foreigners.

So, yes, there is a potential bright spot in this horrific tragedy.  The right-wing is openly proving what most of us have believed all along.  They are simply racists and proud of it!  I don’t know about you, but these are not the people I want governing our country!

On Monday morning, there was a completely odd interview or “conversation” on race.  As you might expect, it took place on Fox News “Fox and Friends.”  I guess it may not be all that odd since the people they were talking to was Erick Erickson and talk radio show host Richard Fowler.

However, even for these folks, it really got bizarre.  They started discussing whether racism was a “mental health issue” or just plain “evil.”  As such, you know they don’t believe that the Republican base is racist since they do not suffer from “mental health issues” or are just plain “evil.”

On Friday, Erickson wrote a piece that blamed the Charleston massacre on America’s inability to confront the fact that certain people — among them, Caitlyn Jenner — are mentally ill, and should be called out as such.  “A society that looks at a 65-year-old male Olympian and, with a straight face, declares him a her and ‘a new normal’ cannot have a conversation about mental health or evil because that society no longer distinguishes normal from crazy and evil from good,” he wrote.

Of course, Doocy just couldn’t resist bouncing off that comment.  He asked Fowler and Erickson whether “the real problem with our culture [is] that we cannot label mental health as an issue because we have accepted too many ‘eccentricities’ as normal.”

Erickson agreed by again linking transgender identity with evil, saying that “we can no longer label mental health issues, we can no longer label evil as ‘evil’ — we try to explain around that and immediately move to the political solution.”

According to Erickson, we shouldn’t be asking GOP potential nominees questions about mental health or evil either as that would “politicize” the issues.  Even though both agreed that the suspect in the church killings was a racist and a terrorist, we shouldn’t be talking about it being a mental health issue, because the suspect isn’t mentally ill.

That leaves us with talking about the “evil” portion of the equation.  But, according to Erickson if we try that, it will just go around to “gun control.”  So, let’s take into consideration several items about pure “evil.”  Do you know that more people are killed in the nation by gun violence than traffic accidents?  Do you know that about 99% of all serial killers or mass murders are white?  I would put that into the category of “evil.”

On the other hand, racism is pure “evil” as well.  There is no other explanation for it.  It started in this country when we began importing slaves to work the plantations in the south.  The simple fact that some believed that it was okay to own fellow humans is nothing short of pure “evil.”

The Civil War was fought with slavery as the backdrop.  Ever since the Civil War, there have been “evil” people in politics that wanted to keep segregation alive and well.  The Jim Crow laws are a perfect example.  The term of “equal but separate” in my interpretation is “evil.”  Denying people their civil rights based on anything other than common law is pure “evil.”  That is what Jim Crow laws did.

Today, we see additional examples of “evil” in our world and politics.  Denying people the right to marry and give them the same rights that other married people have, is “evil.”  Denying a person without a Photo ID card that perfectly matches everything else, is “evil.”  Denying women the same pay for the same work as men do is “evil.”

Allowing mentally ill people and criminals to purchase guns without having to go through a background check is “evil” since it puts guns in the hands of people who shouldn’t own them.  Lumping all members of certain religions as all being terrorists is “evil.”  Denying women to make their own choices about their own health is “evil.”

If the right wants to hold a conversation about evil, let’s have that conversation.  But, they don’t want that conversation either.  Why?  Because it is their policies that I am calling evil.  You cannot have a meaningful discussion about evil if the other side is endorsing policies that most reasonable people find evil.

All of this talk by Erickson and the rest of the right-wing is just a smoke screen so they can continue on their evil progression of taking rights away from everyone but themselves.  This incident even brought up the old argument about the Confederate Flag again.  Lindsey Graham, a Presidential Candidate, says that “it is part of who we are.”

That may be true.  But, I am sure that Lindsey Graham would be screaming at the top of his lungs if the government of Nuremberg, Germany started flying the Swastika over its government buildings.  After all Lindsey, it is “part of who they are.”  I have said for many years, the Confederate Flag is a symbol of “pure evil.”  It is time it goes away, except for maybe some history museums.

The biggest problem with the right-wing is that they not only want to “pick and choose” the parts of the Constitution they want to believe in, they also want to define what is evil and what is not.  If you are a transgender, you are evil.  If you are gay, you are evil.  If you support political policies that deny groups of people their civil rights, you are not evil.

No matter how you paint your picture, racism is pure evil.  Until the right begins to understand that, we will never get away from it.

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